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Year’s Best of Music

Stephanie DePrez | Thursday, May 14, 2009

Music this year had successes in many genres. From Britney Spears and Beyonce to Death Cab and The Decemberists, established artists’ new albums led to most welcome successes. Soundtracks made a comeback, bolstered by the “Twilight” sensation.

Television and commercial placement brought new artists to the forefront, thanks to the likes of “Gossip Girl” and Mac computers. Overall, big stars made big bucks, and new artists realized that ancillary markets may be the place to start.

Big hits in the world of R&B included Beyonce’s schizophrenic album “I am … Sasha Fierce.” There’s nothing like an alter-ego to shake up your musical look.

Hits like “Single Ladies” have fueled a new dedication to learning the music video-specific dance. Other dance-floor hits from the year include T.I. & Rhianna’s collaboration “Live Your Life” (is that really the Numa Numa song?) and the ever-popular Band of the Fighting Irish number, “Shake It” by Metro Station. There’s nothing quite like a frisky tuba section to get the blood flowing at a football game.

Other accolades go to the lyric-shifting antics of Akon’s “Right Now (Na Na Na)” who just wants to “make up right now,” according to your local FCC affiliate (not “make love”). And who could have missed the lyrical genius of that music maven Spears, who’s got everyone begging to “If You Seek Amy.” Right.

Indie rock also had solid success this year, including the release of a new Death Cab for Cutie album last summer. The most recent hit has been the album “Hazard’s of Love” by The Decemberists, which has been slowly working its way into the minds and hearts of hard-core and casual listeners alike.

Coldplay, known for main-stream rock, nettled their way into the indie-psyche with the mega-hit “Viva La Vida” and the now-ubiquitous title-track.

Musical product-placement has been a boon to many new artists this year. Bon Iver’s quasi-hit album “For Emma, Forever Ago” has songs that have made it into a slew of other venues, including the TV show “House” and the compilation album for AIDS awareness, “Dark Was the Night.” Yael Naim, though barely recognized for her name, wrote herself a household tune with the song “New Soul” that was featured in the commercials for Macbook Air.

Few have heard of Orba Squara, but they wrote the song in the iPhone commercials, called “Perfect Timing,” which anyone who has been within a 10-foot radius of a television in the past eight months has heard.

“Twilight” has done wonders for every artist or band featured on the movie soundtrack, including Muse, which received prime placement in the film’s stylized baseball scene.

Any record of the year in music would be fool not to mention the two leading ladies of self-indulgent pop-sensation: Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. The former’s utterly inescapable “Love Story” was featured in the Keenan Review (cleverly reincarnated as “Hook-Up Story”) and was used in a least one actual marriage proposal on campus (so far). (“It’s a ring by spring story, she’s already said yes!”)

Cyrus starred in the “Hannah Montana” movie, which featured the new song “The Climb,” with lyrics that are disturbingly appropriate for anyone graduating this year.

Music flowed through campus in all the right venues this year, with the latest dance beats spinning at Hip-Hop Night, up-and-coming indie outfits headlining at Legends and 90s throwbacks being pumped through South Dining Hall. Special thanks go to the Band of the Fighting Irish for rekindling campus love for Bon Jovi, whose cameo was the highlight of pep rally appearances. The latest and long-forgotten acousti-hits were showcased at Acousti-café all year long. Broadway managed to tap into the campus psyche at least once a semester with help from the likes of PEMCO and Fortnight Productions. Overall, it was a successful year in musicdom here under the Dome.