Saturday, January 2, 2016

Musical Musings: My 2015 in Music

Musical Musings is a new feature where I'll be talking about music! There'll be two posts a month---the first of which will be about some random musical topic, and the second post of the month will be a recap of my month in music. To learn more about this feature and whatnot, click here to check out my introduction post! :)

2015 is over!

Dear baby goodness. 2015 happened. And now it's 2016. And it has been FOREVER since I've posted a Musical Musings. That's 100% due to school and life and just, you know, general craziness. So I'm making this extra post today because I need to make up for missing those other posts somehow.

Plus, I really want to do a recap of sorts for how my musical tastes flowed throughout the year. That seems really fun to me. I'm going to break this down by month. Obviously, I didn't start doing Musical Musings until June of 2015, so the first half of the year is going to be full of guesstimations.

So yeah. Let's do this!


I have the worst memory in the world. So I don't know much for sure other than the fact that I was in a Taylor Swift 1989 kick. The only reason I really even know this is because I got the CD for Christmas in 2014, which definitely means I spent the next month (at the very least) listening to it nonstop and learning all the words.

Seriously. All. The. Words.

It was fun! At least five songs on the album were my favorite at some point. I enjoyed Shake it Off so much, but then Blank Space showed up and won me over completely. For a WHILE. Then there was Bad Blood, which I was a fan of because of the beginning and the fact that it was so dang catchy. After that it was kind of a mix of Wildest Dreams and This Love. I remember falling in love with them both pretty much at the same time. They're both soft and sweet and beautiful. Last up was Clean. Kind of fitting considering it's the last song on the album. It's also a fantastic song.

The only song on the album I honestly and truly dislike is Welcome to New York. I listen to it, I know all the words to it, but it hasn't grown on me. At all. Maybe it will sometime?

I'm sure I listened to other stuff in January, but T-Swift was surely dominant.


Oh, hey, it's my birthday month! Which has nothing to do with anything in this post. But whatever. YAY.

I listened to a lot of radio in February. And probably Pandora. But definitely radio. Which means a lot of pop--and some rock and alternative, because I found a couple cool stations that play awesome stuff. Songs that particularly stick out in my mind (for whatever reason) are Four Five Seconds by Rihanna ft. Kanye and Paul McCartney, Cigarette Daydreams by Cage the Elephant (you don't even KNOW how I thanked all that was good in this world when I found a station that played this), Ants Marching by Dave Matthews Band, and...I can't remember anymore. Some Sam Smith, most likely.

It's killing me that I can't remember anything more specific.

I mean, this was also the month the eighth season of The Voice started. Which means my Sawyer Fredericks obsession began around the end of Feb. That's something, eh?

March, April, May

And thus we are thrust into my utter love of Sawyer Fredericks. The entire season (which spanned through April and into May, I believe---though I am going off memory alone here so I could be off) had me freaking the freak out about this kid.

So I just decided to bridge these three months together in this recap because my tastes in general really stemmed from this show. And Sawyer. And the things he and other contestants performed. It only makes sense to lump this all together, yeah? (Plus it saves us all time from having to read/type the same gist all over again... three times.)

From his blind audition, I thought Sawyer was awesome. But I will admit that I didn't place all my bets on him right from that point. He was a top favorite, but so was India Carney, Lowell Oakley, and Brooke Adee. I liked Brooke a lot because she auditioned with Skinny Love which I ADORE. Lowell was just so cool and awesome and...smooth. India was pretty much magic. I love New York State of Mind (I mean, duh, it's Billy Joel) and INDIA singing it was amazing. So I had other favorites.

Until the Battles, that is. Then Sawyer battled Noelle on Have You Ever Seen the Rain and OHMYGOSH I hooked my star to that boy and never let go. From then on out, I was 100% Team Sawyer. I listened to his covers all the time, voted like cray cray for him, and kinda cried some happy tears when he won.

I was also led to listening to some specific artists in this time. Credence Clearwater Revival, for one. I'd always been a fan, since Up Around the Bend is my favorite song on the soundtrack for my favorite movie (Remember the Titans), but I was so back in after the Battle and then John Fogerty performing with Sawyer in the finale (WHOA). I also listened to some Birdy due to Brooke Adee, and I was on an Electric Feel kick for a little bit. Joshua Davis slayed me with his greatness. Lowell and Kimberly still have me watching their Hound Dog Battle. And I got pushed back into the Temptations! Gaaah I love them. I have Lowell to thank for that one.

Lots of stuff those months, and very The Voice-based.


This was the month where we shifted to Bookish Lifestyle and I started Musical Musings! Now I have an actual record of my musical tastes. Ha. Makes this recap thing much easier. I posted my intro post that month, and then June 2015 in a Nutshell.

I was still riding the Sawyer Fredericks train at that point, which led me to the Sawyer Fredericks Pandora station. I LOVED it. Still do, when I'm in the mood for it. The station played Sawyer's covers from The Voice, and other artists that I enjoy so much like the Goo Goo Dolls, Lumineers, and Matchbox 20. So much happiness over this, y'all.

OH!! This was also the month I fell in love with Hozier!!! That is a big deal right there. Hozier is amazing. And I discovered The Postal Service, which is a band I really need to look into more this year. I wanted to then, but totally forgot (story of my life). City and Colour, too. I have one song on my list of favorites for that month (it's called The Girl), but I never remembered to look into the band. I LOVE the song, so it only makes sense that I need to find more of their stuff!

Looking at that post, I think I was super wrapped up in Sawyer's cover of Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. The song is an important part of Katy Evans' REAL series, so it makes sense. And then there's the fact that the Goo Goo Dolls are a band I always love.


In July, I introduced y'all to a list of some of my favorite musical artists. I'll probably make another list this year, since goodness knows that post only had a portion of my favs. I talked about Paramore, CCR, Panic!, The Killers, Eminem, and moooooore. Seriously, check out the post and see who I love, and then let me know who your favorites are! Maybe we have some of the same???

I, of course, had a wrap-up post that month, Shy July. I'd just devoured Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley and was totally on a Shy high. (Very understandable considering Shy freaking rocks.) I even named my Spotify playlist after him! I linked it for you in the post, but I'll link it again here. I was on a Spotify kick then, so I'm sure that playlist has everything I was listening to that month.

To Be Juliet's Secret is on there, The Killers, Counting Crows, Billy Joel... lots of great stuff. I was all over Speed it Up Kid by To Be Juliet's Secret in July---it was so catchy!!! And in making my list of favorite artists, I ended up with Battle Born by The Killers stuck on my mind, too.

...I'm not complaining.


Unsurprisingly after Speed it Up Kid wormed its way into my brain, I was in a serious mood for some To Be Juliet's Secret. So I wrote an entire post about them. I talked about how I came to find (and love) them, and then I listed some of my favorite songs of theirs. Honestly, looking back on this... I really want to go listen to Sound of a Heartbreak. That song is STUNNING.

...Which is why in my wrap-up, Overlooked August, I listed Sound of a Heartbreak first. Almost the entire list from there is full of soft songs. Beautiful. Beyonce, Vance Joy, Snow Patrol. Johnny Cash's cover of You Are My Sunshine. It was clearly a lovely month of music for me.

My playlist that month was named Gansey, because that's around when I became obsessed with The Raven Boys! And then the playlist is full of the lovely music I'd been listening to throughout the month. You can check it out here. Looking back now, I like this so much. It was a chill month!

And since Sound of a Heartbreak was listed first, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it was my favorite song of the month.


This was the month I wrote my Counting Crows post! My heart feels so happy! Counting Crows are the band with my favorite song---Mr. Jones. It was in September that I realized that yes, Mr. Jones is my favorite song AND Counting Crows are one of my favorite bands. I wrote all about that, and then listed some of my favorite Counting Crows songs. Mr. Jones, obviously, along with Round Here, Anna Begins, A Long December, and more.

Surprisingly, my wrap-up for the month did not include any Counting Crows songs. I'm chalking this up to a few things:

- September was SUPER busy. Schoooooool.
- I got distracted by one of my new favorite series, The Ghost Bird by C.L. Stone. One of the characters is actually who I named my September playlist after, North.
- Downtown by Macklemore and a bajillion other people happened and I went cray.

Seriously, I was ALL OVER THIS SONG. There are other songs on my list of favorites for that month, but Downtown definitely topped them all.


The last month of 2015 that I posted anything for Musical Musings. I just posted an October recap, in which I was obsessing over Samson by Regina Spektor, leading me to dub it Obsessive October. Why was I obsessed with Samson, you ask?


Yeah. Mhm. Yep.

The Voice. Season nine of The Voice started in September and ran through the beginning of December. During the Battles, Samson was one of the songs. THIS BECAME MY NEWEST FAVORITE THING EVER. Seriously. From that moment on, Korin Bukowski was my favorite contestant of the season. It was like Sawyer Fredericks all over again, but without the comfort of knowing Sawyer was more likely than not sticking around. Korin was on such rocky ground once the live shows started. Her Battle with Chase was amazing. Korin's voice is gorgeous. And her FALSETTO. Dear goodness. I lived for hearing that. But apparently the rest of America didn't take as much of a shine to her as I did, so we had to VoiceSave her two freaking times. Sigh.

ANYWAY. Samson. Amazing and beautiful and totally worth obsessing over.

I was also crazy about Madi Davis this season. This started with her Battle where she sang Riptide by Vance Joy. It was montaged, but I've played the studio version on repeat more times than I can count. Another huuuuge moment this season was Mark and Celeste's Battle of Ain't No Mountain High Enough. I love this song in and of itself. I'm sure you can guess why (it's in Remember the Titans). But oh sweet gracious that Battle! Literally the best ever. It was intense and left me so full of awe.

So October was spent obsessing. Over Samson, over Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and over The Voice. (Mostly Samson though.)

November & December

Yeah, I'm combining these two. November and December really blur together. It was a lot of school and reading when I could and life stuff and just so much craziness. And honestly, my musical mood throughout those two months were the same. I'm sure you can guess a majority of it based on how October went.

You guessed, didn't you? THE VOICE. It was more than just Korin, though. I mean, yes. Korin was my number one and I loved everything she sang. But there was also Madi Davis, whose voice is extraordinary and took an upbeat song like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and turned it into something so deep and moving. And don't even get me STARTED on her performance of Love Is Blindness. Or A Case of You. Madi is beyond words talented.

Then there was also Amy Vachal, who took songs and fitted them to her style. Her cover of Blank Space rocked. And Hotline Bling? I like it better than the original. Though that's not really hard considering I don't think I've heard Drake's version of that song in its entirety. Even if I had, I still have this hunch that I'd like Amy's more.

And we cannot forget Mark Hood who MADE ME LIKE A MODERN JUSTIN BIEBER SONG OHMYGOSH. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Bieber hater. I actually enjoy his older stuff. You know, his songs from when he was first starting out---One Time, One Less Lonely Girl...that one was my favorite. I know all the words to those ones. But his more recent stuff has slipped by me very unnoticed. Untiiiiiil The Voice. Mark performed What Do You Mean and ahhhhh I heart it. Another one I like better than the original. Mark in general blew me away every time. I'm still so caught up in his cover of Against All Odds. LOVE.

I must take a quick moment to point out that Jeffrey Austin made me enjoy Believe by Cher. That song usually annoys me. But Jeffrey... Jeffrey did a fantastic job with it.

The winner of this season of The Voice wasn't actually anyone I rooted for the whole way through, though I did think he was so great. Jordan Smith. I wasn't fully convinced of this guy until his performance of Somebody to Love by Queen. The fact that he did that song at all makes me happy pants. But the WAY he did it... I don't even have words. It's been weeks and I still cannot think of words. It left me speechless. I was impressed. And now, I am playing Jordan Smith's version of Halo (by Beyonce) on repeat. Literally as I write this. While Somebody to Love was Jordan's best performance, I feel Halo was his best artistic endeavor this season. He made it his own, turned it into something that not only suited him but was HIS. Plus, he achieved both of those while remaining true to the nature of the song.

So that's where I ended my year. In Halo by Jordan Smith (cover). Against All Odds by Mark Hood (cover), too. Every time I reach the end of Halo, I always go to Against All Odds...and then back again. Back and forth. I love it.

Of course I listened to loads of Christmas music during this time, and it was WONDERFUL, but I wasn't as obsessed with it as I was all things related to The Voice.

And...that was my year in music! Sweet goodness that was such a long post. If you're still here, thanks for sticking it through all that! I'd love to hear what you think!! What do you think of my music last year? What were your tastes like? Did they align with any of mine? Did you discover anything new? Let me know!! :)

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