Category Archives: Music

2020 Music?!?!?!?!?

Happy last day of 2020!

I’d say good riddance, but I suspect 2021 will be just as much of a garbage fest (if not worse), so weeeeee!

Anyway, this is the first year since my Decade of Music project ended, so I have not downloaded a new song for every day of the year and thus can’t give you a full summary of the year’s songs to the same extent that I’ve been doing since 2010.

But I can give you my favorite songs (and maybe favorite music vids?) of the selection that I did download this year.

Yeah, let’s do that.

Top 5 Favorite Songs

Blinding Lights by The Weeknd
This is THE song of 2020. This is also, as I mentioned in a blog back in May, my pandemic song. I heard it just as COVID was starting to burn through Canada at the start of all this madness – back when no one knew how bad it would get – and I still get that little pang of anxiety I associate with that feeling whenever I hear the start of this song.
(Still love it, though.)

Sogno di volare (The Dream of Flight) by Christopher Tin
This is an amazing, beautiful, soul-lifting song. I mentioned this one in an earlier blog, too, talking about how I felt like I’d heard it before somewhere long ago.

FloriDada by Animal Collective
This song is so freaking weird and so freaking cool and so freaking WTF that I have to like it. Also, don’t look up the music video unless you want to have multiple seizures.

Bummerland by AJR
I love the energy of this song. AJR does great things with drum beats.

DVNO by Justice
The bass pounds my ears and it hurts so good.

Top 5 Favorite Music Videos

DVNO by Justice

Logo parodies/homages with smooth transitions + killer song = YAY

Bummerland by AJR

The only thing better than an AJR song is an AJR song with an accompanying fun music video.

Dynamite by BTS

I am definitely not “army” as this is the only BTS song I have (I heard it in a commercial and had to look it up, haha), but I love the song and I love how fun the video is. Also, Jung Ho-seok (dude in the “OBEY” shirt/red shirt) has an awesome smile.

365 by Katy Perry

Y’all know I like music videos that tell a story.

The Rest of My Days by S+C+A+R+R

Hypnotic dancing!

DJ Earworm, you magnificent soul

This is so freaking cool.

I love that it’s an instrumental so that you can hear how the basic sounds of songs have evolved over the past 50 years.

I also love that once it hit the early 90s I was like “I KNOW MOST OF THESE YAY!”

Earworm is amazing.


It’s here it’s here it’s here!

I live for these.

He used Blinding Lights as the main beat, which makes me SUPER HAPPY because that’s my top song of the year. I would have guessed Dynamite as the main beat, but I was wrong.

As usual.

I know I’m not doing my Decade of Music project anymore, but would y’all still like to see an end-of-the-year music recap?

(Does anyone care?)
(Does anyone even read this blog anymore?)

Are you there, god? It’s-a me, Mario

So ever since I searched for “Mahler Hammer” for a blog in, like, July (this one), I get Mahler-related recommendations on YouTube every once and a while. And every once and a while, I watch them.

Today I watched this one:

Okay, two things:

1. What a freaking beautiful performance of a beautiful piece of music

2. I absolutely love musicians and conductors who get the hell into it. This conductor (Christian Vasquez) is so enthusiastic and so into it and it just makes it all so much better slfjslfghalfhakghdakfh

I don’t know. It just makes me so happy to see people feel music. It makes me feel the music even more.

ALSO, 2:59 is Frisson Central, holy hell.

Alright, I’m done.


I found the most distressingly haunting song and it works so well with one of the end scenes in my NaNo. Check it out:

Nightmares, anyone?

(Sorry, that’s all I’ve got for today)


Somebody needs to explain why this song is so painfully familiar to me.

Like…I’ve never played any of the Civ games, and the only other song I’m familiar with by this composer is his “Baba Yetu” for Civ IV, but that doesn’t sound anything like this.

It is seriously freaking me out. Why do I feel like I’ve heard this song many, many times before? I’m usually really good at remembering when I’ve heard a song, but I’m having hella troubles with this one.

There are aspects of it that are familiar to other pieces of music I know, yes. 1:54 to 1:56-ish sounds very much like part of “The Launch” from Apollo 13 (especially with the chimes). 2:13 to 2:16 is like part of that fanfare thing they play for the Olympics (edit: which is literally called “Olympic Fanfare,” sorry, John Williams).


It’s a fantastic song, though. Fantastic. I can’t get it out of my head.

Edit: apparently “Baba Yetu” was the first music made for a video game to win a Grammy. I think this song is way better, though.

Edit 2: Here’s a live version. Live versions are always better.


So I am super into AJR as of…today. I spent the afternoon watching a bunch of their music videos and I love them now.

I posted this “Bummerland” video like a week or so ago, but here it is again ‘cause it’s glorious.

This was the first music video I saw from these guys (last year, I think?). I think Jack sounds a lot like the lead singer of Fun. in this one.

I like how this one feels like a bad dream.


Carrot Power.


What a Wonderful 2020 Song

The more I listen to these guys, the more I like them. And the energy in this song is fantastic.

Sorry, everything else in the world is terrible right now.

Shostakovich, what the fuck?

This is why I’m anosmic. Because my nose is off doing this kind of stuff.

But yes, this is from Shostakovich’s first opera, “The Nose,” which is based off of a short story by Nikolai Gogol. Basically, dude’s nose develops sentience, jumps off the dude’s face, and quickly attains a higher social rank than the dude.

I don’t know.

It’s pretty great, though.


This song is an experience. I really like it.

Sorry, that’s all for today.


I’ve been in some sort of “Handle With Extreme Care” mode as far as my emotions go due to this whole COVID thing. I don’t know if that’s why I was bawling uncontrollably throughout this whole song or if that is a completely natural reaction to how beautiful this is.

Edit: I love how some of the singers were signing. That’s awesome.

Hark! A Pointless Blog!

So this song came up on shuffle today:

I hadn’t heard it in a while and I forgot what a tremendous feeling of anxiety that opening gives me.

Why, you ask?
(Shut up, just pretend you asked.)

Well, we were going to play this in band in 7th grade. We didn’t have any oboe players to play that opening solo thingy at 2:18, so being the nerdiest band nerd that ever nerded, I said, “hey Mr. Garrett, I’ll learn oboe, an instrument I’ve never even touched!” So I got my hands on an oboe and had about three weeks to learn how to play it (and play it well enough to do the solo thingy). I remember being so incredibly anxious about it every single time we practiced and, of course, when we performed it. I can’t remember how badly I botched it, but I’m sure I botched it quite nicely.


Also, cannons have nothing on the MAHLER HAMMER!

I think I found my theme song

So remember a few days ago when I posted that FloriDada song and I mentioned that I couldn’t decide if I liked it or was deeply disturbed by it?

Well, I found a lyric video to it and now that I know the lyrics, I absolutely love this freaking song.

Here is said lyric video, which is substantially less seizure-inducing than the actual music video, so if you were a feared of this song because of the music video, fear no longer!

“I don’t even know where to begin
Or how I should start these days.
The green mountain south or
The Clay of the westerns”

“I wanna discover the key
And open the everywhere place
A mix of sky from Montana
Dipped in FloriDada”

“Oh let’s go get lost in the image
I made of the everywhere place”

I freaking love these lyrics, oh my g o d

This might just be a five-star.


I can’t decide if I kinda like this or if I’m deeply disturbed.

Also warning for INSANE FLASHING between 2:30 and 3:17

Edit: the comments are great:

  • its as strange as the state of florida itself
  • imagine this being the first time you found out you had epilepsy
  • I like the fact that this isn’t even the weirdest thing these guys have done.
  • i love how both art styles have equal amounts of time and complement eachothe- 2:31 OK I DIDN’T MEAN THAT MUCH OH GOD MY MOUTH IS FOAMIIGHUH
  • I’m going to have a wonderful death




And why have I been physically incapable of listening to any other song all afternoon after hearing this?

What Song Did COVID Ruin for You?

For me it’s The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights.

Do I still love it? Absolutely. It’s a five-star (and the first five-star since my Decade of Music project ended).

But I discovered it right at the end of March of this year, which was when COVID was starting to really hit Canada. The U of C had moved to online classes and I spent a lot of my free time watching the news (bad idea, I know) and seeing the daily cases climb, not knowing how bad it would get.

And now whenever I hear this song (especially the first few bars, for some reason), I get that little twinge of anxiety that I associate with the start of the pandemic in Canada.

So that’s great.

Did COVID ruin a song (or songs) for you?

The Cull: Re-evaluating my Top 50 Songs (Five Stars)


So it’s finally that time.

My Decade of Music project is done and, like I promised I would, I must face the difficult (?) task of thinning out my Five Stars. Why am I doing this, you ask? Because a Five Star song is a very special thing to me, and I feel like while I truly enjoy all 50 songs that are currently Five Stars, not all of them bring me unadulterated joy every single time they come up on Shuffle. And that’s what a Five Star should do: bring unadulterated joy.

So we have to cull the herd.

Originally, I figured I’d have an idea of how many songs could truly be Five Stars and I’d just go from there and cut out songs until I hit that total. But I’m not sure if that’s the best way to go about it. So how about we do it “naturally” and just go through the list and see what we end up with? I’mma bold the ones that should remain Five Stars.

NOTE: Blinding Lights is on here even though that is technically a post-Decade of Music song because I’m doing this thing so late after the end of the project that I’ve already managed to get another Five Star. So yeah.

  • Airwaves by Airplanes
  • Algorithm (Alternate Reality Version) by Muse
  • Any Way You Want It by Journey
  • Blinding Lights by The Weeknd
  • Breathe (LMC Extended Club Mix) by Erasure
  • Call On Me by Eric Prydz
  • Canada Dry (Acoustic) by Barenaked Ladies
  • Check It Out by & Nicki Minaj
  • Damn Son by Tobu
  • Dare You To Move by Vitamin String Quartet
  • Death Sentence Lost! (Coldplay vs. Dethklok) by …And Sushi! Productions
  • Doin’ It Right (feat. Panda Bear) by Daft Punk
  • Door by Caroline Polachek
  • Get Over It by OK Go
  • Gold (Thomas Jack Radio Edit) by Gabriel Rios
  • Golden Dandielions by Barns Courtney
  • Gone by JR JR
  • Hello (Single Edit) by Martin Solveig & Dragonette
  • Here It Goes Again by OK Go
  • Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap
  • Hide and Seek (A Cappella Cover) by Dan Wright
  • Hula Hoop (Mark Ianni Bootleg) by Omi
  • Ice Cream by MIKA
  • Infectious by Tobu
  • Jealous (I Ain’t With It) by Chromeo
  • Jealously by Robert DeLong
  • Life by Tobu
  • Lights and Music by Cut Copy
  • Madness by Muse
  • Mirrors (Radio Edit) by Justin Timberlake
  • O Magnum Mysterium by Robert Shaw
  • Paradise by Coldplay
  • Paradise (Gabe Flaherty Remix) by Coldplay
  • Peanut Butter Jelly by Galantis
  • Pieces of Me by Ashlee Simpson
  • Pressure (feat. the UCLA Bruin Marching Band) by Muse
  • Run for Cover by The Killers
  • Running Away by The Royal Foundry
  • Send Me on My Way (Jesse Bloch Bootleg) by Rusted Root
  • Sleepyhead by Passion Pit
  • Sleepyhead (Cillo Mix) by Passion Pit
  • Sleepyhead (Jazzsteppa Remix) by Passion Pit
  • Something Human by Muse
  • The Riddle by Gigi D’agostino
  • This Is So Good (Radio Edit) by Ehrencrona
  • Tightrope by WALK THE MOON
  • Tilted by Christine and the Queens
  • Valdres March by the Eastman Wind Ensemble & Frederick Fennell
  • Viva la Vida by Coldplay
  • When I Need a Friend by Coldplay
  • Work This Body by WALK THE MOON

There. There are 25 that are bolded.

But I feel like this is a much tighter Five Star list, which is what I was looking for in the first place. I want it to be really hard to knock a song off of this list – which, looking at the 25 bold songs, is true. I’d have a hard time picking any of those to be demoted. Especially compared to the original list of 50; there were a good number that were very easily removed from Five Star status.

So yay? The real test will be when I find my next “ZOMG THIS IS SO FANTASTIC” song and I have to go in and actually kick something off of the bold list above. But we’ll get there when we get there.

Decade of Music Project Bonus: Pre-2010 Songs and Music Videos

So a few weeks ago I made a series of blogs about my Decade of Music project in which I talked about my favorite songs, favorite music videos, etc. from the past 10 years of downloading songs. Well, I want to make sure that some of my pre-2010 songs get some recognition, so let’s spend this blog talking about all the music I had prior to my project!

This review/summary is going to be a lot more succinct, but I figured it was only fair to do one. After all, a good number of my favorite songs are from pre-2010, and they deserve to et noticed. So let’s do a short and sweet little review, shall we? In this blog, I’ll talk about 1) my top five pre-2010 songs and 2) my top five pre-2010 music videos.

A quick note before we get started: prior to my Decade of Music project, I did not keep track of when I acquired songs or anything like that. I just accrued them without record. So these songs could be from 2009, they could be from 2006, they could be from prior to that. I know that probably doesn’t matter to anyone, but it’s worth saying that I didn’t keep good records prior to the project.

Alrighty, enough rambling. Ready? GO!

The Top Five Pre-2010 Songs
Ranked from fifth most favorite to most favorite.

5. O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen
Picking #5 was hard, but I’m going to have to go with this song. I’ve mentioned it on here before, but we played an “arranged for band” version of this in concert band in spring of 2007. That year (that semester, mainly) was kind of like a personal “Age of Enlightenment” for me, where I really felt an urge to learn and be connected with the world through knowledge and philosophy. I remember playing this in the Admin building and feeling so…amazed by all that we knew about the universe and how much there was still to learn about it. I don’t know, it’s hard to describe the feeling. But this song still brings me back to that wonder, and I love it.

4. Lights and Music by Cut Copy
This was an iTunes freebie back in 2007 (remember when that was a thing? BRING IT BACK, ITUNES). The best thing about this song is the chorus (1:20). More specifically, that synth in the chorus. Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good synth.

3. Sleepyhead (Jazzsteppa Remix) by Passion Pit
If you look a bit further down the page, you’ll see Sleepyhead is my #1 song (obviously). I have acquired a lot of remixes of the song, but this is definitely the best. I judge a remix of Sleepyhead by what they do with the chorus, and this is the only remix whose chorus rivals the original one (1:20). It’s a different vibe, but I love it so much. I found this remix in September of 2009, so it just missed the project cutoff.

2. Call on Me by Eric Prydz
THE BEAT IS SO GOOD *wild screeching* and there’s so much energy. I actually can’t remember where I found this song (MySpace maybe?), but I’m very glad I did. Fun fact: it’s actually based on a sample of “Valerie” by Steve Winwood, and apparently Winwood liked it so much that he re-recorded his vocals of “Valerie” so they’d fit “Call on Me” better. Nice.

1. Sleepyhead by Passion Pit
Of course Sleepyhead is my #1, where have you even been? This song missed the Decade of Music cutoff by less than a year (February 24, 2009 was when it was an iTunes freebie, because again, that’s the kind of stupid nonsense I remember forever) and it will forever be associated with Vancouver/UBC, because it came out right before I went up there for a weekend tour of the campus for grad school. But regardless of that, it’s still my #1, and the reason is the chorus (1:20). Such. A. Good. Chorus.

The Top Five Pre-2010 Music videos
Ranked from fifth most favorite to most favorite.

5. The Riddle by Gigi D’agostino

My friend Jacob introduced me to this amazing song one late summer night in 2008 over MSN Messenger and everyone I show it to loves it. The music video is really fantastic as well and captures the funkiness of the song really well.

4. Symphonies by Dan Black

(Can’t find the non-Kid Cudi version on YouTube and this original is so much better)
I really love the different movie credit/openings styles as a music video idea. I think it’s super creative.

3. Pork and Beans by Weezer

Oh look, meme references. But done well. If this doesn’t make you nostalgic for that era of the Tubes, then you did not waste enough of your life on the internet in the late aughts.

2. Get Over It by OK Go

So basically every other OK Go music video is way more grandiose and insane than this one, but this is my favorite of all of their vids. I don’t know why. I think I like the simplicity and how it still has that OK Go “feel” to it in all the visual lyrics/puns. Also, it’s a banging good song.

1. Call on Me by Eric Prydz

A young Justin Trudeau goes to an aerobics class with a bunch of ladies and everyone exercises suggestively.
(You can’t tell me that guy doesn’t look like Trudeau.)

I was going to add a bonus “top memories” category, too, but it would be way too hard to pick a top 5 or even a top 10 for that, since these songs span the whole pre-2010 portion of my life. So I think I’ll stop here.


Decade of Music Project: Best of the Best

ALRIGHTY, so welcome to my Decade of Music Project Summary Day Five. This’ll be the last one, I swear. It will also be the most important one, as today we’re going to talk about my favorite songs of the whole decade.


I am.
So let’s go.

So the first thing I’mma do is list out the 50 songs that were of five-star status by the end of the project. They are as follows (just in alphabetical order):

  • Airwaves by Airplanes
  • Algorithm (Alternate Reality Version) by Muse
  • Any Way You Want It by Journey
  • Breathe (LMC Extended Club Mix) by Erasure
  • Call On Me by Eric Prydz
  • Canada Dry (Acoustic) by Barenaked Ladies
  • Check It Out by & Nicki Minaj
  • Damn Son by Tobu
  • Dare You To Move by Vitamin String Quartet
  • Death Sentence Lost! (Coldplay vs. Dethklok) by …And Sushi! Productions
  • Doin’ It Right (feat. Panda Bear) by Daft Punk
  • Door by Caroline Polachek
  • Get Over It by OK Go
  • Gold (Thomas Jack Radio Edit) by Gabriel Rios
  • Golden Dandielions by Barns Courtney
  • Gone by JR JR
  • Hello (Single Edit) by Martin Solveig & Dragonette
  • Here It Goes Again by OK Go
  • Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap
  • Hide and Seek (A Cappella Cover) by Dan Wright
  • Hula Hoop (Mark Ianni Bootleg) by Omi
  • Ice Cream by MIKA
  • Infectious by Tobu
  • Jealous (I Ain’t With It) by Chromeo
  • Jealously by Robert DeLong
  • Life by Tobu
  • Lights and Music by Cut Copy
  • Madness by Muse
  • Mirrors (Radio Edit) by Justin Timberlake
  • O Magnum Mysterium by Robert Shaw
  • Paradise by Coldplay
  • Paradise (Gabe Flaherty Remix) by Coldplay
  • Peanut Butter Jelly by Galantis
  • Pieces of Me by Ashlee Simpson
  • Pressure (feat. the UCLA Bruin Marching Band) by Muse
  • Run for Cover by The Killers
  • Running Away by The Royal Foundry
  • Send Me on My Way (Jesse Bloch Bootleg) by Rusted Root
  • Sleepyhead by Passion Pit
  • Sleepyhead (Cillo Mix) by Passion Pit
  • Sleepyhead (Jazzsteppa Remix) by Passion Pit
  • Something Human by Muse
  • The Riddle by Gigi D’agostino
  • This Is So Good (Radio Edit) by Ehrencrona
  • Tightrope by WALK THE MOON
  • Tilted by Christine and the Queens
  • Valdres March by the Eastman Wind Ensemble & Frederick Fennell
  • Viva la Vida by Coldplay
  • When I Need a Friend by Coldplay
  • Work This Body by WALK THE MOON

For funsies, let’s see how many of these came from each year. A chart! Note that “2009” is just a placeholder year for all the pre-project tunes.

I’m…actually surprised how many pre-project songs retained their five-star status. I guess they’re truly the keepers. But I’ll talk more about those in some other blog. THIS blog is all about the favorites from the project.

So I was originally going to do like “Top 5 Sad Songs” and “Top 5 Beautiful Songs” and “Top 5 Energizing Songs” and the like, but then I decided to just go with the simple “Top 5 Overall Songs” so as not to dilute their moment with other nonsense.

So here it is: from fifth favorite to most favorite: My Top 5 Songs of the Decade!

#5: Doin’ It Right (feat. Panda Bear) by Daft Punk

The simplicity of this song makes is so very good. It’s basically the same line over and over again (plus a little bit more), but the components of the song layer over one another as it goes on and adds a lot of depth to it. It’s super chill and has great bass. It also reminds me of 2013, which was a pretty damn good year for me.

#4: Infectious by Tobu

Hey look, it’s 2020’s theme song
This song has mad energy, yo. Especially during those first 30 or so seconds. I like how there’s always some part of this song that’s “moving.” Also, I discovered this song on a YouTube video showing drone footage of Calgary’s walking paths, so it always reminds me of walking. Which is a good feeling.

#3: Pressure (feat. the UCLA Bruin Marching Band) by Muse

The original song is okay. But this marching band version is SO. MUCH. BETTER. I love what the addition of the drumline and the brass does to the song. It gives it such a different vibe and Bellamy’s vocals go fantastic with it all. From the comments, some people like the crowd noises mixed into the track and some people don’t. I love them. It adds to the whole “marching band in a stadium” feel.

#2: This Is So Good by Ehrencrona

I can’t find the version I have of this song anywhere on the internet anymore. So I found the one that’s closest. This is another song that has E N E R G Y and is constantly moving. As I mentioned in my little “music memories” blog a few days ago, I associate this song with driving home from my job at Pima Community College in Tucson. I got off of work around 9 PM, it was dark, there weren’t a lot of cars out, and I would just blast this as loud as I could with my windows down. Good times.

#1: Running Away by The Royal Foundry

I heard a snippet of that opening synth part on a YouTube ad for some Alberta-related thing and I don’t think I’ve ever opened the SoundHound app on my phone so quickly. I was lucky to catch the name of the song, because now it’s got the honor of being my #1 for the entire decade. Out of 3,650+ songs, this is my favorite one from the past 10 years of downloading. It’s mainly because of that synth part, but the rest of the song (especially the chorus) is fantastic as well. Plus, the group is from Alberta!

So yeah! That’s the end of my Decade of Music-related blogs. I hope you enjoyed them. It’s weird not doing this project anymore (since, you know, you get used to doing something every day if you’ve done it for 10 years straight), but hopefully I’ll still regularly find great tunes to share with y’all. Thanks for putting up with all my music nonsense!

Decade of Music Project: Music Videos

AHOY! Welcome to my Decade of Music Project Summary Day Four. Today we’re going to cover an aspect of this project that I’ve been excited about since the first day: the music videos! Because sometimes a good music video will stick with you even more than the associated song.

Now before we begin, I want to preface this by saying that I did not watch every song’s music video. I didn’t have the time, and when I had the time, I didn’t have the patience. HOWEVER, a good number of the songs in this project were found via browsing YouTube, which often resulted in exposure to music videos. But yeah, I didn’t watch every music video I could have for this project, so I apologize in advance if you see a song on my list and are like “BUT ITS MUSIC VIDEO IS THE RADDEST RAD THAT EVER RADDED” and I don’t have it on this list. That probably just means I didn’t see the video.

(Or we have different definitions of “rad”).

Alright. So like everything else, I’m going to do this by categories, ‘cause that gives me the opportunity to mention videos that I really liked but would not make a “Top 10” list or something like that. And if a video technically fits into more than one category, I’m just going to keep things simple and limit it to what I consider to be its “main” category. A music video can, for example, be both weird and tell a story, but I would pick whichever category I think applies the best.

We good? Cool.

ONWARDS! Note that these are all ranked from 5th most favorite to top favorite.

The Top Five Visually Appealing or Beautiful Music Videos
5. “Golden Dandelions” by Barns Courtney
I love the surrealness of the mix of images/videos used in this one. The one of the guy in the office with the backdrop of the fetus rising over the earth at 2:03 is just super cool to me.

4. “Light It Up” by Major Lazer
Which dancing dude is your favorite? Mine is the one at 1:43 I think.

3. “Baby I’m Yours” by Breakbot
So much color and such smooth transitions! That whole sequence from 1:51 to the end is beautiful.

2. “The Music Scene” by Blockhead
Anthony F. Schepperd’s art/animation style is so psychedelic detailed. This is how I wish I could draw.

1. “Door” by Caroline Polachek
I don’t know what it is about this, but it is, in my opinion, the most beautiful music video I have ever seen. Caroline is gorgeous and the lighting in all the different scenes is perfect. I really, really love the shot at 3:00. Pause the video there and just look at how phenomenally pretty that shot is. Ugh.

The Top Five Weird or WTF Music Videos
5. “Cassius” by Foals
Just…so many hearts. Why.

4. “Crab Rave” by Noisestorm
Want some dancing crabs? You know you do.

3. “Hey There Mr.” by Leisure Alaska
I don’t know what the description “hunter rides eyeball horse towards wild singing mouths that have tornado powers” conjures up in your mind, but if your mind is too “WTF?” to come up with something, Leisure Alaska was nice enough to put this phrase into a music video for you so that you could experience one rendition of it.

2. “Horse” by Salvatore Ganacci
I don’t know what my favorite part of this video is, the dancing at 2:10 or that expert squat Salvatore is executing as he’s punching the grandma at 2:28. The chair flying off at 1:18 is pretty great, too.

1. “Shoes” by Tiga
This song on its own is weird. Go find a version of it on YouTube where it’s just the lyrics or a static image or something and listen to it. Have you done that? You’ve experienced the song? It’s weird, right? Now watch the video. The video is even weirder.

The Top Five Music Videos That Tell a Story
5. “Breezeblocks” by alt-J
I can’t really say anything about this one without spoiling it, so watch it.

4. “Jenny” by Studio Killers
All love stories should end with one partner transforming into a big cat.

3. “Paradise” by Coldplay
This song means a lot to me (as I explained in this blog) and I cry every single time elephant Chris finds his band and runs towards them.

2. “Let’s Go” by Stuck In the Sound
I love the premise behind this story.

1. “Genghis Khan” by Miike Snow
All love stories should end with repressed feelings being expressed in dance.

The Top Five Most Impactful Music Videos (videos that I think about a lot)
5. “You and I” by Crystal Fighters
YouTube’s “let’s put thumbnails of related videos all over the screen during the last 20 seconds of a video” kind of ruins the impact of this one, but it’s still worth watching until the end.

4. “This Is America” by Childish Gambino
I don’t know if I even have to explain this one.

3. “The Story of O.J.” by JAY-Z
This one, either.

2. “Sons” by Concorde
You can feel the young girl’s insecurity in this video. I love the animation and the way the two stories are interwoven. Very well done.

1. “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes
This one has really stuck with me since I first found it in 2010. What a sad premise, knowing that things cannot be permanently reversed.

The Top Five Dance Music Videos
5. “Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels” by Todrick Hall
I love the choreography and colors.

4. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by the Backstreet Boys
The 90s-style dancing and choreography is real in this one, yo. Instant flashbacks to when I was in 5th grade and ‘Nsync and the Backstreet Boys were all the rage. I remember dancing to my ‘Nsync CD in my room.

3. “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn
Videos shot in one take are always impressive. The lighting in this one is cool, too.

2. “Sorry” by Justin Bieber
I like the colorful, mismatched outfits. The dancing is mesmerizing to me.

1. “Tilted” by Christine and the Queens
This is such a simple video in the sense that it’s not flashy or full of colors and lights, and it fits the song perfectly.

The Top Five “I Just Like These Ones” Music Videos
5. “Bear Claws (Live Looper Version)” by The Academic
This had to take a lot of planning and a lot of guts to do it live.

4. “This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go
Are you shocked that this is the only OK Go video on this whole list? Me too, kinda. I love this one because of the complexity of its setup (which is something that can be said of most of OK Go’s music videos, I guess) and all that banging/crashing at the end. I love the banging/crashing.

3. “Girls Chase Boys” by Ingrid Michaelson
This is so fun to watch. I bet it was fun to make.

2. “Check It Out” by and Nicki Minaj
I don’t know why, but this is one of my favorite songs and I also really like the music video. It’s also what I consider to be my “thesis song/video” because I found it right around the time I was finishing my MA thesis at UBC and I watched this constantly whenever I would take a break from working (which was often. Not a great time in my life).

1. “Hurt” by Oliver Tree
I just really like this one. Oliver Tree is such a weird dude and this was the music video that introduced me to him.

Decade of Music Project: Miscellany

Hello again, and welcome to my Decade of Music Project Summary Day Three. Today’s going to be a bit different because I want to talk about some miscellaneous aspects to this whole music project – stuff that doesn’t really fit nicely into any of the other summary days but stuff I feel is worth mentioning. The three topics for today will be:

1. The top frisson-inducing moments
2. The top memories associated with songs of this project
3. A list of artists I have come to really enjoy due to this project
4. Miscellaneous songs that deserve mention for various reasons

Let’s get to it!

Item 1: Frisson-Inducing Moments
According to good ol’ Wikipedia, frisson is a psychophysiological response to rewarding auditory and/or visual stimuli that often induces a pleasurable or otherwise positively-valenced affective state and transient skin tingling or chills, sometimes along with goose bumps and pupil dilation. It sounds like not everyone experiences music-induced frisson, but a decent proportion of the population does. I definitely do.

So I wanted to share with you the top five frisson-inducing moments in the songs that I have discovered over the past decade. Here we go! These are ranked from 5th most favorite to top favorite.

5. Lully, Lulla, Lullay by VOCES8 – frisson moment at 3:41

I am super biased towards loving those deep, deep notes, but that woman has such a beautiful soprano voice and those notes at that point in the song are so clear and crisp that they hurt my soul in the best way.

4. “Send Me on My Way (Jesse Bloch Bootleg)” by Rusted Root – frisson moment at 1:33

So most of these frisson-inducing moments have occurred in slower, more “lyrical” songs for me, but that drop is where this remix really departs from the original song and it gets me SO FREAKING EXCITED, holy hell. The energy. I love it.

3. “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap, covered by Dan Wright – frisson moment at 2:49

THAT LOW NOTE NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNF I love it I love it I love it. This dude’s range is insane. Once again, a beautiful chord.

2. The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, covered by VOCES8 – frisson moment at 2:39

I love this arrangement of The Sound of Silence. It’s so different from the original and, in my opinion, a lot more impactful that way. That addition of the strong bass voices at 2:39 (and the corresponding chord) is so unexpected and heart wrenching that it just makes a good arrangement even better.

1. Air on the G String (Bach) performed on the Whitworth Hall organ – frisson moment at 1:05

That CHORD, oh my GOD. That natural increase in volume from all the additional notes at that point is just so freaking beautiful. You can feel it in your chest if you’ve got your headphones up loud enough (do it, it’s worth it).

Item 2: Memories
So in all honesty, nearly every single one of these songs is connected to a memory of a certain part of my life. Why? Because rather than remembering important things like peoples’ names, directions around the city, or what day it is, my brain dedicates all of its energy to remembering stupid things like the exact date of download for each one of these songs.

…Okay, so maybe not each and every one, but like 70% of them. Because that’s the kind of garbage I remember, ladies and gents.

But I’ve selected a few songs that have some very strong memories associated with them. I don’t know why I’m recording these here, since they don’t mean anything to anyone but me and I probably won’t forget these memories anytime soon, but I said above that there would be a “memory” section and I’ve already typed too much stuff to delete, so LET’S GO!

  • Dancer by Woodhands (February 20, 2010). This song reminds me of when I went back to visit Moscow while Vancouver was hosting the 2010 Olympics. I got to hang out with all my old friends, go to a drag show, and have parties in my dad’s basement. Super fun.
  • Yours To Keep by Teddybears (July 1, 2010). My second visit to Moscow during that summer. I had childish fantasies of running away with someone and I was convinced that they’d say yes if I asked them to. This was my brain’s way of trying to get out of going back to Vancouver, I’m sure.
  • What the Hell by Avril Lavigne (January 14, 2011). I heard this in an HMV on one of my walks in downtown Vancouver. This was before I had a smartphone and thus couldn’t look up the song right away to figure out what it was, so I remember frantically typing out in the “Notes” app on my iPod whatever lyrics I could make out so I could search for it when I got home. This song just reminds me of downtown Van.
  • Check It Out by & Nicki Minaj (May 8, 2011). Hey, it’s my “thesis” song! I would listen to this on repeat for hours while I was procrastinating finishing my thesis, I’m not even kidding.
  • Corrente by Karl Jenkins (June 30, 2011). Hey, it’s my “my thesis is finally over and I’m free but now I have to leave the country because I didn’t apply for the PhD program!” song.
  • Good Life by OneRepublic (July 28, 2011). I found this song right before I moved to London, Ontario and I took it as a sign that moving would be a way to “restart” my life and get it back on track. I was, uh, very wrong.
  • Paradise by Coldplay (October 19, 2011). I found this song right before I moved back to Moscow from London, Ontario. This was my song of hope for 2011, because everything was going so, so wrong. I remember I would stop at Rotary Park in Moscow on my way home from my walks and just swing on the swing set, listen to this song on repeat, and look up at the stars, hoping for some guidance.
    (2011 was a really bad year.)
  • This Is So Good (Radio Edit) by Ehrenchrona (April 10, 2012). At this point I was working at Pima Community College in Tucson doing alternative learning tech stuff. I worked from noon until 9 and would always be one of the last people leaving campus at night. I would BLAST THIS SONG in the car on my way home every single night.
  • One O Six (A.N.D.Y. Remix) by Jupiter (April 7, 2013). I’m back in Moscow and working on my math degree/teaching stats by this point. I would always listen to this song three or four times in the morning before catching the bus to campus.
  • Metropolis by Owl City (May 17, 2014). I would listen to this in my office and daydream about going to grad school for stats.
  • Let It Go, Vivaldi’s Winter by The Piano Guys (November 26, 2014). I listened to this a LOT in my old place here in Calgary. This was also right around the time I started talking to Nate over OK Cupid, so there was a lot of daydreaming, haha.
  • Gold (Thomas Jack Radio Edit) by Gabriel Rios (May 14, 2015). This song reminds me of the road trip across the western US that Nate and I took that summer. There were, of course, other songs downloaded during that long trip, but this was the one that was a Five Star for quite a while.
  • Tilted by Christine and the Queens (December 29, 2016). I didn’t go back to Moscow that winter because I had a really bad feeling like something bad was going to happen to Nate if I did, so I stayed in Calgary. But it was super cold and snowy and I missed my mom, so I felt like garbage through like the entire end of the year. I listened to this song a lot during that time.
  • Run for Cover by The Killers (July 31, 2017). 2017 was my major walking year. I found this song right before Leg Injury 2017, which put a stop to my 30-mile days and TANKED my speed for quite some time after the injury happened. I remember identifying with the yearning sound of this song lot during that time.
  • Light Up the Night by The Protomen (November 25, 2017). This was one of many songs Nate and I played a lot when we got Rock Band that winter, but this song also came up a lot on shuffle when I’d walk home from campus, so it reminds me of that as well that winter.
  • Pressure (feat. the UCLA Bruin Marching Band) by Muse (November 15, 2018). I had a really good teaching schedule this semester (three classes in a row in the mornings on Tuesday/Thursday, no classes M/W/F) and this song reminds me of my Thursday afternoon/evening walks up to Westbrook Mall, from which I would take the bus home and spend all day at home on Friday. Good times.
  • Take on Me (Milkshakes Remix) by A-HA (June 14, 2019). My mom was able to come up to Calgary for the whole month of June and she and I would drive all around Calgary and the surrounding area (mainly Cochrane) on Thursday nights. This was one of the songs I blasted in the van.

There are probably a lot more prominent memory-recalling songs, but I just picked these out by quickly scrolling through my Excel pages with all the songs listed on them. If there are any glaring omissions I find, I will add them later. As if anyone cares.

Item 3: Artists
Here’s a list of bands and artists that I have either 1) discovered through this project and have grown to really enjoy, or 2) knew of but only had like one or two songs prior to this project, but the project led me to more songs from the artist/band more than I would have otherwise found

Technically there are a lot of bands/artists that qualify for this, but these are the big ones (and are vaguely ranked by how much I’ve grown to love them):

  • Coldplay
  • The Piano Guys
  • VOCES8
  • OK Go
  • Pentatonix
  • Muse
  • The Killers
  • A R I Z O N A

Item 4: Miscellany
There are some songs that I’ve come across during this decade-long project that are worth mentioning but, for one reason or another, don’t really fit into any of the song/genre/feeling categories that I’ve mentioned so far or will mention in the next few days. So I wanted to just mention those songs right now. I guess this is the miscellaneous of the miscellaneous, haha. These are in absolutely no order.

Dildo by Interactive
I don’t know how I found this song (probably just random YouTube surfing), but oh my god. What an…odd topic for a song. Gotta appreciate the minimalism, though.

Agnes by Glass Animals
It might just be me, but this is the most anxiety-producing song I’ve ever heard. There’s something about the build-up to the chorus plus those spinny-like noises that just makes me feel so incredibly anxious. It’s distressing. But it’s also a good song, so…

O Superman by Laurie Anderson
This is the most ominous, fear-filled song that I’ve found throughout this whole project. It’s anxiety-producing like Agnes, but produces a different kind of anxiety. Agnes just gives “general anxiety” feels, whereas this song, at least to me, produces that kind of anxiety you feel as you anticipate something really bad happening. It’s a stunning, haunting song.

Nessun Dorma performed by Pavarotti
I was going to put this in tomorrow’s “Music Videos” section, but it’s not technically a music video. I was going to put this in today’s “frisson” section, but that’s not quite what it is, either. This performance – the one linked to above – is the best live performance of a song that I’ve found this decade, and it’s because of how you can see the meaning of the song in Pavarotti’s performance, especially from 2:35 or so until the end. 2:46 is magical.

Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor) by John Murphy
I’m mentioning this one in this section because I think it wins out as the best soundtrack song that I found over the course of the decade. I almost made a “best soundtrack songs” section, but what I consider to be the best soundtrack songs change depending on how I’m feeling. But this song is just so emotionally charged and so beautiful that it wins out over everything else. Plus, of course, it occurs during my favorite scene of my favorite movie, so it’s got that going for it, too.

Tomorrow: music videos!
(I’m excited)

Decade of Music Project: Covers, Remixes, and Mashups

Hello again, and welcome to my Decade of Music Project Summary Day Two. Now if you’ve been following this project at all for the past ten years, you know I have a soft spot for remixes and mashups. I also enjoy a good cover of a song. So today, that’s what we’re going to focus on!

A few quick notes (as always):

  • A “cover” refers to a song that I know to be a cover of another artist’s song. I’m sure I have a fair number of songs in this project that are technically covers of other songs, but if I don’t know they’re covers, than I obviously can’t label them as covers.
  • A “remix” is an altered version of a song while still just being made up of that one song.
  • A “mashup” is a mixture of two or more songs.

Okay? Okay. GO! Note that these are all ranked from 5th most favorite to top favorite.

The Top Five Covers
5. “Take On Me” by A-HA, covered by the Brooklyn Duo
I love instrumental covers of things (hence my love of the Piano Guys), and this sounds so good with a bunch of strings and winds. Also, that glissando at 2:13 is hot.

4. “Human (feat. Spencer Jones)” by The Killers, covered by Cinematic Pop
Who knew Charlie Cox was a singer? There’s a lot of feeling in the original version, but I get much more emotional listening to this one. It’s probably because of the orchestra.

3. “Dare You To Move” by Switchfoot, covered by the Vitamin String Quartet
AAAAAAAAAAAAA I LOVE STRINGS, YO. This is so freaking beautiful, especially the chorus. Thanks to Nate for bringing this song to my attention.

2. “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, covered by VOCES8
I can’t handle this cover, it’s too good. It’s a very interesting interpretation of the original, I think, and VOCES8 has such a cohesive, heart-wrenching sound that gives this so much feeling. You’ll be seeing this song again in a list on a later day, too, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

1. “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap, covered by Dan Wright
This guy’s range is nnnnnf. The original of this song has a lot of depth, but there’s even more in this cover. I love the low, low, low notes. You’ll also be seeing this song again later, FYI.

The Top Five Remixes
5. “The Cure [Initial Talk NRS 80s Remix]” by Lady Gaga
Here is the original. You can’t tell me that this remix sounds more like a Lady Gaga song the original does.

4. “Send Me on My Way (Jesse Bloch Bootleg)” by Rusted Root
Here is the original. I like how this remix doesn’t really change too much – it just gives it more of a dance beat and, oh, I don’t know, the sickest drop at 1:33. It gives me chills.

3. “Suit & Tie (Oliver Nelson Remix)” by Justin Timberlake
Here is the original. This remix is SO. MUCH. BETTER. It’s unreal. This was a Five Star for a looooong time.

2. “Sleepyhead (Cillo Mix)” by Passion Pit
Here is the original. Surprised that only one Sleepyhead remix got on this list? Me too. The other main contender was actually downloaded in 2009, so it does not qualify. OH WELL THIS ONE IS GOOD TOO.

1. “Paradise (Gabe Flaherty Remix)” by Coldplay
Here is the original. My favorite Coldplay song remixed beautifully? Yes? Then it has to be my #1 remix.

The Top Five Mashups
5. “The Lone Slim Shady” mashed by oneboredjeu

A mashup of Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady and Caravan Palace’s Lone Digger. The chorus is a killer. I love it so much. Mashups that involve such different songs are very frequently the best ones.

4. “Coldplay Megamix” mashed by Inanimate Mashups
A mashup of a whole bunch of Coldplay songs. That…that’s it. Do I really need to say any more? That introduction of “Paradise” at 3:30 is perfect and heartbreaking.

3. “Never Gonna Wake You Up” mashed by NilsOfficial
A mashup of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, Avicii’s Wake Me Up, and Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping. NilsOfficial’s mashups are so freaking smooth and natural. 4:05 to the end is great.

2. “All About Better Wonderland” mashed by NilsOfficial
A mashup of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster Stronger, Martin Tungevaag’s Wicked Wonderland, and Rednex’ Cotton Eye Joe. This one’s even better than the other mashup on here by NilsOfficial, probably because I love Daft Punk.

1. “Death Sentence Lost!” mashed by …And Sushi! Productions
A mashup of Coldplay’s Lost and Dethklok’s Laser Cannon Deth Sentence. Can there be two more completely opposite songs? There’s like some freaky church music-esque feeling to this song. Definitely my favorite mashup of the decade.

It was really hard to pick the top five mashups. Really hard.

So I also want to include a final category regarding mashups that focuses on the most “unusual” ones. That is, mashups that feature two very different songs of very different genres but that make those two songs sound amazing together. So…

The Top Five “Unusual” Mashups (that aren’t in my Top Five Mashups list)
5. “Call Me Maybe vs. Ignition (Remix)” mashed by the MattSmith
Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe mixed with R. Kelly’s Ignition (Remix).

4. “GANGNAM TIME!” mashed by NilsOfficial
Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City’s Good Time mixed with PSY’s Gangnam Time. I love how naturally these songs blend.

3. “Sugar, We’re Going Down Kung Fu Fighting” mashed by bee-kirby
A mix of Fall Out Boy’s Sugar We’re Goin’ Down and Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting. I suspect Fall Out Boy is aware of this mashup and loves it.

2. “Psychosocial but It’s Sexyback” mashed by William Maranci
Slipknot’s Psychosocial mixed with Justin Timberlake’s Sexyback. Sexy is back and he’s ANGRY. That chorus, oh my GOD.

1. “Tik Tok Together” mashed by doctordude
Ke$ha’s Tik Tok mashed with The Beatles’ Come Together. This is the most natural-sounding mashup of two very different songs that I heard over the decade. Thus, it will be ranked #1 in this category.

ALSO ALSO: I have to have an honorable mention for DJ Earworm. His United State of Pop end-of-year mashups are phenomenal and the 2009 one almost made my top five list (same with his Decade of Pop – 100 Song Mashup). I feel like he deserves his own category, so I’ll just link to his YouTube channel for y’all to check him out.

Decade of Music Project: Basic Statistics

Well hello there! Welcome to my Decade of Music Project Summary Day One. What’s on the agenda for today? Well, we’re just going to do a bunch of general summary stats today, ‘cause I’m curious about several different things that involve looking at the numbers for the entire decade.

First, let me preface this whole thing with a note about my ratings system. Here’s how it works, generally:

  • 5-Stars: These are the songs that I’m always excited to listen to. If I’m alone when one of these songs starts, I usually say “YES!” out loud.
  • 4-Stars: These are the songs that I’m usually excited to listen to, but that don’t bring me the same level of joy as the 5-Stars.
  • 3-Stars: Songs that are above average; I’m okay with listening to these on a semi-frequent basis.
  • 2-Stars: Songs that I usually wouldn’t listen to by choice, but I don’t mind hearing occasionally.
  • 1-Stars: Songs that I have, but don’t really enjoy all that much. (There aren’t too many of these.)
  • 0-Stars: Songs that fall into the following genres (unless good enough to be one of the other ratings): classical, instrumental, soundtrack. I have no idea why I classify songs of these three genres as 0-Stars. I’ve just always done it that way. It doesn’t mean they’re the “worst” songs in my collection…I think I just do it to help classify songs that (typically) don’t have lyrics for times when I want to listen to lyric-free songs. I guess.

SO. For the following statistics that involve ratings (stars), I’ve removed all 0-Star songs just to keep things consistent across years. This is because I downloaded more classical/instrumental/soundtrack songs in some years as compared to others, which would skew the average ratings unfairly (again, 0-Stars are just a category, not really a technical “ranking”).

Just letting you know.

Yearly Statistics

First, I downloaded a grand total of 3,652 songs with a total time of 14,394.05 minutes (that’s about 239.9 hours or about 10 days’ worth of music)!

Here are the median song lengths per year (since song lengths were highly skewed).

Year with median shortest songs: 2012
Year with median longest songs: 2014

Here are the average song ratings per year (0-Stars removed).

Year with lowest-rated songs on average: 2013
Year with highest-rated songs on average: 2019

I’m surprised 2013 is the lowest; I would have suspected 2015 or 2016. 2019 is probably highest just because of the fact that it contains the newest and therefore most “exciting” songs for me.

Total number of each rating.

That doesn’t surprise me.

Ratings (stars) by year.

Total number of each genre.

Interesting? Maybe. Maybe not. But hopefully the next few days will be even more exciting as I go through some of the specifics of the project.


(Sorry, no video or disco occurring in this blog)


So this article is from the Stone Age (2015) but I just found it now, so we’re going to take a look at it. For six songs, there are three samples provided (three for each song, that is). The task is to pick which of the three samples is of the highest audio quality.


I’m going to listen to each audio sample on 1) my $5.99 Koss headphones (the ones I use for walking) and on 2) my massive $600-ish Sennheisers (the ones that I freak out over nearly every day because they’re so damn good). I’m going to see if it’s easier to assess audio quality on the Sennheisers when compared to the Koss.

The tricky part is trying to be as objective/unbiased as possible for each song while still having to listen to each with both headphones. So rather than check my answers as I go, I’m going to first write them down for the Koss and then for the Sennheisers and then check my correctness. This will at least in part mitigate the issue of knowing which answers are correct as I go through the second round.

So let’s go!

Round 1: $5.99 Koss Headphones
Here are what I think are the best quality versions for each song:

  • Speed of Sound: sample 1
  • Mozart: sample 2
  • There’s a World: sample 2
  • Tom’s Diner: sample 3
  • Tom Ford: sample 3
  • Dark Horse: sample 3

[I waited about an hour between this round and the next and am not looking at my above answers as I do this process for the Sennheisers; I don’t remember what my above answers were]

Round 2: $600 Sennheiser Headphones
Again, here are what I think are the best quality versions for each song:

  • Speed of Sound: sample 3
  • Mozart: sample 1
  • There’s a World: sample 3
  • Tom’s Diner: sample 1
  • Tom Ford: sample 3
  • Dark Horse: sample 1

Ready for the results?

Score with Koss: 2/6
Score with Sennheisers: 5/6

Hahaha, wow. Wasn’t expecting that much of a difference!

Edit: turns out there’s a follow-up article. 29.7% of quiz-takers got a 2/6 score and only 4.5% of quiz-takers got a 5/6 score. Interesting!

Do you want to hear what Boney M’s “Rasputin” sounds like if it were sung by stoned demons?

Curious now, eh?

I can’t decide if this is hilarious or terrifying. And the first 1:20 sounds like it should be in a Breaking Bad episode.

O H   T H O S E   R U S S I A N S . . .