Best of 2016: Music

So much happened during 2016 but I didn’t write a single word about it. I was living life. I admit to not listening to much radio this year, opting for podcasts and music, the latter mostly through Spotify. This year, I managed to listen to about 36 full albums of new music, less than last year and less than my goal of at least 52 albums. But still, I feel good about it. In June, I was on track but I think with the addition of going back to school threw me off track. No complaints here. Stuff was happening: I started school, I ran a half marathon, I published a story, and was in an art exhibition. 2016 was not so bad.

Things that surprised me about my playlist:

  • How my list transformed throughout the year with negative songs at the beginning of the year (“Misery,” “Burn the Witch” and “Beautiful Lies”) to what it is now.
  • The number of songs from soundtracks (3) must have meant their were several movies with good soundtracks with original songs.
  • The lack of local music means I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked this year.
  • The number of radio hits (1) means I hardly listened to radio this year. Not terrible, but a shift for sure.

Without further ado, here are my favorite songs of 2016 (in optimal listening order):

Lin-Manuel Miranda & Opetaia Foa’i, “We Know The Way” (from Moana soundtrack)
The Struts, “Could Have Been Me”
Gwen Stefani, “Misery”
Birdy, “Beautiful Lies”
Sia, “Bird Set Free”
They Might Be Giants, “Got Getting up so Down”
David Byrne, “Everyone’s In Love With You”
The Prettiots, “Boys (That I Dated in High School)”
Benjamin Scheuer, “Cookie-tin Banjo”
Gillian Welch, “Orphan Girl”
Nada Surf, “Cold To See Clear”
The Kills, “Hum for Your Buzz”
Pixies, “Um Chagga Lagga”
Radiohead, “Burn the Witch”
Leonard Cohen, “You Want It Darker”
Tegan and Sara, “100x”
Hans Zimmer, Camille!, “Suis-moi” (from The Little Prince soundtrack)
Regina Spekor, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (from Kubo and the Two Strings soundtrack)

Note: You must have a Spotify account to listen. If you want an actual CD copy, send me an email, text, or direct message and I will get on that.


2015 in Music Playlist

This year, I approached listening to music in a completely different way. I wanted to make sure I was keeping up with listening to newly released music, so I sat down and created a list of artists that were releasing new music in 2015 that peaked my interests. I started with wikipedia and then I looked for recommendations and jotted those down too. Then I got to listening, checking off the albums as I went and making notes of albums and songs I enjoyed. In the end, I managed to listen to over 40 full albums of new music. I think next year I will try for at least 52 albums for the year.

So without further ado, here is my playlist of my favorite songs of 2015. There are a few artists that I squeezed onto the list that I never got around to listening to their full albums. But that’s life, plus I will get around to them eventually.

Ben Folds, “Capable of Anything”
Anya Marina, “Give Me Resurrection
Courtney Barnett, “Pedestrian at Best”
Sleater-Kinney, “Price Tag”
Veruca Salt, “Laughing in the Sugar Bowl”
Madonna, “Ghosttown”
“Cold War Kids, “First”
Patrick Dennis, “Kissing the Beast”
Oh Spirit, “Mothers Only Daughter”
Dead Rock West, “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)”
Julianna Hatfield Three, “I Don’t Know What to Do with My Hands”
Brian Wilson (with Kacey Musgraves), “Guess You Had to Be There”
Modest Mouse, “Coyotes”
X Ambassadors, “Renegades”
Rhett Miller, “Wanderlust”
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, “S.O.B”
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, “Another Round”

Note: You must have a Spotify account to listen. If you want an actual CD copy, send me an email, text, or direct message and I will get on that.

New Year Mix

I love making mixtapes. Since I was a angsty teen I recorded tapes, then CDs, for unsuspecting friends and lovers. It was to my delight that in June of 2012, some friends started the San Diego Mixtape Society as a way to create and share mixtapes based on predetermined themes. Every other month, the group meets at a place with good drinks and conversation. At the end of the “meeting” you walk away with a mixtape of another member. The requirement is to bring a CD, USB or actual tape of your 1-hour mix based on the theme. I have always meant to share the mixes on a broader basis, but until now I never made the time.

The theme for the December 2015 San Diego Mixtape Society was “Holiday”. Since there is a ton of Christmas albums out there, I decided to create a holiday album for a holiday that I have no albums for. I wanted a mix that was timeless, to be listened to year after year. And now that Christmas is over, it is time to ring in the new year with this New Year Mix.

Death Cab for Cutie, “The New Year”
The Breeders, “New Year”
Nina Gordon, “New Year’s Eve”
Tom Waits, “New Year’s Eve”
The Walkman, “In the New Year”
Violent Femmes, “Happy New Year Next Year”
Lightnin’ Hopkins, “Happy New Year”
NOFX, “New Year’s Revolution”
Foo Fighters, “Next Year”
Counting Crows, “A Long December”
U2, “New Year’s Day”
Jeff Buckley, “New Year’s Prayer”
Tori Amos “Our New Year”
The Head and the Heart, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”
First Aid Kit, “New Year’s Eve”
Bright Eyes, “First Day of My Life”
Andrew Bird, “Auld Lang Syne”

Note: You must have a Spotify account to listen. If you want an actual CD copy, send me an email, text, or direct message and I will get on that.

Venturing into the world of adult coloring books

Who likes to color? I know I like to color. And apparently so do a lot of other adults. According to Good Magazine, in April 2015, Amazon’s two top bestsellers were coloring books for adults. Citing a need to “return to innocence,” many adults are picking up the crayons and are choosing to fill in the lines, or perhaps rebelling by using formerly prohibited permanent markers and coloring outside the lines.

Regardless of the reasoning, I totally approve of this particular decision many adults are making.

And there are a number of choices for adults to fulfill almost every coloring need. Mental Floss did a run down of some of the weirdest/coolest coloring books for adults. I have always appreciated the Indie Rock coloring book, which is also mentioned on this other great list by Brit + Co who shared their favorite “modern” coloring books.

Personally, I have a few friends I would love to see make a coloring book of their art, including Kendra Kent & her Parade of Weird and of course, McHank. I also have toyed with the idea of creating a coloring book. Perhaps one with an animal theme? Right now, I have a few other goals that are higher on my priority list, but consider this added to my bucket list.


At the Speed of Dean Martin

I have always lived a fairly full life with a very full schedule. Every evening and weekend filled with concerts, events, birthday parties, networking and derby. You would be hard pressed to find a hole on my schedule within two months. But I liked it that way. Never bored. Always moving, connecting and making more plans.

With one fall, my slate cleared. Since I injured my knees nearly a month ago, I was forced to cancel, postpone or miss out on scheduled meetings and events. Plans of weekend camping vanished. A weekend in San Francisco: gone. Meetings at work were rescheduled or happened without me. Life moved on in its rapid pace, but I became a snail. Moving slowly, I have become an observer of life.

Outfitted with my grandfather’s 18 year old Nissan, since I’m not able to drive my stick-shift Mini Cooper, I have been transported back in time. His smell still lingers on, as the current soundtrack of my life streams from the cassettes he left behind. And Dean Martin reminds me, memories are made of this.

I have come to appreciate spending evenings at home with my family and gawking at the details of life most people are too much on. I am slowly starting to getting out more, but I want to keep this slower mentality with me as I begin to move faster physically.