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Last year, my friend Darlin helped to inspire a series of discussions about our favourite music groups and artists while folding clothes at the store. Hey, when you're working retail hours during the holiday season and you get a couple of minutes to relax - let's face it, you'll do nothing but talk with the other Sales Associates! It's been a full year since that lonely day at the GAP but looking back at last year's post, it's got me wondering again.

In life, there are two things that can (somewhat) judge how much you've "grown" or "changed" from the previous year: fashion styles and music. (Think about it - you know I'm right!) For this post, I'm going to dust-off my iPod playlists and rank those special artists that have influenced my music (and singing) habits for 2011.

NOTE: Just like last year, some of the artists will get reasoning behind my rank choices, it will be listed from most-to-least favourite and if the same artists collaborated on a song then I may only reference it once.

1. Britney Spears
Songs: Hold It Against Me, Till The World Ends, I Wanna Go, Criminal
LYR (Last Year's Rank): #17

This has been a big year for Britney and I'm very impressed. Even though she had a low ranking last year, she still tops my list as one of my favourite artists ever. Her latest album, "Femme Fatale" dominated the charts with hit-after-hit (my favourite track is Till The World Ends), inspired countless parodies online, and helped to provide her with a fresh start. For this and many other reasons, Britney tops this list as #1.

2. David Guetta
Songs: Where Them Girls At?, Without You, Who's That Chick and a variety of other collaborations
LYR: #7

Honestly, my iPod this year was the year of Dance music. Not much has changed but it's had a lot of heavy rotation and a huge part of that is because of David Guetta. The beats are catchy, the lyrics are repetitive and the music videos are visually appealing. Who knew this one DJ could influence my song choices so much?

3. Dev/The Cataracs
Songs: In The Dark, Top Of The World, Sunrise, Club Love, Lightspeed, Breathe
LYR: #10 (Dev only)
What can I say, I absolutely love both groups! I know that I should only list one artist per spot but seriously, when you think of one you can't help but remember the other. If there was a winner, Dev definitely dominated this year with star exposure and chart hits, but The Cataracs played an important part as producers with a variety of songs that earn them both the #3 spot.

4. Ke$ha
Songs: Blow, Sleazy, Kiss N Tell, Run Devil Run, Backstabber, Animal
LYR: #11
Note: "Run Devil Run" is not an official Ke$ha track, but she did provide the base track before it was sold to Girl's Generation. If there was one artist that surprised me the most, it's Ke$ha. While I absolutely love her catchy dance hits and brash attitude now, in all honesty, I didn't start off a Ke$ha fan. She grew on me and I don't think I could see my iPod without a single song now.

5. Katy Perry
Songs: ET, The One That Got Away, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F), Peacock
LYR: #2

She may have fallen three spots this year but that doesn't mean that she isn't amazing! This may surprise you all to know but before this year, I've never been to a stadium concert before (I don't count We Day as that had a different purpose of empowering youth for change). There were two concerts/performances I attended this year: Robyn and Katy Perry. For my first stadium concert, seeing Katy Perry live will always be something I remember!

6. Adele
Songs: Rumour Has It, Someone Like You, Rolling In The Deep, Set Fire To The Rain

That voice. The emotion. The single strange ability to make me want to cry on transit. All of it equals to an amazing performer! While many will place her at the top of the list, Adele is a powerhouse that influenced my song choices, but I couldn't bear to listen to her songs so often. Nothing can be said about the emotion that can both inspire you and cause you to sulk in public.

Songs: Party Rock Anthem, This Is My Life, Sexy And I Know It, Sorry For Party Rocking

They had one of the biggest (and catchiest) songs of the year. Everybody was playing "Party Rock Anthem" and some even dared to try the dance moves in the clubs. Embarrassing to say the least! The group has been around for a while; I remember that they had appeared in one of the seasons for the Real World. I'm not sure if the group will have a lasting success but they seem like an interesting pop act with some catchy tunes.

8. The Sounds
Songs: Something To Die For, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Better Off Dead

In most instances, I can pinpoint where I've heard of each group. Surprisingly, I was introduced to The Sounds from a track that was included in Scream 4. I loved the song and I've grown to like the band as well. Even though Metric's rankings fell this year, this is the close substitute. I wonder which group will dominate in 2012?

9. Lady Gaga
Songs: Judas, Born This Way, Marry The Night
LYR: #1

I'll start off this posting with a point: it was the year of Gaga. So much so that Gaga was EVERYWHERE! Sometimes it's nice to have an artist go away for a bit, take a breather and come back ready to take on the world. There was never any time to digest the next song or Lady Gaga appearance before the next release. In terms of the music, I wasn't a fan of songs like "Edge of Glory" and "You and I" - they didn't strike a chord with me. It wasn't that they were terrible tracks but they just weren't songs that I personally liked overall. It definitely played a part as to why Lady Gaga lost the #1 spot this year.

10. Chromeo
Songs: Fancy Footwork, Bonafied Lovin, Don't Turn On The Lights, Night By Night, When The Night Falls

I'm a little late to jump on the Chromeo bandwagon. Their dance hits are interesting, melodic and hot with "Fancy Footwork" being one of my favourite tracks this year. I have no idea what to expect for 2012 but we'll see if they still make it on the Top 10.

11. Jessie J
Songs: Price Tag, Who's Laughing Now, Domino

12. Cobra Starship
Songs: You Make Me Feel, 1nite

13. Anjulie
Songs: Brand New Bitch, Boom, Rain

14. Kelly Rowland
Songs: Down For Whatever
LYR: #12 

15. Space Cowboy
Songs: Devastated, Falling Down, Party Like Animal, I Came 2 Party

16. Dragonette
Songs: I Get Around, Fixin To Thrill, Fire In Your New Shoes

17. Robyn
Songs: Call Your Girlfriend, Fembot, Dancing On My Own, Cobrastyle

18. Cee Lo Green
Songs: Forget You, Bright Lights Bigger City

19. Colette Carr
Songs: No I.D., (We Do It) Primo, Bitch Like Me, Back It Up

20. Cher Lloyd
Songs: With Ur Love, Playa Boi, Swagger Jagger

21. Deadmau5
Songs: Ghosts n Stuff, Aural Psynapse, Sofi Needs A Ladder

22. Rihanna
Songs: Breaking Dishes, S&M, You Da One
LYR: #13 

23. Selena Gomez
Songs: Hit The Lights, Love You like A Love Song, Who Says

24. Kylie Minogue
Songs: Put Your Hands Up

25. Lana Del Ray
Songs: Video Games

Agree or Disagree with the list? Share your thoughts and comments below about which artists or songs influenced you for 2011!
The holidays are here and I hope it's full of merry and cheer. If not, just wait for the new year and drown all your sorrows in one epic party or at least spend it with that extra special someone.
According to my calendar, we're at the countdown point between Christmas and New Years. To celebrate the final week of the year (seriously, there's one week left!), here is the latest edition of Tuesday Tunes. I'll try to skip over the cliche of listing only holiday songs for this entry - there's only one holiday song I choose this week for your record!

The three videos that will be highlighted this week are:

1. "Domino" by Jessie J

2. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey

3. "Boom" by Anjulie

A new year offers the chance for change and growth. For some, it's making that all important resolution to better your life while for the rest, it's just waiting for those hot gadgets and swag you've been dying to get. I'm the "plan ahead" type of guy so I've already sought after the movies I'm interested in seeing next year, the clothing styles to try and just as importantly, the video games to play. Thanks to some searching and investigating on the EB Games website, there are 10 games that have peaked my interest - and maybe my system - for next year.
Note: Some have deemed me an "Xbox Fanboy" for only highlighting Microsoft games, but I've started to explore my reach to the other systems. In the new year, I'll try to create more articles for the other members of the Power Three.

Silent Hill Downpour
PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Why not start with survival-horror? Silent Hill has proven to be a contender in a (somewhat) revamped and cross-bred genre of gaming. While the latest conceptions of the series have shown to be lackluster (or stale to some), the newest entry is set on revitalizing the story for a new generation. Downpour will take gamers into the role of an escaped convict lost in the fog-filled town of Silent Hill as he's being pursued by his officer. While I can pinpoint elements of the original game from the trailer alone (i.e., the cop), Silent Hill Downpour may be an interesting addition to see how Konami can finally utilize the current gaming generation system after the letdown that was Silent Hill: Homecoming

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Many can deem that Resident Evil is no longer a survival-horror game. The years have helped to play a part in changing it's current genre to a more action-oriented role with horror elements added to keep it's place within the genre spectrum. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City will bring gamers back into the heart of Raccoon City and experience the infamous viral outbreak as a member of the Umbrella Security Service. The highlight of this spin-off entry is delivering the "zombie nightmare" which hasn't been seen since the days of the Outbreak games or - more canonically - Resident Evil: Code Veronica.

Final Fantasy XIII - 2
Square Enix
PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

This game is one of the biggest regrets that I have on the list. Not in terms of the game itself but my personal experience regarding the timeline of the story. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII - which means that its premise is a continuation to the previous game in the franchise. I currently have XIII but have yet to complete it

Street Fighter X Tekken
PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Xbox 360

If there was one game on this list that I am completely unsure of, it would be this game. I absolutely love both the Street Fighter and Tekken series but there are two strikes against this entry: 1) I'm still a little upset about the release of Ultimate Street Fighter IV (especially after purchasing Street Fighter IV to have them create a new game where you couldn't purchase any of the updates as DLC) and 2) that Tekken X Street Fighter - another crossover with the same premise but different style - will be released in 2013. Chances are I will wait till Tekken 7 will be released to get another fighting game but we will see.

Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar Games

The rumour mill is buzzing with the latest game in the Grand Theft Auto series. While current reports are stating the game is set to be released in 2012, I won't hold my breath until I see more footage and previews to confirm that it will be released next year. What I do know is that the game will take place in Los Stantos - which will return gamers to the fictional San Andreas. Gaming Fact: San Andreas was the primary setting of the GTA spinoff game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Halo 4
Xbox 360

While the storyline of Halo hasn't pulled me in like other series for the 360, the multiplayer feature is what I expect will draw users, including myself, to this purchase. The game is set in the aftermath of Halo 3 and will include the return of Master Chief. I'm not sure specifically what this entails but I expect gamers to enjoy hours of online gaming and third person shooting as the iconic character.

The Darkness II
2K Games
PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

The original Darkness was a surprise hit for gamers back in 2007. When I heard that a sequel was set to be released for next year, I was surprised as I gave up any thought of a new entry when I read that the sequel was in "development hell" years ago. The Darkness II will feature the return of Jackie as he controls the devious and tormenting power within him and fight against a secret organization that is set on wielding the power for themselves. Little is known of the true purpose and extent of their goal.

Lollipop Chainsaw
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Shocked? Confused? Curious? Trust me - I've thought this over and wondered it myself. There are a couple of games in my current collection that aren't from overly hyped titles of successful series or even well known to the diehard of gamers. Sometimes it's nice to just have a game that doesn't take itself seriously. Come on, what's more interesting than a zombie-killing cheerleader with a chainsaw? That's right - nothing!

Tomb Raider
Square Enix
PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

If there was a series that needed a serious re-imaging - it's the Tomb Raider series. Personally, I've never played a Tomb Raider game or have fully known the extent of Lara Croft's story but I'm willing to give it a try. From what I've seen in trailers and have read, a younger and inexperienced Lara Croft is embarking on her first adventure to end up trapped, badly injured and abandoned off the coast of Japan. The game will bring new elements to the Tomb Raider series and pull gamers into the thrilling introduction that started Lara on her life of exploration and adventure.

Prototype 2
PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Prototype 2 is going to be a complete reversal to what you'd expect a sequel to be. In the original game, gamers play as Alex Mercer, an individual who is forcibly turned into a test subject and mutated into the Prototype. The story focused on the destruction of New York due to the viral outbreak caused by the late Elizabeth Greene. The sequel will, however, bring players into the role of James Heller, a newly infected soldier who obtains the same powers and abilities as Mercer. His main goal: seek revenge and destroy Alex Mercer once and for all! 

Agree or Disagree with the list? Share your thoughts below and let us know what you think about the game or what games you're eagerly anticipating next year!

It's December and that only means one thing: the holidays are coming! Hopefully, you're all getting ready to start planning and setting up your own vacations or at least thinking about what you're going to be doing. I won't be going anywhere special this year and staying in the city with family and friends. The upside of this will be getting more time to write some entries for your pleasure.

I'm thinking about holiday-themed pieces such a shopping lists, recommendations or even just updates from my life in the city. Also, if and when the reports of Snowmageddon makes a reemergence this year.

Whatever the case may be, December will be a good month and can't wait to share it with you!