2016 Top 10

As 2016 comes to a close, I can honestly say that the best part of this year was music. Although we lost some great musicians and industry leaders, the work that came out never failed to bring me joy.

This post is going to be quick, and recap all the songs that I loved and highlighted a moment in time during this year. Not all these songs were released in 2016, however, but regardless they still impacted my year somehow.

Music is timeless, and even though a song might have been released before you were born, it could still be a new discovery to you and mean something to you in the present day.

Songs in order of most listened to and favorite:

  1. “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” by BTS (Kpop/Hip-Hop) 2016
  2. “All I Wanna Do (Ft. Hoody, Loco)” by Jay Park (Kpop/R&B/Soul) 2016
  3. “TOKI” by Da-iCE (Jpop/Pop) 2014
  4. “Don’t Worry About Me” by Frances (Singer/Songwriter) 2016
  5. “Taking Off” by One Ok Rock (Jrock/Rock) 2016 but album release is 2017
  6. “Poison & Wine” by The Civil Wars (Alternative) 2009
  7. “Youth” by Troye Sivan (Pop) 2015
  8. “Heads/Tails” by Hotspur (Alternative/Pop) 2009
  9. “Desperate (Ft. Tyler Carter)” by Boy Hero (Alternative Rock) 2016
  10. “The 7th Sense” by NCT U (Kpop/Hip-Hop) 2016

There you have it, my top 10 songs of 2016. Theses songs are ones that I have listened to the most throughout the year and have either shaped a moment in my life or highlighted a moment that means a lot to me.

There are some honorable mentions that I would like to point out. These songs, however, I did not hear until December because they were either released in December or they didn’t reach my ears until then.

They are:

  1. “I Was King”by One Ok Rock
  2. “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga
  3. “The Runner and The Lover (ft. Shelby Merry)” by Formal Vandal

All of the songs mentioned on both lists are on my “Spring/Summer 2016” and “Fall/Winter 2016” playlists on Spotify.

I will continue to add songs to the Fall/Winter playlist until Spring starts back up in 2017, so follow the playlist to stay up to date on what I’m listening too!

Stay rad and have a great new year,
Stefanie.

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I’m Kpop Trash

I don’t know how or when it happened. It was like I woke up one day and all I cared about was Korean Pop music. I was 10 feet deep in MVs, live performances, dance practices and English Subbed interviews and game shows.

I went from not knowing anything about Korean Pop music, to knowing all the names and birthdays of members of a 12 piece group. My recommended videos on YouTube went from alternative rock videos to all Kpop groups.

I am Kpop Trash. Its official.

I basically don’t listen to anything else right now, and my friends and family’s concerns are growing stronger by the day. I don’t normally read YouTube comments, I actually never read YouTube comments, but when it comes to Kpop videos (especially a group I am listening to for the first time) I read the comments. Not just the top few liked comments, I read a few pages of comments! And I actually laugh or have the urge to like or reply to a comment.

Who am I? I ask myself everyday.

But, I have accepted this lifestyle and I am working to  embrace it. I am listening to my philosophy that good music is good music, no matter what genre or country its from. Kpop makes me feel good. Yea, I don’t know what they are saying, but it makes me listen to the music more. It makes me focus on how the song makes me feel.

I’ve noticed the music of songs more from listening to Kpop and I find myself commenting on the actual instrumentation of songs more so than the lyrics or the vocals. Its also great sometimes to listen to a song and create your own meaning or interpretation of the song. Yes, you can do this with all music, but when you can understand the language you have a better idea of what it is actually about. But when you don’t know the language, you can use the feeling and even sometimes the music video to come up with your own story for the song. That is what I find fun about it.

So I like Kpop. I love Kpop. But I also like and love all the genres I loved before and I continue to keep up with all my other favorite artists and genres. I am slowly swimming back to the surface after taking a long LONG dive into the Kpop ocean.

If you are a Kpop fan, you understand everything I am saying. If not, you will. Kpop is not for everyone, but trust me, if you are a sucker for catchy songs and pop music in general, you will get sucked in and never return.

For all my Kpop fans, my favorite artists are (in no particular order):
1. EXO     (all of the units)
2. BTS
3. Got7
4. Jay Park
5. Taeyeon
6. Seventeen
7. Pentagon
8. NCT U
9. Lay     (heart attack when I found out about his solo mini album)
10. Dean

I obviously listen to more, but these are my top ones that I listen to the most. And, because you are going to ask, my EXO bias is Lay and Chanyeol. They both kill me every time. My BTS bias is Jungkook, but my bias wrecker is V. And my Got7 bias is JB but my bias wrecker is Mark. (literally shaking my head at the fact I just admitted this by using fandom terminology)

If you’re curious on Kpop and want to watch something to get introduced by it and not be overwhelmed, I would suggest these videos:

EXO – Monster

BTS – Fire

Got7 – A

Jay Park – Drive (Ft. Gray) (for my friends that like more hip-hop)

Taeyeon – Starlight (Ft. Dean)

I could post more, but I think this is a good start. You got Got7’s “A” for more Pop side, Jay Park’s “Drive” for more hip hop, and then EXO’s “Monster” and BTS’ “Fire” for a medium ground. I also threw in a female voice to represent the feminine side of the genre, and Taeyeon is my favorite female vocalists in Kpop and this song “Starlight” features another one of my favorite artists, Dean.

I picked my favorite songs by my top 5 artists listed above, and again, I could list more videos because I’m trash.

My absence is all do to the fact that I’ve signed my life away to Korean pop music. I’m ashamed and proud. Please, if you’re reading this and a Kpop fan, be my friend. I have no friends that like Kpop. I need you. (in the least creepy way possible, of course)

I’m back, more posts to come.

-Stefanie

Roadtrip Playlist

Recently I went on a roadtrip with some friends. The trip stretched from Southeastern Wisconsin to Nashville, TN; a total driving time of 27 hours there an back. And, just like any good roadtrip, you need music that will keep you awake and keep you pumped throughout the drive.

Of course, just like any type of occasion, setting a music playlist to set the mood varies depending on the person. But for us, we went for the more nostalgic music. So here are my suggestions:

  1. Disney Music. Everyone knows the songs, everyone loves the songs (whether or not you like to admit it) So getting the trip started with something you know and is universal is a great idea. Turning on the Disney music is also a great way to fill the “lull” in music selection. If you’ve been listening to a certain genre of music for a while and are unsure what to listen to next, pop on Disney. It gets everyone is a good mood and who doesn’t want to sing “The Circle of Life” at the top of their lungs while the sun is setting/rising??
  2. Musicals/Movie Soundtracks. Like Disney music, songs from musicals are also great universal music to put on in the car. If not everyone likes musicals, then think of some movies that you really enjoy and put the soundtrack to those on. On our trip we listened to the soundtrack of “Into the Woods” one that we all enjoyed.
  3. Comedy Central Radio. This isn’t music but it was one of our favorite things to listen to on the trip. When we were all tired from driving, listening to music was something that was just putting us to sleep. So we put on the Jerry Seinfeld radio on Pandora and listened stand up comedy. It kept us awake and laughing so hard we cried! It even set the mood for the time we were down in Nashville; we ended up watching a show from one of the comedians we heard on the radio.
  4. Throwback music. Throwback music is probably the best driving/roadtriping music you could listen to! When a song comes on that reminds you of something from your past (something good that is) you get excited and pumped up. This will keep you awake on the drive and also give the song new meaning. We played a lot of throwback songs on our trip and it struck up conversations of the memories we each had with the song.

Those are the categories that we listened to on our trip to Nashville, but if you want to check out specific songs that I think are great for any roadtrip, you can check out my Spotify Playlist called “Roadtrip” and get some ideas to create your own!

 

 

A Single Loose Knot

Eyes open,
a pitch black scene
trying to move, but go no where

Panic, fear

They consume the body
filling it like a new supply of blood
palms sweaty,
heart racing

No escape.

Hours of waiting,
my body gets irritated

Rage, anger

They start to surface
arms tugging, pulling at the ropes
legs kicking, teeth biting,
trying to break free
A single loose knot,
the ropes unravel

Freedom? Not quite.

Still caged in,
like an animal
a chair thrown at the only window
screams, shouts
broken objects scatter across the cement floor.

My knuckles painted with red,
fingernails are now only half their original size
I scratch at the walls,
trying to dig a way out; like a dog.

My escape tunnel
is closing,
slowly.

Spring Time Is…

Spring Time is…

Brighter days, longer days

Sunshine after the rain

Song birds with morning coffee

Driving with the windows down

Happy music, new music

Rollerblading, skate boarding, biking

Hiking, nature walks

The smell of clean, fresh air

New candles

Less layers, light jackets

Dog walks, dog drives

Spring Time is…the start of great adventures.

37 People Wearing Black

I’m awkward around the dead. Funerals put me into an uncomfortable position and walking into a cemetery just kicks in my paranoia. I’ve been to quite a few funerals in my life, not the greatest thing to say, but its true. All of which left me with different emotional states.

Some were easy, go to the visitation, pay respects and go home. Some were more difficult, like my grandmother’s. I was really close with my grandma and I was an emotional wreck at her funeral. At the end of the day my eyes were so puffy, my throat was sore, I was so drained that the last thing I wanted to do was have a meal and chat some more with relatives I didn’t even know.

But, other funerals I didn’t even shed a tear. Today I had a funeral for my great uncle on my mother’s side. I was fine before I reached the church, then I started getting really nervous and faint. I did everything I could to distract myself from the fact that it was a funeral service. I would go talk with my aunts, cousins, grandparents just to get my mind off of it. During the service I found myself identifying items in the room.

37 people were wearing black.
There are 32 columns of wood paneling by the alter.
The woman behind me was sharp for all three hymns that we sung.
My grandpa fell a sleep and sneezed 3 times.

Among other things. Its not that I don’t like being there, its just that I don’t know what to say, what to do, how to act, where to look…

I’ve never paid respect to the casket either. For every funeral that I’ve been to, since I’ve understood what death means, I’ve never walked up to the casket and paid respects. I just can’t do it. I cannot look at the person that I’ve once known, full of life before, and now motionless in a box in front of me. I do pay respects to the family, and I say a silent prayer to the one that has passed once I’ve sat down. I just can’t see them laying dead in front of me.

I’d rather remember them how they were. My last visual memory of them I want to be of them alive, not of them dead. Today I looked around the room and saw family members crying, friends of my great uncle with sympathetic faces, and young children who looked bored and confused. As I looked I questioned why funerals are so focused on mourning the life of a loved one? Why are they not about celebrating the life they lived?

We celebrate life on so many occasions: birth of a child, birthdays, life achievements in school or work, but why not when the life of the person matters the most? When they’re dead. The pastor today kept saying, “today we mourn the life of a father, a husband, a brother, a grandfather..” but he never once mentioned remembering him or celebrating his earthly life.

Sometimes I wish I could have the naivety of my younger cousin (age 8). He thought today was a day to hang out with the extended family. He was so excited to see all his cousins that he ran up to me and said “I’m so ready for this dress up party!” He thought that this was just another family reunion, but one where everyone dresses up. So you can just guess the confusion on his face when the service started. But afterwards he got to play outside, eat some food and play with his cousins. “Today was a great day, except for the whole dying thing.” – my cousin.

Its okay to mourn, I’m not writing this saying that you shouldn’t mourn their life, I was an emotional wreck during many funerals, but I’ve learned that if you celebrate their life and all that they have done, it makes the grieving process easier, for me at least.

Today I did not mourn my great uncle’s life; I remembered him and celebrated all his accomplishments.