I made a tiny error when I was coming up with material for Blogmas 2020. I totally forgot about making room for the monthly playlist. I wrote about the “Ultimate Christmas” playlist but just left it as the only one for December. So, I thought before continuing on with the 2021 content, I should probably share what I was listening to in December, because it wasn’t all Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong, there is quite of bit of various holiday songs included, but my heart wanted a lot of hard rock too.
Although the playlist on Spotify looks small, that’s only because since I had created a Christmas playlist, I didn’t feel the need to repeat the process of adding every single song onto this list. These are the Top 20 songs I enjoyed the most in December.
May It Be by Anuna featuring Sara They Don’t Want What We Want by Asking Alexandria Bruises by Train featuring Ashley Monroe Take It All Back 2.0 by Judah & The Lion Brick Wall by A Day To Remember Blessed Be by Spiritbox Blame It On The Mistletoe by Ella Henderson Chemicals (Acoustic) by Conquer Divide B.I.G. by Caitlyn Scarlett Weight Of Everything by Ill Factor featuring Katie Garfield Long Suffering by Eliza Grace Come Little Children by The Hound + The Fox Pity Party by Vigils Head Above Water by Roll With It All The Things She Said by Lena Scissorhands featuring Chase The Comet Love Song by Sara Bareilles Make It Work by Forest Whitaker & Anika Noni Rose Breathe Again by Pop Evil
I like how I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I listened to a bunch of rock music but it seems pop music ruled the entire playlist. I was really in the mood to search for all sorts of music and it’s become a bit of a ritual to be excited about the new music coming out on Friday and then jump back to Monday with my Discover Weekly playlist. So, whatever style of music I had listened to the week prior, it’ll collect music that matches that vibe and it is definitely one of my favorite ways to find new tunes during the week.
Speaking of Monday, the January playlist should be out next week. I know for a fact that it’ll be a jumble of heavy metal in the entire post, so if that is your kind of music you should make a note of it, and come back here to check out a whole new list of music!
Well, we are ending this crazy year in a few days and since it is Monday, I thought we would go through 2020’s best songs, so I hope you are ready for this huge playlist!
I think music was at the heart of everyone, our favorite artists, bands were played over and over in order to help keep us going with life. When COVID-19 started to take away our music festivals and tours, I think a lot of us panicked because for some, going to concerts and seeing their favorite people on stage is the biggest and possibly the safest drug on Earth. The same goes with everyone putting on these shows every night, this is their job and livelihood so this virus took away any income for anyone who help build these performances, they are just as important than the artist and/or band.
One of the first songs I heard that was inspired by the quarantine life was “Level Of Concern” by Twenty One Pilots. Thankfully it is a very pop generated type of song, so it has a happy beat and catchy lyrics. This is probably one time that I listened to pop music about how someone is dealing with this new normal and find it really comforting… You will see in the depths of the playlist that I tried to listen to a lot of pop-y music at the start of the year and somehow switched to another genre as the seasons and circumstances changed with the world.
There were a lot of things that happened this year, and one of my “favorites” was during the summer, after everyone was coming out of the lockdowns and we are all dealing with the aftermath of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Everyone was so affected by their deaths, police brutality and Black Lives Matter movement, they created a large cataclysm of musicians wanting to express their overall feelings to the world and even though I would rather have anyone killed by the police alive and well–the music that was being released was so amazing and special to experience. The one song that really makes me think of this time is DaBaby’s track “ROCKSTAR” with Roddy Ricch, who was celebrating being on the music charts with “The Box”. This was the second song that came from Tik Tok that I became obsessed with for like two months!
Once we finished with summer and life decided to go back to sort of this weird normalcy again, I found that there was only one genre of music that I just wanted all the time and it was heavy metal. This genre just makes me feel better about my surroundings so once I put on that security blanket, I just tried to consume as much music I could in these last six months.
By late September, I noticed that I was keeping my TV on the modern hard rock channel, Sirius XM Octane, and within like a week, I had already found a large collection of new music and the first was “Popular Monster” by Falling In Reverse. It instantly reminded me of both Linkin Park’s older records like “In The End” and “Faint” and Papa Roach’s recent releases, and I was hooked after that. I started looking on various rock playlists on Spotify to see what I’ve missed and it was just what I needed at the time. I am still keeping a close eye on that station and the genres really make up the bulk of the playlist below.
Let’s get into that right now. Here are my Top 50 songs of 2020!
The In-Between by In This Moment Sunday Best by Surfaces Woman by Ellie Goulding WAP by Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion Alive by Daughtry Bang! by AJR Heartless by The Weeknd Simmer by Hayley Williams Love Me by Stanaj Show Yourself by Idina Menzel & Evan Rachel Wood The Other Girl by Kelsea Ballerini featuring Halsey I Love You’s by Hailee Steinfeld Adore Me by Harry Styles Pinky Ring by Ne-Yo featuring O.T. Genasis React by The Pussycat Dolls Mambo by Nikki Vanna Good in Goodbye by Madison Beer Yummy by Justin Bieber Before You Go by Lewis Capaldi Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves Goddess by Krewella x NERVO featuring Raja Kamari Trust Nobody by DJ Snake Parasite Eve by Bring Me The Horizon Marching On Versailles by Ad Infinitum Footprints On The Moon by Gabby Barrett Rage by Halocene Thinkin Bout You by Ciara Slow Motion by Charlotte Lawrence Candy by Serena Ryder Control by Zoe Wees Midnight Sky by Miley Cyrus Levitating by Dua Lipa featuring Madonna & Missy Elliott Shame Shame by Foo Fighters Ice Cream by BLACKPINK featuring Selena Gomez Share That Love by Lukas Graham featuring G-Eazy Anxiety by Palaye Royale Everything I Wanted by First To Eleven My Own Dance by Kesha Heart Of A Champion by Hollywood Undead featuring Papa Roach & Ice Nine Kills Animals by Architects Bite Back by FEVER 333 Brick Wall by A Day To Remember Brand New Thing by Zayde Wolf Inferno by ABIR Lie by Sasha Sloan Unmapped Darkness by Seven Spires Primrose by Dram State Wasted On You by Evanescene Go Crazy by Leslie Odom Jr.
Even though I wasn’t doing a lot of music reviews this year, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t listening to them. I know there were three that I absolutely adored and each one is from the same three genres that I was obsessed with in 2020.
Rare by Selena Gomez, Manic by Halsey, zer0 by Krewella, Apocalypse & Chill by Delain, Heartbreak Weather by Niall Horan, Kelsea by Kelsea Ballerini, Diamonds by The Birthday Massacre, Mother by In This Moment, Human: II Nature by Nightwish, Half Written Story by Hailee Steinfeld, Like A House On Fire by Asking Alexandria, Everything’s Strange Here by G-Eazy, Brightest Blue by Ellie Goulding, I Am The Empire – Live from the 013 by Kamelot, S&M2 by Metallica, The Album by BLACKPINK, Post Human: and Survival Horror by Bring Me The Horizon.
Since I decided to list out the albums I loved this year, I figured it was only right to tell you the ones I will be looking out for in 2021 too!
So, there’s Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted by Passenger, Suckerpunch by You Me At Six, Certified Lover Boy by Drake, Medicine At Midnight by Foo Fighters, Californian Soil by London Grammar, Death by Rock and Roll by The Pretty Reckless, Riddles, Ruins, & Revelations by Sirenia, For Those That Wish To Exist by Architects, Omega by Epica, Life Support by Madison Beer, and The Bitter Truth by Evanescence are the ones that have a “secure” due date and I’m sure others will be released soon.
If you would like to check out the rest of my playlist, click here to be directed to Spotify.
Today is the last day of November, for anyone participating in both NaNoWriMo and Nonfiction November, you should be proud of what you were able to accomplish in the last 30 days! I didn’t join NaNo this year because I’m not in that headspace to write anything for that long, and I doubt I have made any changes in reading the two books I got for this month. It happens… and I’m okay with it!
We are itching closer to Christmas and finally, to the new year: 2021. It seems so crazy how fast this year has went, despite the COVID mess that has taken over 2020! I bring this up because I have always felt November is a weird time for music. We are obsessed with Halloween-y songs and then we are quick to switch to Christmas carols at midnight.
I have to say, I have been doing very well at ignoring the festive commercials on TV and online, and I will be very happy when I can finally watch Christmas movies without being judged by my parents! I have a total of eight films in our DVR at the moment, so I can get my fill and enjoy everything that comes with this time of the year! As far as music goes though, I allow myself to listen to my favorite Christmas songs early, mainly because they tend to remind me of my papaw and so, it is just better for me to cave in now instead of feeling bad about it later.
This year, I am working on my “Ultimate Christmas” playlist on Spotify and will hopefully be speaking about it soon. I will hold off on that for a week or two, until I feel it is ready.
For my November playlist though, I have collected a lot of music that is selected in my “Discover Weekly” every Monday. I am always excited to see what type of music will be unleashed from the moment I hit play, and sometimes they create their own aesthetic but sometimes they reflect whatever genre I’ve focused on that past week and it is always a fun surprise at the start of another week.
Here are my Top 25 for the month!
Talk To Me by Apocalyptica featuring Lzzy Hale Gravity by Sara Bareilles Share That Love by Lukas Graham featuring G-Eazy My Spring Your Fall by Falconsheild Scars To Your Beautiful by Oceans featuring Anna Murphy Goddess by Xana Royals by Lorde Remember by Leah You’re Not From Here by Lara Fabian Eugene by Arlo Parks Cielo a un Diablo by Maluma Teeth by Dirty D’Shire Drew Barrymore byBryce Vine Que Color by Major Lazer featuring J Balvin & El Alfa Ordinary Day by The Animal In Me The Purge by Within Temptation Dream On Me (Stripped) by Ella Henderson Peer Pressure by James Bay Lullabies by Yuna Grip by Seeb If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher Betty by Chase Holfelder Numb by Carlie Hanson Cold by Crossfade
What I truly love about this list, is its diversity! You have hard rock, pop, and reggaetón like it is supposed to fit together. I continue to surprise myself on the amount of music I am willing to listen to everyday. The sad part about it is, there’s sadly not a lot of people like me, who are brave enough to be interested in shuffling their music out in the open and enjoy sharing in hopes we create even more fans for these artists and bands, new and old, and honestly the longer I go about this, I tend to enjoy it even more and I think that’s why I still want to do these playlists too.
Before I go, I wanted to let you know that I was able to post a new album review this month. Well, technically, it was an update to an older post I did in 2018, and I was recently told by the artist, that she really loved it, so that makes me really happy! Anyways, here it is, in case you haven’t seen it yet. Oh, and speaking of links, here is the Spotify playlist for November too! 🙂
I have heard of bloggers encouraging others to update older posts over the years, but I just chose to ignore them because I think it’s best to keep them the same to allow yourself to see where you were and as you continue to grow as both a blogger and writer. I have never said I am a perfect writer in the past, and hope people respect me on that subject.
However, I am here once again, because I found out that British alternative-pop singer RAIGN (ray-gen) has come back with an even bigger surprise for us fans, and that is, she re-released her 2018 album, “SIGN” late in October; the album has a new title as well the addition of nine other songs! It is now called, “Sign From Above” and I thought instead of re-writing the previous songs, how about I just add onto the first post. So below is everything I wrote about Raign and the album back then, while the newer material is below divided by a line to hopefully keep everything in line so nobody gets confused. I seriously hope you enjoy the album experience and what I’ve written as far as the review.
Back in January, British singer-songwriter RAIGN released her extended play “Born Again” and I put out a review of it on here about a month later. Now I’m back to talk about her debut album that came out in mid-September. It is called “Sign” and even though I kept seeing a couple of singles pop up on the new music tab on Spotify, I did not expect this at all! Despite only really listening to one single before working on this, I didn’t know what I was getting into but I was open to new sounds and some of the familiar stuff that made me fall in love with her music in the first place.
The album itself consists of 12 songs, which is standard for any musician but also with that amount, means you can hear a wider range of her style. I am hoping for an eclectic mix as I continue down the list of tracks. So, let’s start!
We begin with an introduction, “Sign” and it’s an instrumental start to the album. It has a dreamy quality to it as it’s soft but haunting too. I really like hearing the orchestra build up and sound like the second song “Out Of Time”. This song has a completely different tone, as it has a pop-rock sound which wasn’t something that I expected but I actually liked it! It’s something we haven’t heard from her yet and I thought it was perfect to break that barrier so early in the album. Next we have “Who Are You” and it has that familiar mysterious vibe playing throughout it. It’s very powerful but in a way gentle too!
We move on to “God Only Knows” and what I really like about this one was the fact that it started off in this soft way, with only her echo-y but deep voice and a light epic drumming in the background. It was so beautiful to only have those elements, before adding the orchestra back in too. The fourth track “Into Heaven Alone” has a melancholy sound but it does have a rock-y vibe on top of that cinematic beat, it’s not an overwhelming. I liked the uniqueness it gave the song! I feel the next song “Inside Of Me” has this motivational statement to make, as it gave you the strength to get through whatever is bothering you at that moment. The beat itself was strong in terms of matching the emotions and lyrics to the song, but it was also really light too. It was a nice balance.
When we first started the album, we had a nice epic intro with “Sign” but for the sixth track, it is the vocal version of the actual song. It still has this gentleness about it, but now that we are hearing the words along with the ominous ballad of violins, bells and of course Raign’s deep voice. It will take you away into a magical place whenever you listen to it, at least that’s what it did for me. I felt like I was walking in a snow-y, forest wonderland, I love it when music can do that in a matter of three minutes! Next, there’s “Calling” and this has another interesting quality. At first, I thought it was going to continue what we heard in the last song. I’m hearing more pop-y notes in the beat, it still has that cinematic sound in it, but it is very mild so you can hear them both at the same time. It is a cool song.
We are on the last four songs. “Hold On To The Sky” is kind of tame, almost dreamy in a way. One way to explain it, is if you were in a deep amount of water. Your body is weightless so dancing inside is a breeze. If this was a song, this would be it. I’m sorry for the weird metaphor, but that’s what I instantly thought of when it started playing! Next there’s “Find My Own Way” and this has a sexy beat behind it. It keeps you on your toes because it’s a somewhat simple song, but there’s that underling feeling you could be surprised soon. It was a pleasing track and probably one of my favorites out of the whole thing.
I was really curious about the eleventh song and final track because the titles seem so easy to figure out, I just hoped I wouldn’t get disappointed in the end. However, “Sunrise” starts with this very loud bass boom and then her voice gets echo-y and the beat itself builds into the monstrous beast. As it continues, Raign basically stays the same as far as tempo goes, but I’m glad she’s like that because the dynamic between these two makes it that much better. It has an edge, a jaggered edge that makes it powerful! Finally, we end with “Evergreen” and after the previous one, I was a little worried but thankfully it was at the same vibe, but I think I fell in love with the lyrics a lot faster than I did with “Sunrise”, plus it has a happier beat. It had a motivated outlook on it, but everything about it was inviting to me, and it made me like I could do anything so I was thinking of good things rather than the negative and that’s what I like the most about it.
One of my favorite things to do now whenever I watch a movie or television show, is that I keep an eye out for the music being played on a certain scene. When The Vampire Diaries started playing Raign’s music throughout the last four or five seasons, I did not expect to still crave her music but I do! I think she has a gorgeous voice and the beats she uses to showcase it, make me extremely happy! Raign was at the forefront of my taste for cinematic music, and I deeply encourage you to check out some of her songs! This album gave me feeling after feeling, and although I tend to listen to her music whenever I’m sad, I was happy listening to all the way through and for that to happen rarely works anymore.
After the last song of the original lineup, we start again with “Causing Love” and this was initially released in 2019 and I do remember listening to it, but overall it’s been a while since I’ve heard her music but I instantly remembered what I enjoyed the most, her voice. It is semi-deep and raspy, but adds an extra edge to her style of music that brings out a positive and dark side to her songs. As far as this song goes, it is absolutely beautiful! You can feel the love rushes out of your speakers, and I really enjoyed that guitar solo along with her high notes echoing in the background at the end. The next song has that darker vibe I love the most, at least the introduction has this as it builds into a bigger picture full of various pictures. This song is called, “Things Can Only Get Better” and as much as I like the cinematic take, I kind of wished it kept that base sound, it almost gave it a country vide especially in the way she is singing it, it definitely could have worked out greatly without the symphony in the background. It’s an interesting combination!
Our third track is, “Now I Can Fly” which is totally different to the others I’ve heard so far. The poppy drums in the beginning was a nice surprise, and I feel like this could be a great Monday motivational song, especially with all of the anxiety and worry that life has brought to a good chunk of people nowadays! I liked the boost of energy and message in the lyrics, it’s clear this is a happy song! Now, I don’t know how we got on the Christmas-y train, but okeydokey! This is “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and this is absolutely gorgeous! It has that nostalgic sound you would normally hear in churches and/or orchestra, I was really pulled into it at the sound of the banged bells that flicker throughout the song. Raign doesn’t have that traditional voice you would hear in carols but I thought it was cool to not only hear, but see something different come out of that type of music.
As far the next three songs, they are new versions of the songs mentioned above in my original post. The fourth is an orchestra take on “Who We Are” and of course I adore anything–well, apparently, almost anything as we’ve uncovered in the previous paragraph!–with a symphony sound to it, and I’m shocked to say I still like the other way more! Although I do like her transitions on the high pitched notes at the end of the courses, but that’s all I really like about it. “Out Of Time” was actually #2 and since I’ve only heard her cinematic finished songs, this was a lovely surprise. I loved the acoustic switch of this, as much as I love the majestic and powerful sound of a full orchestra, some days I like stripped down type of music and this was so good!
“Into Heaven Alone” is on now and we are back on the orchestral sound, but honestly it is milder than what I was expecting it to be right out of the gate. It has a nice mixture of a slower acoustic-orchestral session. I have heard other artists and bands do this before, but I’ve always felt some were too chaotic to include both styles for one song, but I did like this one. I wasn’t into it at first, but as it ended, the sound mellowed out and it was really nice.
We are at the final two songs: “Walls” was another track that was released sometime in 2019, this one I never got a chance to hearing because I didn’t “follow” her on my Spotify yet so I missed out on the actual time and date of when it came out. Anyways, it has a dance-y beat to it in the beginning and then quiets down when Raign starts to speak, but I enjoyed this one. I think this one is a favorite, but I kind of wished she was singing more because I felt as though it was more circled around the music itself, which I seemed to notice a distinct electronica vibe going on with this one. I liked it quite a bit so obviously, I didn’t mind it that much! And the last song, is another version of “Causing Love” and it includes the Millionaire London Orchestra and unlike my comments about the orchestral take on “Who We Are” this one is pretty good! I like the sadness of the violins and what I was feeling in the other one, is more inflamed and very exciting!
A part of me figured the newer songs were going to somewhat stay within the original sound but I had hoped for more diversity, because as much as I love this style and grace of music Raign does, I want to see what else she can bring to the table too. So, a part of me wonders if she is planning on releasing any more music in the near future. I mean, 2021 is right around the corner and it has me thinking of changes and more music, so maybe she has been experimenting with other genres, or want to go into acoustic even more after putting “Out Of Line” on here like this, maybe these are clues and she isn’t necessarily finished with us yet.
Of course, I could be absolutely wrong and this is only just one present to her fans. I would be okay with that, but I am always wondering about the people I listen to on the radio, Spotify and YouTube, you just never know what’s going on, until it comes out finally! So, we’ll see what happens as we cross the new year bridge next month.
Have you heard of RAIGN’s newest edition of her album yet? Do you have any favorites? If I wasn’t the one to introduce you to her music, how did you find her?
October is a strange month; you have artists coming out with a softer note to their music, it makes their fans and other listeners feel cozy and enjoy everything that is autumn as a season. On the other hand, you have others creating purely for the spooky vibe that is Halloween. In years past, I feel as though I haven’t appreciated the gentle side and I am noticing how much I never watched the raining of the leaves with excitement as I have recently. And because of this, the music I have wanted to listen to has taken a totally different tone.
My intake of both Evanescence and In This Moment has been massive! I feel like they are the perfect bands for this time of the year. They have a certain creepy flare and almost every song, whether it is a ballad or heavy are built around the notion of mystery. Unfortunately, I only have two full albums from each band on my iPod but thankfully I have a giant collection of other metal bands from all over the world that also love that type of thing for their music. And I share a number of them on my October playlist from Spotify. If you would like to check it out, just click here to be transferred to the see everything that has some grain of monstrous in it.
Before I start going into depth about my Top 25, I have a little surprse for you. Here is this month’s Artist Highlight!
I am always so happy whenever artists and bands send me a message on my social medias or in a regular email – just as a warning, if you have sent me an email, please send me a DM through any of my socials as a head’s up! Mandala was very nice and patient with me while I tried to figure out the best way to highlight him and music on my blog. His newest single, “Modern Struggle” is out and he will release his album “The Chronicles Of A Blind Man” next month!
The introduction has this a nice melodic but also sounds like an ode to a cell phone ring in a way. The entire beat is really good and subtle but thanks to the fact that his voice is nice and clear, you can clearly hear the lyrics and the meaning behind it is brilliant. We, as a society have a struggle between good and evil, a mere modern take of what is right and good. So, there is a lot of things to take into consideration about what we do as individuals living our lives.
I hope you have enjoyed that little review of a brand new artist! Let’s change gears, and go back to our regular schedule. Here are my Top 25 for October and I really hope you enjoy it!
Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne I’m Not Mad by Halsey Californian Soil by London Grammar Wonder by Shawn Mendes Pretty Savage by BLACKPINK Still Have Me by Demi Lovato Supermassive Black Hole by Muse Power Over Me by Dermot Kennedy Runaway by Ziggy Alberta Eyes On The King by Benn Moral Of The Story by Ashe featuring Niall Horan No Place by Backstreet Boys Running by Malinda Change by Taylor Swift Tears Of Gold by Faouzia Everything I Wanted by First To Eleven My Own Dance by Kesha Harley by Letters From The Fire Frontline by Pillar Happy by Kurt Hugo Schnielder Underdog by Alicia Keys Together by for King & Country featuring Tori Kelly Closer by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey Haunted by Violet Orlandi featuring Jake Munro Blood by In This Moment
If you follow me on Instagram, you might know I have tried to do a ‘Song Of The Day’ early in the evenings, and since I listen to a lot of different music, the genres and artists differ with every post. I was inspired to finally do them after my friend Ella started them in late September and one of the songs she shared actually made it to this list, Can you spot it?