Jennifer Lawrenceweb

Jennifer Lawrence

Of this year’s crop of fresh-faced young actresses to look out for, none have been quite as prolific as Miss Jennifer Lawrence. A wide-eyed kid from Louisville, Ky. with no drama training and an unconventional look, Lawrence first entered the public eye back in 2010 with her out-of-nowhere Best Actress nomination for the depressingly poignant “Winter’s Bone.”

But this year really was the year of Jennifer, from her starring role as the bow-and-arrow-wielding heroine of “The Hunger Games” to her surprise win at the Oscars for her crazy good performance alongside Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro in “Silver Linings Playbook” (no one has ever tripped and made it look quite so endearing). Not to mention bringing to life the shape-shifting Mystique (perhaps even doing so better than Halle Berry?) in 20th Century Fox’s latest installment of the “X-Men” series. And then there was some horror movie thrown in there.

But my favorite moment from Lawrence’s year didn’t happen in a film at all but at the Oscars after-party. A video clip that went viral after the ceremony shows Lawrence being introduced to film legend Jack Nicholson – and totally fangirling out. She came across as so genuine, so charmingly awkward and so honestly thrilled that for that moment, no one could help but love her. Well, maybe the women who had just lost for Best Actress. But I’d bet even they cracked a smile.

– By Emelia Fredlick 

Macklemoreweb

Macklemore

A year ago, no one knew who Ben Haggerty was. Now, he’s known around the world as Macklemore.

As an independent hip-hop artist from Seattle, Macklemore has been releasing music since 2000, but it was only over the past year that he soared to fame.

In 2008, Haggerty joined forces with producer and musical genius, Ryan Lewis.

Since then, the duo has produced multiple songs, including the sensational “Thrift Shop,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 List for six weeks.

By writing songs that truly resonate with audience members and adding upbeat, catchy music, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have found their niche in the music world.

Tracks like “Same Love,” a song about marriage equality, and “Starting Over,” which chronicles Haggerty’s own personal struggle with drug addiction, give Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s debut album, The Heist, something for everyone to rally around.

– By Annie McNutt 

Psyweb

Psy

This year brought sudden international success to the K-pop music artist Psy, famous in the western world for his hit song “Gangnam Style.” The song’s music video is the most viewed video on YouTube.

Americans wore T-shirts reading “oppa gangnam style,” imitation videos flooded the Internet – even Barack Obama tried his hand at the dance craze that came with the song.

But contrary to the western perspective, Psy isn’t a one-hit wonder, and “Gangnam Style” isn’t a nonsensical “Macarena.”

Believe it or not, “Gangnam Style” is an example of Psy’s critical and intelligent song writing. Most people in the U.S., because they don’t speak Korean, can only appreciate the song for its catchiness and accompanying dance craze.

But in its actual lyrics, the song criticizes a materialistic culture that has developed around the Gangnam District of Seoul. Essentially, people try to emulate the wealthy, consumerist lifestyle of the Gangnam District, a lifestyle termed Gangnam style, but are posers for doing so and can often go broke trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Psy is criticizing the cultural climate in South Korea, commenting on the materialism of it.

Hopefully knowing that the song isn’t just nonsensical dance-pop will make it more enjoyable. Either way, it’s a fun song and the dance is entertaining. Psy’s new song “Gentleman” isn’t half bad either.

– By Sasha Freger