playlist

Rolling in the Grammy’s

Since I finished school last spring and started working, I haven’t had much time to follow the music industry as much as I’d like to. That being said, the Grammy Awards can be an easy — though not the most definitive — way to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s being lauded in music.

But before the show gets going, here’s a couple of my own picks from some of the more the anticipated categories:

Record of the Year
Want to Win: “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele
Will Likely Win: “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele

Reason: It’s hard to imagine any other record in this category holding a flame to Adele’s work on “Rolling in the Deep.” Her raw talent completely surpasses Katy Perry’s sexual allure, Mumford & Sons’ indie credibility, and even Bruno Mars’ heart-wrenching lyrics.

Nominees:
“Rolling in the Deep,” Adele
“Holocene,” Bon Iver
“Grenade,” Bruno Mars
“The Cave,” Mumford & Sons
“Firework,” Katy Perry

Album of the Year
Want to Win: 21, Adele
Will Likely Win: Born This Way, Lady Gaga

Reason: Although I’m pulling for Adele, it’s easy to see how Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, with its deeper social message of acceptance and self-love, could usurp the English songbird for Album of the Year. Gaga’s effect on the pop world and music industry at large is so wide-spread, it’s hard to understand. Those who connected with the anthemic message, however, are largely to thank for propelling the album to its current status.

Nominees:
21
, Adele
Wasting Light, Foo Fighters
Born This Way, Lady Gaga
Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars
Loud, Rihanna

Song of the Year
Want to Win: “The Cave,” Performed by Mumford & Sons
Will Likely Win: “Rolling in the Deep,” Performed by Adele

Nominees:
“All of the Lights,” Performed by Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
“The Cave,” Performed by Mumford & Sons
“Grenade,” Performed by Bruno Mars
“Holocene,” Performed by Bon Iver
“Rolling in the Deep,” Peformed by Adele

New Artist
Want to Win: Skrillex / Bon Iver
Will Likely Win: Nicki Minaj

Reason: This year’s Grammy Awards are a big turning point for the world of electronic music. Dubstep artist Skrillex (also known as Sonny Moore and former lead singer of From First To Last) is walking in with a small handful of nominations and if he wins any of them, it’ll be a huge step toward lending electronic music an air of credibility the rest of the industry has had a tough time understanding.

Nominees:
The Band Perry
Bon Iver
J. Cole
Nicki Minaj
Skrillex

Pop Vocal Album
Want to Win: 21, Adele
Will Likely Win: 21, Adele

Nominees:
21, Adele
The Lady Killer
, Cee Lo Green
Born This Way
, Lady Gaga
Doo-Wops & Hooligans
, Bruno Mars
Loud
, Rihanna

Rock Album
Want to Win: The Whole Love, Wilco
Will Likely Win: Come Around Sundown, Kings of Leon

Nominees:
Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul
, Jeff Beck
Wasting Light
, Foo Fighters
Come Around Sundown
, Kings of Leon
I’m With You
, Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Whole Love
, Wilco.

Rap Album
Want to Win: Watch the Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye West
Will Likely Win: Watch the Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye West

Reason: I don’t think I even need to explain, do I? You’ve got two of the biggest giants in rap music collaborating on an album that has given the world one of the best tours in recent history? Hands down, I’m telling you…

Nominees:
Watch the Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye West
Tha Carter IV
, Lil Wayne
Lasers
, Lupe Fiasco
Pink Friday
, Nicki Minaj
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
, Kanye West

Feature Image: Adele – “Rolling in the Deep” (SCREEN GRAB)

Top 10 Songs of 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, it’s hard to resist the allure of year-end lists. Just ask High Fidelity‘s Nick Hornby.

I haven’t devoted much time to music this year since I spent half of it completing my 20-year formal education and the other half starting my first full-time job. However, from what I did manage to absorb, it was the year of dance and pop. Compared to previous lists I’ve compiled, there’s a noticeable lack of artists who play live instruments on their own tracks.

Either way, here’s my  Top 10 Songs of 2011. Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list or any sort of musical authority; it’s simply what I thought were great singles released this year. These songs are catchy, well-written and I just couldn’t shut them off. Enjoy.

Top 10 Songs of 2011


10. The Joy Formidable – “A Heavy Abacus” | LISTEN
From The Big Roar; Release Date: July 11; Peak Position: #29 on US Alt
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard a band that really commands your full attention. The Joy Formidable is great and I’m sad I missed them when they were in town August 2010 at the Media Club. The UK-based trio has a stadium presence that explodes from within and their aptly titled album, The Big Roar, is full of that huge, reckless sound that the present-day alternative scene often lacks.

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9. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “N*ggas in Paris” | LISTEN
From Watch The ThroneRelease Date: Sept. 13; Peak Position: #5 on US
Jay-Z and Kanye are great artists on their own but when they collaborate, even people not into rap or hip hop will sit up and take notice. It’s like the rap equivalent of superheroes joining forces or a crossover episode of a popular mid-90s TV show. (Forgive my similes.) The best way to explain the allure is by looking at the dialogue included on “N*ggas in Paris” taken from the Will Ferrell film, Blades of Glory:
“I don’t even know what that means!”
“No one knows what it means but it’s provocative. It gets the people going!”

—–


8. Death Cab For Cutie – “You Are A Tourist” | LISTEN
From Codes and Keys; Release Date: March 29; Peak Position: #1 on US Alt
While there’s been criticism that Ben Gibbard has lost many of the original elements of the signature Death Cab sound, I’d argue that a lot of those elements are still there –just in different, more mature ways. “You Are A Tourist” was also accompanied by a live-streamed, one-take music video directed by Tim Nackashi, who has directed videos with Rye Rye, Maroon 5, OK GO and almost anyone else you can think of. The video used multiple cameras, live performers and no edits. Very cool.

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7. Benny Benassi ft. Gary Go – “Cinema (Skrillex Remix)” | LISTEN
From Electroman; Release Date: March 8; Peak Position: #6 on US Billboard
While dubstep’s become a bit of an inside joke as of late, I think it’s still worthy to note its popularity among EDM fans, both new and old. Skrillex’s dubstep remix of “Cinema” boasts a pretty heavy drop with a great build and it’s easy to see why some think it eclipses the original electro house cut by Benassi. The dubstep version definitely takes the song and turns it into a different beast completely.

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6. Beyonce – “Run the World (Girls)” | LISTEN
From 4; Release Date: April 21; Peak Position: #1 on US Dance/Club
While the song’s framework is built on a sample of Major Lazer’s “Pon De Floor,” it’s really Beyonce’s lyrics that make this song work. Other critics weren’t fans, claiming it was a continuation of the same old themes of “independence” in Beyonce’s other songs such as “Diva” and “Single Ladies.” The difference is that Beyonce really hammers the message home in “Run The World (Girls),” taking prisoners and kicking down doors. “Run the World (Girls)” also lent itself to some great live performances, something that is difficult to do these days. (Skip to 3:00 to see the live performance.) Recognize, yo.

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5. M83 – “Midnight City” | LISTEN
From Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming; Release Date: Aug. 16; Peak Position: #20 on US
M83’s “Midnight City” has been listed by many publication as the best song of 2011. The song, which is synth-pop goodness at its best, feels familiar and yet, draws you into something unknown, as if the Back to the Future trilogy was the inspiration point. The gratuitous saxophone solo, while hilarious and strangely fitting, is admittedly, well, sexy. The haunting vocals add another surreal layer to this nostalgic trip of a song.

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4. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep” | LISTEN
From 21; Release Date: March 8; Peak Position: #1 on Various
There could not be enough praise in the world for Adele’s vocals. On “Rolling in the Deep,” however, she makes sure that you know it. Her vocals are delivered with a careful cutting edge that disguises itself until it’s time to strike. The lyrics are mournful and yet, the chorus’ wail lets her ex-lover know that yes, it hurts like a mother effin’ bitch but that’s just too damn bad, isn’t it? The song’s stomp-clap bridge also sets things up nicely.

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3. Avicii – “Levels” | LISTEN
Release Date: Oct. 28; Peak Position: #1 on US Dance/Club
I know it’s super cliche to say so but Avicii’s “Levels” has taken the world by storm. I’ve only just become familiar with the electronic scene over the last year but I’ve heard enough to know Avicii is doing something crazy good and the club kids all love it. The song has hit #1 on charts across the UK and it won’t be long before Avicii becomes a staple on North American dance charts too.

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2. Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks” | LISTEN
From Torches; Release Date: Sept. 14; Peak Position: #1 on US Alt
“Pumped Up Kicks,” which made the rounds online long before Foster the People ever had a record deal in place, is a weird concoction of equal parts laid-back indie-rock, indie-pop and dance. The song’s strange little nuances and sounds — including whistles, warbles and fades —  make it all the more intriguing. Curiously, the lead single is drastically different from their other songs, though the same quirky character is still present.

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1. Robyn – “Call Your Girlfriend” | LISTEN
From Body Talk; Release Date: April 1; Peak Position: #1 on US Dance/Club

You know when girls scream, “This is my jam!” when they’re in the club? Well, this is that song for me and it takes everything in my body to not yell out those exact same words every time this song comes on… and this song comes on a lot. (Mostly because it’s the most played song on my iPod from the past year.)

Robyn’s been making a hot comeback here in North America where most people remember her from the late 90s not-so-one-hit-wonder, “Show Me Love.” But what many don’t realize is that Robyn’s been doing quite well for herself over in Europe. Body Talk, however, has really launched Robyn back into the pop consciousness of North American music fans.

While all the tracks off Body Talk are impeccable and deserve attention, “Call Your Girlfriend” has a maturity not often found in pop music. Lyrically, Robyn is the Other Woman, telling her new boyfriend to break it off gently with his girlfriend. There’s a keen awareness of her position in the tricky situation, while also acknowledging the feelings of her lover and the scorned woman.

The song itself has a buzz, a hum of energy that never lets up. You can hear this in the initial notes where the beat almost feels ahead of the count, pulling the listener forward, driving the tempo with purpose. When the beat picks up about 0:30 seconds in, there’s a definite push that holds firm.

The accompanying music video also played a huge role in the success of the song. The video features Robyn in a warehouse, dancing as lights flash in the background. It’s an example of lights done well as the warehouse transforms from barren walls to a neon storm of colour. Filmed in one continuous take, the video’s unconventional dance routine has Robyn going all out, only a small hint of the energy exuded during live shows.

If 2010 and 2011 were any indication, it looks like Robyn’s got a lot more calls to make in 2012.

Honourable Mentions


Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – “We Found Love” | LISTEN
From Talk That Talk; Release Date: Sept. 22; Peak Position: #1 on Various
I’m a sucker for a great dance-pop tune so it’s no surprise that “We Found Love” is noted here. The problem is that while Calvin Harris’ production, Rihanna’s vocals and the accompanying music video are very well done, the lyrics themselves do nothing for me. Sometimes, simplistic works but the song’s repetition loses me entirely.

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Kreayshawn – “Gucci Gucci” | LISTEN
Release Date: June 14, Peak Position: #18 on US Rap
While it’s by no means a masterpiece, Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci” has pop cultural references that are all at once hilarious, shocking and quirky. There’s a carefree flow that only a petite white girl from Oakland can pull off. Or maybe I just really like singing along. “Yeah, you can kiss the ring / But you can never touch the crown.” The difficulty is that the entire song rests on these pop culture references; her other songs haven’t reached the same level of success.

Featured Image: A record shop in NYC’s Greenwich Village. Photo by Stephanie Ip.
Screen caps and titles captured and edited by Stephanie Ip.

First Listen: Tokyo Police Club – Ten Year Project.

I love me a good cover. I love me some Tokyo Police Club. Dear Lord, do I ever love me some nostalgia! So when you take all three of those things and mix them together, you get one very happy Stephanie. Which is exactly what’s happening with Tokyo Police Club’s Ten Songs project…. officially titled Ten Songs, Ten Days, Ten Hours, Ten Years.

Ten Songs

These four Canadian dudes, which I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing when they opened for Weezer in 2008 here in Vancouver, have decided to revisit the aughties by recording ten covers, one from each year and releasing them day-by-day. I knew they were doing the project but I hadn’t paid any attention to the start date. Anyway, they’re four songs in and so far, I am diggin’ it. Here’s what’s been released to date:

2001: Moby ft. Gwen Stefani – “Southside
2002: Jimmy Eat World – “Sweetness
2003: The Strokes – “Under Control
2004: Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone
2005: Queens of the Stone Age – “Little Sister” (Release: Aug. 28)
(Sidenote: You can follow the project by visiting their Soundcloud page where new tracks are posted each day.)

Imitation as Flattery

Covers are always a difficult thing because depending on what the song is, people interpret your intentions differently. Are you covering this song because you think it’s awesome? Are you trying to be ironic? Or are you trying to leech off someone else’s popularity? Not to mention, if you do a bad job, it’s kind of a kick to the shins for the original song and you end up turning off more fans instead of the opposite.

A Quick Review

I am pretty into the “Southside” cover. It might be because I remember when that song came out and I was super into it. The song and the music video had this strange 90s cool, very neon-everything-raver-life quality to it. Don’t ask me why that was ever popular but at one point, it was.

The music video for “Southside” featured Gwen and Moby on the set of
a flashy video shoot, complete with fur jackets, light-up signs,
platform shoes and plenty of backless raver clothing.

The Jimmy Eat World nod is pretty understandable. I’m just glad they didn’t do “The Middle.” “Sweetness” was a way better choice, for sure.” The Strokes’ cover is actually the one in the bunch that doesn’t do much for me. Strange because “Under Cover” is one of my favourite Strokes songs. Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” is a cheeky choice of song and, despite being a pop song, TPC seems to understand there’s a place in the world for pop music, whether you value it or not — it’s “popular” for a reason.

On the Topic of Covers…

Anyway, I’ll leave you off with the video for Tokyo’s “Bambi” off their album Champ. I love this video because of its lights, colours and faded, vintage quality — very cool, very fun. Another sidenote since we’re on the topic of covers, check out Stereogum’s Stroked, a compilation tribute to the Strokes’ Is This It, currently celebrating it’s ten-year anniversary. Some tracks to highlight are the Morning Benders’ “Last Night” and Heems’ “New York City Cops.” You can download the album for free over on their website.

Photo: Google Images.

“I was a cold, cold boy.”

Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”

I love discovering music. I could sit for hours, poring over song after song, band after band. I love organizing my albums and getting track listings in order. Sounds strange but it’s comforting. Anyway, I downloaded a playlist the other day that was put together back in November 2010. Some of the songs were bands I knew and some were bands I’d heard of but hadn’t gotten around to familiarizing myself with, others were bands I’d never heard of all together and some were bands I hadn’t listened to in awhile.

Ra Ra Riot‘s “Boy” was on the playlist and it’s probably the first time I’ve really spent any time with them. From the second it started, I couldn’t stop moving my fingers and toes. If you know me in real life, you know that I love to dance. And when this song played in the car, I just wanted to pull over and start dancing on the sidewalk. It’s a very specific style of dance too. The only way I can describe it is using the dance scene from The Breakfast Club — which, by the way, is one of my all-time favourite movies. Just watch Molly at 0:35 and you’ll get what I mean. Strangely enough, when I go dancing/clubbing with friends, I dance pretty similarly to this clip. You should try it. It’s fun.

The Breakfast Club – “Dance”

A friend asked me once why I loved the music I loved and told me to really think about it and come up with a concrete answer. Since then, I’ve always asked myself the same question whenever I find myself getting really attached to a song. Ra Ra Riot’s “Boy” is definitely one of those songs. I’m a huge fan of the 80’s (as you can tell from my love of The Breakfast Club) so the 80s pop feel of “Boy” really sticks to me. It’s that continuous bass line that really drives the song and when you pair the guitar flourishes (2:33 is the perfect example) with the violin and the cello, the song just goes down so smoothly. But even so, the song isn’t sloppy or lazy, it’s a well-oiled package.

Anyway. I don’t want to dissect this song and destroy it or anything, I just wanted to give some space to an awesome song and share why I love it. Ahhh. Now excuse me while I boost the play count on this song a little bit more.

Photo: Ra Ra Riot, Google Images.

Playlist: The Mix Tape.

Those who know me, know that I’m a hopeless romantic. I spent five years focusing on finishing my degree and in that time, I didn’t date at all. I did, however, pine after a few gentlemen during that period. While none of those crushes came to fruition — probably for the best — my romantic tendencies usually got the best of me and would manifest itself in poorly written poems, unfinished letters, and mix tapes that sit on my shelf, collecting dust.

Here is my favourite of them all.

The Mix Tape.
Summer 2010

1. She & Him – “I Was Made For You”

2. Hannah Georgas – “The Deep End”

3. Justin Nozuka – “My Heart Is Yours”

4. Jack’s Mannequin – “Dark Blue”

5. Landon Pigg – “Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop”

6. Joshua Radin & Schuyler Fisk – “Paperweight”

7. The Beatles – “I Will”

8. Beach House – “Take Care”

9. John Mayer – “Edge of Desire”

10. The Perishers – “Nothing Like You And I”

11. Cat Power – “Sea of Love”

12. Buddy Holly – “Everyday”

13. Iron & Wine – “In My Lady’s House”

Featured Photo: John Cusack in High Fidelity.

Playlist: Your smile’s on fire.

This mix started off as just whatever I had been listening to that week. But, like everything else in my life, it quickly became something more than that.

I know I sound extremely dramatic and overwhelming but that’s how I felt that week. Each song in this mix made me feel bigger than my body, to borrow words from John Mayer. There were a couple days where I drove home from school under a huge expanse of bright blue, feeling like I could’ve kept driving for miles and it wouldn’t have mattered to anyone else but me.

I wasn’t exactly happy or feeling perfect — but I knew I would be okay.

Xavia, Who Will Save Us?
February 2011.


1. The Submarines – “Xavia”
“Xavia, who will save us? / Your smile’s on fire / And still my hear won’t let you down.” I first heard this song on the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist soundtrack and wish I’d heard the Submarines sooner. The song is adorable and cute but I think what I love about it are the lyrics. They make sense and yet, not quite.


2. Miike Snow – “Song For No One”
I heard this song at Lucy’s when I was having a post-break up relationship dissection with Alisa. The song’s jaunty guitar riff catches me off guard everytime, which is probably why I liked this song so much at first. I was too busy feeling down on myself and this song picked me up again.


3. The Strokes – “Under Cover of Darkness”
Finally! I’ve been waiting for new material from the Strokes for YEARS. And that’s not even an exaggeration. The song is funny partially because it’s so very Strokes-esque, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel like they’ve fallen short of all the expectations we had drawn up for them in their extended absence. Either way, Julian Casablancas will forever look like he needs a shower.


4. Felix Cartal – “Popular Music Intro”
Felix Cartal is the DJ name of Taelor Deitcher, a sort of Vancouver wunderkind. He’s my age and strangely enough, I used to take photos of his old band, Orange Orange. Now, he’s Felix Cartal, jetting around the world, hanging with Steve Aoki and whoever else is hot in the electronic music world. A girl I went to high school with is tight with him and mentioned him a couple times but I didn’t start listening to him ’til this month. I dig it. It’s rad. Proud that he’s from Vancouver.


5. Ratatat – “Bare Feast”
A classmate and I were talking about the crossover between indie and electronic bands, music that you can dance too without feeling like a top 40 fool. She suggested Ratatat as a band that even those who were into all the subtle nuances of electronic music could appreciate. A confession though. I wathced Eat, Pray, Love the same day I heard this song so in my mind, “Bare Feast” makes me feel like I’m riding a bicycle down a dirt path in Bali or something.


6. Caribou – “Odessa”
Another friend noticed that I was on a bit of an electronic music kick recently and offered up Caribou. I’m still slowly familiarizing myself with their album, Swim, but this track caught my ears. It has a bit of a dark, club feel to it but it’s not stagnant or morbid. It’s still very danceable and moves along nicely.


7. Trentemøller – “Miss You”
I don’t want to say too much about this song since it speaks for itself. Simple, peaceful, honest.


8. Rusko ft. Amber Coffman – “Hold On”
A friend was trying to explain what “dubstep” was and sent me this as a sample. I don’t know if this exactly fits into what dubstep usually is, but Amber Coffman’s voice makes this track so much more. Without her, I doubt I’d pay attention to the track at all. Sorry, Rusko.


9. Kings of Leon – “The End”
Pained vocals over a sparse bassline, clashing guitar riffs, the obvious title… this is a break up song, dudes. It hurts to listen to and yet, I can’t stop. It’s the song they play in the scene of the movie where they’re kissing passioantely and you know it’s the last time they’ll ever see each other. And then someone dies? Yeah, that’s usually how it goes.

Playlist: The dog days are over.

While nothing extremely exciting is happening in my life right now, I figured I’d share my playlist for the week. I was feeling pretty down at the end of January mostly due to weather and the workload at school. But I was told that “all you can do in a bad situation is think of how to turn it into a really good situation.” So the way I turned a bad situation into a really good one was make myself a playlist of songs that instantly make me feel awesome. (Photo: Lissie.)

The Dog Days Mix.
January/February 2011.


1. Florence + the Machine – “The Dog Days Are Over”
This song is interesting because if you listen to it and just gloss over the lyrics, it’s happy. It’s upbeat. But if you really listen to the lyrics and try to understand them, you start to realize that it’s not a hopeful song. This girl can’t deal with love. When good things happen to her, she has no idea how to accept it. That’s the weird part. For whatever reason, I get that.

2. Gavin DeGraw – “I Don’t Wanna Be (Acoustic Unplugged Mix)”
I know Gavin DeGraw is mostly associated as a one-hit wonder for being the theme song of One Tree Hill, but I really like this song. I listen to it and it makes me feel like that’s it. There’s not a whole lot more to life than being true to yourself. There’s no huge, complicated thing to overcome… just be honest, be true, be real. (BTW. I couldn’t find the acoustic version on Soundcloud. But it is good. Trust.)

3. Natasha Bedingfield – “Unwritten”
Yes, it’s embarrassing that this is on my iPod but! I can’t help it: it’s sunny, it’s catchy, it’s bright. It’s some sort of weird girl-power anthem and even if I feel like I’m the only one in the world who feels this way, that it’s okay and I can handle it.


4. Kid Cudi – “Pursuit of Happiness (ft. MGMT and Ratatat)
This song is, obviously, a little dark when you go through the lyrics but if he can sing from that place of darkness and still be okay that “everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold”… well. Then I really haven’t got a lot to complain about, do I?


5. The Knife – “Heartbeats”
This song is on the playlist purely for its ability to make me want to dance. Nothing else. (I also really enjoy the Jose Gonzales acoustic version. But that one’s a little more mellow.)


6. Matt & Kim – “Cameras”
I almost didn’t realize this was a Matt & Kim song when I first heard it. It’s got a little bit of a hip hop swag, combined with this “live fast, die young” chorus that makes me want to just get on the road and start driving somewhere, anywhere. But the chorus is filled with truth: “No time for cameras / we’ll use our eyes instead / no time for cameras / we’ll be gone when we’re dead.” Forget trying to get things perfect, forget trying to BE perfect. Just enjoy it.

7. The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
When I close my eyes and listen to this song, I feel as if I’ve been lifted off my feet and I’m flying through life at warp speed. There’s a million things happening in this world and this song reminds me that all we really have is right now.

8. Semisonic – “Facinating New Thing”
“I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before / that you’re lovely, that you’re perfect / that somebody wants you.” It’s a little crazy to think that there are poeple out there (myself included) who feel like they’re worthless sometimes. This song reminds me that I’m fine, that I’ll always be fine, that I don’t need validation from anyone or anything. I’m fine just the way I am.

9. Something Corporate – “I Woke Up In A Car”
Here’s another example of a road trip song. One day, I want to get in a car, start driving, and just having this playing at full volume. I don’t think it even matters where I’m going so long as I’m going somewhere and I can feel free. I especially love listening to this song when the sky is wide open and blue.


10. Two Door Cinema Club – “Something Good Can Work”
This song is so undeniably upbeat and catchy, it’s hard not to get caught up and carried away when it’s playing. The words themselves, “let’s make this happen, girl /gonna show the world that something good can work / and it can work for you,” is just a good reminder that everyone deserves happiness, everyone deserves joy in their life.

11. Young Love – “Discotech”
I first heard this song a few years back when Young Love opened for Lady Sovereign at the Commodore. Probably one of the first shows I saw at the Commodore and I gotta say. It was a pretty rowdy night. I remember leaving early because I wasn’t sure I wanted to stick around ’til the end. Either way, this song just gets me going and ready to head out for the night. I think I mostly love the lyrics because there’s so much ego oozing out of every word.


12. Lissie – “Pursuit of Happiness (Kid Cudi cover)”
Lissie has an insane voice and for whatever reason, this cover just works for her. Kid Cudi’s original song is very laid back and chill, but Lissie takes the song and injects a whole lot of anger and venom into it. It almost qualifies as a break-up song but sometimes, it’s just fun to scream the words out loud in your car when no one’s around.