A Musical Year In Review

In years past, I have taken some songs that were on my top played list on Spotify and talked about what they meant to me, why the heck I was listening to them so much. It was also much more than that. To me, it was a time for reflection. It was a time for me to think about all that happened in the last year, and to begin dreaming up the mindset I would like to go into the next year with. A lot has happened in 2017, I won’t be shy about that. Some amazing things have happened to me! I finally picked a brand name for my blog, launched my blog, built my Instagram following, and began attending foodie events in Chicago. I wrote and performed in another sketch show with The Underachievers, performed in Sketch Fest, and completed the ComedySportz Professional School of Improv. I got a new job, I wrote and wrote and wrote, I traveled, and I fell in love. There were also times this year that were a struggle; I had to leave a job that I had taken a chance on due to restructuring, I had to stand up for myself repeatedly both personally and professional, I had to leave a relationship with someone I loved, I questioned my decisions and place in society, I whispered #MeToo, I struggled to live in the moment. But with all those amazing and not-so-amazing things that happened this year…there is one thing I can say: I got to know myself a little better. My limits were tested, my strength and courage as a person were in the spotlight, and I prevailed. I believe that I had to live through all those moments in life, both great and not so great, to get me to where I am today. So where am I today? I’m excited for the next year. I’m excited to see what I can accomplish. I have goals in mind. I have things to do and people to see. More than anything, I’ve become closer to myself and I can’t wait to spend some time nurturing and growing upon the person that I’ve become. I’m going into 2018 with a fresh perspective, a clear mind, a clean plate (pun intended). I like to think that 2017 was the year that dug up the dirt, and I hope that 2018 is the year that plants the seeds.

ANYWAY. Music feeds the soul. It helps you get through life, get pumped up for things, or reflect on who you are. More than anything, I’m a lyrics junkie. I chose some of these songs because they bring a memory or theme from 2017 to mind, or because I specifically love the lyrics. I hope you all get a kick out of my list, and feel free to comment with your year of songs!

So, here are my top picks for 2017 and what they represent in my life. I took my favorites from my top played on Spotify and have them all analyzed in their full glory below. Check out my full list of Top 2017 Spotify Songs here or down below!

1) Lightweight – Obliques
Remember when I said I was a lyrics junkie? I can’t even find the lyrics to this song, but it was my top played for this year. It’s guitar riffs and beautiful piano melodies makes it so catchy. I feel like I slip back into this indie dream world I envision after listening to this song. I’m an indie music girl to the core, but sometimes I can get away from that, and this was the lure that brought me back. To me, this song is about your early twenties, figuring out who you are, and how those early, complicated relationships and friendships get intertwined with all of that. It’s about having “nothing precious to talk about” and trying to “get lost” in it all, and being okay with that. It’s about going with the flow of life, even if you’re trying to swim against the current. Let the waves just take you where you’re supposed to be. It’s not necessarily a song that strongly represents this year, but it’s a damn good song and probably one of my favorites. For me, it’s also about giving support to a lesser known band through recognition and love; something that I know a lot of food and lifestyle bloggers find themselves embracing, as well.

2) Creature Comfort – Arcade Fire
This is a big one. I could write an entire page about this song. The idea of people as creatures, as animals can be weird, but that’s what we are. At the baseline, we all need the same things, or as the song suggests, “creature comforts.” For me, this song reminds me that we are all going through the same things in life. More than ever, it seems like society is divided. You can’t seem to go anywhere without seeing people divided over the most simple things in life. At the end of the day, we all want to live, we all need food and water, we all need love. In addition to this, the lyrics, “God, make me famous. If you can’t just make it painless,” strikes hard with me with my relationship with the comedy community. I’ve had mixed feelings, ups and downs with my goals in relation to comedy. If you have too much ambition,  you’re a sell out. If you don’t have enough, what are you doing here? I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle because of course I want to be successful in my side gigs, but at what cost? Even the part where it goes, “Stand in the mirror and wait for the feedback,” hit close to home. As someone who is a pretty open book, someone who performs, someone who publishes personal content online…it’s this constant waiting for validation. A constant means of waiting on feedback. A constant question of, “Am I good enough?” It’s a very vulnerable place to be. It’s hard and it sucks, and sometimes you have to take yourself away from it all in order to re-center yourself to not care as much of what other people think. And this can be said for literally anyone with a Facebook profile. We, as a society, are constantly waiting for the approval of others. For me, this song is a tongue in cheek way to remind myself that we’re all the same on a very foundation level. We all struggle. We all have wants and needs. And you can beat yourself up for it, but it’s what makes you human. I can say so much more about this song, but this is already so long. Let’s grab coffee and talk about it instead.

3) Macarena – Los Del Rio
My 27th birthday party was 90s themed. I have no idea why I chose the theme because the 90s isn’t even my favorite decade, but I just wanted to do something fun. Even my dude friends showed up in 90s apparel. I was VERY impressed, with my two Baby-Spice buns on top of my head. Anyway, the Macarena brings me back to childhood, a simpler time. In even the weirdest parts of my year, the Macarena put everything that just seemed SO IMPORTANT on pause. It put the crazy parts of life on pause for some joy. While as cheesy as it sounds, this song reminded me to have fun. It reminded me to stop and smell the roses, do some coordinated dance moves and let my hair down. The lyrics literally mean, “Give your body joy, Macarena.” This year, I also learned something very important about this song. I learned that you can literally do the Macarena dance to literally any song. ANY SONG. Try it. Tell me I’m wrong on this, I dare you. I DARE YOU.

4) BitchSlut – Anna Wise
“I know what kind you are. If I say no, I’m a bitch. Say yes, I’m a slut.”
Ah yes. The year of #MeToo. Unfortunately. I never posted about my experiences, never really tagged anything with #MeToo because it was just too much for me, emotionally, to continue to rehash bad memories. The whole autumnal season was riddled with a few too many men being exposed for the pervs they really are, and for women to begin to confidently stare oppression in the face and tell it to “screw off.” It was hard to see all the stories because at first you think, “that’s never happened to me,” and then you realize that you and all your friends have gone through some kind of weird, garbage experience that placed you in a compromising situation. As a woman, I feel like we just push these things back because there’s nothing we can do about it. But that’s not the case anymore. After this year, I think there’s still a lot of work to be done, but it was a huge step in women speaking up and not a taking the abuse anymore. I always say that I hope when my grandchildren are in school, they’ll say to me, “Gee, gram, society SUCKED when you were alive,” because I hope life for them is so much better than it is now.

5) HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar
Remember when I said that I had a lot of standing up for myself this year? Well, there’s nothing like “Be humble. Bitch, sit down,” to celebrate that. I had a lot of weird moments where I had to step in, step up and defend myself to others. I’m not one to be taken advantage of or be run ragged for the sake of someone else’s control. And yes, there’s a difference between doing what you’re supposed to do (I’m a very, very stringent rule follower) and being forced to do or be something as a means of being taken advantage of by a person, group or organization. Unfortunately, I found myself faced with the latter a few times this year. I’ve found myself quieting myself, blaming myself, or hiding myself from the people or things that have tried to put me down. This year, I fought against my quiet, self-blaming, hidden self and I stood up for the first time. I said no, I said bye, I even asked, “Why?” It was HARD. It was horrible. But I am a lot happier because I stood up and spoke up. I’ve learned to be less of a doormat this year, and Kendrick seemed to wrap up these thoughts in a perfect song. While all these times I’ve had to stand up was a test of my humility, it’s made me more humble than ever before. I, like other good people, don’t bask in the glory of telling someone else they’re wrong. For people like me, it’s a big deal, and I wouldn’t wish some of these experiences on anyone…it helped me realize that I’m stronger than I ever thought.

6) Don’t Save Me – Haim
Sometimes with a lot of growth, you find yourself split between two parts of your life. Who you were and who are becoming. Suddenly, parts of you don’t seem as shiny and new as they did before. You sort of question where you are in life, you wonder if you’re making the right decision to carry forth with it. The lyrics, “Take me back to the way that I was before,” is gives me a sense of longing of times that seemed much easier, yet you know that you can’t go back to that. If anything, you can be better than the way you were before. I think about how much more playful and silly I used to be. I feel like life hardened me a bit over the last two years, and while I can’t totally go back to who I was at 24 or 25, I can be a lot better, a lot sillier and a lot more fun. This song also speaks to wanting one thing and then realizing in the end that it was never going to work out, and the only person who can save you from the heartache of that is yourself. The first part of the song speaks a lot of wanting to hold onto something that has lost its charm for whatever reason, and wanting to hold onto it so dearly, wanting to save it. But then there comes a realization that you have to let go. You don’t necessarily want to, but you know it’s for the best. The second part of the song yearns for guidance, talks about the time that was spent going after that thing you wanted only to be disappointed. The lyrics, ” And if I have to beg for your love…Oh, will it ever be enough?” hits the heartstrings. If you have to beg for the things you want, is it ever truly worth having? Eventually you wake up realize that there’s an imbalance between what you want and the effort you put into it. It’s not necessarily giving up, but more so waking up. For me, it’s about realizing your self worth. To be honest, I didn’t think this song would mean more to me than just a catchy song I sing in the shower to, but it’s grown with me. I realize that sometimes what you want isn’t what is always best. And that is just perfectly okay.

7) Good as Hell – Lizzo
Again, going along with the “strong woman,” stand up for yourself vibes…this song means everything. It’s about dusting yourself off and moving forward. This song reminds me that there is no use in feeling sorry for yourself. It reminds me that even if things don’t totally go your way, it’s because the big guy upstairs (not your weird uncle) has a different plan in store for you. “Got to take a deep breath, time to focus on you,” really speaks to me because part of the reason why I am excited for the fresh start of 2018 is the opportunity to really hone in on what I want to accomplish. The song, for me, is less about doing better or being better because of someone or something happened, it’s more so about realizing your potential as an awesome woman. It’s time to focus on my goals and aspirations, and what better time to do that than now? I mean, really, “Boss up and change your life,” may just be my mantra going into 2018. I am so ready to feel good as hell.