End of Year Playlist + A Few Musical Highlights

The other day my friend me sent me this article, which lists several reasons why twentysomethings should find and invest in a “side hustle.” That is, find some sort of side activity, business, or interest that will allow you to explore your passions, flex your creativity, and/or (hopefully) bring in extra cash, all while you buckle down and begin your journey into that scary world of first jobs and life without the safety nets of college and your parents. We were inspired after hearing how our other friend had made a shit ton of cash simply by operating her own little side business creating and selling these beautiful hand-beaded bracelets. While I doubt I’d ever have the artistic flair or patience to painstakingly put together something someone out there would ever pay for, our conversation and the article made me think of my own passions and interests. What could I claim as my own “side hustle”? I feel like I’ve dabbled in so many different things, but have never found that TRUE PASSION of mine. I’ve always had an interest in music, movies, and television, as well as the other aspects of pop culture, so much so that I’ve gone on to study media in grad school. But that activity clearly isn’t going to bring in the cash, at least, not yet. So while I continue praying that my get rich side hustle will easily fall into my lap, I will go back to blogging and exploring my interests without pay. To be honest, I do consider this blog, despite my inability to update regularly, my side hustle. I created this page in attempt to both create a “professional” web presence and an outlet where I could challenge myself to focus and discuss my interests without slipping into tangents about what I did that day or what my class schedule looks like (see: my xanga). So. I will now give my beloved blog the half-yearly attention it deserves and update it NOW.

Let’s start with this music round-up post for 2013. Firstly, here’s a nice Spotify playlist of my favorite tracks from 2013. I realize that some of these songs technically came out in 2012, but I complied this list based on what I found myself enjoying or repeatedly listening to this year (RIP repeatyoutube btw).

Full List of Songs:

Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
Kitten – Like a Stranger
Phoenix – Drakkar Noir
Jessie Ware – Running
Haim – Days Are Gone
AlunaGeorge – Attracting Flies
Arctic Monkeys – No. 1 Party Anthem
Rhye – The Fall
Kendrick Lamar ft. Drake – Poetic Justice
Miguel ft. Kendrick Lamar – How Many Drinks?
CHVRCHES – Tether
Lana del Rey – Young and Beautiful
Haim – If I Could Change Your Mind
Miguel – Adorn
One Direction – Better Than Words
CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
Jessie Ware – Sweet Talk
Bruno Mars – Treasure
Daft Punk ft. Panda Bear – Doin’ It Right
Foals – My Number
M.I.A – Double Bubble Trouble
Ariana Grande ft. Mac Miller – The Way
Phoenix – Trying to Be Cool
Cut Copy – We Are Explorers
Drake ft. Majid Jordan – Hold On, We’re Going Home

I also have to add that 2013 was a pretty special year because I was able to see Bat for Lashes and Phoenix live for the second time at their own shows. Previously, I had seen both at Outside Lands (2009 and 2010, respectively), so getting to see both artists at their own headlining shows was incredibly exciting for me. Bat For Lashes’ Two Suns and Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix are two of my favorite albums, if only because they were what I listened to them exclusively during the fall of 2009. That was the quarter I studied abroad and managed to travel quite a bit and those two albums soundtracked most of my trips abroad. I consider that period one of the best times of my life, and forgive me for being overly sentimental, but those albums mean a lot to me, particularly because of the memories they trigger.

Getting to see and hear Natasha Khan perform “Glass” and “Siren Song,” as well as the newer stuff from The Haunted Man, was just amazing. I think there’s just something about being enveloped in the music that accompanied you as your wrote papers in your tiny dorm room in England or lulled you to sleep on those long bus rides into and out of countries.

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Typically, I balk at concert prices more than $45 due to my general cheapness and my inability to fathom how watching a band play for less than two hours could cost any more than that. However, I’ve made an exception once before and that was probably the last time I’ll ever see that performer that close and for that cheap. This was the only other time I paid $60 to see a band.

When Phoenix released their newest album, Bankrupt!, earlier this year I was, of course, excited that I had new material from my favorite band, but I was also thrilled because this meant I finally had the chance to see them at their own headline show. That doesn’t mean it was easy to secure a ticket to see them this year; in fact, I managed to miss out three times earlier this year alone. They played a show at the Apollo Theater that had tickets only available to lottery winners, a smaller show in Williamsburg in which you had to line up early on a Friday morning (nope, not happening), and a taped appearance for Dave Letterman open only to winners chosen at random. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I found myself a couple of hours prior to show time, sitting on the floor of the general admission area of Barclays Arena. Finally, I was going to see Phoenix at a proper show, without the throngs of people standing in front of me or the fuzzy sound systems found at festivals. I managed to squeeze myself around the second and third row, slightly to the left of where Thomas Mars’s mic stand stood. I’ll admit that I was, at first, a little sad that I didn’t have anyone to share this night with, but in hindsight, I’m glad no one I know saw me shriek my head off and then almost cry when the band played “Too Young.” The entire set was INCREDIBLE. I know people occasionally write Phoenix off as a “boring” or “safe” band, but it was almost indescribable how it felt to be dancing and singing along to all of these songs that I’ve listened to numerous times. It was without a doubt, the best show I’ve been to thus far in my life and I am dying to see them again.

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In addition to these two shows, I was also fortunate enough to catch a few other memorable shows this year. The abundance of shows is definitely a perk that comes with living in NYC.

Three other shows that I loved this year:

Jessie Ware @ Webster Hall

Foals @ Terminal 5

Passion Pit @ Pier 26

I’ve also started to realize that I’m becoming a lot older than the majority of the crowds at some of these concerts. At Passion Pit, we were standing directly in front of the most obnoxious kids who insisted on pushing their way to the front so they could “rage so hard.” Foals was amazing live, but the audience was absolutely awful, particularly the couple in front of us who wouldn’t stop making out. At one point, I was only able to see the stage when they would briefly separate their faces. I almost forgot to mention how there were several people in that audience who made and brought posters. Yes. They actually held them up a few times, prompting those of us stuck behind them to throw various objects at their annoying signs. I mean…I get wanting to get the band’s attention, but this was not a One Direction concert!

And with that, I shall wrap up this post and wish you a merry Christmas!

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