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Top Music Albums of 2013

Music Lists - Pop

Best Music Albums of 2014

2013 will be remembered as the year when Miley Cyrus became infamous for her dance moves - twerking and making salacious things with her tongue while wearing a latex bikini and a giant foam finger - in the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards night in August. Many were outraged, but she did get a lot of attention. She followed up this provocative, fearless performance with a video for her song “Wrecking Ball” where she sings nude swinging on a wrecking ball. “Harlem Shake” became the YouTube meme of the year as it inspired DIY videos set to a bass-bumping dance track by the disc jockey Bauuer. Beyonce surprised everyone when she released her fifth album “Beyonce” on iTunes in December without the usual pre-announcement or press release. Justin Bieber album “Believe” bombs (by Bieber standards), and he tweeted that he is “retiring” in music, although he is “never leaving”. Justin Timberlake’s “20/20 Experience” tops the 2013 album sales, while Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, with its retro-funky beat and racy lyrics, was 2013’s best selling single.

Here are the top 30 albums of 2013, according to music critics from various music magazines:

 

Top Hip Hop Albums

Music Lists - Hip-Hop

Hip Hop is not only music.  It is a whole youth culture coming from the black inner New York city ghetto and characterized by its rebelliousness – a spirit of a people being expressed musically.  LL Cool J described hip hop as “an attitude.  It was a vibe that began in the ghetto and spread across the inner city.  It began with the music and embraced clothes, art, film, dance… everything”.  Break dancing and graffiti are said to be physical manifestation of hip-hop. 


In its basic musical form, hip hop takes existing music – beats, breaks, hooks – and recuts  them into something with hard rhythm, exciting, and tailor-made for the post 70’s disco generation of party teenagers.  The style consists of simple melodic hacking backed by a more intricate bass-and-drum rhythm section.  The vocals add another rhythmical dimension to the overall sound.
 
Although hip hop retains the same basic sound since its late 70’s early 80’s beginnings – a rhythmic style of speaking called rap over backing beats performed on a turntable by a DJ, new artists are able to inject something fresh.  Every time it threatens to fall into the mainstream commercial wayside, it manages to evolve into something rebellious and edgy.   In the 1990s, a form called gangsta rap caused significant controversy over lyrics which were perceived by some as promoting violence, promiscuity, drug use and misogyny.

Other styles of hip hop include British, Old School, Golden Age, Political, and Alternative.

Public Enemy "Fight The Power"


Below is a list of top hip-hop albums of definitive rap and hip hop albums:

   

Top 100 Classical Music

Music Lists - Classical Music


Vivaldi: The Four Season (Spring: First Movement)

Classical music is music that has withstood the test of time, and has delivered the same kind of pleasure it did when they were performed in the concert halls and royal chamber rooms in the distant past.  Some classical music are hard to appreciate because it takes a kind of sensitivity to take pleasure from it.  Lovers of classical music are those who:

  • Like the sound of a full orchestra (found in symphonies, suites, etc.) and/or the combination of traditional musical instruments (found in chamber music, sonatas, etc.).
  • Like to hear what the best composers – many of them unique geniuses – have created through the ages
  • Like the intellectual stimulation of listening to complex musical elements
  • Appreciates the emotional depth of music.

Classical music demands a listener’s full attention.  Yes, some will find it boring because the rhythm is not always danceable, and the melody is not always obvious (Classical music is not always about melodies.).  Yet the best classical music has the power to move many people even if they heard it a hundred times.  (That's why the music is still alive after all these centuries)


Below is a list of 100 best classical music pieces for people who are just beginning to expand their musical horizons.  These are not "light classical music" like waltzes or overtures, but full-length compositions that are "deep" but accessible.


A short cut to appreciating classical music is to place them in the context of their time periods.  Each time period has its own musical style in vogue, and it would help a lot to learn the features of each time period, and the circumstances in which the composers worked.

   
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