Tag: songs

Friday Five: Songs About Autumn

Hi guys!  It’s time for the Friday Five!  That means youtuber Sara Crawford gives us a topic and we have to pick 5 songs that fit that topic.  I have really enjoyed being a part of the series and this week was a very unique topic: Songs About Autumn.  There were a couple of one’s that came to mind first but then I had to ponder on a few.  In the end, I think I came up with 5 great songs- classics in fact.

What about you?  Are there 5 songs that remind you of Fall?  Or perhaps a type of music like folk music that seems to fit this time of year?  I was a little surprised I didn’t have anything spooky but I wanted to save those for Halloween week (10/30 so look forward to that).

The coolest thing about the Friday Five is it has me thinking about music more than I was before.  I had kind of gotten out of just listening to music and was either listening to podcasts or audiobooks.  I am really enjoying listening to music again!  As much as I love the chatter of podcasts and books there is something so calming and soothing about music and I am finding it relaxing as I work.  (Although I just finished the audibook of The Martian and LOVED that so a mixture is always good.  I’m listening to Dracula right now for Book Club).

Next week is 5 Favorite Songs from Musicals….how the heck am I going to pick that!  I could probably no joke come up with a favorite 200 songs from musicals!

What are your favorites and what do you think of my picks?  Are you enjoying this series on the blog?  I hope so.

On an unrelated note I came up with a series I am going to do with my favorite General Conference talks from my LDS Church leaders.  If you have any favorites you’d like me to consider let me know.  Thanks so much!

 

Friday Five: Favorite Songs from the 90s

Hi guys!  It’s Friday which means it is time for the Friday Five!  This is a series I’ve been participating in on my youtube channel where you get a topic and then pick 5 songs in said topic.  Last week was pick a song from a decade and I chose the 50s and nearly everyone else picked the 90s.  So, this week being a grab bag week I decided to add my two cents into my favorite songs from the 90s.

The 90s were of course a very formative time for me as it was the decade I went from 10-19 (doesn’t get more formative age range than that!).  And I remember my Mother telling me ‘all the songs sound the same’ and I didn’t really understand what she meant. But now I hear current music and I think ‘that sounds just like….from the 90s’.  I think whatever is that formative music era is like that for most people.  It shapes how you listen to music the rest of your life.

The 5 songs I picked are also from what are in my opinion perfect albums.  Something like REM and their album Automatic for the People is an album I could listen to start to finish and love every song.  I feel in the digital Itunes age the value of an album has diminished but I still love finding one especially if it tells a story with all the songs.  Coldplay’s Viva la Vida is a great example of a more recent perfect album.

What do you think of my 5 picks and what are your favorite songs from the 90s? What to you is a perfect album?

Friday Five: Songs that Make Me Cry

Today is of course the 14 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  I think we all remember where we were on that day and what happened.  I was going to campus for my senior year of college at BYU.  We heard on the radio of a small plane accident in New York and then I got up to campus and knew immediately it was more than that.  Everything was so quiet and everyone was on their cell phones, which at the time seemed really strange (funny ha!).

I then went to my philosophy class and we watched the coverage.  When they said the Pentagon had been hit I remember literally thinking ‘is this the end?’.  It felt like the end of the world. 2001 had been a very difficult year for my family with my Grandpa and 2 cousins passing away that year.  Then 9/11 happened so you can imagine why I came to that conclusion.

Of course it was not the end of the world but it certainly was the beginning of a new journey for our country. One I worry we have become too complacent about.  We need to do all we can to support our brave men and women who serve in our armed forces and try to elect people who will protect our country both spiritually and physically.

Anyway, one of the things that gets me through hard times is music, and sometimes I need music that can express sadness.  And if I learned anything from Inside Out it is that sadness is an important part of being a healthy person.  And music can help us cope with grief, loss, loneliness and many other sad moments in life.

So this week for the Friday Five the theme is sad songs, or ‘songs that make me cry’.  I chose 2 country songs, which I think is a medium that is particularly good at storytelling. I have one Broadway song from West Side Story, a gospel song from the Celtic Women, and a jazz number from a forgotten singer named Jimmy Scott who you should all look up.  He has such a unique voice.

I hope you enjoy my choices and give them a listen too.  Hopefully don’t cry!

If I Were a Bell

Any reader of mine knows I take voice lessons.  I do it for my own enjoyment and creative enrichment.  I am not the greatest singer in the world but I get a lot from it and that’s all that matters to me.  To me it is the most satisfying thing to start a song and have it be pretty awful and after working on it for a few weeks it is listenable.

I’ve seen great improvement over the years and if you look at some of my past videos and compare it with today’s I think you can see that.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/?s=voice+lessons

So today was the summer recital (we have 3 a year, spring, summer and Christmas) and I decided to sing If I Were a Bell from Guys and Dolls.  It is a relatively easy song but the lyrics are very similar from verse to verse and it kept tripping me up.   Thankfully with lots of practice I got through it at the recital without any lyrical problems.  Phew!

The video doesn’t do it quite justice but the crowd seemed to really enjoy it.  I hope you do too!  🙂

Favorite Songs

My friend Camille has recently done a series of posts on her favorite songs.  To make it easier she classified them as “song that makes me laugh”, “song that makes me cry” etc. Perhaps I should have followed her example, but I thought I could whittle down my nearly 9,000 ipod songs to a top 20. Boy was I wrong!  It was hard! To start off I cut out all religious, classical and Broadway music (that will be for another post!).  Next I created a top 50 list- even this was harder than I thought it would be. Finally I narrowed it to a top 15.  When push came to shove many songs I LOVE didn’t make the cut.

As will be no surprise to anyone, a majority of the songs are slower and melodic, and many of them are on the melancholy side.  This is strange because I am a very happy person.  I just love romantic sad songs!   I like a number of these songs so much that I have learned how to sing them in my weekly voice lessons. Over half are songs I have loved since high school and every single one of them are tracts I could listen to again and again (and have done so!).  I will be curious for both your thoughts on the list and the songs I should have included.  What are your favorites? By the way, I didn’t put A Song for You, King of Anything or Gravity on this list because I just posted them, but they are some of my favorites.

Listed in no particular order

1. Over the Rainbow- this one is my favorite song.  I love it.  I sang it in May and have at least 12 versions in my ipod.  I have yet to hear a version I do not love.  My favorites are probably a great version by Eva Cassidy and a classic by the Hawaiian singer IZ; however, nobody can top the great Judy Garland.

2. Nightingale- Norah Jones blows me away.  I love all of her albums and could have put a number of her songs on the list. I chose this one because I think it is a beautiful lullaby.

3. Dream- Priscilla Ahn’s first album A Good Day was amazing!  If you haven’t heard it go out and buy it.  I could have picked any song from this album.  I love it!  Dream is another lullaby that is lovely.

4. Everything- Michael Buble. Everybody knows I love me some Michael Buble. He is still the only artist I have seen live twice.  He is a great performer and singer- not to mention terrific songwriter.  I think he has surprised a lot of people by branching out of the Great American Songbook and writing his own stuff.  I was torn between Haven’t Met You Yet, Home and this one, Everything, but I figured put an upbeat song in there!

5. I’m Yours- Jason Mraz. This song reminds me of Hawaii and summertime.  What could be wrong with that?

6. Foolish Games-Jewel. I was obsessed with Jewel in high school.  I think I may have listened to Pieces of You and Spirit albums hundreds of times! Foolish Games is a sad song but one of the first ones I learned in voice lessons.

7. Dreams- Cranberries.  I also loved the Cranberries in high school- still do.  This is such a great song- the only song that ever made yodeling cool!

8.  Awake- Josh Groban.  Josh Groban will always have a special place for me because of the amazing experience Camille and I had at his concert- we got moved from the highest seats to right by the stage where I touched his fingers!  So cool!

9. And So it Goes- Billy Joel.  This was a tough call between the Longest Time (love that romantic song) and this sad song.  The fact that I sang it as one of my first voice lesson songs put it over the edge.

10. Both Sides Now- Joni Mitchell.  She set the bar for all female singers/song writers after her.   This is another song I performed in a recital for my voice lessons.

11. Man on the Moon- REM.  The first album I remember buying was Automatic for the People by REM.  I have loved it ever since, which makes nearly 20 years of enjoying this song.

12. Travelin Soldier- Dixie Chicks.  So I don’t like their politics but I love this song.  It is pure poetry.  You’re probably tired of hearing this but it is another one I have sung in voice lessons.

13. Life is a Highway- I have loved all of Rascal Flatts’ albums.  They know how to write catchy hits and this one is their best.  No wonder it was the final encore at their concert!  (I was tempted to pick God Bless the Open Road but I figure an upbeat song is good!)

14. Unwritten- Natasha Bedingfield.   This is probably the only ‘dance’ song I have ever loved.  Despite being over-played and the theme song to the Hills I still love it!

15. Let It Be- The Beatles.  Many Beatles devotees would probably pick something more edgy from the psychedelic phase or more obscure but I’ve always thought this song was beautiful.   This is a version sung by American Idol alum Brooke White.

16.  This Side- Nickel Creek- Ok.  So I did 16 but I just couldn’t leave Nickel Creek off the list.  They are amazing! I must sound like a broken record but I love all of their albums.  They are peaceful, calming and full of gorgeous harmonies.  If you aren’t a fan check them out!  This Side is probably their most popular song and I think you will see why!

Phew!  That was tough.  I’m already picking apart my list.  How is it I didn’t have room for Trouble by Ray LaMontagne, Every Little Thing by the Police, anything by Cold Play,  Ingrid Michelson, Sara Bareilles, Carol King, Regina Spektor, Crosby Stills and Nash, and More.  How did I not have room for any of the standards like LOVE, World on a String, Real McCoy, You Make Me Feel So Young etc?…I guess I will just have to make another list!  I hope you guys enjoy the music.

Summer Recital

Today was the summer recital for my voice lessons and it was another success.  There were about 12 performers plus both of the Hale teachers Amanda and Dave.  Everyone did great!  We have 3 recitals a year and it is neat to see how each girl or boy improves during the intermittent months.

For this recital I sang “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”  by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Like always, it wasn’t perfect but it showed improvement.  I think it was one of my best performances of the Broadway belty style of singing.  I can’t say enough about how thrilling it is to see my voice get better and better.  It’s a childhood dream coming true. I hope you enjoy the video.  It is a bit tough to hear in points, so turn up your computer!

ps.  I was wearing practically the same outfit in May and you can definitely see the weight loss!  Wahoo!

Holiday Music

One of my favorite things during the Christmas season is the music.  This year I even broke the cardinal rule and started listening early in November ( I know what a rebel!).   I have over 300 Christmas songs on my ipod, so I can put it on shuffle and listen to holiday tunes most of the day.  I like a variety of songs including everything from All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey and Santa Claus is coming to Town by Frank Sinatra to For Unto us a Child is Born from Handel’s Messiah and I Saw Three Ships by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Sometimes I wish I could listen to Christmas music year-round.  I love the happiness and memories the songs evoke.   (I also love Christmas movies- Christmas Carol in all its variations, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Polar Express, and even Charlie Brown Christmas- so great!!!).

Unfortunately most of my songs are m4a not mp3 so I can’t share them with you; however,  I am including a few mp3’s that I have.  Enjoy and have the best Christmas time ever!  Oh how I love this time of year!

Music Galore

As I plugged in my IPOD today and put it on shuffle I thought about the variety of music that I like and how each type had touched my life. My mom and dad used to sit in bafflement over the power music had over me. I would spend way too much time figuring out the perfect song/CD to do silly things such as clean my room. They also didn’t understand why I felt so offended at the idea of anyone (particularly them) not liking my music. Neither of them understood how much of my heart went into the selection of my music. I have always felt that music had a special power to connect me to moments- to express my inside when my words failed miserably. As I’ve grown up I have learned to accept that music is an organic experience and can not be transferred to another person no matter how we might wish it could be. My parents will never understand my music and nothing can make them. It’s just doesn’t move them the way it does me- and that’s the way it is. In this spirit it may seem futile for me to share with you my favorite bands/musicians. I am well aware that each of these groups may not suit your tastes; however, perhaps in my sharing them you will understand a little more of my heart- what moves me, makes me laugh, and motivates me to keep going.

You will notice that many of these are groups from the 90’s. Sorry I can’t help it. That’s when I experienced my most formative musical period. These are in no particular order.

1. REM- Their Automatic for the People album is still one of my favorites. It is one of those great CDs that I can play start to finish. It was actually the first tape (yes cassette tape) that I remember purchasing on my own. I love Everybody Hurts, Man on the Moon, Sidewinder Sleeps, Try Not to Breath, and more. Other albums feature It’s the End of the World As We Know It, What’s the Frequency Kenneth, Losing my Religion, Stand, the Great Beyond and At My Most Beautiful. They are wonderful songs I could listen to again and again.

2. The Cranberries- 2 albums are essentials in my music collection No Need to Argue and Everybody Else is Doing it so Why Can’t We? Songs like Dreams, 21, No Need to Argue, Zombie, Pretty, Dreaming My Dreams and Linger are hauntingly beautiful and bold. Dolores O’Riordan is the only woman who could make yodeling cool.

3. Jewel- I know that she has a cheesy side, but I can’t deny the effect her albums have had on me. Pieces of You came out when I was a freshman in high school and while my friends were all into Oasis I couldn’t get enough of Jewel. Foolish Games, Who will Save Your Soul, You Were Meant for Me are amazing. I also listened her album Spirit over and over again and it is still one of my favorites with songs like Hands, Little Bird, Down So Long and Life Uncommon. It is no small chance that one of the first songs I learned while taking voice lessons was Foolish Games. It’s perfect.

4. Kenny Chesney- I am not going to try and argue that Kenny is an original performer; nevertheless he was my introduction to country music and his songs make me smile every time. He hasn’t put out a bad album yet. He is also important because Anna and I went to one of his outdoor concerts in 2005 and the memory is one of my favorites of the last few years. I love You Save Me, There Goes my Life, Don’t Blink, No Shoes No Shirt No Problems, Summertime, Big Star, Live Those Songs, You Had Me at Hello, Tin Man, and Good Stuff. He’s also the cutest man in a cowboy hat for my money.

5. Fleetwood Mac- Can you top Stevie Nicks? Not for me. Silver Springs, Landslide, Rhianon, Everywhere, Dreams and Go Your Own Way are all great songs. Her voice is raspy but deep and the lyrics are beautiful and fun. I have liked Fleetwood Mac since I was in Middle School. I bought their Greatest Hits right when I purchased the REM tape, so it was one my firsts. I still like it at 27 and that says something!

6. Jack Johnson- Can we all be grateful that Jack took a break from surfing to take a crack at music. What a talent! He just keeps putting out one great album after another. Even his soundtrack for Curious George had great songs. Perhaps it is my love of Hawaii that enhances my appreciation for Jack Johnson, but I could listen to his music all day. Flake, Good People, Sitting Waiting Wishing, Dreams by Dreams, Upside Down, Supposed to Be and If I had Eyes are some of my favorites. I can’t wait to see him live in August!!

7. Michael Buble- My mom has always groaned at Megan and my pleasure at what she calls lounge music. Michael Buble has taken that to a new level for me. He is the only person I have seen live twice and each time he amazed me. Entertaining is the word. He is funny, engaging and of course talented. He sings with a massive band and yet is still the star of the show- now that takes charisma. Not only is he great at singing classics like World on a String, Feeling Good, and Try a little Tenderness but he is a great songwriter penning one of my favorite recent songs Home along with Everything, Lost, and That’s Life. It also doesn’t hurt that he isn’t too hard on the eyes and that voice…

8. Josh Groban- Another performer that I have always liked but gained a whole new infatuation for after seeing him live. It’s a long story but through some luck Camille and I got bumped to the 5th row. He even touched my fingers! I know I sound like a gaping teen, but I can’t help it. It was that cool! I wondered before seeing him if his voice would carry in a large stadium. It certainly did. What a talent! On key, singing in Italian half the time, and completely mesmerizing. Where do I start on his songs- all amazing. My favorites are Awake, So She Dances, February Song, The Prayer, Weeping, To Where You Are, and You Raise Me Up. I just hope that David Foster decides to do a Buble/Groban tour- that would be awesome!

9. Joni Mitchell- There have been so many copy cats of Joni that she doesn’t seem as original as she deserves to be. I joke with my teacher that I love bitter woman songs. Joni definitely fits this category. I don’t know why I love these songs, but they hit an emotion in me and in so doing I feel more understood by the world- more able to move on. Both Sides Now, River, California and of course Blue are pure and peacefully melancholy. If I could sing like anyone it would probably be her. I just love her voice and the simple beauty of one woman singing at a piano or a guitar with no airs or pretense for the crowd!

10. Norah Jones- Rarely do I hear a song on the radio and think- “I love that song, I have to pick it up”. Norah Jones’ Don’t Know Why was one of those songs. Her Come Away album is perfect. Every song could be listened to many times and is great for relaxed settings-even work. She has such a beautiful voice and her arrangements are smart and simple. You can picture her sitting at a piano singing her favorite songs- and then oops they got recorded. I have appreciated all of her albums but Come Away is the best.

11. The Beatles- It would be hard to not put the Beatles on such a list. They have so many great songs- songs that you can dance to, songs that are slow and melodic and songs that are poetic-telling you a story. How different are She Loves Me, 8 Days a Week, Something, Eleanor Rigby and Let it Be? It doesn’t seem like it could be the same band. I am jealous of anyone who ever got to go to a concert live.

12. Judy Garland- I feel sorry for Judy Garland. She had so little choice in her life. She listened dutifully to her mother and doctors and ended up drug addicted and unhappy. I admire that despite everything she kept singing- trying to find something over the rainbow. When I was younger I appreciated Judy as a kind of Disney singer but her songs have a bittersweet meaning to me that I find very moving. Only those that have studied voice understand the difficulty of her arrangements and the purity of her voice. If I could sing like anybody she would be at the top of my list. Incredible.

Wow! That was hard There are so many more I want to include Rascal Flatts, Counting Crows, Maroon 5, Barbra Streisand, Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks, Billy Joel, Barenaked Ladies, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Harry Connick Jr., Adam Pascal, Natalie Merchant, Annie Lenox, Elliot Yamin, James Taylor, John Mayer, Alicia Keyes, KT Tunstall, Billie Holiday, Bonnie Raitt, Johnie Cash, Reba, U2, They Might Be Giants, ColdPlay, Beach Boys and more. I am so blessed to have music in my life and hope that I never stop appreciating it and developing my own talents. I can’t imagine heaven without music and I don’t think it will be all hymns up there either! Take care friends and share with me your favorites.