CD Rec: Bridgit Mendler: Hello My Name Is...
This took me SO LONG to love that really only sheer determination and a long car trip with my enthusiasm for the 2 songs I love really did the trick, but now I've had the CD out of the library for uh...3 months (I gave it back once when the renewals ran out. For 2 days). She has a habit of breaking into weird rap/chanting bridges like Avril Lavigne's low point, which took a very long time to get over, but now I can't imagine my life without them. Or the rest of the CD, which is just a big giant pile of bubblegum pop joy. Every song blends smoothly into the next in a different flavor of fun (although the last one is a little slow), so I'm just going to highlight my one remaining fave.
CD Rec: Vanessa Carlton, Liberman
Transitioning seamlessly from previous album “Rabbits on the Run,” this album is full of dreamy, sort of vague song concepts that I love entirely because it's like a musical dreamscape. I can officially crown Vanessa Carlton my Favorite Musician of All Time now that she has nailed five albums in a row where I enjoy all or nearly all the tracks, outpacing Groban & T-Swift in the process.
32. Mount Eerie – Soria Moria
In January, you were alive still
As an ode to both searching for some missing piece of self and the singer's late wife, my god, this is the most mysteriously gut-wrenching song you have ever heard. I am crying right now and I'm not even listening to it. (also, apparently the whole album is an ode to his late wife, and is like this but sadder. I have not yet had the courage to venture further)
33. Bridgit Mendler - Ready or Not
Hello my name is, nice to meet you
I think you're famous, where have I seen you?
You'll be my William, I'll be your Kate
Livin' in a fairytale
This wasn't an instant ear grab, but it kicks off the CD and became my favorite mostly because I loved this verse. The rest trickled in afterward.
34. Alizee - Blonde
Do you ever just see a random artist name + song title and snippet of lyrics and think, “I bet I will enjoy this song?” Because that is what happened when I was looking up the lyrics to Bridgit Mendler's “Blonde” and the internet suggested this as an alternative. LISTEN TO THIS WILD FRENCH POPPY JOY. The whole world is blondes! Everyone is blondes! Bottle blondes, that is. Also the music video is ridiculous and I love it, aside from her distracting giant arm tattoo(s).
35. HYUNA - Bubble Pop!
While we are on this streak of total nonsense, this is a song my boyfriend introduced me to a while back, which is pretty instantly-addictive K-pop and which I, upon remembering, IMMEDIATELY LISTENED TO FOR A DAMN HOUR. There's just enough actual English mixed in that with the equally addictive video, you feel like you can vaguely understand what's going on.
36. Vanessa Carlton – Willows
Our weeping willow is hanging above me
On my back, in the sun, as you lay beside me
So the opening track (which is coming later; these are the order I fell in love with them) is nice, but then this energetic strings-and-piano melody ripples out like something from the opening credits of a frontier period piece and you go yesssss, that's the stuff. (the official lyric video is just really really pretty, okay)
37. Vanessa Carlton – Nothing Where Something Used to Be
It's confusing, 'cause I'm the one that left
It was preemptive, I don't know who I am
This line jumped out at me right away because it reminded me of a TV situation somewhere, probably. I also like the way her voice trills “do it, do it,” on the chorus.
38. Vanessa Carlton -- A Matter of Time
Like a wishing well where all your pennies fell
Despite the anachronism of “neon signs,” this feels very 19th century in tone. I keep picturing a drawn-out courtship.
39. Vanessa Carlton - Unlock the Lock
It's beautiful as the sadness starts to quiet
And this makes me think of mysterious Alice in Wonderland-y things.
40. Vanessa Carlton -- Blue Pool
The garden walls grow quick
Before you know you're outside of it
And the ivy's coming in
This one has some of the most straightforward lyrics in the bunch, describing meeting a former friend/acquaintance by a pool in L.A., but I saw it described in a review online as sounding very 60s.
41. Vanessa Carlton -- Take It Easy
As your castle crumbles down (and it will)
Take it easy
Well if this isn't the most New Age-y spiritual anthem ever...
[And now that all is said and done, there are literally only 4 tracks left (one of which is the first single lol oops), so I'm going to pass on them but I will say that the remaining Order of Likeness is Operator (fun but nothing stand out lyrics-wise), House of Seven Swords (slow but neat lyrics), River (a good closer that fits its namesake), and Ascension, which is more like pleasant white noise added at the end like a bonus track.]
42. Wilson Phillips - Hold On
Someday somebody's gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye
LISTEN, CHILDREN. This lyric sounds so familiar it must be famous, but I have never heard this melody with my own two ears before it came on the "oldies" radio station and I got very ALSK;DJFASKLDF because I Could Not Believe that this magical poppy beauty came from that station. Which, to be fair, is now at least 60% the 80s Station, but still, it sounded too new for that (also apparently it's from 1990 and oh god I am upset it qualifies for this station). Now that I've settled into it, I have grown very appreciative of its majestic 80s/90s power anthem style.
43. The Chainsmokers ft. Emily Warren* – Paris
*whom I am crediting in a way they did not because the song is only tolerable because of her voice you punk ass bitches
They'll say you could do anything
They'll say that I was clever
Remember how I disqualified “Closer”? Yeah, well, joke's on me. The garbage men have won. Promote them to garbage boss. /Constance Wu voice. Whoever/whatever this band is, it's basically the male equivalent of Halsey music and inexplicably appealing, at least as long as they've got female vocals. Honestly, it's basically the musical lovechild of Halsey and Owl City.
44. The Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan - All We Know
You might remember Phoebe Ryan from such 2016 Music Of hits as “Mine,” which is the only reason I clicked on this, and then I listened to it for an hour because it's hypnotic. Like all of their music. It is still my fave, either because it's the best or because it hasn't been beaten to death on the radio.
45. Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill
One friend left to sell clothes
One lives down by the coast
One had two kids but lives alone
Story time: I have had such negative patience for Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" nonsense being played 10x a day on every radio station I know that as soon as I saw his name, I literally bolted from this song at least 5 times before hearing it in full, despite my ears tingling with pleasure at both the music and early lyrics, knowing I would like it and determined not to let him win.
Finally I surrendered, and lo, it was love at first listen. The nostalgia, the wistfulness, the beautiful images of British countryside...I can't even dump on the dumber lyrics because the rest is so inspiring. This feels like I song I have known for ten years already and that makes my heart sing every time it comes up. I wanna put it on ALL THE ROAD TRIP MIXES.
And then I decided to switch it up and listen to “My Daily Mix” on Spotify, and I collected a giant passle of lady singer-songwriter stuff.
46. Heather Nova – Norwegian Wood
I once had a boy
Or should I say, he once had me
This just sounded like it would be good. Then it washed over my ears like some beautiful half-Mediterranean Lisa Hannigan and blew me away. And also HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS WAS A BEATLES COVER UNTIL JUST NOW.
47. Heather Nova – London Rain
When somebody knows you well
There's no comfort like that
OK this 100% sounds like a song from a 1990s girl-power teen movie or romcom soundtrack, and the fact that I can find no evidence to support this despite it being from 1998 is only proving to me that a future romcom should use it.
48. Shotgun Down the Avalanche – Shawn Colvin
So be quiet tonight,
The stars shine bright
On this mountain of new fallen snow
I loved “Sunny Came Home” like nobody's business in middle/high school (and still do), but somehow never paid attention to anything else this singer ever did. That may have been a mistake. This has such a neat, semi-eerie sound that I can't remember what it sounds like unless I'm listening to it because I have literally no words to describe what kind of music this is.
49. 10,000 Maniancs – Because The Night (cover)
Apparently this playlist was secretly titled “And That's What You Missed In the 90s,” because I feel like more and more pieces of the place from which my musical foundation was born are coming home. Even though these lyrics might secretly be too distasteful for me, I'm not listening closely enough to confirm.
50. Abra Moore – Four Leaf Clover
So I let go of all of the big deals
I let go of the bitter dream
You see the girl in the pretty white picture
Is never what it ever seems
Seriously. This whole playlist is just fantastic 90s / Lilith Fair content. This one reminds me of a softer Beth Hart.
51. Aimee Mann – Poor Judge
Falling for you was always falling up
Leather books and surplus government chairs
I rose like smoke with the steam from your cup
A wave of heat where the lighter flares
I am not as enthused by this as the others because of its slow pace, but I keep trying to delete it from the playlist and then I start listening to it and it's too neat. I like Aimee Mann, and these are great metaphors for a bad on/off relationship.
52. Dar Williams – After All
Growing up, my mom had a room full of books
And hid away in there
I have never entirely gotten on the Dar Williams train, as she veers a little far into folk, but her name has come up in my music circles as a superb lyrical storyteller, so I was happy to see her come up on the rec list and have the first hit be a success. There are a ton of lyrics to this song and as a whole it's like reading an anthology of core human experience.
53. Dar Williams - Iowa
I've never had a way with women,
But the hills of Iowa make me wish that I could
Songs named after places are almost as a big a magnet for me as girls' names. This did not disappoint, even if it more musings on love than Iowa itself.
54. Kygo/Selena Gomez - It Ain't Me
I had a dream
We were back to seventeen
Summer nights and the Libertines
This made me perk my ears up twice when randomly encountered mid-play on the radio – once when I heard "who's gonna walk you through the dark side of the morning?" and again when I was going mad trying to figure out what song the echoey stuff was from, because it reminded me of Gaga's “Alejandro” – and I've heard it at least ten times now and don't want to murder the radio when it comes on, so I guess I like it.
55. Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee … featuring Justin Bieber I GUESS*... – Despacito
This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico
Boy, it has been a long time since a Spanish-language tune bent my ear. What a pleasant surprise! Judging from the music video I do not want to know what the rest of the lyrics say, but I am content in my ignorance. (*This makes my soul feel gross. I wish I could pledge straight allegiance to the original, but I really like that one clear English lyric.)
56. Hailee Steinfeld - Most Girls
You know some days you feel so good in your own skin
But it's okay if you wanna change the body that you came in
It is fortunate for her that she won my heart in music-themed movies, because the lyric "I didn't know that I was starving 'til I tasted you" is gag-worthy, and I have been waiting and waiting for her to record something less awful, and here it is! It kinda got me all choked up the first time I heard it. These are all Important Lyrics. And they're even wrapped in fun music! I would have taken this as a straight ballad, and I hope someone covers it that way, but the club track accents are enjoyable.
57. Miley Cyrus - Malibu
It's a brand new start
A dream come true
Me when I heard about this calculated comeback makeover: NO TAKE-BACKSIES. MILEY THREW HERSELF OFF A TRASH CLIFF AND SHE CAN STAY THERE.
Me as soon as this came on the radio: #%#&%#*&%*(# fine I am so weak.
(She really does have the neatest voice. And it is just so beautifully suited to country.
In case you did not pay careful attention to my flailing about Darren Criss & Lea Michele making new music together in April: I have been trying super hard to like her new album, but so far I've only listened to it once, because first I get stuck playing "Getaway Car" on repeat, and then I even get bored of that and just want the YouTube live duet version which is AMAZING (its only flaw is wild volume fluctuations, which means you either miss some words or her voice get occasionally piercing at times). I don't know what to do the original when Darren's voice doesn't come in on a soothing "Change our names, make friends in new places / be anyone we want."
Their other amazing live duet is of Darren & Chuck Criss's "Lost Boys Life," which sounds okay in its "Computer Games" (band name) incarnation, but is more amazing as a stripped-down piano solo with female harmonies.
I was living a lost boys life / It was all you had to say
And of course, there's the cover that kicked it all off -- "Don't You Want Me," six years later and only gotten better as an acoustic-guitar duet.