Cord Arts: Best of the year
Top five albums
Miley Cyrus – Bangerz (Oct. 2013):
Before you totally dismiss this entry, hear us out. Miss Miley was everywhere this school year. She was constantly being talked about no matter how you slice it. Amidst the outrageous outfits, the frequent tongue fluttering and her obsession with anything involving the word “twerk,” Miley’s fourth studio album had some quality tracks. The enormity of the singles was hard to ignore and some of the deeper album cuts proved to be the perfect Laurier school year soundtrack. “We can’t stop…”
Pharrell – G I R L (March 2014):
Just when you thought Pharrell Williams was out of the new music picture, he popped back in with a classic. The album is full of upbeat, jazz-esque tunes that could make even the most stressed student want to hit the club. He rides on catchy lyrics and easy to dance to beats which flow from track to track. If you look at his automatically successful formula then you will see why “Happy” is a straight hit. The rest of the album follows suit.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor (Oct. 2013):
If you spent any time in any trendy boutique in Uptown Waterloo this school year, then you are unknowingly familiar with this Canadian classic. This Montréal indie rock staple put out perhaps their strongest album back in first semester. The double album completes the difficult job of being sonically robust yet concise. The counter-melodies and counter-rhythms, tempo changes and little sonic treats scattered throughout make this album hard to forget.
Drake – Nothing Was the Same (Sept. 2013):
You can argue whether or not this was Drake’s best studio album or not but what you can’t deny is that it 100 per cent defines this school year. From start to finish, Nothing Was the Same gave us a plethora of different hip-hop/R&B tracks that could be enjoyed on GRT bus rides and Phil’s Wednesdays alike. Tracks like “Started From the Bottom” and “Worst Behaviour” had us turning up while songs including “Poundcake” and “From Time” had us more than laidback.
Beyoncé – Beyoncé (Dec. 2013):
Does this even need an explanation? This school year was ultimately defined by the Queen B herself. Dropped out of nowhere on December 13, Beyoncé gave us potentially the fiercest and most confident album to date. Labelled as a “visual album,” Beyoncé provided a video for each song on the album and then some. She kept up the warm retro-soul sound but added a few new slick urban trends which can be seen on standout tracks like “Partition,” “Drunk in Love” and “Flawless.” The statement “girls want to be her and guys want to be with her” has never been so true.
Top five song
“Reflektor” – Arcade Fire
It was near impossible to turn on an alternative radio station without hearing “Reflektor” play at some point this past school year. Its catchy upbeat tempo was sure to put everyone in a good mood.
“Drunk In Love” – Beyoncé
It’s no surprise Queen B makes an appearance on this year’s most popular songs list, although dropping her self-titled and fifth studio album Beyoncé without any warning what so ever, was. “Drunk in Love” featuring hip-hop legend and husband Jay-Z just can’t seem to get enough airtime.
“Royals” – Lorde
Winning the Grammy for best song of the year, “Royals” gives an intriguing response to pretty much everything currently on pop radio. Its relevant lyrics and catchy chorus are its main attractions but, due to its sheer popularity, is starting to run the risk of being over played and could be the biggest one hit wonder since “Can’t Touch This.”
“Timber” – Pitbull FT. Kesha
This song got in your head and stayed there. It quickly became the anthem for the semester. Everyone was quickly, and enthusiastically, yelling ‘Timber!’With Pitbull’s infectious dance moves, the music video only adds to the overall charm of the song.
“Bound 2” – Kanye West
Hip-hop has had one of its biggest years in history with the likes of Drake, Kanye West, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay-Z all releasing top notch albums with a staggering amount of popular material, making this the toughest choice in this year’s list of top five songs.
Due to its steady and continuous popularity, it influenced a large amount of people in a short amount of time. Most notably, the shot-for-shot parody video courtesy of known fans James Franco and Seth Rogan, makes “Bound 2” stand out among the rest.
—TJ Mroz and Cristina Almudevar
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Directed by Wes Anderson):
Wes Anderson has developed a reputation throughout his directorial career for assembling charismatic ensemble casts and placing them in viscerally decorative environments that create witty humour and beautiful cinematography. Just as he did in 2012 with his acclaimed feature Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson has brought us yet another offbeat exploration of human character that makes for lovable and intellectually engaging viewing.
The Lego Movie (Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller):
For several animated films, it is easy to fall into the trap of appealing too strongly towards younger viewers while ignoring the interests of the parents who are by their side. Fortunately, The Lego Movie manages to produce a vibrant universe inspired by everyone’s favourite childhood toy and creates an animated universe that captivates audiences with a playful, humorous and enlightening storyline that returns audiences to the blissful nostalgia of their youth.
The Wind Rises (Directed by Hayao Miyazaki):
Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle are two of the most celebrated movies in Japanese animated film history, and with the release of his latest film, The Wind Rises, manga artist and renowned Japanese director Miyazaki gives us no reason to believe that he has lost his touch for spectacle. The film was nominated for best-animated feature at the Oscars, and following a 2014 North American release in February, The Wind Rises has proved to be one of the most visually stunning releases of the year so far.
Noah (Directed by Darren Aronofsky)
Controversial Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky took on the task of tackling the epic biblical tale of Noah’s Ark to mixed reviews. Although the film possesses some pacing issues and is often too bloated with excessive CGI, it is still worth the price of admission to see the creation of the Ark and the apocalyptic storm that submerges the Earth depicted in computer generated glory on the silver screen.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Directed by Kenneth Branagh)
Despite the fact that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit makes for light viewing with a formulaic plot that is reminiscent of typical action vehicles, the film does well to work off of a strong performance from Chris Pine, who reprises Harrison Ford’s former role in this reboot of Tom Clancy’s spy thriller. If you like impressive action sequences, pleasing one-liners from Kevin Costner and a simplistic narrative to follow on a Sunday afternoon, then Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is for you.