Tag Archives: Avicii

2013 Year in WTF Music Review

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One of my favorite times of the year is December. Some might think that’s because of Christmas… but nay, my favorite holiday is my birthday because we all have some degree of narcissism. Some might think that’s because of the snow… but no, you try walking up UW-Madison’s Bascom Hill in over a foot of snow. Some even might think that it’s because of the holiday season in general… but no, I live in Chicago, IL and I hate tourists so add that with Michigan Avenue and you’ll find I pretty much stay in my house during the holiday season. The reason December is one of my favorite times of the year is because of all the “2013 Year in Review” posts that come out. Whenever I read one of these posts, my thoughts are either 1) “oh right that happened, I tried to forget,” 2) “No way! That totally happened in 1999, not 2013,” or 3) “LOL I should have read the news more often, when did this happen.”

Obviously, this is a music review website, so I should probably focus on 2013 Year in Review: Music, but I really do urge you to take a look at the more general news story versions of 2013 Year in Review posts because I guarantee you missed the dumbest things that happened this year. Here’s my review of 2013 Music though… enjoy…

1. Big artists released new albums.

Katy Perry’s Prism (October 22): First time to my site? I’m obsessed with Katy Perry. Although not the best album of the year (we’ll get to my opinions on the best later), it is hands down an awesome album. Prism doesn’t stray too far from the sounds of Teenage Dream, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for someone like Katy Perry. With hits like “Roar,” “Walking on Air,” “Dark Horse,” and “Unconditionally” already being constantly replayed on the radio after just one month, Katy Perry clearly doesn’t need to change her sound. Plus, she’s Katy Perry – just try not to love her.

Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience (March 19): JT came back. Technically, JT came back twice since The 20/20 Experience was released in two parts. The first part debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 968,000 copies in its first week. People were excited for JT to say the least.

Kanye West’s Yeezus (June 18): Guess what? I’ve never listened to this album. But hey, it came out and it was huge. I haven’t really given Kanye West the time of day since he named his child Blue Ivy. The album deserves some recognition though because Yeezus debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 327,000 copies in its first week. Plus, we’ve all seen that music video for “Bound 2” right?

OneRepublic’s Native (March 26): This album was actually meant for 2012 (circa August 27th, 2012 with “Feel Again”), but wasn’t ready in time, and was thus released in 2013. I have no problem with an artist publically announcing that their album is not ready in time – beautiful things take time, right? And oh my god, Native is beautiful. Native peaked at number four on the Billboard 200, but a solid number one in my heart (still not the best album in my mind, have patience).

Honorable mentions: 1) Beyonce, 4 (March 29); 2) Drake, Nothing Was the Same (September 24); 3) Jay Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail (July 9).

2. There were a lot of really, really bad reunions.

This year was like the reunion of the 90s. First there was Destiny’s Child at the 2013 SuperBowl Half-Time Show. It literally lasted like 20 seconds and I’m pretty sure they didn’t even turn on Kelly or Michelle’s microphones. Great attempt #1 though, Music Industry. The second reunion was NSYNC at the 2013 VMAs. It lasted a little longer, and at one point Justin Timberlake was actually in the background. In addition, the whole time, you’re like “oh their microphones aren’t on either” and then all of the sudden, JC decides to sing the most unnecessary “baby, baby, baby” just to prove he thinks he’s still memorable. The final reunion of 2013 was TLC at the American Music Awards. They sang “Waterfalls.” Like no, “Scrubs” or go home.

3. EDM made some great moves.

Daft Punk. Random Access Memories had to have been one of the most anticipated albums of 2013, or maybe I was just so anxious for it that I felt the rest of the world was too. We hadn’t heard new Daft Punk since Human After All dropped in 2005, so Random Access Memories was eight years overdue. The album is the duo’s most successful album overall, as it debuted at number one in over 20 countries worldwide and eventually reached number one on 23 different charts.

Avicii. True was Avicii’s debut studio album and it is amazing. The album first came to listeners’ ears in April 2013 when Avicii released a 60-minute mix on SoundCloud, and then it continued to reach ears when Avicii played over 40 total minutes of the album at Ultra Music Festival in his set. The three singles released from the album – “Wake Me Up,” “You Make Me,” and “Hey Brother” – have been quite successful, too. Although the album only peaked at number four on the Billboard 200, it’s no doubt that this was an exciting year for Avicii.

EDC. Electronic Daisy Carnival made a lot of moves this year. I don’t think we need to discuss that it happened, that it increased in size, that it spread to new locations, or that it was probably amazing (I obviously didn’t make it this year… or any year so far, but it is on my bucket list). What EDC really taught us this year was the true positive economic impact that festivals have despite what non-festival goers think and protest. If you still don’t believe that festivals are GREAT and POSITIVE, check out Insomniac Event’s Economic Analysis of EDC Chicago 2013.

Swedish House Mafia. Although the soundtrack for the One Last Tour came out in 2012, the tour started and ended in 2013. I had tickets, but school comes first (my mother told me that… trust me, I would have been there) so I didn’t make it. Over 1 million fans saw the end of the Swedish House Mafia era on their last tour – that doesn’t include the people, like myself, who tuned in to see their final performance together at Ultra Music Festival.  “We came, we raved, and we fucking love you.”

4. Miley Cyrus made her mark. It happened, it was necessary to include it in the review, but we don’t need to speak about it more.

5. Nielsen/Billboard released the mid-year Music Industry Report. The trends: vinyl sales up, streams up, digital track sales down. So what we really see here is an increase in hipsters listening to vinyls (just kidding, I have my own collection that I love), a lot of people listening to music on Spotify, and a lot less people purchasing music with a lot more people illegally downloading music. But really, the report is really interesting and I’m very interested to see the end-of-year report, too.

6. A lot of really great albums came out from new artists.

CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe (September 24). While CHVRCHES didn’t first come to the scene in 2013, they’re pretty new and The Bones of What You Believe was their first studio album that dropped this year. The album got some great recognition too: it was number 32 on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2013 and received a score of 81/100 on Metacritic, indicating “universal acclaim.” In addition, it reached number one on the US Independent Albums chart.

Lorde, Pure Heroine (September 27). Lorde has to be one of the biggest new names in 2013. …Like “Royals” – I’ve heard that song every day for the past six months at least. She even just had her cover of the Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” included on the Catching Fire soundtrack. Her album, Pure Heroine, peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. Lorde is seriously talented and her voice is seriously unique. The girl is 16 – ponder that for a bit.

HAIM, Days Are Gone (September 30). HAIM (anyone Jewish, please help) has actually been around for a while, but their first album, Days Are Gone, was just released in 2013, a few months ago. The album has some great new sounds (similar to Fleetwood Mac, I hear), but my favorite is definitely “Send Me Down.”

7. My personal opinion… The Number 1 Album of 2013: The Great Gatsby Soundtrack.

Do soundtracks count as albums when it comes to figuring out the best one of the year? They do in my mind. The Gatsby soundtrack was huge. If you didn’t like the Gatsby soundtrack, it’s safe to say you actually do not have a soul. Regardless of your feelings toward the movie (if you didn’t like it, you didn’t read the book, plain and simple), you have to love the soundtrack. There were huge names associated with this album: Jay Z, Beyoncé, Will.I.Am, Fergie, and Florence + the Machine. There were new artists on this album: Lana Del Rey, The xx, Gotye, Nero, and Sia (ok those aren’t new, but less known at the time). When the track list and first trailer for the movie including some of the songs came out, the album started becoming highly anticipated. The album blew away predicted sales and chart performance. Within its first week of release, it had sold over 137,000 copies and was at number two on the Billboard 200. The Gatsby soundtrack deserved all the recognition it got and more – my Twitter feed and my Facebook news feed were filled with Gatsby Soundtrack links for weeks after the release – it was everywhere and it deserved to be. Sure, it didn’t strike a number one, but sometimes we need to look at the content of the album rather than the sales and chart positions of the album.

8. Finally, the end of year mashups that were released YESTERDAY:

Lollapalooza 2012: Recap

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Warning that none of these videos are mine considering I broke my phone in the middle of Day 2…

Day 1: Physical Fights

To be honest, I spent minimal amounts of time at Lollapalooza on day one: partially because I had to work that morning, but also because when you start a fight, it’s time to walk away. Also, in reality, if the guy hadn’t been tripping on every drug he could find in his medicine cabinet that morning, my shove to the gut would have felt like a pat on the back since I lack the ability to pick up a 5lb weight. On another note, in my short time there, I started with Porter Robinson. Now, according to my Tiesto ticket stub from September, I have apparently seen Porter Robinson before. However, I would say Lolla was the first time I actually listened or paid attention to him. He puts on a good show, but I wouldn’t say there’s really anything to set him apart and make him extremely unique. Then there’s Nero… why in my sane and completely sober mind I thought it would be a smart idea to work my way to the second row of a Nero concert at a massive festival, I will never understand. To all Nero fans: you scare the living Hell out of me. However, Nero was fantastic. Definitely different than Porter Robinson, but simply awesome. My only complaint with the concerts themselves is the fact that they were in the daytime because my personal favorite part is the lights show. And yes, I realize the point of Lolla is an all-day festival. My first day of Lolla ended there as I walked out covered in an unhealthy amount of other people’s sweat, praying that I had no open wounds in which diseases could have spread.

Day 2: Evacuation

You know what’s not fun? Being on the train on the way to Lollapalooza and having your friend receive a phone call telling you that the festival is being evacuated and not to come. Once I heard that, I cursed Mother Nature and decided if there was not a torrential downpour, someone would probably be injured at the expense of my anger. Thankfully the festival opened back up at 6pm – although I didn’t mind the extra two hours to eat everything in my kitchen. I started at Calvin Harris – my most anticipated concert of the weekend. After fighting my way up about 150 rows, dancing and getting covered in about three inches of mud, and losing everyone I was with, I made it to the front section to enjoy my favorite Scottish DJ. I fell in love with the music itself” the beats, the lights, the bass. However, Calvin, I get that you’ve publicly announced you’ll “no longer be singing” so you can “focus on producing,” but COME ON, at least let me enjoy some pre-recordings of your extremely orgasmic voice. I definitely would have preferred to hear some more vocals. Afterwards, I headed to Avicii – and yes, I actually made it to the concert this time (oh, memories). Avicii, as always, sounded fantastic, looked exceptional, and put on a memorable show. But really… the reason his show is so memorable is because it’s the exact same setlist as every other show he puts on – just more condensed. However, it was still a blast and ended in me being offered a job as a zumba instructor. After Avicii, the night ended because I needed to find a lake – or sprinklers – to wash my mud-covered body. Never did find that lake…

Day 3: Sweet, Sweet Bliss.

Lollapalooza day three was by far the best day of the entire festival if you exclude the first group I saw: The DumDum Girls?? Honestly I now understand why no one goes to the festival before 3pm… the early bands are just repulsive. Never. Again. While waiting for Florence + the Machine (round three) to go on stage, I did catch J. Cole’s show. For never hearing his music before in my life, the concert was pretty decent and the crowd was pretty tame, but it’s just not my kind of music. However, Florence + the Machine definitely is and they were just as amazing at Lollapalooza as they were the first two times I saw them. I would definitely say that Florence Welch did a much better job interacting with the audience than any other artist I saw at the festival did. As with every concert, she involved the crowd in both “Raise It Up” and “Dog Days are Over.” At one point, she stepped off the stage to run through the separated sections of the grass. She spun, she sang, she resembled a goddess… seriously, my love for her just grows everyday. After Florence, I tried my best to catch a portion of Miike Snow, but after seeing the size of the crowd, it just was not worth it since I wanted to see Kaskade close out the festival so badly. And did he ever. By far the best light show of any EDM artist I’ve ever seen – and I’ve gone to one too many concerts in my life. You could just tell that he was enjoying putting on the show as much as every person in the crowd was enjoying being there. My only complaint with Kaskade’s show was that it had to end. He even came on stage 15 minutes early so that he could play longer, but at 10pm it had to end… stupid Chicago curfew.

So that’s my Lolla recap. And I’m really starting to realize that in 3 days of concert going, I managed to only see approximately seven shows… what was I doing?

DaNcE PaRtY fRiDaY RETURNS.

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CLICK HERE TO LIKE WTF MUSIC REVIEW ON FACEBOOK.

It has been way too long since I celebrated Friday with a quality mash-up. So it’s back. Let’s be honest though, don’t get used to it because being consistent isn’t really something I’d list under my special skills/talents.

Clinton Sparks, “My Awesome Mixtape 2”

Clinton Sparks, coming off a recent grammy nomination for his work on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” officially released “My Awesome Mixtape 2” today. Perfect timing because I needed something to get me in the mood to go out tonight. The whole mixtape is over an hour-long so I’m still listening while I post this, but what I hear in the first half hour is promising. It flows well and never has a down moment. Clinton Sparks knows what sounds good together and it shows throughout “My Awesome Mixtape 2.” The mixtape includes artists such as Lady Gaga, Kaskade, Avicii, Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, and of course, Katy Perry. That’s not all though, here’s the entire tracklist:

1. Intro – Samuel L. Jackson
2. Mutate My Life – Sidney Samson,Rick Ross,Lil’Jon,Jokers Inc. & Diddy
3. Smash The Club – Clinton Sparks,Lil’Jon & Pitbull (Volkan Saki & Rocwell Rmx)
4. Slam The Drink – Lil’Jon,Zedd & LMFAO
5. Get Your internet Friends Up – Knife Party & Lauren Bennett
6. Here’s Your Chance – Joachim Garraud, Alesia & Far East Movement
7. Neutron Star Disaster – Muse & DJ Kue (Interlude)
8. Bloody Mary – Lady Gaga (Clinton Sparks Rmx)
9. Bloody Radio – Queen (Interlude)
10. Watch You – Clinton Sparks, Pitbull & Disco Fries
11. The One That Got Away – Katy Perry, R3hab & Busta Rhymes
12. Big Japan – Martin Solveig, Kanye West, Dragonette & Idoling
13. Sucks to Be You – Clinton Sparks & LMFAO (Jumpsmokers Rmx)
14. Turn up the Music – Chris Brown & T.I. Remix
15. I Do It – David Guetta, Big Sean, Tyrese, Sia, Alesso & Hypster
16. Can’t Stop Me – Afrojack & Shermanology
17. Otherside – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Third Party Rmx)
18. Ain’t Gon Stop Raining – Kaskade, Diddy & Adam K.
19. The Best Levels – Avicii, Jim Jones & Skrillex
20. Swedish Nights Calling My Life – Sebastian Ingrosso, Alesso, Clinton Sparks & Marcus Schossow
21. International Love – Pitbull & Chris Brown (Clinton Sparks & Disco Fries)
22. 2012 Away – Fareoh, Archie V & Snoop Dogg
23. Toulouse – Nicky Romero
24. Antidote – Swedish House Mafia & Knife Party
25. Breakin a Sweat – Skrillex (Zedd Rmx)
26. Heavy Metal Lover – Lady Gaga (Clinton Sparks Rmx)
27. What If We…. – Clinton Sparks
28. Give me All your Love (LMFAO Rmx) – Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.
29. Domino – Jessie J (Jumpsmokers Rmx)
30. No Swag – UGHmerica (Volkan Saki & Rocwell Rmx)
31. Turn me On – David Guetta & Nicki Minaj (Sidney Samson Rmx)
32. You Da Spaceman – Rihanna, Gregor Salto & Hardwell
33. With or Without You – Usher & U2 (Clinton Sparks Rmx)
34. After the Show (Interlude)
35. The Life of the Party – Clinton Sparks

Give it a listen. Pregame to it. Walk down the street to it. Sit on your couch and listen to it while perusing Facebook (like me). Moral of the story: Listen to it and enjoy.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE: http://app.topspin.net/f4m/129108

For more Clinton Sparks, check him out on Twitter and Facebook:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/clintonsparks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/djclintonsparks
Website: http://www.clintonsparks.com/

Avicii came to Madison?

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So, last night, Avicii came to party with the Badgers in Madison. Naturally, three hours before the show, I decided to purchase my wonderful $61.67 ticket (thank you online fees). Then, it was the awesome moment where the clock strikes and you’re anticipating Avicii, and he walks on stage…… except I was not there. Lame, right? I bought a ticket and never actually made it to the show. It’s actually completely fine though because in my head, I convinced myself that it’s now compensation for not paying to see him the first time (thank you Ali). I am still considering going to pick up my ticket at Will Call…

However, my sister was kind enough to provide me with some Avicii entertainment so I figured I would share it with all of you [oh, and the betch got to meet Avicii – so, I don’t even get the concert and she gets to party with him afterwards?]

I do suggest you ignore her little shout-out to me, though in this one:

Of course, Jump Around for the Badgers:

And, we cannot forget… Levels:

Avicii came to Madison?

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So, last night, Avicii came to party with the Badgers in Madison. Naturally, three hours before the show, I decided to purchase my wonderful $61.67 ticket (thank you online fees). Then, it was the awesome moment where the clock strikes and you’re anticipating Avicii, and he walks on stage…… except I was not there. Lame, right? I bought a ticket and never actually made it to the show. It’s actually completely fine though because in my head, I convinced myself that it’s now compensation for not paying to see him the first time (thank you Ali). I am still considering going to pick up my ticket at Will Call…

However, my sister was kind enough to provide me with some Avicii entertainment so I figured I would share it with all of you [oh, and the betch got to meet Avicii – so, I don’t even get the concert and she gets to party with him afterwards?]

I do suggest you ignore her little shout-out to me, though in this one:

Of course, Jump Around for the Badgers:

And, we cannot forget… Levels:

AVICII blew my mind and my eardrums.

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The other night (January 7, 2012), Avicii came to The Rave in Milwaukee, WI. I genuinely planned my entire visit to Wisconsin around this show. As always, my Rave experience was wonderful; it really is a spectacularly run establishment. In addition, Avicii himself was absolutely amazing; this show only made me so much more excited to see him later this month in Madison.


(If you know what song this is, let me know.]

However, we need to quickly address the audience that night. The number of “oh my god, I’m going to pretend I’m so drunk and fall over” preteens in that crowd was even too much for me. When I can, with great ease, walk from the back row to the second row of a concert two minutes before the performer goes on stage, it really says a lot about the type of person attending. There was a significant amount of people thoroughly enjoying the music (you know, the reason you go to a concert in the first place…?), but come on Milwaukee, pull yourselves together – and yes, I’m talking to the girl who crawled through the crowd on her hands and knees and the guy who  needed to be held up by his shirtless and overly sweaty friend.

Now that I’ve ranted about my surrounding peers from last night, let’s actually discuss Avicii’s performance. Phenomenal. Crazy. Superb. I have now seen Girltalk, Tiesto (twice), Pauly D, and Pretty Lights, and I can easily say that Avicii is the best DJ performance that I have seen so far. In fact, after seeing Avicii, I think I definitely overrated a few of those previous performers. He never stopped playing, he never stopped singing along, and he never stopped smiling. The sounds were great, the bass was powerful, and my ears are still ringing. He played every popular song he has as well as managed to throw in new mixes and new sounds. When “Seek Bromance” came on, the crowd went wild and Avicii’s smile grew ten sizes larger. He intertwined “Levels” into four different mixes, teasing the crowd, but when it came time to lay down the whole track, he knew just how to deliver it in a way that pretty much said, “Yeah, I’m good at this.” Then, with every DJ performance, I zoned out from the music just long enough to have my own private light show, taking in all the mesmerizing collections of colors as they popped at me, one by one.

So, aside from the obnoxious preteens parading around (I’m sorry, do curfews not exist for them anymore?) and the sixteen bruises I woke up with this morning, it was the best electronic show I’ve seen yet. And, of course, I’ll be back later this month to boast about his performance yet again.