I’m a regular re-reader, re-watcher, and the same can be said for songs. Sure, there are old favorites that always work, there are new discoveries, sometimes by chance, there are new albums we’re excited to listen to, and then again, and again. But some songs just grab you by the ear and I literally listen to them on repeat four or five times in a row. I would even go so far as to say it’s vaguely comforting in a world where you are peppered with offers of the newest hot thing every minute of your life. Yes, throw all that confetti at me, I don’t care, I’ve got my own!
Whole Heart by Rachel Platten
Fresh off her newest album Waves, I was excited to hear the new work after getting a feel for her musical energy and lyrics beyond Fight Song on her previous album Wildfire. This current favorite is a substantial pop-song with heart (no pun intended) that seems to follow a conversation about figuring out a relationship as I imagine it.
We were at the beach and you were hiding on your phone
You said nothing’s wrong, but something’s wrong
A powerful chorus rounds off the gentle, but firm point made in the lyrics. Romance and vulnerability without pathos or undue drama, as well as clear-cut vocals and a thought out story.
Cars+Parking Lots by Cimorelli
From cars and parking lots
I still think about him a lot
The last time we talked we fought
He’s gone but I never forgot
There’s always room for some nostalgia about our teenage years, especially when days are shorter and those autumn nights gradually turn to winter ones. Cimorelli effortlessly captures that teenage vibe of everything revolving around young love, and the sound just makes me think of all those classic 80s movies and the whole world (of course) being concentrated in one small town, during one summer, the universe of driving and dating, emotions running high and musical notes too. Great harmonies and easy to sing along to.
I’ll Make It Up To You by Imagine Dragons
‘Cause honey it’s been a hard year
It seems like we’re going nowhere
You’re crying inside your bedroom
Baby I know it’s not fair
This one is off their new album Evolve, which I’m enjoying very much. The thing I find coolest about Make It Up is how it takes off in the chorus, how the beat just picks up in the chorus, from contemplation to a firm statement, with a touch of wistfulness and, of course, hope. As always, the lyrics are observant, thoughtful and relatable. It also feels like a continuation of previous songs from other albums, like Every Night, which is similar to wondering about how characters you rooted for in a story were doing after you finished reading and then finding out in a (hopefully good, it can happen) sequel. Amazing guitar playing (heck, ALL the instruments) and soaring vocals in the background towards the end make me come back for more.
Don’t Hold Me Down by Colbie Caillat
Don’t hold me down
Oh, I was getting so far
Don’t hold me down
Cause I don’t wanna fall apart
This one is just always a good pick-me-up regardless of how I’m feeling and it’s been with me for years. Colbie Caillat’s trademark warm, energetic vibe and smooth vocals make for a feel-good, positive number that’s good for re-centering or just singing along to. It just fits in everywhere, anyime, any place.
Even The Rain by Gabe Dixon feat. Allison Krauss
You lean in close like I am your black umbrella
We run for cover, wind up in the doorway of a
Brownstone on the corner of west 17th
Out of the blue it’s coming down in sheets
I was shopping and heard the last lines of this in the background before it finished playing. It’s been around for a while. Luckily I remembered what I heard and a few keystrokes later I found this gem, which I couldn’t stop listening to since. It’s obviously perfect for the current rainy weather, but since it rains almost any time of year, its appeal is timeless. Obviously it’s more than being literally suitable to the weather outside. It’s the perfect blend of whimsical, romantic, quirky songwriting that makes me want to walk the rainy streets daydreaming under an umbrella.