Wow, 2020. Is it over yet?
Music helped get me through this tumultuous year. Here’s this year’s playlist (or as they were tagged in prior years, mix cd).
Some bright spots were the releases by Norah Jones, The Chicks (formerly the Dixie Chicks), Meghan Trainor, and Pink! I enjoyed discovering some not-so-new but new-to-me songs from Ava Max and Alicia Keys — Underdog got some serious airtime for me in the pandemic (check out the music video). And being introduced to new queer artists Shea Diamond and Be Steadwell was fantastic — Be Steadwell’s song Sometimes is, to me, the perfect queer love song (bonus: the music video is both heartwarming and signed).
The Black Lives Matter movement influenced the list this year as I set out to find new artists of color and discovered Tobe Nwigwe and re-discovered Emeli Sandé. And it’s no coincidence that March March by The Chicks is on the list (I highly recommend watching the music video). I’ll say it again for those in the back: Black Lives Matter.
- Kings & Queens – Ava Max
- Evil Twin – Meghan Trainor
- So Am I – Ava Max
- I Am America – Shea Diamond
- Walk Me Home – Pink
- Texas Man – The Chicks
- Next To Me – Emeli Sandé
- Settlin’ – Sugarland
- Cowboy Take Me Away – Dixie Chicks
- Workin’ on It – Meghan Trainor
- Hurts to Be Alone – Norah Jones
- Underdog – Alicia Keys
- Sometimes – Be Steadwell
- Make It Home – Tobe Nwigwe
- March March – The Chicks
- I Am Woman – Helen Reddy
- The Scar – Carly Simon
Notice anything interesting about the list this year? I’ll give you a hint: take a read through the artist names and see if anything jumps out at you.
Not a straight white man in sight. I intentionally tried to seek out people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ artists this year. The list is still very (very) white and I continue to broaden my exposure to more artists of color.
You can listen to the songs on Spotify (except for the last track because it isn’t on Spotify). As always, the order of the songs have been carefully curated. You may not be able to listen to them in order with the Spotify free account.
It’s December, which means it’s time to reveal this year’s playlist (aka: mix cd). Like every year, this playlist is a year in review.
Woman Up, Wannabe, and This Is Me is a shout-out to all the amazing women in my life. Thank you for being awesome just the way you are.
My friend Sam introduced me to Cowboy Bebop and the intro credits won me over. Sadly, the original Tank! by The Seatbelts isn’t available for digital purchase so I had to buy a CD and rip it. (The version on the Spotify list is a cover.)
At the beginning of the year I got to see Steve Grand in concert down in Puerto Vallarta, so he had to be on the list for sure. Pink and Norah Jones released new albums so they got a lot (and I mean a lot) of airtime. Yes, there are 4 Pink songs on the list this year — she’s just that amazing. And while Michael Buble’s new album was released in 2018, I didn’t discover it until the beginning of 2019.
From Pink’s 90 Days, which tears me up every time I hear it, I discovered Wrabel’s music. If you’re up for an emotional roller coaster about trans acceptance, watch his music video of The Village. Then feel a little better by telling all the conservatives assholes You Need To Calm Down. Finally, pay homage to the leader of the queer mafia himself: Elton John. His biopic Rocketman reminded me that yes, sometimes that’s really why they call it the blues.
And most importantly: I got married this year! Up’s Married Life seemed like the most perfect way to end the set.
- Tank! – The Seatbelts
- Woman Up – Meghan Trainor
- Wannabe – Spice Girls
- (Hey Why) Miss You Sometimes – Pink
- Hustle – Pink
- This Is Me – Keala Settle
- Wintertime – Norah Jones
- Help Me Make It Through The Night – Michael Buble
- You Need To Calm Down – Taylor Swift
- Walk Me Home – Pink
- 90 Days – Pink & Wrabel
- Stay – Steve Grand
- Walking – Steve Grand
- 11 Blocks – Wrabel
- The Village – Wrabel
- Easy Like Sunday Morning – Lionel Richie
- That’s Why They Call It The Blues – Elton John
- Your Song (instrumental) – Moulin Rouge Soundtrack, disc 2
- Married Life – Up! Soundtrack
You can listen to the songs on Spotify too (except for track 1 where you get a cover of Tank! and track 16 because Lionel Richie isn’t on Spotify). As always, the order of the songs have been carefully curated. You may not be able to listen to them in order with the Spotify free account.
2018 has been a hard year for many of us. Between the shit-show that is the GOP administration to #metoo, my community has really struggled. And this year’s
mix CD playlist reflects it. (See the mix cd tag to see prior years.)
Pink’s Barbies and Better Life reminds us of simpler, arguably better, times as does Ben Rector’s Old Friends. I discovered Fire Drills by Dessa and Rescue by Yuna which are great reminders of the underlying struggle women face in this country as well as their strength and perseverance through it. This year I became estranged from some formerly-close people, bringing Somebody That I Use To Know to the forefront of my mind; because really: Take Me or Leave Me.
But this year wasn’t without (musical) redemption as I found Girl Blue’s song Fire Under Water (from a touching Las Vegas tourism advertisement of all places). Sam Hunt’s song House Party and Your Song by Rita Ora always makes me want to scoot-a-boot. Daniel and I heard orchestral performances of Billy Joel’s And So It Goes and Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence by the Seattle Symphony this year too. The former was an instrumental arrangement for strings that was simply astounding and I’ve been unable to find a recording of it anywhere.
Also, did you know that Dolly Parton is a huge advocate of childhood literacy and her Imagination Library celebrated delivering their 100 millionth book to kids this year? That’s worth a little 9 to 5 for sure.
So without further ado, this is my 2018 Mix CD:
- And So It Goes – Billy Joel
- The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
- Barbies – Pink
- Somebody That I Use To Know – Walk Off the Earth
- 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton
- Your Song – Rita Ora
- Rescue – Yuna
- Take Me or Leave Me – Jonathan Larson (from RENT)
- Fire Drills – Dessa
- Fire Under Water – Girl Blue
- House Party – Sam Hunt
- All Night Long – Lionel Richie
- You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
- Better Life – Pink
- Old Friends – Ben Rector
- 2 Places at 1 Time – Zac Brown Band
- Ladies in Lavender – Joshua Bell
You can listen to the songs on Spotify too. Note the order of the songs have been carefully curated as well, although I don’t think Spotify will let you listen to them in order on the free account.
In 2011 I started creating mix CDs1, one a year, of songs that resonated with me to share with friends. In January I create an empty playlist and add to it over the course of a year. Then in November I tweak, tune, and adjust it before sharing it with friends.
This year saw new music by Caro Emerald & P!nk (two of my favorite artists), new-to-me music by Meghan Trainor (who quickly became a favorite, although I think it makes me a bad gay to have just now found her), and a slew of oldies that just hit the spot.
Speaking of spot, this year you can listen to the playlist on Spotify. Long live
mix tapes mix CDs digital playlists!
- Exotic Flu – Caro Emerald
- Brave – Sara Bareilles (this is a repeat from last year for good reason)
- Big Yellow Taxi – Amy Grant
- If I had $1,000,000 – Barenaked Ladies
- Curious Thing – Amy Grant
- I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
- Perfect Picture – Carlos Bertonatti
- Rather Be – Glee Cast (for Daniel)
- Whatchugot – Caro Emerald
- 455 Rocket – Kathy Mattea (for Mr. Moore)
- Me Too – Meghan Trainor
- What About Us – P!nk (for all of us being shafted since the election)
- I Won’t Let You Down – Meghan Trainor
- I Am Here – P!nk
- Champagne Problems – Meghan Trainor
- Once Upon A December – David Newman
- The Dark – Caro Emerald
1 Anyone remember mix tapes? No? Just me? Damn I feel old.
This year saw the end of my 9-month sabbatical, changing jobs to a new company, and then the disaster that was the election. It was also a great year for music with new albums from Norah Jones and Michael Buble.
Throughout the year I throw music, both new and old, into a playlist as the mood strikes me. In November I take a week paring the set down and carefully crafting the order. This year the end of the CD crafted itself.
Thanks to the power of Google, if you subscribe to Google Music service you can listen to it directly.
- Not Upset – Dario Marianelli
- One Day I’ll Fly Away – Nicole Kidman
- Lost – Michael Buble
- Everything – Michael Buble
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Glee Cast
- Satellite – Dave Matthews Band
- Shiftwork – Kenny Chesney
- I Love A Rainy Night – Eddie Rabbitt
- Hold On – Wilson Phillips
- Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
- Someday – Michael Buble & Meghan Trainor
- I Believe in You – Michael Buble
- Hello – Adele
- Day Breaks – Norah Jones
- Jean Arrives – Dario Marianelli
- My Dear Country – Norah Jones
- Over My Dead Body – Dario Marianelli
- Brave – Sara Bareilles
Daniel and I have decided that Brave will be our theme song for 2016:
Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
― Sara Bareilles, Brave
Once again, it’s time for my anachronistic tradition of making a mix CD (which is just one step away from the 80s mix tapes of old). This marks the my 5th year of doing it (see the mix cd tag for the others). Thanks to the power of Google, if you subscribe to Google Music service you can listen to it directly.
This year’s songs are a mix of both newly discovered and rediscovered. The stress leading up to my sabbatical played a role in this year’s selection, as did the relaxation of being on it.
- Your Song (instrumental) – Craig Armstrong
- I Just Want To Dance With You – George Straight
- Girl In A Country Song – Maddie & Tae
- A Night Like This – Caro Emerald
- Stickshifts and Safetybelts – Cake
- The Motown Song – Rod Stewart
- Morning Train – Sheena Easton
- My Give A Damn’s Busted – Jo Dee Messina
- Take This Job and Shove It – Johnny Paycheck
- Tears Dry On Their Own – Amy Winehouse
- Rhythm of My Heart – Rod Stewart
- Miniature Disasters – KT Tunstall
- Georgia on My Mind – Michael Buble
- Quando, Quando, Quando – Michael Buble
- If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas) – Caro Emerald
- Silent Sea – KT Tunstall
- Touch Me With Your Love (instrumental) – Beth Orton
Just like 2013, 2012, and 2011, I made a mix CD this year. It didn’t come together near as easily has the past couple of years. And yes, I really do dance to All About That Bass every time it comes on…
- Ariel Julia – Larry Unger
- Crusin’ – Gwyneth Paltrow
- Royals – Walk Off The Earth
- I’m Your Man – Michael Buble
- Talk To Me – Keri Noble
- Better Than One – Wide Awake
- Tell Me How Long – Caro Emerald
- All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
- One Day – Caro Emerald
- Little Numbers – BOY
- Brighter Than the Sun – Colbie Caillat
- Happy – Pharrell Williams
- I’m Your Man – Wham!
- Extraordinary Thing – k.d. lang
- Turning Tables – Adele
- Soir De Fete – Yann Tiersen
I participated in the annual Holiday CD Exchange Party again this year, just like in 2012 and 2011. Unlike before, I had been adding songs to my in-progress playlist all year long instead of throwing them together at the last minute. Oddly, having to whittle down and order a year’s worth of songs into 80 minutes was harder. Without further ado, here is my 2013 mix CD:
- Fatima’s Waltz – Justin Roth
- It’s Another Sunny Day in Minnesota – Marty Winkler
- Runaround – Coyote Grace
- Cups – Anna Kendrick
- xote das meninas – trio la strada
- Thinking About Tomorrow – Beth Orton
- One of Those Days – Joshua Radin
- At Last – Etta James
- Cowboy – Cross-Eyed Rosie
- I Want to Hold Your Hand – Glee Cast
- Coolin’ in the Streets – Andra Day
- Love Song – Sara Bareilles
- Riviera Life – Caro Emerald
- Back It Up – Caro Emerald
- Red Hands – Walk Off the Earth
- Emily – Mika
- Falling – Keri Noble
- Leona Tuttle – Larry Unger
- La Valse D’Amelie – Yann Tiersen
If you recognize a song you introduced me to, or that we shared together, it was put there for you.
Sean and Steven’s Fifth Annual Holiday CD Exchange Party was tonight in Denver, and I was unable to attend in person. Like last year they’ve graciously allowed me to participate via proxy which I really appreciate.
It’s an interesting experience for me to sit down and make a mix CD — something I consider a lost art form in today’s a la cart world. I always start with what songs moved me over the past year. Many of which come from one or two sources: new songs I’ve heard or songs that I’ve associated with friends (both new and old). This year was no different. I started out heavily influenced by a very small set of new artists I discovered. But because no one wants to hear a mix CD of just Beth Orton and Pink Martini, I had to diversify the selection a bit.
Over the course of three weeks I threw songs I liked or that spoke to me into a playlist, and then whittled down the several dozen songs to enough for a CD. It was only when I had the final list that I realized they were all about relationships, friendships, and love. So I arranged them into a sort of ballad. Not that this is necessarily my story of 2012, but it’s a story.
- Incredible Machine – Sugarland
- Anywhere – Beth Orton
- Central Reservation – Beth Orton
- Clementine – Pink Martini
- Never Meant to Love You – Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons
- Dream A Little Dream Of Me – The Mamas & The Papas
- Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love – Pink Martini
- Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
- The Truth About Love – P!nk
- Hang With Me – Robyn
- Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – P!nk
- Walk of Shame – P!nk
- Singing In the Rain / Umbrella – Glee Cast
- It Happens – Sugarland
- Somebody That I Used To Know – Walk Off the Earth
- Bolero – Steve Sharples
Every song on the list has a meaning to me, although not necessarily what it may appear at face value. Many songs were added because they remind me of an important person in my year — and you know who you are. To those few people: thank you for being a part of my year. I can’t imagine my 2012, and my life, without you.
Every year my friend Sean has a CD exchange party. Attendees create a custom CD of music, makes a few copies, and exchanges it with others. This year I wanted to participate, albeit remotely since the gang is in Denver.
2011 was a tumultuous year for me and I couldn’t have gotten through it without friends and music — although too often the two come together. Many of the songs map to people who’ve helped me make it through the year (mostly) sane. Other songs highlight some of the times I went through. Still others are simply fun. If you see a song here and think of me, then there’s a really good chance I added it because I thought of you.
- Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
- Big Booty – Willie Nelson
- Raise Your Glass – Pink
- History Repeating – Propellerheads & Shirley Bassey
- Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine
- The Beautiful People – Christina Aguilera (from Burlesque)
- It Happens – Sugarland
- Misery – Maroon 5
- Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
- Chasing Pirates – Norah Jones
- Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
- No Such Thing – John Mayer
- Dream A Little Dream Of Me – Michael Buble
- Glitter in the Air – Pink
- I’m Movin’ On – Rascal Flatts
- For Good – Wicked (original cast recording)
- Bari Improv – Kaki King (from August Rush)