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Year End Wrapup 2013

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That time of year again, it's the Year-End Wrap Up. And this year celebrates the 15th anniversary of me starting these year-end wrap ups, which is insane if you think about it.

2013 was a banner year for music and in a sense, it stunned me. We always complain about how music once was so amazing and bemoan all the blasphemies that tarnished the year in music (Black Eyed Peas and John Mayer, I'm looking at you). But this year something magical happened - I can't explain it and I don't want to. So with no further ado, Meghan's Top 10 of 2013.

10. Lauren Alaina - "Barefoot & Buckwild"

One of the best country songs released in this decade. Tongue-twisting lyrics and the perfect portrait of what it means to be young and from the South in this country. A very high-energy, light-hearted ode to first love and freedom.



9. Britney Spears - "Work Bitch"

Campy, bizarre, British, and the world's most perfect workout song with a driving laser-light sharp…

Miley Cyrus - "Bangerz" Album Review

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Much has been written about Miley Cyrus in the news this year - and that's an understatement. But somewhere buried underneath all the spectacle, she is an actual recording artist who may have just sneakily released the best album of 2013.

1. Adore You

A slow song with a ton of production going on underneath the drawn-out vocals. An interesting choice to begin the album as it runs counter to the media image of Miley and it plays with a running theme throughout the album which is loving someone in a way that never aligns with the way they love you. A very relaxing song with strings and synth.

2. We Can't Stop

I absolutely hated this song the first time I heard it, and the twentieth, and then eventually it grew on me like a fungus. Miley slurs the words like she's living the song lyrics in real time. This sounds like nothing else on the radio right now, for better or worse. Miley took a clear risk with this one which paid off into being one of the biggest songs of 2013.

3. SMS …

American Idol: Finale - May 16, 2013

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Finale Show - May 16, 2013

Top 10 Idol Contestants - "Glad You Came"  B
This was supremely cheesy, of course it was, but somehow it was cheesy in a good way. I loved their coordinated white outfits and it actually looked like the Idol contestants were having a good time (not always the case with these choreographed, often lipsynced group numbers).

The Band Perry & Janelle Arthur - "Done"  A+
UNBELIEVABLY fun to watch. This was a country music tribute to hair metal and I loved every minute of it. The choreographed kicks, headbanging, fire, and those haircuts. Wow, this was just amazing. THIS was the perfect example of a duet/group performance where the band actually looks like they are interacting with the Idol contestant. It even seemed like Janelle was in their band which is the highest possible compliment I could give. It's a shame the producers didn't really let any of the contestants do uptempo songs this year, as its evident they could have kicked ass …

American Idol: Top 2 - May 15, 2013

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Top 2 - Finale Performance Night - May 15, 2013

The anticipation is high for this finale. And didn't it seem like a short show, only 1 hour, when we're used to the 2 hour episodes dragging out? It wouldn't hurt them to go back to this format every once in a while! Candice and Kree represent the best finale since 2009's Adam Lambert vs. Kris Allen Season 8 finale. Both girls have demonstrated unique song choices, beautiful voices, and some truly buzzworthy performances.

For tonight's episode, Round 1 is producer Simon Fuller's Choice, Round 2 is the Winner's Coronation Single, and Round 3 is a Reprise Performance from this season. Shaking things up a bit this year, as usually they end the night with the Coronation Single.

1. Kree - "Angel" (by Sarah McLachlan) A

I was astonished by how much I loved this performance, and how I never envisioned it as a country song before, but it all somehow worked perfectly. It was a very straightforward performance …

American Idol: Top 3 - May 8, 2013

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Top 3 - Jimmy's Choice, Judges' Choice, & Producers' Choice - May 8, 2013

1. Kree Harrison - "Perfect" B

The opening to this song was really gorgeous and interesting to listen to as you could really hear the country tone in Kree's song. And it's not something you'd expect to hear in a rendition of this hit song by Pink. Unfortunately Kree stumbled a bit on the chorus, where the verses were much stronger. I can imagine this was a song choice she never would have chosen on her own (and she admitted as much in the post-performance interview with Ryan), but she did a decent job with it.

2. Candice Glover - "One" A/A-

Candice's tone is so rich and lush; I absolutely love listening to her sing so I can hear what specific and intentional choices she takes with the song. She makes each song her own through her emotional interpretation of the lyrics and melody. Candice really got to soar with this song choice - Jimmy really picked a great one for…

American Idol: Top 4 Redux - May 1, 2013

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Top 4 Redux - Now & Then - May 1, 2013

1. Angie Miller - "Diamonds"A-/B+

Angie starts off the show with a beautiful and understated cover of the hit Rihanna song. It is interesting how bare-bones this song is when you strip it down. The limitation of the lyrics becomes very apparent. Angie's voice was a bit shaky in parts, but I liked her version of this song. A common theme throughout the night was the strange arrangements given to some of these songs. I would have preferred if the band had not come in on this song, and just allowed Angie's voice and her piano playing to carry the song (or not - as the case may be).

2. Amber Holcomb - "Just Give Me A Reason" B-/C+

One of the night's many breakup ballads and this one fell a bit flat in comparison. It was a bit startling to see in her pre-performance package how disconnected she was to the lyrics of her second song. And on second listen, I wonder if it affected her performance here as well. This is a …