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  • Two Years of Last.fm

    5 jan. 2011, 21h28m

    The second year on last.fm passed for quite a while so I decided to take a look back at the music that impressed me during that period.

    I. Artists

    1. Weezer (746)
    This has been a great year for a Weezer fan (one new album, a deluxe edition of an old one and a cd with previously unreleased b-sides), thus a great year for me. Although already being very enthusiastic when it came down to their music, I started to like them even more. At the begining of 2010 I was getting more and more drawn into the albums Make Believe and Pinkerton. Most of the time, they are just a bunch of geeks who play around with their musical instruments, words or lifes and put all of those into one of a kind songs. But mostly, behind their apparent puerile songs some hidden meanings lay. Weezer is an unique group, Rivers Cuomo is a special voice, currently my favorite male vocalist, and their style and honesty as their best policy come to support my addiction for their music. They’re one of those weirdest bands I’ve ever heard, some dudes who step far away from the cliche musical career and write some great stuff.

    2. Sheryl Crow (646)
    I wouldn’t have thought she wouldn’t be the first. However, my love for her hasn’t died at all. With all this passing of the time, Sheryl seems to incorporate the perfect singer for me, different, eclectic and fascinating. This year she stepped into a different direction for which I have to give her kudos. Initially pissed off by the fact she would make a soul album I found myself enjoying her newest work in a big way and wondering again and again how great an artist she can be. My admiration for her is without boundaries and her music is still the one that appeals to me the most, out of all artists I’ve ever listened to. Also, there’s no other artist who have influenced me as much as she has.

    3. Michael Giacchino (426)
    Who said you need words to express some deep emotions? The emmy awarded composer has a climbed a lot in my charts thanks to his work for the TV show LOST. What seemed to be the perfect soundtrack for the acclaimed series, Giacchino’s songs have been great soundtracks for my study hours, peaceful evenings or reading sessions. Mistery, emotion, sadness, madness embalm the songs from LOST. Not to mention I was pretty much obsessed with the show itself and that was also a factor which supported my passion for Michael Giacchino’s work.

    4. Manic Street Preachers (266)
    They are still at the top of my list, thanks to their great songwriting. The rebelious and courageous group seem to never give up and make great music on a constant basis. A lot of the times, their complex songs make me contemplate a lot to discover the true meaning of their work. I admire them for the way they write music and how they depict complex themes such as humanity, anxiety, feelings, introspection, popular culture.

    5. Ada Milea (214)
    She remains the Romanian artist whom I admire the most. Although I neglected her in the last couple of months, Ada still has me on her side thanks to her songs full of wit and playfulness. You can find her outside of all the plain stereotypes doing wonders with just a guitar and a sharp mind.

    6. Brandi Carlile (209)
    When you say Brandi Carlile you refer to beautiful woman, a tremendously valuable artist and a humble and profound person. Brandi is a proof of how great an artist can be without being in the spotlight or riding the top of the charts. Her songs are one of the most beautiful and heartfelt I have ever heard and I often tend to consider her music as quite therapeutical. There is so much beauty in her sadness, not to mention she has one of the most touching voice I’ve ever heard.


    7. AC/DC (185)
    A band who needs no presentations, one of the few who still manage to be popular despite their youth has died long time before. Love the energy they unleash in their songs and how they can make me shake my head in no time. What I regret a lot is that I lost the opportunity to see them live. However, as often as I can I transform my home in a concert arena and play their songs at unimaginable high volume rates.

    8. Kate Nash (179)
    Here’s a crazy one. Discovered two years before, she became an instant favorite and her songs brought me all this time lots of smiles and moments of laughter. Nash’s music is playful and fun, she is just a kid playing with her piano while producing one of the strangest but most endearing songs. She swears, she laughs, she cries, she comes out as vulnerable and sincere. You must have a inner child trapped in order to like Kate.

    9. Johnny Cash (176)
    His works is the best proof of the immortality of an artist. The iconic singer remains for me as one of the crucial artist in the evolution of music. Maybe not as influential as Bob Dylan but Cash did what he did best till the moment he died, he sang with his all heart and soul.

    10. Relient K (176)
    Discovered last year thanks to Răzvan, the band made a lasting impression on me. The only thing that has changed is that now I like the main vocalist’s voice even more. The christian rock group has the best songs for a winter holiday and I also give them credit for mocking popular culture in their song titles. Relient K don’t forget to get profound, melancholic or spiritual, their Deathbed being one of the most touching song I’ve ever heard.

    11. Jack Johnson (167)
    Initially, I didn’t like him at all...until last year when I’ve heard Sleep Through The Static and If I Had Eyes. However, it was only this autumn when I decided to dig deep into his discography and give some of his albums a chance. The result was me becoming extremely enthusiastic about his music, especially about his latest releases, To The Sea and Sleep To The Static. This laid-back dude does a perfect job of bringing summer in the middle of a winter or autumn. His music, acoustic, chill, pleasant and sometimes uplifting is the perfect medicine for crappy moods and bad days. Jack’s songs are mostly invitations to enjoy the simplicity of life but he can also get melancholic and complex, finding the perfect words and melody to express the matters of life.

    12. Bon Jovi (160)
    An anthemic artist for some generations whom I hope to see in his forecoming concert in Bucharest. He truly kicks ass, his newest albums deliver and his great shape doesn’t seem to ever abandon him.

    13. Jaymay (148)
    My dear Jaymay remains an artist close to my heart. Her shattering and endearing songs kept her on my list this year. What I realised is that Jaymay doesn’t stand a chance to be just a passing pleasure, although I’ve given her a fair amount of attention in the past, I still can’t get enough of her and the songs witten by her still make me cosy inside.

    14.Terra Naomi (136)
    Another artist that doesn’t get the credit she deserves. Initially started by posting music on myspace and youtube, Terra gained a loyal fanbase who have been appreciating her for her talent ever since. I have come to discover that Terra is a valuable artist, who chose the independent way in creating music without making any compromises. The result is the birth of lots of great songs, sung in a honest and beautiful voice, at times gentle and peaceful, at times filled with rage. I’m crazy about this chick.

    15. The Rolling Stones (128)
    Year by year, they go upper and upper in my book. Not only I respect them for what they have greated for so many decades but I discover more of their gems on a constant basis and become more and more impressed with what they do.

    16. Norah Jones (128)
    There so much to love about Norah. Three brilliant albums proved that there’s no doubt in how talented she is. Her voice sounds like coming from heaven and her songs are perfect soundtracks for peaceful evenings.

    17. Green Day (121)
    Green Day used to be my favorite band in the childhood. Although I am not as crazy about them as I used to be, they are often a pleasant presence in my winamp with their energetic punk. Along with Coldplay they have been the first band I was truly obsessed in my teenage years.

    18. Coldplay (119)
    Like Green Day, Coldplay also used to be among my favorites back in the day. I am surprised about their longevity among my top bands and I am still amazed by their consitency and I am very sure that their upcoming work will make me like Coldplay even more.

    19. Eels (116) – Some time ago, Timea introduced me to their music and I found them quite different and soon became interested in their work. This is another case of extreme honesty band in which most of the songs are very personal but expressed in a great way.

    20. Tapinarii (114) – Not good voices, not brilliant from a musical point of view and often douchebags. Still, they grew a lot of me, during this year. Their raw and honest songs became some huge guilty pleasure for me and I often found them playing on repeat in my head. Their songwriting remarking through simplicity and metaphors gained me on their side. They're one of the top bands of the year for me and I regret not giving them a chance earlier.

    II. Songs

    1. WeezerPeace (34)
    Boy, who doesn’t need to find their peace? The song starts with a furious guitar riff which may embody the tumult of Rivers’ desire to escape his headspinning life. Peace has been the anthem of my last year and I simply cannot put into words how this song made me feel.

    2. WeezerButterfly (29)
    I love when Weezer uses animal metaphors for human feelings. A mixture of innocence and regret, all encapsulated in a very moving song. Butterfly is really special to me and for almost a year it still remains one of my favorite songs to play at my guitar.

    3. Sheryl CrowSummer Day (29)
    It took a while for Sheryl’s single to grow on me but when it did it never thought of making me bored with it. There’s so much happiness surrounding this song, a invitation to recall the moments of falling in love under the sweet rays of the summer sunshine. This track is so optimistic and has such a positive vibe that it has always made me feel better whenever I was sad.

    4. Terra NaomiEverybody Knows (26)
    I used to play this song a lot in the cold winter days, leaving it play repeatedly. Everybody knows gives that peaceful floating sensation while growing in intesity and becoming more and more beautiful with every second.

    5. WeezerThe Damage In Your Heart (24)
    One of these songs which takes a look at how hard is to let go when you feel broken hearted. The weeping guitars and the melancholic tone of the song can bring back a lot of painful memories and acknowledge the sadness in one’s loss. I consider it a song perfect for licking wounds One more loss, in a losing life, doesn’t hurt so bad, anymore.

    6. Relient KMerry Christmas, Here’s To Many More (24)
    I have always been in love with Christmas. Therefore, wintery flavored tracks have always made a big impression on me. After Răzvan sent this one to me, it quickly become the main song on the soundtrack of my last holiday season. Merry Christmas, Here’s to many more has in fact a sad touch and is not just another Christmas song

    7. WeezerPut Me Back Together (24)
    This is one of the redeeming tracks of Raditude, Weezer’s worst album of all time. Here, it’s clear that I’m not getting better/When I fall down you put me back together. Another Weezer song who depicts the image of someone who almost lost any hope. But it’s addictive and a overall great.

    8. WeezerHaunt You Every Day (23)
    The perfect ending of what I consider a very solid album. In this song we kinda get a glimpse of Rivers' sick and tortured mind. As far as I am concerned the piano and the soothing guitars make this song a masterpiece.

    9. Slow ClubChristmas TV (23)
    One of the best songs I’ve ever heard. After seeing how this song was aggressively obsessing a friend of mine, I became curious and gave this one a try. I soon became a Christmas TV obsessed myself. And there’s no hope for a cure.

    10. Sheryl CrowLong Road Home (22)
    Who would have thought that the sweet hippie gospel song would be the one that I liked the most from 100 Miles from Memphis? It quickly became a guilty pleasure and what I realize is that Long Road Home can also be a good choice for a winter holiday playlist.

    11. The Rolling StonePlundered My Soul (22)
    After hearing it on the radio, Plundered My Soulbecame a constant presence on my mp3. It’s one of the songs that I’ve listened to the most and still manage to be up high in my book.

    12. WeezerMemories (22)
    An ode to a chaotic youth full of fun times that the members of the band use to have. The first single of Hurley does a good job at reminiscing the past good times with a grain of yearning but while still making you shake your head along the energetic guitars.

    13. TapinariiEmbargo pe creier (20)
    The song that made me their fan. Meditative and introspective.

    14. WeezerRuling Me (20)
    One of my favorites from Hurley, Ruling Me is nothing more than an energetic, uplifting happy track. Not to mention extremely addictive.

    15. Terra NaomiSay It’s Possible (20)
    I have been liking this track for quite a lot, Say It’s Possible being one of the causes I fell in love with Terra. I like the song's double meaning and how great it feels to play it on the guitar.

    16. WeezerWhere’s My Sex? (20)
    This song is so stupid that sometimes I wonder how the fuck I didn’t write it before Cuomo. The title is misleading, the track being in fact about socks (Rivers’ daughter said sex instead of socks). However, the track is fun and goofy enough to make it irresistible.

    17. The CardigansCommunicaton (19)
    The Cardigans surprised me once again this year with two great songs. The first one, Communication has a personal connotation for me, this making it even more close to my heart.

    18. The CardigansLosing A Friend (19)
    The other Cardigans song that obsessed me this year is Losing a Friend, a sad and mellow ballad about losing someone that you love and the impossibility to do nothing to change it.

    19. Jack JohnsonGo On (19)
    Written for Jack’s son, the song is about letting go and supporting one’s happiness no matter what. One of the best songs I've ever heard.

    20. Sheryl Crow100 Miles From Memphis (19)
    Initially, I didn’t like the title track from Sheryl’s newest album. Although it took a while to grew on me but it became a quick addiction. Love the playful orchestration and the electric guitar part.

    III.Albums


    1.WeezerMake Believe (159)
    Often criticised and definitely not praised by the fans, Make Believe is accused of being too polished and somewhat far from Weezer’s initial direction. Obviously, by being the most listened album in 2010, Make Believe made a big impression on me and got me hooked on a lot of songs. I consider it an extremely good album and I have to say that this is Weezer’s work that appeals to me the most, to this day. I quickly fell in love with all of the songs, most of which have been the soundtrack of my life for this year. Some of the tracks may not be the most brilliant from a lyrical point of view but the guitar riffs kill me everytime.

    Favorite tracks: Peace, Haunt You Every Day, The Damage In Your Heart



    2. WeezerHurley (157)
    After the previous pile of crap called Raditude I thought Weezer were lost for good. But the surprise came when they launched their newest album which featured Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost) on the cover. Solely the cover was enough to make me anxious. When I first heard the songs I was so pleasantly surprised that I abandoned whole my music and listened just to Hurley, non-stop, for three days. The songs differ a lot, one from another, seeming like each of them comes from another Weezer album. Hurley is a great bunch of songs which I can qualify as an amazing comeback. That's a Weezerclassic!

    Favorite tracks: Run Away, Ruling Me, Time Flies



    3. Michael GiacchinoLost: Season 3 (147)
    The musical score from Lost is always a great presence in my playlist and it makes me applaud Giacchino’s work for the tv show LOST. The soundtrack from season three follows the same trend, with mysterious, profound, mellow and sometimes abrasive songs. With a bigger number of tracks, the OST of the 3rd season doesn’t disappoint and has some tracks that stand out of the crowd.

    Favorite tracks: Heart Of Thawyer, Claire-A Culpa, Ocean's Apart



    4. Sheryl Crow - 100 Miles From Memphis (138)
    Hearing that Sheryl is going to launch a soul album surely wasn’t a pleasant surprise for me. Even after I listened to the whole CD I was very disappointed and missed my good ol’Sheryl. Time has passed and the songs started to grow on me one by one making me a huge fan of 100 Miles From Memphis. The album is quite different from what she has made so far (it still has songs who sound like they could be taken from her previous albums) but it manages to be remarkable. Soul, funk, rock n’ roll, jazz are all present and make this CD an eclectic attempt to write another chapter in a spectactular musical career.

    Favorite tracks: Long Road Home, Sideways, Stop



    5. Kate NashMy Best Friend Is You (130)
    The delightful Kate Nash came back with a slightly different album. It can still be obvious that she is a crazy kid but it can be observed that we are facing a more mature person. Unlike her previous piano invaded album, My Best Friend Is You has a 60s vibe with catchy choruses and obsessing melodies. Not as good as Made of Bricks but still a great cd.

    Favorite tracks: Don't You Want to Share The Guilt, I Hate Seagulls, Take Me to a Higher Plane



    6. WeezerPinkerton (129)
    Open wounds and inner torments, an honest meeting with Rivers and his demons – in the iconic Pinkerton, the album which is said to have influenced multilple artists and also the birth of the emo music. Anarchistic instruments burst, the pain, sometimes the musicality misses and the songs become chaotic -blatantly simple but full of hidden meanings. When you feel like screaming in rage or putting your head on the table, Pinkerton would be best. As a bonus, the guys released a deluxe edition this year, with a bunch of live versions and previously unreleased tracks. This has made me realize that the Pinkerton age has been the peak of their career. Although they have still launched some great works nothing has been as soulful and painfully honest like Pinkerton.

    Favorite tracks: Butterfly, Pink Triangle, The Good Life



    7. Michael GiacchinoLost: Season 4 (117)
    As a style, the 4th edition of the LOST soundtrack doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Still, the songs have a more sad touch and the melancholy is more present from a sonnical point of view.

    Favorite tracks: The Constant, There's No Place Like Home, Landing Party



    8. Norah Jones - The Fall (97)
    The girl with the heavenly voice came back in business with a somehow different album. Distancing somewhat from the jazz, Norah released something rather folksy. The Fall, a personal and dark album concentrates on the artist’s separation from her long time boyfriend and agent. Her sorrow and pain is beautifully put into magnificent songs. Not only this is her most honest and intimate album but as far as I’m concerned, it is also the best.

    Favorite tracks: You've Ruined Me, I Wouldn't Need You, Chasing Pirates



    9. Tom DiceTeardrops (95)
    The debut album of the artist whom I discovered at this year’s Eurovision has been. The quality of this release doesn’t reside on high peaks but Tom’s voice make Teardrops a delightful presence in one’s playlist. As far as the lyrical point of view, the album doesn’t excel at all but this may be due to the fact that the singer isn’t extremely familiarised with English.

    Favorite tracks: Murderer, Lucy, Too Late


    10. Jack JohnsonSleep Through The Static (94)
    Despite being just on the 10th place, Sleep Through The Static has been my favorite album during this second year of last.fm. I used to despise Jack Johnson with a huge passion but after I heard If I Had Eyes I become more indulgent towards his music. After listening Sleep Through The Static I became very interested in this artist but only after I’ve heard Go On I decided to give the whole album a try. The result was falling in love with this 2008 album, each and every song appealing to me in a way or another. Jack takes a more dark approach, putting some really intimate songs on this album, giving up his happy summerish tunes in favor of more melancholic ones or even protest songs. This release is a stellar album which comes to testify for Jack's surprisingly immense talent.

    Favorite tracks: Sleep Through The Static, Go On, All At Once



    11. DeVotchKaLittle Miss Sunshine Soundtrack (78)
    A summer night has caught me watching Little Miss Sunshine. The film made a huge and unexpected impression on me, being able to also notice the soundtrack along the lines. Knowing I had it somewhere on my hard drive as I received it from a friend I paid more attention to it. A mixture of styles, a pleasant and delightful cd which has been among my favorites this year.

    Favorite tracks: You Love Me, Til the End of Time, The Winner Is



    12. Trevor MorrisThe Tudors (78)
    Morris’ instrumental album evokes perfectly those medieval times in which Henry VIII used to rule. The Tudors was indeed a great TV show and the soundtrack lived up to its quality.

    Favorite tracks: The Tudors - Main Title Theme, A Historic Love, Wolsey Commits Suicide / Finale



    13. Manic Street PreachersPostcards from a Young Man (75)
    Labeled as the "one last shot at mass communication" the newest albums from the Manics doesn’t disappoint at all although it has almost nothing in common with its predecessor, the brilliant Journal For Plague Lovers. Having a more commercial touch, this album goes into a pop-rock direction with songs that could sit well in some charts but still keep a high standard.

    Favorite tracks: I Think I've Found It, A Billion Balconies Facing The Sun



    14. Johnny CashAmerican VI: Ain’t No Grave (71)
    The last album from the series of American Albums, the sixth one ends masterfully the collection of brilliantly sung tracks. The songs are recorded soon before the artist died. I was looking forward to this album because of a cover after a Sheryl Crow song, Redemption Day. The aforementioned proved to be my favorite from ain’t no grave but the rest of the songs managed to live up to the expectations. There’s something in his voice that produce instant goosebumps and the profoundness of the songs carry you to another dimension.

    Favorite tracks: Redemption Day, Ain't No Grave, Redemption Day



    15. Michael GiacchinoLost: Season 5 (70)
    The most recent album from the Lost soundtrack series shows a more dark vibe and embody more mistery than the previous one. As I expected, the new set of LOST songs delivered, even more than the previous albums, I would say.

    Favorite tracks: La Fleur, The Science of Faith, Together or Not Together
  • 2009

    8 jan. 2010, 20h16m

    Here is a list with what I consider to be the best musical releases of the past year, as well as a chart of the artists whom I discovered in 2009 and made a big impression on me.

    ALBUMS




    1. Brandi Carlile - Give Up The Ghost





    2. Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers





    3. Dolores O'Riordan - No Baggage





    4. Bruce Springsteen - Working on a Dream





    5. 21st Century Breakdown - Green Day





    6. Norah Jones - The Fall





    7. Sheryl Crow - Tuesday Night Music Club (Deluxe Edition) - reissued version of her first debut album from 1993; included in this list for the bonus CD including previously unreleased tracks.





    8. Relient K - Forget And Not Slow Down





    9. Bon Jovi - The Circle





    10. Regina Spektor - Far





    11. Kiss - Sonic Boom





    12. Tegan and Sara - Sainthood





    13. Eels - Hombre Lobo





    14. Lynyrd Skynyrd - God & Guns





    15. Bob Dylan - Christmas In The Heart





    SINGLES

    1. Brandi Carlile - Dreams

    2. Green Day- 21 Guns

    3. Unkle Bob - Satellite

    4. Dolores O'Riordan - The Journey

    5. Manic Street Preachers - Jackie Collins Existential Question Time

    6. AC/DC - Anything Goes

    7. Jack Johnson - Sleep Through The Static

    8. Bon Jovi - We Weren't Born To Follow

    9. Rivers Cuomo - My Brain

    10. Blue October - Should Be Loved

    11. Just Jack - Embers

    13. Coldplay- Life in Technicolor II

    14. James Morrison - Broken Strings

    14. Regina Spektor- Laughing With

    15. Sharon Corr- It's Not a Dream




    ARTISTS DISCOVERED IN 2009


    1. Flogging Molly

    2. Jaymay

    3. Relient K

    4. Mazzy Star

    5. Blue October

    6. Rivers Cuomo

    7. Scars on Broadway

    8. Unkle Bob

    9. Alexandrina Hristov

    10. Janis Joplin

    11. Laura Marling

    12. Kate Bush

    13. Michael Giacchino

    14 Loreena McKennitt

    15. Hugh Laurie

    16. Alternosfera

    16. Johnny Flynn

    17. Tudor Gheorghe

    18. Band From TV

    19. Richard Cheese

    20. Vandaveer

  • One year of last.fm

    29 déc. 2009, 2h30m

    It had been one year since I joined last.fm on 9th November so I thought this journal entry would be appropriate. Here are the most listened artists, songs and album during my first year at last.fm.

    I. Artists

    1. Sheryl Crow (1126)
    I know, there may not be as many people crazy about Sheryl out there as I am. She’s not the type of singer you can fall in love with at the first listen. Her songs are complex, filled with symbols, unlikely metaphors while being very expressive and original. And as a bonus, Sheryl has a distinctive sound and often uses a narrative style. Eclectic and weird, she can rock it loud, play country, put the fun in funk or sit by the fire and sing some sweet folk tracks. As far as I’m concerned, she has songs fit for every mood someone may be in. Although she has wandered through a variety of styles (while still not jumping too far from what she really is at heart, a classic rocker), nowadays she has somewhat returned to her roots and decided to rather change people opinions instead of making them dance. It’s admirable she has always fought for the causes she believed in (she's not afraid of expressing her opinions in her songs, too). Sheryl’s honest, sometimes too honest…she can get up on the stage, undress her protective layers and become extremely vulnerable in front of thousands of people…and in the same time offer so much (kudos to her talented band, too, especially to the guitarists). I prefer to see her live. Complex, intriguing, talented, different…Sheryl Crow remarks as being a great storyteller, honest, funny, crazy, (still) hot woman who even knows how to make fun of herself.

    2. Weezer (455)
    Definitely, one of my biggest musical guilty pleasures. I have a lot of fun while listening to them; they have some pretty awesome guitar riffles, playful, noisy tunes but also a few heartbreaking ballads. While a couple of their songs may seem childish or even retarded I’ve always appreciated their honesty and vocalist’s Rivers Cuomo's courage to embrace his childish, innocent and especially his goofy side in songwriting.

    3. Manic Street Preachers (423)
    This is an example of a really underrated band. The Welsh guys play for more than twenty years and have managed to release some of the most brilliant songs I’ve ever listened to. Alternative rock, industrial, punk, britpop, hard rock…most of their tracks are reflective, they have a depressive touch and sometimes refer to politics and the society. Ambiguity, complexity and brilliance are some of the words that described the best what the Manics do. Not the typical rock band, MSP still go their own way, writing bizarre, intriguing, spectacular music that incorporate more emotions and thoughts than any other bands I’ve ever heard. Sometimes shocking, weird and painfully honest, this band has proven its intelligence in the albums they have written (The Holy Bible, Everything Must Go, Journal For Plague Lovers) while still launching some shallow ones.

    4. Brandi Carlile (419)
    Really grew on me during the last year. Like Sheryl, she is an example of a complete artist. Not only for her beautiful voice which resonates with her inner feelings, sometimes strong and powerful, at times vulnerable and weak…but also for her songs, the live performances…they all reflect how much of complex and beautiful human being she is. Honesty is another characteristic of her, Brandi having the guts to sing her inner torments. What I admire about her is that Carlile is an artist who grows, not just as a singer but as a person (thing proven by each album she released).

    5. Coldplay (357)
    Coldplay, being a band of perfectionists, has some really awesome songs, extremely deep and intelligent. Their albums are true testaments of their talent. Chris Martin is also a great pianist and vocalist.

    6. Ada Milea (327)
    The definition of an artist and of a nonconformist. The Romanian freak-folk artist has made me a huge fan of her thanks to her witty, fun, subtle, sarcastic songs. Aside from mocking pretty much everything, Ada is the type of singer who grabs the guitar and protests in such subtle and funny ways and who unleashes her crazy and childish side on stage. Displaying a somewhat rebellious attitude, she is not the type of person/artist who aligns to the standards, choosing to have a strong identity with the risk of being controversial.

    7. Bruce Springsteen (319)
    I’ve known him for a pretty long time but only this year I decided to pay more attention to him. What I’ve discovered is that Springsteen is a great folk-rock singer who can write about human condition in ways that other artists are not capable. Definitely, an everlasting artist, Springsteen has gained me on his side especially due to his newer albums (I’m still in the process of discovering his older work).

    8. Green Day (295)
    The punk band used to be my favorite as a teenager. It all started with the American Idiot album. I listened to it and I quickly became addicted. A great influence on me, Green Day still is still one of my favorite rock groups.

    9. AC/DC (281)
    Rock n’ roll ain’t noise pollution. These guys proved that. I consider them the one of the best bands of all time, their impact on the evolution of music of being more than huge. Great to listen in the morning, their hits are filled with so much energy that can make you get up from your bed faster than any annoying alarm clock. Rock wouldn’t be the same without AC/DC.

    10. Flogging Molly (272)
    I’ve always been an admirer of Ireland’s culture and music. More of a recent discovery, Flogging Molly has quickly become one of my favorite bands. It seems like the secret formula for them is irish + punk = greatness. I have a lot of fun while listening to them.

    11. Dolores O’Riordan (262)
    What can I say? I’m a sucker for chicks with guitars. And aside from her guitar, The Cranberries’ vocalist has other advantages that make her one of my top singers: First of all, her voice (probably my favorite in the whole wide world) - haunting, powerful, distinctive and also her way of interpretation, like she pours her soul out on the stage made me a big fan of her. Not to mention her musical style, different and easily identifiable with Dolores. Her music is a mixture of rock, dark folk, pop, acoustic piano…they all combine into an original sound which usually has a mystic vibe, some of her songs are like hypnotic incantations.

    12. Dixie Chicks (221)
    Other artists whom I admire a lot as human beings, not only for their musical work. After I’ve heard about the Bush incident, I listened to more of their songs and was pleasantly surprised. The courageous Dixie Chicks have established themselves as one of the top artists (the best-selling female group of all-time) and didn’t give up when they were banned and hated all across the America after exercising their right of free speech. Not just great vocalists, the Dixie Chicks are famous for their talent as instrumentalists. They (along with Johnny Cash & Sheryl Crow) are also one of the reasons I started to like country music more.

    13. Rivers Cuomo (220)
    In the last two years, the main vocalist from Weezer released the Home Recordings, two musical projects consisting in the more obscure tracks of composed by Cuomo. Rivers’ solo work is simply honest, less commercial than what he does with his band. A couple of his songs are immature, simply idiotic, noisy but sincere and relatable…No matter what, I still find something appealing in his music. With experimental songs, more raw and intimate, I sometimes prefer to listen to Rivers Cuomo instead of Weezer.

    14. Jaymay (208)
    Very grateful to Răzvan for this musical gem, that could be the musical revelation of the year for me. Not many people have heard about her, so I guess I’m pretty lucky. The charming Jaymay (pronounced Jamie :P) stands out of the crowd by being a honest, humble folk singer. Her songs, sweet and sometimes sad confessions, are warm and make you feel blessed for being able to get a glimpse of who Jaymay really is. Gentle, romantic, she only needs her guitar to be as amazing as only she can be.

    15. Johnny Cash (198)
    I came upon his work after he passed away. The first thing that got my attention was his unique voice, the way it sounds, like Johnny opened the gates from his soul and let all of us hear the sound within. A great influence of how my musical taste evolved, Cash amazed me through his immortal musical masterpieces and he's the one that made me curious about older music.

    16. The Rolling Stones (197)
    Another rock gods who changed the face of music. A lot of my all-time favorite songs (Honky Tonk Women, I Can Get No Satisfaction, Get Off My Cloud, Gimme Shelter) belong to them. I simply can't ever get bored of this band, no matter how many times I listen to their hits. Maybe that's why they are (rightfully) regarded as the best music group ever, for passing the test of time so well.

    17. Lynyrd Skynyrd (187)
    They introduced me to something called southern rock. And I loved it. Like the Stones, Skynyrd’s tunes hold a special place for me. Despite still continuing its existence after the death of the lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, the band hasn’t reached and will never reach the heights from the Ronnie age, neither creatively, instrumentally nor vocally. Love how so many of their songs have become atemporal rock anthems.

    18. James Morrison (184)
    A special voice and an interesting style. Mixing jazz, soul and funk, Morrison has set high standards in his albums. No doubt he can write high quality music. He embraces his passion for soul and jazz by creating songs with strong influences from the 70s while still sounding contemporary.

    19. The Beatles (173)
    No need to introduce these guys...catchy, brilliant, innovative. At least for me, they will always pass the test of time.

    20. Guns N' Roses (170)
    A true example of an outstanding rock band. They initially gained me on their side thanks to their Sweet Child O'mine, discovered when I was 14. After listening to rest of their songs, I got hooked. I can say Guns have had one of the biggest influence on my musical taste.



    II. Songs

    1. Lynyrd SkynyrdFree Bird (39)
    A rock classic, my 3rd all-time favorite song. Definitely a hymn to freedom. The main reason I’ve listened to it so much is the addictive second part of the song which I consider to be the best guitar solo ever. Free bird - 9 minutes of greatness.

    2. Sheryl CrowAnything But Down (39)
    A catchy but honest and heartfelt song which has the tendency to get me hooked from time to time. Filled with disappointment and anger, the song is pretty much about offering too much and not receiving anything in return (I’ll bring you anything that floats into your mind/But you don’t bring me anything but…down). The ending pretty much sums up that selfless isn’t the right way to be, claims Sheryl (I know you wish you were strong/ You wish you were never wrong/ Well, I got some wishes on my own).

    3. Jaymay - Ill Willed Person (31)
    It’s time for Jaymelancholy. Ill Willed Person, the beautiful song of a break-up, about not holding hard feelings towards an inevitable ending and trying to move on for the sake of that loved one, is the best she has written, in my opinion. Jaymay amazes me again with so much feeling in her voice and how genuinely she can express her pain in a song.

    4. Massive AttackTeardrop (29)
    The video (with a baby in uterus) has given me lots of creeps when I was little. I’ve rediscovered the song as the theme from House MD. And since then, there have been a lot of times I’ve listened to Teardrop. Being so peaceful, hypnotic and calm I’ve used it a lot to relax myself.

    5. Coldplay - Rainy Day (29)
    A cheerful song which resembles with the music from Sims. And I also love rainy days so it’s a win win situation.

    6. AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long (28)
    My second favorite song of all-time. From the guitar riffle in the begining, all through the song…This one has so much energy and I just love it to death!

    7. Sheryl CrowMississippi (28)
    Incredible how so many things can be expressed through just a song. Written by Bob Dylan, Mississippi manages to tell a lot more stories than an album can. This may be my favorite song ever, from a lyrical point of view. Fun, contemplative, intelligent, melancholic and romantic while having an upbeat rhythm. One of the recurring themes in the song are the passing of time (Well my ship’s been split to splinters/ It’s sinking fast/ I’m drowning in the poison/ Got no future/Got no past/But my heart’s not weary/It’s light and it’s free/I’ve got nothing but affection for those who sailed with me) and not having the power to undone things (The emptiness is endless/ Cold as clay/You can always come back/But you can't come back all the way)

    8. Guns N’ RosesSweet Child O’ Mine (28)
    The best song ever written. Fucking epic! Every single bit of this musical gem is brilliant…from Axel interpretation to Slash’s guitar solo and the amazing lyrics. Still in love with this song, after so many years.

    9. WeezerTroublemaker (28)
    A playful track with retarded and funny lyrics which reflects a lot how much of goofy and non-conformist band Weezer is. Troublemaker has always made me laugh and sing along. I often use it to cheer me up.

    10. Brandi CarlileLooking Out (28)
    The opening track of her Give Up The Ghost album and definitely my favorite from that record… Self-reflective and energic, it has some really bold lyrics (Some people get religion, Some people get the truth, I never get the truth) and captures some great moment of honesty regarding her own person (I am afraid of crossing lines/ I am afraid of flying high/ Afraid of inquiring minds/ Afraid of being left behind)

    11. Brandi CarlileDreams (28)
    A personal song - dreaming about somebody knowing hell will freeze when she’ll be yours (Dreams, I have dreams, When I’m awake, When I’m asleep... I can’t have you but I have dreams) It’s not a sad track, actually fun and uplifting, Brandi chooses to laugh about this unfavorable situation and mock herself.

    12. JaymayGray Or Blue (27)
    Probably her most famous track, Gray Or Blue is a simple, cute but awesome song in which Jaymay sings about not having the courage to express her feelings towards someone she likes.

    13. Alexandrina HristovAvionul de aur (26)
    Great acoustic piano song from the Moldovan jazz artist.

    14. Bruce SpringsteenGirls in Their Summer Clothes (26)
    The perfect soundtrack for a hot summer. Contemplative and more of a reflection to passed summers.

    15. Lynyrd SkynyrdSweet Home Alabama (26)
    Another Skynyrd’s masterpiece. To me Sweet Home Alabama is a great summer song, uplifting, fun. Despite listening to it a lot in the past, I still can’t get bored of this one. Immortal Skynyrd!

    16. AnoukR U Kidding Me? (26)
    Thanks to Timea, this song has been in my head for a lot of times. I like Anouk's style and the fact she's an angry woman :P and R U Kidding Me? was a pleasant surprise and and unexpected addictive song.

    17. Relient KDeathbed (25)
    Probably the saddest song I’ve ever heard (I can smell the death on my sheets, covering me/ I can’t believe this is the end…This is my deathbed/I lie here alone) Written from the perspective of a cancer dying person, Deathbed is a beautifully sung sad story, unpredictable, complex, with lots of changes in tempo. Lots of thanks to Răzvan for this one. Deathbed always gives me shivers.

    18. 30 RockHe Needs a Kidney (25)
    This song appeared in the final of episode of the 3rd season of my favorite comedy show, 30 Rock. A bunch of artists that I like (Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones), all gathered together for a fictional charity event. The song refers to Jack Donaghy’s dad, in need of a kidney transplant. He Needs a Kidney had to be fun and witty.

    19. Terra NaomiThe Vicodin Song (25)
    Terra, her piano and a song about getting high. No doubt Terra is a great songwriter but this one really caught my attention at first. I for sure had an addiction for this track.


    20. Unkle BobSatellite (25)
    Just like the first lyrics of the song, I heard it on the radio/ The singer's got a sad, sad song/ I think I'm gonna sing along . Satellite is another sad track from this list which got stuck in my head for a couple of days.


    III. Albums



    1. The Globe Sessions - Sheryl Crow (172)

    This is what I consider to be a truly excellent album. It really reflects the complexity of the artist who wrote the songs and I see it as a proof of how talented Sheryl is as a songwriter. Unlike the rest of Crow’s albums, this one is slightly darker, mainly focusing on her depression, hurtful break-ups, songs filled with disappointment, brute honesty and sometimes even with rage. Personal, contemplative, introspective, spiritual, The Globe Sessions comprises songs that range from hypnotic, acoustic invocations to fun-filled rock-funk tunes. She doesn’t forget to lighten up and even mock herself on tracks such as There Goes the Neighborhood, Mississippi (written by Bob Dylan), Members Only or My Favorite Mistake

    Favorite tracks: Mississippi, Members Only, My Favorite Mistake




    2. Give Up The Ghost - Brandi Carlile (159)


    Rare are the times when an album manages to impress me as much as Brandi Carlile’s latest work did. Slightly different than her previous The Story, more optimistic, and even more mature, the sincere Give Up The Ghost marks the transcendence to a grown human being, both on a personal and a musical level. The album, a combination of styles and themes (though mainly focusing on love and friendship) decreases in tempo, starting with the strong Looking Out and ending with a peaceful acoustic Oh Dear. Give Up The Ghost is a testimony of a singer who evolves, consistent and varied, I’m crazy about every single track on the album.

    Favorite tracks: Looking Out, Dreams, If There Was No You




    3. The Story - Brandi Carlile (138)

    The vibe from Give Up The Ghost’s predecessor differs a lot. Sadder, darker, it all expresses an image of a woman in pain, longing for acceptance, love, peace. The feeling most taken intro account are loneliness, low self-esteem. Mostly acoustic, mixtures of piano and guitars, the songs sometimes culminate with explosions of musical instruments. Brandi Carlile tells her very own story, she detaches from her body, stares at the persons left behind and beautifully describes what she sees. Despite The Story could’ve have used some humor, it’s one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.

    Favorite tracks: Again Today, Have You Ever, The Story




    4. Journal For Plague Lovers - Manic Street Preachers (136)

    Their most recent album returns to the brilliance of their spectacular The Holy Bible. While the lyrics are written by the presumed dead Richey Edwards (This album comes as a tribute to the songwriting of the long-time disappeared Richey), the music is the work of all the band members.. Journal For Plague Lovers - a bunch of epic songs, some of them aggressive and rebellious. The tunes dig deep into the human soul, sometimes spiritual, they are full of courageous words and at times revolt. All the tracks are unpredictable, both lyrically and musically. Although the album evokes the past it also has a present touch and in all its complexity, it still manages to be listenable.


    Favorite tracks: Jackie Collins Existential Question Time, This Joke Sport Severed, Peeled Apples




    5. 21st Century Breakdown - Green Day (135)

    After the long pause following American Idiot, Green Day came back with a new supersized album. Like their previous work, this one also has some central characters, Christian and Gloria. Structured in 3 acts, the album has diverse and mixed messages songs, follows a narrative line while focusing on how the two characters deal with the situation of today’s world. Using more piano than they used to, Green Day still have unpredictable songs with changes in intensity and rhythm.

    Favorite Songs: 21 Guns, East Jesus Nowhere, 21st Century Breakdown




    6. Autumn Fallin’ - Jaymay (135)

    Perfect for an autumn afternoon, Jaymay’s debut album is filled with break-up songs. Melancholic, sad and honest, Autumn Fallin’ follows the disintegration of a relationship. The sound of sweet folksy guitars and sometimes piano join a voice full of feeling. Jaymay doesn’t wander through complicated metaphors and ambiguous words, she keeps it simple but incredibly beautiful and expressive. The only out of place song from the album seems to be the jazzy Hard To Say, which sorta sounds a little bit too forced.

    Favorite tracks: Ill Willed Person, Gray Or Blue, Sycamore Down




    7. Scars On BroadwayScars on Broadway (134)

    The self-titled album of the band lead by the System of a Down’s second vocalist managed to make a big impression on me this year. Following the same shocking, hard and somewhat apocalyptic trend in their songs, the alternative metal band put a well-balanced album together with strong guitar solos and powerful messages. Daron Malakian proves to be flexible both vocally and musically. Scars on Broadway really captures the quality of his voice. There are some tracks on the album that actually beg to be listened at a high volume (They Say, Chemicals, Exploding/Reloading). It’s really a shame that this band broke up and won’t release any new materials.

    Favorite tracks: They Say, 3005, Whoring Streets




    8. Detours - Sheryl Crow (126)

    Her most recent album, maybe that’s why it’s so high on my list. Although I consider it her second worst record (Wildflower takes the cake), Detours remarks as being a genuinely honest and extremely personal record. The first half is represented by songs which are cries for understanding and awareness, all of them staring at nowadays problems, whether political, economical, social or ecological. While some of them tend to be sort of clichés, Sheryl states her opinion masterfully in the apocalyptic Shine Over Babylon. The rest of the album is incredibly personal, especially the haunting Make It Go Away (Radiation Song) in which she spills all the torments she’s been through during her cancer period or the Lullaby For Wyatt (her recently adopted son). Detours is a gate to Sheryl’s core thoughts and feelings, a woman concerned about the problems of the world in struggle and one who recently suffered a break up and tries to find the courage to love again.

    Favorite tracks: Drunk With The Thought Of You, Shine Over Babylon, God Bless This Mess




    9. Magic - Bruce Springsteen (123)

    Often labeled as Springsteen’s return to rock, to his usual sound. The opener of the collection of songs, Radio Nowhere gives a strong energy. As a contrast to the first song, Terry’s Song, a touching and soulful ballad comes to end an overall great album. The first full LP I listened from Bruce’s discography surprised me in a pleasant way.

    Favorite tracks: Girls in Their Summer Clothes, Radio Nowhere, Terry’s Song




    10. Weezer (Red Album)(Deluxe Edition)- Weezer (122)

    Their 3rd eponymous album, with a lot of statements made on it. Weezer proved their disobedience again by going their own way despite of their record label desires. They often make funny and ironic references to their nonconformist ways (Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the charts/ Maybe if I work with him I will perfect the art…[…]I’mma do the things that I wanna do/ I ain’t got a thing to prove to youPork & Beans). Lacking a certain identity and an overall message, the album is extremely various and every band member gets the chance to be the lead singer for at least a song each. One of the most interesting tune is The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn), a song with tempo and style changes which even makes fun of rap or punk music. Aside from the fun-filled tracks, the Red Album is sometimes melancholic and even sad. It’s a record coming from a bunch of middle-aged guys (who still don’t wanna grow up), this can be seen in tunes like Pig or Heart Songs (sort of an homage song in which Rivers Cuomo commemorates the artists who’ve influenced him during his life). The Angel and the One stands out of the crowd, the longest track and probably the most heartfelt song from the album, shows a romantic and humble side of Rivers.

    Favorite tracks: Pork & Beans, Troublemaker, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)




    11. Songs for You, Truths for Me - James Morrison (117)

    An enjoyable album with some good tracks that really stand out for me. Not quite spectacular but it certainly is as good as James' previous LP. Morrison’s voice and his unique style make Songs for You, Truths for Me a collection of honest tracks who manage to capture my attention.

    Favorite tracks: Please Don’t Stop The Rain, Once When I Was Little, Dream on Hayley




    12. Working on a Dream - Bruce Springsteen (115)

    The style doesn’t differ from Magic. However, I liked his newer album even more, this being the record that transformed me into a fan of Springsteen. The Boss never ages, as this LP show, youthful and energic as it can be. Also meticulously produced, the album has really extraordinary and diverse tracks. Outlaw Pete is by far the best track on the record, also the longest.

    Favorite tracks: My Lucky Day, Working on a Dream, Tomorow Never Knows




    13. Sheryl Crow - Sheryl Crow (113)

    Self-titled, and self-produced, Crow’s second album was destined to show that she can do well on her own. And tnrough her eponymous album, Sheryl proved more that anybody would expect her to. I adore every single track on the record and love how each of them expresses something else. The songs have all sorts of influences from jazz, funk, country, classic rock or folk, and they remark through witty, clever and complex lyrics. Love Is A Good Thing was the reason why Walmart even banned the album from its stores as a result of the lyrics Watch out sister, watch out brother,/ Watch our children while they kill each other/With a gun they bought at Walmart discount stores. Empathic, eclectic and weird, Crows tells stories, protests, becomes reflective, gets angry, laughs, is having fun, and writes beautifully depressing tunes - Home…all on her eponymous record. Definitely varied and surprisingly solid, Sheryl Crow’s exceptional second album remains one of the most representative of the 90’s.

    Favorite tracks: If It Makes You Happy, Hard To Make A Stand, Superstar




    14. No Baggage - Dolores O'Riordan (109)

    The long awaited No Baggage made me love Dolores even more. The Irish singer-songwriter wrote this record as another step in her career, composing whatever the fuck she wants – as the title expresses. And the result was more than awesome. Personal and relatable, No Baggage is a collection of diverse songs which range from hypnotic piano songs to angry rock (and sometimes resemble too much with songs from her first solo album). Being a middle-aged women, Dolores reflects on the passing of time and the lessons learned so far. Unleashing inner demons, paying homage to persons she loves, urging to freedom, Dolores shaped a great album.




    15. Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo - Rivers Cuomo (106)

    The odd first solo album of Rivers comprises 18 demos recorded between 1992 and 2007. The songs from Alone are weird, less commercial and as honest as Cuomo can be. With no connection between them, the tracks differ a lot one from one another, marking Rivers’ journey through music, experimenting and pouring his feeling and thoughts in such diverse tunes. Really like how it’s not the type of polished and hyper produced album but actually a raw, and intimate record.