2014: Best Music

This list includes my favorite music that was released in 2014 and my favorite music that I discovered in 2014 (some released prior to this year). I’ve divided the list into four categories: artists, albums, songs, and music videos. If I include an album, there may be favorite songs on it that I don’t include on the songs list to avoid repetition. If an album is listed as a favorite, the artist is not listed as a favorite to avoid repetition. Nothing is listed in order of how much I like it; it’s just listed. Here we go!

Favorite Artists 
1. Ed Sheeran
Sing, Don’t, Photograph, Give Me Love
2. Mumford & Sons
Hopeless Wanderer, Broken Crown, I Will Wait, To Darkness/Kripa
3. The 1975
Sex, The City, Girls
4. Florence + The Machine
    Drumming Song, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Howl, My Boy Builds Coffins
5. Demi Lovato
Really Don’t Care, Fire Starter, Without The Love, Something That We’re Not
6. Ariana Grande
Problem, Love Me Harder, Break Free, Bang Bang

Favorite Albums
1. Bangerz
(2013)- Miley Cyrus
SMS (Bangerz), My Darlin’, Someone Else, On My Own, Hands In The Air
2. 5 Seconds of Summer– 5 Seconds of Summer
Good Girls, Beside You, End Up Here 
3. She Looks So Perfect- EP– 5 Seconds of Summer
Heartache On the Big Screen, The Only Reason
4. Amnesia- EP– 5 Seconds of Summer
Amnesia
5. Les yeux plus gros que le monde– Black M
Je ne dirai rien, Ailleurs, Spectateur, Pour oublier, Solitaire, Sur ma route, C’est tout moi
6. Lock Me Up- EP– The Cab
Lock Me Up, Moon, These Are the Lies
7. 1989– Taylor Swift
Blank Space, Style, All You Had To Do Was Stay, I Know Places, Wonderland, You Are In Love
8. FOUR– One Direction
Steal My Girl, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Night Changes, No Control, Stockholm Syndrome, Fireproof, Spaces
Honorable Mentions:
Pure Heroine 
(2013)- Lorde | Buzzcut Season, Glory And Gore, Team
Prism (2013)- Katy Perry | This Is How We Do, International Smile

Favorite Songs 
1. Animals– Maroon 5
2. A Sky Full of Stars– Coldplay
3. Hey Brother– Avicii
4. Bailando (English Version)– Enrique Iglesias
5. Yellow Flicker Beat– Lorde
6. Centuries– Fall Out Boy
7. Blame (feat. John Newman)– Calvin Harris
8. Take Me to Church– Hozier
9. The Hanging Tree– James Newton Howard
10. The Heart Wants What It Wants– Selena Gomez
11. City On The Hill– Casting Crowns
12. Riptide– Vance Joy
13. Jealous– Nick Jonas
14. Chandelier– Sia
15. Bet My Life– Imagine Dragons
16. Flaws– Bastille
17. My Blood– Ellie Goulding
18. Beating Heart– Ellie Goulding
19. The Outsiders– Eric Church
20. Summer Love– Justin Timberlake
21. Come With Me Now– KONGOS
22. Sail (Unlimited Gravity Remix)– AWOLNATION
23. 23 (feat. Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa, & Juicy J)– Mike Will Made-It
24. Classic– MKTO
25. Stan– Eminem
26. Human– Christina Perri
27. Whatever She’s Got– David Nail
28. Black Widow (feat. Rita Ora)– Iggy Azalea
29. Waves– Mr. Probz
30. Stay With Me– Sam Smith
31. L.A.LOVE– Fergie
32. La La La (feat. Sam Smith)– Naughty Boy
33. Mammoth (feat. Like Mike)– Dimitri Vegas & MOGUAI
34. Tsunami– DVBBS & Borgeous
35. Remember the Name (feat. Styles of Beyond)– Fort Minor
36. Cannonball (Earthquake) [feat. Matthew Koma]– Showtek & Justin Prime
37. Booyah (feat. We Are Loud! & Sonny Wilson)– Showtek
38. Fancy (feat. Charli XCX)– Iggy Izalea
39. I Lived– One Republic
40. Happy– Pharrell Williams
41. Summer– Calvin Harris
42. Play It Again– Luke Bryan
43. Where It’s At– Dustin Lynch
44. Ghost– Ella Henderson
45. Riverside– Agnes Obel
46. Boom Clap– Charli XCX

Favorite Music Videos
1. Chandelier– Sia
2. The Heart Wants What It Wants– Selena Gomez
3. Night Changes– One Direction
4. Blank Space– Taylor Swift
5. Sur ma route– Black M

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2014: Best Movies

I’ll be writing a few posts recapping 2014 and listing my favorites of different categories of entertainment. To be honest, I don’t watch many movies. There were some good ones I remember seeing on TV this year that released in prior years, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were. So I’ll just stick to theater releases of 2014.

1. Maleficent
This film was absolutely amazing. Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning blew me away. I loved the retelling of a classic fairytale from the perspective of the antagonist or villain. And the twist- how the film portrayed Sleeping Beauty as a false version of the story rather than just showing Maleficent’s side of things- was unexpected and refreshing, making me think.

2. If I Stay
I read this book years ago and to this day it is one of my favorite contemporary young adult novels. I thought the film represented the book very well. The film starred Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley and I wrote a whole review of it here

3. One Direction: ‘Where We Are’ Live from San Siro Stadium
Being a huge One Direction fan, this film obviously made the list. The first half hour was an exclusive interview that I found both interesting and entertaining. The other hour was a well-made film of the boys’ concert in Milan from June of this year. I went to the concert in my city, but it was nice to relive the experience. The filmography was fantastic; I talk about it in this post.

4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
The Hunger Games movies are, in my opinion, some of the best film adaptions of books out there. Watching these movies is like watching the books and Mockingjay Part 1 was no different. The part of the book that this film represents is slower and less action-packed than the first two books. But I was surprised at how captivated I was for the two hours and some minutes the movie played. I thought the adaption was incredibly accurate, interesting, and well done. The soundtrack and acting were also phenomenal.

5. Into the Woods
I love musicals. The cast of this movie had so much depth and was extremely talented. I loved the combining of various fairy tales, the morality, and the acting. Daniel Huttlestone is one of my favorite child actors. The singing was beautiful. While there were some slow and, arguably, unnecessary parts, I still loved the film and would probably purchase it.

Well, there’s my list.

Movies are listed in order of release date.

Christmas 2014

This year was the first Christmas of its kind. Normally on Christmas Eve, my family goes to my dad’s parents’ house for dinner and gift opening. Then on Christmas, my mom’s parents come to our house for Christmas lunch and games. It’s been this way almost every year of my life, with little variation. This year, however, we did things differently. On Christmas Eve, my dad took my brother Matthew, my sister Abby, my friend Peter, and me out to an NHL sized rink for public skating. Then, my family ate dinner at our house and played a round of Apples to Apples (which I won) before heading off to our own separate rooms. On Christmas, we opened presents and stockings as usual. We ate Swedish pancakes as usual. But then, we went to the track near our house and enjoyed being outdoors. We ate Christmas dinner instead of Christmas lunch. We played three rounds of Uno Attack (though my dad sat out the last one). And we went to bed. It was a different kind of Christmas, but I surprisingly enjoyed it.

Every year I take a picture of all the presents I got. I never do anything with it- post it, send it, etc. But I add it to my photo library to look back on and remember what I received. This year, I didn’t feel like taking one. But I do want to record- in a vague, general way- what I received because I’m incredibly lucky and thankful. I exchanged gifts with three of my closest friends: Alanna, Korina, and Gracie. And I got the most delicious snickerdoodle cookies from another close friend, Ally (I gave her a cute set of cat bandaids from Urban Outfitters). The board of my school service club had a little Secret Santa gift exchange and holiday party. Matthew bought me a cute book of daily quotes that I wanted and Abby made me a cotton ball mouse (she also put a penny in my stocking). John didn’t get anyone presents this year, which was peculiar. My parents bought me roller blades, which is so so so exciting, and lots of socks. Lots of socks. They also got me three books I’d been wanting, and my mom even went to Barnes & Noble and picked them out herself to ensure that their condition was up to my meticulous standards. I got a Lightning car magnet, which I’ve wanted all year, and a new calendar that features a different global city each month.

The two days before Christmas Eve: Monday, I had an appointment, then spent time with two friends, exchanging gifts, drinking chai teas, and window shopping. I worked out with my personal trainer, and he gave me two chocolate covered pretzels which were a delicious combination of salty and sweet. Tuesday, I took my sister to get a haircut, worked out at Korina’s club while she had a tennis lesson, had a skating lesson, and went to the Lightning game against the Penguins (they won!).

The day after Christmas, I drove myself and Abby down to my grandparents’ apartment, where we spent the night. The next morning, we saw Into the Woods at a really nice theater that had reclining leather seats and footrests. I drove us home after lunch. Then Korina and I went to the Lightning game, which they won. We went back to her house and ate thai fried rice from one of my favorite local restaurants and watched This Is 40 (we wanted to watch The Interview, but it wouldn’t play).

I realized today that I only have one more Christmas as a child. That’s crazy to think about. The Christmas season this year for me was kind of packed into four or five days, but despite the change and chaos of December, I enjoyed the time I had. I appreciate the decorations, the time I spent with friends and family, the “wintry” activities I participated in, and the gifts. I enjoyed giving just as much as receiving, and I am looking forward to seeing what the new year will bring.

Clouds

I’ve never seen him so vulnerable. It hurts, it breaks my heart into millions of tiny pieces, fragments that nestle themselves deep within my bones, only reappearing when I begin to forget the pain. Selective memory, some say. My psychology teacher would probably have a fancy term to describe this phenomenon, but could he explain the science behind a breaking heart that isn’t really broken?

I’m listening to Clair de Lune and for some inexplicable reason it, of all the things that have happened tonight, this month, this year, this lifetime, it is the one thing that makes me want to cry. The piano notes, the black and white, the simplicity. I want to go back to being a little girl, tucked in a bunkbed with the sheets pulled up to my chin. Listening to Bach and Beethoven and Mozart as I drifted to sleep, floating on clouds that actually felt solid.

Now in my room, my brother cries. The same mistakes, over and over, are haunting him again. He’s fourteen and lonely-but-not-alone and he feels worthless, worth less than air. I tell him that air is essential to life; he tells me that he is our parents’ biggest disappointment, that he’s the reason they might be getting a divorce, that he makes them unhappy unhappy so unhappy. I sit in a pink chair, the paint chipping off the sides from all the times I’ve twirled in it and hit my desk, which also has dents in it and all I’m thinking is how? How can a parent do that to a child, how could a father do that to a son, make him feel unloved, unlovable, unworthy of loving? How could a mother let him?

These were questions I had not yet thought of, not yet had to, as I floated through my childhood. I never questioned it, the subtle abuse; this was simply the way things were, c’est la vie and all that. But now Mozart doesn’t leak through the cracks the sheets leave as they cover my head. I bundle up not so I can pretend that my father came in and kissed me goodnight but because I’m tired and life has frozen my bones and I can’t remember the last time I felt “snug as a bug in a rug.” All I know is that I’m angry. Angry at my dad for his warpath, angry at my mom for staying. Angry at my brother for forgiving so easily, too easily. Angry at myself because I watched from the sidelines as the light faded from his eyes and his mind ran away, only stepping in when it was too late; the damage was done long ago. Angry at God, if he even exists, for letting His children grow up without parents and for allowing children with parents to grow up feeling unloved anyway.

I have three tests tomorrow that I’m supposed to study for, but the world is too much for me right now and I’d rather sleep than think about this pain. I can grab the Christmas blankets, the fuzzy blankets, all the blankets I can find and curl up inside them and weather the storm but I tried that before and the storm never ended. So I braved it and won but my brother didn’t and he doesn’t want to curl up in blankets and listen to classical music because he’s already empty. Maybe I’ll fall asleep to Clair de Lune but I don’t have a CD player anymore or even a bunkbed. Instead I have this pink chipping chair and dented desk and a sadness that I used to be too young and naive to know.

Tonight I’ll sleep, but I won’t pray to God or tell my stuffed animals “I love you” or wake up crying for my mother. The clouds won’t hold me. They’ll let my innocence seep through and land in wisps at His feet, saying “here you go, are you happy now?” It’s funny how the things we take for solid truths when we’re young are the most fragile lies. As if clouds – large collections of very tiny water droplets, according to Google – could hold up my heavy weight, my burdens to bear. As if the sins of humanity could be washed away by a Savior and a cross. As if a father could love a son unconditionally and irrevocably.

Stream of Consciousness

Today in my English class, my teacher had us do an eight minute writing exercise where we wrote in stream-of-consciousness style (in literature, this method of narration describes, in words, the flow of thoughts in the minds of characters). I had never done such an exercise before and I really enjoyed it; I found it therapeutic and fascinating. So I thought I’d share what I wrote here, exactly as I wrote it originally.


What is the deal with men and apologies? Why is it so hard for them to come out and say it – out loud and proud – when they’ve done something wrong, or even when they think they’ve done something wrong? I’m admiring the colors around me, the green of the grass in the brilliant sunlight, the neon yellow of my sneakers, covered in months and months worth of dirt stains. I want to take about 12 different classes next year I need a time-turner like Hermione but where would I get one I can’t decide I wish I could write poetry or make music or create some form of art that could change people inspire people but being a walking almanac isn’t much good for that maybe we are all walking living history books but maybe not if history isn’t your thing maybe we’re all science experiments it all depends on perspective I’m running out of room on this paper and I’m worried time will be called before I can get out a new sheet maybe I won’t need it anyway I just heard the squeak of a door and I’m not sure I spelled squeak right is it two e’s or an ea I think ea which means I was correct (hopefully). Oh no, running out of room I’ll write smaller stop giggling and whispering, please added as an afterthought what’s so funny I’m on a new paper the architecture of the front of the school is interesting I’ve never really paid attention before b/c I usually don’t come in or out this way but what is it w/ men and apologies?

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