My Top 10 Favorite Songs Of 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Songs Of 2016

The best of the best.
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Near the end of every year, I compile a ranking of my favorite songs released in said year. This year, since I am now a regular writer for Odyssey, I decided to publish my list in article form. Therefore, I now present to you, my top 10 favorite songs of 2016, counted down from 10:

10. "Change" by Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera, the larger-than-life diva with a powerhouse voice and career spanning nearly two decades, composed and released this hit in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre, as a tribute to the victims. It didn't receive much airplay, and contained a lot of cliche "why can't we all get along" rhetoric, but it was a modest effort on the part of Aguilera, who delivered a powerful vocal performance.

Waiting for a change

To set us free

Waiting for the day

When you can be you

And I can be me

Waiting for hope

To come around

Waiting for the day

When hate is lost

And love is found

9. "24K Magic" by Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars has proven himself to possess a raw talent for original music, with his roots in R&B, whether rocking the most dance-able beats or crooning about love and heartbreak on the most tender ballads. On this catchy dance anthem, he infuses synthpop, disco, and R&B to create an irresistible blend suitable for any dance floor, accompanied as usual by his killer voice, which is undoubtedly the envy of all the world. His live performances of the song don't disappoint, either, turning Saturday Night Live into a lively dance party.

8. "Brand New" by Ben Rector

The epitome of a feel-good song, from a grossly underrated talent. Ben Rector has been making music for years, with little airtime on mainstream radio. That finally changed when "Brand New" became a moderate success on mainstream radio, and rightfully so. The song doesn't have any real focal point, but speaks of a general feeling of empowerment and "walking on clouds," and I feel uplifted every time I hear it.

Like when I close my eyes

And don't even care

If anyone sees me dancing

Like I can fly

And don't even think

I'm touching the ground

Like a heartbeat skip

Like an open page

Like a one-way trip

On an aeroplane

It's the way that I feel

When I'm with you

Brand new

7. "Drug Dealer" by Macklemore ft. Ariana Deboo

Throughout his career, hip hop artist Macklemore has never been discreet about his history of drug abuse. In 2016, he appeared with President Obama in a PSA at the White House to raise awareness of opioid addiction, an epidemic that is plaguing the nation, and one that Macklemore has personal experience with. "Drug Dealer" marks his third track about addiction, which is possibly even more harrowing than his first two, but just as poignant. Macklemore's rap performance conveys his desperation and despair at his inability to kick his addiction to painkillers, and is accompanied by a memorable hook by Ariana Deboo, delivering a soft but biting critique of pharmaceutical companies:

My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor

Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma

He said that he would heal me, heal me

But he only gave me problems, problems

My drug dealer was doctor, doctor

Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma

I think you're trying to kill me, kill me

Tried to kill me for a dollar, dollar

6. "Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake has had his hits and misses as an artist, with his most recent works regurgitating the same boy band-esque crooning love songs, and repeating the same themes in many of them. This song, from the animated film Trolls, came as a pleasant surprise and dominated mainstream radio in the Spring. Boosted by a catchy beat and a stellar, pitch-perfect vocal performance by Timberlake, the song functions as a quintessential feel-good dance anthem, motivating anyone to jam out in their cars.

5. "7 Years" by Lukas Graham

The Danish band Lukas Graham crossed over to the U.S. music scene with this breakout hit in early 2016, which dominated mainstream radio and is nominated for multiple Grammys. In a coming-of-age progression similar to that of Five for Fighting's "100 Years," the protagonist of the song reflects on his childhood years, and then looks toward the future, pondering what life will be like for him in old age. The song is a poignant testament to the power of storytelling, performed so beautifully by Lukas Graham frontman Lukas Forchhammer, and culminating with a powerhouse finale that gives me goosebumps:

Soon we'll be sixty years old

My daddy got sixty one

Remember life, and then your life

Becomes a better one

I made a man so happy

When I wrote a letter once

I hope my children come and visit

Once or twice a month

4. "Words" by Birdy

Another seriously underrated talent is Birdy, a 20-year-old British musician who rose to prominence as a teenager with her dark, bleeding-heart cover of Bon Iver's "Skinny Love." Birdy has proven herself to be quite the prodigy, especially with this lovely ballad, on which she sings so beautifully and displays an impressive control of pitch in her voice, proving herself a formidable talent. Needless to say, she does not disappoint:

If I can't hold you now

Keep thinking that

You might not come around

I have no words

I have no words to say

If I can't change your mind

Keep thinking, "Is this

Our last goodbye?"

You say it first

You say it first, to me

3. "The Sound" by The 1975

Two years after their breakout hit "Girls," The 1975 achieved mainstream recognition again, possibly topping their initial hit with the irresistible "The Sound." The music video shows the band desperately trying to entertain a bemused audience, whose unimpressed commentary was stolen from negative feedback from music critics, such as, "Terrible high-pitched vocals over soulless robo beats." I don't know what these critics heard, but I hear an infectious, upbeat, vibrant, well-composed tune, with a stellar vocal performance by frontman Matthew Healy:

You're so conceited

I said I love you

Why does it matter

If I lied to you?

I don't regret it

But I'm glad that we're through

So don't you tell me

That you just don't get it

'Cause I know you do

2. "Formation" by Beyonce

No "Best Songs of 2016" list would be complete without this one. The Queen B's conversation-provoking tribute to Black Power racked up multiple Grammy nominations and topped most "Best of 2016" lists. Beyonce ignited a firestorm with her spectacular, impeccably choreographed live performance of the song at the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show. The song is essentially Beyonce's response to her critics, touching heavily on Black Lives Matter and the national debate surrounding racial justice in America. It practically cannot be listened to without Beyonce's impressive accompanying video, juxtaposing numerous clips of different elements of black culture into a masterpiece of stunning originality, featuring some memorable choreographed dance moves by Beyonce and her backup dancers, plus a stellar performance by Beyonce and a variety of different styles of hair often sported by black people. When the Queen B repeats the lyric, "I slay," she is not messing around:

I see it, I want it

I stunt, yellow-bone it

I dream it, I work hard

I grind 'til I own it

I twirl on them haters

Albino alligators

El Camino with the seat low

Sippin' Cuervo with no chasers

1. "Wild Horses" by Birdy

The top spot goes deservedly to the raw talent of musical prodigy Birdy. You thought she was amazing on "Words"; on "Wild Horses," she absolutely slays. She is pitch-perfect throughout the entire song, but when she reaches the chorus and hits the high notes, the power of her voice bombards you with a force, declaring to her ex-lover that she will be the one to come out stronger from their painful breakup. Birdy displays the full range of her breathtaking talent on this bleeding-heart love song. It's an injustice that she is not more popular, because her musical ability is unmatched.

I will survive

And be the one who's stronger

I will not beg you to stay

I will move on

And you should know

I mean it

Wild horses running free


Cover Image Credit: sharemania.us

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18 Times Kate Middleton Was Actually All Of Us In College, Beside The Princess Thing

Every girl has to go through her clueless college stage before she reaches Duchess status.
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Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

Pick out your best outfit and make sure it's a good hair day because everyone will be viewing these photos forever... and in Kate's place that is more than true. Luckily she looks as gorgeous as ever. Does she ever have a bad hair day?

17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

Maybe a prince will be right around the corner to sweep you off your feet so you won't have to figure your life out.
Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

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Defending Game Of Thrones Season 8

Warning: The Night is dark and full of spoilers

Alyson
Alyson
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So unless you've been living under a rock on Mars you've very likely heard of the hit HBO show "Game of Thrones," which is based off the popular fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George RR Martin. While he is clearly an amazing writer and a genius for creating the world of Westeros. But he takes a really long time to write his books. He wrote the first "Game of Thrones" book back in 1996, and now, 23 years later, only five of the seven books are out and we have no idea when book six is coming (though it should have come out two years ago). So when the show concluded its fifth season they were out of books and the show runners were left on their own. Well not completely on their own, they got some notes from Martin on how he planned the ending, but for the most part they're making up their own things.

So it's no surprise that there are some fans that aren't happy with the way things have played out during the later seasons, that the show runners are disrespecting the world and the story Martin created. Admittedly there are some valid points, the writing on the show has a completely different feel to it now that the books no longer directly influence it. The show feels less grounded than it did before and characters seemed to have suddenly gained the ability to teleport. How else do you explain how journeys that once took at least five episodes to make are now down to five minutes. But I don't think it's fair to completely trash on the show. I personally have really enjoyed this season.

There's a lot of points I can make in defending season 8, but there's one I want to specifically focus on, and that's the battle of Winterfell in episode three. Many were upset not just because the lighting was bad and we couldn't see what was going on, but because the battle with the White Walkers happened too soon. That this is what the series has been building up to and it shouldn't have been wasted in one episode.

This is another valid point, the White Walkers were a threat introduced in the first scene in the first episode. They're the greatest threat to the realm, making the political games everyone's been playing look like children fighting in the sand box. As of now, the Night King is dead and Cersi is still a threat to be defeated.

I do agree that the White Walkers should have been the big final battle of the series, but I do understand why Cersi is the final boss in the show. Way back in season one we were drawn into the show for all the politics and the drama going on in King's Landing. We were all asking the big question: who was gonna sit on the Iron Throne in the end?

The final fight in King's Landing is fitting for a show titled "Game of Thrones" makes sense because solving the problem of who's gonna rule the seven kingdoms matches the title. "A Song of Ice and Fire" sound like an epic fantasy saga. So my guess is that the books will end with the big fight between the White Walkers and mankind, because it matches the tone that the title of the series gives.

If you're not happy with the direction the show is taking, fear not. The ending of the book series hasn't been revealed yet. I have a feeling Martin might be holding out on us, waiting until the show ends before giving us his version of the ending.

Alyson
Alyson

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