Nostalgic November – My Top 10 Throwback Jams

November is the month to be thankful and appreciative of the memories this year held. It’s all about being with the ones you love; it’s shedding a few tears in between bites of pumpkin pie; it’s looking forward to an even better year. Therefore, in the spirit of reminiscing, it is only appropriate I share the top ten best songs of my childhood. These are the songs I jammed out to as a little kid and still jam out to in the car now.

10.  Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girls

I specifically remember showing my classmates this song during recess in grade school. Its sample of Ben E. King’s classic “Stand By Me” might have given old timers a heart attack, but 9 year old me didn’t care in the slightest. The song is a tale of heartbreak and unrequited love, a true bop. Love was pure back then and “Beautiful Girls” is an anthem of that era.

9. Paramore – That’s What You Get

From their heavily pop punk era of “Riot”, Paramore’s song “That’s What You Get” is a popular crowd pleaser for concerts then and now. The catchy guitar riff and Hayley Williams’ melodic lyricism makes this a song that will forever be apart of my childhood. Even now, I still get the butterflies when Paramore performs this song live. The band lets the crowd sing-shout the words making the atmosphere so electric. Forget the haters, “That’s What You Get” is an absolute bop and I have no shame.

8. Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone

I’ve never felt heartbreak but after listening to this song I always feel like I’ve been dumped by my boyfriend of 6 years. This song is an anthem for the girls who find happiness after a toxic breakup. Kelly Clarkson kills the game with bangers like “Since U Been Gone”. Thanks to her I can yell the lyrics to this in my car whenever I’m mad and I always feel immensely better.

7. Young Dee – Beautiful Creation

“Beautiful Creation” was the simp anthem of any middle school boy. If this song could’ve been a religion for 12 year old boys back then, Young Dee would’ve been a god. These boys, in their snapbacks and carrying $30 ukuleles, looked for the girl they could call “shawty” even though the word love was not in their vocabulary. However, despite how annoying this song was, I still bump this song in the car as I reminisce about the middle school days.

6. Miley Cyrus – 7 Things

“7 Things” was a controversial song amongst tween girls. This dropped around the time of the #Niley (Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus) breakup and everyone went wild. The music video had so many clues pointing towards this catastrophic event like Nick’s dog tag and pictures of them with his face blurred out. Miley Cyrus knew what she was doing with this song and it killed me.

5. Jonas Brothers – Lovebug

Not including the Jonas Brothers on this list would have been mutiny for they are pop rock gods. Their song “Lovebug” is a true testament to their musicianship and lyricism. I still listen to this song because it’s genuinely really catchy and well written. Even the music video was creative, telling the story of a couple separated by war but eventually are reunited with each other. “Lovebug” is a pure love song that shows how underrated the Jonas Brothers were as a tween pop band.

4. The Killers – Mr. Brightside

The first line of the song is enough for “Mr. Brightside” to be considered an ultimate bop. Listen to it and you will understand. That is all.

3. Jesse McCartney – Leavin’

“Beautiful Soul” is good, but “Leavin'” is a  songwriting masterpiece. Once you heard the intro’s cellphone beeps, you knew Jesse McCartney was dropping an unprecedented chorus about ‘G5s’ and ‘ohs’ that kill me every time.  It’s impossible to explain what this song makes me feel because even 8 year old me didn’t know what or how to feel. However, I do know that “Leavin'” is a bop responsible for the awakening of girls all over the world. That is a fact. Justin Bieber will never get on this level.

2. Jonas Brothers – Year 3000 (Cover)

Pop punk enthusiasts will argue with me about this but in my honest opinion, the Jonas Brothers’ Busted cover of “Year 3000” is so much better than the original. Even though I love Busted’s version, the Jonas Brothers have a more cohesive sound allowing the song to flow together nicely. The guitar intro is cleaner than Busted’s piano intro, the tempo of the song is faster, and it’s something I can go hard to in the car. I will say this again: the Jonas Brothers is an underrated band with musicianship and writing skills unprecedented by any tween pop group.

1. Aly & AJ – The Potential Breakup Song

Many people forget how good this song is. Aly & AJ. The instruments, the lyrics, everything about this song is impeccable. The synth sounding guitar/bass riff, the angsty lyrics, and the sisters’ vocal dynamic make this song a classic bop among tween girls. Even though Aly & AJ dropped off the face of the earth after Disney, they have started making music again and even performed a stripped down version of this song at The Roxy. This girl group exemplifies feminine prowess and true talent.

MattyBRaps vs. Jacob Sartorius

MattyBRaps, known for his squeaky-clean rap songs on Youtube, and Jacob Sartorius, who took off on the social media platform, are both teen icons adored by screaming fangirls all over the world. As is the norm with most young heart throbs made famous by the internet, with the fandom also comes hatred and ridicule. On Youtube, viewers have disliked the music video for Sartorius’ single Sweatshirt 1,482,690 times and counting. MattyB, on the other hand, has been transformed into an internet meme. The amount of hate they get is truly amazing, but I will be reviewing their latest music videos from an unbiased point of view.

Up first is the music video for MattyBRaps’ single California Dreamin.

The video starts off with a scene that reminds me of Holes, the Disney Channel Movie starring Shia Labeouf. The warden calls MattyB and his posse a bunch of “dreamers” who hope to “change the world”. He mocks and eventually forces them to start digging holes as punishment. Then, the song begins with guitar arpeggios and MattyB singing about “smiling through the broken times.” He continues, rapping about the turmoil and violence in today’s society while shackled and dressed in an orange jumpsuit. Eventually, MattyB and his posse devise a getaway plan which didn’t really make sense since I don’t think they’re old enough to drive a car.

Despite how cliché the lyrics are, the song is not as bad as I thought it would be. MattyB’s singing and rapping are decent. He can obviously hold a tune and rhyme some words. And for a low-budget music video, the end result isn’t half bad. All in all, I was entertained and surprised at how good the video actually was. Nevertheless, I still got a good laugh from it.

Next is the music video for Sartorius’ single All My Friends.

The video opens up with a white screen rising up, revealing Jacob to a crowd of screaming girls. The title “All My Friends” flashes on the screen as he sings about chilling in the backyard and doing whatever he wants with his friends. The entire video is a montage of Jacob performing at various venues with flashing strobe lights and lasers, and meeting his adoring fans. Towards the end his friends actually come on stage to perform with him as they jump around to the beat of the song.

In my opinion, Jacob’s song and music video are both basic and generic. His vocals are okay, but obviously make use of a lot of autotune. It was nice to see Jacob interacting with his fans, but I feel like the music video could’ve been better if it showed his travels across the country. The performance scenes were limited to only Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. In addition, the editing was very basic — it reminded me of the slide transitions in Microsoft PowerPoint.

In the end, I prefer MattyBRap’s song and music video. He has been in the scene for quite some time and knows how to put out decent content. Jacob still has a lot to learn, especially with the amount of hate he gets. Even though he is one of the most successful teen idols out there, MattyB takes the cake in my book for his style and heart for music.

Astronomyy hypnotizes us with fresh single on #NewMusicFriday

You’re traveling at a steady seventy on the highway. Beyond the illumination of the car’s headlights is asphalt blending in with a speckled black sky. Sitting shotgun could be a best friend or lover, maybe just the thoughts you force to take the backseat during the day. The car stereo blasts at a positively deafening volume, and oozing from the speaker grilles is a pop opiate perfect for night cruising: Astronomyy’s brand new single, “Hypnotized.”

Not familiar with the name? Don’t feel too out of the loop — Astronomyy releases his dreamy, surf guitar-laced R&B on his own label, Lunar Surf, and he’s also an enigmatic lone wolf — the UK singer-songwriter and producer seldom posts to social media, and virtually no videos can be found of the guy performing live. In a contemporary sphere where visual aesthetics quite often and ironically trump a musician’s sound, the virality of Astronomyy’s songs attest that good music is still what gets people listening. Thousands of SoundCloud users are addicted to the Englishman’s sound, which is something he likes to call “guitar’n’B.” Such a label is genre-blurring, but a quick listen to tracks like 2014’s “Nothin on My Mind” and the newer “Hypnotized” proves its aptness.

A Bonnie and Clyde-esque short film by Blake Atienza accompanies the new track, and the showcased romance will appeal to fans of Drugstore Cowboy or the 1975’s “Robbers” music video.

Check out “Hypnotized” and its clip below. Astronomyy is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and his website.

The Underrated Top 40

Welcome back Aztecs! I’m back to the daily school grind and that means I’m back to cranking out some sweet playlists for all of you. For the sake of your precious time, I’ll keep this one short and sweet.

For those of you that don’t already know, I like to listen to music that not exactly on the straight and narrow. So I’ve compiled a short list of songs that were on the Top 40 (and/or were relatively popular) and should have stayed there.

  1. Wonderwall- Oasis

In my personal opinion, Wonderwall is one of the most beautifully ambiguous songs ever created. It is truly one of those songs that can be whatever you want it to be. It is very user centric.

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit- Nirvana

Everyone needs a little teen spirit and Nirvana caters to the grungy teens from the 90’s that were desperately lost, high, and confused (teens these days haven’t changed that much…). The ultimate demise of Kurt Cobain catapulted Nevermind into the stratosphere, solidifying its place in rock history.

  1. Lips Of An Angel- Hinder

This is one of the more “recent” songs on my mini playlist. Less rock elements and a slower pace brought this song onto the top 40 in the mid 2000’s, no questions asked.

  1. Ocean Avenue- Yellowcard

My all-time favorite band, not my all-time favorite song. That being said, it seems to be one of the general populations top rock choices.  I still can’t get over the use of violin by Yellowcard. Violin and rock music are a perfect mix. If you don’t believe me, give it a listen.

  1. Gives Me Hell- The All American Rejects

The best humorous break-up song that ever appeared on hits radio. Although The All American Rejects are sub-par at best, its quality fruit on the rather fruitless top 40 tree.

No matter your music taste, everyone needs a few new songs to play on repeat once in a while. Have at it folks.

You can find my Spotify playlist here:

I’m also on air Monday’s from 10-11pm playing rock, indie, punk and whatever else fits my mood.