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The Music of 2017: Quarter 4

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October
83. Karmin - Tonight I'm Loving You (cover)
Here's the situation
Been to every nation
Nobody's ever made me feel the way that you do


Because Yatanis did a really great job on that tribute video with this song, and now it is permanently stuck in my head with those images, and somehow I have convinced myself that taking this song from Enrique Inglesias and giving it to a woman replaces the pure sleaze of its lyrics with neat agency. There. That sounds like a good, reasonable explanation I can give LJ.

84. Lady Gaga – The Cure
And if you say you're okay
I'm gonna heal you anyway


I don't want to talk about it.

(or: damn thing bent my ear on the radio no fewer than 6 times before I remembered that this catchy music was associated with the enemy and it was too late, and I'm still upset.)

85. Lifehouse ft. Natasha Bedingfield - Between the Raindrops
When the walls come down
You'll know I'm here to stay


HUZZAH! I have been trying to get myself to love this nearly as long as it's been out (2012?). A Bones fanvid finally sent it over the edge. What an epic soundtrack for a ship. Musically speaking. IDK most of the lyrics and that's fine; I trust that they are quality.

86. Erin McKeown - You Were Right About Everything
I was fragile, too scared and delicate
You kept trying, I'm the one that quit


This was supposed to make the list in September, but it took a long while to work under my skin. I only knew that it fit comfortably into my playlist, and after 17 repeats, I got used to it. It's kind of slow, but nicely stripped down and more importantly, filled with interesting and quality lyrics.

87. Camila Cabello / Young Thug* - Havana
I knew it when I met him
I loved him when I left him


Instantly appealing sound, between the jazzy beats and the old-world Cuban imagery that the trumpets + chorus evoke.

(*please note that I am only including his real stage name because it sounds even more derisive than the "Some Dude" moniker I usually apply to such unnecessary additions. Self burns in naming are rare.)

88. Liam Payne ft. Quavo – Strip That Down
You know, I used to be in 1D (now I'm out, free)

I very actively told this to stay the hell away from me. It didn't listen. 60% of the fault lies with Quavo and my weird fondness for robo-voice sound effect, which, given the lyrics of that part, is even worse.
P.S. I did not really know any of the other lyrics before, but the shade above is my new favorite part and has single-handedly redeemed this song.

November
CD Rec: Kristy Hanson, “Already Gone
Basically: sounds like a college girl picked up her guitar and bought time in a professional recording studio to produce her campus coffeehouse routine in better quality. It's perfect. I have a couple of standouts, but barely, because it all works together as a roughly half hour set so well.

CD Rec: Shani Rose, “Merry Go Round
And this one sounds a bit more like a high schooler with some country-pop aspirations did the same (although I can see now that I'm on YouTube she is indeed clearly an adult). There are fewer songs, and the title track is still by far my favorite -- not many others grab me on their own -- but taken all together it becomes another pleasant half hour soundtrack to work or drive to.

CD Rec: Jeni Varnadeau, “Colors of Truth”
It's a Christian CD, which I didn't realize off the bat, and I definitely went from thinking “this is pretty catchy!” on the first two to “...yeah, this is a lot of God reference” on the third. BUT, I kept wanting to hear it. And by the time I'd spun through the album three times, I was hooked and loved every single song (though the last one is a little slow). That said, I also wanna highlight my absolute faves. ...which apparently are mostly not on YouTube OR Spotify or even available as preview tracks on Amazon, so I hope you have better luck searching iTunes.

89. Why Would You Go Back?
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
Who told me a tale of a man she once knew
He walked around town with a rock on his shoulder
And each day she'd watch him growing older


This just sounds so very wonderfully like a Sheryl Crow song, or some similar artist anyway, with an indescribable 90s sound. [edit: sucks that you're stuck with my describing, I guess.] [edit number 2: FOUND A SAMPLE ON EMUSIC! Please reward my efforts by hearing it?]

90. Fences
We think we're safe inside
Until we find the walls that once
Surrounded and protected
Are the walls that now divide


Excellent commentary on not judging people.

91. I See You
I dressed myself in a judge's black robe
And set myself high
My accusing fingers used to crookedly point
Now I don't remember why


Speaking of...there's a lesson I could learn here, but all I'm going to focus on is how excellently 90s this sounds, too.

92. Father Knows Best
So she wears them well, lets everybody know
She holds them dear, so hard to let go


This definitely has some dual-layered religious meaning here, but I think we should just enjoy the story of the literal father in the story replacing his daughter's fake pearl necklace with a real one when she turns 17.

93. Kristy Hanson -- Comfort
Is it so wrong to want to like myself at the end of the day?
Is it so wrong to want to go home?
'Cause there's no place quite like the one you call your own


The kick-off track, whose fantastic melody and instrumental arrangement hooked me in, but whose verse lyrics I now realize are quite relevant to an introvert.

94. Kristy Hanson -- Wake Up
I wake up in a foreign town
I think I'm still stuck here on the lost side of found


And this is the one whose lyrics kept stealing out of the pleasant sound wave and pinging pleasantly in "quality poetry" part of my brain.

95. Shani Rose - I Am
I've stripped away the nonsense of a cruel, cowardly world
And all that's left is me, the trees, the sky, the dust


Quick and light, kicking off the CD with a fresh pop sound, and I'm so hard pressed to pick favorite lyrics here, because it's a gold mine of encouragement/self esteem boosting.

96. Josh Groban (by way of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend soundtrack) – The End of the Movie
We tell ourselves that we're in a movie
Each one of thinks we've got the starring role


Although there are show-typical lyrics that spoil it, the truth is that 90% of this is actually just a straight-up inspirational, classic-sounding Groban song I would otherwise almost believe came straight from one of his albums. It's really quite remarkable for this show.

97. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Soundtrack (Rachel Bloom) – A Diagnosis
Obsessives with numbers, hoarders with cats
I could really rock a tinfoil hat
Perfect they're not, but at least they know who they are


This is the most heartbreaking song that sounds triumphant ever. Like it actively brings me to tears, the joyous-sounding hope that mental illness will give her a sense of identity. (on another note, her yellow floral pattern dress is so gorgeous and flattering on her in the clip!)

98. "Kadence Mulligan & Lauren DeSanto" -- Twisted
I'm swallowed up in guilt, my darling, I can hardly breathe
'Cause I'm twisted up and turning in my own Greek tragedy


I read this novel, Girl Last Seen, which is about a high school age YouTube star who goes missing, and afterward it turned out that the promotional team had been so awesome as to film in-character videos of the two featured songs in the book. This is my favorite between the two, with its hypnotic melody.

99. "Kadence Mulligan & Lauren DeSanto" -- Sing to Me Calliope
Let it never be forgotten that we paid a bitter cost

This one's a bit faster paced, and while I've already forgotten book context, I feel like this is the one that had more significant lyrics. That I didn't fully track, because faily background in Greek lit/mythology. Anyway, long story short, you get a book rec with your music recs today!

DECEMBER
CD Rec: Christina Taylor (Taylor Centers?) – Gypsy Heart EP
I temporarily renewed my eMusic membership because they gave me 3 months for the price of one, which means I am flooded with music-buying riches due to their semi-limited catalog, and so I was browsing around and stumbled upon this artist, who was going by Taylor Centers on this site, but appears to be the same person as the Christina Taylor on this website.

Anyway, she's a fun young country singer (definitely purebred country). I was smitten with "Dodged Your Bullet" due to the lyric "I learned from Miranda how to use gunpowder," was of course attracted to a song with "gypsy" in the title, "Saturday Night" had some great fiddle/banjo work in addition to the fun lyric "it's a shame we feel like the walking dead," and by that point the EP had pretty much paid for itself so since then, I've just been enjoying this little shot in the arm of Southern twang to break up my usual music every so often.

100. Jewel – A Boy Needs a Bike
The garage door light brightens up the night
Pa always works on cars when he gets in a fight
As if he could figure out that woman by working on that old car


I was disappointed in the lead-off track to her new (2015) CD, but I perked up at the story in this one, thinking perhaps it would indeed be an album I could love in full again (it was not. But this one's still great.)

101. Jewel – Family Tree
Daddy, all those things I said I wouldn't do
I've been drawn to
Cause I looked up to you


A very simple acoustic guitar piece. I can't really explain what else I like about this, except that the whole time I was listening to the CD I kept an ear out the entire time for songs I felt would fit on “Pieces of You.” This one does.

102. Jewel – Plain Jane
You like to read scientific magazines like Vanity Fair
There was a well-written article about serotonin in there


This one has my favorite lyrics, and reminds me of something from “This Way,” like I'd pair it with “Cleveland,” but with a bit more of the electronic sound from 0304. I just really enjoy all the commentary on false appearances.

103. Jewel/Dolly Parton – My Father's Daughter
Soon I'd be another star in this family's constellation
In the land of the midnight sun


This is so lovely, particularly after reading her autobiography and seeing much of the actual family history has been put to song. The Dolly Parton addition is just the icing on the cake. Also, this music video is gorgeous.

104. Darren (& I guess Chuck) Criss – New Morning (cover)
So happy just to see you smile
Underneath the sky of blue


Oh sweet merciful heavens it is beautiful to hear his voice on something simple but professionally recorded again. (edit: eMusic did not tell me his brother was included on this, and I can't decide if that fact is relevant to me or not.)

105. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend soundtrack – I Go To the Zoo*
It's so relaxing at the zoo
Saying “what's up?” to kangaroos


Mood: when poppin' bottles just to clear your mind doesn't work, so you go to the zoo. Or possibly the aquarium (it's like a zoo for fishies). At least see all the best gifs here if you don't want to listen to the whole thing.

(*NOT THE EXPLICIT VERSION. I haven't heard it but I have an idea what changes would be made, and also that they are likely terrible both on principle and because they don't sound as good. Based on my experience of accidentally hearing the explicit version of "I'm A Good Person" and being both grossed out and baffled by how much less smoothly so many of the lines flow in pursuit of the more vulgar. I've been holding in how upset I am about this, clearly.)

106. Walk the Moon -- One Foot
I'm your king of nothing at all
And you're my queen of nothing at all


This was not instant song love, but I paced it out pretty well, deigning to listen to it if it came on the radio because it was better than most of the radio garbage (GO AWAY ALREADY ED SHEERAN), particularly with regard to this lyric couplet, and after a few rounds I was in. Now I'm full on hooked. I just love how all (two) of their songs I know sound like the guy is singing to/about his high school girlfriend from the 80s.

List Extras: I don't know if I never actually noticed them before or just never appreciated them, but the season 1 Community soundtrack contains two absolute gems of rap songs tailored to the show -- I Never Die (or as I prefer to call it, Senor Chang's tiger blood anthem), and Night Cap, which is a gloriously hardcore ode to the joys of wearing "a special kind of hat on the top of your head" when you go to sleep. Oh my god, please at least listen to the second one if you haven't yet.

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