Hello everyone! Hope you all are well. A few days ago, I saw Sarah from Book Hooked Nook do the Shuffle the Music tag, and she invited anyone to do it at the end. I absolutely love this idea because I love music almost as much as I love reading. I tend to have a hard time reading when there are noises around me, so I either find complete silence (which, as I’m sure you all know, is very rare) or put on my own music to drown out everything else around me. I know a lot of people can’t focus with music in the background, but I am not one of those people. I always recommend trying classical music or scores so that there aren’t words to distract you from the ones on the page.
- Thank the person who nominated you for this tag and link to their blog.
- Shuffle your entire music library (no matter how old songs the songs are) and talk about the FIRST FIFTEEN songs that come up (anything like why they are there, if they signify something, any story, why you like them, etc.)
- Mention the songs as well as the artists.
- Tag 7 people or more to do this tag and please let them know!
I listen to just about everything, so hopefully this will be fun and diverse! I’m going to cheat just a touch and use songs that I have saved in my Spotify library and not my overall music library (ie iTunes) because a) I don’t use iTunes anymore and haven’t bought music from there in years and b) I share my Apple account with my family, so some of the music isn’t mine and I wouldn’t have anything to say about it. The downfall to this is that it limits the possibilities of what songs come up to what I have found more recently, but oh well. I’m doing it anyway. It shouldn’t be much of a problem because I’m sure I have somewhere around 1,000 songs saved on there, so we should be fine.
1. Toe Feiloa’I by Mark Mancina
So I guess this is as good a way as any to start off. Like I said above, I’m pretty big on scores, but I’m also pretty big on Disney. This is from Moana, which has both a score and soundtrack that I adore. Everything about it just molds together so well to create a piece of art that is beautiful.
2. Prisoner by James Arthur
I discovered James Arthur sometime 2 years ago and fell absolutely in love. I love his voice, music, and lyrics, and I remember spending at least two weeks listening to nothing but this album. The songs are all incredibly powerful but diverse, so I can go from crying over the song to jamming out like there’s no tomorrow with his music. This song in particular is one of the more jam-style tracks, but it still has a pretty strong message.
3. Hold My Girl by George Ezra
This is one of the newer tracks I’ve found, but I love George Ezra. I’ve listened to his newest album, which this is from, and was a little unimpressed, but this is one of like 3 that I really like. It’s so soothing and sweet. His voice is so mellow and relaxing, and I love how simple the accompaniment is. I’m a sucker for a good string part in a pop/alternative song, so that may explain it.
4. My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz, and Nate Ruess) by the Roots
Hi, have I mentioned I’m a musical theatre nut? Because I am. I’m honestly surprised I went 3 whole songs without getting one. When the Hamilton Mixtape came out, I was obsessed. This is one of my favorite tracks off it, and it’s one of my go-to songs before I swim a race. I don’t know how you can listen to this song and not get pumped.
5. Quartet at the Ballet by the Original Broadway Cast of Anastasia
Sure, so now I get 2 in a row? I have not seen this musical (I haven’t actually seen most of the shows that I listen to), but my sister has. Anastasia is one of her favorite movies, and she happened to be in Connecticut when they were doing previews there, so she made sure she saw it. This is one of my favorite songs from the show. It’s one of the additions to the musical that wasn’t in the movie, but I think it’s amazing. I am so obsessed with the use of Swan Lake and how it transitions to the themes from the musical itself. It’s so clever, and the harmony at the end gets me every time. Ugh, it’s just so masterfully written.
6. The Middle by Zedd
My teammates at school absolutely adore this song. We would blast it and sing along all the time on the bus and on deck. It’s so much fun, and I’m not sick of it despite the number of times I’ve heard it, so it must be good.
7. Dixon’s Girl by Dessa
I’ll be honest: I haven’t really listened to this song before. I saved one of Dessa’s albums a few months back thinking I’d start listening to her because I knew and liked a couple of her songs, but never actually listened to any of it (oops). Listening to it now, it’s pretty cool, but I don’t think it’s really my cup of tea right now.
8. Carnival of the Animals Finale by Camille Saint-Saens
The other love that hasn’t come up yet: classical music. About 80% of the music I listen to now was written before 1900. This is not one of my favorite classical pieces, but the version I have is from Fantasia 2000, which helped me refine my taste in music (read: made me listen to too much classical music) from a very young age.
9. Appalachian Spring: Doppio movimento by Aaron Copland
Yay, more classical music! Funnily enough, this piece completely negates my point about listening to things from before 1900 because it premiered in the 1940s. Again, this isn’t one of my favorites, mostly because it gets stuCK IN MY HEAD SO EASILY. Simple Gifts, which is the melody it uses, is so catchy but in the annoying way, not the good way. I’ll be lucky if I’m not still humming it in 4 hours. Still, it’s a great piece of music, and I do really like Copland.
10. Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, mvnt. 1 (Moonlight Sonata) by Ludwig van Beethoven
Do you believe me now about how much classical I listen to? Ok, again, this isn’t one of my favorites, but I feel like you can’t not like Beethoven. Also this is a really great piece to fall asleep to (it is after all the “Moonlight” sonata). It’s one of the (many) pieces that makes me wish I could play the piano.
11. Smoke Clears by Andy Grammer
I don’t know what it is about this song, but I never get tired of it. I wouldn’t call myself an Andy Grammer fan, but I’ve never disliked his music. This has a really positive message that I can 100% get behind.
12. Move Together by James Bay
Oddly enough, I actually discovered James Bay and James Arthur around the same time. It was probably right around when everyone else was discovering them, because I’m pretty sure it was right around when both Let It Go and Say You Won’t Let Go were popular. A lot of the things I said about James Arthur can be said about James Bay, too: he has an amazing mix of sounds and deep lyrics paired with beautiful music. This is one of the saddest songs on this album, but I absolutely adore it.
13. Pavane Opus 50 by Gabriel Faure
Alright, NOW we’ve gotten one of my favorite classical pieces! I’ve actually written a short paper on this piece for a music history class. I kept playing it for one of my best friends, who is also a lover of classical music, and now we jam to it all the time (we refer to it as the ultimate bop). It’s just an absolutely beautiful piece of music, and even though I listened to it probably 50 times, if not more, for the paper, I still love it and could listen to it forever.
14. The Old Castle by Modest Mussorgsky
Oh man, it’s a classical music miracle. If you thought I was passionate about Faure’s Pavane, you should hear me go on about The Old Castle. This right here, folks, is my all-time favorite piece of classical music (for now, but I honestly don’t see it changing any time soon). I can’t tell you what it is about this piece, but I just can’t get enough of it. Fun fact: I have a playlist that consists solely of 13 different arrangements of this piece (my favorite is the Stokowski orchestration). And I actually listen to it regularly. 2 semesters ago, I wrote a paper on Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Mily Balakirev. It was during this paper that I stumbled across this piece in particular and fell in love.
I could go on FOR DAYS about Pictures at an Exhibition, the suite this piece is from. Both the version that came up and the version I’ve linked to include the Promenade, which is a really interesting thing Mussorgsky included to Pictures. It plays between every piece in the suite, acting as a transition from piece to piece but is also meant to signify the walk that you would take to get to the next piece of art that is displayed in the titular Exhibition. I have so much more to say about this suite, but I won’t because this post is already long enough as it is.
15. Sunday – Finale by the 2017 Company of Sunday in the Park with George
I guess it’s only fitting that we should end with a finale, and this one no less. Stephen Sondheim is an absolute genius. I was actually just listening to this earlier today because my dad and I went to the National Portrait Gallery yesterday, which got me thinking about art in general. Now, I may know a lot about music history, but I know next to nothing about art history. I do, however, love A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte because of this musical. Jake Gyllenhaal does a phenomenal job as George, although I don’t think anyone can replace Mandy Patinkin as George in my heart.
Ok, I know I wrote more than is probably necessary (or interesting) for each song, but I just have so much to say about most of these songs. My comments probably would’ve been shorter if I used older music that I’m less familiar with, but where’s the fun in that? I hope you still enjoyed it, though! I certainly had a ton of fun, and I guess that’s what counts. I don’t have 7 people to tag, so I’m going to do what Sarah did and say to do this tag if you’re interested! It really is a lot of fun.
Did I have any songs you really love? Any recommendations? Please let me know! I’m always looking for new music!
Keep reading (and listening),