Category Archives: Musical Monday

Music Will Save Your (My) Year

amanda+joaquim (2)
Here’s a feature I have not done in forever. Last a week, a ton of music came out of thin air or rather across digital waves. A ton. Like, a ridiculous amount. I am so blessed.

 

I actually have to go and re-do part of this post because I just discovered a ton more music. I’m not going to be able to talk about it all in detail, but I’ll share my favorite songs as well as a couple other lists. Wow. What a month for music though? I don’t think I’ve been this stunned in…well, forever. Scratch that, I was pretty shocked when Dark Before Dawn came out a couple years ago, but this is pretty close to that.

 

(99%) Some of these artists I had no idea were coming out with new music, others I had been impatiently waiting for. I’ll also throw in a few songs from earlier this month.

 

The first up is Paramore

 

The one that caused me to almost scream because PARAMORE. I had heard they were coming back, but wasn’t too sure on that. I didn’t think it’d be this year, but, well, yes! Paramore is back and poppy as ever. Embrace the lovely upbeat popppiness.

 

Hard Times gives me Tegan and Sara vibes which I definitely don’t hate. Their album is coming out in ELEVEN DAYS which is just, wow. I am so excited.

 

Their song? Hard Times and wow, they have a way of making a song that could easily sound a bit melancholy to making it the next Pop hit. Not much unlike the song Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People.

 

The second is Young and Menace by Fall Out Boy. I’ve missed Pete Wentz’s voice. This song almost made me cry because I had NO idea they were coming back. They even have an album coming out in September and it’s such a long wait. Come quickly Fall.

 

This song is a bit of a departure from their last era but I will be the very first to say “Bring it” because yes. I am loving the soulsy, slower sound of this song. I am 100 percent positive the “Oops I did it again lyric” is a  Queen Britney reference. How could it NOT be?

 

Fall Out Boy does so good with songs against exes though. I love that it’s not even a toxic “you ruined my life, you were awful” song like some bands do.

 

Oops, I did it again,
I forgot what I was losing my mind about
I only wrote this down to make you press rewind
And send a message I was young and a menace

 

Can we please talk about the Nikki Sixx shout out because oh my goshhh. I freaking love it a million times over. For those that don’t know, Nikki Sixx was a co-founder of Motley Crue as well as the main songwriter and bassist. He’s now in the band he founded called Sixx AM (who also have an album out). He dealt with a lot of addiction between these two bands which, I believe, is where the “kill me twice” lyric Wentz references there.

 

My third amazement of last week was a triple feature by Foster The People. Yes, they, much like Jojo (Mad Love is out now!) came back with an EP of three songs. Their EP even has the same title as the Queen Jojo’s ep (III).  Doing It For The Money is my favorite song of the trio. I love the poppy sound of it and the mellowness.

 

I just discovered Lady Gaga has a song out called The Cure. It may also be coming to her possibly-soon-to-be-announced album? I’m here for it, even though I must admit I didn’t listen to Joanne.

 

I made a lovely playlist on Spotify that you can listen to here.

Now, to sum it all up –

Favorite Songs:
Doing It For The Money by Foster The People, Hard Times by Paramore, Most Girls by Hailee Steinfeld, Say My Name by Tove Stryke, Last Young Renegade by All Time Low
Biggest Surprises:
This is obvious by now, but I was really surprised by Paramore, Fall Out Boy and Foster The People coming out with music all of a sudden.
The Letdown:
Torches, No Vacancy and Thunder and J-Boy
The Albums I Need Now:
Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Halsey
New Discoveries:
Charlie Puth, Amelia Payne, Melokee and Sigrid. . . Really, just 75% of these songs.

Those With Albums or EPs Out::

Lea Michele Places
Mary J. Blige Strength of A Woman
Foster The People III

The Albums You Should Look Out For:

Paramore After Laughter (May 12th)
Ingrid Michaelson Alter Egos (May 12th) (What kind of This Is Acting tea?)
Papa Roach Crooked Teeth (May 19th)
All Time Low Dirty Laundry (June 2nd)
Bleachers Gone Now (June 2nd)
Halsey Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (June 2nd)
Allie X CollXtion II (June 9th)
Phoenix Ti Amo (June 9th)
Rise Against Wolves (June 9th)
Lorde Melodrama (June 16th)
Royal Blood How Did We Get So Dark? (June 16th)
Haim Something To Tell You (July 7th)
Fall Out Boy Mania (September 15th)

So, have you heard any of the songs I posted? What are you thoughts? Did you hear any songs I don’t have on my playlist? Let me know! I can never have enough music. Ever.


My Favorite Albums of ’15

Musical Monday is a feature where I talk about musicals, songs, make bookish playlists and feature authors to make bookish playlists for their own books.

YAY, MY FAVORITE TOPIC: MUSIC. This is my final music recap post for the year. Tonight I’m going to list and talk about my favorite albums of the year! I’ve also added Spotify links to almost all of them (coughs), so check those out! This list will be in NO particular order (though I did list my first favorite and my second favorite and I mention what my third favorite is, as well as one that’s in my top five, but other than THAT), no order. Let’s get started!

Fave Albums

 

Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

Carly Rae Jepsen EmotionYes, okay, when I heard Call Me Maybe, I was like “Who is this girl? What is this song? I wish it’d go away.” as I’m sure a lot of you did as well. 😉 Well let me just be the first to say, I’M SORRY, CARLY, PLEASE FORGIVE ME. Do NOT let that one song put you off of this album or her debut (which is amazing) for that matter. One song does not represent an artist. Say it with me: One song does not represent an artist. Okay, good. This album is just super relatable and popish and I adore it so, so much. Listen to it and get your life.

Favorite Songs: Let’s Get Lost, Making The Most of The Night, Boy Problems, I Didn’t Just Come Here To Dance and Favorite Colour.

 

Hilary Duff – Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Breathe In Breathe Out Hilary Duff

I know. You’re all super surprised to see this album on the list. I’m sure my previous post totally dedicated to this album gave no clues that it was a favorite. This was one of my biggest surprises of the year. I don’t know what I was expecting from Hilary, but this was amazing. The first half is an upbeat pop sound then the second half is more laid back and folkish. The song Tattoo reminds me a ridiculous amount of Lyla and Riggins from Friday Night Lights.

Favorite Songs: Confetti, Breathe In Breathe Out, More Than A Memory and Tattoo.

 

Marianas Trench – Astoria

Astoria Big Cover

Ah, one Canadian band that did not let me down this year. This album was astounding. It was inspired by The Goonies and is a soundtrack of sorts for the movie. It’s kinda genius really. It really has a movie feeling to it with it’s sweeping soundscapes it has. It’s very concept album-ish, which I adore.

Favorite Songs: Astoria, Yesterday, and Wildfire.

 

Grimes – Art Angels

Art Angels Grimes

When I heard Grimes had a new album coming out, I sort of set it aside in the back of my mind. I remember vaguely of her former albums and didn’t think anything new would be done. So you can imagine my shock when this album came out and reached the top three for my favorite albums of the year. Grimes combines electronica with video games and manga/anime inspiration. It’s amazing. There’s also a song criticizing record labels, which is always good stuff, called California. That took some getting used to, but I now really like it. It’s a pop album through and through. One of the best this year.

Favorite Songs: laughing and not being normal, World Princess Part II, and Life In The Vivid Dream.

Troye Sivan – Blue Neighbourhood

Blue Neighbourhood Troye Sivan

I loved Troye’s previous EP, Wild, which the first six songs from Blue Neighbourhood are taken from. An on-going theme in the album is this person dealing with his feelings for his boyfriend. I think it’s really interesting in how openly gay the writing for the album is. I mean, it does go either way, but as Troye is gay, it’s refreshing to see that ‘showcase’ (for lack of better term) in a full album. One of the small problems with the album is that a lot of the songs are mellow and have very similar sounding, but other than that, it’s great.

Favorite Songs: Talk Me Down, Fools, and Youth.

 

Disclosure Caracal

I’ll admit that I have to be in a certain mood to listen to this album, but that’s because it’s not in one of my usual genres of choice. It’s dance/electronic music. It features The Weeknd, Sam Smith, Lorde, and others.

Favorite Song: Magnets

 

Beach House – Depression Cherry

Beach House Depression Cherry

This is such a pretty album. I love how mellow it is. Dare I say? I think it’d be perfect on Gilmore Girls, maybe for the four new movies they’ll be making? 🙂

Favorite Songs: PPP, Beyond Love, and Space Song.

 

Adele 25

Adele 25

Unfortunately, this album isn’t available streaming anywhere online. 😦 I never really listened to Adele’s first two albums, though I own both (somewhere…). When I heard she was coming out with a new album though, of course I had to give it a listen. Give My Love (To Your New Lover) took a few plays to get used to since it’s such a different sound from her ballads. It’s very Taylor Swift-ish with the snakiness, in my opinion.

Favorite Songs: When We Were Young, All I Ask, and Million Years Ago.

 

Alessia Cara Know-It-All 

Alessia Cara Know It All

This album caught me by surprise. I went and bought this on a limb after finding it had been released a week earlier than I’d thought. This is Alessia’s debut album, previously she had an EP called Four Pink Walls, which I never heard. It’s a very youthful album, much like Troye’s in term of subject matter, there’s a lot of high school subject in it, which I like.

Favorite Songs: Seventeen, River Of Tears, and Scars To Your Beautiful

 

Melanie Martinez Cry Baby 

Melanie Martinez Cry Baby

Another concept album! I adore this album, it reminds me of Marina and The Diamond’s Electra Heart. It also makes me think of Emilie Autumn in terms of the songwriting and titles (Training Wheels, Tag You’re It, etc.), they’re all very kid-ish.This concept album revolves around a girl dealing with her family who looks perfect on the outside. It deals with other topics such as love, sexual assault, plastic surgery, etc. It’s really interesting.

Favorite Songs: Dollhouse, Sippy Cup, Soap, and Pity Party.

 

Maria Mena Growing Pains

Maria Mena Growing Pains

One of my new favorite singer/songwriters. This is a great album. It’s really cohesive throughout the entire thing and some songs are a bit similar melodically, but I think that’s okay. Maria had wrote this song as she was going through a hard divorce and it just really shows that in the album. Even if I hadn’t read about her going through the divorce, I would be able to tell this was real life inspired. The album goes from being upset about her choices to eventually coming full circle and knowing it was the right decision. It’s beautiful.

Favorite Songs: I Don’t Wanna See You With Her, Not Sober, and Where I Come From.

 

a-ha Cast In Steel 

aha_Cast_In_Steel

The only reason I ever gave this album a chance was because I was intrigued at this 80s band (that I never previously listened to) was making an album in 2015. I heard an album sample on Popjustice.com and that sealed the deal for me. I bought it on it’s release date, listened to it and fell in love. This is a lovely album and has gotten me through quite a bit. I love how mellow it is.

Favorite Songs: Cast In Steel, Living At The End of The World and She’s Humming A Tune.

 

Chvrches Every Open Eye 

Chvrches Every Eye Open

This is such an upbeat album, I had it on replay for several days. It’s in the top five of my favorite albums. I loved all three of the singles they put out for it,  Leave A Trace, Never Ending Circles and Clearest Blue.

Favorite Songs: Never Ending Circles, Keep You On My Side, Afterglow and Make Them Gold.

Smallpools Lovetap!

Smallpools Lovetap

I have loved these guys since I first heard their song “Dreaming” in The Vampire Diaries. Their album was one of my most anticipated of the year. I fell in love with their song Karaoke immediately. That song got a lot of play out of me, but I had the album on repeat a lot.

Favorite Songs: Dreaming, Killer Whales, and Karaoke.

Marina and The Diamonds Froot

Marina and The Diamonds Froot

Since Marina’s last album was a concept album, it was interesting to hear her have just an album of ‘regular’ songs. I could relate to a lot of the songs on this album. It was a lot more “quiet” with it’s meanings and in terms of sound, which I really loved. I don’t like it more than Electra Heart though, but it’s still really good.

Favorite Songs: Happy, Forget and I’m A Ruin.

 

Breaking Benjamin Dark Before Dawn

Breaking Benjamin Dark Before Dawn

Of course they made my list. A bit late though, ha. Anyway, I fell in love with “Failure” immediately, as well as “Angels Fall”, their final single, “Defeated” took some getting used to though. The first song on the album is more of intro and the last song is an intro. It was interesting to go into this album having already heard the first (Dark) and last (Dawn) “real” songs on the album (Failure and Defeated). I would have liked to not have the songs placed that way, but they make sense. I didn’t immediately like this album a lot, so it took some growing, but now it’s clearly one of my favorites. This album brought me straight back to high school, it was insane. Their sound is very much the same as their previous albums (which I highly recommend) and while that would turn some people off, I loved it. It’s such a nice album.

Favorite Songs: Failure, Breaking The Silence, Close To Heaven, and Never Again.

 

Allie X CollXtion 1 EP

Allie X CollXtion 1

I discovered Allie X pretty recently due to random browsing on Popjustice.com. This is actually just an EP, but it is really good.  Dare I say her sound and album kind of remind me of Madonna? Quite a bit really. I think it’s the song style, it reminds me of Madonna’s album Ray of Light. She is due to have CollXtion 2 out next year, which I am really excited for.

Favorite Song: Never Enough

 

Hailee Steinfeld Haiz EP

Hailee Steinfeld Haiz

How gorgeous is that album cover? I am seriously just so in love with it. It really fits the mood of Carly Rae Jepsen’s album, actually. I wish Hailee would take up a more night time club vibe (don’t let that scare you) in her debut album, which I think is to come out in the new year? Crossing fingers.

Favorite Song: Hell No’s and Headphones

Hamilton

Hamilton

Favorite Songs: ALL OF THEM. I mean, did you expect another answer? 😉

I had to add this album, of course. It’d be horrible if I didn’t, especially since it’s overtaken all my other musical listening to. . .


So, what do you think? Have you listened to any of these albums? If you haven’t, you absolutely must, especially Carly’s, Hilary’s, Grimes’ and HAMILTON. Hamilton is a MUST. It’s actually an order. 😉 What albums have you really liked this year? Did any of them make my list?


(Most of) My Favorite Songs of ’15

Musical Monday is a feature where I talk about musicals, songs, make bookish playlists and feature authors to make bookish playlists for their own books.

Hi everyone! Oh my gosh, I’m so excited, I get to talk about my favorite thing in the world, music. Okay, I lied, it’s not exactly my ‘favorite’ thing in the world, okay, nevermind, it is! I love music. I love books too. And God, but God’s not a thing so, music it is! Tonight I am going to be talking somewhat about (or maybe mostly listing) my favorite songs. I will try to keep this to the sensible number of 25, we’ll see how well I do.

All of the songs will only be ’15 songs, so nothing before this year (or after. Ha ha ha. No? Okay).

I will be (mostly…) restricting myself to *waits for it*  one song per artist.

There’s no telling how many songs will be in the playlist, it will be at least 21 (because that’s how many I have down in a text document) and the max will be anywhere from 50 to 100. You’re welcome.

This is actually going to be a really short post because I now don’t feel like talking much, ha, I will a little though.

I’m actually not going to list the songs here, aside from my ‘favorite’ favorites. For the full playlist, you can go here. 🙂 There will be a mix of pop, rock and alternative. I’ll give Youtube links for the songs below.

~My Top Five Favorite Songs (or what I like to call, Life Savers)~

She’s Humming A Tune by a-ha

And I don’t suppose she knows

everything that’s bound to happen,

how and where the story goes,

and I don’t why I care.

She’s up tight, not right,

how could it matter to me?

This song was all kinds of perfection when I heard it. An immediate favorite of the year in September. I seriously never listened to this band aside from Take On Me, ha. I’ll be looking into the backlist now, of course.

She Used To Be Mine by Sara Bareilles

It’s not easy to know
I’m not anything like I used to be
Although it’s true
I was never attention’s sweet center
I still remember that girl

She’s imperfect but she tries
She is good but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up
And baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine

Once again Sara Bareilles gets all my feelings down in a way I never could. I love how well this song works without the musical background of the album. If you took out the pie references, it’d be another ‘regular’ song. 😉

Talk Me Down by Troye Sivan

So if you don’t mind, I’ll walk that line
stuck on the bridge between us,
grey areas and expectations,
but I’m not the one if we’re honest.
But I wanna sleep next to you,
and I wanna come home to you,
I wanna hold hands with you,
I wanna be close to you.

This is such a sad song, I love it so much.

River of Tears by Alessia Cara

Go ‘head and wish me well,
I’ll cry a wishing well,
I’ll fly before I fail,
I’ll set sail and drift away,
so I won’t need you here.
Love sinks and hope floats
In a river of tears

This song reminds me of Love The Way You Lie by Sky Ferreira (which was officially recorded by Rihanna but I love Skye’s version).

Never Gonna Let Go by Shinedown

Caught in the act of flying solo,

this acrobat is lost
and I don’t know
where I’ll land.
As I reach for your hand,

all of the lights can be so blinding
every time I jump you always find me
without a net.
So please don’t forget
’cause right now I’m out of control,

swear you’re never gonna let go

This song was finally put on the latest album, thank God. I’d been replaying the live version for a while and couldn’t wait to hear a studio version. It’s amazing, but it’s also not on Spotify unfortunately. 😦

Failure by Breaking Benjamin

Tired of feeling lost, tired of letting go.

Tear the whole world down, tear the whole world down.

Tired of wasted breath, tired of nothing left.

Tear the whole world down, tear the whole world down.

Failure.

Talk about your flashbacks. Ugh, feels. When I first heard Breaking Benjamin was going to have a new album out, I was in shock. Breaking Benjamin had broken up (I guess that’s the term) years ago and came back renewed with the lead singer, Benjamin and a new lineup. This was the perfect song to be the first single.

If I said I found them super relatable, that’d be really cliche, right? Either way, I did and they definitely helped days pass by easier, especially She’s Humming A Tune and Never Gonna Let Go.


What were some of your favorite songs of the year? Have you heard any of these songs? Were there any others by the artists that you liked more/better than the ones I listed?

Favorite Music Discoveries of ’15

Musical Monday is a feature where I talk about musicals, songs, make bookish playlists and feature authors to make bookish playlists for their own books.

Hi! I decided to I would finish off the year with some posts about my favorite music of the year. Tonight I’ll be talking about my favorite music discoveries of the year. The artists’ names will lead to Spotify links. Without further ado,

~Favorite Music Discoveries~

Maria Mena

This past year I became involved on PopJustice.com. It was on this website that I disocvered a message board/thread on Maria Mena with the topic named after her single, “I Don’t Wanna See You With Her”. I heard that song and I was in love.

Maria’s album came out on the fourth of this month and I remember being amazed at her number of albums she had out since I hadn’t even heard of her before last month. However, my amazement was short lived and I’d forgotten about the album.

On the fourth of this month, I went on Spotify to listen to Coldplay’s album which released the same day. Since Coldplay didn’t have their album on Spotify, I decided I’d listen to Maria’s album instead. Wow, I was not prepared to hear that album. Among first listen she reminded me of Sara Bareilles with her honest songwriting and simple-ish melodies.

Troye Sivan 

I can’t remember when or why I started listening to him exactly. I remember hearing Happy Little Pill and liking it, then later I’d heard Talk Me Down which I really liked, especially after watching the trilogy of Blue Neighbourhood videos he did. I was really excited for his album, which came out on the fourth of this month, but I still haven’t given it a proper listen.

Alessia Cara

This is another artist that I’d heard a song from on her EP, Four Pink Walls, but never really gave a proper listen to until her album came out. I love it. What really got me into her was the song Here which immediately reminded me of Lykke Li’s “Everybody But Me“, both songs are about being at parties and not really wanting to be there.

Hailee Steinfeld 

I’d heard Love Myself and was like “Oh, okay then.” and I liked the song well enough so I figured I’d stick around for her EP. It didn’t hurt either that her EP is sooo gorgeous. It actually reminds me of Carly Rae Jepsen’s album, E*Mo*TIon for some reason. My favorite song of hers was Hell No’s and Headphones which was inspired by “Here”. Once again, the song gave me “Everybody But Me” vibes. I’m all about the “anti-party, I love music more” anthems.

Coeur De Pirate

I discovered Coeur De Pirate with a random itunes search into the alternative section. I liked the mellow sound that they had. I still haven’t listened to their album fully, but I liked what I heard.

The Mynabirds

I remember hearing about The Mynabirds before, but never really heard too much by them. After hearing the first song All My Heart though, I really enjoyed the album.

Halsey

I’ll admit it, I tried to resist Halsey, 1. Because she’s just so popular and I’m “that person” that tries to stay away from those artists, unless they’re already popular. Ha. I’m always up for a dark album though, so I gave in.  I’ve been more into her Room 93 EP than her debut album though. I adore Empty Gold and I’m so, so upset that it’s not on her main album. That’s just wrong.

Melanie Martinez 

I came across Melanie Martinez with another random itunes album search! Yay random searching. I loved her dark, upbeat sound. She reminds me of Emilie Autumn with the way her songs are written, in a sort of poetry/nursery rhyme way and Sky Ferreira with the dark sound of them.

Allie X 

One of my newest favorites from this year, I had randomly clicked on her thread title on Pop Justice and gave her EP a quick listen. Like most some underground pop singers, I immediately loved her sound. A ton. My favorite song of her was the newest one that was released called NEver Enough. It’s been tacked onto the deluxe version of her first EP called CollXtion 1.

Katy B 

Once again, I discovered this singer on Pop Justice. I don’t remember what songs by her that I really enjoyed, so I still need to give her a thorough listen, but I remember really loving the lyrics and her sound.

Years & Years 

I haven’t properly listened to these guys, but I really like the song King and I like the way they sound.


These are most of my favorite new artists, I’m sure there are more. What are some of your favorite singers/bands that you heard this year? I’m always up for recommendations! Tell me what you think of the artists above in the comments too. If you haven’t listened to them, you need to do so. Immediately. 🙂

Musical Monday-Tamara Ireland Stone Guest Playlist (Every Last Word)

Musical Monday is a feature where I talk about musicals, songs, make bookish playlists and feature authors to make bookish playlists for their own books.
Hi everyone! Oh my gosh, I am so excited because Tamara Ireland Stone, author of the Time Between Us duology and Every Last Word (published tomorrow, June 16th!) accepted my author for her to make a guest playlist for Every Last Word.

You can download my photo and cover art here: www.tamarairelandstone.com/press. Synopsis here: www.tamarairelandstone.com/books
Huge thanks to Amber for inviting me to be part of Musical Monday.
My new novel, Every Last Word, hits shelves tomorrow, June 16th! It’s a story about a girl named Samantha who looks perfect on the outside but feels broken on the inside, until an underground poetry club and its misfit members help her see herself in a whole new light.
Like my other books, Time Between Us and Time After Time, music plays a big role in this story. There are actually four Every Last Word playlists: The main one—which is more like the soundtrack for the story—and three more that are mentioned in the book:
  • I recently shared my Every Last Word playlist/soundtrack, “Anything But Empty”, here in Justine Magazine.
  • Over the weekend, The Lifelong Bookworm unveiled “Song For You”, the playlist Sam makes for AJ.
  • Today, I’m here with YA Indulgences to tell you all about “Right Beside You”, the playlist Sam makes for her friend Caroline.
  • And on Saturday, June 20, the 16-year-old who inspired Every Last Word will be sharing the playlist she created, “In The Deep.” She’ll be a guest on Gone With the Words to tell you why these songs are so special to her.
Every Last Word Playlists
First, About Sam
Before I tell you about “Right Beside You”, there are a few things you need to know about Samantha McAllister:
  • Sam has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • She feels the need to do things in sets of threes
  • She has a thing for words—especially words that occur in threes 
  • She loves music and lyrics
  • Her playlists are important to her, and she puts a great deal of thought into how she titles each one. Here, I’ll let her explain:
Every Last Word Tamara Ireland Stone
Get it?
When Sam Meets Caroline
Sam is skilled at hiding her OCD from her best friends. They’re “normal” and “perfect” and they’d never understand. But everything begins to change for Sam when she meets Caroline, a quirky girl a few lockers away who wears snarky tees and openly shares her opinions.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner—a secret poetry club hidden beneath the school theater—and a group of people who are nothing like her friends. They read poetry aloud, wear their hearts on their sleeves, and care very little about things like clothes and makeup. Sam is drawn to them immediately.
Over time, Sam begins to feel accepted with the Poets, more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd, and with Caroline’s help, she begins to tap into the writer within—this part of herself she never even knew existed.
Caroline is a different kind of friend; one Sam can drop her guard and be herself around. They become close, even though Sam’s keeping their friendship a secret.
Right Beside You”
Sam creates this playlist to try to capture what Caroline’s friendship means to her. “Right Beside You” comes from three words in the lyrics of “Run” by Snow Patrol:
Light up, light up,
As if you have a choice.
Even if you cannot hear my voice,
I’ll be right beside you dear.
I love all the songs on this playlist, but there are a few that are especially close to my heart because the lyrics so perfectly fit Sam, Caroline, and the story of their friendship. 
Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
No one else can feel it for you, only you can let it in.
No one else can speak the words on your lips.
Drench yourself in words unspoken,
Live your life with arms wide open.
Shadowplay” by The Killers
I was moving through the silence without motion,
waiting for you.
In a room without a window in the corner,
I found truth.
Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane
And if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go somewhere only we know?
Checkered Floor” by Silversun Pickups
Concealed
Pass it on
Appeal
Play along
Are you ready to hear to the rest of “Right Beside You”? Here it is:
Right Beside You Tamara Ireland Stone
CLICK HERE to listen to all four of my Every Last Word playlists.
Follow me on Spotify to hear these and more.
Thanks again for hosting me, Amber. Happy Musical Monday!

Thank you (again) Tamara for stopping by! I love Keane. And The Killers. And Natasha Bedingfield. And I like Silversun Pickups. 😉 Wasn’t that a great post? This is a great post. Let me know what you think in the comments and pick up Tamara’s book Every Last Word tomorrow!

Musical Monday Guest Playlist: Adi Alsaid for Never Always Sometimes

Never Always SometimesMusical Monday is a sporadic feature where I share songs, musicals, bookish playlists and have recently opened it up to author playlists for their own books. 🙂
 
Hi everyone! I am so happy to share this post that Adi Alsaid (author of Let’s Get Lost) so kindly put together for his new book Never Always Sometimes which releases August 4th from Harlequin Teen!
 

Playlists for Dave and Julia from Never Always Sometimes

Dave
  1. Eres” by Café Tacuba- A longing love ballad that Dave would strongly related to, and it being in Spanish would maybe help keep his longing secret.
  2. Fell in Love with a Girl” by The White Stripes- Okay, Dave’s not just about love songs. But this is a huge change of pace from the above, and speaking from experience, it’s a song that hits home when you’re a teen in unrequited love.
  3. By Your Hand” by Los Campesinos- A little cheekier and wilder than just a love song, but something about it makes me think of the mental place Dave is a few chapters into the novel.
  4. True Love Will Find You in the End” by Daniel Johnston with Beck- And we’re back to the mopey love ballads. But oh so pretty. The harmonica just feels like an instrument that would speak to Dave.
  5. Talk to Strangers” by Saul Williams- The spoken-poem vibe of the song could easily make it go onto Julia’s list, but the content is all Dave.
  6. Find Love” by Clem Snide- Despite the title, not a mopey love ballad. One that another character specifically plays for him.
Julia
  1. That Teenage Feeling” by Neko Case- This song makes a specific appearance in NAS, so its inclusion in this playlist is necessary. But I won’t say much about it, other than the fact that Neko Case kicks all sorts of ass and Julia loves her.
  2. The Body Electric” by Hurray for the Riff Raff- A tongue-in-cheek “screw you” to the folk ballad cliché of murdering your wife. That sounds pretty Julia to me.
  3. Get Lonely” by The Mountain Goats and “Song for Zula” by Phosphorescent- More songs specifically mentioned in the novel that I’ll refrain from analyzing to avoid spoilers. Different tones entirely.
  4. A Case of You” by Joni Mitchell- A love ballad, Julia-style. The first verse even has a clever, biting retort, but is not without its sweetness.
  5. Does Not Suffice” by Joanna Newsom- Beautiful, cutting lyrics about a relationship that will not withstand surface emotions or apologies.
Instead of an intro to the characters, I thought maybe I’d present the playlist as the introduction. Dave and Julia are two best friends who share much in the way of tastes and opinions, with Julia’s strong will perhaps swaying a decision or two.
 
But it’s interesting to me how well these lists came together, and how different they are once I finished trying to place songs for each character. I didn’t realize how many songs I’d specifically mentioned in the book, or how many I recall listening to during certain scenes. More impressive though, is thinking of a song that I haven’t even heard in years and thinking: Yup, that’s a Julia song.

If you haven’t heard of Never Always Sometimes, here is the description from Goodreads:
Never date your best friend

Always be original

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

Thank you so much Adi for putting together this playlist! ❤ I can’t wait to check it and Never Always Sometimes out. 

Musical Monday: Guest Playlist from Will Walton (Author of Anything Could Happen)

I’ve recently revamped my Musical Monday to now consist of author playlists! This is something I’m really excited to do. In addition to talking about musicals, music and creating book playlists, I’m opening up my Musical Monday platform for guest playlists by authors! If you are an author and would like to contribute to my Musical Monday feature, please fill out my contact form here.
Hey everyone! It’s Musical Monday and for the first time in forever, I am doing it again! Last week ago I had read Anything Could Happen by Will Walton and I was just so happy with it. I then noticed all of the music that was spread throughout the book and had an idea to ask Will if he would make a playlist for it!
If you haven’t heard of Anything Could Happen (firstly, shame on you!), you can check it out on Goodreads here. It’s published in only eight days (MAY 26TH), it’s almost like I planned this post or something. 😉
 
So without further ado, here’s his playlist!
~Will’s Playlist~
1. “Lipstick LADY,” WANDA
If Anything Could Happen were ever adapted into a movie (I can dream, right?), I would want WANDA’s irresistible “Lipstick LADY” to play over the opening credits. There’s something inherently YA about a song that contains only the phrase, “Go away,” for its chorus. I also love how unpredictable the song’s ending is—so melancholy. It’s like you work out all your angst over the first two choruses, then you’re left all exhausted and spent: the feeling of having been hopelessly in love with someone for quite some time.
2. “Q&A,” Kishi Bashi 
The lyrics to this song (“We were together in another life / In that dreaming, you were probably my wife”) knock me flat. This is the story of a deep bond between two people that is somehow disguised on its surface, perhaps not even fully realized by either party.
In relation to my book, it’s exactly how I think Tretch views him relationship with Matt.
3. “Anything Could Happen,” Ellie Goulding
This is the best kind of pop song. On its sleeve, it’s all enthusiasm. But when you get deeper, you discover—like all great pop songs—there is a lot happening here. I believe, at its core, “Anything Could Happen” is about a particular kind of growth that stems from the decision to remove yourself from a damaging relationship. When Ellie sings, “But I don’t think I need you,” she channels all of the hurt, anger, and relief that accompany such a decision—but there’s a dash of fear, too, which makes it honest.
4. “The Frug,” Rilo Kiley 
In an alternate universe where Tretch Farm is less introspective and far less anxious as a result, this is his theme song.
Rilo Kiley is one of my favorite bands of all time. And this song is all about dancing.
5. “Days,” The Drums 
I love The Drums, and I love that this song is just called “Days.” It’s funny, but I almost think Anything Could Happen could just be called Days. After all, ACH is basically just a series of pretty normal days in the life of my main character who’s working through a set of pretty normal problems.
What “Days” does, though (and what I hope my book does), is remind you that there’s magic in the mundane. Lyrically, this song is pretty simple, but I can’t help but feel so much when I sing along to it. The whole thing is (pretty unexpectedly) heartbreaking.
6. “Sexotheque,” La Roux 
Disclaimer: No one in my book actually goes to a “sexotheque.” And I feel mostly good about that. I have no doubt, however, that on the day Tretch Farm gets wind of La Roux, he’ll find his whole life altered.
I bet he won’t leave his room for days on end.
He’ll be too busy busting a move.
7. “I Bend,” Four Eyes 
Four Eyes is a band from Athens I’m totally obsessed with. This song in particular struck a chord (no pun intended) with me while I was writing Anything Could Happen. It’s about not wanting to be in love with someone who’s clearly doing fine without you. But the thing is, you are in love with that person who doesn’t love you back, and. . . oh, nothing I write here will really do this song justice. Just know that it’s simple and honest and beautiful and perfect. Now go listen.
8. “Little Red Shoes,” Loretta Lynn 
Grandparents are a big part of my book (and life). There is one important moment in ACH when Tretch and his grandma kneel hunched over a cedar chest filled with old Farm family memories.
Loretta Lynn’s “Little Red Shoes” makes me feel the way I felt when I wrote that scene. Also, yes, that is Jack White on guitar.
9. “Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves
This song, which contains the lyrics (“Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls, if that’s something you’re into”), won a dang Country Music Award for song of the year! That’s huge! “Follow Your Arrow” (along with all of its hype) has meant a lot to me as someone who authored a book about a queer teen in the rural U.S.
10. “Oh, La,” Ra Ra Riot 
The song (the chorus: “We’ve got a lot to learn from each other / We have got to stick together”) is about being on the brink of losing someone you love. It’s as hopeful as it is desperate; and it’s probably desperate because it is so hopeful. I thought about it a lot while writing.
11. “Corduroy,” Franny 
You should take this song two ways: one, as a straightforward retelling of Don Freeman’s Corduroy; two, as an account of what it feels like to fall head-over-heels in love (“You’ll be perfect”), before realizing—like we all do, eventually—that the people we love are just people (“Where is his button?”), or else bears.
12. “How Come You Don’t Want Me,” Tegan and Sara 
This song. I listened to it so many times while writing.
I wish there were some way for me to convey to Tegan and Sara what their music has meant to me over the years. When I was Tretch’s age, they were everything.
13. “Flowers,” Jacob Morris 
Jacob Morris’s beautiful album, Moths, was my personal soundtrack the year I drafted Anything Could Happen. “Flowers,” my favorite song on the album, is simple, sweet, and sad—which is probably how you’d describe (at least the first half of) ACH.
14. “Holy Ground,” Taylor Swift 
This is Red’s dark horse track, I believe—so good and so understated. I can easily see Tretch getting all pumped up for the big New Year’s dance to this one.
(After all his church choir training, I bet he delivers the “Ooh-lay, ooh-lay” refrain flawlessly.)
15. “Every Chance We Get We Run (feat. Tegan and Sara),” David Guetta & Alesso
So, no spoilers—but after a certain song plays at a certain dance hosted by a certain someone toward the end of the novel, this is the song I imagine playing over the speakers. You know, as the chapter closes out and stuff.
16. “Ornaments of the World,” Cascading Slopes 
Cascading Slopes is one of my favorite artists. There’s a lot of beauty and hope and mystery in each of the songs on Towards a Quaker View of Synthesizers. “Ornaments of the World” relays the thoughts of someone who’s “slowing the pace of [their] heart,” so that they might fully “appreciate.” Learning to be still, to be centered: that’s a lofty lesson to try and teach yourself at fifteen (or any age, really)—especially when you tend to bounce, all jittery, from one moment to the next like Tretch does.
But he’s learning.

I’ve always prided myself on knowing a lot of music….until now! Would you guys believe I only know a few of these artists decently? Tegan and Sara, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding. I have listened to a bit by The Drums and Ra Ra Riot.
I am so ecstatic to see You Wouldn’t Like Me by Tegan and Sara on here though! That is my song, I’ve been in such a Tegan and Sara mood lately, it’s ridiculous. I am going to have to give all of these songs a straight listen through later today. 
Anyway, thank you Will for doing this playlist! I can’t wait to listen to it.

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