1. “Sugar” by Maroon 5 – Honestly, we say Maroon 5, but we only ever really see Adam Levine, which makes me question what’s really going on. Usually bands try and bullshit you with “everyone’s important” like they’re trying to give all members a participation ribbon. Maroon 5’s like, “Fuck it, Adam’s the best.” So, I guess on second thought I appreciate the honesty. Anyway, the music video on The YouTube shows the band showing up to different weddings all across LA. They just crash the reception, setup a fake stage in five minutes and then start playing, at which point the bride usually loses her shit. It’s awesome. It also doesn’t hurt that Adam Levine’s voice sounds like sex. And that he looks like sex.
2. “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by Cake – First off, of course I like a band that’s named cake. Obviously. I like both the sound of the lead singer’s voice as well as the sound of their music. They play like eighteen different instruments each, but it WORKS. Plus, the music video is them making a ton of people listen to the song and give them their opinion, which ranges from “I’m not going to even listen to this entire song because it’s crap” to “I’ll buy two.” It’s wonderful and I jam hard to it.
3. “The Quiz” by Hello Saferide – You know how some songs just sort of connect with you on a deeply personal level? This girl might be my personality doppelganger. It’s both cute and indicative of a highly socially awkward person. It’s like, relationships are so weird. You like someone so much, but you need to know that they are who you think they are and also that they like you too. I love the vulnerability that’s shown without making the song sad.
4. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – I don’t know who Mark Ronson is or what he does for this song to make it his featuring Bruno Mars. For the video, it looks a lot like Bruno Mars sings the whole thing, and then there’s this white guy who shows up occasionally. Is that Mark? Who knows? I haven’t really looked into it. I just question a lot. I love how they sing the words. I love the fun attitude the song has. I feel like I should say something clever, but sometimes you just get sucked into a song.
5. “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons – I was writing this short story just for myself when I heard this song. I was essentially like, “Holy shit. This is the story I’m writing in a song.” Now every time I hear this song, I think of my story. Fortunately, I love the story and the characters, so I listen in quiet rapture, feeling all the emotions of reading a good book while listening to the song.
6. “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine – Basically, I’m in love with Adam Levine. No, he’s just a coincidence. This song was brilliantly written. Like, look up the lyrics. This is clever while making perfect sense. The person isn’t working too hard to make connections between relationships and boomboxes, etc. It just works. As someone who appreciates good word-smithing, I will only ever love this song.
7. “Dance, Dance” by Fall Out Boy – Fall Out Boy! I forgot they existed until this week. I’m listening to a lot of songs that I haven’t listened to since my early high school years, which a shocking amount of time has passed since then. Like, I remember watching this music video on my Yahoo! Music playlist. I understand if I’m too hardcore for you. And, honestly, I stop what I’m doing to watch this music video so that I can watch that one part where Pete Wentz jumps and spins over that other guitarist/bassist/I’m not a musician don’t judge.
8. “Dirty Little Secret” by All-American Rejects – Another blast from the past. Let’s talk about the main guy’s singing face. He never looks happy. He’s a very attractive, but his mouth is so big and he looks so sad when he sings. It fascinates me. I hate looking people in the eyes when they sing, and I stare this kid down. No shame. I guess he could do worse. I knew a guy who looked like he was straight up having an orgasm for the entire song. This might have been passable if he hadn’t been singing worship songs. Not right, man.
9. “Die Alone” by Ingrid Michaelson – I don’t expect to ever get married. I’m not much of a relationship person. However, if I did find someone to fall in love with, this will probably be my anthem. I like to pretend I’m more artsy than I actually am. Probably my relationship in song will be a top 40s pop song, just dumb and average. As long as I’m happy, whatevs. But in my heart, it’s going to feel powerful and moving and feel like this song sounds.
10. “We Are Young” by Fun. ft. Janelle Monae – Who doesn’t love this song? Nate’s voice is everything right in the music world, plus the lyrics are relatable. There’s this one moment where he’s singing, “Now I know that I’m not all that you got. I guess that I, I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart. But our friends are back, so let’s raise a toast ‘cause I found someone to carry me home” and within the song it’s the most beautiful moment of “show don’t tell” as far as writing goes. You absolutely get this sense of two people having a personal conversation and then switching to something meaningless and dumb when the rest of the group rejoins them. It’s perfect.