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Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know

Last song syndromes are caused by exasperatingly catchy songs that are either so awful or so annoying that they stick to you for days like a nasty flu. Somebody I Used to Know is definitely not one of those. Written and performed by Australian-Belgian singer Gotye, the song is a mid-tempo indie pop song that has taken over the airwaves for months and even inspired successful covers from artists all-over the world, most notably by Canadian group Walk off the Earth using one guitar.

The song was released in Australia and New Zealand on July 5, 2011 as the second single from his third studio album, Making Mirrors.  Then by December 2011 it was successfully in the United Kingdom and in United States and Ireland a month later.

Somebody That I Used to Know became a huge success and Gotye found his song in almost all Hit Charts not just in his native Australia but all over the world. The straightforward yet heartfelt lyrics were flawlessly complimented by the unique and intriguing music. The song also features the amazing New Zealand singer Kimbra and together they magnificently presented the two sides of a break up. The words are easy to remember and yet maintain its sincerity making people instantly sympathetic. Although listening to the song makes you torn on to which side you actually sympathize with.

The bottom line is that, Gotye gave us an impeccable song that we wouldn’t mind singing for weeks and we are very grateful.

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Jason Mraz – I Won’t Give Up

Jason Mraz welcomes the 2012 with a new song. He gives us a more subdued version of himself with his new album Love is a Four Letter Word.

I Won’t Give Up is a calming piece that retains beautiful poetry that Mraz is known for. It depicts a quiet determination that applies to his stance on relationship. You can feel his desperation and his sadness to make his relationship work. You can sense his sincerity as it was said that this song was inspired by his relationship with his ex-fiancé.  Its heart wrenching but optimistic approach makes you think that this might be his follow up on his previous song Lucky, like he is singing it to the same person.

I Won’t Give Up debuted at #8 in the Billboard Hot 100 but quickly worked its way up to way to the top. The Hot Digital Song Charts is a different matter, with the song hitting the top spot almost immediately.

The serious and downcast mood of this song maybe a surprising change for his fans but personally, I applaud him for offering a different album this time. And although his previous albums were superb, this new song from his new album confirms his humanity. His talent still is apparent, and his messages behind his songs are well-delivered. Fans should be honored to be given such honesty.

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Taylor Swift – State Of Grace

Finally a song from Taylor Swift that doesn’t bash an ex. Let’s all take a moment of silence to appreciate this. It has been awhile.

State of Grace is Swift’s fifth single from her album “Red”, and thankfully, this song is all about the beginnings of love. The lyrics are very optimistic and reflect her mood at the moment being in a relationship with America’s young prince. One can’t help but empathize and be as hopeful as she is with her new love. Although there are some parts where her past experiences still pop up like we learn to live with the pain, mostly of broken hearts, the overall attitude of the ballad is light and fresh.

The song has a cheerful, upbeat tune that perfectly complements the lyrics and the emotion it behind it. You are reminded how young Swift actually is no matter how many exes she wrote about. This delightful song is saccharinely sweet and yet has successfully avoided being too cheesy. This well-written song is just so lovely that it makes you look at this young woman and secretly hope she doesn’t end up writing another angst-ridden, ex-bashing song again. Or Ever. Let’s all pray that our pop princess gets her fairytale ending.

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One Direction – Live While We’re Young

Now here’s a song that’s clearly aimed for the young ones, it even says so in the title. One Direction is making a name for themselves with catchy tunes and youthful lyrics. For a new group, they have a clear idea of what they are all about and they are not going to be pretentious about it.

The song begins with familiar guitar strumming that reminds of the fun 90’s music that hooks in listeners. It is not a coincidence as they applied the same formula with their first single “What Makes You Beautiful” and that was utterly successful.

The lyrics reflect the persona that One Direction has comfortably slipped into – that of juvenile delinquents who care for nothing but enjoying life. The song has a feel good, fun and carefree theme that one can’t help but to wish you were back to their age without the weird hair and jeans.

It helps that this kids all look clean cut that even if they’re singing about going crazy, it never occurs to you that what they’re suggesting is “getting some” means getting some. So whether you’re a tween or forty-something parent, you can’t help but sing and shout along with the song. “Tonight let’s get some… and live while we’re young!

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Adele – Skyfall

Remember the apprehension people had with Celine Dion singing for Titanic but then it turned out to be so successful it even helped with the overall staying power of the movie? The same cannot be the same with Adele’s Skyfall for the latest Bond film.

The music stays true to the classic John Barry tune, and though it may sound good in the movie, Adele’s restrained voice and the mediocre lyrics keeps it from becoming great. At some point, it becomes boring and a little too hypnotic.

Not going as far as to say the song is awful which it’s not. It could’ve been great with Adele’s powerful jazzy voice if she was given enough freedom to do so. But then again, this is a Bond theme, and with it comes restrictions and standards to make sure that it doesn’t overshadow the film.

Don’t even get me started on the lyrics. It’s a theme for a Bond film after all. So it’s not surprising that it doesn’t make sense and can claim to be cryptic. One thing’s for sure, throughout the entire song, you will not be forgetting what movie it is for as the title “skyfall” is repeated 15 times – Fact.

Just make sure you listen to Skyfall with curvy shadows of women moving about and you’ll be fine.

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Rihanna – Diamonds

The new single from Rihanna’s upcoming album comes a bit soft. It comes as a bit of surprise as you expect powerful even forceful music and lyrics from Rihanna. This song comes across like she has lost the edge and has gone soft. It’s too safe, too repetitive. It even borders into something a Disney alumni would likely to sing.

The lack luster song is like a painful irony. The more you hear the lines “shine bright like a diamond”, and you hear this over and over and over again, it somehow loses its meaning and becomes part of the sluggish music. Rihanna’s unique accent is highlighted which always a good thing, however, the lyrics somehow undermines her powerful personality which is what sets her apart from other pop artists.

To be honest, at the beginning of the song, I was bracing myself for the fun and commanding music that Rihanna’s music is best known for. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Or maybe it just takes a bit of getting used to. Admittedly, despite the rather slow tune and robotic Rihanna voice delivering a rather blah lyrics, it still sticks with you.

Hopefully this single does not define the entire album and it certainly does not stop me from looking forward to her new songs.

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One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

While calling British-Irish boy band One Direction “The Next Beatles” is an exaggeration, it doesn’t mean that the former X-Factor contestants don’t have enough talent to justify all the praise they are getting. Their debut single, What Makes You Beautiful, provides the same kind of clean-cut, adorable, and completely innocent pop ditty expected from any act who wants to be the next British invasion.

What Makes You Beautiful mixes elements from pop rock, teen pop, and even electropop, with a chord progression that resembles the classic song La Bamba, albeit using a much slower tempo. The opening guitar riff is also noted as similar to the Grease single “Summer Nights” but despite the number of influences present in the song, One Direction manages to avoid sounding like a complete rip off. They even manage to stay away from the saccharine, overly-formulaic pop songs expected from boybands, due to the use of a rougher, overdriven guitar for some parts of the song.

What Makes You Beautiful received mostly positive reviews from critics, with some of them praising the song for being ridiculously catchy, and good enough for any listening session as long as you take it for what it is – a shallow, but nice get-up-and-dance ditty that shows boybands are still a viable act in this day and age.