Thursday, December 23, 2010

Songs of The Moment 12/23/10 - Christmas, Anyone?

I know it's almost too late to be sharing Christmas tunes, but who cares? I've stumbled upon some super excellent ones this year, most of which actually came out this year (all original!), and I just can't let you miss them! I'll get right to it!!!

1. Snow by Sleeping At Last
Sleeping At Last is quickly becoming my favorite band. I've never been more passionate about something involving music than I am about the project Sleeping At Last is pursuing. They are releasing a series of EPs called "Yearbook". 3 songs every month for a year. So far they've released October, November, and December (December's cover is the image on the top right). Each EP fits with its month and all nine songs so far have been drop-dead gorgeous. You'll see what I mean with Snow, which is hands down THE BEST Christmas song I've ever found, original or classic. The lyrics honestly blow my mind and uber fitting for the holidays. The vocals and instrumentation are spectacular. Don't miss this one! I'll definitely be keeping you updated on January-September.
PS - Sleeping At Last is doing a ton of other cool things with this project. They're letting people submit all sorts of drawing and samples of their handwriting to be used in the artwork for the EPs. Another thing they did was ask for Christmas/winter-related video footage and then they put together this community-generated music video for Snow. I think it's beautiful. Enjoy.

2. Dream of Christmas by This Century
This Century! One of the fantastic bands I not only discovered this year, but saw live! It's awesome they've got these fabulous songs, but it's too bad the concert wasn't late enough in the year for them to play these two cause that would have been fabulous! This use to be my favorite Christmas song until Snow snuck in only about a week ago. It works super sweet as a Christmas love song, the very best type of Christmas song if I do say so myself. Check it out!

3. Kiss Me Like It's Christmas by This Century
Another one from This Century. I honestly thought this one was pretty lame when I first heard it, but then the catchiness of it hit me. I love it! You'll never have more fun tapping your foot to a Christmas tune!

4. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Death Cab for Cutie
This song's a couple of years old, but I just found it this year and Death Cab's amazing so I've just gotta stick it in here. There's lots of fantastic piano/drums dueting going on here; unique, to say the least.

5. Joy To The World by Seabird
Seabird released a couple of its own renditions of classic Christmas tunes last year. This year they added five more and released it in their stunning Christmas EP, the best I've ever heard. Unfortunately, I can't find free, full versions of any of their tunes for you to listen to except one: Joy To The World. It's not my favorite on the EP, but it's dang awesome. Seabird doesn't just make the tunes their own, they transform them entirely. You'll see what I mean. Most of the people I've shown these songs to don't like how much they change songs, but I think it's refreshing. Tell me what you think and check out the whole EP if you like what you hear!

6. When I Get Home For Christmas by Snow Patrol
I honestly didn't foresee a Christmas song coming out of Snow Patrol, but it turns out they had one all along and can pull it off quite nicely. This is another older one (ten years old, it turns out), but I also just barely discovered it and I have no reason to keep it a secret. Nothing extremely wonderful here, but this is a great song.

7. So Much More by Poema
Poema surprised me with a 2010 Christmas EP of their own, which is actually pretty cool because Poema now has a total of 11 songs on iTunes and about half are for Christmas, haha! This one here has a very nice feel to it, not so much Christmasy, but definitely fitting. The lyrics are really cool as well. A real pleasure to listen to.

8. Santa Will Find You by Poema w/ Aaron Marsh

Poema's EP is so good that I have to share one more from it. A couple of the songs on the EP are remakes of the classic Christmas hits, but I'm personally more a fan of the original stuff like this one. This one's just as charming as any Christmas tune out there and Aaron's added vocals wondefully complement everything else that's going on. Fantastic lyrics boost this song even further. I was skeptical when listening to the samples of this EP for the first time, but Poema has really won me over with these awesome songs.

9. Christmas Lights by Coldplay
A couple of well-known artists pleased their fans with brand new Christmas tunes this year. The first was Coldplay. If anyone had the potential to pull off an amazing original Christmas song, it was these guys and they did not disappoint. Most of these songs have just been nice to listen to, but this tune, along with Snow and the two This Century tunes, have really made this Christmas something extra special for me. What can I say? Brilliant vocals and piano here, did you expect less from Coldplay? Just go and listen to it already!

10. Boots by The Killers
The second band to release a new original was The Killers. The mood of it goes right along with what they tried on their last album, and initially reminded me a lot of Human and some of their other previous songs. The Killers, whom I also didn't expect to release a Christmas song, have shocked me with this one. It seems every Christmas original has something special about it. I just wish they'd play this sort of Christmas on the radio instead of the same old songs over and over and over and over. I think you guys will really like the new, Christmas side of The Killers.

11. Wish List by Neon Trees

The Neon Trees are another fairly big band who decided to show off how amazingly they can pull off the Christmas vibe this year. This is one of those songs that screams "Christmas!" with it's first few seconds. It's so groovy! I'm truly sorry if you missed its week as the free single on iTunes. I'm super glad I picked it up. The lyrics have got everything Christmas covered...good stuff.

12. Winter White by A Fine Frenzy
This song was the free single of the week just before last Christmas, but back then I hated it. It has grown on me this year, enough to have a part in my daily Christmas listening. It's not your typical A Fine Frenzy stuff, but it's got a great upbeat feel to it. See what you think.

There it is, Christmas 2010 in a musical nutshell! I hope you guys like these tunes and keep them in your Christmas thoughts! A more-than-ginormous thanks to Sleeping At Last, This Century, and Coldplay for making this Christmas season the best I've ever had!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Insight - Art

So I've decided I'm going to take my blog in a a slightly new direction. I decided it needs more than just poetry and music and I've been encouraged lately to share some of the thoughts that go on in my mind. I'm going to start up a new regular spiel called "Insight". I figured it might a little something to make my page here more interesting, varied, and personalized. I'd appreciate it if you guys would comment below or even talk to me face to face if you want to talk about any of this stuff. For my first shot at this, I'm going to share my final Theory of Knowledge paper. Now I know this paper is a beast; read the first and last paragraphs if anything. We were given ten topics to choose from. Here was the prompt I chose:

"Art is a lie that brings us nearer to the truth" -Pablo Picasso. Evaluate this claim in relation to a specific art form.

Art is an unbridled force, backed by endless creativity and unmatched passion, that is continually growing more powerful in terms of the amount of people it reaches, the amount of people endeavoring to further it, and the more-than-ever variations of it that people are now pursuing. The incredibly, sometimes incomprehensibly, compelling nature of art has an undeniable presence in the world today, but the basis of its existence as a prevalent part of nearly every individual’s life is more difficult to understand. An actor shrouds himself with a false identity. An artist portrays impossible scenes. A musician manipulates unnatural sounds. A writer creates outlandish worlds and scenarios. All of these examples serve to persuade the mind that art, even with any efforts artists might make to follow reality, is ultimately fake and, as some would suppose, useless. The fact that the word ‘art’ shares the letters of and the ideas behind the word ‘artificial’, which means ‘lacking naturalness’ and is synonymous with terms such as counterfeit, false, and unreal, seems the simplest and most inarguable evidence available to support the first half of Picasso’s statement that art is a lie. This point seems to have the majority of individuals in concurrence. Art, in essence, is all that is not real or, if one would venture to say so, not true.

Picasso’s second opinion, that art brings us nearer to the truth, is generally a more difficult concept to understand and feel comfortable about. Many philosophical thinkers argue that with the introduction of a greater amount of artwork, along with a growing variety of forms, comes a more cluttered, doubt-filled reality. These are the people that advocate the ideas that counter Picasso’s aforementioned viewpoint. These people that say art is pulling humanity further from the truth. These people say that the imagination behind the art is distracting us from the important things in life. These people say that the pursuit of art is entirely vain. Through much experience with viewing, analyzing, and creating art, I, along with much of the people close to me as well as those from across the globe, firmly stand against these people. The extreme passion, deep thought, and insatiable wonder that art is often capable of inciting both within the creator and the witness are indescribable. Though art is often heavily reliant upon language and emotion as conduits of the expression of ideas, or knowledge, it seems to go above and beyond these methods when finding its way to the observer. Art, in a mysterious way that perhaps nothing but a human could ever understand, is a convincing force that can be impossible to discount. What it is that art attempts to convince the viewer of, however, is open for interpretation. Someone in an art museum might recognize the immense beauty of a rose for the first time when looking at a painted, perhaps unrealistic, depiction of the flower. The flower has, of course, always existed, but we can assume that without the artist’s emphasis and glorification of the simple rose, which is, in essence, a lie, changed the way this individual views flowers. The antagonists would argue that the artist’s unreal rendition of the flower has tricked the person into believing something that isn’t true. This perspective usually stems from pessimists or from those who are overly reliant on logic, or, in other words, poor knowers. Therefore, it is both safer and more reasonable to conclude that the artist’s painting of the rose has brought its beholder “nearer to the truth”, not further from it. Upon analyzing this scenario and many other similar cases, it becomes clear that art, which is a lie because of the way in which it veers away from or alters reality, does, in fact, bring one nearer to the truth.

Drawing from my experiences as an avid music maker and an aspiring novelist, I’ve seen the influence that art can have both upon my fellow artists and upon my onlookers. Most artists consider themselves more knowledgeable individuals than they were before they embraced and succeeded to practice and excel in the field of art. There is, of course, much logic behind music. There is a mathematical system to the arrangement of musical notes. There is a science to how well certain colors appear when placed together. There is a structure of vocabulary and grammar in place for writers to follow. This definitive, undeniably truthful information is beneficial as part of one’s mental arsenal and can be reasonably considered at equal with any mathematical equation, scientific theory, or historical account, but it is rarely the most prevalent part of art from the perspective of the artist. Art, by its own nature, permits the creator to break these logical rules. Logic doesn’t always have a place in artwork, and even when it does, it is rarely the root of an artist’s inspiration. It is not why artists consider themselves more learned or more sophisticated after experimenting with art. It is not necessarily what “brings [them] nearer to the truth”.

Creativity and passion are the primary driving forces behind this supposed acquisition of knowledge. The vast majority of artists would insist that imagination, fascination, and emotion are the powers that cause them to do what they do, that make them what they are, that have them constantly clinging to the false, which most of them would actually consider the truth. Rarely does one write a song mainly to learn the patterns that guide musical composition. People write songs to incite feelings within themselves or the listeners, to learn about their capabilities, or sometimes just to discover something new or lay claim to something that has never been done before. Visual artists, computer animators, sculptors, actors, dancers, film creators, clothes designers, and beauticians all tend to follow these approaches. Imagination, it seems, will forever be endless. Scientists tend to believe that there is a definite number of laws that dictate every aspect of the universe and they are devoted to discovering each and every one of these rules until all truth has been documented. It is easy to understand that artists, though their intangible, but comparable universe of images, ideas, and feelings is seen by most as infinite, are similarly searching their world for truths. The spherical nature of the Earth wasn’t considered truth until it was proven. Likewise, “The Messiah” wasn’t a part of reality until Handel created, or perhaps ‘found’ or ‘discovered’ it. The difference between the sphere and the choral/orchestral masterpiece is that the Earth has always been a sphere and the “The Messiah” hasn’t always been a musical piece – or perhaps it has. Perhaps all pieces of art have always existed. Perhaps those not yet created are just waiting to be discovered. Perhaps there is only a slight difference between scientific truths and artistic “truths”. This case would imply that art and science are more closely related than believed by most individuals, who tend to place science and art on opposite ends of the intellectual spectrum, and is, therefore, contrary to reality and tradition. Still, neither argument can be thoroughly proven.

To further prospect the relation between art and truth, I’ll turn to my personal experiences. I have established myself as a skilled player, experienced creator, and devout listener of music. The viola and the bass guitar, two extremely different instruments from two time periods separated by centuries of musical development, are my two specialties. Their existence relative to one another, with the viola representing classical music and the bass guitar symbolizing the more modern rock and roll, illustrates an interesting truth behind music and art in general. Classical music became popular around five centuries ago. At the time, is was a new endeavor, exalted as divine by some and heavily criticized as blasphemous by others. It created sounds and rhythms that could never exist naturally and was, in a way, bending reality. In the world today, classical music is simply there. It plays a large part in society. It is in our concert halls, in our theatres, in our homes. Though it is a lie, it has established a new truth. Only about fifty years ago, a new type of music emerged: rock and roll. This form of music took art’s nature as a lie to the next level. It not only created sounds more unnatural than any heard before, it blasted them to volumes previously unimaginable. This ‘lie’ gave people a further understanding of the impressive variety of sounds our ears and minds could register, many of which must have seemed impossible. Even more recently, electronic sounds have gained a foothold in the world of music. It makes art seem like even more of a lie by creating sounds not only unnatural, but unplayable by any physical object. Still, all three of these types of music, which almost seem unrelated, coexist. Together, they constitute the lie that is music. At the same time, they allow listeners, performers, and composers to better comprehend the possibility of sound, the truth of sound.

The more information scientists discover, the closer they are to knowing the truths behind the existence of the universe. An artist likewise explores and discovers within the world of creativity and passion in order to more fully understand the scope and power of what is possible. Because this information doesn’t seem to exist prior to ‘discovery’, it can be considered a lie. It does, however, serve as a vessel to the destination that is truth simply by existing, by grasping an undeniable presence. After analyzing the purpose and achievements of art, Picasso’s viewpoint becomes clearly well justified.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Only Together

Here's the poem that got me first in Reflections at the school level...we'll see how it does at the counsel and region levels. The theme was "Together We Can" so I decided to bring in objects that not only worked together to do something, but that could only do it when together. It kinda turned out to be a love poem, which isn't what I had intended, but it's a nice addition. Tell me what you think.

Only Together

You’ll be the wind and I’ll be the sail.
Faced with waves tough and vast, we’ll prevail.
Pointless when alone, we’ll join to save the day.
I’ll stand up strong and you’ll choose the way.
We’ll see our captives to their destination,
Revel in the travelers’ show of fascination.
Steering this vessel back toward the land?
Together we can.

You’ll be the paper and I’ll be the pen.
We’ll brave the ideas of countless great men.
Dull when alone, we’ll create at the touch.
I’ll dance and you’ll hold letters and such.
We’ll laugh at thoughts seen in his face,
Watch in amazement as she fills the space.
Enabling their work to reach every fan?
Together we can.

You’ll be the left hand and I’ll be the right.
Bouncing on many keys, we’ll take flight.
Boring when alone, we’ll move side by side.
I’ll play treble and in bass, you’ll confide.
We’ll rejoice in any acclaim, even mere,
Wonder at every gasp, every tear.
Bringing forth the skill of this man?
Together we can.

You’ll be the fuel and I’ll be the spark.
Where once there was nothing, we’ll leave our hot mark.
Useless when alone, we’ll keep warmth flowing.
I’ll start the flames and you’ll keep them going.
We’ll delight in the joyous tunes that are sung,
Suppress a smile when the s’mores burn a tongue.
Pointing out survivors to eyes that scan?
Together we can.

You’ll be the girl and I’ll be the guy.
We’ll fall for each other and never ask why.
Hopeless when alone, we’ll seize a great love.
I’ll fight the world below while you search above.
We’ll keep hope alive and in fear, never cower,
Barely fathom the extent of two hearts’ power.
Inspiring happiness through all life’s span?
We can,
But only when we’re together.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Insight - Video Games

On a typical summer week this past summer, I probably played around 30-50 hours of video games a week. On a typical school week, it's usually been 10 or less, which is still a lot more than most others do. My sisters, who spend just as much time watching TV, claim that my video gaming is no more beneficial than Disney Channel/Nickelodeon reruns. Whateva. I can prove them wrong in so many ways.

It's unfortunate that video gamers are looked down upon by most people in our culture. Don't get me wrong, there are those who are undoubtedly far too addicted and are wasting their life away, and there are definitely many games out there that are completely pointless (*cough* everything Wii *cough*), but I feel that the way I view and interact in the gaming world has been incredibly beneficial in my life. Here are a few general reasons:
1. Video games started my fascination for fiction, which has ultimately led me to my current life aspiration: to be a fiction author.
2. My reading/writing skills and range of vocubulary wouldn't be near what they are today without the dialogues and plots of the story-oriented games out there. Barbarian, druid, synagogue, mosque, monastery, paladin, reliquary, arboretum, oracle...I knew these sorts of words when I was around seven years old.
3. I owe some of my math skills to video games. Working with money, controlling vast armies...I understand numbers a little bit better because of it all.
4. This may sound ridiculous, but there are some games out there that are so realistic and have such involving stories that they can honestly teach you a lot about life and morality. Heavy Rain, Syberia, The Longest Journey, Dead Space...these types of games can make you quiver in fear for your character and cry during the sad, or even happy parts. Video games, which can be anywhere from 4-60 hours long, beat movies and books anyday.
5. I've learned how to interact with total strangers quite well through video games. Playing online can be scary, but can also be quite a treat. I remember a time when I was playing an online game on Rainbow Six Vegas 2 with 5 other guys in their 20s who were all from the Netherlands. All five of them were constantly shooting compliments on teamwork back and forth with their Danish accents throughout the 4-hour game session. You just can't find that sort of thing any other way.
6. People often commend me for my sight-reading skills when playing the viola. I tend to think I have Rock Band and Guitar Hero to thank for this. I get the feel for really tricky rhythms quite quickly due to the practice I've had figuring out guitar/drum charts. I'm a bit more musically inclined because of these games.
7. I owe those awesome moments of quick thinking and demonstrations of nifty technical tricks to video games. My fingers and mind have become quite adept, especially when working together and I really feel like I would lose a lot of that proficiency if I stopped playing video games regularly.

Now let's get more specific. Here's a list of some of my favorite games and just a few things I've gained from them.
From World of Warcraft, probably the most criticized video game of all time, I learned how to interact with strangers. I learned how to point out spammers/untrustworthy folks based on just a few exchanged words. I learned how to type fast...extremely fast. I learned how to instantly become friends with a random guy from Michigan (that was one awesome guy...I love you Mebflame!). I learned that bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. I learned that steel is an alloy of iron and coal. I learned how to work auction houses. I learned how to beat an addiction (I'm nearly three years WoWless!)
From Diablo 2, I learned what gem names go with what color gem. I learned what the heck a scimitar, javelin, katar, morningstar, bludgeon, claymore, and other strange weapons are (keep in mind this was at about six years old). I learned that a bazaar isn't something crazy.
From Oblivion, I learned all about herbs and flowers: flax, saffron, and more.
From Titan Quest and Age of Mythology, I learned about Greek, Egyptian, Norse, and Southeast Asian mythologies long before I was taught them in school.
From Civilization IV, I learned about many of the great leaders and cultures in the world throughout history. I understood the Victorian Era and other things before AP Euro. I learned quite a bit about the Zulu, the Mali, and other civilizations you may have never heard of. I've come to admire Genghis Khan, Suleiman the Magnificent, Odu Nobunaga, and other historical figures. I known the names of many of the great cities around the world. I more fully understand how civilizations develop and interact.
From the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series, I learned far more about the world of music than most people I know. I learned the history of The Beatles year by year. I learned the lyrics to songs by NIN, The Who, Rush, System of a Down, and other bands I would have never looked at otherwise.
From PGR3 and Forza Motorsport 3, I've learned about cars. I've learned which are the fastest, which are the most expensive, and which are the best looking.
From The Sims and countless other games, I've learned how to budget. I know when to spend and when to save. I have a good idea how to judge worth vs. price.

This is just scratching the surface. Video games are obviously a huge part of who I am, but know that I'm not the sort that mercilessly kills just for kicks and spends hours and hours trying to break high scores. I'm the sort that respects the work of the artists and writers behind the games. I'm the sort that actually cares for the story and histories behind fictional scenarios and worlds. I'm the type who usually takes an hour before starting the game just to give my character an appearance I can be proud of. I'm the sort that seriously ponders the consequences my in-game choices will have. The only way you can really know what this is like is to give video games a shot. Drop Wii Sports, Mario Kart, and Farmville and pick up something like Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins, or Syberia. Only then will you realize how complex and beautiful video games can really be.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Songs of The Moment 9/18/10 - An Amazing Concert

I've had a ton of good blog ideas lately, but the Lydia post has kept me from adding more lately. It's tough to let go of them, but I've got a strong enough reason to now: another fantastic concert, perhaps the best one of them all. Wednesday night (the 15th), my buddy Trevor and I went to the Sherwood w/ The Dangerous Summer concert. What a show! Three amazing bands opened for them including Soletta, a new favorite of mine. Then the Dangerous Summer came on (honestly the group I was most excited for) and I belted out lyrics like I never have before. When they finished up, I got to talk to all of the members when they came back to their merch booth. I got a poster and personally had it signed by all four! Honestly one of the coolest moments of my life. Next up was Sherwood, who had some awesome live tricks. Their keyboardist jumped on his keyboard and accidentally knocked over the guitarist's huge amp in the middle of a song, it was hilarious! It was getting late so we left before Sherwood finished, but, all in all, it was an amazing experience. Here's a rough overview for ya:

1. To The Ends Of The Earth by Soletta
"If my ship loses sail, I will row to the ends of the Earth. Though I know I may never return, I still go and I give it my best because every stumble and fall, I will know I have given my all."
When I saw that Soletta was gonna be in the concert, I decided to look them up. From what I heard in the samples, I was excited for them. When they finished playing, I ended up getting two CD's. Yep, they were that good. Here's one of their songs I remember from the concert best.

2. This Road - Soletta
"We both know time is anything but slow."
This seems to be Soletta's most popular song. It didn't stick out to me much at first, but it's quickly catching on my mind. I remember the bassist rocking out hard to this one, hard enough to knock over his mic. He was too cool for words (this concert was a huge one for bass guitarists, which are my idols! The bass players for The Dangerous Summer and Sherwood are both the lead singers!). See what you think bout this tune.

*3. Where You Belong - Soletta
"It's the ones you love that mean the most and need you more than you could ever know or say."
This one, on the other hand, had me hooked right away. This song alone pushed me to purchase the CDs, and Soletta's tunes have not let me down. This singer has such a cool voice that fits so well with the style of music. Another amazing group I'm proud to have in my musical collection. (By the way, Soletta has this love song called Only You that is shockingly sweet, but wasn't performed at the concert...check it out anyway!)

4. Maybe This Time - Sherwood
"If I made a list of every chance I've missed, what would that accomplish?"
The Dangerous Summer played next, but they were so awesome that I've got to save them for last here on my blog post. Here's the song Sherwood started out with. Because I didn't really recognize the members and was matching the voice to the singer for the first time, I didn't enjoy these guys quite as much as The Dangerous Summer, even though I love their songs just as much. Still, Sherwood's performance has boosted my love for them and has brought some of the song I overlooked to the forefront of my mind. This song's one of them. (You must check out this music video, it's hilarious!...but can't be embedded here)

5. Make It Through - Sherwood
"I can't find where I belong without you."
On this song, Sherwood invited anyone who knew the lyrics to come up and sing with them. My biggest regret of the night was being too chicken to join them. Only 2 or three fans went up, along with some of the members of the other bands. It was super cool seeing the Soletta bass player, the Dangerous Summer drummer, and the merch people all up their singing along with Sherwood. Next time, I won't be so wimpy.

6. Middle Of The Night - Sherwood
"Tonight I'm wondering how this could've felt so right."
I'm super glad they decided to play this one from their earlier album, because just a few weeks ago it suddenly became one of my favorites from that CD. (PS I've only known these guys since my birthday this year, which is when I got their two latest albums) The chorus is so awesome! This is probably the rockiest Sherwood music gets too, which was extra fun to see live. Check it out.

*7. Ground Beneath My Feet - Sherwood
"If I knew my time would come, with lines rehearsed, but never sung, I'd leave the chorus on your tongue. I swear."
This is the biggie. The one Trevor and I were searching for. Oh, a bit of interesting info: One day, while driving home together from Darrell's place, Trevor said to me something like "Have you heard of Sherwood". He proceeded hook his ipod up in my car and play this song. That's right: Trevor introduced me to Sherwood, and there we were, rocking out 15 feet from them. Pretty dang cool. I've shared this song on here before, but iy deserves another go. I recorded this song live in full and have it posted on my facebook profile, if you're interested in seeing it.

8. Northern Lights - The Dangerous Summer
"I hate staying up late cause you're not here and I'm not there."
The Dangerous Summer! I never thought I would be so ecstatic to see them on stage! And then talking to them at length right after? Priceless! Just like with Lydia, I've only known these guys since Christmas, which is when I picked up their latest album. I can't believe I've grown so fond of those two bands in such a short amount of time like I have! This song right here used to be pretty emotional for me. It's a sweet tune with amazing lyrics. The Dangerous Summer's first few seconds of it brought the memories rushing back. I LOVE this song and, as embarassed as I might be to say it, I can't wait to share it with that special someone. It's just that sort of song, you know? Don't miss out.

9. Symmetry - The Dangerous Summer
"I was always in a way just a long shot. I was never in the clear of that. I am lucky just to be a potential, but I will always make a mess of that."
This is one of the tunes that stuck out to me very soon after I found these guys. It's one I can relate to, sadly, but also one where I quickly came to know all of the thoughtful lyrics by heart. I would say that this one highlights AJ's amazing lyric writing skills, but when I think about it I realize that every song does. Their the sort you really ought to pay attention to and think about, which, as you all know, is one of my favorite things to do!

10. Never Feel Alone - The Dangerous Summer
"A feeling's just a feeling 'til you let it get the best of who you are."
This is an amazing love song too, but with more of a sad message to it. I never really saw it as super emotional until I saw AJ singing it live. He's my hero! My memory keeps flashing back to the moment he grabbed my hand to shake it and thanked me for coming. Awesome! No other vocalist can write lyrics quite like his, much less pull off the expression of them quite like he does.

11. Surfaced - The Dangerous Summer
"I haven't found what I've been looking for yet, but you can count on me to stay forever."
Every Dangerous Summer chorus is so easy to become addicted to. The melodies behind them flow so nicely, as do the lyrics, which are always jam-packed with meaning. They're all so distinct and easily recognizable. This one is especially catchy. As with every Dangerous Summer song, the lyrics have a lot to share. I feel that I can say they are the better than those of any other band I've ever heard so yeah...good stuff. Give em a listen.

*12. Where I Want To Be - The Dangerous Summer
"It's in the way you had me all wrapped up like I'm a part of something finally and I'm never looking back."
Anyone remember my "best songs of 2009 countdown"? This song was number 2, but I feel now that I should go back and make it number one. I've listened to this song 100 + times, which may not sound super impressive, but that puts it in the top 0.5 % of my songs. It's got one of my favorite music videos (my most watched for sure), it's one of my favorite love songs, and it has some of my favorite lyrics of all time. It shows off the guitarists, the singer, has an amazing drum solo...few tunes beat this one. Definitely one of my top ten songs of all time. I've put it on my blog before, but let's face it: it should go up here every time! I'll have to give it more thought, but this just might be my favorite live song I've ever seen! I've got the whole video up on my facebook profile, so please check it out!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Songs of the Moment 8/23/10 - Tribute to Lydia

If you're reading this, it's probable that in the past three months you've seen me talk about a little band called Lydia somewhere in my facebook status posts. My goal here is to tell you guys what's been going on with them and also to convince you of just how amazing they are. This isn't just another band I'm into...this is the band I've been thoroughly obsessed with for a good three months now, which is the time since I first heard their bad news. I guess I'll start at the beginning of my experience with them.

I first found Lydia, a seven-year-old band from Arizona, just before this past Christmas and got their second album as a Christmas gift. I gave it quite a few listens, but never really caught on to any particular songs. At that time it was just another album that I could pick up again when other tunes didn't seem too interesting. It stayed that way until June. Mid-June, I found out that Lydia had lost their second female vocalist/keyboardist, Mindy White, who left to start her own musical project called "States" with two former members of the band Copeland (I'm a huge fan of hers). Lydia had also lost their bassist, leaving a crippled, half-Lydia behind. Just about a week after I did all of this research, Leighton (the lead singer) announced that after a final album (without Mindy) and a farewell tour across the nation, Lydia would disband forever. Soon after, in the middle of the tour, Lydia lost their lead guitarist, further saddening the end of Lydia. Despite my lack of true passion for them at the time, this news made me quite upset. When I frantically scrolled through the listed tour dates, I found SLC included in the final week of the tour. I promised myself that day I would do everything I could to be there.

Here I am now, that concert was last Friday, August 20th, THE best day of my entire summer. After their last concert this Saturday, they are gone. I feel that I can truly say to you right now that Lydia is my favorite band. I want so badly to share a bit of them with you, so here you go: a history of Lydia. Out of these ten amazing songs are 2 from the first album, called This December; It's One More and I'm Free, 6 from the second (Illuminate), and 2 from the very recently released third titled Assailants. Enjoy.

1. It's In Your Blood
"The sun is up and taking back all the shadows that covered this ground."
As soon as I heard the bad news, I started looking up stuff from Lydia's first album, which is very hard to get a hold of, but thankfully included on YouTube in it's entirety. This is the first one I came across in that search and I'd say this is the song that finally started up my full realization of how beautiful Lydia's stuff really is. Check it out! (oh and this is not Mindy in the background. It's their first vocalist Maria Sais De Sicilia, who has an equally beautiful voice.)

2. A Camera Lens and Careful Days
"I thought I showed you the reason that all I truly want is to get in your head and steal your imagery. "
This song didn't really catch my attention until they played it at the concert. I actually think it was much better live than in this recording, even though there were no female vocals at the concert. It was while they were playing this song that Leighton became one of my greatest heroes. That guy is too cool for words.

3. This Is Twice Now
"The whole world is still on my string."
This one's the biggie right here. Search on Lydia's myspace and you'll see that this song has just short of 2 million plays. Throughout the concert, fans were shouting "This Is Twice Now" as a request. It was the final song Lydia played in their encore. I've enjoyed it so much more after that experience. Whatever you do, don't miss this one.

4. All I See
"You will never waste my time."
This is my personal favorite Lydia song, the best of the best. I listened to this song a ton after I had heard about the split-up, and I was disappointed that they didn't play it at the concert. Still, twenty years down the line when I remember the end of Lydia, I know this will be the song that comes to mind.

5. I Woke Up Near The Sea
"And so I woke up near the sea, sailing in my dreams."
This song is super empowering for me. I clearly recall the excitement I felt when I belted the lyrics out at the concert. It's the first song I ever heard from Lydia and the one that encouraged me to start looking into them. (***This song does have a not-easily discernable swear word in it, but if you don't like that stuff, I still encourage you to catch the first minute of it to check out what the band looks like, especially because this is the only actual music video they ever recorded...oh, and isn't Mindy gorgeous!?)

6. Now The One You Once Loved is Leaving
"How quick to forget we are."
This is the only Mindy-led Lydia song, and it was a big disappointment to know there was no chance of catching this one live. Starting at around 2:30 (in the song), this tune is the ultimate example of the beauty in Lydia's sound. Mindy's every note is so perfect. There is simply nothing that can capture me quite like those few minutes of music. Don't miss it.

7. A Fine Evening For A Rogue
"Don't you ever get lonely?"
I distinctly remember this tune at the concert. Leighton left his voice out of almost every chorus so that the crowd could sing it out loud, which was the most memorable moment of the night. (By the way, he said that we, the SLC crowd, was their biggest audience out of every show they had in the nation this summer. He also assured us that he wasn't just saying that to make us feel good about ourselves. How awesome is that!?) I really wish you all could have been there to witness it.

8. Stay Awake
"Live it up."
I feel this one best shows off Leighton's voice. The passion he put into his performance was super inspirational and extra noticeable in this song. He looked so happy throughout this song (oh I've got videos of almost every song in the concert if you want to hit me up one day).

9. Assailants
"I can't seem to kill my assailants. They keep changing faces."
In a way, Lydia's latest album wasn't as good as the other two. It didn't have Mindy in it at all and only featured five full-length songs including this fantastic title track, which I find neatly describes the end of Lydia. Still, these tunes form an excellent farewell gift to Lydia fans across the nation. In Leighton's opinion, it was the perfect way to fulfill the potential of Lydia's unique sound. Thankfully, he has told his fans that he is definitely going to move on to other musical projects. If he ever starts anything else up, I'll let you guys know. Long live Leighton!

10. We Clean Up So Well
"I love what I am seeing."
This is the song that Lydia opened with, the perfect way to pump up the crowd. This has got to be my favorite from the latest album. It's chorus is definitely the one I love singing along to the most. (***This one has a single, but very clear swear word at 0:49. The rest of the song is clean.)
So there you go, tell me what you think! As Lydia ends it's highly acclaimed farewell tour and leaves their wonderful music behind for us to remember them by, so too will I end the majority of my Lydia hype and leave a bit of their memory in this post. At the end of Leighton's unfortunate announcement on the Lydia Myspace page, he thanks his fans, ending his lengthy post with these words: "You truly have affected my life in ways you will never know." Right now I want to flip that statement right back at him and the rest of the Lydia crew. Lydia, you truly have affected my life in ways you will never know. I won't ever forget you Lydia. Farewell.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Songs of the Moment 6/15/10 - Summer Ballads

My playlist for last summer was epic. I recently looked at it, remembering the good times that went along with the tunes included, and decided it would be extremely hard to beat. Over the last week, with new music coming at me from all directions (my dad getting 4 new albums, me getting 6 new albums and 4 new EPs), I've been able to create an impressive mix. Is it better than last year's? Only time will tell, for it's the upcoming memories that will be made that decide it all. One thing's for sure, it's got the potential. I've got tunes for the bright days, tunes for the mellow sunsets, tunes for the exciting nights...Check them out if you've got the time and feel free to add them to your own summer tune collections! Highlights this week are Waiting, Black and Gold, and Closer. (Embedding is disabled on a couple of these so check the links too)

1. Black and Gold - Sam Sparro
"If you're not really here, I don't want to be either. I want to be next to you."
Huge thanks to Casey Bingham for this one! Sam Sparro...I honestly thought he was black before seeing the music video, and he's Australian to boot...further evidence of just how amazing and unique his voice is. The bass foundation/treble syncopation in this song create something so infectious, I love it. I dare you not to tap your foot! Awesome lyrics here as well...
don't miss out the grooviness Sparro has to offer.

2. Clap Your Hands - Sia
"This is life and we only get one chance."
This is the single from Sia's album, which comes out in exactly a week. I can't tell you how excited I am. In the crazy, disturbing female pop artist category, Sia has the likes of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry beat by a long shot, just watch this insanely awesome music video and you'll understand. I've been enjoying this song since my first listen and I love the more electronic approach that Sia seems to be taking with it, which she seems to be doing much better than some of my other favorites recently have (curse you Keane and Gorillaz!!!). So yeah...listen, love it, clap your hands to it. It's that easy.

3. Closer - Jars of Clay
"I'm the O and the E, you're the L and the V. Am I speaking clearly?"
I'm super happy with this find, was just doing some exploring via YouTube's related videos column and BAM!...a super catchy song that's stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Don't you just love when that happens? Well no worries because I chose this song to welcome you to my blog hoping that the same will happen to you! Uber devious...I know. I'm a huge fan of the mix of conventional instruments with electronic sounds. Jars of Clay pulled it off so well that I actually bought this EP and I'm quite pleased. Let this song get closer to you.

4. Daylight - Remedy Drive
"Hold on 'til the sunrise."
So my dad let me pick up a few summer albums for all of my hard work maintaining for 4.0 and all. I ordered 5 albums off of Amazon and have throughly listened to all of them except for the one from Remedy Drive, which mysteriously is the only one that didn't arrive. So, as I suffer through the anticipation, I'll let you enjoy the song that convinced me to choose this album. I never get sick of . "Daylight is coming" ---the makings of a true summer song right there. Check it out.

5. Gimme Sympathy (Acoustic) - Metric
"I can feel it in my bones."
Gimme Sympathy was THE summer song for me last year. For those of you who keep up with my blog, you might also remember that this song snatched 3rd place in my favorite songs of 2009. I've honestly gotten some happy tears out of that one, so yeah, it's a big deal...and now, at the dawn of a new summer season, I stumble across the acoustic version on Metric's fabulous new acoustic EP. Perfect! I kind of want to say I like it better than the original, but I know I can''s hard to explain, but each version seems so independently fantastic to me for separate reasons that they just can't really be compared. Gimme sympathy by telling me what you think.

For those of you interested, here's the original.

6. Hannah - Freelance Whales
"Please don't play the matchmaker. Please don't be a player hater. If you dig her recent work, then you should go congratulate her."
This was a free discovery download on iTunes a couple weeks back, for those of you who missed it (probably everyone), I'm terribly sorry. I actually would have missed it myself if my good bussy Trevor Wilson hadn't have given me the heads up. I always paired this song with Closer in my mind, it's got a similar, yet very different alternative/electronic mix. The quick-moving voice also makes for a very catchy melody. See what you think about it. (We've also got a nifty fan-created music video here for you...dang I wish I could draw.)

7. I Am Not a Robot - Marina & the Diamonds
"Better to be hated than loved for what you're not."
This song was the featured free single of the week on iTunes the same week that I picked up Hannah. iTunes made some pretty brilliant selections that week...When I picked out my five albums, Marina & the Diamonds came real, real close. For now, I'll enjoy I Am Not a Robot, which I have continually been reminding myself when times are tough. (Don't worry Kyle! You are not a robot so it's all good!). This one's got an excellent, groovy mix of instruments all outshined by a wonderfully unique voice. On top of that, it's got the sort of quirkiness I often find myself craving. Enjoy!

8. Infinite Arms - Band of Horses
"...and my thoughts drift to you."
Band of Horses, I've enjoyed their previous stuff for sure, but many of the songs were just too folky for me. Their album that came out last month has drawn me into the folk vibe and made me love it. This song, which shares it's name with the album itself, is on the less folky/more outstanding side of the new songs. The chorus is so overwhelming and the lyrics so fitting for me would be too much if there were such a thing as too much, but that isn't the case when it comes to musical excellence. Let this song fall into your infinite arms. (They are ripping this one off the internet left and right so you'll have to enjoy a live version)

9. Inhfsa - Kyte
"Thank you for the best time."
I just spelled the title wrong about eight different ways when searching for it on YouTube so yeah, don't even ask me what it means. I've recently found myself being converted about it the realm of electronic music, and I particularly love this band because of how close their name is to mine and because of how well this style fits into my unique taste for music. I downloaded their latest album via iTunes (these guys are so abscure that I found no way of getting a hard copy) and the whole thing creates this fabulous mood that will work perfectly with some of the memories I know I'll be making soon. I hope you think of this song next time you inhfsa your inhfsa. (haha, these song reference jokes are great)

10. New Morning - Alpha Rev
"Have you heard who you are?"
Geez, talk about a powerful summer's a near epitemy of the summer experience. The acoustic guitar, the orchestral backing, the super sweet voice and's all right here. This album came out only a few weeks ago and it's the second of the five I recently picked up. It includes a lot of similarly summer-suited songs that those of you out of the hunt might be interested in giving a shot. Remember: I really don't want you guys to limit yourselves to these songs. If you like a song, chances are you're going to like a lot of other stuff from that artist, so be adventurous! It pays off! I would know...

11. Numbered Days - See The World
"Live for this moment one day at a time."
This is one of my more mellow summer tunes. I picked up this six-song EP just before school got out and I really hope to get more time to listen to it soon (rushes of new music do have their disadvantages). This song particularly attracted my attention with its cool, meaningful lyrics and nice beat. The piano addition and bass guitar prominence are also commendable features behind it. It's artists like these that I wish had more of a chance out in the musical world because they deserve to get out there. Maybe you guys can help me out with that, but first: listen.

12. On A Good Day - Oceanlab
"How I wish I knew me better."
This is from the third of my five albums, which is completely different from the four other (all alternative) albums. This is my nighttime driving music, my soft electronic jams. Oceanlab has me shouting "Trance!" at random times throughout the day. I'm falling in love with it! Every song from their album gives a really cool and unique feeling, but I'm sharing this song because it's the one that convinced me to make the purchase. I can't get enough of struggle between the serene voice, delightful piano, and powerful bass beats. I'm looking forward to exploring some more trance on a good (summer) day.

13. Swans - Unkle Bob
"I want you to know that I can't let you go."
In a recent blog post, I shared another song from these guys as my "newest addiction". That addiction led to this, my fourth of the five albums. Unkle Bob's name is a bit misleading. This is some of the most mellow, down-to-earth stuff you'll ever hear. It's definitely some of the best acoustic stuff I've ever come across, and the addition of strings completes the mix to make an incredibly beautiful song. Ooh when that cello part comes in...I get the chills every time. Then it all comes back 'round for the slightly heavier finale...awesome. Check it out!

14. Tell 'Em - Sleigh Bells
"All the kids these you really want to be that way?"
Hahaha...this song. Just heard it yesterday after I remembered seeing the album on the iTunes top ten a couple weeks back. Strangely enough, I heard it only because my dad got the CD...weird, I know. After about a dozen playthroughs, I still can't decide if it's amazing or annoying. This is one for passing on to your friends. Tell 'Em Kyle sent you. (Those faint of heart should not listen...I'm not kidding)

15. Waiting - The Morning Of
"You're everything to me."
Ah The Morning Of, the last of my wiesly selected five new CDs. I've loved tunes from these guys from before, but when I saw they had a new album come out last month, it was an instant yes. My newfound admiration and passion for these guys is best expressed in a few easy-to-understand words: new favorite band. The male/female vocal duets (my favorite!), the perfection of each and every song, the feel-good summer vibe, the powerful, heartfelt, sincerely expressed lyrics, the spectacular piano parts, the lone trumpet all makes me a bit speechless. I'm already "waiting" for their next release! Do me a favor and check this one out, if any at all.

16. Walking On Stones - Stellamaris (renamed New Frontier)
"For too long I have been in a dream."
So I have been keeping an eye on this Stellamaris group for a while and finally decided to buy their EP, which was the only thing I had ever been able to find from them. Turns out they've given themselves a new name and now stir up the musical scene as New Frontier and have much more to offer. I just barely found that joke. Despite how much that frustrates me, I've really enjoyed the six songs on that EP. Unfortunately, I haven't listened to them all that much simply because they didn't shine quite as bright as all of this other new stuff. Now that I go back and really give them a focused listen, I regret not noticing the beauty earlier. Walking On Stones is the perfect example of the talent behind this group (call them what you will).

17. You And Your Heart - Jack Johnson
"You and your heart shouldn't be so far apart."
Oh boy, here it goes: Jack Johnson, round 2. My dad got the new album without me knowing it had even come out. I immediately placed myself in the mindset that I was going to find a way to grow to love Jack's music no matter what and after a few listens I was convinced that Jack Johnson had fully converted me to his style. Then, after a few more focused, critical listens, I went right back to my same viewpoint. I'm trying hard for you guys, but I'm failing. The simple style is just too...simple. The words are (dare I say) amateur. I know that's how Jack Johnson wants to be and he succeeds that way, but I'm not buying it when one of his songs is centered on the lyrics "pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures...". Don't get me wrong, with this album I am starting to like him a lot more and it offers a few more excellent tunes. I guess that the fact that I continue to include in my blog...despite my disappointment, is a sure sign that he's growing on me. Only time will tell, but for now enjoy You And Your Heart, a surprisingly brilliant mix of vocals, guitar, and piano. Wait, maybe he's trying to tell me something with these lyrics...

So there it is, one of the best playlists I've ever put up here and undoubtedly the most massive blog post I've ever completed (it took me 3 1/2 hours so be grateful). For those of you who made it this far, I commend you. Now get out there and enjoy your summer. Find some summer tunes of your own and you'll be surprised how much more memorable it will end up becoming!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Songs of The Moment 6/8/10 - DJ Hero Mixes

I recently took the time to listen to a few of my favorite DJ Hero mixes outside of the game and was surprised when I realized how much cooler they sound when you're not worried about pushing buttons and scratching the disc. These ten are some of my favorite mixes from the game, enjoy! This 'songs of the moment' post is a little condensed; I won't comment on any of these mixes individually, but will, instead, let them speak for themselves. I just thought they are worth including here. I will have another round of tunes coming very soon! Oh I will say that my very favorite mix in the game is Hollaback Girl vs. Feel Good Inc., check that one out for sure!

1. All Eyez On Me vs. Bittersweet Symphony (2Pac vs. The Aranbee Pop Orchestra)

2. Boom Boom Pow vs. Satisfaction (Black Eyed Peas vs. Benny Benassi)

3. Disturbia vs. Somebody Told Me (Rihanna vs. The Killers)

4. Hollaback Girl vs. Feel Good Inc. (Gwen Stefani vs. Gorillaz)

5. I Want You Back vs. Semi-Charmed Life (Jackson 5 vs. Third Eye Blind)

6. Ice Ice Baby vs. Straight Up (Vanilla Ice vs. Paula Abdul)

7. My Name Is vs. Loser (Eminem vs. Beck)

8. Paper Planes bs. Lookin' At Me (M.I.A. vs. Wale)

9. Robot Rock vs. We Will Rock You (Daft Punk vs. Queen)

10. Technologic vs. Cars (Daft Punk vs. Gary Numan)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Songs of the Moment 5/22/10 - My Favorites From Your Favorites

Here I am coming at you with another round of fine tunes, but this week's a bit different. I'm usually putting songs up from groups you've probably never heard of. I love my unique selection of bands and love sharing the lesser-known, yet undeniably deserving artists with you, but I'm trying something different this time. With this post, I'm taking some of the bands you guys generally seem to love the most and I'm gonna let you know which of their songs are my favorite. Out of these songs, four of them are in my top ten most played songs on iTunes so you better be excited. Do me a favor and leave me a comment where you let me know which songs you enjoy most from these artists because I'm interested in finding out, truly. :)

1. Brothers On A Hotel Bed - Death Cab For Cutie
"Now he lives inside someone he does not recognize when he catches his reflection on accident."
In my mind, this is one of the most emotionally powerful songs in existence. It has made me cry on multiple occasions, no lie. The lengthy piano intro, the background ambience, the drum beat that comes in, the lyrics. It's all perfect. Many other Death Cab songs are absolutely amazing, but this one definitely has them beat.
Other favorites: Transatlanticism, Title and Registration, Passenger Seat, The Ice Is Getting Thinner, Steadier Footing

2. Campus - Vampire Weekend
"How am I supposed to pretend I never want to see you again?"
This is one of the grooviest bass lines I know, too bad it's extremely hard to play. The beat is so infectious and it's got a great summer feel to it that I know I will be enjoying over the next few months. Vampire Weekend really have a lot going for them with their unmatched diversity and skill.
Other favorites: A-Punk, M79, California English, Taxi Cab

3. It's All Understood - Jack Johnson
"I read somewhere that you've got to beware. You can't believe anything you read."
I honestly don't like Jack Johnson's style all that much. His acoustic melodies...his lyrics (Who sings about Banana Pancakes!?) In fact, when my ipod was finally filled up to its max, Jack Johnson's stuff was the first I took off. Others really enjoy him and his relaxed style, but I'm not overly impressed. There are a few songs, however, that I'm in love with. It's All Understood is by far the best in my opinion. Notice it's one of the few that doesn't depend entirely on acoustic guitar and simple words.
Other favorites: Cookie Jar, Do You Remember, Better Together, Lullaby

4. Love Is The End - Keane
"I still do depend on you."
This song is extremely special to me. It's my second most-listened-to song at 180 complete playthroughs. I'm pretty dissapointed with Keane's new album. I just think bringing a rapper in completely ruined their unique style, and the songs without the rapper aren't all that great either. That aside, Keane is one of my favorite bands EVER. They are probably my second most played artist as well. This song is so heartwarming for me. It's sad, yet hopeful. I love that. Enjoy!
Other favorites: Your Eyes Open, You Don't See Me, Hamburg Song, Spiralling, Somewhere Only We Know

5. Misguided Ghosts - Paramore
"Now I'm told that this is life and pain is just a simple compromise so we can get what we want out of it."
I've seen these guys live...twice! Unfortunately, they didn't play this song either time. I'm glad it's not super popular like The Only Exception (my close second pick here) because that kind of makes it special for me to like it so much. There are so many Paramore songs that are fighting for this position because Paramore really won me over with their flawless last album. I'll include my recording of The Only Exception here from the concert a few weeks ago, which was one of the best nights I've ever had. Thanks Kim and Casey!
Other favorites: The Only Exception, That's What You Get, Misery Business, Born For This, Brick By Boring Brick

6. Natural Anthem - The Postal Service
"I'll write you a song and it won't be hard to sing..."
Same singer as Death Cab here, but a different, equally popular band so I figured I'd include them. They only have one album plus a few songs, but all of the tunes are pretty popular. I have never seen someone point this one out as a good one though. As for me, it's the very best. Natural Anthem is a musical masterpiece. The violins, the drums, the bass, the other strange sounds. This combination is so epic. And then when Ben Gibbard comes in for a short and sweet bit of words, I get the chills. Awesome!
Other favorites: Nothing Better, Be Still My Heart, Brand New Colony, Sleeping In

7. On The Wing - Owl City
"We can go anywhere."
I've been kind of sick of all the Owl City hype going on lately. Fireflies really isn't THAT good...sorry to those who disagree. Sure I think they've got a nice style and there are some tunes I really enjoy, but are they overrated? A bit. Still, here's my pick from them, a super sweet song that has an awesome atmosphere behind it. I'm sure you know this one if you know Owl City at all, so I guess there aren't any surprises with this one as there might be with these other favorites.
Other favorites: Hello Seattle (Remix), Cave In, Meteor Shower

8. Running - No Doubt
"Me, I'm the one you chose. Out of all the people, you wanted me the most."
I've found that No Doubt holds a strange place in the world of music. A surprising amount of people that I've talked to don't know who they are, but know their songs very well. That was the case with me...then the No Doubt concert three days short of exactly one year ago became my first concert ever and I've been to three more since then. Gwen Stefani is one of the most funnest performers out there and I really admire her after seeing their awesome gig on that special night. This song was a big highlight that night, and I've loved it ever since. It's one that isn't a huge hit, but should be. Tell me what you think.
Other favorites: It's My Life, Simple Kind Of Life, Sixteen, Ex-Girlfriend, Just A Girl

9. Sleeping Lessons - The Shins
"You're not obliged to swallow anything that you despise."
This is really the only song I've loved from The Shins. Their style just isn't so much their type. Still, I'm sad they've split up and was enjoying the change I saw them starting to make with their last album. I love the progression in this song and all of the unique sounds it involves. I can't say I've ever heard a basketball bouncing in a song (or whatever that is at the very beginning)...oh and high school musical doesn't count.
Other favorites: A Comet Appears, Turn On Me, Phantom Limb

10. Spaceman - The Killers
"I'm looking forward to this life I live."
I have Rock Band to thank for this one, I love myself some fake drumming with this song! The new style The Killers took upon themselves is definitely quirky, but I am in love with the new electronic feel it offers. Spaceman is uber catchy and is possibly the best-ever song to karaoke to.
Other favorites: All These Things That I've Done, Human, Somebody Told Me, When You Were Young

11. The Scientist - Coldplay
"You don't know how lovely you are."
While I enjoy the later changes that The Shins and The Killers made to their style, I'm less appreciative of the new identity Coldplay has taken on. I loved the song Viva La Vida, don't get me wrong (funny story: first time I ever heard it was actually in a German hotel lobby, awesome!), but the rest of that album just hasn't been able to grow on me like the earlier ones did so easily. My favorite is from the early Coldplay, the better Coldplay in my opinion. This song has one of the best piano/vocal combinations ever composed. Chris Martin's talent is so clearly portrayed...I can't get enough.
Other favorites: Don't Panic, Amsterdam, What If, Yellow, Shiver, Spies
(embedding has been disabled on this one, but you absolutely must check out the music video)

12. Time Is Running Out - Muse
"I wanted freedom, bound and restricted. I tried to give you up, but I'm addicted."
Here's another group I saw live. That was the best concert of all time right there. This song holds more significance in my life than most others. It was the song that first got me interested in Muse (now one of my favorite bands), it was the song that inspired me to start playing bass guitar, it was the first song I ever learned on my bass guitar (on Christmas day), and it is played by my favorite bassist and overall musician in the world: Chris Wolstenholme. Seeing it live only increased my love for it. I've got a bit of the song recorded that I will include here. The moment was so perfect: for the entire concert, the Muse guitarist/singer Matt Bellamy was on my side of the arena and Chris was on the far side. For this one song he decided to switch Matt to come to our song when he played this one song! He had a shiny orange (my favorite) bass guitar to boot! I had the chills so bad right then...
Others favorites: Hysteria (best bass line in the world and an EXTREMELY close second), Knights of Cydonia, The Resistance, Showbiz, Assassin, Space Dementia

13. You Could Be Happy - Snow Patrol
"Is it too late to remind you how we were?"
Chasing Cars, Chocolate, Set The Fire To The Third Bar are amazing songs, don't get me wrong, but Snow Patrol has much better songs. Trust me. My personal favorite is You Could Be Happy, another one of my most-played songs of all time. It's not like anything else from the band. All it has is some sort of music box sound, a bass guitar, violins, a cello, and a tiny bit of acoustic guitar. Not at all like the rest of their tunes, but strangely superior in my mind. This one's a regretful song, but the words and sounds are so enticing. I just keep coming back.
Other favorites: Run, The Golden Floor, Set The Fire To The Third Bar, Make This Go On Forever, Chasing Cars, It's Beginning To Get To Me