It has been awhile since I have posted a Special Weekly Blog like this where I just give you a little insight into me as a person by talking about the things that have influenced me. It has almost been a year since the last one came out and I feel like this is a good time to talk about music. However, this Special Weekly Blog is going to be a little different from the others that came before it. The idea started with me wanting to talk about 5 songs that have influenced me, but I quickly realized that there is just way too much music out there that I have fallen in and out of love with over the years. If you’re like me, you find a new song and then play it on repeat until you no longer want to listen to it again. I do this a lot with songs. So even though I might publish a blog talking about the past and present of my music tastes some time down the road, today I want to take a look at the 5 songs that are currently at the top of my playlist (in no particular order). Also, real quick I should note that I’m not a musical genius familiar with musical theory and I can’t even read sheet music. I am in no way the leading expert on music or the meaning behind lyrics. These are just my opinions and they are for fun. Don’t take them too seriously. Now let’s get to the list!
#1 AJR – Sober Up (feat. Rivers Cuomo) (2018)
Favorite Lyrics: “All my new friends – We smile at party time – But soon we forget to smile – At anything else.”
The number one spot on my list has to go to AJR and their song “Sober Up.” Like I said, this list is in no particular order, but AJR is probably the band at the top of my list. They are amazing musicians with great songs that really get stuck in your head. Although their songs are catchy, many of them also feature deep, meaningful lyrics that really get to my heart. “Sober Up” is definitely a song I can listen to repeat over and over again. As the person who is usually sober at a party surrounded by drunk people, this song kind of speaks to me in a weird way. But it’s also a song that talks about how some people are only happy when drunk or at a party, while being miserable in their everyday life. People can get stuck in this dark rut, where it feels like everything is muted and really far away. This song shakes you back into soberness where these emotions are no longer blurred behind alcohol or any other mood alternating drugs. There are also people that seem to have the ability to quickly sober you up when they appear and for AJR, this seems to be someone from the past who was either a very close friend or possible love interest. This someone “makes [them] feel young” and brings them back to memories where they weren’t wading through this muddled mess we call life.
#2 Aeseaes – Plenty (2017) (A Couple Streams’ Twitch)
Favorite Lyrics: “A coronation, a beheading – From the funeral to the wedding – Do you think they care where the crown goes?”
If you do not watch things on Twitch, you are missing out on some amazing content creators, and if you do not listen to musicians on Twitch, you have only experienced half of what Twitch has to offer. Aeseaes (pronounced ACS) or A Couple Streams is one of the top music streamers on Twitch and they are amazing musicians. They perform a lot of covers during their livestreams, but they have a few originals that are definitely worth checking out. I had the hardest time deciding between their song “Plenty” and “Two Knocks,” but it really came down to the messaging of each song. Two Knocks is the song I personally prefer, but the meaning behind “Plenty” edged it out to make the list. “Plenty” is a song that holds a mirror up to the modern 21st Century World where people want everything now and they won’t no for an answer. They want the newest, shiniest thing and they want the spotlight directed at them. This world is obsessed with drama, violence, and “superhero romances,” but everything has a cost. Powerful stuff from this song. Seriously, go check out Aeseaes on YouTube or A Couple Streams on Twitch. You won’t regret it!
#3 Marshmello – Here With Me (Feat. CHVRCHES) (2019)
Favorite Lyric: “There’s a pain in my heart and it won’t go away – Now I know I’m falling in deep – ‘Cause I need you here with me”
This song is the most recent released song on the list and it competed with another Marshmello Songs, Happier (Feat. Bastille) which I also really enjoy. I gave the edge to “Here With Me” because 1) It’s a very catchy song that I always turn up when I hear it on the radio and 2) It was a really sweet message. The lyrics aren’t really that complex and its obvious that this song is about a couple of people who really care for another. The singer physical ails when the person they are in love with is away and they desperately want to see them and spend time with them. The couple are able to speak without words and seem to be perfectly in sinc. That’s true love. Of course, if you’re like me, you probably thought this song was about two people falling in love – like a romantic couple, but the music video turns the song into a bond between daughter and firefighting, father. It’s not romantic love, but it is still a loving bond the holds the two of them together and its really sweet. Marshmello has really blown up in the music scene and songs like this make it easy to see why.
#4 Shadow of Whales – Pretenders (2014) (Shadow of Whales Official YouTube Channel)
Favorite Lyric: “Cause we are actors and actresses – Playing our parts – Cause we’re pretenders, emotionless – Fooling our hearts”
Shadow of Whales is a band that you’ve probably never heard before and that’s because they are a small, alternative rock band out of Austin, Texas. The way I found them was that they played all of the music for The Guards Themselves which is a movie created by The YouTube Channel, Door Monster (or White Lightning HQ if you’ve followed them for a long time). Watching that movie and listening to the songs in the background, made me want to track down the band I was not disappointed. Although they are relatively unknown, they have some amazing songs I can listen to on repeat for hours. “Fall Back,” “Runaway,” “Talk,” and “Forever” are all really great songs, but Pretenders is their best song in my opinion. The lyrics speak of people just going through life with bland expressions on their face, not really feeling anything. They hide behind their masks and just go through the emotions. They are “emotionless, pretenders” in every sense. I obviously recommend every artist and song here, but I double up on recommending Shadow of Whales. They don’t have the fame these other artists have, but their music deserves some additional listens and some love.
#5 The Lumineers – Sleep On The Floor (2016)
Favorite Lyrics: “‘Cause if we don’t leave this town – We might never make it out”
The Lumineers are wonderful musicians with a ton of songs that I really enjoy, but this song really speaks to me. It’s almost like the perfect road trip song if you want something soft and sappy to listen to as you cruise down an open highway. Additionally, the Music Video really doubles up on that escapism/road trip sentiment and it peers straight into my soul as it does it. I am someone who wants to travel and see the world with close friends or a significant other as soft, memorable music plays in the background. I want road trip cliches to happen as I make amazing memories on the road. This song really pulls at my heartstrings as it makes the listening make a choice between life crushing responsibilities like “holding up the atmosphere” in order to pay rent or to leave everything behind and take off down the open road. They have a choice to stay in this town forever or try to chase an impossible dream that is somewhere out there in the big, wide open world. This song definitely makes me want to drop everything and just hit the road hoping that fate directs me where I need to go.
#6 AJR – Turning Out (2018)
Favorite Lyric: “You say I turned out fine – I think I’m still turning out.”
I know! I know! I covered an AJR song already, but seriously, they are one of my favorite bands right now! They just have too many great songs to not mention a second one. I am a huge fan of “Turning Out” and it has a cute, animated music video to go along with. Although the music video is about two astronaut, co-workers who are crushing on each other, the song talks about a man trying to decide whether or not this crush he is just a crush or the start to something much deeper. Is he truly in love or is this just a good friendship. That line between close friend and something more is sometimes hard to determine and its not always a smart line to cross. Another sentiment the song touches on is that he is still “turning out” and growing up. Even though he is no longer a child, he isn’t fully mature and still has a lot of growing up to do. I think that this potential relationship could be a catalyst to him growing up and becoming more mature which parallels a deepening relationship. So is this just friendship or is it more? Well the music video seems to suggest that it is true love and it just melts my heart.
Header Photo Credit to Juan Pablo Machado