Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Grammy 2016 Early Predictions - Part 2

I realized that predicting Grammy's nominations is really fun as I love to act like an aficionado in mainstream music, even though I know I'm not. I should've done this years ago. I should've begun to consider this as my main job. I cry. 

So, for the next part, I am going to predict more categories that I have the ability (boo!) to analyze. They are Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop/Duo Group Performance, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Alternative Album, and Best Dance/Electronic Album. 

1. Best Pop Vocal Album
Just like what happens on Album of the Year, Taylor Swift's 1989 will be a lock in this category. The only multiple winner in this category, Kelly Clarkson, also rarely misses this category, so I will expect to see her latest effort, Piece By Piece, in this category. And, what is best pop vocal album category without a nomination from queen of pop herself? I can see Madonna's Rebel Heart sneaks in this category. Meghan Trainor's debut album, Title, which is just released in January this year also can storm the category. Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion which is one of the most acclaimed pop album of the year should be nominated as well, and it's a sacrilegious act to not include this album on this category, and I think this is the only category where Carly Rae Jepsen can stand a chance. If Lana Del Rey's Honeymoon which is just released last week has time to submit and fill the paperwork, it has the chance to be nominated as well as her EP, Paradise, has been nominated before.

For the male counterpart, the strongest contenders come from artists who can do genre-crossover. Unless Mark Ronson's Uptown Special and The Weeknd's Beauty Behind The Madness compete in R&B category, both albums can be a tough opponent on this category. Strongest pop albums of the year are dominated by female artists this year, and I can't think another male artist who releases a stand-out pop album this year. Nick Jonas' self-titled debut album comes in mind, but it's really a long shot, but anything's possible now.

From group, I will expect a nomination from Florence + The Machine's How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. This English band once has surprised us with a nomination on this category a few years ago with Ceremonials. Another potential best pop vocal album will be Years & Years' Communion, but it's like Nick Jonas. It's really a long shot.

Final Predictions:
1. Taylor Swift - 1989
2. Kelly Clarkson - Piece By Piece
3. Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion
4. Mark Ronson - Uptown Special or The Weeknd - Beauty Behind The Madness
5. Florence + The Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

2. Best Pop Solo Performance
Expect to see more Taylor Swift in this category, with all "Blank Space", "Style", and "Wildest Dreams" all eligible for this category. Kelly Clarkson also rarely misses a nod in this category, so "Heartbeat Song" and another her self-empowerment song, "Invincible", can finally see a light and be nominated in this category. If Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" is still eligible, I may include this song as well. Carly Rae Jepsen may surprise us as well with her "Run Away With Me" and "I Really Like You", and hopefully the committees won't overlook these fine records.

The Weeknd will receive another nomination in this category with "Can't Feel My Face" unless, of course, he goes to R&B. But, apparently a single hits like this usually goes to pop category, just like when Daft Punk and Pharell Williams get a nomination in pop category while clearly "Get Lucky" is an electronic song. Justin Bieber will make a come back with his "What Do You Mean", and this song has a high chance to give Bieber his first Grammy.

Expect a dark-horse nominee, like Sia's "Elastic Heart", or Lana Del Rey's most catchy song, "High By The Beach", or Rachel Platten's "Fight Song here.

My final predictions will be:
1. Taylor Swift - "Blank Space" or Taylor Swift - "Style" or Taylor Swift - "Wildest Dreams" or the committees go berserk and nominate all three Taylor Swift's songs.
2. Ed Sheeran - "Thinking Out Loud"
3. The Weeknd - "Can't Feel My Face"
4. Justin Bieber - "What Do You Mean"
5. Rachel Platten - "Fight Song" or Carly Rae Jepsen - "Run Away With Me"

3. Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
When you think finally you see a Swift-free category, think again. Her collaboration with Kendrick Lamar in "Bad Blood" may earn her a first nomination here. Another lock is definitely "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and a Grammy darling, Bruno Mars. The safest best is of course 12-week Billboard Hot 100 #1, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's "See You Again". Don't forget the killer combo of Paul McCartney, Kanye West, and Rihanna in "FourFiveSeconds". You may think this is not a pop song, but it is a pop song. Expect Maroon 5 earns another nomination in this category with their "Sugar". I think that's all that I can think from this category. Wow, it's really rare to see an exact five nominations. I think Walk The Moon's "Shut Up And Dance" can be nominated, but I may hope too much.

Final predictions (of course):
1. Taylor Swift - "Bad Blood (feat. Kendrick Lamar)"
2. Mark Ronson - "Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)"
3. Wiz Khalifa - "See You Again (feat. Charlie Puth)"
4. Maroon 5 - "Sugar"
5. Paul McCartney, Kanye West, and Rihanna - "FourFiveSeconds"

4.  Best Dance/Electronic Album
David Guetta is my safest bet in this category as he is often nominated in this category, and with his latest effort, Listen is just released on November last year, making it eligible for next year Grammy. Zedd, who won Best Dance/Electronic Recording with "Clarity" a few years ago surprisingly never earn a nomination in album category, so can True Colors grab a spot in this category?

Hugo Leclerq a.k.a. Madeon's debut album, Adventure, is universally loved by music critics, and I can see it will be nominated in this category as well. Deadly combo of Diplo and Skrillex--who happens to win this award twice--in Jack U can earn a nod with their debut, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U. Another Diplo's project, Major Lazer, can also be nominated with their latest album, Peace Is The Mission.

The XX member, Jamie XX, who also released the finest electronic album of the year, In Colour, can be nominated too, but I don't expect much as I am not sure his label, Young Turks, won't bother to send the record to the committee. The Chemical Brothers, who also has won this award twice, can get another nominations for Born In The Echoes.

Another wild hope that I have is Holly Herndon's Platform and Panda Bear's Panda Bear Meets  The Grim Reaper. But, if Aphex Twin can win this award last year, I believe that anything's possible at this point.

Final predictions:
1. David Guetta - Listen
2. Madeon - Adventure
3. Jack U - Skrillex And Diplo Present Jack U
4. Major Lazer - Peace Is The Mission
5. The Chemical Brothers - Born In The Echoes

5. Best Alternative Album
Alternative genre is the most criminally underrated genre in Grammy Awards. It only gets one category, making an alternative song must go cross-over to another genre to be nominated in Grammy. But again, alternative genre is really vague. I mean you can't classify and define what alternative genre is.

Enough with the rambling. Bjork rarely misses this category, so her surprise album Vulnicura will be a lock in this category. Talking about surprise album, Wilco, who once won with their album (surprisingly) A Ghost Is Born (and not critically acclaimed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot--it didn't even get a nomination. What's wrong with this committee?), also released a surprise album this year called Star Wars. It's really safe to say that Wilco will receive another nomination.

Watch out for former Best Alternative Album nominee, Tame Impala, as Currents is loved by music critics and there will be uproar outside there if it's not nominated. This category will be filled with previous nominees I guess. I expect to see Blur's latest album, The Magic Whip, here or Death Cab For Cutie's Kintsugi here. Or My Morning Jacket's The Waterfall. Supergroup Franz Ferdinand (who's been nominated twice) and Sparks called FFS, may receive a nod with their debut album, FFS.

Maybe it's time for Grammy to nominate new artist this year? Sufjan Stevens' heartbreaking album Carrie & Lowell should be nominated, but I'm sure Sufjan Stevens' own label, Asthmatic Kitty, won't even bother to send it to the committee. The same case with Courtney Barnett's Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. Is hoping Passion Pit's Kindred to be nominated too much? Well, I can mention many albums that deserve to be nominated, but I guess Grammy will play it safe and only nominate the veteran.

Final predictions:
Blur - The Magic Whip
Bjork - Vulnicura
Death Cab For Cutie - Kintsugi
Wilco - Star Wars
Tame Impala - Currents

So, what do you think? Do I miss or overlook something? Please tell me your own predictions! 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Grammy 2016 Early Predictions?

With September 30th, the last eligible day to be considered into Grammy 2016, is just around the corner, I think it's quite safe now to predict the nominations for 2016 Grammys as there won't be any Grammy-darling release on the remaining days of September--unless suddenly NARAS becomes hipster and nominates CHVRCHES' Every Open Eye, Lana Del Rey's Honeymoon, or Julia Holter's Have You In My Wilderness. 

It's easy to predict the nominations for Big 4 categories (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist), so I will only predict those four categories. I am no music critic, so I'm sorry if this isn't accurate. 

1. Album of the Year
Are you kidding me? Taylor Swift's 1989, which is released on October last year, will be a lock for this category. And, since Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city was also nominated for Album of the Year as well, I can expect To Pimp A Butterfly will be nominated next year too. Then the rest of spots will become interesting as there aren't many that major albums released this year. It naturally will force the committee to consider a lesser and smaller album. In other words, there will be many new names for this category. It's really a crime to not include Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion, the best pop album of the year, and Jepsen has been nominated for Song of the Year before, so hopefully NARAS will consider Emotion. The strong contender for this category also comes from fellow Canadian, The Weeknd, whose latest album, Beauty Behind The Madness, unexpectedly becomes a hit and spawns several hits singles. Or Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late which has the biggest first-week sales this year in United States. It will be a long shot, though, but anything's possible at this point. Another wild hope is Miguel's Wildheart, but it's too edgy for Grammys though. 

NARAS also loves country artists so much, and I can see they will nominate former Best New Artist nominee, Kacey Musgraves' Pageant Material. I will be really happy, though, since that album is really good. We can also some newbies' name on this category on this year. Meghan Trainor's Title comes in mind. Or a new country hottie, Sam Hunt's Montevallo. Or Mark Ronson's Uptown Special. Those three albums will be for random-album slot, like Sara Bareilles' The Blessed Unrest two years ago. 

The committees also love to put veterans here, like Beck's Morning Phase last year who also happened to snatch the most prestigious award, so I can expect I can see Madonna's Rebel Heart or James Taylor's Before This World

Final Predictions
1. Taylor Swift - 1989
2. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
3. Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material
4. The Weeknd - Beauty Behind The Madness 
5. Mark Ronson - Uptown Special or James Taylor - Before This World

2. Record of the Year
This category is sometimes confusing, and sometimes you can't differentiate it from Song of the Year. But, Record of the Year is to award best production in a song, so with that in mind, "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars will be a lock. As much as I hate (loathe, honestly) this song, "Uptown Funk" is well produced. Grammys love Taylor Swift, and I also happen to love her, and "Style" is one of the best produced songs the year, so I can't see that song won't be nominated for this category. I'm okay with "Blank Space" too. I expect to see deadly combo of Paul McCartney, Kanye West and Rihanna's "FourFiveSeconds" in this category. All three are Grammy-darling, and if the committees leave it out, they must have new committees there. 

The remaining of the slots will be really hard to predict. I am inclined to include The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face", Jack U's collaboration with Justin Bieber in "Where R U Now" is also my favorite contender for this category. Justin Bieber's solo single "What Do You Mean?" also has some potential to storm this category. Talking about good production, no one can deny that Carly Rae Jepsen's "All That" and "Run Away With Me" have good production value, but I can see the committees will overlook these records. Oh, well those are just my wildest dreams (Taylor Swift™ No copyright infringement intended. Property of TAS LLC Management 2014©). I really want to see Miguel's "coffee", but it seems really vulgar for the old people of the committees, but one can dream, right?

So, my final predictions will be
1. Mark Ronson - "Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)"
2. Paul McCartney, Kanye West and Rihanna - "FourFiveSeconds"
3. Taylor Swift - "Style"
4. The Weeknd - "Can't Feel My Face"
5. Jack U - "Where R U Now (feat. Justin Bieber)" or Carly Rae Jepsen - "Run Away With Me" (my wildest dream)

3. Song of the Year
It's no surprise to see Taylor Swift again on this category. "Blank Space" will be a lock, I guess, as it has witty lyrics and good melody. Is Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" eligible for this category? Because I will include it, since the NARAS really love Ed Sheeran. If it isn't eligible, screw the Grammys. I expect to see Kendrick Lamar on this category. "Alright" is an alright choice, but my favorite is "These Walls (feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat)". Oh, such a wild hope.

From a country fellows, I really can see "Biscuits" by Kacey Musgraves snatches a slot here. Sam Hunt's "Take Your Time" can surprise us as well. One more country song that I wish to see is Little Big Town's "Girl Crush". 

The committees also sometimes include big hits of the year for this category, so I expect to see "Uptown Funk" again (booo!), "Can't Feel My Face", and "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. "See You Again" is written by using heart and soul, and it will be heartless for the committees to omit the song from the category. I almost forgot to include "Elastic Heart". Even though the video is controversial, but this is Sia, so the committees can really overlook the controversy. Expect to see "FourFiveSeconds" too, even if the songwriting style is quite absurd and vague.

Final Predictions
1. Taylor Swift - "Blank Space" (no question)
2. Ed Sheeran - "Thinking Out Loud"
3. Kacey Musgraves - "Biscuits" (it's a long shot, but why not)
4. The Weeknd - "Can't Feel My Face"
5. Kendrick Lamar - "Alright" or Paul McCartney, Kanye West, and Rihanna - "FourFiveSeconds" or Mark Ronson - "Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars)"

4. Best New Artist
It's the easiest category to predict to be honest. Meghan Trainor, who is ineligible last year, will be eligible this year so she will be a lock. Sam Hunt, a former college football player who just started his music career last year, will be a lock as well. The Weeknd, even though he's almost a veteran, but since Grammy committees are bunch of old people who are really out-of-date (just kidding!), Abel Tesfaye a.k.a. The Weeknd can also be nominated, just like when Ed Sheeran is just nominated for this category years after he's popular. Tori Kelly can also be nominated as well. I also can see Charlie Puth, Walk The Moon (the same case with The Weeknd), and also Fetty Wap. And probably FKA twigs. Lol. So random. But, Grammys surprised us with Esperanza Spalding before so FKA twigs is not out of this competition yet. And don't forget Years & Years who comes first in BBC sound of last year.

Final Predictions
1. Meghan Trainor
2. Sam Hunt
3. The Weeknd 
4. Years & Years or Fetty Wap
5. Walk The Moon (a really long shoooot) or Charlie Puth (possible, but I don't think so), or FKA twigs. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Review Friday: Ryan Adams - "Bad Blood"

Ryan Adams
Bad Blood

Back in August when Ryan Adams posted several snippets of his covering all songs in Taylor Swift's 1989, I can't help but feeling excited. Taylor Swift as well. And I can imagine when Swift found out the news, she just hyperventilated and put on her trademark shocking expression. I thought Adams just wanted to have fun, and this 1989 project is just used to spend his leisure something, but when he finally decided to drop this album cover and shared "Bad Blood", the internet loses its shit. All hell breaks loose. 

Adams' "Bad Blood" is just like what you expect from Swift when she's still in country. His "Bad Blood" is really tender, and you can't sense any anger from the song. Instead, it feels like an apology song. My favorite is part is when Adams hushes at the interlude, adding new line as well--just like what he did when he covered Oasis' Wonderwall. Adams breathes a new soul to Swift's songs, making her songs become his own songs. If Adams released it first, and you tell me that this song is Taylor Swift's songs, I will tell you must be out of your mind. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review Thursday: DIIV - "Dopamine"

Is the Is Are
Captured Tracks

DIIV is known with their dreamy songs, and "Dopamine" is no exception. After waiting for almost three years, this Brooklyn-based band teases us the first song from their sophomore album, Is the Is Are, which is all written by Zachary Cole Smith. And just like what DIIV usually treats us, "Dopamine" is capable of teleporting the listener to another realm. A nice and strong guitar-riff starts the song, and it blends perfectly with the Smith's vocal. "Dopamine" somehow can hypnotize me as the chord doesn't shift and and Cole sings the verses, "Shots wringing out, I'm soaking eardrums shaking and years start weighing me down" over and over. But, that's what makes "Dopamine" one of DIIV's best songs. It's like what real dopamine does to your body. 

Fallout - Part 1


Tiap orang memiliki momen tertentu ketika ia mulai menyadari bahwa apa yang selama ini mereka percayai, apa yang mereka yakini, apa yang mereka anggap benar ternyata salah, seperti sebuah epifani. Itu yang kusebut dengan sudden realization. Tiap orang pasti pernah mengalaminya, tetapi tidak semua orang menerima sudden realization tersebut dengan baik. Beberapa orang berusaha untuk tidak memedulikannya, beberapa orang berusaha untuk menyangkalnya, beberapa orang berani melepas apa yang mereka percayai dan mulai menerima kebenaran yang baru. Awalnya aku termasuk ke dalam beberapa orang yang menyangkalnya. Sudden realization juga terjadi di saat dan di tempat yang tidak pernah disangka-sangka sebelumnya. Sudden realization-ku terjadi ketika aku dan Haley bertengkar di depan umum di lapangan parkir Wal-Mart.

            Haley tidak seperti cewek-cewek yang kukencani sebelumnya. Ia bukan seorang cheerleader, seperti yang orang-orang harapkan dari seorang atlet basket sepertiku. Haley seorang yang ambisius, tetapi cantik. Aku tak tahu apakah aku menghubungkan kata “ambisius” dan “cantik” dengan menggunakan kata penghubung yang tepat. Poinnya adalah Haley berbeda.

            Dan aku berharap mengencani gadis yang berbeda akan membuat sedikit perubahan dalam diriku, membuatku lebih yakin bahwa semua ini yang kurasakan hanya fase remaja. Sama seperti jerawat, atau ketika kau memimpikan ibu teman timmu yang luar biasa cantik. Namun, sepertinya aku salah. Apa yang kurasakan ini tampaknya bukanlah sebuah fase. Ini seperti direkatkan dengan Surebonder dan tidak mau lepas.

            Heck, aku bahkan sudah bercumbu dengan Haley berkali-kali.

            Aku tak ingat apa yang kami pertengkarkan sebetulnya. Yang aku ingat hanyalah Haley tiba-tiba menghubungiku untuk menemaninya membeli sesuatujembalang untuk kebun? Atau sisir? Sesuatu yang terdengar seperti itu. Entahlah. Aku hanya menurut saja seperti seekor?seorang?zombie tak berotak. Bahkan ketika aku baru saja selesai memarkirkan Meredith (nama F-150-ku. Don’t judge me. I try to be as straight as possible) di depan Wal-Mart, tiba-tiba saja Haley berteriak dan kata-kata yang berhasil kutangkap adalah, “tidak peduli”, “egois”, dan “megalomania”. Yup, itu Haley yang kukenal: menggunakan kata-kata SAT dengan tepat dan akurat.

            Tapi aku tak mengerti apa masalahnya. Itu sebabnya berpacaran dengan cewek itu lumayan melelahkan dan menguras emosi.

            “Kita putus!” Itu kata-katanya yang terakhir sebelum ia membanting pintu mobilku, merosot turun ke aspal lapangan parkir yang bersalju, dan pergi begitu saja.

            Aku menghela napas. Aku tak tahu apakah ini karena aku putus untuk yang kesekian kalinya sehingga aku tak merasakan apa-apa. Rasanya hampa, seperti menembus wormhole. Namun, berpacaran dengan Haley juga terasa hampa kalau kupikir-pikir. Tiap ciuman yang kami lakukan tidak menciptakan aliran listrik, tiap erangan dan engahan yang kami teriakkan dari kursi belakang setiap Jumat malam terasa seperti erangan basa-basi dari pendukung Detroit Pistons. Itu bukan sesuatu yang membuatmu bergairah. Itu sesuatu yang salah.

            Dan itu sebabnya, saat Haley memutuskanku, aku merasa biasa saja. Justru, aku heran karena tebersit rasa lega dan bebas, seperti saat pertandingan terakhir di musim dingin ini berakhir, seakan-akan akhirnya kau tidak perlu bersandiwara atau berpura-pura lagi.

            Aku bersandar di kursi kemudi sambil mengamati Haley dengan cepat-cepat memasuki Wal-Mart. Rambutnya yang cokelat keriting tertutup salju putih, sementara mantelnya terlihat kebesaran untuk ukuran tubuhnya yang mungil.

            Suara ponsel yang begitu nyaring membuatku terkesiap. Aku pikir itu Haley yang meneleponku dari dalam dan menyesal karena telah memutuskanku dan memintaku kembali. Itu pernah terjadi dua kali sebelumnya dalam hubunganku. Aku tentu saja tidak pernah bisa menolaknya. Aku sedang dalam misi untuk mengubah diriku, meyakinkan diriku bahwa aku tidak salah. Setelah aku melihat siapa yang memanggilku melalui layar ponsel, aku tersenyum.

            Suara tembakan dan deru kendaraan yang memekakkan telinga langsung menghajarku. Aku terpaksa harus menjauhkan telingaku, lalu tiba-tiba saja terdengar teriakan.

            “Ares! Ares! Bung, kau di mana?”

            “Sedang berkencan dengan Fallout?”

            “Apa? Aku tidak dengar!” teriaknya lagi.

            “Kecilkan volume televisimu, keparat!” sahutku.

            Tiba-tiba saja terdengar suara kekehan dari ujung sana.

            “Di mana kau?” tanyanya sekali lagi.

            “Di parkiran Wal-Mart, menangis karena Haley baru saja memutuskanku.”

            “Lagi? Oh, dasar kau kemaluan besar.”

            Ejekan semacam itu yang membuat jantungku sedikit menciut.

            “Kenapa kau telepon?”

            “Nah, mau menyembuhkan luka hati dengan bermain Fallout bersama?”

     “Apa yang menarik dari menontonmu bermain? Aku akan datang kalau kau mengizinkanku main setiap satu misi sekali.”

            Terdengar erangan dari sana.

            “Oke, tapi karena kau baru putus. Aku akan menjadi sahabat yang baik dan benar dan memperbolehkanmu main sampai kau mati.”

            “Keren, aku akan sampai di sana dalam lima belas menit lagi.”

            “Bawakan aku Ranch Melt dari Subway selagi kau ada di sana.”

            “Yea, yea! Tapi aku mendapat sepuluh dolar.”

            “Dasar kau keparat kecil,” gumamnya sebelum akhirnya ia menutup telepon.

            Aku tersenyum lalu menepuk-nepuk kemejaku, sebelum akhirnya aku menyalakan Meredith dan memutar menuju ke Subway yang terletak di ujung pelataran parkir Wal-Mart

            Namanya Castor. Dan ialah alasan kenapa aku mengencani banyak cewek. 

Bukan, ini bukan fanfiction dari Fallout yang video game. Fallout di sini lebih di makna yang nomor dua: efek samping dari sesuatu. Udah dari lama kepikiran buat bikin cerita LGBT, tapi baru akhir-akhir ini ada waktu dan niat (wkwk padahal nganggur) buat nyoba-nyoba nulis. Awalnya, saya pengen bikin latarnya di Indonesia, tapi saya takut kalau di Indonesia kalimatnya jadi enggak masuk, soalnya saya udah enggak bisa nulis percakapan bahasa Indonesia yang luwes. Kalau saya bikin latar Indonesia, tapi dialognya terjemahan, pasti kedengaran aneh banget. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Review Sunday: Wave Racer - Flash Drive (feat. B▲by)

Wave Racer
Flash Drive (feat. B▲by)
Flash Drive
Future Classic

In 1996, Nintendo released a racing game for Nintendo 64, called Wave Race 64. It's basically like a jet-ski race, and it looks really exhilarating and fun. When 21-year-old Sydney producer, Thomas Purcell, whose surname is similar with the author of my Calculus book, Purcell (the producer one) adopts this Nintendo game as his stage name, he also adopts the exhilaration and the fun of Wave Race 64. 

Purcell brings us back memories of 8-bit game from late 1980's until 1990's in his works, and it is clearly shown on his latest work, "Wave Racer". Taken from his latest extended play, "Flash Drive" is an adventurous song. It magically can bring you into a Nintendo-game nostalgia, and suddenly you become a nine year old boy all over again, playing Super Mario or Contra. "Flash Drive" is full of synthesizers, but it's an extremely light and  "cute" electronic songs. It's not overproduced, it's just simple, but this is exactly what I need. B▲by, whose name is boldly using black delta symbol, provides the vocal, making "Flash Drive" an exhilarating and refreshing song, just like what you feel when you play Nintendo. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

10 Best Taylor Swift's Music Videos

"I am not Swifties!" I have repeatedly said it over and over to those judging eyes who stare at me as if trying to accuse why a so-called-hipster, like me, listens to Taylor Swift's songs and watches her music videos. "I am not hipster either," I replied defensively. One of both statements above are absolutely wrong, of course. You know which one. 

The full version of "I am not Swifties" is actually "I am not Swifties, but honestly I know every words on every songs she sings by heart, and I know whom she dates, I read what she does on media, and I watch every music videos she makes." Oh, who am I lying to. 

To celebrate the release of her "Wildest Dreams" music video, I decide to run through her music videos catalog, and pick ten her best music videos. 

10. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" music video is incredibly fun and cheerful despite the title of the song. Swift puts on her nerdy glasses, cute dress (did I just comment on clothes?), and it's even more fun when we see her running through several video sets to fit this one-shot video. Swift did her job quite well. There's something vintage about "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", and watching this video is like opening a pop-up book. Such a pleasant surprise. 

9. "The Story of Us"

"The Story of Us" itself is indeed a great pop-country song, but this video pushes geeky side of Swift out, with those thick books, library, secret make-out session, white T-shirt, and even a nerdy love-interest. But, this is where Swift's expertise area. "The Story of Us" is a fun video, from the start to the finish. Band rocking the dean's office? Check. Paper confetti at the climax? Check. 

8. "Mean"

"Mean" is what MTV calls with music video with social message. Back when Swift was still a country princess, "Mean" is what you expect from a country music video: banjo twang, bale of hays, and goats. But, "Mean" also insinuates social message, and this is the first time Swift explicitly shows her support of LGBT, anti-bullying, and feminism on her music video. It encourages people to be who they are, and Swift has done it quite successfully. Closed with such a grande performance on stage, "Mean" have spread its message very effectively. 

7. "Wildest Dreams"

"Wildest Dreams" is just released, but it can still crack the top ten, showing how great and amazing this music video is. Swift joins Joseph Khan, who also directs "Blank Space" and "Bad Blood", one more time to create this 1950's music video. Taking place in African savanna, "Wildest Dreams" is treat to my eyes from the beginning until the end. Swift rocks in her black hair, acting as an actress who fell for her fellow-actor, but he broke heart. The plot itself sounds like a sappy 1950's movie, but that's what makes this video good. Flying above the savanna, the most explicit video Swift has made, there are many things that I like about the video. If you think this can't get any better, think again. The best part of this video is absolutely the end of this video where Swift states that every proceed from the video will be donated to African wildlife conservatory. A brilliant way to keep me replaying the video over and over again. 

6. "I Knew You Were Trouble"

I still remember my jaw dropping when I watched "I Knew You Were Trouble". Swift shows a wild and different side of herself as she parties on a music festival, highlights her hair, and chooses a wrong bad boy. But, just like "I Knew You Were Trouble" which is the most experimental song of Swift, I think Swift also wants to have some experiment on the video. 

5. "Begin Again"

"Begin Again" is just simply stunning and gorgeous despite the "underratedness" of the song. The gray tone that is used on the video somehow really suits the song, making "Begin Again" look like scenes from romantic movies. Taylor at the rooftop, looking at the Paris skyline, a good-looking (and French!) love interest, and beautiful location and cinematography. Maybe some directors can learn a thing or two how to make a beautiful scenes from this video. 

4. "Picture to Burn"

Swift is known to write songs based on her past relationships. However, "Picture to Burn" is the only song where she plans to seek revenge on her ex-boyfriend. "Picture to Burn" is like MTV Punk'd where she and her crews mess her ex's house. You can't help but laugh at what they do. Not only hilarious and fun, "Picture to Burn" is also a beautiful video especially with those glowing fireworks at the climax of the video. 

3. "Love Story"

"Love Story" is a song that many fans regard as one song that converts them into a Swifties. I can't argue with that, to be honest, as "Love Story" is a great song. Swift recycles an ancient Shakespeare's tragic-romantic love story, into something less tragic, but more romantic. "Love Story" is like a depiction of what young women's desire is. Swift dresses as a princess, meets her prince charming, then they live happily ever after. Yeah, I totally understand why this song makes fans convert to a Swifties. 

2. "You Belong with Me"

The concept of "You Belong with Me" is like coming out from a teen-flick movie storyboard. But, this formula always works. Starting from exchanging message from a clipboard, then talking on a park bench, then the boy caught his girlfriend cheating, until finally he realizes that his love is for his neighbor, "You Belong with Me" is a comprehensive music video. Its plot is complete and real. Swift, not only acts as the sweet, kind, the protagonist, but also as the cheating, mean girlfriend. This kind of juxtaposition, well, is what makes this video deserves to be interrupted by Kanye West. 

1. "Blank Space"

Arguably the craziest video Swift ever made, "Blank Space" makes fun of what media always accuses of Swift. In this video, Swift is portrayed as a rich mistress who traps young men, until they broke up, and Swift sets the trap again. This cycle is repeated over and over. Swift looks like she's having too much on this video, and it can be shown from the scene where she cycles inside a mansion, paints portrait, stands (literally) on top of a horse, until stabs a heart-shaped cake. "Blank Space" is not only a music video, but also a form of art.