10 Songs that Should be on your iPod (or other MP3 player…)

Album cover for the Evanescence single "G...

Album cover for the Evanescence single “Good Enough”, version 1. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Streamy Awards Photo 1189

Streamy Awards Photo 1189 (Photo credit: The Bui Brothers)

Wordplay (song)

Wordplay (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, now that I embarrassed myself with 10 guilty pleasure songs yesterday, let me make some suggestions for songs that I think should be on everyone’s iPod.  I’ll admit, I do lean towards rock, but I have been on an R&B kick lately (though that didn’t really show through on this list).  Hope you find something you like!  This started turning into classic rock songs that you shouldn’t be without…hopefully further editing has balanced this post out.

1. Living in the Moment – Jason Mraz
This is a great song to serve as a reminder to loosen up and enjoy life.  I tend to keep busier and more stressed than I should, and this song reminds me to “not waste my days making up all kinds of ways to worry about all the things that will not happen to me.”

02 – Living In The Moment

2. Hook It up – Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew
Pirate Rap. ‘Nuff said

06 Hook It Up

3. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage the Elephant
Good song for when you want to feel badass. Just open the windows, put your shades on, and blast this song down the highway!

03 Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

4. Taxi – Gym Class Heroes
A song made up almost entirely of band names.  As a writer, I find that impressive.  When I first heard this song, I tried to write a poem made up of band names.  It failed.  This song, however, does not.

Gym Class Heroes – Taxi

5. Good Enough – Evanescence
Usually known for their gothic stylings, this Evanescence tune is almost classical.  The piano and string arrangements are smooth, and when coupled with Amy Lee’s vocals, this song is absolutely gorgeous!  It’s both sad and happy, but then again, sad is happy for deep people.

Evanescence – Good Enough

6. The Doctor’s Theme – Murray Gold
This man is a music genius!  This song is great mood music.  It’s short, somewhat ominous, and yet oddly beautiful.

03 The Doctor’s Theme

7. Welcome to the Jungle — Guns N Roses
I like feeling badass…can you tell?

Guns N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle

8. Catch and Release – Silversun Pickups
I almost went with Panic Switch, but I needed more slow songs and this is a great one. It’s sexy, but also a little sad.  I always picture a figure skater when I hear this song because the music here is so clean and precise.  I also love the bass melody.

Catch and Release

9. Bromance – Chester See and Ryan Higa
This, like Hook It Up, is a silly one.  The title says it all.  I watched the video for this song on YouTube, saw it was available on iTunes, and downloaded it.  It’s set up as part rap song, part 80s power ballad, and all hilariousness.

01 – Bromance

10. Lost in the Echo – Linkin Park
I wrote a letter to Linkin Park and told of how this particular song was my favorite from their current album, “Living Things.”  It has served to give me energy and confidence.  For example, I played this song while driving to school on my first day of college level teaching in September.  I love the rhythm and hard-hitting lyrics.

01 – Lost In The Echo

ipod shuffle loja online leilao

ipod shuffle loja online leilao (Photo credit: sucelloleiloes)

Now it’s your turn!  What is one song you think should be on everyone’s playlist?

An Open Letter to Linkin Park

Linkin Park Tee

Linkin Park Tee (Photo credit: प्रतीक)

Dear Linkin Park,

Your latest release, “Living Things,” is quite different, as are your last two albums, “Minutes to Midnight” and “A Thousand Suns.”  This isn’t a complaint.  Though I will admit that upon first listening to “Minutes to Midnight,” my immediate first thought was (and I quote), “What the hell was that?!”  Your new artistic direction took some getting used to, but it grew on me.

I began to like the use of electronica and cleaner guitar riffs, even if that meant sacrificing the grit and industrial edge that first attracted me to the band’s style.  Unlike many of my friends, I did not discover you guys in high school.  I wasn’t an angsty teen.  I didn’t have (or, at least, didn’t realize at the time) much anger during my teens.  I discovered you guys  in 2007, my senior year of college, after a break up. It was through your music that I found the permission to get angry.

Fast forward five years and you are still in heavy rotation on my iPod.  I still listen to “One Step Closer” when I need to get pumped up, to “Don’t Stay” when I need to get pissed, and to “Breaking the Habit” when I’m creating my own artwork, be it writing or mixed media.

Many people I know were quite disappointed in the direction the band and the music went in.  I can’t say I blame them.  Change is hard.  But I’m honestly very glad to see that while you may have honed a more polished sound, your lyrics are still pretty damn searing.  I think that’s what keeps me coming back.

Since ’07, I’ve graduated with an MFA in Poetry. While working on my own pieces and “finding my voice,” I really gained a firm understanding of what it means to be an artist.  And then I think of what it must feel like to have pressure from an industry that has brought you wild success…and, come to find out, they just want you to keep producing the same thing.  No room for experiments, no room for growth. I’d find that both heart-breaking and maddening. So kudos to you guys for sticking to who you are as artists and as a collective band.  Correction: I think it is this kind of risk and artistic integrity that keeps me coming back.

I meant for this to be a straight-up CD review, but the written word tends to be its own beast.  For those who have not heard the new album, don’t expect, well, anything.  What helped me appreciate this album was to not have expectations, which sounds bad, as if I am asking you to set the bar low.  That is not what I am saying.  What I am asking is for you (yes, you, the reader) to have open ears and an open heart….wow, that may very well be one of the most cliche phrases I have ever typed.  What I mean to say is this: Let the trickling beats and interweaving vocals of Mike and Chester (a staple of this band I’m SO glad they didn’t sacrifice for the album) speak to you.  If they don’t, then they don’t.  Come back to “Living Things” in a year, two years, even five years.  I do think this album has something to say to everyone.  I say this as someone who has been steadily listening to this album for about a month and is still finding new things to enjoy: a beat I didn’t hear before, a phrase I had never caught until this moment.  Am I saying this CD will change your life?  Perhaps not.  But could it offer words for an emotion or event you couldn’t utter before? Most likely. Linkin Park is good at that.

Guys (and I speak to the band now), I think you should know this: A few weeks ago, a friend of mine took a poll to see what we’d choose as a theme song if we were involved in a prize fight for our first national title (he’s really into boxing).  My first instinct was to go with something by Flyleaf (for the screaming chick power) or Bullet for My Valentine (for the pure rock energy).  Then I heard “Living Things” and changed my mind.  I put down “Lost in the Echo.”  That song may not include a female front woman or rock riffs, but there is a certain strength and tenacity that is so real, so intimidating, so perfect that I’d want nothing else to fly in the face of my opponent.  Every time I listen to that song, I imagine myself walking up to the ring, steel-faced (which can be quite amusing if you think about it, since I’m a 5’5″ woman with a pretty thin physique).  But seriously, who wouldn’t feel badass walking up to an opponent with these lyrics swirling around?

Test my will / test my heart
Let me tell you how the odds gonna stack up
Ya’ll go hard / I go smart
How’s that working out for y’all in the back, huh?
I’ve seen that frustration
Been crossed and lost and told no
And I’ve come back / unshaken
Let down and lived and let go
So you can let it be known
I don’t hold back I hold my own
I can’t be mapped / I can’t be cloned
I can’t C-flat / it ain’t my tone
I can’t fall back I came too far
Hold myself up and love my scars
Let the bells ring wherever they are

It was a good reminder that your music will always, in some form, be woven into the soundtrack that helps me to take the hits and to deal a few blows of my own.

Thanks for that.

Sunday Morning Playlist

Music - an art for itself - Headphones and mus...

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a music related entry.  I love finding new bands and artists (and recently discovered Pandora Radio… “new music” post to come soon).  In that spirit, I put together a playlist showcasing a sampling of what I’ve been listening to lately in hopes that people can find a new song or two to add to their mp3 player.   So here it is: a collection of what I consider some funky, killer, and risque tunes!

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