20 Best Films Of 2015

I’ve seen a handful of films this year and I must say, I was fortunate enough to enjoy most of them. So for my year ender list, I have compiled the 20 Best Films of 2015 and this is very subjective! You may or may not agree with me but I think I have made a very interesting and competent list.

So check it out below:

20. THE INTERN
“… the film was able to find an unorthodox chemistry between its lead and supporting stars.”

19. ME, EARL AND THE DYING GIRL
“… is undeniably solid. From the script that was written pretty good, the performances of the main leads were spectacular and the way the film was crafted is quite compelling.”

18. THE PEANUTS MOVIE
“… has kept its charm with a more polish character sketches, stunning colorful visuals and warmth that comforts your heart.”

17. HENERAL LUNA
“… It was a rousing journey with enough entertainment and hilarity.”

16. BROOKLYN
“Timeless, sophisticated and beautiful!”

15. BRIDGE OF SPIES
“… is an enjoyable ride marking complex moments of history in its simplest illustrations.”

14. TRAINWRECK
“Funny, hilarious, simple.”

13. SPOTLIGHT
“… is solid at its best and it was an intense  experience to be honest.”

12. STEVE JOBS
“… The way it was crafted is neat and cohesive. The script is well made. The performances of the actors and actresses were honor worthy. The film is simply riveting!”

11. ROOM
“… It was emotional, moving, exciting, crazy, a kick in the gut, a pull in the heartstrings — it was an emotional ride.”

10. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION
“… The sleek production, thrilling pacing and cohesive writing worked for me big time. It was engaging, entertaining and fun. The film allows the characters to be characters and not just actors doing action stunts.”

9. THE END OF THE TOUR
“… it is nice to note how the film was crafted. It was filled with the right mix of tenderness and humor.”

8. ANT-MAN
“… It was exciting, had parts of pretty good laugh, action filled and somehow written cohesively. Paul Rudd won me over again.”

7. STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS
“The 7th episode of Star Wars is a good nostalgia – provided that the viewer has seen its predecessors.”

6. THE BIG SHORT
“… is not perfect but it has a right mixture of appeal and hilarity, drama and fluid storytelling and a phasing that is strong and consistent.”

5. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
“… It was exhilirating from start to end. The film was action-packed. And I am amazed on how hefty the narrative is. The entertainment value is top notch.”

4. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
“… the parts that are lacking is properly served in an exchange of visual bombast and an explosive, thrilling and fantastic action sequences. It is an entertaining treat.”

3. FURIOUS 7
“… This film is a ball of epic-ness.”

2. THE MARTIAN
“… is an exquisite, thrilling and solid piece of art. The writing was impeccable. The premise is simple yet profound. And how the film was crafted had the right mix and amount of humor, spectacular visual effects and solid script.”

1. INSIDE OUT
“Smart, witty, hilarious.”

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20 Songs Of 2015

A comebacking music jaggernaut. A new sound from a pop star brat. A band that finally got their well deserved popularity. New artists emerged. And a newly crowned American Idol. – 2015 is such a wonderful year for the music industry.

An girl power empowerment, two anthemic life song, some sweet pop tunes and of course, a couple of ode to heartbreaks and pain. We also saw songs that won the hearts of the nation but failed to make it on my list.

Now with no further adieu, here is a subjective list of the 20 Songs Of 2015. I tried to come up the most competent list. Such a good year of really great-LSS inducing songs.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Alessia Cara – Here; Selena Gomez (ft. ASAP Rocky) – Good For You; Andy Grammer – Honey, I’m Good; Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On; OMI – Cheerleader; Fetty Wap – Trap Queen; Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney – Fourfiveseconds; Tove Lo – Talking Body; Shawn Mendes – Stitches

20. NOBODY LOVE
Tori Kelly

– An outstanding pop tunes that showcased the dynamics that Tori Kelly has mastered over the years. From failing an American Journey to covering songs uploaded on her youtube account, Tori Kelly has come a long way. Her biggest single to date, an uptempo track that is bouncey, enthusiastic and simple.

19. HOLD BACK THE RIVER
James Bay

– One of the newest breed of promising artist of 2015, James Bay exploded in charts and the music industry with a riveting single Hold back the river. The single starts with an acoustic sound allowing us to listen on James’ lovely tone before the band kicks in and created a more textured still maintaining that juvenile vibe the track explored that works perfectly!

18. WHERE ARE Ü NOW
Skrillex & Diplo (ft. Justin Bieber)

– The understated quality of vocal performance from Justin Bieber in this track is nothing but an astonishing treat. The dance beat matched the underproduced electro-pop music that I personally enjoyed, putting Justin’s vocals front and center – and I am not complaining.

17. FIGHT SONG
Rachel Platten

– I believe the song. I sang with it. I breathe with it. I was inspired by it. Fight Song is an anthemic cry of empowerment. And with Rachel’s solid vocals matched by a uplifting beat, the track is just the perfect battle cry for something literally & figuratively you want to fight for.

16. COOL FOR THE SUMMER
Demi Lovato

– A departure from her usual pop tunes, Demi explored a more in depth of her music style and I love how she didn’t went over the top (Sorry Miley). Her lead single, Cool for the summer, may have explored some bi-curiousity status but the song itself is slick, beat friendly and a sexy summer jam!

15. BEAUTIFUL LIFE
Nick Fradiani

– Color me blind and screw the nay-sayers but despite the dwindling down of American Idol popularity, I can’t help but feel and see some high hopes of this year’s winner. His coronation single may did fairly in terms of reception but the anthemic life song is a celebration! It was powerful but not over. It was simple and with Nick’s vocals giving us with so much demand and gusto, he was able to pull an anthemic track that boasts some beats and fist pumps.

14. WHAT DO YOU MEAN
Justin Bieber

– A little bit repetitive? Sure. But there is no denying that there is something refreshing kn this Justin track that is adorable at its best. It is boasting a simple production backing up Justin’s vocals that sounded in paricular good. The dance track isn’t as if you will bang yourself on the dancefloor, it works perfectly in its simplest forms.

13. EARNED IT
The Weeknd

– Sexy, thumping and slick. It sure did capture the perfect 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack and this earned The Weeknd the attention that they deserved. Earned it nurtures an unassuming sexiness that is not offensive yet you translates well!

12. DRAG ME DOWN
One Direction

– Departing from their bubble gum pop sound, the now 4 piece band and soon to be on a hiatus status, One Direction delivered a new sound that is probably inspired by Maroon 5. The zig and zag of the track still sounds radio friendly. And the boys giving us a more gritty sound on a beat driven track like Drag me down.

11. HOTLINE BLING
Drake

– Excuse Drake’s attempt to dance but Hotline Bling is such a tune. It sounded honest with no sense of trying hard to impress. The rhythm is lying on its simplicity and the track is easy to listen.

10. WANT TO WANT ME
Jason Derulo

– I must say, this is probably Jason’s best single to date. A more inspired Michael Jackson driven track, Want to want me enjoys an upbeat rhythm that is not too much on the ears and a beat that is fun, enthisuastic and not limiting. 

9. CAN’T FEEL MY FACE
The Weeknd

– Another Michael Jackson inspired track, The Weeknd goes all pop with their debut single for their new album. Can’t feel my face starts with a verse that subtlely demands attention and when the chorus hits in, the track produces a LSS-induced effect.

8. BAD BLOOD
Taylor Swift (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

– For the record, I really really think this was miles better than the original single on Taylor’s 1989 album. The remix added color as we hear Kendrick’s impressive rap verses balancing the song. It makes more sense now and even if the whole track seems to be repetitive, I digress. It was a wonderful combination.

7. SORRY
Justin Bieber

– I never really thought he could top What do you mean but when he released Sorry prior to the album release? I am done. I seriously enjoyed every bit of Sorry. The verses sound slick. The chorus sounds sexy without trying. And oooh, it boasts a rhythm that is easy.

6. HELLO
Adele

– The music jaggernaut is back and once again Adele broke records. Her debut single Hello may not have the same hook like that of her past singles, but it was still a powerful pop ballad. Hello translates well in a production that allows us to feel Adele and her voice whole heartedly.

5. SHUT UP AND DANCE
Walk The Moon

Shut up and dance will definitely make you dance along. The breakdown in the bridge is just solid but the overall production of this track is just riveting and enthusiastic.

4. WORTH IT
Fifth Harmony (ft. Kid Ink)

– After the bubblegum pop Miss Movin On, the urban beat Bo$$ and their first top 40 hit, Sledgehammer – Fifth Harmony finally found their biggest hit on their belt. With the slick beat, horn driven, R&B empowered track, Worth it is a solid from the girls giving us a glimpse of their individual vocal stylings and power. Not to mention, Wortg it speaks strongly with girl empowerment, self assured driven by a catchy rhythm that is a winning combination. Oh, Kid Ink was a nice touch too.

3. LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO
Ellie Goulding

– Everything just explodes to gorgeousness after the line “What are you waiting for?” because Ellie has such power behind her quirky, lovely voice. But more so the impressive vocal dynamics from Ellie, Love me like you do is such a solid soundtrack driven by an infectious rhythm and catchy verses.

2. SUGAR
Maroon 5

– Classic and literally sweet! This is a single from Maroon 5 that showed a different yet not surprising side from the band. Sugar is all sorts of sweet echoing more and more on Adam’s underrated vocals from his slick falsettos and sexy verses. Adam has a natural ability to transcends such thing into charismatic hit! Sugar is the best bet of solid, simple yet sweet cravings.

1. SEE YOU AGAIN
Wiz Khalifa (ft. Charlie Puth)

– Emotional! There’s power to this trackthat simply hits home. See you again had the perfect combination of Wiz’s solid rap verses and Charlie Puth’s emotional vocal showing during chorus. The song is just exuding with so much natural emotions and brought Charlie Puth in the map of music industry! Who didn’t got affected of this song? It was so genuine and emotionally attached! Great stuff.

10 Worst Films of 2015

With a handful of films, I have seen this year. I guess I could say I was able to come up with a list of my personal vendetta on what films were the worst and best of the year. Again, the list is coming from the movie reviews that I did throughout the year and I did see a decent (at least for me) amount of films for 2015.

You may agree or disagree with me but just like any other taste, this is very subjective. So with no further adieu, here are the 10 Worst Films of 2015:

ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE: Pitch Perfect 2, Hot Pursuit, The Gallows, Blackhat

[10] FANTASTIC FOUR
“… it bombed in the cinema, it bombed from the critics.”

[9] THE LOVE AFFAIR
“… thank God Bea Alonzo is a fantastic local actress.”

[8] TRANSPORTER: REFUELED
“… I needed to be refueled. Zzz..”

[7] YOU’RE STILL THE ONE
“… wasted talent on a crappy film. Richard Yap is clearly miscast.”

[6] HITMAN: AGENT 47
“… more like: shit, man!”

[5] VACATION
“… a much needed.”

[4] JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
“… Liza Soberano is so beautiful, I’m so offended.”

[3] YOU’RE MY BOSS
“… I’ve seen this before. My Lady Boss? The Proposal?”

[2] PIXELS
“… I cried so much. Oh, it’s a comedy film.”

[1] EX WITH BENEFITS
“… thank God for shirtless Derek Ramsay!”

20 Songs Of 2014

Just like last year and the year before and a year before before, lol, I was able to compile a competent yet very subjective list of songs that I personally thought peaked in the year of 2014.

In 2014, we saw new artists emerged from out of nowhere and gave us some LSS-worthy of pop tunes. The staples of music industry are still there and an emergence of the male version of Adele has just won the hearts of many and a lot of award giving bodies.

Now here is my list of the yearly 20 Songs Of – this time – 2014:

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Fifth Harmony – Boss; Ariana Grande (ft. Zedd) – Break Free; Nicki Minaj – Anaconda; Iggy Azalea (ft. Charli XCX) – Fancy; Tove Lo – Habits; Sam Smith – I’m Not The Only One

20. ALL ABOUT THAT BASS
Meghan Trainor

– In a battle of “Body empowerment” songs, two of them stood out and even if Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda missed my list, I still applaud her for that. But what really sided me with Meghan’s song more is the reto infused she put on the track. It felt fresh even if there is a touch of vintage sound from the quality of her tone to the production of the song. More so, it has a hook infectious enough to make you sing along.

19. SHE LOOKS SO PERFECT
5 Seconds Of Summer

– The emergence of 5 Seconds of Summer could’ve been a serious threat to One Direction but what I like about them is that they took a different route. Taking the pop-rock genre which has been vacant recently forces them to enjoy their own spotlight. She looks so perfect is the perfecf summer jam. With a rousing hook to a light rock anthem, the track is probably the best introduction of what the band can offer.

18. ANIMALS
Maroon 5

– From the moment lead singer Adam Levine opened the song on that chorus, making his thin yet sexy inflicted tone more noticeable and appealing. Look, Adam may be an underrated vocalist, but his voice really worked in this song that is filled with innuendos and animalistic appeal.

17. SHAKE IT OFF
Taylor Swift

– Playful yet catchy! Taylor Swift has found a niche of writing songs that seems to be too indulgent yet you can’t help but be caught to it. From the repetitive words of “shake shake shake” to the words “break break break”, you can just find yourself singing along.

16. TALK DIRTY
Jason Derulo (ft. 2 Chainz)

– In my ears, it was so smart to play with the trumpet sounds as it distinguishes right away a tune that is probably remembered in Jason Derulo’s book. It was catchy and infectious and the whole song was just a joy to dance to.

15. DRUNK IN LOVE
Beyonce (ft. Jay Z)

– There’s an effortless sexiness in this Beyonce’ tune that I adore. It’s not affected nor insulting to any gender. Also, it is nice to hear Beyonce tackle another genre – well not actually another – but to my ears it was a refreshing urban-R&B gem.

14. RUDE
Magic!

– The silliness and hilarity of its story telling in lyrics is backed up with a reggae flavor that I thought easily a hit. The beat is simple and the hook is just catchy. Who would have thought that such genre could win the hearts of the current music industry.

13. PROBLEM
Arina Grande (ft. Iggy Azalea)

– Ariana Grande followed up her successful debut last year with another pop tune and this time she is assisted with new hip-hop artist, Iggy Azalea. Though she’s been criticize for her poor enunciation and a second rate Marij Carey sound alike, Ariana proved that she is a viable pop artist here. With the track boasting some solid beats and a rousing pre-chorus that leads to an almost whispery yet hook-laiden chorus. This is a win. Plus, that rap verse from Iggy is quite impressive.

12. TAKE ME TO CHURCH
Hozier

– It’s a wonderful contrast! This Hozier single is such a solid debut. With the lead vocalist’s tone distinctively making an impression, Take me to church is a gorgeous pop rock effort.

11. JEALOUS
Nick Jonas

– The youngest of the Jonas Brothers, Nick made an impression when he define himself in a whole new package. Taking out any traces of the boyband appeal, Nick is now sexy, manly and oozing with so much confidence. Jealous is a perfect introduction to that change and his vocals were effortless. It has that Justin Timberlake sexy sound, a Robin Thicke falsetto combination and a grit that created a texture on the whole song.

10. RATHER BE
Clean Bandit (ft. Jess Glynne)

– The retro vibe of such dance-electro-pop tune is what made this song a solid offering. Not to mention, Jess Glynne was actually a joy to listen to. The backdrop of the music is simple and not overpowering. It’s a brilliant combination and I am not complaining.

9. DARK HORSE
Katy Perry (ft. Juicy J)

– The song demands attention with the beat giving us a pulsating rhythm then comes in Katy Perry’s vocals that is just underrated. Juicy J’s rap verses is actually a lovely combination as it didn’t deviate much to the beat that the whole song faithfully classified.

8. BLANK SPACE
Taylor Swift

– Have you heard that “Starbucks lover”? Yeah apparently we all misheard it and for me that was a brilliant lyric play as it gave another level of attention to the song. The song itself is infectious already. It is relatable, simple and catchy. Noone can’t fault that to Ms. Swift as she does continue to make LSS-worthy songs.

7. THINKING OUT LOUD
Ed Sheeran

– It’s like the modern day Romeo & Juliet theme. Thinking Out Loud is sweet, sincere and with a voice like that of Ed Sheeran? He easily sold the song with such classic, simple and lovely impact.

6. CHANDELIER
Sia

– Sia is one hell of a songwriter and a vocalist as well. I could never really think of somebody else nailing such hard song other than her. Chandelier is infectious with a rousing chorus and a series of verses that demands attention. The song itself is a lyric genius with a sense of realism.

5. BANG, BANG
Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj

– Given three big artists come together to give us an infectious, catchy and vocally bombast song? I am very much pleased. The beat pulsating to our eardrums with so much gusto and demand. Then Nicki Minaj fireplay that rap verse like no other? I am done. Bang Bang is a solid uptempo track that is filled with dynamics.

4. UPTOWN FUNK
Mark Ronson (ft. Bruno Mars)

– In a year where the inflection of retro sound, Mark Ronson’s collaboration with Bruno Mars easily wins it among the rest. It was infectious and catchy. The song is such a perfecf jam with Bruno Mars’ vocals undeniably a solid trend. And even if the track dropped in almost the end of the year, with such momentum and steam.. I am pretty sure this winning combination will carry out til next year.

3. HAPPY
Pharrell Williams

– Pharrell is not the best singer at all, let me get that straight but Happy is simply a track that makes you happy. It is a catchy and unassuming and the clap beat is an added touch that I really think worked given the theme of the song.

2. ALL OF ME
John Legend

– John Legend’s All of me is a sincere and genuine ode to a love one. It is sweet, lovelg and beautifully writtend albeit cheesy love ballad. And as the piano-driven track reaches a crescendo, John Legend explodes to a thousands of floating hearts and an emotional track is produced in the end. Lovely!

1. STAY WITH ME
Sam Smith

– Is he the new Adele? Look, let’s be fair to Sam as he is literally the breakout star of 2014 in terms of music. His vocals were effortlessly beautiful! And this track is an emotional pop ballad tht features the beauty in his voice and Stay with me is just gorgeous! In an almost gospelic approach, the song is a winning piece from a up and coming music star.

20 Songs of 2013

Just like last year, I decided to take a quick run down of the songs that I personally thought made a big impact on radio, charts and pop culture for the year 2013.

2013 made us say something beautiful and came in like a wrecking ball when things are in trouble, trouble, trouble.

Funny how diverse 2013 is with some interesting edgy reinvention from a once Disney kid, a new hope from Idol products, a showdown between original Mariah and modern day “Mariah” and an introduction of new and promising artists.

So without further adieu, here is a subjective list of the 20 Songs of 2013 in my personal notes.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: One Direction – Best Song Ever; Paramore – Still Into You; Sara Baraeilles – Brave; One Republic – Counting Stars; Zedd (ft. Foxes) – Clarity; Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child; Selena Gomez – Come & Get It

20. TONIGHT
Jessica Sanchez (ft. Ne-Yo)

– The people behind Jessica Sanchez tried to deviate her from the R&B and diva ballad we used to hear from her during her run in American Idol and the end product is a catchy, upbeat pop tune. With an assistance from Ne-Yo, Jessica showed how diverse she can be as a vocalist and deliver an infectious uptempo that is hard to resist.

19. WE CAN’T STOP
Miley Cyrus

– From songs like 7 Things, The Climb and When I Look at you, Miley Cyrus took a 360 degrees turn and showed her more edgy side. Not that she took a different route in terms of genre, she still stayed pop but the once Disney star created a whole new niche on her side and as a debut single for her new found “liberty”, she infuses her mantra of “I don’t give a *#c!” to some catchy pop tunes.

18. LET HER GO
Passenger

Let her go is a sad tune and with the lead vocalists undeniably longing kind of voice, it was able to translate what the song wants to give and more. In the end, Passenger’s Let her go is one of the saddest pop gem that rose dramatically in 2013.

17. THE WAY
Ariana Grande (ft. Mac Miller)

– Dubbed as the modern “Mariah Carey”, Ariana Grande isn’t just a copy cat. She has the voice that can whistle like Mariah and a tone that is flirty yet enthusiastic. Her biggest hit on 2013 is a collaboration with Mac Miller and the potential from this another Disney star alumna is skyrocketing high. 

16. I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
Taylor Swift

I Knew You Were Trouble for me is Taylor’s transition phase from country to pop. With news around hinting on her big shift in terms of genre, the dubstep style on this pop tune is catchy, beat friendly and infectious. By the way, I never really consider Taylor country but what do I know.

15. #BEAUTIFUL
Mariah Carey (ft. Miguel)

– Mariah Carey dropped a bomb in this Miguel collboration of hers and end up having yet another hit on her belt. #Beautiful and yes with that hashtag in the title, is Mariah’s best hit since We belong together. It matches Miguel’s R&B thing and at the same time played well with her flirty, sultry vocal quality that made this song alluringly good.

14. RADIOACTIVE
Imagine Dragons

– How in the world Imagine Dragons can make a song light even if in hindsight it should be dark and heavy? Somehow, the boys have managed to tastefully embrace pop rock with so much ease and still creating a flavor that is identifiable in their terms. Radioactive plays with a percussion beat theme and breathing heavy vocal dynamics but once the song ended, you just have to press that repeat button once again because it was deliberately good.

13. SAY SOMETHING
A Great Big World (ft. Christina Aguilera)

– The combination of A Great Big World’s understated vocals and Christina Aguilera’s ability to showed restraint and power produced a solid lovely ballad. It was poignant, heartfelt and the piano-themed track is simple, honest and sublime.

12. THRIFT SHOP
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

– There’s something playful on this track by breakout artists, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. At first, I didn’t really find what is amusing with the track but after a couple more listens, it grew on me leaving a valuable radio jam. There’s an infectious hook, a fun quality and the song was just writtern with humor.

11. THE MONSTER
Eminem (ft. Rihanna)

– Much like their first collaboration, Love the way you lie, this is yet another hit on both Eminem and Rihanna’s belt. As soon as the song bust out its soaring chorus in the beginning with Rihanna’s recognizable tone demanding much needed attention, the song just exploded with enough gusto and then with Eminem relinquishing an impeccable speedfire rap verses, it’s done. The track is an instant ear treat!

10. GONE, GONE, GONE
Phillip Phillips

– A campy song with enough grit and texture from Phillip’s quality of tone is the perfect roadtrip tune. But that’s not all, Gone Gone Gone is easy, feel good and has a home feel that embraces you without even trying. Who knew something like this will be Phillip’s signature tune? But I am not complaining because this is such a radio friendly, catchy and lovely track.

9. WAKE ME UP
Avicii (ft. Aloe Blacc)

– When pop meets country meets folk meets dance genre, you will be treated with an eargasmic electro-dance pop music. It was even a popular genre this year. The hybrid of this song on paper should not work but with Avicii’s stellar remix and Aloe’s fantastic vocals, I am pleased and I guess everyone else too.

8. ROYALS
Lorde

– From the moment Lorde opened her mouth, the single just grabs you from the get go. Her smoky tone matches a certain coolness in this debut single of Lorde that is a winning combination. The chorus is catchy and beat is giving us such urgency of power yet breeze.

7. ROAR
Katy Perry

– This pop gem from Katy Perry is simple. From the memorable verses, clever lyrics play and a catchy hook-laiden chorus, you will just know it will be a hit. 

6. WRECKING BALL
Miley Cyrus

– There’s maturity behind every verses of the song. Miley successfully embrace the emotional attachment on the song and she was able to convey the needed pain and hurt that translates into a pop ballad with enough urgency and a hook loving chorus.

5. MIRRORS
Justin Timberlake

– Justin Timberlake is one of the few artists who was able to leave the shadows of their boyband days. He found his niche in the pop-R&B genre. While this was his sophomore single on his comeback album, I thought thus was his strongest single on that. With his slick vocals, fantastic phrasing, soothing falsettos and amazing dynamics? Justin Timberlake was able to carve a delicious piece of pop tune that is an absolute ear treat.

4. STAY
Rihanna (ft. Mikky Ekko)

– Often times, Rihanna has been nitpicked with her vocals but I digress. One of her shining vocal performance is heard in this wonderful collaboration with Mikky Ekko. There’s just enough emotional investment in this track and Rihanna’s voice is just soaring. Not to mention, Mikky held his own and that bridge is simply a cherry on top of the ice cream.

3. WHEN I WAS YOUR MAN
Bruno Mars

– Quietly intense. Bruno Mars has proven how reliable of a vocalist he is and how well he can maneuver his fantastic vocals around such emotional song. It was a wonderful storytelling on a piano themed retro pop ballad from Bruno!

2. BLURRED LINES
Robin Thicke (ft. Pharrell Williams & T.I)

– Let me get it straight: Blurred Lines is not lyrically a sensible song but I don’t mind. As the biggest summer track of 2013, Robin Thicke has managed to gloat his silky, sexy voice on his biggest hit to date. It was catchy in hooks. Playful in verses. Memorable in tempo. Sexy, summer fling in rhythm.

1. JUST GIVE ME A REASON
Pink (ft. Nate Ruess)

– On paper, you would think that the combination of Pink and Nate Ruess will not work but boy we are all wrong. The song begins in a quiet, simple build up that leads to a soaring chorus and a bombast vocal fusion from Pink’s solid vocal stylings and Nate Ruess’ recognizable tone. It’s a mash-up of two different style that you easily rejected but could end up surprising you. In the end, I ranked Just Give Me A Reason as the top track of 2013 for one simple reason: A gorgeous song that made everyone got hooked to it!

12 OPM Songs of 2012

In 2012, we were under a gayuma by a sirena so we tried to move closer cause we had enough.

For an initial year of my planned yearly listing, here are 12 songs of OPM that I thought made really well in 2012. I’ll be honest, due to distance, I have limited resources of what has been playing around the local radio and music scene. But still, I am fortunate enough to come up of what I personally think is a compelling list of 12 OPM SONGS OF 2012.

I have narrowed down the list to 12 – not my usual 20 – and to the mainstream local music scene. If indie artist managed to penetrate pop mainstream music, then I also comsider them on my list.

Without further adieu, here is my list:

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Julie Anne San Jose – I’ll Be There; Rico Blanco – Amats

12. BA’T DI KO BA NASABI
Krizza Neri

– The protege winner has got the competition in the bag once she opened her mouth. With a voice so clear like water and soothingly beautiful tone, Krizza is a runaway winner. Her debut single, Ba’t di ko ba masabi highlights every bit of her gorgeous tone – From the fantastic restraint to a soaring chorus to a phrasing that is just breathtaking. With the right material like this, Krizza is a talent shouldn’t be put to waste and this track may be a clichè OPM formula but I digress. It worked!

11. XGF
Spongecola (ft. Chito Miranda & Los Magno)

– I admit, initially, I thought this combination will never work. But there is an LSS-induced quality in this track that is just undeniable. Sure, I have been waiting for another track from Spongecola that will take my breathaway once again like Jeepney and Gemini, but for this year, this is a solid showing. Probably thanks to some good assistance from Chito Miranda? XGF is a reminiscent of PNE’s The Yes Yes Show were the lyrics play seems like a dialogue style and putting such good harmony on Chito and Yael’s voices.

10. STEAL YOUR SOUL
Markki Stroem (ft. Zia Quizon)

– There’s an innate sexiness that is undeniabke in the way Markki phrased and sang his verses in Steal your soul. In addition, the tracks jazz themed tempo capped with an assistance from Zia Quizon proved to be a ball of gorgeousness. Steal your soul had a lot of dynamics with enough sophistication yet alluring some mass appeal. It was well crafted and well sang.

9. HULING SAYAW
Kamikazee (ft. Kyla)

– How could a rock band come up such sad, sweet symphony is beyond me. In addition, Kyla lending her gorgeous voice added an undeniable impact to an already solid track. Huling Sayaw is another clichè OPM tune but you will not be mad. It merges rock tunes to some sad story telling. The single isn’t fresh but it worked. It is radio friendly, lss induced and a classic case of mass appeal.

8. HARI
Frank Magalona

– If you will ask me, I thought the Frank Magalona is the one who managed to capture his father’s ability to rap well. And I am right. Hari is a testament of his genius work. Merging his father’s legacy to his own aesthetic, Frank created a tribute single to the King of Rap and still keeping his staple to it.

7. DEAR LONELY
Zia Quizon

– I would say this over and over again but Zia Quizon has completely destroyed Karylle’s singing career in my book! Sorry but Zia is a such a solid vocalist and had better enunciation! Dear Lonely is a good follow up to Ako Na Lang and its retro feel capped the jukebox track made me think that Zia is actually a force to be reckon with in the local music scene. She had the quirky tone and yet radio friendly quality that caters to diverse people.

6. MAKE IT DRIFT
Alessandra de Rossi

– Alessandra is such a talent. Not only she is a fantastic and underrated actress, but she is actually a good singer too. No she’s not the best belter or a one of a kind singer, but for her to play with her strengths and turn her vocal limitations to her side and come up with Make it drift? I am pleased. It was a simple, haunting and gorgeous single with lots of radio potential if it was given a chance. Haven’t Filipinos heard such talent like Lana Del Rey? There’s an ethereal quality filled with rhythm effervescence on the synth play of this track. Make it drift transcends that almost makes you like you are under its spell.

5. TURN IT WELL
Up Dharma Down

– Up Dharma Down is one of those lucky indie darlings that managed to cross over mainstream and still was able to keep their indie flavor. Turn it well is yet another gem in their belt. If Oo is a painful anthem of a loved took advantage of and Tadhana is like an ethereal journey of hopeful love, Turn it well is a lovely symphony of taking a chance on someone. The synth bizarre musical play isn’t an overwhelming feeling but a ethereal flow of merge between Armi’s gorgeous voice and the play on rhythm in its back track. Once the chorus was reached, it soared beautifully adding yet another texture to the track.

4. MOVING CLOSER
Never The Strangers

Moving Closer is all sorts of sweet, romanticism put in music and lovely. It is a simple tune with no sense of pretensions. Playing with a lovely melody and offering a vocalist with such appealing tone, you can’t help but take notice and the track had a winning formula of both radio and chart hit.

3. ENOUGH
Julie Anne San Jose

– Among her contemporaries, talent wise Julie Anne San Jose emerged as one on the top. And after years of making a name for herself, Julie Anne finally broke in the local music scene and probably delivered one of the best R&B tune in OPM. Enough explores her diverse talent from rhythm plays to on point high register to even mastering a slick rap verse. Not to mention, the song is appealing to a large audience and has a radio friendly vibe that just worked naturally.

2. GAYUMA
Abra (ft. Thyro & Jeriko Aguilar)

– Is Abra a threat to Gloc-9? With such solid debut, Abra is one of the breakout star of the local music scene. Gayuma is such a tune that everyone is left with the music and lyrics stuck in your head. His rap verses were slick and clean and that chorus is no doubt one of the most LSS-worthy of the modern local music.

1. SIRENA
Gloc – 9 (ft. Ebe Dancel)

– It is such an anthemic track put in the most unusual genre but it worked. Ebe providing that soaring chorus and Gloc once again delivering strong and clean rap verses. No doubt, Sirena is the biggest hit of 2012 and it even made impact even the local divas were belting it out with the rap verses included! In high spirits, Sirena delivers a solid message too that made it work in a broader perspective.

20 Songs of 2012

After a year dominated by emotions and vocals from the stunning Adele, 2012 is a welcoming surprise of varieties. From the rise of a boyband to a country star transitioning to pop to new breed of artists making potentially more than one-hit wonders.

In 2012, we threw a wish in a well just to give our heart a break from the heartaches of somebody that we used to know. But we are young and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and that makes us beautiful. Ha!

So here it is, a subjective list of 20 songs from mainstream music book that I personally thought dominated 2012’s radio, chart, video viewing and pop culture. Hence giving us a dynamic playlist for a 2012 ride.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Adele – Turning Tables; Maroon 5 (ft. Wiz Khalifa) – Payphone; The Civil Wars (ft. Taylor Swift) – Safe & Sound; One Direction – Live While We’re Young; The Wanted – Glad You Came; Nicki Minaj – Starships; Justin Bieber (ft. Big Sean) – As Long As You love Me; Frank Ocean – Thinking About You

20. 6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION
The Script

“The rousing chorus sees Danny O’Donoghue on good vocal form and he really does pack the track with plenty of a motion that just gives the song that little bit of something.” – Female First

19. LET ME LOVE YOU
Ne-Yo

“The song’s uplifting self-worth message (not to mention soul clap-heaven bridge, “for every heart that beats / for every heart that beats”) make this one of 2012’s standout dance-pop cuts in a year filled with far more innocuous entries.” – Billboard

18. ONE MORE NIGHT
Maroon 5

“… there’s a bit of a reggae style infused into the percussion, giving the song a more dancey feel. The song is erected on a thumped out (and looped) beat, in addition to Levine’s signature falsetto, where he tosses off lyrics about not getting along with (or being able to untangle himself from) his lady love.” – Pop Crush

17. GIVE YOUR HEART A BREAK
Demi Lovato

“… is full of poignant little moments like that, like the sadly affectionate way Demi exhales the term of endearment “My love” in the second verse, or the way the track drops out around her as she belts out the words, “Baby try to understand,” revealing only the crushing power of her vocal, or indeed, that little break in her voice as the song is winding down around 2:49.” – MTV

16. LOCKED OUT OF HEAVEN
Bruno Mars

“… The song is about unbridled passion, but as usual with Mars, the aesthetic is tidy and impeccable, pop songcraft polished to a high-gloss gleam: jittery Police-esque rock-reggae verses that erupt, amid thunder-boom synths, into a steamrolling four-on-the-floor chorus.” – Rolling Stone

15. TITANIUM
David Guetta (ft. Sia)

“… The impact flows over you like a wave crashing on the shore. It is still relatively simplistic in structure, but the sounds are quite beautiful.” – About Entertainment

14. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN
Rihanna

“… begins humbly with Rihanna’s romantic singing and a few electronic pulses before Harris and fellow producers Dr. Luke and Cirkut use their defibrillator pads on the beat. Soon, Rihanna’s layered vocals are charging head-first into a slithering bass drop that becomes the song’s filthy, fantastic sticking point.” – Billboard

13. STRONGER (WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU)
Kelly Clarkson

“… it’s a glittery disco-rock romp punctuated by another chill-inducing Clarkson message of empowerment, “Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone.” Electric guitars and powerful synths make this an instant sing-along classic.” – Pop Crush

12. IT’S TIME
Imagine Dragons

“… features an infectious blend of clapping and mandolin—an instrument that’s seen an unlikely revival this year.” – Plugged In

11. WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER
Taylor Swift

“… Swift expands an already impressive songwriting range to incorporate a biting sarcasm within her deep-rooted confidence.” – Billboard

10. WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL
One Direction

“… Easy to hear why this single has stuck. Like ‘N Sync’s most durable hits, with a cheeky electro-pop twist.” – Billboard

9. LIGHTS
Ellie Goulding

“… is a great introduction to a fresh sound coming from across the pond and a nice alternative to the synth-heavy hip-hop and club beats that saturate radio play today.” – Common Sense Media

8. HOME
Phillip Phillips

“… Built upon upbeat acoustic guitar chording that immediately brings to mind folk rockers from across the pond such as  Mumford & Sons and Glen Hansard, “Home” majors in a message of hang-in-there encouragement that’s every bit as positive as the song itself sounds.” – Plugged In

7. LEGO HOUSE
Ed Sheeran

“… riddled with earworm hooks – but it’s the sharpness of his lyrics that shine brightest.” – Digital Spy

6. SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW
Gotye (ft. Kimbra)

“… This haunting, spare tune (which melds a trippy combination of Jack White-approved acoustic bass and guitar, muffled drums and ’60s-esque xylophone fills) writes the obituary of a romantic relationship. And by the time Gotye gets to the chorus, it’s impossible not to recall two other famously emotive European singers: Sting and Peter Gabriel. Simultaneously, the song’s palpable bitterness echoes just a bit of the vibe that  Adele has been mining for pop gold as of late.” – Plugged In

5. CALL ME MAYBE
Carly Rae Jepsen

“… full of bushy-tailed strings and PG-rated guitar chugging; Jepsen’s hairbrush vocals are charmingly heartfelt, and easy enough for popular Hollister-clad girls in schools everywhere to emulate. The lyrics, full of wishing wells and ripped jeans, were almost certainly written with hearts dotting the “i”s. And herein lies its charm: the climactic rush towards the chorus isn’t fraught with sexuality, but merely the giddiness of tweenage infatuation. ” – The Guardian

4. A THOUSAND YEARS (Part 2)
Christina Perri (ft. Steve Kazee)

“… feature an instrument-rich arrangement filled with piano and strings, along with Perri’s pretty, plaintive vocals.” – Common Sense Media

3. WE ARE YOUNG
Fun. (ft. Janelle Monae)

“…takes its warm retro sound into soaring ballad territory. Careful arrangements layer sharp, bright piano melodies with big, booming drums and multiple vocal harmonies, but frontman Nathan Reuss’ vocal dexterity shines through as the track’s strongest component.” – Billboard

2. DIAMONDS
Rihanna

“.. steers the polar opposite from her recent clubbier efforts and adopts a rarely-seen softer and more prolific edge.” – Digital Spy

1. I WON’T GIVE UP
Jason Mraz

“.. majors in sweet dedication, as its title implies. No winking double entendres here. No self-centered narcissism. No vapid shout-outs to empty lifestyles. Just a promise to be there, no matter what. Period.” – Plugged In