For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked my music to fit my mood/activity. When I run, I want something with a good beat. If I’m getting dressed to the nine’s, I gravitate towards Big Band tunes. My music tastes change along with the seasons. Spring and early summer is for country music (Hello, I live in the heart of country music). Summer is a blend of pop and whatever I can listen to with the windows rolled down (when the humidity isn’t suffocating). Winter is a bit more up for grabs based on the weather and degree dreariness- usually something along the lines of Counting Crows or Andrew McMahon. As the dog days of summer fade into fall, I’m gravitate towards singer/songwriters and folkish tunes. Here’s the music that’s currently finding its way onto my playlists:
OneRepublic’s Native: I have listened to this album all summer and I still haven’t burned out on it. I love when a band sets out to make an album rather than patch together a bunch of singles, and OneRepublic certainly made an album. “Counting Stars” has an aggressive beat- aggressive in the sense that I can’t seem to not move around while listening to it, singing, “hope is our four letter word.” Other tracks I love are “Feel Again” and “Something I Need.” The strings on “Au Revoir” are hauntingly beautiful and I get sentimental listening to “Preacher,” thinking about my grandpa. When I was a kid my grandfather was a preacher He’d talk about love Yeah he was something like a teacher He said, “God only helps those who learn to help themselves.” He was a million miles from a million dollars but you could never spend his wealth.
If there was a perfect late summer album, it might be Matt Nathanson’s The Last of the Great Pretenders. I love Matt Nathanson. I’ve spent the last ten years listening to Matt Nathanson. His music has carried me through crushes, broken hearts, and all that teenage angst. I read a review from someone called Matt Collar, Rovi that I thought summed up Pretenders beautifully, “the album comes off as part diary entry, part love letter.” And that it does. Nathanson may be the male equivalent to Taylor Swift, lyrically speaking. There’s always this raw authenticity to his songs that I greatly appreciate. If I went into reasons why I like individual songs, it will turn into its own post, so I’ll spare you. Suffice to say this album is genuine and I love it.
As much as I might like to be one of those people who can listen to Worship/Christian/ Gospel music on repeat, I’m just not. I love singing hymns and songs when we gather together. There are some songs and albums over the years that I will listen to on my own; that I draw strength, comfort, and encouragement from when I need it most. But usually, listening to this music is an intentional, purposeful action rather than I desire. Brady Toop’s self-titled album is an exception. This album debuted this week and I’m loving it. “Lord Have Mercy” is currently my favorite track. It marries the difficulties, doubts, comforts, and joys that is life walking with God:
Lord Have Mercy~ Brady Toops and Mia Fieldes
When I come to you in prayer, Lord have mercy
When I wonder if you’re there, Lord have mercy
When I cannot find the way, Lord have mercy
Should my heart begin to stray, Lord have mercy
When I lay me down to sleep, Lord have mercy
When the road ahead gets steep, Lord have mercy
When I falter when I fail, Lord have mercy
May your kindness still prevail, Lord have mercy
When I see your promises, Lord have mercy
Knowing well that I am blessed, Lord have mercy
Oh may I never cease to ask, Lord have mercy
‘Til I breath my very last, Lord have mercy
How great, how great is Your faithfullness, Oh Your faithfulness
These are songs I feel equally comfortable singing-along with in church, driving down a country road, and I’d even go so far to say you could listen to it in the background around the table with friends. It’s just that good.
I have to mention The Civil Wars’ new album. It’s gorgeous. It’s heart-wrenching. It can be light and fun. It can be dark and haunting. It’s everything I wanted it to be. I find myself listening to “Dust to Dust” on repeat.
I can’t say enough good things about The Lone Bellow’s album by the same name. There’s a musicianship to this that is lacking too often in modern music. The harmonies are something else. “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold” accompanied me through summer drives and runs. It makes me incredibly happy. It was my introduction to this incredible group but I’ve grown to love all their songs. There’s a little something for everyone and every mood on this album. Particularly noteworthy, if only for it’s uniqueness, is “Button”. It feels like walking into a speakeasy, where the guy behind the bar would fetch you your usual while your ears were treated to some great tunes. If you like alternative, folk, “cowboy songs”, or just really good music, you’ll love this album.
Then there’s the standalone songs:
Churchill “Lock Your Heart Down” None of your time is wasted None of your fears are wrong But I got to lock your heart down I got to lock your heart And I want to be your lover on the days I’m gonna be a wreck I got to lock your heart down I got to lock your heart
Matthew Perryman Jones “Until the Last Falling Star”- This is pining in all its glory: So tell me the secret Is there a way into your heart? Cause I want to believe it Or will I be wishing until the last falling star?
Jon McLaughlin “My Girl Tonight” – I love how easy it is to picture this undoubtedly awkward, yet sweet first date: Well I might be stupid to think I could buy you dinner when some better man should but here goes my manhood So we order food I can’t afford You look so perfect Maybe I should talk more Yeah I could probably talk more
Natalie Closner “Who Needs Feelings” – I told them to pretend that they’re not really there but they’re so hard to tame They don’t like to behave Oh feelings go away and “Pseudo Love Song”- Cause I fell asleep last night with only one thing on my mind There’s a spot between your arm and your side and I think I might just lose my mind until I find out if I fit – I feel I could have written these songs at one point or another
Sara Bareilles “Brave” – A theme song of sorts these days: And since your history of silence won’t do you any good Did you think it would? Let your words be anything but empty Why don’t you tell them the truth? Say what you want to say And let the words fall out Honestly I want to see you be brave
Nina Nesbitt covers David Gray’s “Babylon” – I love the original but this cover conveys the achiness I’ve always felt the lyrics implied. Only wish that you were here you know I’m seeing it so clear I’ve been afraid To tell you how I really feel, admit to some of those bad mistakes I’ve made And if you want it come and get it for cryin’ outloud The love that I was giving you was never in doubt
The Lumineers “Stubborn Love” It’s better to feel pain then nothing at all The opposite of love’s indifference – and I still wholeheartedly adore “Hey Ho” I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart
Green River Ordinance “Dancing Shoes” – This song just makes my heart happy: I’m so tired of the nine to five weighing down on my soul Let’s get all out of this uptown life and head out on a country road Forget about all the things that we can’t make right Put on a little Emmylou and we’ll dance into the night
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors “What Would I Do Without You”- This is what you would call a real love song: A decade goes by without a warning And there’s still a kindness in your eyes Amidst all the questions and the worries A peace of mind always takes me by surprise
Brandi Carlile “Hard Way Home” I never was good at sleeping while the moon was full I just lie and burn Wreck my mind while the planet turns
John Mayer (feat. Katy Perry) “Who You Love”- Beautiful: And he takes a little time but you should see him when he shines Cause you never want to let that feeling go
Mumford & Sons “After the Storm” But there will come a time you’ll see with no more tears And love will not break your heart but dismiss your fears Get over your hill and see what you find there With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair
The Head and The Heart “Rivers and Roads” – This is life post-high school/college at its finest: A year from now we’ll all be gone All our friends will move away And they’re going to better places But our friends will be gone away Nothing is as it has been and I miss your face like hell And I guess it’s just as well But I’ll miss your face like hell… Been talkin’ ’bout the way things change And my family lives in a different state And if you don’t know what to make of this Then we will not relate… Rivers and roads, rivers and roads, rivers ’til I reach you…
This is the music that’s filling my ears and heart right now. Feel free to share what’s filling yours!