By: JoAnn Snavely
I like to consider myself a music connoisseur, I mean I’m no professional, but I’ve listened to my fair share of music. So far this year, I’ve already listened to over 32,000 minutes of music according to my Spotify Unwrapped. Spotify Unwrapped is a website that analyzes your Spotify listening history. As someone who spends a large amount of my time listening to music, I’d say I’ve established a few favorites. From jazz to punk-rock, genre variety flows heavily throughout my playlists, a variety I take pride in if I do say so myself. I try to keep a steady rotation of new music and old alike in my search for all of the best music to fall in love with, whether current favorites or all-time favorites. These are the songs I’ve been obsessed with, and I’m here to share them with you in all of their glory!
First I will be breaking down my current favorites. If you’re interested you can check out my Current Favs playlist that will be linked at the bottom of the article. These five songs have been pulling me through 2021, and are truly some of the best songs, in my humble opinion. Each of these songs are crafted so beautifully, I can play these songs on repeat for hours on end — literally.
It’s Been a Long, Long Time- Harry James and His Orchestra
If you listen to this song, you may recognize it as the song from the heartbreaking end scene and end credits of Avengers: Endgame, but that’s not where it got its popularity from. Originally written in 1932 by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” peaked the charts when it was written in 1945, with Harry James and His Orchestra producing the song alongside Kitty Kallen with her soothing vocals. This slow jazz song has truly been living rent-free in my brain over the past month and a half, as it is a song that sometimes makes me feel like the world is caving in, in the absolute best way possible. It used to be my alarm song until I had a nightmare and was woken up by this song, now that was scary. With an iconic opening that’s so loud, it’ll catch the attention of anyone. It makes me feel like slow dancing in a 50s diner straight out of a film. Everything about this song brings me so much happiness. It is no doubt in my mind that I love this song whole-heartedly and could listen to it in any situation and instantly be put in a good mood.
Cigarette Daydreams- Cage the Elephant
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard this song before. This certified platinum song has been topping summer charts since its release in 2013. Although I didn’t personally discover this song until late last year thanks to my Discovery Weekly (a Spotify-generated playlist that recommends new songs weekly) I haven’t been able to stop listening to this song. It is truly infectious, the joy this song brings to me is astronomical. The simple lyrics and giddy beat can make anyone feel straight out of a coming-of-age film. Imagine driving to the beach in the middle of summer with your windows rolled down, and all of a sudden this song plays, you turn the volume all the way up (because you’ve been told how good it is), and now it’s blasting and surprise! Suddenly the lyrics “cigarette daydream, you were only 17, so sweet with a mean streak, nearly brought me to my knees” blasts, now not only are you singing it, I am too. If this scenario isn’t enough to convince you to add this to your summer playlist at the bare minimum, please just listen to it, I promise it’ll change your opinion.
Do Me A Favour- Arctic Monkeys
When I say I have not shut up about this song since I discovered it in November of last year, I mean it. I have told everyone about this song, even my parents. For those who’ve had to hear me blast it for hours on end, I owe you an apology, but it’s an extraordinary song so I’m not that sorry. Now, this isn’t some insanely complex song with meanings that go deeper than the surface level. No, the lyrics demonstrate exactly what it is, a breakup song. So why can I listen to this song for hours on end? Well simply put, I don’t even realize the song restarts. It has accidentally become one of my most played songs of all time just because I don’t realize it restarts. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song, because it most certainly is not. No, in fact, this is an amazing song. Something about the chord progressions and the depth yet simplicity of the lyrics makes them understandable, but even then I can listen to it forever and not get bored.
Getting Better (Otherwise)- The Aubreys
From The Turning’s motion-picture soundtrack, Getting Better(otherwise) has been a personal favorite of mine since last March, now this could qualify it as an all-time favorite song just by that standard alone. However, it isn’t considered an all-time favorite song (yet) because I didn’t truly fall in love with this song until last Fall when my love for this song was reignited after I watched The Turning for the first time, which has since become one of my favorite movies. This horror film adaptation based on Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw starred The Aubreys own, Finn Wolfhard leading up to the perfect debut release for the Aubreys. The Aubreys were originally known as Calpurnia, who created some of my favorite songs like “Greyhound” and “Cell” until they split in 2019 due to creative differences. They have since split into two separate bands, Ludic and the Aubreys. Getting Better (Otherwise) was inspired by Jay Reatards 90s’ project ‘the Reatards’ as they would blast it during their 8-hour recording sessions. The Aubreys are like the next-gen Weezer but cooler. With their iconic vocals and music videos that couldn’t feel more early-2000s. Even alongside the band’s unique sound and aesthetic, I can’t even explain why this song is as good as it is, just listen to it.
With the struggle I endured in picking this 5th song I am not exaggerating when I say it was extremely difficult. I was stuck between “Dandelion” by Jesse Jo Stark, “Rät” by Penelope Scott, and “Someone New” by Hozier. Obviously, I chose “Dandelion” by Jesse Jo Stark, and for good reason too. This is yet another song I found on my Spotify Discover Weekly, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. The peace this song brings me is so comforting. The song within and of itself is just so peaceful, it’s not put you to sleep peaceful but it’s laying down on my bed and staring at my glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling peaceful. The Lana Del Ray-esque vocals and slow-pace of the song make for it to be an instant favorite in my book. This song makes me think if someone doesn’t tell me “to dare to love you dandelion” I don’t want it. It’s the perfect love song, in the sense that it doesn’t feel like some sappy love song from the 60s, yet it’s a modern classic. It’s a timeless song with a tale as old as time wrapped up into one work of art, and I do not say that lightly.
Now onto my all-time favorites. Don’t even get me started on these songs. I love these songs so much I can blast them any time. You can find these songs and more on my All Time Favs playlist on Spotify that will also be linked at the end of the article!
Pulling Leaves Off Trees- Wallows
I am an established Wallows fan. Ever since Youtube recommended “Are You Bored Yet” By Wallows, feat. Clairo in February of 2019, I have been obsessed. I was encaptured by the lyrics, rhythm, and instrumentals of the band. To this day I still listen to the songs I’ve played since 2019 and feel like it’s my first time listening to them. They hold a very special place in my heart, and they will forever be my favorite band. “Pulling Leaves Off Trees” is a particularly special song to me because it was the last song I heard by them. Let me paint the picture; I was sitting in my second-period class in November of 2019, I had just convinced my mom to send her credit card information so I could preorder the tickets that had just been released, and let me tell you when they announced their tour, I cried (tears of joy of course). The adrenaline was flowing as it does, so what does any sane person do? I listen to more Wallows. As I shuffled through the bands’ discography, all of a sudden “Pulling Leaves Off Trees” played. It was a song I’d never heard before and instantly I loved it. The meaning behind the song, the chorus, everything about it was my favorite thing ever. Even now, no matter my mood whether sad or happy all I have to do is play this song and I’m instantly happy, sometimes I’ll even cry out of happiness.
I Love You, Will You Marry Me- YUNGBLUD
YUNGBLUD is another one of my all-time favorite artists, and just picking one song by him was difficult as is. This song is one of the songs that no matter if I forget about it, I’ll play it again and fall right back in love with it. The storyline of the song is all about young love, and as someone who’s never truly been in love, I still manage to connect to it so much. That is because the real-life story behind this song is really interesting. It’s not only an actual story but perfectly embodies the hardships of being in love (think if Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love” was made now and turned into a punk song). I would seriously recommend looking into the background of this song if you get a chance. My YUNGBLUD love story began in March of last year when I accidentally stumbled upon the Genius Lyrics breakdown of his song “11 Minutes” with Halsey. I went on to check his music out as anyone would after hearing his vocals in the interview. When I discovered his punk-rock sound to his music, I was not only surprised, but a little intimidated. See, at the time I had kept myself into the bedroom-pop/indie-rock genre, and I stayed within in that genre for a long time. So naturally, his punk-rock motif wasn’t something I was used to. That led me to start by listening to his acoustic tracks first because although hard rock hadn’t been my thing (YET) I loved the meaning behind all of his music. After all, it had a very socio-political background with really deep meanings that I became infatuated with. “I Love You, Will You Marry Me” was my introduction into the punk genre within and of itself, and since then I’ve been obsessed with it. Not only does YUNGBLUD make art with his music, he’s also well known for his political advocacy. He is one of my biggest inspirations politically, I say this because he inspired me to find my own opinion and not to be afraid of going against what everyone else thinks. Which is the epitome of the punk genre, which is one of the primary foundations of what is my love for punk. “I Love You, Will You Marry Me” was my formal induction into the punk genre and I’ve never wanted to leave since then.
Switching genres completely, Role Model is a soloist from Portland. With a variety of songs to turn to with a jubilant, pop sound seen in “Blind” to a melancholic, smooth tone seen in “Six Speed” to even country? Role Model is the perfect example of duality. Like an onion, his music has layers. Just make it the tastiest onion ever. I found Role Model relatively recently. I discovered him thanks to my Spotify recommended songs in late 2019, “Six Speed” was the first song I heard by him and as I explored his music more I completely fell in love with it. Something about Tucker Pillsbury’s sound is so unique and peaceful you can’t help but fall in love with it. This song has truly gotten me through a lot. With the ups and downs that come with pre-adolescence, a musician like Role Model is so crucial to have. His musical depth that varies from not only song-to-song but verse-to-verse keeps me on my toes and is very comforting to know that he has a song for every mood.
If you’ve been keeping up with my articles, you’d know my love for the band the Regrettes. When I say I love this new-era punk rock band, just know I MEAN IT. Their iconic vocals and insanely good instrumentals make them one of my personal favorite bands of all time. On that fateful day in April of 2019 when I randomly added “Pumpkin” into my Groovy playlist on Spotify and heard their infectious beats, I was hooked. Similar to YUNGBLUD, I not only love the Regrettes for their music but because of what their music stands for. The feminist messages underlying each guitar riff fuel my love for the young band. Ladylike is one of my all-time favorite songs because it is one of the few songs that from the absolute first time I heard it, the lyrics meant something to me. This down to Earth musical concept epitomizes the highs and lows of being a high school girl. What I mean by that is this song speaks a lot about the societal standards placed on young women, and what people say if you don’t fit that mold. From the moment I heard the soft-spoken introductory monologue, the lyrics of the song spoke so much louder to me than any song I’d ever heard before. I wrote an article breaking down The Regrettes debut album Feel Your Feelings Fool! that will also be linked at the end of this article.
This list wouldn’t be complete without one final Wallows song, and this one takes the cake. “Treacherous Doctor” is the second song off of Wallows’ debut album Nothing Happens. I’ve already expressed my love for Wallows. But, my love for this song delves even deeper. It’s lyrically one of the darker songs on this upbeat indie album, this is because what it’s talking about (growing up) isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Undoubtedly, “Treacherous Doctor” is one of my forever favorite songs because the lyrics have always contained words I can relate to, even if those words I relate to change. It’s so important to me because it speaks volumes about the way I feel and put a good amount of my emotions in words without making me want to lie on the floor and sob. In fact, this song makes me want to do the exact opposite– it makes me want to get up and dance. The power this song holds if the band can make lyrics that take on a subject that can be extremely hard to talk about and turn them into something positive, they can truly do anything.
I highly suggest that you check out all of the songs mentioned, there will be a Spotify playlist titled “My All-Time and Current Favorite Songs” linked at the bottom of the article, this playlist will contain every song from this article for your listening and enjoyment purposes!
Current Favorites Playlist:https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1ULL9D50r8dqC0m4m9Sctr
All-Time Favorites Playlist:https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0ifHdwv8F
My All-Time and Current Favorite Songs: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/34fcABf7sTqBl
It’s Been A Long, Long Time- Harry James: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chs2bmqzyUs
Cigarette Daydreams- Cage The Elephant:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opeETnB8m8w
Do Me A Favour- Arctic Monkeys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaFEHf34fCQ
Getting Better(otherwise)- The Aubreys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeT5FWrVldI
Dandelion- Jesse Jo Stark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fJLzdfNWVA
Pulling Leaves Off Trees- Wallows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_wILUjN0a8
I Love You, Will You Marry Me- YUNGBLUD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf2_
Six Speed- Role Model: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4VA0Z3O_gQ
Ladylike- The Regrettes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPiRGwI54nw
Treacherous Doctor- Wallows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHTT-_PPM2I