Top 10: Male non-frontman icons

Centre stage, a place for the frontman (almost always the vocalist) to strut his or her stuff and hold the audience’s attention. Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Bono; as their band’s rise, their names go down in history. What’s harder, though, is being remembered without even opening your mouth. These 10 artists rose to a level of stardom that rivals their respected vocalists while rarely, if ever, singing.

10. Matt Freeman
This bassist rose to fame as a member of both Operation Ivy and Rancid. He played on arguably the best ska punk albums of all time including …And Out Come the Wolves and Indestructible.

9.Neil Peart
Peart’s drum kit is truly something to behold. The kit surrounds him with 360 degrees of percussionary bliss: cymbals, an electronic kit, toms and even a xylophone. It takes quite the drummer to wield such an overwhelming kit and Peart has done so masterfully for decades in his time with Rush.

8. Tony Iommi
Being a founding member of Black Sabbath, the group that almost singlehandedly invented metal, is impressive. If that’s not enough for you, he did it after having lost two of his fingertips in an industrial accident. Even more impressive, he managed to not be totally eclipsed by the massive shadow of vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.

7. Tom Morello
As the guitarist for the politically-charged Rage Against The Machine, Morello created new sounds with his instrument that had never been heard before. Look no further than “Killing in the Name,” the second song on the band’s first album, to hear why Morello stands above most.

6. Travis Barker
While most famous for his time with Blink 182, this drummer never sleeps. He’s a current member of The Transplants, as well as a former member of +44, Box Car Racer and TRV$DJAM. He’s also done collaborations with Yelawolf and other hip-hop artists.  Barker even put out a solo album, Give the Drummer Some. Quite the achievement for a drummer.

5. Sid Vicious
Vicious is the only person on this list who doesn’t stand out for his extreme musical talent. He’s most famous for being a member of the Sex Pistols, yet he is only credited with having played bass on one of their songs, “Bodies,” off of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, the band’s only album. Vicious is a punk icon even though he wasn’t really a musician in the strictest sense of the word.

4. Angus Young
AC/DC’s schoolboy-outfit-wearing guitarist has written catchy guitar riffs for decades. “Thunderstruck,” “Back in Black,”” You Shook Me All Night Long,”—if these titles are new to you, where have you been living for the past 30 years?  Young’s guitar work duckwalked its way into our collective ears and never left.

3. Flea
Even the most famous bass players often get the short end of the stick. Not Flea. This bass slapping, mononymous god is the exception to pretty much everything that you thought you knew about bass players. He’s been breaking conventions and bass strings for over 30 years with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and has more recently been working with his supergroup, Atoms for Peace.

2. Slash
Another mononymous musician for this list, Slash has played on arguably some of the greatest rock anthems of all time. From his iconic top hat to his low hanging Gibson Les Paul, Slash is hard to ignore, even when he was sharing the stage with the extravagant Axl Rose in his Guns N’ Roses days. Since that band’s explosive breakup, Slash has kept himself busy with Velvet Revolver, Slash’s Snakepit, and a solo album.

1. Jimmy Page
It’s hard to be part of a group that is as famous as Led Zeppelin and not get a bit of attention. Page crafted his fair share of beautiful  solos as the group’s guitarist. From heavier songs like “The immigrant Song,” to ballads like “Thank You,” his work truly runs the gamut.


Top 10 End of the year songs

10. “Photograph” – Nickelback

While few people anywhere on the face of the earth would ever admit to being a Nickelback fan in public, most people have teared up listening to this song. This song speaks to your inner teen reminding you that growing up and leaving home isn’t easy for anyone, especially not for lead singer Chad Kroeger.

9. “Forever Young” – Bob Dylan

Staying young at heart is something that many want, but few can actually achieve. This song is good for graduation, but keep it around for the next few years in case your soul-sucking career gets you down and destroys any notion you had of sleep and free time.

8. “Fight For Your Right (to Party)” – The Beastie Boys

What many people don’t know is that this Beastie Boys song was meant to be a joke. But it turns out the joke’s on them because this tune is the perfect way to start any party. After a long year of test-taking, homework and class, we can all use a party or two…or 17.

7. “Graduation (Friends Forever)” – Vitamin C

A good dose of teenage dramatics and early 2000s pop make this a timeless classic and musical masterpiece. Just kidding, this song is a cheese-fest but as the name suggests, it sums up the feelings of graduation pretty well.

6. “We Are the Champions” – Queen

Whether you’re leaving Concordia with a B.A., a PhD or are simply proud of your semester, this song can make any scale of triumph a victory for the ages. Even if you failed a few classes, there’s always next semester and that’s something to celebrate.

5. “Stairway to Heaven”- Led Zeppelin

While there is no prom in university, if there was one, we can almost guarantee that this song would play at some point throughout the night. Whether your high school prom was in 1975 or last year, you definitely slow danced to this one.

4. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds

This ‘80s classic ended The Breakfast Club in style. Anyone walking out of their last final exam should pump up this jam and throw a fist in the air to celebrate. (Bonus ‘80s points if you’re listening to it on a Walkman while wearing a neon track suit and high-fiving a Ninja Turtle of your choosing.)

3. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” – Green Day

This song is so steeped in sentimentality that its name alone can be enough to conjure up a few tears. Any graduation or ‘moving-on’ ceremony would be incomplete without this song about the roads we take and the life they create.

 2. “School’s Out for Summer”- Alice Cooper

As Mr. Cooper so eloquently states “school’s out for summer” and for some of us “school’s out forever.” For those who simply cannot stand the thought of another minute spent in a classroom, this rock anthem understands you. Party on.

1. “Doin’ Time (Summertime)” by Sublime

While the last few days of school are good and all, what really matters is the next four months of vacation. Welcome to the wonderland of beach parties, movie marathons and unpaid internships known as summer. Enjoy it, you made it.


Top 10 TV show intros

10. “How Soon is Now?” by Love Spit Love – Charmed

Nineties television in a nutshell: girl power, leather pants, witchcraft and a theme song from an epically forgotten one-hit wonder band, Charmed has got it all. I don’t think anyone actually hears this and thinks, “Wow, what a great song by Love Spit Love.” No, they think Charmed. And rightfully so.

9. “Greenback Boogie” by Ima Robot – Suits

Slick, suave and infectiously fun: words that can describe the Suits theme song and the show’s main man himself, Mr. Harvey Specter. “Greenback Boogie,” though light and fun, ultimately gets repetitive if you listen to the entire five minutes of it. Unfortunately, the same goes for the series: it can start to lose its charm and can become kind of monotonous. Sorry Suits fans.

8. “Dexter Main Title” by Rolfe Kent – Dexter

Like Dexter Morgan, the theme song to Showtime’s serial killer drama is cool, calm and creepy. It’s almost two full minutes of instrumentals played over sequences of Dexter getting ready in the morning. Set in Florida, the music is laced with playful Cuban and Latin influences, which offers a nice juxtaposition of the show’s dark content.

7. “Who Are You?,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Riley” by The Who – CSI:Crime Scene Investigation, CSI:Miami, CSI: New York

The Who have become synonymous with the CSI franchise. With all three shows using an iconic song from the British rock ’n’ roll vets, you suffer through David Caruso’s acting and cheesy one-liners just so you can chant alongside Roger Daltrey.

6. “Superhero” by Jane’s Addiction – Entourage

Lust, partying and just pure hedonistic pleasure: Entourage and its theme song are all about having a good time, and you get this impression from the very opening chords of “Superhero.” Regardless of how many times you’ve heard this song, you know you won’t fast forward through the opening credits of the Entourage boys rolling through Los Angeles in a 1965 black Lincoln Continental, it’s just that catchy.

5. “This Life” by Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers – Sons Of Anarchy

Much like the show itself, the Sons of Anarchy theme song starts off relatively low-key, then builds up into a cataclysm of emotional intensity. “This Life” is gritty southern guitar work at its best and does a stellar job at conveying the outlaw mentality of ‘us against them’ that is at the core of the series.

4. “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3 – The Sopranos

Everything about this TV intro is cool. Tony Soprano makes riding through New Jersey seem a lot more exciting than it really probably is thanks Alabama 3’s hazy, cigar-fueled song about violence and life on the fringes.

3. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” by Dj Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Before Will Smith was credited with being a serious actor for his work in Academy Award nominated films (let’s pretend Wild Wild West never happened), Will Smith was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The theme song for this ‘90s gem is iconic despite its cheesiness and definitely deserves a spot on this list.

2. “California” by Phantom Planet – The O.C.

An instant classic and one-hit wonder, no member of generation Y can resist the siren call of The O.C.’s theme song. It’s sunny, it’s catchy and fills us with some good old fashion nostalgia.

1. “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts – Friends

Are you surprised? This gets the number one spot for obvious reasons. 1. We all know the words. 2. It makes us happy. 3. *clap clap clap clap*


Top 10 albums to look out for in 2014

While 2013 brought us some unforgettable albums, there is a great deal of music that is already being eagerly anticipated for 2014. Although many artists have not divulged the details of their upcoming releases, make sure to keep an ear out for release dates.

Kanye West – TBA – summer 2014


Yeezus was consumed, debated, lauded and criticized at nauseam in 2013. Despite its critics, it received plenty of praise, which resulted in Yeezus reaching the top of many end-of-year music lists. So, it is only natural that we await with bated breath for West’s seventh studio album, due out in the summer of 2014. So far, all we know is that he will be recruiting super producer Rick Rubin, and A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip for the project.


2. Frank Ocean – TBA – summer 2014


The Odd Future crooner gave the world one of the best R&B releases in a long time with 2012’s  channel ORANGE. While Ocean did have a quiet 2013 in comparison, he’s been hard at work creating new music, material we’ll hear “when summer comes round again,” according to a Q&A on Tumblr between Ocean and his fans in 2013.


3. Foo Fighters – TBA – Date TBA


Frontman Dave Grohl has announced that the Foo Fighters will begin recording a new album at the beginning of 2014, and that they’ve already written the lyrics for the album. During an interview at XFM radio station back in August, Grohl divulged that they’re doing the album “in a way that no one’s ever done before.”


4. Pusha T – King Push – Date TBA


Fresh off the success of his debut solo album, My Name Is My Name, Pusha T is already hard at work on a sophomore album, King Push, releasing photos of him in the studio with his production group, The Neptunes. It will be interesting to see how Pusha follows up from the brilliance of MNIMN.


5. Lana Del Rey – Ultra-Violence – Date TBA


Not much is known about Lana Del Rey’s Ultra-Violence album, the followup to 2012’s stellar Born To Die, other than the fact that it will be released sometime during 2014. Lana fans could sure use some new material from the songstress with hits like “Summertime Sadness” being played non-stop since since its release almost half a year ago.

6. U2 -TBA – April 2014


The Irish rockers are slated to release their first album since 2009, and their 13th to date, reportedly in April. Acclaimed producer Danger Mouse, one half of soul duo Gnarls Barkley, will be behind the recording of the album.


7. Wu-Tang Clan – A Better Tomorrow – Date TBA


The Wu-Tang Clan intended on releasing A Better Tomorrow in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of their debut album Enter the 36 Chambers. However, according to RZA, getting fellow member Raekwon (who is also slated to release an album in 2014) to attend recording sessions has been the reason for the delay, and may result in their last album together.


8. Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars – March 25 2014


It was announced recently that an album featuring unreleased material from the late country music legend Johnny Cash will surface. The recordings from the 1980’s were shelved, only to be rediscovered by Cash’s son in 2012.


9. Multiple artists from the Top Dawg Entertainment label – dates TBA


Rapper Kendrick Lamar had an outstanding 2013 and is rumoured to record the followup to Good Kid, M.A.A.D City in January 2014. His label mates at Top Dawg Entertainment are also looking to do it big in 2014. Schoolboy Q, who has worked with A$AP Rocky, Macklemore and Mac Miller, will reportedly be releasing an album in February. California hip hop artist Ab-Soul recently submitted not one but two albums to the label. Jay Rock and newcomer Isaiah Rashad also plan on releasing albums. If you’re keeping score, that’s six albums due to drop in 2014 from, arguably, the hottest rap label right now.


10. Adele – TBA – Mid/late 2014


Back in March of 2013, Adele said she would only record a new album once there was something to sing about. This was months after her label XL Recordings said that her next album “may not come for some years.” However, it seems as if we may expect an album from the award-winning singer in 2014. She went back in the studio in 2013, working with many producers and songwriters, including OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder.



Top 10 One-Hit Wonders from the ‘90s/2000s

Grab your Walkmans, crack open that old yearbook and prepare for a not so glamorous trip down memory lane. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the finest list of nostalgia-fueled one-hit wonders from the ‘90s and 2000s. Whether you were five or 15 when these tracks came out, we’re sure you will recognize these hits, whether you’d like to remember them or not.

10.  “I’m Too Sexy” – Right said Fred (1992)

We kick off the list with the all-time favourite British pop group of, well, no one ever. This track got so many bad ratings it placed 19th on Blender’s 50 Worst Songs Ever list. The over zealous narcissistic track must have been doing something right though; it held second place in the UK charts for six weeks.

9. “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-a-lot (1992)

Moving swiftly from the all time worst to one of the greatest hip hop songs of all time according to VH1, we give you everyone’s favourite “big butts” song. This track was the second best selling song after Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” in 1992. You other brothers can’t deny, that you’ve definitely sang this one well into present day. Classic.

8. “Whoomp! (There It Is)” – Tag Team (1993)

This next one stuck at number two on the US charts for seven weeks. Even after it disappeared off the charts, it became the go-to sporting event theme chant, featured in one too many football movies after its release. The Miami group Tag Team is definitely worth remembering.

7. “What Is Love” – Haddaway (1993)

Ranking second in the UK and in Germany and at number one for weeks on the international charts, this eurodance single is definitely a karaoke favorite. Featuring sampled vocals from Zero-G DataFile, safe to say most of us still have the tune stuck in our heads.

6. “Macarena” – Los Del Rio (1995)

This Spanish track was actually released in 1994, but did not receive recognition internationally until it broke onto the charts one year later. The song ranks number seven on Billboard’s All Time Top 100, and reasonably so: we all know the dance, no lying.

5. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” – Eiffel 65 (1999)

From strange dances to strange Italian blue men, we bring you one of the most prominent songs of our generation’s youth. The song went as far to receive a Grammy for Best Dance Recording several years later in 2001.

4. “Thong Song” – Sisqo (1999)

Earning four Grammy nominations, the “Thong Song” remains one of the most controversial of its time. Encouraging thongs peeking over pants, Sisqo set the standard for thong pride. This song remained number 2 on Billboard’s Top 100 for that same year.

3. “Crazy” – Gnarls Barkley(2006)

This collaboration between Cee Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse rocked the charts internationally, almost topping the list at number two in 2006. After endless plays on the radio, the song disappeared just as quickly as the collaboration. Although both Cee Lo and Danger Mouse have stuck around,Gnarls Barkley is long gone.

2. “Here In Your Arms” – Hellogoodbye (2006)

Hellogoodbye was the epitome of cheesy pop in the mid 2000s. This synth based track was so popular it was later remixed by Daft Punk in a cover titled, “Digital Love”.

1.”This Is Why I’m Hot” – Mims (2007)

Topping the charts at number one on the US Billboard hot 100 is none other than rap one-hit wonder extraordinaire, Mims. This R&B track featured samples from artists like Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg (before he became Snoop Lion), and Mobb Deep. Soon after its release, it was remixed several different ways by other R&B artists.


Top 10 – Zombie apocalypse songs

So, the zombies are taking over and all you have is your iPod — or music player of your choice — to keep you company. We all have those ideal songs we would go to in order to block out the moaning and groaning, and to give us to motivation and strength to kick undead ass.

These songs may give you that feeling, that boost, and maybe even that sense of normalcy during the most dangerous moments of your life.

1. “Zombie” – The Cranberries

OK, this is the first song that may pop into a lot of people’s minds. Whether you prefer the Cranberries rendition, or that of Ed Helms on The Office, this is a great song to open the scene. Zombies, zombies are everywhere. What is happening?

2. “Move Bitch” – Ludacris

So now you start realizing that people are really getting aggressive and all up in your personal space, trying to eat your brains and whatnot. You’re not down with this. No way. It’s time to rustle some bones.

3. “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons

This is it. You realize that it is do or die, and shizz is getting real — real scary. This is where you start using the rules that Zombieland taught you. Double Tap, always remember the Double Tap.

4. “Uprising” – Muse

Don’t let them fat-cat corporate zombies get to you, you need to keep fighting, band together with other real humans. Don’t approach the babies or the kittens as they are traps set to lure you into a feast where you’re the main course. They cannot control you.

5. “Sail” – AWOLNATION

You’re still kicking zombie butt, but you’re getting worried. You just want it to end, and for things to go back to normal, but you cannot control that right now. So keep crackin’ them mushy skulls.

6. “Midnight City” – M83

Warm Bodies anyone? It’s nighttime now, and you’re perusing the dangerous and barely-lit streets, the sounds of screaming can be heard over your music. You walk cautiously.

7. “The Funeral” – Band of Horses

It’s dark, cold and you’re alone. You’ve been separated from all your friends and family as well as your cat, who was bitten and you’re pretty sure is responsible for most of the epidemic. You knew Misfits was educational. You’re close to giving up.

8. “Death and All of His Friends” – Coldplay

No. You’re not a quitter. Get up, you idiot. You’re a kick-ass zombie fighter. Buffy, Sam and Dean- they got nothing on you and the supernatural. You’re determined to get your life back. You “don’t want to follow death and all of his friends.”

9. “The Rapture” – Echoes

You walked into the wrong part of town. You’re completely surrounded. You see your aunt Janie, your best friend Morgan, and your mom — she’s holding Mr. Pickles, your zombie feline. They are coming in from all angles, you cannot escape. You’re out of ammo. This is it.

10. “L’Absente” – Yann Tiersen

You’ve been bitten. You tried your best and there was nothing you could do. You were impossibly surrounded and now you must wait to see what happens. Life is slowly being taken away from you as you join the crowd of moaning, groaning, and decaying flesh. Your life flashes before your eyes and you listen to this song, its ups & downs, the highs and lows.

Now get the hell out of the shower, you just spent an hour imagining a zombie apocalypse while listening to music and you’re late for your class. Your cat is acting really strange though…


Top 10: Upcoming October 2013 concerts

10. Big D and The Kids Table – Oct.18 – Café Campus

This ska-punk band takes the stage with various other ska bands for the fifth annual Montreal Ska  Festival.

Should you go?  If you want to be part of an interesting festival with lively danceable music, this is the show for you.

9. Papa Roach – Oct.22 – Metropolis

With memorable lyrics and catchy new metal songs, this show will involve its fair share of crowd-shouted lyrics.

 Should you go?  If you know how the lyric “Because days come and go but my feelings for you are _______” ends, you should go.

8. The Spits – Oct.7 – Il Motore

This relatively unknown band is the self-proclaimed “people’s punk” band. The group often parades around on stage in weird, homemade costumes.

Should you go? If you have ever wanted to see a ‘70s or’ 80s punk band before they were “mainstream” this is the closest you will get.

7. Delorean – Oct.18 – Il Motore

This interesting blend of sounds creates beautiful and uniquely danceable tunes. This show will definitely get people on their feet.

Should you go? Look up the video for “Stay Close” and attempt to not be intrigued by the interesting beats and colours. If this seems impossible, then go.

6. Lamb of God – Oct.24 – Metropolis

With the main act alone, this would be a good show, but with the addition of metal heroes such as Killswitch Engage and Testament to round out the lineup, this show will be the place for metal enthusiasts this October.

Should you go? Listen to “Ashes in the Wake” then ask yourself if you are “metal” enough.

5. Streetlight Manifesto – Oct. 5 – Metropolis

This ska-punk band has announced that this will be their last tour for the foreseeable future, as they will be spending more time in the studio recording.

Should you go? Listen to “Falling, Falling” and try not to dance. If this is impossible, buy a ticket.


4. Bassnectar – Oct.12 – Metropolis

This world-class dubstep act is accompanied by an amazing arrangement of video screens for a full sensory experience.

Should you go? Listen to “Upside Down” and flick the lights on and off at an increasing rate as the song progresses to get a preview of what you might expect at a Bassnectar show.

3. Franz Ferdinand – Oct.23 – Metropolis

Should you go? Most should  know what Franz Ferdinand sounds like. You either own a ticket or you’re on your way to purchasing yours.

2. Nine Inch Nails – Oct.3 – Bell Centre

One of the biggest acts coming to town this month, Nine Inch Nails is on tour to support their newest album Hesitation Marks. The show will surely not disappoint, but its pricey tickets keep it out of the number one spot.

Should you go? Listen to “Downward Spiral” in its entirety, and then decide if you are ready to sell your soul to afford floor seats. You most definitely will be.

1. Kings of Leon – Oct. 1 – Place des Spectacles

This four-piece alternative rock group is currently touring in support of their newest album Mechanical Bull that dropped early last week. The best part is that it will cost you a grand total of $0. This outdoor show will be held to kick off the NHL season. The concert will start at 6:30.

Should you go? Stop wasting time deciding; run to Place des Spectacles, it’s free!


Top 10: Best Kanye West Songs

1. Through The Wire – College Dropout

Ignore the fact that Kanye West sounds a little weird on the beat – the man wouldn’t let reconstructive jaw surgery bring him down. Kanye’s persistence and desire to rise to the top shines throughout the track. He recounts life before and after sustaining injuries in a car accident in 2002 with a jaw that was wired shut. He doesn’t cower, but instead rises to the occasion and looks more like a boxer claiming victory in a heavyweight fight.


2. Jesus Walks – College Dropout

Kanye burst through with a song that placed Christianity at its focal point and was one of his first songs to break into the public sphere. It wasn’t just a good song, it allowed listeners to ponder how Kanye was able to make such a successful song using Jesus Christ and religion as the subject matter.


3. Diamonds From Sierra Leone/Diamonds From Sierra Leone [Remix ft. Jay Z] – Late Registration

The imagery depicted from the opening line of the original song makes it arguably one of Kanye’s greatest. West takes the original and transforms it into a track that is equally as good. In the remix, Kanye goes political, addressing the conflict diamonds being mined in countries such as Sierra Leone.


4. Touch The Sky (ft. Lupe Fiasco) – Late Registration

Kanye’s bravado, and taste for expensive brands, is on full display in “Touch The Sky.” Swag level, awesome level, his ego, whatever level you would want to judge Kanye on, is looking to go over 9000. The song features a show-stopping verse from a young Lupe Fiasco and a slowed down Curtis Mayfield sample.


5. Can’t Tell Me Nothing – Graduation

Whether it’s through its visuals or its lyrics, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” was strikingly more brash and displayed more bravado from Kanye than on any of his previous material. The chorus itself, perhaps foreshadowing the paparazzi and haters, was a precursor to a more audacious Kanye West, setting the tone for the most boastful album in his catalogue, Graduation.


6. Stronger – Graduation

Graduation featured synths and electronic influences, which explains the outstanding meshing of Kanye West lyrics and Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” The booming drums from super producer Timbaland complete the electronic/hip-hop masterpiece.


7. Welcome to Heartbreak (ft. Kid Cudi) – 808’s & Heartbreak

808’s & Heartbreak delivered West at his most vulnerable, and his most imperfect. Despite the tracks dripping with Auto-Tune, the album is the first indication that there are in fact chinks in Kanye’s armour. Depression sets in on the track, as Kanye sounds empty and hollow while everyone else seems happier and on the verge of promising futures in contrast to Kanye’s grim reality, after the loss of his mother the previous year.


8. Gorgeous (ft. Kid Cudi & Raekwon) – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye goes after haters, among them the writers of South Park, critiques the issue of race in America, and of course, a boastful Kanye re-emerges from the rubble, caused by an avalanche of hate after the MTV VMA’s incident with Taylor Swift. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was his comeback from licking his wounds on 808’s & Heartbreak, and “Gorgeous” is the indicator that Kanye is ready to reclaim his extravagant and expensive throne.


9. Runaway (ft. Pusha T) – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The beautiful thing about Kanye’s fifth studio album is that it emphasizes his braggadocio behavior, but also features his vulnerability, with remnants from 808’s & Heartbreak. Add that to rousing instrumentals, it’s a glossy, fancy piece of work that can be added to any museum. “Runaway”, which was the centerpiece of Kanye West’s short film of the same name, features piano and Kanye willing to admit that he is in fact, a jerk but in the classiest of ways.


10. New Slaves (ft. Frank Ocean) – Yeezus

Kanye’s sixth studio release Yeezus may go down as his most polarized album. On the one hand, you must applaud Kanye for daring to use dancehall and electronic sounds paired with lyrics that all but claim he’s the second coming of Christ. On the other, some of Kanye’s ideas are displaced and just don’t fit within the album. “New Slaves” is among the better songs off the album, and while the verses might not be the greatest, there’s no denying the shock value of the lyrics and Frank Ocean’s vocals at the end.



Top 10: Album Covers

10. The Ramones – The Ramones

Everything about The Ramones’ debut album cover screams ‘70s badass. From the black and white nature of the photograph to the leather jackets and tattered jeans, the four New York City punks unknowingly posed for what would later become one of the most recognized album covers ever.


9. War – U2

For their 1983 album War, the Irish rockers’ decided not to put a typical war image of a battlefield or of a soldier. Instead, the band opted for a close up shot of a child with a bloodied lip and angry expression. It’s a striking black and white image that reminds us that the victims of war extend further than just those involved on the battlefield.


8.Absolution – Muse

At first glance, we’re not really sure what’s happening on the album cover. We see a man staring up, surrounded by the shadows of outstretched human-like figures. We’re not really sure if the figures are descending down on Earth, or if they’re leaving it. All we know is that it’s creepy, and we kind of like it.


7. Appetite For Destruction – Guns ‘N’ Roses

Originally conceived as a tattoo, the ‘80s American rockers’ debut album cover features the five band members as cartoon skull versions of themselves over a cross. The first attempt at the artwork was deemed too controversial for record stores and was replaced by the current iconic image.



6. Is This It (International Version) – The Strokes

The cover art for the band’s debut album raised quite a few pulses. The cover flaunts a photograph of a black leather glove resting on a woman’s bare bottom and hip plastered against a white background. The risqué album cover was dropped in North America but is still available in parts of Europe.


5.Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd is no stranger to eye-catching album artwork. Wish You Were Here’s cover art is deeply ambiguous and slightly disturbing: the cover shows two suited men casually shaking hands in an apparently empty backstreet while one is engulfed in flames. It remains one of the most striking album covers in the band’s repertoire.


4. The White Album – The Beatles

Recognizable for its minimalist concept, the aptly named White Album follows the psychedelic nature of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with a beautifully basic white background. What the cover lacks in colour and detail, the music within more than makes up for it with two discs of pure Beatles magic.


3.Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

Preceding their extremely minimalistic cover for The White Album, the lads from Liverpool created one of their most eye-popping album covers. It shows the Fab Four clad in flamboyant military garb surrounded by cardboard cutouts of some of the most influential historical figures like Marlon Brando, Edgar Allen Poe, and humbly, the early ‘60s versions of themselves all in front of a floral arrangement in the form of the band’s name.


2. Dark Side Of The Moon – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd one again graces this list with Dark Side Of The Moon. For their eighth studio album, the band displayed a prism set against a black background to create what is arguably one of the most classic images from the 70s and in rock ’n’ roll history.


1. Blood Sugar Sex Magik – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Perhaps the band’s greatest album and definitely their most striking album cover, Blood Sugar Sex Magik takes the number one spot. The cover depicts the guys as four black and white sketches with their tongues sticking out, their tongues stylistically transformed to resemble the thorny stems of a rose they all surround. The deep red roses are juxtaposed perfectly by the black and white nature of the rest of the artwork. Bravo boys.



TOP TEN: Best Albums of 2012

10. Death Grips – The Money Store

By no means is The Money Store one of 2012’s most pleasing albums to the ear. However, it’s earned its stripes with its uniqueness; it houses the kind of thrashing, raw and ridiculous noise that would make your grandparents cover their ears. Death Grips brings unparallelled intensity to the table, like a car horn, or war, or tin cans being dragged behind a moving vehicle.


9. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d City

Kendrick Lamar’s debut album is a lesson to artists everywhere in storytelling, precision and attention to detail. While riding a wave of fluid, pulsing beats, the listener follows the artist deep into the trials and tribulations of his upbringing, personal life and rise to fame. Personal touches include segments of voicemails left by his parents from when he was young that punctuate the album and ease the plot along.


8. Snowblink – Inner Classics

Snowblink’s Daniela Gesundheit and Dan Goldman have long floated beneath the CBC Radio 3 – Canadiana indie mainstream. After appearing as Feist’s backing band at this year’s Polaris Prize ceremony, the duo continues to gain recognition. Inner Classic, their second studio album, plays like the 10-day meditation retreat it was inspired by. Gesundheit’s pure, perfectly rounded-out voice glides over Goldman’s harmonies, track after track.


7. Alt-J – An Awesome Wave

Although British rock band Alt-J stepped onto the scene in 2007, it took them five years to release their debut album. An Awesome Wave boasts harmonic vocals occasionally akin to a barbershop quartet paired with obscure, often nonsensical lyrics against a backdrop of punchy, ringing, resonating melodies. This album wins the quirky award – alongside Britain’s legitimate Barclaycard Mercury Prize – for 2012.


6. Feist – Metals

Though the album was officially released at the close of 2011, Metals’  2012 acquisition of the Polaris Prize lands it safely on this list. The album plays out like her most recently released music video: intimately. “Graveyard,” like Metals, was produced entirely in California’s Big Sur region. Feist and her backing band are shot from the distance in the desert, but it feels as if it is all for an audience of one.


5. Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship

The appearance of any Brooklyn-hailing band on a ‘top ten’ list may sound trite, but Here We Go Magic have paid their dues. Now touring off their fourth album, the band has successfully covered all the bases. A Different Ship keeps your toes tapping, encourages your date to drink a few more beers and is the perfect travel companion. After catching the band’s Glastonbury performance, Radiohead’s Nigel Godrich signed on to produce the album. Godrich’s production is heavily apparent in the album’s first single, “Make Up Your Mind.”


4. Patrick Watson – Adventures In Your Own Backyard

A Montreal staple, it’s not often that Patrick Watson skips out on any list of local music favourites. In his downtime, the composer-singer-songwriter hides out in Plateau with his family, but he has been touring relentlessly for most of 2012. As the title suggests, Adventures In Your Own Backyard is an experience. Though it was released just last spring, the album has brought Watson across the continent multiple times. Adventures features lyrics, vocals, full band and strings that will tease the wildest of imaginations.


3. Grizzly Bear – Shields

Melodic, layered, folky and seemingly emanating from deep inside a forest, Shields gives the modern-day music maven something simple yet lovely to digest. What has the potential to slip through the cracks into the abyss of mediocre ‘hipster jams’ is instead spun into a full-bodied masterpiece of an album. Powerful vocal work, rolling drums, and ambient undertones allow Shields to fill your soul.


2. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

Tramp stands out as the most surprising album of 2012, yet its tracks play out as familiarly as the lines around your lover’s smile. The album is the story of girl setting aside anyone and anything that stood in her way in the quest for inner satisfaction. In the two albums released prior to Tramp, Van Etten’s voice was a whisper. This time around, Van Etten confidently puts down the college boyfriend who hid her guitar, told her she was shit and could never make it as a singer. Not one track on this album disappoints.


1. Frank Ocean – Channel ORANGE

Channel ORANGE will undoubtedly provoke listeners to frantically feel around for the nearest bottle of expensive champagne. Ocean’s sultry voice oozes glamour against delightfully chilling bass lines, evoking class and elegance. Riddled with social commentary and refreshing depth, this monolith of an album is more than a pretty face — beneath the surface lies more wisdom than you can shake a stick at.


Top Ten: Signature Montreal musicians of the 2000s

In the wake of this year’s South by Southwest music festival, Montreal has been dubbed by many as the new ‘Brooklyn.’ Talented artists and hipsters have flocked to the NYC borough for almost a century to rub shoulders with like-minded people, but now it seems as if the tides are turning towards our faithful city.

Consider this an introduction, merely scraping the surface of what your home has to offer. These are the musicians that laid the foundation in the 2000s for today’s incoming creativity, in no particular order.

Arcade Fire: Funeral, Arcade Fire’s 2004 debut, has the second most appearances on decade-end album rankings, trailing only Radiohead’s Kid A. In response to winning the 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year for The Suburbs, Win Butler, the band’s frontman, initially responded with ‘I can’t believe it, we won. Merci Montreal!’ And the feeling appears to be mutual, for when the band played a free show at Place Des Arts last September, tens of thousands packed the streets, many just to watch on big screens around the corner. We are fortunate enough to live in the city that their music pays homage to. This is a band that Montrealers have welcomed into their homes. Spin a few records and you may understand why.

Grimes: Though fresh faced and a relatively new addition to Montreal’s new music scene, Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes, has become our mascot. Boucher is a workaholic; she has released 3 albums in two years and, according to her twitter feed, almost never stops touring. Montreal can thank Grimes for bringing its underground electronic scene to the forefront.

Patrick Watson: Patrick Watson has long been a quiet staple and full participant in Quebec’s music family. His latest release, Adventures in Your Own Backyard, was recorded in a home studio right next door to his family’s home in Plateau. The lyrics are inspired by the concept of home, which for Watson and his band, is Montreal. “I’d like to write songs that people can carry with them in their daily life and bring them some sort of adventure,” says Watson.

Karkwa: In 2011, Karkwa won the Polaris Music Prize for their fourth album, Les Chemins de Verre, in what was called the “longest and most emotional deliberation in Polaris deliberations” by Liisa Ladouceur, who oversees the selection committee. “The short-listed records are all of extreme high quality and they truly resonated with members of the jury whether or not they completely understood the language of the lyrics,” claimed Ladouceur. Language politics will always make headlines in this country. When a band that sings only in french succeeds in defying language boundaries, it has got to be good.

Leonard Cohen: Leonard Cohen is Montreal’s resident Renaissance man, but to the rest of the world, legendary. According to critic Bruce Eder, he is second only to Bob Dylan and Paul Simon in terms of cultural influence, particularly because of his ability to single-handedly hold an audience through four decades of music making.

Chromeo: Nowadays, dance music dominates the music charts, both independent and top 40. Montreal is home to countless DJs, but Chromeo is perhaps the first of our electronic musicians to appeal to indie, dance, and pop crowds. The duo are childhood friends that embody Montreal’s cultural diversity; P-Thug is Arabic and was born in Lebanon and Dave 1 is Jewish. If you’ve ever stepped foot on a Montreal dancefloor, chances are pretty high that you’ve heard a Chromeo remix. Little known fact: the duo used to work at Celine Dion’s studio.

The Dears: As a six piece orchestral, hard rocking outfit, The Dears paved the way for bands like Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, and Stars. They toured the globe on the heels of The Tragically Hip, Sloan, and Keane, and were shortlisted for the 2011 Polaris Prize for Degeneration Street, their fifth studio album.

Plants and Animals: Magical things can happen on Parc Ave, or at least thats what the members of Plants and Animals think. Their 2008 debut album, Parc Avenue, was released in the wake of their love affair with Montreal. Warren Spicer, Matthew Woodley, and Nic Basque met as music students at Concordia, but truly dug their heels into the Plateau music scene as residents of the Mile End.

Sam Roberts Band: Since his 2001 debut, The Inhuman Condition, Sam Roberts has become a Canadian household name. He is a frosh week staple, an instant Much Music video hit, and almost always a Juno nominee. The Inhuman Condition remains one of the bestselling independent releases in Canadian history. Roberts is a West Island native, and like many other Montrealers, trilingual.

Stars are veterans of both Montreal and North America’s indie-pop music scene, having released their debut, Nightsongs, in 2001. They found fame quickly; their dreamy, lovesick tunes proved to be the perfect soundtrack for the teen dramas, like The O.C., that defined the decade. To this day, Stars still calls Montreal home. Even their upcoming September 4 release, The North, uses an image of Habitat 67 as their album cover.



Top 10 hip hop albums of the ‘90s

Hip hop has drastically evolved as a genre over the years. It rose to mainstream prominence during the 1990s, an era that many people consider hip hop’s golden age. Here is a list of the top 10 most important hip hop releases of the 1990s, in no particular order.

10. Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik:  Outkast’s debut album put southern hip hop on the map. At the time, the American east and west coasts were the most prominent scenes for the genre, but rappers Andre 3000 and Big Boi let the world know that the south was not to be ignored. The dynamic duo mixed intricate rhyme schemes with a laid back ‘70s southern funk and gave birth to a classic.

9. Dr. Dre – The Chronic: Dr. Dre’s debut album, The Chronic, is a household name in hip hop. It established Dre as one of hip hop’s most important producers and paved the way for other, now legendary MCs, such as Snoop Dogg and Kurupt. The Doctor’s combination of funky bass lines and heavy synth revolutionized rap and created a staple sound for west coast hip hop.

8. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers): No list would be complete without this album. 36 Chambers served as a launching pad for Wu-Tang’s members, many of whom went on to record platinum-selling solo albums. RZA’s unparalleled beat-making skills, mixed with standout performances from all of Wu-Tang’s nine rapping members, make this record a tour de force.

7. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory: ATCQ are known for their jazzy hip-hop sounds. The Low End Theory provides listeners with mellow, progressive sounds and street-conscious lyricism. The album merged two forms of revolutionary black music and created a timeless record.

6. El-P – Fantastic Damage: Brooklyn-born rapper and producer El-P redefined alternative hip hop with his debut album. Fantastic Damage is filled with esoteric lyrics over spacey, psychedelic beats. With song titles like “Dr. Hell No vs. the Praying Mantus,” El-P gained recognition as one of the first white rappers, and proved his worth on both the beats and microphone.

5. Nas – Illmatic: Considered by many as the “Hip-Hop Bible,” Nas produced in one album what most rappers try to achieve in a lifetime. The album includes production by legendary beat makers DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Large Professor, lending every song a completely different feel. Nas’ masterful lyricism made his debut album a force to be reckoned with.

4.  The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die: Regarded as one of the best to ever hold the microphone, Biggie Smalls’ debut album was an instant classic. His unique ability to merge comedy with serious, real-life experiences on the street made him a favourite among fans. Standout tracks include “Juicy,” “ Big Poppa” and “Who Shot Ya?”

3. Tupac Shakur – All Eyez on Me: Along with Biggie Smalls, Tupac is considered one of the most influential MCs of all time. His fourth studio album All Eyez on Me is thick with collaboration, but Tupac’s vicious, militant flow and lyricism stand out as usual. An absolute must have for any hip-hop head.

2. The Roots – Do You Want More?!!!??!: The Roots are one of the most diverse acts in hip hop. Rapper Black Thought demonstrates some of the most impeccable flows on this record. The use of live instruments from drummer Questlove and now former Roots bassist Leonard Hubbard produced a completely new hip-hop sound.

1.  Rakim – The 18th Letter:  Back in ‘87, Eric B. & Rakim released Paid In Full. Rakim’s lyrical mastery set the standard for hip hop at the time, leading many critics and fans to crown Rakim as one of the best. When the duo broke up, Rakim released his first solo album The 18th Letter, which was a sprawling, brilliant comeback that affirmed his ability to hold the crown.

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