Happy New Year and helloooo 2015!
I had been brainstorming on how I wanted to write about the closing of another amazing year and I decided the best way for me to do just that is review my top 14 most influential songs of my 2014 experience…
This song from Lorde’s album makes me immediately think back to the 48ish hours I spent in Tulum with a few of my friends. We had randomly hopped on a bus to take us to Tulum in the afternoon and once we arrived we walked a few miles along the highway until finally by the time midnight arrived we stumbled upon a hostel with free bicycles. I remember this song was playing after my friends and I had returned from the beach the next afternoon, slightly drunk and sunburnt after too many hours in the Caribbean sun, and we were just talking and lounging on the lower bunks in our hostel room. My one friend was in the middle of telling me a story when the both of us literally completely passed out at the same time from simple exhaustion, but the words in this song always reminds me of how much fun we all had together with just the sun, a few beers, our bicycles, a couple of archaeological ruins, and a few bunk beds just like we were little kids again. Tulum, you da best.
- From Eden- Hozier
I owe a lot to Hozier’s album because it got me through writing a few really important papers this past semester. This specific song also became a quick house favorite between my housemates and I because of the relatable and catchy lyrics sung by Hozier’s absolutely perfect voice that just fills up the room.
- The Man-Ed Sheeran
Serious props to Ed Sheeran for this one. I like to think that in every song there’s at least one story being told which is why I always have to look up lyrics to what I’m listening to. When I get completely hooked on a song its mostly because I love the story it tells. Ed Sheeran an amazing storyteller with his lyrics and boy are they catchy and witty in this one.
- Red Red Wine- UB40
This song came on the radio during Semana Santa, which is the Easter holy week, when we were driving down a barren road in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula after visiting Chichen Itza. My whole BCA group and I were on our way to the next cenote, which is a huge underground lake in a cave. I just remember grooving and jamming the heck out to this classic while watching the jungle-y/ barren landscape of the peninsula pass by out the windows. I also just really really really love wine thanks to my wine course I took last semester which is why this has been my signature ringtone for a few months now.
- Weight of Love- The Black Keys
The Keys’ latest album, Turn Blue, came out when I was abroad and I’ve been a huge Black Keys fan for years now, so this was an exciting album for me. I remember the first time I played this album opener when I was walking to school downtown along a vacant street and the guitar tunes just stuck with me. I love blasting this one in my car too during late night drives. Dan and Patrick never disappoint.
- Dancing on My Own-Robyn
My cousin played me this song when we were driving to the beach for vacation this summer and after listening to the first few stanzas I immediately knew this would be another classic girls jam out track for my friend and me. The lyrics speak for themselves; there’s nothing too complex or cryptic here which makes this number a great song for girls my age to blast and sing along to during girl-time.
- The Wolves- Ben Howard
This was one of my favorite songs to listen to on my iPod when I was traveling throughout Mexico. The landscapes and scenes of Mexico can change in an instant and I always had my face glued to the window like a little kid to catch a glance at the next mountain or waterfall we were passing. This song with its quicker beat and the unique voice of Ben Howard makes for a great tune to drive along with or listen to during a hike in the woods.
- Anaconda- Nicki Minaj
My housemates and I had to have played this song maybe 100 times during the first week of classes for the start of our senior year. This is easily a “unit” classic and I will never be able to forget the images and memories of my best friends and I rocking out and singing along (way too loudly and obnoxiously sometimes) to this 2014 hit.
- Rihannon- Stevie Nicks
Straight classic. I grew up listening to Stevie and Fleetwood Mac thanks to the awesome musical tastes of my mom but it wasn’t until last year that I really started appreciating these groups. This song is just perfect for the young traveling woman who doesn’t know where the wind will take her tomorrow.
- Wagon Wheel-Darius Rucker
So I had listened to this song before Mexico but it was never one of my favorites until I heard it abroad and it slowly transformed into my “homesick song”. When I was flying home from Mexico and the airplane was beginning the descent into Pittsburgh International, Wagon Wheel started playing on my ipod. It was an awesome few minutes to reflect on my time abroad and to enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset while the excitement of seeing my family was bubbling up inside my stomach.
- Suave-Calle 13
So during my time in Xalapa, it was a daily occurrence when I would have to use the public transportation to get around the big city. Whether it was just making a quick run downtown or getting to classes on the days when my Mexican grandpa couldn’t drop me off at school, I would take the cute but sometimes scary public vans we call kombis. They take the rowed seats out of these things and replace them with perimeter bench seats with standing bars. These kombis have routes all throughout the city, hitting every single bump and pothole possible while going like 50,000 kilometers per hour depending on which driver. Sometimes there were so many people in one of these things that I would find myself standing bent over holding on for dear life while bumping and stumbling into everyone’s knees and feet. Even though sometimes it would get annoying, I miss always receiving those classic odd-look glances and stares from the other passengers because being tall, blonde, and white, I stick out down there like a sore thumb. I had some of the best and most bizarre conversations on these kombis. Anyways getting back to the music… I would always blast Suave by Calle 13 when I would ride the kombis because the catchy snaps and cool drums with the fun Spanish lyrics just complete the whole kombi experience. Looking back on it now, those kombi rides are one of my favorite parts about living in Xalapa.
- Gypsy-Lady Gaga
This is a perfect song to listen to when you’re traveling, especially traveling alone. Lady Gaga’s lyrics about leaving everything behind and just taking on the world as a single crazy gypsy woman are perfect for putting you in a good mood with high spirits for the journey ahead. Once you learn the words, its impossible not to sing along (at least for me). I love belting this one out using the air left in my diaphragm from the 6th grade, especially when she says, “I’m Latin American”, because if it wasn’t already obvious, I’m completely obsessed with Latin America. Imma gypsy gypsy gypsy, HAY.
- The Trapeze Swinger- Iron and Wine
This one is a whopping (almost) 10 minutes of soothing guitar and vocal tunes but these minutes will be some of the most relaxed 10 minutes of your life thanks to the realistic and relatable lyrics of Iron and Wine. Listen to Samuel Beam sing about wanting to be remembered while in a dark room with a candle lit and you might just fall asleep and take the most peaceful nap of your life.
- Fare Thee Well- Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford
I came upon this song on January 1st of last year, which was the day before I left for my semester in Mexico. I listened to this song all throughout my travels, my summer, and last semester, especially during my field trip in October to the Finger Lakes for my wine course. After reflecting on my year, I can say that 2014 was the year that I learned about the importance of letting go of the things that no longer benefit me in my daily life. This song is all about saying goodbye in the most beautiful way. I’ve fully realized now that how no matter hard you try to hold on, some things are just meant to be ephemeral and need to be released. Life is not static at all; it’s a fluid and dynamic ride with a wide range of people that will be coming and going. This song helps me remember the importance and beauty of ending chapters of my life and closing some of my doors because without closing a door, another one can’t be opened.