Tuesday, February 04, 2014


Fam, let's make a promise to each other. 2014 will be the Year of Yes. I'm talking: doing big things, reaching for your dreams, having fun and basically doing YOU to the fullest. These songs presented here embody that mentality to me -- being strong, not takin' no guff. No disrespect to the fellas intended -- but this post here if for us ladies.

My girls in the pan-Asian five-piece BLUSH are just churning out home run after home run and I couldn't be rooting for them harder. Much of their hit brigade could fit into this playlist but my current fave goes to one of their more recent releases -- the ballsy, snarky, attitude-driven "Ain't Nobody", taking full advantage of that viral YouTube video we all live to quote. 

Perhaps Teenage Dream was Katy's mainstream diamond in the rough, a la Nelly Furtado's epic Loose album. Prism was a pretty big wash and when it comes to the "Roar" vs. "Brave" (Sara Barellies) debate, I'm totes Team Sara. However, it did have its select moments, with "Walking On Air" being one of them. Talk about missed promotional opportunity. If this isn't the perfect soundtrack to getting together with your friends and going out, I don't know what is.

JESSICA MAUBOY - "Get 'Em Girls (feat. Snoop Dogg)"
This 2010 single was Australian popstar Mauboy's lead track from her sophomore album of the same name. Almost the entire set was recorded here in the States and it shows -- the tacked-on addition of Snoop Dogg was just further proof of the attempt to possible transition this ever-capable pop darling up from Down Under. Unfortunately, the single was a disappointment in her native Australia and never got a change in the US. The rest of the album fared a bit better with further singles like "Saturday Night" (again, featuring Ludacris) and "What Happened To Us" (with Jay Sean). Even though its a bit cliched, I find it quite delectable.

The most recent single from the Australian DJ best known for her global hit "We Run The Night". It was co-written by Sabi (are labels still trying to make her a thing?). I'm a fan of the insidious, relentless beat.

DEMI LOVATO - "Neon Lights (Betty Who Remix)"
Arguably among the more generic of Demi's singles, perhaps because it lacks a rallying cry chorus a la "Skyscraper", "Give Your Heart A Break" or even "Heart Attack". Still, especially in this remix-ed version by my fave Betty Who, "Neon Lights" goes balls to the wall featuring plenty of Demi's trademark vocal gymnastics.

I can't be the only one who is impatient with how one of Idol's most underrated winners's career is going. Her well-crafted sophomore set, Battlefield, hit shelves back in 2009 and we've yet to see a solid followup since. "I Am Woman" was a fierce contender back in 2011 when it dropped...until we were told it would definitely be a "non-album single", the very definition of infuriating. Shame, too, because it was a fun "departure" from the bright eyed-rosy cheeked Jordin she debuted as -- a further evolution beyond the also fabulous "Battlefield" and "S.O.S. (Let The Music Play)". Like "Battlefield", it was also written and produced by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder.

BEYONCE - "Flawless"
Although it was released on the tail end of 2013, Beyonce arguably owned the whole year for the sheer sneak-attack alone. Naysayers got schooled and Queen B laughed right to the bank. B's fifth solo set boasts a lot of good 'uns, but none better than the ballsy "Flawless" (except maybe "Pretty Hurts"), featuring a quote by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Utter empowerment cloaked in a pop song (although the "Bow Down, b*tches" refrain does feel a bit...awkward in a song about women not looking at each other as competitors...but...okay.).

Ricki's most recent single, the lead release before her upcoming fourth album. "Come & Get In Trouble With Me" is all sparkle and disco and it doesn't get better than that.

RUDIMENTAL - "Waiting All Night (feat. Ella Eyre)"
I'm so desperate for Rudimental to break wide open here in the US (same goes with Disclosure, AlunaGeorge, Bastille -- the list goes on and on). This fab cut with newcomer Ella Eyre is a lot of fun.

Popstar in the Wings Kristine Elezaj is fully stacked when it comes to poptastic singles. She first jumped on my radar last year thanks to the downright Britney-esque "Monster". Her EP, Loved By You, is a must-listen. My current favorite is "Make It Pour", my new comeback mantra when any dude tries to make the phrase "Make It Rain" happen.

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