2014 Blindspot Series + Christmas

Blogging in 2014 will be a lot more random, I might have spells where I don't post anything for weeks. I hope to do a few marathons, such as horror(October), top 50 short films, animation, documentaries, and film noir. Those are areas where I feel I am lacking in terms of watching. I may spread those marathons out to 2015 and beyond.

I've decided to join Ryan McNeil's blindspot blogathon. Many other LAMB bloggers are also participating, so it should be fun. The idea is you select 12 films you've never seen before, and write about a film each month. I've compiled a list of films I definitely want to watch in 2014:

The Seven Year Itch (1955) (Billy Wilder)

Das Boot (1981) (Wolfgang Petersen)

The Birth of a Nation (1915) (D.W. Griffith)

The Great Dictator (1940) (Charlie Chaplin)

Malcolm X (1992) (Spike Lee)

Hard Boiled (1992) (John Woo)

Duck Soup (1933) (Leo McCarey)

The Player (1992) (Robert Altman)

Come and See (1985) (Elem Klimov)

Castle in the Sky (1986) (Hayao Miyazaki)

Grand Illusion (1937) (Jean Renoir)

The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011) (Mark Cousins)

Hope you are having a nice Christmas! Several people in our family were away, so we were only a small group that celebrated this year. Which also meant less presents. Being less spoilt than usual is tough, how will this affect my sanity I wonder...?

In terms of gifts, I was pleased to receive The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011) on dvd, which I have heard a lot about, and have wanted to watch for a while(included above in blind spots). Another movie-related present was the book Ten Bad Dates with De Niro: A Book of Alternative Movie Lists (2007), which my sister stumbled upon in a book store.

In January, I will post a "preliminary" top 20 films of 2013. The final list you can read here in 2018 or so...

Don't forget this is also a music blog. Besides new music, the year 2013 saw me blog about: Fleetwood Mac, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Smiths, The National, Burial, Camera Obscura.

I've (secretly) been listening to a few bands, that I haven't gotten around to blogging about yet. Looking ahead, the long-term goal is share my favorite tracks from:

60s: Johnny Cash, The Doors, The Rolling Stones

70s: Neil YoungRoxy Music, Fleetwood MacGeorge HarrisonBig StarBilly JoelJim Croce, Steely Dan, T. Rex, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Queen, America, David Bowie, The Eagles, Diana Ross, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Paul Simon, Nick Drake, Carly Simon, Blondie, Tom Petty, Gil Scott-Heron, The Runaways, Joe Cocker

80s: The CureJoy DivisionThe SmithsThe Jesus and Mary ChainBruce SpringsteenCocteau TwinsKate Bush, Talking Heads, Prince, Peter Gabriel, New Order, Sonic Youth, Grace Jones, Janet Jackson, Eurythmics, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, The Pixies, The Clash, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Ultravox, Genesis, Phil Collins, The Replacements, Yazoo, Giorgio Moroder, Patrick Cowley, Pet Shop Boys, Talk Talk, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Psychedelic Furs, Tom Tom Club, Echo & the Bunnymen, This Mortal Coil, Everything but the Girl, Soft Cell, The Sugarcubes, Love and Rockets,

90s: The Flaming Lips, Pearl JamBelle and SebastianNick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Björk, Julee Cruise, Massive Attack, Sinéad O'Connor, Beck, The White Stripes,  Blur, Oasis, The Strokes, Morrissey, Aphex Twin, PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple, Tindersticks, D'Angelo

2000s: The National, Destroyer, Camera Obscura, Burial, The Radio Dept, Phoenix, Interpol, The Knife, Arcade Fire, Sun Kil Moon, Arctic Monkeys, Keane, Franz Ferdinand, Feist, Sebastien Tellier, The Antlers, Amy Winehouse, Cat Power, The Killers, The Shins, Gorillaz

2010s: Blood Orange, Beach House, Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala, School of Seven Bells

Which mini goals, in terms of movie watching, or life in general, do you have for 2014? Receive any great gifts from under the tree? Thoughts on the music? I hope you are enjoying Christmas, and wish my readers a Happy New Year!

Favorite older films watched in 2013

Watched for the first time in 2013. All rated 4.5/5 (9 out of 10) on letterboxd. In case you're wondering, I'm counting films that are before the 2010s. In random order:

Blow Out (1981) (Brian De Palma)
Reminded me of Berberian Sound Studio (2012), or The Conversation (1976), about the behind-the scenes activity of a sound technician.
It would make more sense today, that there was footage of an accident, with mobile phones everywhere. In early 80s, it was less likely to happen. The film alludes to elements of the Watergate scandal and the JFK assassination. As Roger Ebert noted: “We share the excitement of figuring out how things develop and unfold, when so often the movies only need us as passive witnesses.”
Definitely interested in checking more from Brian De Palma, loved this. It is style over substance, but it’s just so entertaining.
As a critic wrote, maybe the film “has less to do with sound than with hearing”. It wasn't a box office hit, but there has been a reappraisal over the years. The poster didn't exactly help matters, as it doesn't even look like John Travolta!
As Pete Turner wrote in his review: "In an age where people mistrust everything they see from 9/11 footage to the moon landing, Blow Out is still extremely relevant and incredibly cleverly crafted."

Body Double (1984) (Brian De Palma)
It takes a lot to wow me, and this film achieved that. Loved it. Underrated 80s movie. Probably has one of my favorite sequences I watched this year, when the guy follows the woman to the mall and to the beach. You become hypnotized by the woman he’s following, as if you are in the same shoes as the main character. Pays homage to the Alfred Hitchcock movies Vertigo and Rear Window.
I especially loved the first hour of the movie, and the climax. Maybe the best ending of all the De Palma films.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) (David Lean)
Won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film concerns Lawrence's experiences in Arabia during World War I. Wow, several ambitious battle scenes are just mind blowing, especially with that score, and since they filmed them without CGI. Shooting lasted 18 months, the actors were told it would take a few months! I liked that the main character Lawrence was not just a hero, but had flaws as well.
A minor issue I had, would have preferred the intro scene had been cut. Same story device as Life of Pi (2012) and The Hobbit (2012), we know what happens to the protagonist in the opening scene.

The Lion King (1994) (Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff)
A wonderful animated film from Disney, which does have formulaic elements, sidekicks as comic relief, and the obligatory songs, yet for a change I actually enjoyed the Disney soundtrack. The film also has characters you remember and care about.
I liked the message, about identity, and finding your place in life.
Favorite quote: “I never get to go anywhere.” “Oh young master, one day you will be king, then you can chase those slobbering mangy stupid poachers from dawn until dusk”

Grave of the Fireflies (1988) (Isao Takahata)
Animated drama set in Japan during WW2. The scenes with the brother and sister are my favorites, which takes me back to moments in my own life. Not often that an animated film can affect me on an emotional level, and this one succeeded.
About the silent victims of war, the innocent children who are left to battle for survival.

The Seventh Continent (1989) (Michael Haneke)
Powerful Austrian drama directed by Michael Haneke. Based on a true story about a family. I had no idea where the story was heading, because there is no obvious direction at first. Keeps you guessing what is wrong. Towards the end I laughed out loud at the absurdity of what was happening. Will have to give it a rewatch sometime to look out for clues in the first part of the film. Best to know absolutely nothing before watching.

Benny’s Video (1992) (Michael Haneke)
A lot better than I expected, why only 7.1 on IMDb? Not for the squeamish. Michael Haneke, his films are so forceful.
Spoilers: The way the boy behaves, eating yoghurt, doing his math homework, as if nothing has happened, that was so disturbing. The scene when his parents discuss how to move forward is also memorable, especially the mothers reaction, and shows how a kid’s behavior is so linked to their parents. Impactful all the way through. If it was 10 years later, I’m sure the tape would have ended up on the internet. I guess that’s the only redeeming thing to say, that Benny didn’t have the urge to share it.

Day of Wrath (1943) (Carl Th. Dreyer)
Powerful albeit joyless drama by director Carl th Dreyer that concerns a community calling out women as witches. The priesthood are the enemy.
The church is supposed to be a system for good, yet in this film are inhumane. Are the priests really evil, or simply doing their job? Do the priests sincerely believe that witches exist, or is it to give the town a scapegoat? If the later is true, the priests are the real sinners. Perhaps a fear of an uprising and other rival beliefs.
When I see a film such as this, my reaction is so strong, that I feel the church should be abolished.

Metropolis (1927) (Fritz Lang)
The coupe fall in love a little too quickly, yet it is a masterpiece, the sets and visual effects are groundbreaking and way ahead of its time. The world that has been created looks massive, even though some of them are miniatures.
You could question why the mad inventor is given so much power by the leader, but then the guy in charge had no way of predicting what would transpire. A truly unmissable classic.

M (1931) (Fritz Lang)
Was Fritz Lang's first sound film, Lang considered M to be his favorite of his own films because of the social criticism in the film. In 1937, he told a reporter that he made the film "to warn mothers about neglecting children."
Great performance by Peter Lorre. The suspicion and hysteria reminded me quite a bit of Vinterberg’s The Hunt (2012), the community taking the law into their own hands. Though the difference is the suspect is a presumed child killer in the 1931 film. M is also about how the system of the law is a problem for the families of the victims, no punishment can repay what they have lost.

Spoilers: You could say the community’s efforts are superfluous, as the resources Schranker brings to the search are essentially of the same kind available to the police. Yet the desire for justice perhaps outweighs logic. We are spared the savagery of the attacks, for this reason, the audience is not energized by the blood lust of the citizens. His pain may be more acute, because as perpetrator of those atrocities, he must be more offended than they can be, and to the extent that he is powerless over his compulsion, he is a victim. The assembly thirsts for vengeance and blood. For the first time in the film, the will to violence which makes murder possible is evoked. His struggle is revealed to be as much against himself as it is against his captors.
The structure of the film employed two modes, the movement from simple identification of the murderer, to the revelation of the unseen life within. We go from the expanse of the city, to the confines of the locker, and the subsequent descent down the stairs to the astonishingly cavernous warehouse. The Shining (1980) also used this method of the space gradually becoming more and more confined.

The Naked Spur (1953) (Anthony Mann)
Wow, this didn’t feel like an old movie at all, it had the pacing of a recent film. Stars James Stewart, in one of his western collaborations with director Anthony Mann. They made 5 westerns which are talked of as classics of the genre:
Winchester '73 (1950), Bend of the River (1952), The Naked Spur (1953), The Far Country (1955), & The Man from Laramie (1955).
The Naked Spur is a film where the group of characters share an equal screen time, they go on an adventure through the mountains. Beautiful scenery, and one of the better westerns from the 50s, which at 90 minutes never gets boring.
The only thing I have against these Anthony Mann westerns is there's a hostility and violence towards the Indians, and seldom any understanding, but maybe that's how it was back then?

The Wild Bunch (1969) (Sam Peckinpah)
Directed by Sam Pekinpah, so I expected it to be violent. Bloodbath, especially at the beginning and ending of movie.
The back story flash-backs are a bit similar to director Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy.
Entertaining western, which is as good as Leone’s work, which it aspires to be. I was wondering who the villain is, and maybe the wild bunch we follow ARE the bad guys.
William Holden wasn’t wild enough, though, perhaps he was supposed to be the quieter member of the group.
The machine gun out of control, that was pretty crazy, which I would label morbid humor.

Django (1966) (Sergio Corbucci)
The inspiration for Django Unchained, and for my money Sergio Corbucci’s western is superior to Tarantino’s.
The death count is pretty high, but you keep watching, to find out what will happen to these characters. The story feels iconic, and the main theme is fantastic.

3:10 to Yuma (2007) (James Mangold)
Russell Crowe makes for a sinister baddie and the pacing of this western is excellent. My favorite part is the last half hour. A keeper that I look forward to revisiting in future. Among the best modern westerns I’ve seen. A remake of 3:10 to Yuma (1957)

Dead Alive (1992) (Peter Jackson)
Splatter Horror/Comedy. Also known as Braindead. Early directorial effort from Peter Jackson (Lord of The Rings Trilogy).
Very impressed by the special effects in this movie. Considered among the best in the gore genre. The bizarre mix of comedy and grossness somehow works. One of the supporting characters almost throws up, and that’s how the audience may feel as well. Highly entertaining, if you can stomach it. Looks like they had a lot of fun making the movie. They got a lot out of the reasonably small $3 million budget, because it has nearly every gore effect you can imagine. Definitely the most impressive “splatter” film I’ve ever seen. Just wow.

Enter The Void (2009) (Gaspar Noé)
The flickering images, swirling camerawork, and hand held back-of-the-head perspective is stylish, and is unlike anything I’ve seen before. But also so intense that it’s headache inducing, so the movie is not for everyone. I certainly didn’t want to watch the whole thing in one sitting. Imagine Requiem for a dream set in Tokyo’s underworld.
Showcasing the highs of drug taking, and also how it messes with your psyche so you can lose grip with reality. The film drags you into that world, so I felt I had been taking drugs with the characters.
I would have given it an even higher rating, if the story was stronger. The middle part of the film goes back in time, so some scenes have a sense of inevitability. Perhaps could have been even better, if it was presented chronologically, who knows.

The Wages of Fear (1953) (Henri-Georges Clouzot)
Not entirely sure why they needed two drivers for the truck, but I guess it would be dull cinema just to have one driver for each truck. Aside from that, I was impressed by everything about it.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) (documentary)
Looks at the trial of three teenage boys, who would be known as The Memphis Three. The case is quite disturbing, so not for the squeamish.
I didn’t know anything about it in advance, so that probably made it more powerful. It questions the accused and also the court proceedings. The jury appear to give a verdict based on incomplete evidence. Is someone guilty of murder, if they believe in the occult? Difficult to say one way or the other if the three boys are guilty, which is what makes it an interesting court case. The documentary presents the case and we have to make up our own minds.
Favorite quote: "They didn’t just kill my son, they killed a part of me, part of my wife”
First part of a trilogy of documentaries. There's also a 2014 movie on the way starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth.

City Lights (1931) (Charlie Chaplin)
Silent slapstick classic that just puts a smile on my face. A cute, and emotionally absorbing story, and a non-stop highlight reel of great scenes. Charlie Chaplin’s films have aged remarkably well, a timeless classic.
Although sound films were on the rise when Chaplin started developing the script in 1928, the director decided to continue working with silent productions. Set in the Great Depression, a major theme in City Lights is the contrast of material and spiritual wealth.

The General (1926) (Buster Keaton)
Classic silent starring Buster Keaton. So many great moments, the recruiting office scene, and sitting on the wheels of the train, were for me stand-outs.
Judging from this film, Keaton is better at physical slapstick than emotional acting. I suppose the part didn’t call for anything else. Keaton performed many dangerous physical stunts on and around the moving train.
At the 1 hour 5 min mark, features the most expense shot in silent movie history, when the bridge collapses and train falls in river.
Very entertaining, and I’m certainly interested in exploring Buster Keaton’s other work.

Sherlock, Jr. (1924) (Buster Keaton)
Buster Keaton silent comedy. Several memorable moments: the ring and the magnifying glass, when Keaton closely follows a man, the characters that transform into other characters at the cinema, and how Keaton jumps in and out of the big screen(Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo shows its debt to that scene). The exploding pool ball, the rooftop escape into a car, the dangerous high speed motorcycle ride, etc. A film to rewatch again and again.

Safety Last! (1923) (Harold Lloyd)
Many great scenes: Hiding from the rent lady, late for work, going on the overfilled tramp and ambulance, the cloth sample, the prank with the cop, the sale at the store, kick me written with chalk, and of course the ending. In fact the whole movie is funny from start to finish.

Mr Smith Goes To Washington (1939) (Frank Capra)
A very patriotic and inspiring movie. There's a reason why it's in the IMDb top 250, a story that is still fresh and hasn’t dated. Surprised that Smith just ran off when he got to Washington, kind of irresponsible. The dinner scene when the kids have an influence on their father's decision was cute.
Capra’s goal was to celebrate democracy and freedom of speech, made at a time when democracy and freedom were being taken away due to WW2. The film is also about cynicism and optimism, and how you can lose sight of why you became a politician.
Favorite quotes: “"When I came here, my eyes were big blue question marks, now they're big green dollar signs”
"And I'll tell you one thing, that wild horses aren't gonna drag me off this floor until those people have heard everything I've got to say, even if it takes all winter." - Senator Smith.

I Am Cuba (1964) (Mikhail Kalatozov)
GREAT cinematography, and to me, nearly every scene is captivating.

Seen any of these? Agree or disagree? Thoughts are welcome in the comments

Top 10 albums of 2013

Tales Of Us by Goldfrapp

(Quite the departure from 2010's Head First. Alison Goldfrapp's career has gone in many directions. 2013 sees the band focus on their softer sounds similar to that of their début Felt Mountain and their 2008 release Seventh Tree. Tales Of Us is an album where I don't neccasarily listen to the words. The material is soothing, quiet music, good to put on, when you want to wind down and relax, and forget time and place.
Some listeners may find it boring, unmemorable and samey, but to me an atmospheric album that is incredibly geared towards my senses. Tough to pick out obvious highlights, since it's all of the same standard, but especially the first half of the album impressed me. I've read it's a cinematic-inspired album that will be accompanied by a 30 min short directed by Lisa Gunning)

Favorite tracks:

Random Access Memories by Daft Punk

(The best opening guitar riff of any album from 2013? I think so. A long disc at 74 minutes, with plenty of strong tracks. The sort of album that was getting put out on a regular basis in the 70s and 80s, and we see so rarely in the 2010s)

Favorite tracks:
Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Give Life Back to Music
Giorgio By Moroder
Doin' It Right (feat. Panda Bear)
Lose Yourself To Dance (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Instant Crush (feat. Julian Casablancas)

Reflektor by Arcade Fire

(An album that underwhelmed at first, but has grown on me with each listen. A killer opening single. As you'd expect for a double album, there are weaker moments, and in this case, to me, the middle part was not the best. I think it starts and finishes really strongly. Several of the tracks do go on a bit too long, though, if I'm being critical.)

Favorite tracks:
It's Never Over (Hey Orpheus)
We Exist

Push the Sky Away by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

(Was my favorite album for the first months of the year. The lyrics per usual are well-written, and I even got my parents into this release. Gone is the rockier sound of earlier recordings, and it feels more accessible to a wider audience than his darker albums.)

Favorite tracks:
Jubilee Street
Push The Sky Away
We No Who U R

Trouble Will Find Me by The National

(As with 2010's High Violet, it mostly continues the mellower approach, and to me is equally as good. The three opening tracks are powerful, on an album with few weaknesses. What struck me is the remarkable honesty of the writing, which is also somehow universal.)

Favorite tracks:
Don't Swallow the Cap
I Should Live in Salt
This Is the Last Time
Pink Rabbits

Dominae by Ejecta

(Debut album I had no expectations for, and turned out to be my favorite unknown artist of 2013. Underrated album you should give a listen, if you like synthpop/dreampop. Good tracks from beginning to end.)

Favorite tracks:
Jeremiah (The Denier)
Afraid of the Dark
It's Only Love
Eleanor Lye

The Next Day by David Bowie

(David Bowie is an artist who sticks out, always transforming and experimenting. There's a mystique surrounding him, you can’t separate Bowie the man, and Bowie the music. While I'm not one of his biggest fans, and it's not as good as his 70s work, his comeback after a 10 year hiatus was a welcome return. He still has it at the age of 66.
I've heard the album sleeve contains a mirror inside, which is kind of cool, and plays out thematically in his songs: Where Are We Now?, If You Can See Me, & Heat.)

Favorite tracks:
The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
Where Are We Now?
Love is Lost
You Feel So Lonely You Could Die

Seasons Of Your Day by Mazzy Star

(It hardly featured on other year-end lists, which is a shame, because the recordings are beautiful. It’s been 17 years since their last album, and nothing has really changed about Hope Sandoval's style, continuing that dream pop/folk mix. If you liked the band’s earlier work, this new collection will probably appeal to you. Some may find it boring, so it's not for everyone)

Favorite tracks:
In The Kingdom
Common Burn
Lay Myself Down

Bankrupt by Phoenix

(Fifth full-length studio release for the French rock band. A pretty strong comeback, with what has been described as "a peachy, fun vibe", even though the production occasionally is familiar to past records by the group.
As another reviewer notes, perhaps the lyrics "tell a tale of the lonesome feelings of making it to the top and the conflicting emotions of stardom." )

Favorite tracks:
Trying To Be Cool

Upstream Color (Original Motion Picture Score) by Shane Carruth

(I've listened to a bunch of soundtracks this year, and my gut instinct tells me this is the disc I can listen to, and enjoy all the tracks. I often get bored with instrumental soundtracks, not so with this ambient album, which I can have on repeat. Film scores sometimes don't work outside the movie experience, I feel the Upstream Color score does. Fun fact: Every song title is a quote from Walden by Henry David Thoreau, which is a book that also features in the movie.)

Are you a fan of any of the albums above? What did you think of them? Which are your favorite albums of 2013? As always, comments are welcome.

For albums 11-35 go to amazon listmania

Be sure to check out other year-end album lists by fellow bloggers:
The Cinematic Spectacle
Le Mot du Cinephiliaque
The Past and The Pending
To The Movies and Back
More to come, watch this space

Top 100 songs of 2013 (tracks 1-25)

Many of these tracks I consider modern classics, especially the top 10

Down Down the Deep River - Okkervil River

Wake Me Up - Avicii

Oblivion (feat. Susanne Sundfør) – M83 (From Oblivion soundtrack)

If I Had A Tail – Queens Of The Stone Age

Bourgeois - Phoenix

Drew - Goldfrapp

It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus) – Arcade Fire

Jubilee Street – Nick Cave

Step – Vampire Weekend

Who Did That to You - John Legend (From Django Unchained soundtrack)

Was All Talk – Kurt Vile
Runner-up: Pure Pain - Kurt Vile

14.) What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World? – Hans Zimmer (From Man of Steel soundtrack)

Blurred Lines [feat. T.I., Pharrell] - Robin Thicke

Trying To Be Cool – Phoenix

The Stars Are Out Tonight (long version with intro instrumental) – David Bowie

Song for Zulu – Phosphorescent

She Will – Savages

Don't Swallow the Cap - The National

Reflektor – Arcade Fire

Mantra - Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl, and Joshua Homme (From Sound City soundtrack)

Do I Wanna Know? - Arctic Monkeys
Runner up: Arabella – Arctic Monkeys

If I Were Me - Dave Grohl, Jessy Greene, Rami Jaffee & Jim Keltner (From Sound City soundtrack)

Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey (from The Great Gatsby soundtrack)

Push the Sky Away – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Get Lucky – Daft Punk

This post brings to a close my top 100 songs. I hope you enjoyed listening! Next time, I'll be sharing Top 10 albums of 2013, and after that, the focus will be on best old and new films seen this year.

Top 100 songs of 2013 (tracks 50-26)

Zeitgeist – Black Sabbath

Where Can I Go? – Laura Marling

Giorgio By Moroder – Daft Punk

The Snow Angel – Mike Patton (10 min youtube version) (From The Place Beyond the Pines soundtrack)

Evil Eye – Franz Ferdinand

Give Life Back to Music – Daft Punk

It’s Only Love - Ejecta

Where Are We Now? – David Bowie

How Many Days - Kris Kristofferson

Just To Make Me Feel Good – Adam Green and Binki Shapiro

Demons – The National

Love Bends – Wire

Tap Out – The Strokes

Beautiful – Mariah Carey & Miguel

Hellbent – New Order

Chances – The Strokes

The Redeemer – Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland

Love is Lost - David Bowie

Assistant Director – Duck Tails

The Lemon Trees #3 – Bill Ryder-Jones

Ready To Start – Tears For Fears (Arcade Fire cover)

I'll Stay With You - New Order

Dance Apocalyptic – Janelle Monáe

Becomes the Color - Emily Wells (From Stoker soundtrack)

Fifth In Line To The Throne – Camera Obscura

Any thoughts on the tracks I've selected are welcome. In a couple of days the final installment of my top 100, tracks 1-25!

Top 100 songs of 2013 (tracks 60-51)

Flick of The Finger - Beady Eye
An underappreciated release from 2013. By Liam Gallagher, former member of Oasis. The album was better than I expected it to be.)

Love Me Again - John Newman
(You'll either love or hate that chorus)

New – Paul McCartney
(You could accuse him of trying to recreate The Beatles sound, but for me that's exactly why the song works. Save Us is also a highlight from his latest record.)

DNA – Empire of the Sun
(It’s an album that does grow on you on repeat listening. In spite of lacking a prominent single like Walking On A Dream (2008), the new release does have a number of pretty good tracks. Taken as a full album, I actually think it's superior to their debut.)

Go Gentle - Robbie Williams
(I do love the lyrics, even though they don't entirely ring true, sung by a womanizer. Maybe he's changed his ways. The best track from him in a long time)

The Night Comes Again - St Lucia
(The band released an excellent EP last year. 2013 saw them put out a full length album. Of the "new" tracks, this is the one that stayed with me, and is the album opener)

Master Hunter – Laura Marling
(To me, the strongest part of Laura Marling’s latest album is the writing, although for my money she does circle around the artist-having-trouble-with-being-in-a relationship-dilemma a bit too often. Is that cohesion or monotony? You be the judge. I prefer her 2010 album I Speak Because I Can)

The Way Out – Porcelain Raft
(Haunting and powerful)

Came Back Haunted – Nine Inch Nails
(The first part of the album I liked the most. The remainder I could appreciate too, no tracks sounded the same, with lots of experimentation.)

Sirens – Pearl Jam
(For me the highlight on Lightning Bolt (2013). That said, I'm kind of getting tired of musicians using the word "siren")

Have you listened to any of these artists? Which are your best music discoveries of 2013? Be sure to stop by again in a couple of days for Tracks 50-26, as I continue the countdown.

Top 100 songs of 2013 (tracks 70-61)

I'm Not Dancing - Tirzah & Micachu
I browsed through The Line Of Best Fit's best EPs of 2013 list, and found this gem. A catchy, unique sound. If you liked that, check out Inside Out, from the same EP

All I Know - Washed Out
(The album is a bit unvaried, most of the tracks sound the same. All I Know was the one I liked the most)

Lean - The National (from Hunger Games Catching Fire soundtrack)
(It sounds like a typical The National track from the 2010-2013 era, and good for them, that they didn't sell out. Elastic Heart is another track from the soundtrack I liked)

Counting - Autre Ne Veut
(Once heard never forgotten. Will get stored somewhere in your brain)

New Town Velocity – Johnny Marr
(Solo record from the guitarist of The Smiths. An underwhelming album, but love the single)

Melody Calling – The Vaccines
(Such a catchy song. Need to listen to the studio albums by these guys)

I’ll Never Be Happy Again - Eleanor Friedberger
(Maybe the lyrics are about how other people influence your state of mind. How falling in love could be the best part, and all down hill from there. Love the rhythm.)

Shot At The Night - The Killers (feat. M83)
(A great video. A new single that's included on their greatest hits album)

Detroit City – Texas
(8 years since their last record. Was on my summer playlist. Good road trip music)

California – Mazzy Star
(An absence of 17 years hasn't really changed her vocal. If you liked the band’s earlier work, this new collection will probably appeal to you. A welcome return)

Are you a fan of any of these artists? What's your favorite new music of 2013? As always, share your opinions in the comments. Tracks 60-51 coming soon!

Top 10 viral videos of 2013

Not all of these are technically viral videos with millions of views, and several of them are from before 2013. I'm including them, because I first saw them this year.


Celtics Fan Dancing to Bon Jovi Living on a Prayer - Jeremy Fry
(This dude, he knows how to draw attention to himself, and have a good time! Uplifting video, that can put you in a good mood)


(Not exactly viral, but you should definitely see it, if you are a film enthusiast. Beautiful montage. Also, great choice of music)


Guy places fast food order in a manner that should get him laid
(You can't help but smile at that)


Littering in Front of People
(The young guy pictured above who "jumped up" was hilarious. Also I love the social commentary.)


Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #1
(If you find that entertaining, be sure to watch #2, #3, #4 and #5!)


Volvo Trucks - The Epic Split feat. Jean-Claude Van Damme
(wow, I can hardly believe he actually did that. For a moment I thought video was doctored with. Good promotion for volvo trucks!)


Space Oddity (David Bowie cover) (in space) - Chris Hadfield
(I remember Michael Jackson talked about moonwalking on the moon. In 2013, Chris Hadfield had his moment!)


Rafael Nadal meets Rafa Nadal?
(Josh Berry nails Wimbledon champion Andy Murray's voice, and his impersonation of world no 1 Rafael Nadal is spot on too. Not so sure about Roger Federer, though)


Ben Stiller's Die Hard 12 Sketch
(Hopefully Bruce Willis will get the point. Enough is enough for that franchise!)


Guy tells girlfriend their plane is crashing
(Didn't see that coming!)

Seen any of these before? Any favorites? Which are YOUR best loved viral videos, past or present?


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