38 Songs for my 38th Year

I often do these birthday posts and look back at the previous year trying to discern which day/moment was my favorite or which one changed me the most or had the biggest impact or (fill in the blank).

Well, for those of you know anything about age 37 for me, that post would have to be about 50,000 words long. (I know this because I wrote a book about it in November.) I can’t really do my normal thing because there were too many days, too many moments, and so much impact. Therefore, I’m going to give you 38 songs that best encapsulated my 37th year.

Music rules everything anyway, right? Right. So in no particular order and with links to music videos I don’t really understand…

  1. “Ode to Sleep” by Twenty One Pilots — The theme of the year was basically “I will set my soul on fire” but I want every word of this song tattooed on me. It has three distinct parts to it, but when he starts with “Why won’t you let me go” I think it reaches genius levels. Also I will fly to anywhere on earth to see them play, I think.
  2. “Rise and Shine” by Deorro — I invite you to listen to this song with me at your earliest convenience. It was sent to me in March with the accompanying message of “If you don’t love this more than anything…” Oh, I do. I’ve never listened to it and not smiled. The drop at the 52 second mark makes my heart happy. This is the song I play you when I want to show off a subwoofer.
  3. “Dream” by Bishop Briggs — Bishop is probably my favorite artist discovery last year. She was on a “Swagger” playlist and that is an excellent way to describe her. Her voice has that certain bite to it that makes me want to use her music as a soundtrack for when I take over the world. If you’re interested in more from her, check out The Way I Do and River.
  4. Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi or Pursuit of Happiness by Honeybucket — Depends on if you like your pursuit rap/remix or bluegrass. Either way, when they say, “People say slow my roll/ I’m screaming out Fuck that,” I took it to mean, “No, really, fuck it all. Go for broke.” And then did.
  5. Steamboat by Look Homeward — Speaking of bluegrass, who knew the song I most want played at my funeral is a Christian bluegrass band’s song? The trombone in this one makes it all worth it. “Drink to every toast” and all that. (No, I don’t know why I felt the need to pick a funeral song. It was a weird year.)
  6. Believer by Major Lazer — I don’t think the groundhog saw its shadow this year, but I definitely gave up sleep for a few months. (Drop at 1:13 in this one gives me life.)
  7. Where is My Mind by the Pixies — If I had a dollar for every time in the past year that someone asked me “What are you doing” or “Why did you do that” or “What is your plan” or the equivalent, I could retire. If I had a dollar for every time I thought to myself, “Where is my mind?” then I could retire AND buy a yacht.
  8. Let Me Hold You by Cheat Codes — According to Spotify, this was my number one most listened to song in 2017. I distinctly remember listening to it approximately 100 times on February 7. I don’t think I have ever skipped over it on any playlist it came up on. It just has that beat to it for me.
  9. Kill and Run by Sia and A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody by Fergie — Shout out to “The Great Gatsby.” Speaking of women with biting voices, Sia is another one that I just never skip. This song broke my heart multiple times this year for extremely different (and downright paradoxical) reasons. Where her voice goes at the end… I actually physically feel it in my chest. Also there aren’t a lot of slow songs on this list so treasure this one as it destroys you emotionally. 🙂 … and the second one includes the idea of “Right now is all we got” as a life philosophy. Also includes the phrase “bees knees” which I say so frequently it’s like I’m turning 98.
  10. Something Just Like This by Chainsmokers and Coldplay — Does everybody remember when this song played literally every five minutes? I remember being in a restaurant where I heard it twice in a half hour. And I also remember being in my car and saying back at the radio, “Yes. I know. I am risking it. Stop asking me.”
  11. Happiness is Not a Place by The Wind and the Wave — “I don’t want to run but I can’t stand still.” There were a lot of nights in the last year that I slept somewhere I didn’t consider home and there were a lot of nights in those places that I felt so perfectly at home that I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was a very strange, discombobulating experience.
  12. Home Alone by Ansel Elgort — The 45 second mark is so cool in this song. I listened to it repeatedly one night while watching “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and videos of Tomorrowland in Belgium and thinking, “I need to do all of these things all of the time.” I’ve really never heard a song like this one, either. Sort of blew my mind a little bit.
  13. I Feel It Coming by The Weeknd— Ah, Mr. Weeknd. Has anyone ever found out why he dropped the “e” in his name? Also has anyone ever asked him whom he likes better, Michael Jackson or Prince? Inquiring minds and all that. Also I love myself some Daft Punk.
  14. Alive by Sia — Winner for best lyrics screw up of the year by me. She is not saying “I ate Ambien and I paid a debt.” In March, when I made all sorts of fabulous choices for my mental health, this became my theme song. It’s my third most listened to song in the last year. I cannot possibly resist air drumming the three drumbeats at the 4:17 mark; they are the end all be all.
  15. Let’s Hurt Tonight by OneRepublic — I prefer the BUNT remix of this song. However, this tune will always be September 2017 to me. I will always be in my car and I will always be wondering what I should do next and I will never have the answer and I will wish I could shut this song off but I never can.
  16. Hold On by The Brevet — Without question, I experienced the widest array of emotions of my entire life in the last year, which is an odd age for that to happen, I think. This included the deepest, most hopeless depression I’ve ever felt, and I added this song to my Starred playlist on what was the saddest day of the year for me. Ergo, I always had a little hope somewhere in there.
  17. North Carolina by Poor Remy— “I don’t need you / But I want to” is a good line. Also: If you’re a fan of three part harmony? Here you go.
  18. Never Rave Again by Laidback Luke — “I don’t look for trouble / it’s just that trouble finds me” might also make a good tattoo except it’s not true. Sometimes, I find trouble just fine. And by the end of this list, you need to love EDM because it is the music of my brain. And my terrible dancing. And my complete love of all things fun and crazy.
  19. The Cure by Lady Gaga — I am a sucker for good hooks and I am a sucker for Gaga. And I tried really really hard to believe that love was enough to conquer anything. (It is not enough, just for reference.)
  20. Bruises by Lewis Capaldi — I love his voice. I love these lyrics. It is beautiful and soulful and wrenching and, I mean, if you want a slow song about a broken heart, this one will fit the bill. I’m not big on those, but I couldn’t ignore this one.
  21. Echame La Culpa by Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato — I had five years of Spanish, went to a Spanish-speaking country, and still I felt like I was appropriating their culture by saying “Gracias” or “Buenos dias.” I’ll need to work on that before I leave the country again. But yay for a passport stamp!
  22. Andele by Deorro — The number of times that I have made something resembling a “badass” motion and/or jumped when he says “Everybody fucking jump” (1:20 mark) and then that drop hits cannot be counted. I found this song the day after the infamous “Mocha Drunk” night where someone accidentally gave me a large mocha at 5 p.m. instead of a tea and, well, things went poorly from there. And the next day, I could hardly function, but this song got blasted anyway.
  23. Together by Animal Island — Yeah, fine, I don’t think love can conquer anything, but I certainly think love can be amazingly cute and fun and worth a shoulder dance or 80.
  24. Wild Horses (Sam Feldt Remix) by Birdy — I spent a lot of time during age 37 recovering from things I did when I was age 37. Seriously. Every day was like nine days long. I found this song while on the 29th floor of a hotel in Chicago writing a novel and wondering what the hell had happened to my life. It’s a break-up anthem of sorts. But even without the lyrics, Birdy is the shit.
  25. Raging by Kygo ft. Kodaline — My Spotify “Starred” playlist is basically my bible of music. And what I love is that I added this on April 1, 2016, which was an incredibly sad day and then I added it again on October 21, 2017, which was also an incredibly sad day… and Spotify asked me if I wanted to add it to the playlist since it was already on there. “Absolutely,” I said. It’s the only song on the playlist twice. So yeah. It’s good. And not actually sad, for what it’s worth.
  26. Sunrise by On June — Ah, The Feels. “Groove groove in the moonlight”
  27. Legend by The Score — See? I listen to rock music. Go ahead. Don’t move any part of your body to the “Bang bang” part of this song. I dare you. When I feel like a complete wimp of a person, this is the answer. I have no desire to be famous in any way, but focus on the music, people.
  28. Lay It All on Me (feat. Ed Sheeran) by Rudimental and Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran — Look, I’m not really into Ed. But I can appreciate Ed. I can dance to Ed. I can watch Ed randomly appear in a Game of Thrones episode. I can do all these things without any issue. And Galway Girl has been viewed 306 million times. Ed is doing fine without me being a huge fan. And whether I like it or not, these two songs were very much a part of my last year.
  29. Knock on My Door by Faouzia — So the greatest break-up song in the history of music is sang by a 17-year-old Canadian? Cool. I don’t even know what else to say about this except it is painfully perfect. “Sing along to a melody even if we’re a tiny bit off key / I am sorry it had to be this way”
  30. The Way We Move by Langhorne Slim — “At the last supper, honey / make sure you get something / something to eat” is the lyric that sticks with me from this one and I have no idea why, but again. I never skip this song. I listened to it every single month of the last year… through all the crazy… through all the episodes… at every possible stage of every possible thing… and it always worked.
  31. S&M by Rihanna — First of all, the opening slide of this lyrics video made me laugh out loud. Second of all, my list was feeling really white. Third of all, “I may be bad but I’m perfectly good at it” is disgustingly great as a lyric. Four of all, it’s got a thing. You know the thing. It’s got the thing.
  32. Freaks by Timmy Trumpet — This one has a drop and a hook and everyone I have ever played it for has enjoyed it. EDM soulmates.
  33. Night Bus by Gabrielle Aplin — “Suddenly I know that I’m on my way home to you for the last time.” I literally have a smell associated with this song. Does anyone else on earth ever have a smell associated with a song? What a bizarre brain trick.
  34. More Than You Know by Axwell^Ingrosso and Despacito – Remix by Luis Fonsi — The first is the lyrics and the fact that I adored this song for the entire summer. The second? I don’t know any of the lyrics (see Spanish problem above). But it was everywhere. And dancing to it at 1 a.m. on a hill in Wisconsin with a bunch of incredibly good dancing gay guys (which I am not) was still a pretty cool moment. Also: This video has Four.Billion.Views.
  35. Hold My Heart by Lindsey Stirling — For 17 days, this was one of two songs I was able to listen to. Otherwise, that’s known to me as my “podcast period” because I lost the ability to listen to music. So if we’re keeping track: I was 37 for 365 days. I am obsessed with music. And I was so broken that I literally stopped listening to anything other than this and one other one. That’s broken.
  36. I Got You by Bebe Rexha — I have a fairly expansive vocabulary and I still say “Or nah” more than I can possibly comprehend. I blame this song almost entirely. Also I love gummi worms. Just wanted to mention. Felt important.
  37. #41 by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds — “I will go in this way / And find my own way out” I’d say seeing Dave and Tim on a beach made everything all worth it, but I think that experience stands alone as just being fabulous all on its own. The music of your adolescence is unlike any other and stays with you forever. Voila.
  38. By the Reins by Brown Bird — “But I know that who I’m not is who I’ve been and I will never be again.” That about sums it up.

With that, I say, “So long, 37. Let’s never ever do this shit again, okay? Okay.”

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