Sunday, February 1, 2015

Top 5 of 2014

So, I’m going to do something a little different today. Instead of a review I’m going to do my top 5 favorite song of 2014. The only rule, one song per artist.

5. Alone Together- First off, I realize that he had this on other mixtapes prior to the release of this album, however, the album was the first place I heard the song. At the time I heard this I called it the best duet of 2014. It was an early call (back in February), but I still stand by it. Nearly a year and 120+ plays later I’m still sucked in by this performance as I was the first time I heard this beautiful track.
4.  Caught Up in a Rapture- Initially I was going to put Glory in this spot because it reminded me how powerful (and great) a singer JoJo is, but also serves as a reminder of how far she can still go. But I decided against it because as beautiful as the song is, I think more is going on in this track.
I’m usually hard on artist that use classic tracks, but I love this one.
Even though she stayed faithful to the lyrics she definitely took liberties with the beat. And, I’m okay with that.  Anita Bakers version was originally done in the 80’s. It’s beautifully sung, but if I’m not in the mood for it, I can get bored. This version changes all that. It has the same lyrical quality as the original, but the beat is spruced up a bit. It still has the relaxing quality of the original, but adds a few surprises to keep it interesting. And I think that’s appropriate.  It adds the best of today’s influence into the song and leaves the rest alone.
As far as remakes go, I only ask that you leave enough of the original there to pay homage to the person you are borrowing from, but also make it different enough to add your personality to it (if you don’t do that, why even use the song to begin with). It can be a hard mix to pull off, but she certainly did and I couldn’t be happier with the result.
3.One More Try- After I heard this song, I searched the web to see if other people liked it as much as I did. And surprisingly, I’m in the minority on this one. That’s fine with me. I find value I it even if others do not.  
This song is great because it is a timeless track. It speaks to the human experience and because of that anyone can relate to it. Add in some beautiful vocals and this track becomes memorable and impactful.  
2. Not About Angels- I fell in love with this song the day I heard it. I felt so strongly about it that I eventually watched the movie for which this song was made. I thought it was fine but I was angry about how the song was used. I felt that they slapped it at the end of the movie very sloppily and didn’t use the right part of the song to evoke the emotion I’m sure the scene was aiming for.
Regardless of proper usage, the song is masterful. The piano and violin work together to conjure all types of emotion. I’m still awed by the buildup to the climax.  There’s so much tension created when the instruments ramp up and it is slowly released when Birdy holds the long note “special”. She nailed the execution of that note and that put that song over the top for me. 190+ plays later and I still can’t get enough.
 It was my favorite song…. Until one other came along.    
1.       1.Thinking Out Loud- I know I put this one at #2 on my favs when I reviewed the album, but I've reconsidered. I’m a sucker for old school, so this gave me everything I wanted and more. Every time I hear it I fall in love with it a bit more. I wonder how many times people will use to this song in movies when couples “find out” they love each other. If that’s what I have to deal with for this song to come into fruition, then it’s a worthy exchange.
Part of the magic behind this song is that people do not make music like this anymore (I’m not trying to trash new music, they seriously don’t make this kind of ballad). So, when he decided to try his hand at it, it was almost certain this song would be a hit. For people like me, it offers something different that I can’t get with today’s music. For an older person like my mother, it’s a flashback to “those days”. So, both people are treated to something rare and amazing.
On an artistic level the song is also unique. Sheeran’s made love songs before, but not in this style and not this way.  Usually he sings songs in a soft an easy manner that makes them easy and enjoyable to listen to. But in this one, he forces the issue. Normally I’d hate that because he’s moving away from his advantages lay, but he makes it work. Even though he’s forcing the issue a bit, the song still manages to be beautiful. He took calculated risks with this one and it paid off wonderfully.

I might just be listening to this one until I’m 70.  


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