As a 24-year-old millennial from New England you’d probably never guess that one of my favorite Folk artists is John Denver. Well, I was only six years old when Denver’s plane went down in Monterey Bay, California so I couldn’t understand the depth of his tragic death until much later in life.
When I was 20 years old in 2010, I found an old CD of Denver’s music that belonged to my parents. The 90s rendition of “Annie’s Song” is the first song I heard by him. Now, not only did I find myself falling in love with his music, but I found a spiritual respect for the artist. As a Christian I believe in the afterlife, so it was like I felt his spirit nearby when I sang his music. Whether or not Denver’s spirit was actually near me or if it was all in my head is irrelevant. Denver’s music made me happy and helped to heal me in a rough point in my life. For instance, my cat Jack got run over, and a close friend of mine committed suicide among other tragic events in 2010.
For how Denver’s music helped lull me out of depression and back into spiritual and emotional health, I’ve decided to become an environmentalist and will help the Earth anyway I can. Today, I’m sure that John is in heaven smiling down on his fans, friends, and family right now. I’m just so sorry that he had to pass away so suddenly as I feel like he still had so much to live for. So with that I wish happy would be 70th birthday to John Denver, RIP to the one who now flies with Eagles and Hawks.
I wanted to find the video of his final performance and mix it into stereo as a personal birthday gift, but it seems that the video was removed from YouTube for some reason. Here are some of personal favorite songs of his, including ones from his latest tribute album “The Music is You”:
*All of the opinions held within are my own and do not represent the artist or any employer I might have.
Hello WordPress, we come again to my yearly music awards blog. The list is going to a lot longer this year as I’m expanding the categories to different genres. Without further wait, here is my second installment of “Kevin Card’s Fill in the Blank Music Awards of 2013”
Most Overplayed Song: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharell Williams
Now please understand I’m a long time Daft Punk fan, and I still really love this song. Overplayed doesn’t automatically mean overrated. Pharell did a wonderful job singing on this piece, and the fact that they had Nile Rodgers from Chic (one of the best disco groups of the 70s) only makes this song so much more amazing. Plus the music video’s pretty surreal and interesting; my guess is that it’s about individuality. But, the radio stations have a tendency to run great songs straight into the ground with being played too much. We need only look at what the radio industry did to Gotye to see that I’m speaking the truth. So I wish I could have put this higher on my list, but the public wouldn’t agree because they’ve heard the song too much. I’m still going to say that Random Access Memories by Daft Punk is one of the best albums of the year though due to its catchy songs and progressive edge.
Best Country Song: “Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry
As a suburban northern liberal from Massachusetts I don’t often enjoy listening to Country (new country especially.) But, I’m including this song to broaden my horizons. The reason I put this particular song is because of its kickass southern attitude that reminds me of country’s better songs from past decades (yes, I like those “twangy” years better.) I like how vocalist Kimberly Perry is basically saying “Back off from my man, or I will kill you” since it makes for great storytelling in a song.
Worst Country Song: “Hope on the Rocks” by Toby Keith
I respect what this song was trying to do by trying to be different since so many country songs were all the same this year. But I just feel the lyrics are way too depressing for their own good since it’s about how a bartender is acting as a therapist to broken souls who have turned to alcoholism to sooth their troubles. It’s realistic to problem drinking, but I feel like country is generally about happier side of drinking at a bar. Musically, I feel something more depressing and in the style of folk would have worked better.
Best Tribute Song: “All of My Memories” John Denver Cover by Kathleen Edwards
Speaking of where country and folk songs converge, I’ve been a longtime of John Denver since his music helped nurse me back to emotional health back in 2010. Not only does this song capture the emotion of the original perfectly, it’s also doing what a tribute song to a dead artist should do: say feel better now. Yes, I’m saying that this song to me is like saying “RIP John, I know you’re in a better place now.” Edwards did an amazing job with the music and singing that this piece moved to tears.
Worst Tribute Song: “Annie’s Song” John Denver Cover by Brett Dennen and Milow
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I feel this cover spits on the face of the original due to how low-key and (for lack of a better term) Hipster-y it sounds. It’s too happy and loses all the charm and power the original song had. Granted that the song doesn’t have to be like the original, but I’ve heard punk rock covers of this song better than this particular version. If you want a quality touching and relaxing cover of “Annie’s Song” then check out the cover that Weezer did and ignore this bubblegum waste of three minutes of your life.
Best Rap Song: “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert
I became familiar with Macklemore this year after hearing this song on the radio, and not only is this song progressive musically but also socially and politically. I enjoy this song not only for the amazing accompaniment, but also for the message against bigotry in hip-hop and America at large. And as the recent Duck Dynasty controversy has proven; there is still much hate out there (just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to say!) It seems that with every step forward for the fight in equality there’s always two steps back. But I’ll take a little progress over no progress any day.
Worst Rap Song: “Bound 2” Kanye West
On to the subject of Bigotry, Kanye West is a very vocal component of people fighting racism. I have mixed feelings on the Yeezus album, as I like the song “Black Skinhead” for the edgy composition it has. This song is the exact opposite. The message to Kim Kardashian is sweet, but the sampled part of “Bound” by the Ponderosa Twins is played way too many times for comfort and becomes grating on the ears when listening to West’s poorly intoned rapping and that completely random contrasting non sampled part doesn’t even seem to fit in at all. I respect West for being a successful rapper who experiments with different techniques, but I really dislike this particular song.
Most Enjoyable Pop Song: “Team” by Lorde
Lorde made her freshman debut this year with the single “Royals” and her EP “Pure Heroin.” and while I enjoy how “Royals” sounds musically, I think the chorus in this song just steals the show from her other lead single, it’s just pure ear candy with how it sounds. I find the intro a tiny bit weird, but this song just builds to such an amazing climax that is the most enjoyable pop song of the year from one of the best artists of the year.
Best Composed Pop Song: “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake
I feel like many people overlooked this song at different award ceremonies this year, but I shall give it the attention the song deserves. I haven’t really been a fan of Justin Timberlake over the years, but I’ve fallen in love with this song for the effort Timberlake put into the accompaniment. From the catchy beatboxing and the guitar and strings in the background, to Timberlake’s heart filled singing about the love of his life I really love the composition in this piece.
Worst Overall Pop Song: “23” by Mike Wills Made It, Miley Cyrus
I’m not going to lie, this song is pretty awful. It’s awful because of how mediocre and annoying the beat is. It reminds of all the throwaway pieces from the musical Dark Ages of 2010 with how artificial and boring it all sounds. I’ve personally never heard of Mike Wills before I reviewed this song, so I’m willing to bet that Cyrus helped get this song notoriety. Overall, this song is purely forgettable as I can tell it’s just another “hanging out in the club” type of song and a tired standard of the pop music scene from the past seven years.
Best Retro Throwback: “Treasure” by Bruno Mars
This piece is my favorite Bruno Mars song since I heard “The Lazy Song” back in 2011. This song reminds of the better songs of Michael Jackson, and it really shows when you listen closely. I really dig the prominent ‘fat’ sounding slap bass line, and the wonderful ‘eargasmic’ chorus. I know people who hate on Bruno Mars quite often, and I don’t like all of his songs. But, he’s one of the best pop vocalists in recent times and I respect him highly for that.
Best Viral Hit: “The Fox” by Ylvis
In no way can this song compete with Gagnam Style or Dragostea Din Dei (“The Numa Numa” song, remember that?!) However, I like how over the top this song is. It’s not a great song, but it works in the same the songs the Lonely Island produce: just something stupid that people can get a quick laugh from to brighten up their day. Also, Foxes actually sound like adorable puppies. Not eccentric Norwegian folks who also happen to love my home state of MASS.
Best Heavy Metal Hit: “Lift Me Up” By Five Finger Death Punch ft. Rob Halford
This song and the album it was on were just freaking amazing! I love the buildup they use and the lyrics representing hope (rising from the ashes like a Phoenix). Ivan Moody sounds amazing, but I really think Rob Halford’s harmonies and verses steal the show here. Halford is one of the best vocalists in metal after all, and Five Finger Death Punch choosing him for this song proves they have great taste. The songs and message on this album are very personal to me since I can relate having had a struggle filled year that music and my friends helped me get through.
Best Underground Metal Hit: “King of the Underdogs” by Newsted
With a title like “King of the Underdogs” how could I not give best underground metal piece? I enjoy the prominent bass playing and Newsted’s amazing lead vocals. The guitars have taken a back seat, but that’s what happens when the rhythm section takes over for lead instruments. Not many people gave Jason Newsted a warm welcome into the world of heavy metal despite his many fans and the publicity that his new band “Newsted” received. They’ve said things like “His voice and the album production are awful. I also think his songs are boring.” I disagree; Newsted has always been a man who cares deeply about music in his life and in many ways he’s my spiritual music idol. I’ve seen and reviewed Newsted (the band) live and they sound amazing with a quality sound person. I guess I can slightly agree the production on his music is lacking, but to me it just sounds different and it’s still a lot better than “And Justice For All” as far as mixing goes!!
Best Love Song: “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry
I’ve never really been a big fan of Katy Perry as I have found her music to be tonally empty and bland. Perry’s song “Roar” I’ve heard too often and was never impressed with (and I could less about if it was actually plagiarized.) However, this song has an enjoyable beat, and a lovely message of letting love back into your life. The song also demonstrates that with great production Perry’s voice can sound phenomenal. It’s a very soothing song, and love’s a soothing emotion; so it’s a perfect match.
Dumbest Hit of the Year: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke ft. TI and Pharell
Obviously I’m not the first person to speak about how this song is degrading to women, and I won’t be the last either. I just feel like this song is stupid because it had such potential because of the fun beat and silly feel of the music to be great, but it was wasted when the lyrics reflected the intentions of a catcalling moron who doesn’t except no for an answer. Thicke’s comments on the song never really helped the situation either. I liked the song when I first heard it, but I know now that it’s just a one-hit-wonder that only managed to piss people off and argue more than make them dance in a club.
Most Majestic Song: “Pompeii” by Bastille
If I had to give the “band of the year award” it would be to Bastille with Imagine Dragons in a close second place. I really, really love this song for the overall feel and the message of two citizens of Pompeii speaking to each other before they meet their end. What really adds the “majesty” to this piece is the Gregorian Chant heard during throughout the song. If you like this song by Bastille, check out their album “Bad Blood” since it’s the most epic thing I’ve ever heard musically and lyrically.
Worst song of the year: “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus
Now please understand, any objection I have to Miley Cyrus is about her music and racial insensitivity. It has nothing to do with her sex life. This song isn’t awful for the composition, but for the subject matter endless drug abuse and partying as the slow beat drones on that doesn’t really fit what a proper party anthem should be (LMFAO anybody??) My feelings on Miley Cyrus and her new career “bold business moves” can be summed up as this: why does making money take precedence more than one’s own dignity? I heard her new album “Bangerz” and the album morbidly sucked. In regards to the VMAs, even if a woman strips down to her undies on national TV and “twerks” Robin Thicke, doesn’t mean she’s a bad person or a “slut” (though making references to Thug Life doesn’t help.) I’m going to throw out there that I may feel that Cyrus looked “prettier” before she dyed and cut her hair, but what she does with her body is not my business; it’s Cyrus’s business and hers alone. At the end of the day, the people in most need of a hug are not Cyrus or the people who witnessed the VMA travesty, but those old Cyrus fans who now feel betrayed.
Best song of the year: “Wake Me Up” by Avicii
I spent a lot of time deciding on what to put for this category. While this song may not be as epic as some of my previous choices for song of the year, it’s certainly very meaningful in terms of living your life. The message of this song is about becoming who you are, but not rushing the process so you can live your life in a meaningful way. I really like how it goes from being a sort of generic spiritual song to a modern day dance piece as it was an interesting choice stylistically. Overall, I really relate the better moments in my life this year to this song as I’ve grown as a person at my own rate.
Well there we have it, my long winded musings, thoughts, rants and awards for this year. 2013 overall was an interesting year pop culturally with its music and amazing television shows (Doctor Who, Walking Dead and Breaking Bad anybody?) 2013 was also a harsh year for me to deal with, so I’m glad to see it come to an end. I am ready to welcome 2014 and see what it has to bring.