I’ve always said that if you understand my relationship with music, you’ll uncover the deepest, darkest parts of me. Well, I’ve never actually said it and it’s definitely not true but whatever, it sound cool and makes me seem all dark and mysterious which is apparently an appealing trait. Anyway, I’ll shut up.
This year has been crazy for me. It’s cheesy, but I’ve grown so much as a person and my life has changed dramatically, for better or worse. For the most part, music has just been the soundtrack to my life, a way for me to relate to my feelings and understand myself better. Even though music has always been a part of me, I’ve dug so much deeper this year and it seems fair that I should put together my first mixtape. Well, technically it’s a playlist but mixtape sounds cooler.
These songs are what I’ve been playing this year and am likely to play into the coming year. Fair warning, this list is entirely subjective and as a result, I’ve included a little something explaining why I like the song so much or what it means to me. Disclaimer: if you don’t care about me or what music I listen to, this post is not for you (I’ve also barely edited this so please bare with me). Happy new year everyone.
You can listen to the playlist in full here
or use the individual links on each song I got lazy, just open up the damn playlist.
Escape – Castlefield
Castlefield’s “Escape” is the first and newest song on this playlist and I felt the need to put it there because it really sets the tone for me in the year to come. I also wanted to make it seem like I put a slow song at the start of the playlist and it serves as an introduction of sorts. There’s so many lyrics in this song that I relate to that it’d be impossible to pinpoint lyrics that really hit me since everything makes so much sense to me. Additionally, this is probably the most unheard of song on the whole list.
Twice Shy – Between You & Me
“Twice Shy” is the lead track from Between You & Me’s debut album. The Aussie band perfectly capture how I’ve felt in multiple situations, about various people er…challenges in my life. Since its release in July of this year, its been a regular on my playlist and apparently is perfect to kick my bad mood. Definitely play this song when you’re angry with someone, it’s always a good idea.
Moving Boxes – With Confidence
When I first heard With Confidence’s “Moving Boxes”, I thought it was a song about moving on from love. However, it’s so much more than that. It’s about moving onward and forward, about keeping memories without letting the past control your future. I like to think that I’m pretty spontaneous, but in reality, I sometimes need a reminder to actually consider what I’m
From The Outside – Real Friends
I’ve always related to songs relating to mental illness and the persona we often portray to others in an attempt to avoid judgement or simply because we have to. “From The Outside” is one such song that I’ve listened to a lot this year and really can relate to, even in petty situations. For example, I always feel like I’m hiding the person deep down when I’m in social situations or at work etc.
Six Feet Under The Stars – All Time Low
All Time Low’s “Six Feet Under The Stars” reminds me of summer. In fact, their whole album, So Wrong, It’s Right has a strange nostalgia about it. Since I’ve been listening to the whole album a lot more this year, I had to include at least one song on the list. This song in particular strikes a chord and has been in my playlist rotation for years. I guess it reminds me of young love, pure, innocent and unexpected.
Dial Tones – As It Is
“Dial Tones” is a legendary track that propelled As It Is into the spotlight. At first, it was just another catchy song, but now, I really understand and relate to it. I played this song a lot throughout September, just before and just after my recent breakup. It’s relatively simple but it somehow manages captures the state when a brekaup is looming, but before it hits.
Patchwork Love – As It Is
Though As It Is’ “Patchwork Love” is a masterpiece, I didn’t really see the beauty in it until Anonymous A played it for me and showed me just how incredible of a song it is. Even then, I don’t think I would’ve understood it fully until I’d felt heartbreak personally. This song has quite easily become one of my all time favourites and really holds a lot of personal attachment. Oh and its the sequel to “Dial Tones.”
Teenage Dirtbag – Wheatus
“Teenage Dirtbag” is the first classic to appear on this list, and it definitely deserves to be here. This emo/rock anthem appealed to me the most when I was still in high school and it still holds a special place in my heart. There’s not a lot of depth to the song, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most iconic 2000s songs.
Lost My Cool – Stand Atlantic
Stand Atlantic’s “Lost My Cool” is a song that I don’t really understand why I love as much as I do. Logically, it makes sense; instrumentally it’s a masterpiece and with Bonnie Fraser’s deadly voice, it’s perfection. However, I really don’t relate to the overall situation that the lyrics are portraying. That doesn’t stop my empathetic heart from trying and loving it none-the-less.
Betrayed By The Game – Dance Gavin Dance
Despite knowing of post-hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance, I didn’t listen to their music until I heard “Betrayed By The Game” in mid November. This song immediately grabbed me, both lyrically and instrumentally. The chorus really resounds with me and at first, left me in a vulnerable place where I was dying to call my ex. I’ll leave you with the lyrics: “I just crashed my car and it made me think of you.”
Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
Despite being the oldest song on this list, Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” is unquestionably an amazing song. Anonymous A was constantly trying to get me to enjoy their music and I don’t think I really did until it was too late. Even now, I still need to dig deeper into their discography and find the songs that I’ll really enjoy. Maybe that’s a job for another day.
Last Young Renegade – All Time Low
All Time Low’s “Last Young Renegade” is probably the last song from the band that I really liked. There’s something about the song that just hits home, probably a combination of the incredible instrumentation and the lost love that I can relate to. Ironically, I didn’t interpret the sadness in the lyrics until recently, for a while I believed that the song had a positive spin.
Graffiti – CHVRCHES
Time to introduce the short, but sweet Pop-Rock section of the playlist. Opening this segment is “Leave A Trace” from alternative band CHVRCHES (pronounced ‘churches’). Similarly to “Last Young Renegade”, this song remembers a young love now lost. My favourite line fits me and my desire to find my person: “I’ve been waiting for my whole life to grow old, and now we never will…”
Personal – Against The Current
“Personal” is another strangely catchy addition from pop-rock band Against The Current. Honestly, I prefer their earlier music, but I like this song regardless of my preference for their older, rockier sounding music. There’s something really deep and personal about this song that I can’t figure out. I think it has to do with losing someone close due to an unexpected death. Thankfully, I haven’t had to lose anyone like that. Maybe it would be easier.
Love It If We Made It – The 1975
I really do love The 1975. This song is strangely political for my tastes but it has to be their best from their latest album. Personally, I would describe them as a modern rock band that’s perfectly bridged the gap between classic rock and the more modern sounds of electronic pop music. If you’ve never heard their music, make sure to give them a listen, they’re a genre-defying band at the core.
The Overpass – Panic! At The Disco
This is the last song I’m writing for and I think it’s because this song is just plain and simply catchy. Panic!’s latest album wasn’t their best, but I wanted to include this song, especially considering that it’s definitely the best of the bunch. Here are some more words to make this section look more filled out and make me look like I actually deeply consider every song I listen to (I don’t, I’m sorry…I wish I did). There, that’s better.
The Other Side – Tonight Alive
Tonight Alive’s “The Other Side” is a bit of an odd addition. After discovering this song in 2015, I became obsessed for a year or so before unintentionally losing interest. Recently, I re-discovered it and instantly reconnected with the lyrics. Three years later, I understand the song on a new level and can connect with it more, even though I’ve never actually been in the situation that the song describes; it’s weird.
Here For Nothing – With Confidence
“Here For Nothing” is actually a B-side from With Confidence’s debut album. Released in 2017, I’ve been jamming out to this song a lot, especially during the first half of the year. Despite not relating to the specific situation described in the song, I can definitely connect with it on some level, maybe because I constantly feel like people are asking more of me than I can provide. That’s definitely it.
Tell Her You Love Her – Echosmith
I’ve always had a soft spot for Echosmith’s debut album, with it’s happy pop-rock instrumental vibe, matched by Sydney Sierota’s beautiful vocals. While not many of the songs stand out to me personally, the album as a whole ebbs and flows perfectly. “Tell Her You Love Her” is one of my favourites on the album, probably because I can relate to it the most out of all their songs so far.
One – Ed Sheeran
Did you know that I’m a hopeless romantic? Yeah I know, what a surprise, the sad half-Asian is a romantic at heart who believes in true love. Honestly, this song is more depressing to me than I think it was intended to be. There’s two perspectives to this song. On the one hand, it can be uplifting if the girl waits for the guy, because he’s also her one and only. However, I see it as more of a desperate last call to a love that’s already well and truly lost, a hopeful last stand that’s doomed to fail.
Still Remembering – As It Is
Anonymous A used to love this song so much. She probably still does. Maybe that’s part of the reason why I really connected with this song over the past few months, especially considering its relevance. Nothing I say can do this song justice, you have to listen to it yourself. All I have to say is, I don’t know if I’m “still remembering, or forgetting.” God, I hope I’m not forgetting.
Lately – Shapes & Colors
Other than Castlefield’s “Escape”, this song is probably the least known song on this list. It was a 2015 release from band Shapes & Colors and probably the only recommendation of mine that Anonymous A really loved. This song definitely describes where I am right now, especially now that I know how much love can hurt. Maybe one day I’ll allow myself to fall in love again; but right now, it’s definitely off the table.
Remembering Sunday – All Time Low
“Remembering Sunday” is the second song from All Time Low’s So Wrong It’s Right to appear on this list and for good reason. Even though I can’t personally relate, lead singer Alex masterfully tells a story of a lover that he can’t find, after realising that he loves her and wants to marry her. There’s just something about this acoustic track that just really hits me hard; if you figure it out let me know.
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
“Fast Car” is an incredible story about two young lovers with the world before them. Unfortunately, despite their greatest efforts, one puts more into the relationship than the other and it falls apart. Again, another Anonymous A recommendation that I couldn’t fully appreciate until much later. It’s funny how perspective can change whether I like a song or not. Either way, give it a listen, it’s incredible.
Come & Go – Broadside
Imagine that you find the most amazing person ever and spend the most incredible time of your life with them, only to let them go and regret it later. That’s “Come & Go” for you. I won’t spoil it too much, but it’s made me cry multiple times. Even though I haven’t listened to this song as much as I did last year, I can’t help but put it here considering the past few months of my life. Please cry and appreciate the ending thank you.
Your Graduation – Stand Atlantic
Hopeless Records released a cover album called Songs That Saved My Life. Stand Atlantic’s cover was probably my favourite on the album. Even though I don’t really drink, I can still relate, especially with the lyrics in the chorus; I am always wondering whether Anonymous A is thinking about me or not. Probably not as much as I am, but I guess a part of me hopes that she is.
Nine In The Afternoon – Panic! At The Disco
This is another one of Anonymous A’s recommendations. She discovered it somewhere around the middle of the year and played me an acoustic version that I instantly fell in love with. I have her to thank for getting me into Panic!’s music and fully appreciating Brendon’s consistently amazing vocals. So, thank you Anonymous A <3.
The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) – As It Is
Woah, what can I say about one of the greatest songs this year? Nothing. Literally nothing. As a ‘feminine’ guy, I can relate immensely with the concept being explored in this song. The title says it all, it’s about the stigma around men and showing emotions. When I was younger, people would tell me to ‘be a man’ and tell me off for crying and ‘showing weakness’. Somehow, this song helps me resolve those feelings from the past and remind me that it’s okay to be myself, no matter what others think.
Good Intentions – Between You & Me
Between You & Me’s “Good Intentions” was a slow burner. When I first listened to it, I couldn’t really get into it. After listening to it two or three times over, I was finally able to connect with it and really appreciate its lyrical value. As someone who constantly feels like my good intentions aren’t enough, I can relate immensely. Maybe I’m just a trashy person, but I swear I don’t mean to be. And yeah, “maybe I’ll call someday”.
Nobody’s Home – ONE OK ROCK
Finally, let me introduce the first mostly-Japanese song on the list. ONE OK ROCK’s “Nobody’s Home” is the perfect album closer and in this case, the perfect playlist closer. I’ll include a translation of the lyrics here, but in short, this song is lead singer Taka’s apology and motion of gratitude to his parents. As someone who hasn’t had an easy relationship with my parents, I connect with this song more than I can say. I only hope that one day I can be brave enough to thank them for everything, even the pain they’ve caused me.
Thick & Thin – LANY
Frozen – State Champs
Coffee At Midnight – Stand Atlantic
Want Me Around – Knuckle Puck
Curtains Close – As It Is
I Will Never Wait – With Confidence
Who We Were With – Paradise Fears
Caffeine Kiss – Thee Acquainted
Shameless – All Time Low
Mr Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
Apologies to all of you who tried to listen to this awfully put together mess only to find that there wasn’t a single hyperlink in sight. Here’s another one if you missed it.