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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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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The End Of An Odyssey: My Time As A Writer

Like all chapters in life, there has to come an end. This ending is by no means easy, but rather one that is bittersweet. But, like all odysseys, it is time for this one to end.

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When I first decided I wanted to write for the Odyssey, I was going into my senior year at the University of Maine. I had always been an avid reader of Odyssey articles, whether it was to seek advice, comfort, or sole entertainment. I was always inspired by how raw and honest each article was, and I really wanted to have the chance to write such types of articles as well. When I applied and later got the call that I had made it onto the Odyssey team at UMaine, I was ecstatic! I felt like now was finally the time I could share my innermost thoughts and feelings publicly and work on becoming a better writer.

I have always loved to write. Since the day I first picked up a pencil, writing has been a passion of mine. Now as an Odyssey member, I knew this was my chance to be truly heard.

I began by writing solely political articles, as I was a political science student and loved to shed light on controversial topics. My first article was about the then-recent presidential election. I was full of nerves the day it got published, and rightfully so, as my post drew in many critics. Facebook is a shark-tank of sorts, everyone there is waiting for just the right bait to come out and attack. However, I loved the fact that my opinions were being formally materialized for everyone to see. Pretty much anyone in the world could read my article, which served as an inspiration to keep writing.

What started as a political-only "blog" of sorts slowly evolved into a diary-like platform. I found that writing about whatever hardship I had been going through at the time helped me process it and move forward. Writing is very therapeutic, and I wasn't ashamed or embarrassed to put my private emotions out in the open, though I had received much backlash for it from many.

Yet what kept me motivated to keep pushing the envelope and staying true to my word-literally, was my amazing, influential Odyssey team. We all would share our topics for the week and vent about any criticisms we may have received after one of our articles had been published. I have been very fortunate to have such a supportive, caring team of Odyssey writers, else I likely would've regressed back to writing neutral articles.

So as weeks turned to months, writing for Odyssey felt like second nature. The pride I would feel once an article went public was indescribable. Looking back now at the 70+ articles I wrote, I can literally be transported back to a certain point in my life with every past article. I can see how much I've grown as a person and can acknowledge that I successfully was able to overcome certain obstacles I never thought possible.

Writing, just like time, heals everything.

The Odyssey saw me through the toughest times of my life, and no matter how uncertain things may have seemed at the time, what was for sure was the fact that I had the written word to fall back on. With each article that I wrote, I felt like a weight had been lifted. And not only that but also knowing that any particular article may have served to help someone else who may have been going through a similar situation, only inspired me more.

So, my decision to stop writing for the Odyssey came with great difficulty, as it has become such a huge part of my life. The adult world is very hectic, and responsibilities pile up as fast as bills. Lately, I just felt like I haven't been putting the time and effort into writing articles like I did during college. I owe it to the Odyssey community to be honest, as a privilege like this should never be seen as a chore.

I am so unbelievably grateful to have had this experience for the past year and a half of my life. Now, I have a permanent online library that represents who I truly am, and for the rest of my life I can look back at these articles and relive some of those memories. The Odyssey helped me to grow emotionally, and I met so many amazing, inspiring people along the way.

But, like all odysseys, it is time for this one to end.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my writing and read my articles. You have no idea how happy it made me feel to hear someone say how much they loved a certain article or how relatable another one was. Thank you to my Odyssey team for always encouraging me to write from the heart and never be too afraid to speak my mind.

And lastly, thank you to Odyssey, for serving as a safe, encouraging place for young people to voice their opinions and ideas freely. I will forever be thankful for this journey of growth, reflection, and expression.

Off to the next odyssey.

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