Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's 4am and I'm Listening to my Favorite Albums

 I could try to fall asleep. I could make a real decent effort. Take off my headphones, close my computer, then close my eyes. That's how sleep works. Or, I could think about my favorite albums. That seems just as restful to me. I really love a good full album. I think that there is a reason the songs are ordered like they are ordered and that's how you should listen to them. They tell a story. For me, a good album has been one that I have to replay over and over for at least a solid month. I listen to it in the car, on the way to class, while I make dinner, before I go to sleep. I usually end up writing the lyrics on pieces of paper and then finding them months later and remembering why I fell in love with them in the first place. Albums, and the stories they tell, are magical.

So, here are some of my favorites. Some are older. Some are newer. They all have made a significant impact on me. I can close my eyes and remember how I felt when I was in that stage of obsessively listening to the same 16-ish tracks over and over. To me, that's what music is all about. Memories. A few of mine are built around:

1. The Fray- "The Fray" (2009)
I could never say enough good things about this album. Good, solid honesty with pianos and guitars. Highlights include "Never Say Never" and "Enough for Now".

2. Mat Kearney- "Young Love" (2011)
I get embarrassingly excited when someone else is a Mat Kearney fan. This is just really good songwriting...the kind that reminds me why I like to write songs. Favorite songs? "Learning to Love Again" and "Seventeen" (I think that one is on the deluxe edition, but it is so worth listening to)

3. The Civil Wars-"Barton Hollow" (2011)
This album will always remind me of last fall and leaves and scarves and boots. They have such excellent melodies and folksy, real music. Ugh. Check out "Poison and Wine" and "To Whom It May Concern"

4. Johnny Cash- "At Folsom Prison" (1968)
IT'S JOHNNY CASH. AT FOLSOM PRISON. I'm not sure why I need to say anything else..but, it's just an incredible album where, if you close your eyes, you're there....which probably wouldn't have been safe, but whatever. Just listen to "Folsom Prison Blues" and you'll get it.

5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-"Greatest Hits' (2010)
I grew up on these songs. I love these songs. Hearing the opening to "American Girl" will always make me want to stop everything and dance around.

6. Jay-Z- "The Black Album" (2003).
Jay-Z is just brilliant. His music, his business, Beyonce and Blue Ivy. Just love it. Anyways, this album is the first I ever heard by Jay and it has always stuck with me. "Allow me to reintroduce myself" this man.

Ok. Maybe sleep is a good thing right now.


Monday, August 6, 2012

This Summer.

Oh, Summer. I really don't think there is any other season that has so much expectation attached to it. Summer vacations. Summer reading (nerd alert). Summer love. You know, all the good stuff. When this summer started, I had just graduated college and said goodbye to some of the people who know me best in this world. That wasn't fun. I spent a lot of time in the hospital, getting to take care of some really wonderful people. I stumbled over the same things I always stumble over and I'm still finding my footing, but I think that's okay. I'm 22. It is okay.

 Now, here we are in August. I've finished my first year of nursing school and am spending a few weeks with family and friends back in Georgia. I sleep in the room I grew up in and keep finding notes or little reminders of things rather left forgotten. Growing up is a tricky business. I'm falling asleep with my laptop open and playing iTunes again, something I haven't done in awhile. It's totally my version of a nightlight. Maybe you shouldn't need that at my old age. Whatevs. I've been jamming to a lot of (I think) really fantastic songs this season. Songs I've unapologetically been making my friends listen to on repeat when they are in my car. Songs that have made it on to the "Can't sleep, it's 3am" playlist.

Here are a few of them:
 1. "Lego House (Acoustic)"-Ed Sheeran. "And out of all these things I've done, I think I love you better now".
 2."More Like Her"-Miranda Lambert. "You don't look much like a man from where I'm at". Sometimes, the really great boy who makes you smile turns out to be a big ol' liar who likes to passive aggressively end things over a text. Lesson learned.
 3. "Wanted"-Hunter Hayes. I like this. It's lovely. It makes me want to play in the ocean. Totally summer. His whole album is great. "All You Ever" knocked my socks off with its honesty.
 4."Come Over"- Kenny Chesney. I just love Kenny. This is another song that's pretty dang up front. It's never that simple, is it?
 5. "Ho Hey"-The Lumineers. I liked the melody before I noticed the words. That is extremely rare for me. Then I noticed the words rocked, too.
 6. "Brick"-Ben Folds Five. I didn't mean for this playlist to be so #dark. This I just love Ben Folds.
 7. "Both of Us"- B.o.B and Taylor Swift. There. Less emo. I like the unity this song wants. I agree with it. Also, the video was filmed in Nash and featured Bolton's Chicken. Holla hey.

 Okay. There are some jams. However, if I was being completely honest, my #1 played song this summer is probably "Call Me Maybe". It's just so freaking catchy. And, who doesn't love a good group sing along?

 love, love, love


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Red Lights.

Remember that feeling when you were 15 and left the DMV with a brand new permit? I still vividly remember the first time I drove with my dad, praying for a red light so I could slow down, take a deep breath, and try not to accidentally run his car off the road. Then 15 became 16 and then 22 and somewhere in between all that, I began to embrace the craziness that is being a driver from Atlanta. We will tailgate you like it's going out of style and we all know that 60mph on I-75 really means (at least) 70. I remember racing through yellow lights so I wouldn't be late, wouldn't have to slow down. Life was a constant rush of always going somewhere.

Now, I'm a month out from the official end of my four years at Vanderbilt. Four of the most beautifully life-changing years I could have ever imagined, filled with friends and experiences that have shaped the way I see just about everything. As amazing and fun as college was, I often feel like we raced through it all, running yellow lights and not following speed limits. This last year has been the fastest, searching for graduate schools or jobs. Looking for new houses or new cities. These days, when I think about the future, I just picture a giant, red stop light. I've realized I could use a chance for everything to just stop. To put on the brakes, if we really want to drag this driving analogy out. If I could freeze some of these recent moments, I would in a second.

Here are some songs about things changing or wanting to slow things down so you can take a deep breath and try to stay on the road.

1. "Stop This Train"-John Mayer
2. "All We Are"-OneRepublic
3."Be Still"-The Fray (Their new album, "Scars and Stories", is amazing!!!)
4. "Best Days"-Graham Colton (This was our graduation song for high school. It's so perfect)
5. "Free Falling"-John Mayer (or the Tom Petty version...your choice)
6. "More Time"-Needtobreathe
7. "Please Turn Red"-Andy Davis

Love, love, love

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bye, 2011. Hello, 2012.

I remember when 2012 seemed so out of reach. When I realized, that if I was lucky enough, this would be the year I graduated from college. I wondered who I'd be when 2012 got here, what I'd like, what I'd want. It's finally here and it feels good. Safe, even. I spent the last days of 2011 and the first of 2012 with I people I love, people who have been better to me than I could ever dream of or deserve.

2011 was a funny year. I met people who have challenged the way I think and act (in such a good way). I said goodbye to people who were only really ever good at bringing me down. I realized, more this year than ever before, that your words matter. What you say, or what you hold back, it has such an incredible power. You can break a heart or put one back together with just a few seemingly simple words. You can make someone smile or laugh with the things you say. You can make them confused or frustrated with the things you don't. This year taught me to just say what I want to. Even if it's scary and even if you play it back in your head whenever you can't fall asleep. At least you did something to break the silence, and not everybody can say that.

2012 will be a big year. I'm excited for it. Over dinner on New Year's Eve, some of my friends and I discovered our motto for this crazy year that will be full of the unknown: "Bring it on, Mayans". So, here are some new songs that I've started this year with:

1. "Come Around"-Rosi Golan. Pianos and honesty might be two of my favorite sounds. This song has both.
2. "Safe and Sound"-Taylor Swift featuring the Civil Wars. Such a different sound for T.Swift. It's perfect for the "Hunger Games".
3. "On Your Own"-Green River Ordinance."You gotta go, you'll never know how it all will turn out". I like this.
4. "Don't Let it Go to Your Head'-Fefe Dobson. I found this song on a CD from 2005. It's sassy and spectacular. I like to sing it at the top of my lungs in the car.
5. "Our Last Night"- Better than Ezra. "You meant more to me then than I think you ever knew".
6."Seventeen"-Mat Kearney. This song is about growing up. It's been a good year for that.
7. "The One That Got Away"-Boyce Avenue. Love the Katy Perry version, but we all know I've got a soft spot for acoustic guitars. This is good.
8. "I Like it Like That"- Hot Chelle Rae. Unexpected? This song makes me want to roll the windows down and pretend like it is summer. This summer was really great.

Happy New Year.

Love, love , love