The Art of the Playlist

Love, Music, Thoughts

Lately, I’m all about the snail mail. You know, being 3,500 kms away from home does that to you. The internet stops working when it rains here, so that leaves me with a lot of time to write while the boys are playing or napping. 

There are a few ladies at my old work that are just awesome and I miss a lot, so I wrote them letters a few weeks ago. In addition to asking them how the sunny coast was and updating them on #arcticproblems, I also made them each a playlist. 

3 playlists

When Bangerz was just emerging, I watched an interview with Miley Cyrus, and she talked about how she loves to give and receive playlists. She talked about how that was a great way to get to get to know someone. Mixtapes and CDs have been a big part of my musical upbringing. This concept has stuck with me, though it’s taken a while for me to break down the assumption that making a mixtape has to be a romantic gesture. Sounds silly, but I thought it would be weird to just hand my friends a playlist or ask for one. 

I remember my sister making me a CD for my walkman for my trip to Quebec in grade 8.

I remember recording Party in the USA on cassette tape in my room when I started listening to secular radio secretly at night. Oh, 2009. 

I remember someone I danced with loading up my iPod with all of his favourite artists (many of which are still my favourites). I didn’t sync my ipod for 2 and a half years because I didn’t want to lose all that music. 

A good playlist takes time to make. You have to use your own collection and taste and select which aspects to share with another human being. You may be consciously or unconsciously sharing the memories and associations you have attached to this music. You want it to be both novel and nostalgic for the the listener. Maybe some artists or songs they already know, mixed in with things they haven’t heard yet. You want the playlist to flow song to song; order is important (at least it is to me). 

So here are three playlists I made for friends back home, along with one word to describe the people they are made for.

for a dancer

1- Colors Amos Less
2- Orphans Kingdoms Brooke Fraser
3- Put Your Records On Corrine Bailey Rae
4- Leisure Suite Feist
5- Flapper Girl The Lumineers
6- Mercy One Republic
7- You have been loved Sia

for an adventurer

1- Little Black Sandals Sia
2- July, July! The Decemberists
3- Opera Singer Cake
4- Mushaboom Feist
5- Walt Grace’s Submarine Test John Mayer
6- You Give Me Something James Morrison 
7- Mama Do Lorde

for a free spirit

1- Mermaid Train
2- White Winos Loudon Wainwright III
3- I Never Knew You (Live) Jason Mraz
4- Brandy Alexander Feist
5- O Valencia! The Decemberists
6- Half of Something Else The Airborne Toxic Event
7- Los Angeles, I’m Yours The Decemberists

You can see the some of the same artists cropped up throughout these three little playlists. That’s what I was in the mood to share and have been listening to this summer. 

Playlists capture your tastes and preferences and mood for a moment in time. Maybe you make it for a road trip where you won’t get any radio reception in the car. Or maybe for a wicked dance party at your new place. Or maybe you make it for your significant other. Whatever the reason for the playlist, it’s a snapshot of a moment that can be enjoyed over and over again. 

Do you like to make playlists? What is one of or some of your favourites?

I’d love to know in a comment below, I’m always looking for new tunes. Hope you found something new, or were reminded of a song you forgot about.

P.S. Anyone want to buy me this? Thanks. 

Like this? Check out my last music post: SHAKE IT OFF, TAYLOR.

Advertisements

Shake it Off, Taylor

Love, Music, Thoughts

I am super into Taylor Swifts new release Shake it Off. I have listened to her throughout her career, and this is certainly a new chapter for her. I smiled as soon as the video started, I recommend checking it out ASAP.

tswift shake it off

Her sense of humour and positivity shine through in the video and this song has a great message. 

Being at a point in my life presently, just having moved and faced many challenges and struggles leaving behind people and places I loved… it hits home, I suppose. I’m at a point of letting go of so much negativity and shaking off the past and this is definitely going on the list of power songs that I find super uplifting and/or I could just listen to again and again (see also Happy, You’ve Changed, You Need Me I Don’t Need You, Supernova, Change and Fashionable People).

I love the vibes and fun beat. It’s an empowering tune and I’ve got it on repeat for now. Even in her divergence from the style we had come to expect, she stays classy. She’s one artist that seems genuinely sweet and very honest through everything. 

Her new album 1989, is set to come out at the end of October. 

“I’m dancing on my own
I make the moves as I go
And that’s what they don’t know”

Don’t be afraid to not know the next step and do just your thing moment by moment.

Do you. 

Hats off to Taylor for pushing herself to make something new. I really can’t wait for the rest of the album. Aparently it is late 80’s & Bowie inspired. I have high expectations! 

♪ John Legend’s All of Me Cover

dreams, Love, Music

It’s been over a month since I’ve shared a midweek jam with you!

This semester I took a digital recording class. I changed the song I did for my final project 2 weeks before it was due, but I’m pretty happy with the result considering how fast it was done. I might start making wednesdays cover day, there are a lot of songs I’ve wanted to do covers of for quite a while. Taking this digital recording class was just the confidence boost I needed to start playing more music again.

I used to lead worship in a small group and at summer camp years ago, but stopped for silly reasons. It may not be career material, but it’s something I enjoy immensely. Nothing tops singing as loud as possible in the car with the windows down, or playing guitar on a hill overlooking the water early in the morning… but any music playing is good in my books.

So without further ado, my cover of John Legend’s All of Me.

♪ MJ: Coldplay Magic

Music

The midweek jam for this week is Magic by Coldplay. I wasn’t even aware that they were coming out with a new album this May, but I’m pretty excited. Coldplay has been there from when I broke free from my musically-sheltered childhood (another story for another time!). I remember buying X&Y at a thrift shop and playing it to death on my first CD player that still had a cassette player. I definitely still have that CD player there, and have grown to love all their other stuff too. This is one band on my list to see live.

Do you like it? Coldplay has always been a feel-good band for me. Are you looking forward to their new album coming out?

♪ MJ: Stop Everything You’re Doin Now & Smile – MOD SUN ♪

Music, Thoughts

Midweek Jam for y’all!

“if you could only see right now
that you got all you need right now and smile”

Mod Sun’s “hippy hop” music is really jiving with my bones right now. MissMeghanMakeup did a great video on Positivity last July. This video pointed me to research the law of attraction and Mod Sun’s book “Did I Ever Wake Up?” I ordered the book and read it in a day and it did change my outlook.

I’m in the process of making some positive changes in my life. Taking control, taking charge of my mood and attitude. There are so many things that can bring us down. I don’t want that anymore. I am really excited about changing my life for the better and putting myself as a priority, taking care of myself physically and emotionally.

In the past couple days Meghan made another video about positivity. I watched The Secret after that, a documentary kind presentation of the book titled the same about the law of attraction. I did read Mod Sun’s book, but I didn’t really listen to much of his music, so that’s what I’ve started doing and I thought I would share one with you. I wouldn’t say it’s all young-ear-friendly (swear words and weed culture and such)… but I quite enjoy the sounds and the vibes. Seems like he’s got a great attitude as a performer and is really down to earth and relatable in his book.

 

♪ Midweek Jams: MAGIC! Rude ♪

Music, Thoughts

cannotchange

Our choices are incredibly powerful! We don’t get to choose the family we are born into, but we get to choose our friends, and who we love. Are the people around you positive? Are they uplifting you? Do they support you? Are you in mutually beneficial relationships that involve give and take, compromise and appreciation?

This song caught my attention on the radio, and I recently looked up the music video and fell in love even more.

Choosing who you love and who you let into your life can have huge implications on who you become. They say you are the average of the 5 people you hang out with most. You need people who support you, who aren’t afraid to give you some constructive criticism and disagree with you, people to have fun with, people to grow with. You may not find all of these things in every relationship. However, there are a ton of people in the world; you don’t need to waste your time being dragged down by those who constantly put you down, pressure you to be someone you are not, or look for ways to sabotage you.

“I’m gonna marry her anyway..”

There’s something about this song that I just love. The video makes me really happy, the way the guy dances. But I love that he knows what he wants, and he isn’t letting the disapproval of the dad change what he’s made up his mind to do. I don’t see it as an issue of disrespect of that coveted parental blessing, but rather as an act of freedom and love and choosing who you want in your life. I think it is beautiful.

Sound Healing

Music

Even though I have a real boyfriend, I kind of want this shirt…

Image

I can’t get enough. I’m taking a course in digital recording right now, and I just finished my first project (Hotel California by the Eagles). I find it’s constantly on my mind and whenever I’m feeling down it helps so much. I can’t make it through Say Something without crying (just watch the video please), and love jamming out to the Zolas (Knot In My Heart).

Looking for what I will do for my next recording project and I’m considering being brave and doing a cover with my own voice! My idea is to update one of these classics with some beat boxing remix magic.

Oh Johnny! Oh Johnny! Oh! – The Andrews Sisters

Ain’t that kick in the head – Dean Martin

Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford

Why is music important in your life? Let me know in a comment below!

Follow Your Heart

Music, Thoughts

Dear Indecisive, Torn or Otherwise Confused Readers, 

When I am going through a tough time, this is my go-to song. Against the Grain by City & Colour evokes the melancholic nature of decision making in the most important areas of your life.

Image

It provides words of assurance that you do not need to “fix” your life. Something that so frequently occupies my mind and my time.

There is a quote I love, “Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished.” by Lao Tzu. I feel Dallas Green is giving a similar message.

To allow the natural progression of events in your life to direct you to a certain point, to act out of instinct and the deepness of your heart’s longings.

Image

In this song Dallas Green’s connecting point throughout is that you have to make your own way through these dark tunnels and confusing times. Even as you do, you can be your own biggest obstacle. Your resistance to change, or your past pain.

This song has been so relevant to my life in many different seasons. It is sad, but comforting at the same time.

[Photos above from when I saw City & Colour in concert at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle, January 2012]

You need not to climb mountaintops,
You need not to cross the sea,
You need not to find a cure for everything that makes you weak.
You need not to reach for the stars when life becomes so dark,
And when the wind does blow against the grain,
You must follow your heart,
You must follow your heart.

When all your friends have come and gone,
And the sun no longer shines,
And the happiness for which you long is washed away like an ocean’s tide,
When all the hard times outweigh the good,
And all your words are misunderstood,
When the day seems lost from the start
You must follow your heart,
You must follow your heart.

If you feel you’ve paid the price,
And your wounds should cease to heal
And everything you love in life spins like a winding wheel.
If you should wake to find you’re abandoned,
And the road you’ve traveled leads to a dead-end
When death creeps in to play it’s part,
You must follow your heart,
You must follow your heart.

The Gipsy Kings

Music

Dear Maraca Shakers,

My boyfriend introduced me to this gem of a band, The Gipsy Kings. The band members come from the south of France, but they perform in Spanish. The Gipsy Kings consist of 8 band members: 2 sets of brothers. The 5 Reyes, and 3 Baliardos have popularized the classic flamenco of their parents internationally adding “rumba Gitano,” which their website explains is the South American rumba rhythm combined with flamenco guitar playing.

Image

I’ve yet to listen to all their music, or even most of it– they’ve released 12 albums since 1986– but I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve heard so far. It’s hard to sit still when you’re listening to them. It’s wonderful to dance to, or to clean to!

As I don’t speak Spanish (though I am definitely going to learn!), the words and music melt together and I can appreciate it as a whole. I find when listening to music in English, I can get distracted by the lyrics and I never really appreciate the actual music unless it is a guitar solo in the middle or something.

The Gipsy Kings were originally named Los Reyes, because of their family name, which is translated to mean The Kings. They were also considered a gypsy band as they began their journey busking the streets of Cannes, and playing at parties and weddings. Thus out of Los Reyes and their gypsy lifestyle was born The Gipsy Kings.

Fun fact: 3 of the band members are left-handed and play their guitars upside down.

3 Songs that will convince you they are awesome and that you should check out more of their music:

BAMBOLEO

DJOBI, DJOBA

VOLARE

You can find out more about the Gipsy Kings at their website:

http://www.gipsykings.com/index.html

-jessi hannah jay.

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @jessihannahjay

ps. I know this post is late! Life has a way of getting in the way and demanding that you do practical things like sleep and exercise and clean up the house.