Happy 4th, everyone!! Here’s a playlist of my favorite songs for you to throw on shuffle during your holiday weekend!
While definitely not as tricky as creating my year-end list–it was hard to keep it to 50–this has been a really strong year and there are a bunch of big releases still coming.
But I narrowed it down as best as I could–and as quickly as I could–to get this to you for the 4th.
Additionally–here are 15 albums I’ve had on repeat all year. I keep a playlist on Spotify called “2019 Favorite Albums.” Are you on Spotify? Why not follow that playlist and check in on it throughout the year? Do it…
Helado Negro: This is How You Smile
James Blake: Assume Form
Tyler, The Creator: Igor
Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow
Girlpool: What Chaos is Imaginary
Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Anderson.Paak: Oxnard and Venutra (a bit of a cheat but i listen to them together a lot)
Another year is in the books, and you know we LOOOOOOOVE a good round-up of favorites! We’ve got beauty we can’t stop reaching for, life changing products, and things that just make life better. And away! We! Go!
Pamela gifted this to me last year, and as winter tries to turn me into dust, this stuff is a lifesaver. I put it on my lips every night before bed, and it’s still a little bit there in the morning! It’s also great for those dry spots that show up around your nose, or cuticles, or basically anywhere. I hope to never be without it!
I know Lyn has gotten us all to buy something Fenty over the past year or so, and with good reason: this shit is bananas. I picked up the shade Uncuffed during one of the V.I.B. events late last year, and it is PERFECTION. The shade is the absolute perfect rosy mauve, which is my go-to shade for “I don’t want to look dead but I don’t want hot pink lips today” every day wear. The formula is truly weightless, and while it’s not 100% transfer-proof, it’s pretty locked in, and it fades without getting clumpy or flaky. I reach for this almost every day, and it lasts through coffee and lunch and life.
While I love the Kat Von D Brow Struck Dimension powder and think it’s seriously a stand out this year in the world of brow products, I find myself reaching for this $4 pencil nearly every day. It applies soooo quickly and easily and lasts all day. KVD comes out to play if I’m being fancy, but this guy is my ride or die right now.
Early in the year, I was maybe 85% thinking about making the switch to menstrual cups; when Pamela told me she was switching, it was enough to make me take the plunge. After trying an ok, but not quite right cup the first go around, I found the Saalt cup on Amazon and it is my glass slipper. I like the Saalt because it is a softer silicone, made for “”active women. It’s totally comfortable, and haven’t had any leak issues despite deadlifting, working on my feet, dancing, sleeping… whatever. Plus, it just feels… well, less gross overall!! They last for years, so a bonus is that it feels great to not be throwing/flushing so much (including dolla bills) away. I also like that the company is owned by women who give back to women who may not have access to period care. I am seriously mad I got all the way to my 40’s before realizing cups are the way to go BTW- once you get past the learning curve (and yeah, it for sure takes a cycle or three to get the hang of it), my period is no longer such a pain in the ass. Well, obviously it still is a little, but for sure way less of one.
I have gone through about 17000 variations of arm bands, pockets, bluetooth devices, and fanny packs trying to listen to music or podcasts at the gym. My husband finally convinced me to YOLO and buy a pair of AirPods, and they are PURE WIZARDRY. I don’t even know why I resisted for so long. I haven’t ever liked the earbuds that come with Apple products, but somehow these feel mostly invisible in my ears, and yeah, they don’t fall out! I use them everywhere, too- not just the gym. Washing dishes? AirPods. Cleaning my office? AirPods. Grocery shopping? AirPods. The charge lasts forever- did you know they charge right in the case?? I probably charge them once a week or so, but I’ve never even come close to draining them. If I had any complaints, it’s that I wish they would get just a tiny bit louder, but it’s probably better for my health if they don’t. 😉
For whatever reason, I, along with the hipsters, can’t get enough of sparkling water lately. BUT HAVE YOU TRIED SPINDRIFT?? It is sparkling water with real juice squeezed in!! Not a lot- just like, if you squeezed a lemon wedge into your drink. It’s enough, though, to make it crazy good. Like, CRAZY good. Does it add a few calories? Sure, but the worst offender (grapefruit) only has 15 calories per can. I haven’t gotten my hands on every flavor yet (so far I’ve only found it at Target and Costco), but the blackberry and grapefruit are worth having in your fridge AT ALL TIMES.
Drunk Elephant, everything: Okay–maybe not EVERYTHING–but a lot. This girl ain’t loyal when it comes to skin care products and I’m notorious for bouncing around and trying lots of things to see what’s magic. Well–I think Drunk Elephant might be it! My top favorite is the T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum. It is pricey, but a little goes a long way and the results are immediate. It’s crazy to me how incredibly different my skin feels in the morning after using it at night. I also find the Lala Retro™ Whipped Cream is luxuriously divine. Wanna give them a shot and see what you think? The minis pack The Littles™ is a great introduction to the line.
Urban Decay, Born to Run eyeshadow palette: I’m really unclear why this palette didn’t get much love when it came out. The layout is great–especially if you generally dislike the long, skinny shadow structure of the Naked palettes–this one is in squares and the rows act like little mini palettes. The color range is very unique and offers a lot of new looks. I also like that the palette itself is thin, but sturdy and it has a huge mirror so it’s great for travel. Definitely a good deal with 21 shadows and a lot of room to play.
Marc Jacobs Beauty, Enamored Hydrating Lip Gloss Stick: I tried one of these in Sugar, Sugar and then went HAM and bought a bunch. I’m crazy for these in so many ways. They are a gloss–but a stick and not goopy or sticky or messy. I think even you would like them, Jess! They give the perfect amount of reflection to make your lips look full and fab. And layered over pencils gives them even more versatility. Definitely worth the price.
Norman Kamli, Kamali Kulture Go Crew Neck Dress: This is the greatest, easiest dress of all time. I know that sounds crazy and like a huge over-exaggeration, but it’s not. It’s an instant classic LBD. It’s100% flattering, super soft, simple to pack, no wrinkle, forgiving, like pajamas but classy, any occasion dress. Put Vans on and it’s casual. Throw a necklace on and heels and it’s dressy. Grab boots and it’s somewhere in the middle. With tights–it’s perfect for winter. No tights–it’s a spring/fall/cool summer day dream. If I could wear it every day, I would. I honestly might order another one to have a back up, I love it that much.
photo courtesy of shopbop.com
Apple, AirPods: Jess and I were going to do a joint review of these magical wonders, but never got around to it. (aah, life.) I agree with everything she said. I also bought them because Michael Boggs told me to–in fact–Team Boggs drove me to the Apple store and went with me to get them. I keep them in my pocket and use them constantly. They are super convenient so you can just pop them on and go. I walk a lot and always have them on, even if I’m just going a few blocks. They are also the only way I’ll talk on the phone anymore. I will legit tell someone I’ll call them back so I can grab them, if they aren’t immediately available. You don’t have to yell when talking and you can hear perfectly. Unlike Jess, I have had them die on me, but I’m also spacey about charging them. Which is silly because they charge super fast. I think it’s less than an hour to bring them back to full capacity. The only downsides are the volume isn’t super loud which Jess mentioned–I guess it’s good because it makes it so you can still be aware of your surroundings when walking with them–but on some podcasts I feel like I’d like a little more juice. When you wear them on an airplane, you have to keep your Bluetooth on to have them paired with your phone, so you can’t go into full “airplane” mode. And I do feel a little self-conscious wearing them because they are kinda douchey looking and I lose the effect of traditional headphones that say “I can’t hear you so don’t talk to me.” But aside from those few things, I can’t say enough about what a game changer they were for me this year. Bonus–I’ve had them for six months and haven’t lost them, which is huge!
Schitt’s Creek: Another shout-out to Jess–she called this one and was ON ME (and you) to watch it–and she was so right. I haven’t been this excited about a show in a long time. And it’s coming back on January 16th so you have time to get caught up before the new season comes out, if you didn’t take her advice the first time around to check it out. I’m the worst at binge-watching and we blew through this faster than any series ever. Also–my closet goals = David Rose and Dan Levy is a great IG follow, if you’re not already on it.
Milwaukee Bucks: YOU GUYS!!!! We have the best team in the entire NBA!!!! Seriously!!! We are #1 right now!!! I told you not to sleep on the Bucks two years ago and I’m telling you again–get on it!!! #fearthedeer
HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone! We love you all so much and are excited for new products, adventures and all the everything and nothings life invariably throws at us. We’d love to hear what rocked your world in 2018 or things you’d like us to check up on for you in upcoming posts.
Because if 2018 taught us anything–life can be much too much sometimes (and also that it’s okay to declare “it’s my turn to take a selfish!”)–and 2019 could be more of the same.
It’s such a process to pull my list of favorite songs together. I had a ton of albums that I was super into (I’ll give you my favorite albums on a later post) so I thought my list would suffered or have a limited scope. But luckily–it was nothing to worry about!—I had MORE than enough songs up for consideration. My list could’ve been over a 100 deep this year—but who wants to listen to all that!—so I knew I had to trim it down. So I did–to a reasonable 51–and I think my list is banging! (51 because drake. i wasn’t going to–but then i had to.)
To weed out songs and make the list slightly more manageable to put together—I put a hard stop on when a song had to be out to be considered for the list—no song out after October 31 was eligible. And I tried to only include songs that came out after November 1, 2017. (i did make one small exception for a song i LOVED but came out october 17, 2017. but it’s from a pretty unknown band so it’s getting some love.)
My rules mean that some songs that show up on lots of year end lists like “thank u, next” and “Love it if we made it”—Pitchfork’s top song of the year–came out a couple weeks ago so you won’t find them below.
And quite honestly—there’s so much music out—it’s already hard to get to everything anyway. I legit didn’t listen to any of the songs that came out after my deadline—I sequester all new music which is hard but necessary—so I can really sort through the over 300 songs that were in my playlist for consideration. These songs are great—I’ve since listened to them a ton!—but I had to draw the line somewhere. So I will put some links below to other year end song lists that may be more comprehensive and give you more songs to check out.
For this year’s list—I will give you the song, artist and my favorite line along with a link to the video—if available–AND will link the genius.com lyrics. The newish Genius feature on Spotify is one of my favorite recent music developments. I get way too happy when a Genius is linked to a song I’m playing on Spotify. Plus some of these songs have interesting stories that are included on Genius with artist videos, so they are worth checking out. And if there’s a Song Exploder episode about a song–I’ll link that, too.
So without further ado—my favorite songs of the year—starting with my favorite song and then sequenced with your listening enjoyment in mind. (therefore—don’t shuffle!—at least not for the first listen.)
I am fortunate to be the “aunt” to many of my friends’ kids. It’s a gift in my life and it’s so wonderful to be a witness to all their different life stages.
I totally love getting on the floor and playing dolls or LEGOS or whatever their thing is at the time.
I love catching their sporting events and piano recitals.
And I really love to find out what they are listening to–what artists are speaking to them, what songs are on repeat, what music from their parents resonates with them–and checking it out myself.
There are lots of current favorites I first heard about through these conversations–Billie Eilish, Smino, Khalid–but I’m always happy to find we have a lot of the same current artists loading up our playlists. I have always been a pop music junkie, and Spotify and other streaming services makes finding the top tracks pretty simple.
On the flip side, it’s a lot harder today to plug into music from other generations. A family doesn’t have to hear each other’s music if they don’t want to–even radiating out of closed bedroom doors–as listening through headphones seems to be most teenagers’ go-to for their music experiences.
I had to know my parents music and they had to know mine. But that’s not so true anymore.
However–based on conversations with my friends’ teenage kids–they are still as musically curious and adventurous as most teenagers have been in the past. It’s just overwhelming with so much music in front of them and very little introduction from trusted sources to know what’s worth a listen.
In these talks, I’m taken by songs I think everyone knows that are unfamiliar. Or styles that seem to be fading in relevance like guitar rock or experimental pop.
So I decided to put together a playlist of the songs that really opened up the world of indie rock and dance music for me during the time I was discovering this music, too to share with one of my friend’s kids.
A little backstory on why this era of music is so important to me:
This was a really good year for music. Really good. Some years, I get nervous about putting my list together. I’m afraid there won’t be enough to fill it out. But this was definitely not one of these years.
If anything, there was so much good stuff, I had a hard time getting to all of it. I could’ve easily made a list of 100 songs–but I kept it to 50–actually 51. There are many release that people loved that I didn’t get to spend enough time with or didn’t full give my attention, so I know there are songs I missed.
But that’s what’s fun about these lists. To back and discover all the great music that’s all around you.
Admittedly, my favorites list is just that–MY favorites. And that means they aren’t necessarily the BEST songs of the year, but they are the songs I have the strongest connection to and therefore, stand out. Generally, seeing an act live can assure a place on the list. I tie so much to that live experience–but that also means that if I didn’t get to check out an artist’s show–that relationship with the music may not be complete.
I tried to keep it to one song per artist and I’ve stuck with my rule that songs had to come out between November 1, 2016-October 31, 2017 to be considered for this list.
Additionally, I still like to organize my list into two “CD” sets, even though now they just live as playlists. I like the narrative and mood these songs can create so I’d prefer you listen to them in order I put them in–at least the first time through–then go ahead and shuffle away!
Reviewing the list, I’m excited that it turned out to be such a great reflection of my general music sensibilities and includes a mix of old favorites and new finds.
And for the record, this list is in no particular order, but my favorite song of the year was Break Apart, Bonobo featuring Rhye. To get a full appreciation for the song, may I recommend you check out the Song Exploder episode on this track. I loved it on first listen, but I was in DEEP after hearing the song broken down.
wokeuplikethis*, Playboi Carti featuring Lil Uzi Vert
Crowded Places, Banks
Something Here, Day Wave
Doomed, Moses Sumney
Three Rings, Grizzly Bear
Does She Even Know, IDER
Baby Luv, Nilüfer Yanya
Little of Your Love, Haim
Bobby, (Sandy) Alex G
Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can), Whitney
oh baby, LCD Soundsystem
Don’t Leave, Snakehips & MØ
Halfway Home, Broken Social Scene
Break Apart, Bonobo and Rhye
Sideline, Niia featuring Jazmine Sullivan
Olvidame y Pega la Vuelta, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony
Bodak Yellow, Cardi B
Chanel, Frank Ocean
Andromeda, Gorillaz featuring DRAM
Shark Smile, Big Thief
Blue Train Lines, Mount Kimbie featuring King Krule
Sign of the Times, Harry Styles
(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano, Sampha
DNA, Kendrick Lamar
Day I Die, The National
Young Death, Burial
Bike Dream, Rostam
Get it Together, Drake featuring Black Coffee and Jorja Smith
On and On, Curtis Harding
Selfish, Future and Rihanna
Lay It On Me, Vance Joy
Jackpot, Nikki Lane
Love, Lana del Rey
Slip Away, Perfume Genius
Radiohead, I Promise
Here are some playlists so you can listen to them all at one–the first is all the songs on YouTube and then the Spotify playlists. What songs am I missing? Are there songs on here you also love? I wanna know!! Hit me up in the comments below!
It’s December which means the year-end lists are coming–my favorite!!
I’m still working on my favorite songs of the year list–which is very late for me–but there were so many great songs I’m having a hard time trimming the list down.
But for albums–this list was pretty easy for me.
There seemed to be a few albums that just kept bubbling back to the top all year. And looking at my list, it’s pretty indicative of my overall taste in music, so it’s a good Lyn music primer.
I like to try and get my lists out–or at least done–before all the other ones come out so my opinion doesn’t get influenced. I’ve refrained from reading the few that I’ve seen get posted, but it’s been hard.
So I’m glad to get this one up! Hopefully, there are a few albums that speak to you or that you’ve also enjoyed this year.
Here we go!
1. Lana Del Ray, Lust for Life: I completely freaked on the first listen of this album the day it dropped and haven’t put it down since. A perfect genre blend speaking to the political climate, love, heartbreak and what it means to be a woman trying to find your place in the world. And getting a little help from friends like Stevie Nicks certainly doesn’t help. I don’t consider myself the biggest LDR fan, yet she consistently makes my lists. I think this her strongest album yet showing confidence and bravery with a clear voice and vision.
2. Broken Social Scene, Hug of Thunder: So great to get the band back together! It’s been a seven year break and this album feels like an explosion of pent up sound and emotion. Everyone has a time to shine–including Feist–whose album I loved but didn’t quite make my top list. Great for a drive, great to put on when you’re hanging and great in headphones to really listen to what this community of artists has to say.
3. Harry Styles, Harry Styles: What an accomplishment! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had this album playing and had friends stop and ask who it was. Again–confident songwriting, chameleon-like genre shifting and a perfect for any mood album. Well done, Harry!
4. Sampha, Process: Completely worth the wait! I’ve loved his work with SBTRK, his features on Solange and Drake’s albums and he’s a stand out track on this year’s Everything is Recorded album. But boy, oh boy! He can break your heart with is voice and have you feeling all the feels. Process is a revelation.
5. Haim, Something to Tell You: No surprise here. I love them and this album didn’t disappoint.
6. Kehlani, SweetSexySavage: I love this album so much–and then seeing what a star she is live made me love it even more. A really nice mix of bangers, ballads and singalongs. Can’t wait to see what this talented lady does next!
7. (Sandy) Alex G, Rocket: I’m not sure how I missed this guy over the years because his whole thing is totally in my wheelhouse. I was in a crabby mood this spring looking for something new and found this on Pitchfork.com. So I gave it a listen and he’s quickly become a favorite. His live show was perfection, too. He is definitely solidly on my radar now.
8. Fever Ray, Plunge: In mid-October, I traveled to see my friend, Erin and we were talking about we were due for new music. Two weeks later, we get this gift. It’s like she knew we needed it. It has been six year and her mix of dystopian sound and raw emotion cuts through like no other. This album was an immediate favorite. (her videos are way too much for me though.)
9. Kendrick Lamar, Damn: It’s getting kinda repetitive, isn’t it? He’s the best and this album doesn’t keep it close.
10. Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins: Here’s a band I didn’t even know I was missing. But from the first track off this album I realized, it was really good to have them back.
11. Syd, Fin: I have a lot of debut albums on my list–and here’s another one. Known for her work with Odd Future and The Internet, this album shows the depth of talents Syd possess. Top to bottom, this is a fantastic and super sexy listen.
12. Gorillaz, Humanz: There seems to be a theme of debut or comeback on this list. Here’s another comeback. There’s a delicate balance happening on this album–sharing heartbreak whether it’s from the loss of a love or an election with a dancefloor groove. Add in a million features. There’s a lot that could go wrong with this album–but it works for me.
13. Kelela, Frontline: This album is a journey and a perfect listen from top to bottom. I also have it on good authority that this album can win over even non-R&B fans, so give it a shot.
14. Natalia Lafourcade, Muses: I am completely charmed by her and listening to her albums makes me feel like I speak Spanish. Her music is so expressive and I’ve regretted not putting Hasta la Raiz on my favorites of 2015, so I will not make that same mistake this year.
15. Curtis Harding, Face Your Fear: I’m not sure why Curtis Harding isn’t as known as artists like Leon Bridges, Charles Bradley or Michael Kiwanuka–he is a star–and gives a fresh take on an old school soul sound. His sophomore album is confident and builds on his debut with an even broader and more complex sound. A fantastic listen.
16. Future, Future & Hndrxx: Seriously. It’s just so much music, Future. I put them together in a playlist so I pretty much treated it like a double album. It’s a lot, but goodness if I don’t love it all.
17. Rostam, Half-Life: I’m a huge Vampire Weekend. Based on this excellent debut album, his collab last year with Hamilton Leithauser and his hand on the Haim album, it makes me nervous to hear the new Vampire Weekend stuff without him, rumored to be released in 2018.
18. SZA, Ctrl: I’ve been solidly in SZA cheering section since I saw her completely charming and sweet performance at Pitchfork Festival in 2014. To think she almost quit the biz is unimaginable and would’ve been such a loss. She wears her vulnerabilities on her sleeve and her music offers a fresh voice distinctly her own–she has a writing credit on every track. It took a while to get her debut album out, but we are lucky to have it.
19. Bonobo, Migration: This album contains my favorite song of the year, so of course it made the list. And his live show at the Orpheum was one of the best this year.
20. Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice: I love them separately, why wouldn’t I love them together? I just didn’t think I’d love them this much.
Here’s all the videos in a YouTube playlist:
A lot of great music came out this year and I’m sure I missed a lot or didn’t spend time with albums I should have–so let me know what you loved this year–I’ll add it to my “albums I missed” playlist!
I refuse to be sad about summer coming to a symbolic end this weekend. Instead–I’m going to crank up these tunes suited for making the transition form one season to the next–and say thanks for a great season–and hello to chapter 3: Autumn!
Whitney, Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can)
Phoenix, Ti Amo
Haim, Little of Your Love
Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias, El Perdon
Yo Gotti & Nicki Minaj, Rake it Up
Queens of the Stone Age, The Way You Used to DO
Dua Lipa, New Rules
Vance Joy, Lay It On Me
Lana Del Rey with The Weeknd, Lust for Life
Rhye (Roosevelt Remix), Summer Days
Have a fun, relaxing and safe Labor Day Weekend!! –E&N (Lyn, Pamela and Jess)
Tonight I am seeing Paul Simon at Summerfest. This will be the fourth time seeing Paul Simon there: 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2017. I also saw Simon and Garfunkel in Chicago in 2003. A totally bonkers show where you could tell they don’t get along, but that didn’t stop me from getting tickets to their 2010 reunion tour. Sadly, that show got canceled—and seven years later—it still hasn’t been rescheduled. I saw Paul Simon two weeks ago at Eaux Claires Festival. I missed him on his 2011 tour and I opted not to check out the Paul Simon/Sting double bill in 2014. I have regretted missing both shows. Otherwise, I have seen him on every tour since I was an adult. And recently he’s discussed not doing music anymore, so I’m concerned tonight might be my last time seeing him.
Paul Simon at Eaux Claires festival
Why is this so upsetting to me? Why have I seen him so often? Because Paul Simon is in my music holy trinity.
If music is a religion, the music holy trinity is the culmination of all the music you listen to defined by three artists.
So far, 2017 has been a pretty bonkers year for music for me. I feel like I’ve been a little stressed this year–haven’t we all?!–so I’ve been listening to a lot more old stuff than I normal do.
Generally, I would categorize my music listening at 75% new music and 25% revisiting old favorites or catching up on things I’ve missed.
But this year–I would venture to say those percentages are flipped–so I’m sure there’s a ton I’ve missed.
What I have been listening to this year can pretty much be broken down into four pretty distinct categories: bands who’ve been MIA with new releases, new artists, solo releases by members of One Direction and Future.
Let’s discuss the first two categories in more detail.
I believe in love at first sight. Call me a romantic. I think connections can be instant and lasting. And I think it extends to friendship, too.
I’ll never forget the day I met Christopher Ryan. The mythology of Mr. Ryan was strong. Christopher had been the tenor soloist in the church choir I sing with (CPC singers, holla!)–part of the esteemed alumni of paid section leaders/ringers that make the rest of us sound like we know what we’re doing. Everyone who knew him loved him, unequivocally. By the time I joined the choir, he had moved to NYC, but his presence still rang through the stories in the choir loft years after he sang his last C5 there.
It is no exaggeration when I say the talent we get through the choir is top notch. We seriously work with the best of the best. Our soloists have gone on to illustrious careers on Broadway, operas around the globe, professors at nationally recognized music programs and composers, conductors and featured soloists. The opportunity to finally meet Christopher Ryan in person came in 2009 when our tenor soloist, James Kryshak was a National Semi-Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions being held in New York City. My sister, Holly lives in NYC and I will take any excuse for a reason to visit. I asked Jim if I could go—he said yes—so I went! And I learned Christopher would be attending, too.