The Freshman Fifteen, Part VI

October 30, 2016: I Ran Out of Things to Talk About So Let’s Talk About Music

One of my favorite things about getting to know my new college friends and them getting to know me is sharing music tastes. It’s a way to connect with people, to expand your musical horizons, and to brag about my seasonal playlists that I spend a lot of time and energy cultivating.

Since I lowkey ran out of things to talk about, this Freshman Fifteen is dedicated to sharing some of my fall 2016 playlist with y’all!

  • “Where You Wanna Go” (feat. Emily Hearn) by Graham Colton. I’ve been a huge Emily Hearn fan for a while (Remember that one time I met her?), so when my sister told me she was featured on this new song, I was pumped, and it did not disappoint. “Where You Wanna Go” is just the right mix of relaxed and driving, chill and upbeat. The male and female vocals blend together and complement one another really nicely. The lyrics are also really fun, two people sticking together and adventuring to new places. It’s a good song in general, but especially for a nice afternoon drive in the fall weather Auburn hasn’t gotten yet. *upside down smiley face* *how is Auburn so hot still*
  • “Monsters Talk” (feat. Bear Rinehart) by John Mark McMillan. Okay, this song is a JAM. The instrumentation, especially the intro, is really cool. Bear Rinehart, the lead singer of NEEDTOBREATHE, and John Mark McMillan’s vocals both fit the song and each other perfectly. I’m not surprised that I love this song so much, because John Mark McMillan is generally amazing, so if you like it, you should also check out “Visceral” and “Wilderlove,” my other faves of his.
  • Jon Foreman. Jon Foreman is the lead singer of Switchfoot, but he has a really different sound as a solo artist. This stuff has a much more chill, acoustic, singer-songwriter vibe, which makes him a great artist to unwind to at the end of a long day or study to when I need to avoid stress. His voice is unique, and his lyrics are solid. My faves are “You Alone,” “Inheritance,” and “Run Free.”
  • Jonathan David and Melissa Helser. As I wait not so patiently for their latest album to drop on Spotify, I’ve been listening to some of this married duo’s older stuff. Their worship is authentic, beautiful, and inspiring. Both of their voices slay, especially together, and the instrumentation really fits the purpose of each individual song. I recommend “On the Shores” and “Explode My Soul”; you can also check out the songs they have with Bethel Music.
  • Judah & the Lion. Judah & the Lion is the first college concert I went to, so they’ll always be a special band to me now. They were incredible and exciting live, and their studio stuff is awesome, too. Best of all, it takes me back to the first Friday of college, the first night I ate dinner here (lol I had been eating snacks in my dorm every night), and the first time I met two of my friends. After the concert, I was sure to add “Water,” “Mason-Dixon Line,” “Back’s Against the Wall,” and “Our Love” to my playlist.
  • “Come Thou Fount” by Kings Kaleidoscope. Growing up in a less traditional church, I wasn’t super familiar with this song, but coming to Auburn and checking out several churches and on-campus ministries, it started popping up everywhere. This version has a rockstar arrangement that’s really unique. The vocals are really consistent and pleasing, and it builds really nicely. Y’all know I love a good build.
  • Mat Kearney. Shoosh yeah, I’ve been listening to Mat Kearney a lot. (I also got my roommate started on him a couple days ago, so #win.) His newer stuff is catchy and vibrant, his older stuff is classic and comfortable, and all of it is fantastic. I love way too many of his songs to recommend them all, but if I had to pick, my favorites are “Billion,” “Ghost,” “The Conversation,” “Coming Home (Oregon),” and “Head or Your Heart.”
  • “Wild World” by Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors. Simple. Honest. Relevant. Beautiful. S’good.
  • Where the Light Shines Through by Switchfoot. This album is real nice. The lyrics are deep, meaningful, and inspirational. The rock vibe alternates between laid back and exciting. And of course, Jon Foreman’s voice adapts seamlessly from lots of acoustic guitar to lots of electric. My faves off this album are “Where the Light Shines Through,” “I Won’t Let You Go,” and “If the House Burns Down Tonight.”

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy these snappy little tunes!

(“The Freshman Fifteen” is a year-long blogging project posting every fifteen days of my freshman year of college. Follow along for life updates, deep thoughts, and everything in between.)

Songs for the Snow

IT’S SPRING!

If you know me, then you know I hate the cold. I am a bundler and donner of immense amounts of knitwear, I sometimes drive to school in a Snuggie, and I welcome those random 70 degree days in the middle of winter with my Chacos and open arms. This winter was cold, as winters are wont to be, and I needed a killer playlist to get me through it. Here are my songs for the snow!*

*Yes, it did snow, a whole two times for at least half an hour.

  • Matthew Mole. This man is amazing and makes me cry. His voice and accent are the perfect balance of rough and polished, and his lyrics are beautifully written. The messages in his songs are cute, positive, or both. While he’s simply enjoyable to listen to, his music also has meaning and makes you think. His whole album will also be featured in my wedding someday. I recommend Matthew Mole to anyone looking for something fun and acoustic, but also deep and rich in meaning. Favorite songs: “The Wedding Song,” “Take Yours, I’ll Take Mine,” and “Same Parts, Same Heart.”
  • “Jackrabbit” by San Fermin. This song is catchy, upbeat, and different. Though the female vocalist has insane range, she shows it off well without it feeling excessive. The instrumentation is really unique and driving. Recommended for fans of Florence and the Machine or if you’re just looking for something fun.
  • Sleeping At Last. Sleeping At Last creates a really interesting, wide range of music, from beautiful instrumental to singer-songwriter. I like his instrumental stuff and his other music equally, because I think he carries over awesome musical skill into both types. The messages in his lyrics are absolutely gorgeous, really positive, and well communicated. His music leaves you feeling uplifted, optimistic, and hopeful, and I highly recommend powering through his Atlas album whenever you get the chance (or if you’re maybe writing an entire four-page paper in one night lol not like I did that or anything). Favorite songs: “You Are Enough,” “Sun,” and “Pluto.”
  • “It’s Alright Now” by Bombay Bicycle Club. Oh my goodness, I love this song so much. I never, ever skip it when it comes on. The instrumentation is driving and different and the perfect complement to the vocals, and it’s just a fun jam, especially in the car. Recommended for people looking for something unique, but not too strange.
  • “Pierre” by Ryn Weaver. Ryn Weaver’s vocals are both pretty and bold. This song is fun to dance to or to just listen to and sort of bob your head (because you definitely can’t help but bob your head). The music behind her vocals works really well with her voice and the tone of the song. I recommend this song for fans of Florence and the Machine again (or “Jackrabbit” above). (Other songs of hers that I like include “Free” and “Traveling Song.”)
  • Empires by Hillsong United. After seeing Hillsong United perform live at Passion, I started listening to the Empires album, and OMG it’s really good. Hillsong’s lyrics are beautiful and unique, praising God without being cheesy about it. Overall, this is a more chill worship album, but it still has some good builds and climaxes. Recommended for someone who wants non-stereotypical Jesus jams. Favorite songs: “Heart Like Heaven,” “Touch the Sky,” and “Here Now (Madness.”

And that’s my winter playlist! Hope you enjoy!

Cranking Up Christmas Cheer

I have decided that it’s going to be the best Christmas ever.

Last week, I realized that I was being a bit of a Scrooge. December birthday + finals can cause the holidays to lose some of their magic. I was excited(ish) about Christmas, but more preoccupied with passing my classes and letting everybody know my opinion on combined birthday/Christmas gifts.

Then, I decided to stop being lame and transformed myself into an actual elf.

This playlist helped.

Looking for some holiday tunes to dance around the kitchen to while you bake cookies or enjoy while you wrap presents? I’ve got you covered.

  • The Oh Hellos’ Family Christmas Album by The Oh Hellos. This album only has four songs, but they’re all phenomenal, combining a storytelling vibe with lots of acoustic, folksy instruments and large-group vocals. They feature an aggregate of verses and refrains from classic carols, mashed together to create new, amazing pieces. I recommend this album to everyone, because I recommend all of The Oh Hellos to everyone, but especially to people looking for Christmas music that’s upbeat and/or has some great builds.
  • We Have a Savior by Hillsong Worship. If you wanted more folksy, here you have it. We Have a Savior features more upbeat, folksy Christmas tunes, with a mix of old carols and new favorites. The entire album proclaims the message of its title: Christmas is a celebrating that we have a Savior, and His name is Jesus. Favorite songs: “We Have a Savior,” “Born Is the King (It’s Christmas),” and “O Come Let Us Adore Him.”
  • “O Holy Night” by The Hunts. Who knew there was so much folksy Christmas music out there? This version of “O Holy Night” is more upbeat than most, featuring a lot of violins and cool stringy instruments as well as a killer female vocalist. It’s a fun new twist on a classic carol that you should definitely check out.
  • Christmas by Michael Buble. Michael Buble is the voice of Christmas okay. This entire album is the epitome of holiday spirit and it’s impossible not to feel giddy with Christmas cheer when you listen to it. Which you should.
  • “Hallelujah” by Eddie Kirkland with North Point Music. This song off North Point’s Christmas: Let There Be Light album is one of my faves. It’s overflowing praise and joy mixing the Hallelujah chorus, classic Christmas lyrics, and crazy rad instrumentation. It truly makes me want to “rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come.” (All of the North Point Christmas albums make me want to, actually.)
  • “O Come O Come Emmanuel” by Phil Wickham. Phil Wickham’s version of this beautiful carol wins the award for my favorite Christmas song ever. The lyrics of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” are already gorgeous, a message of crying out to God and finding hope in Him. Phil Wickham’s voice and the builds in this song (I love me some builds) make it a really fantastic version and a really fantastic way to remember what Christmas truly means: Emmanuel, God with us.

I hope these make you want to crank up the Christmas cheer! Let me know some of your favorite holiday tunes in the comments. Merry Christmas (almost-ish)!

Fall Favorites

Hi, I’m Haley and I like music. A lot.

Here are some of my favorite songs/albums/artists from this fall. They’ll help you sip your pumpkin spice latte as you don a sweater at a bonfire. (No judgment, though, because I actually get a pumpkin chai latte and it is life. Also, I made chocolate chip pumpkin bread. Go. Pumpkin. Don’t let anyone tell you different.)

  • Wilder Minds by Mumford & Sons. Up until this fall, I had never liked Mumford & Sons. They were way too twangy for me. However, their latest album is a lot more alternative, calming, and more rock with less folksy aggression. Favorite songs: “The Wolf,” “Snake Eyes,” and “Broad-Shouldered Beasts.”
  • Dear Wormwood by The Oh Hellos. THIS ALBUM IS ONE OF THE GREATEST THINGS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. It’s folksy, it’s cheerful, it’s meaningful, it’s deep, it’s beautiful, it’s AMAZING. LISTEN TO ALL OF IT RIGHT NOW.
  • “Peace Song” by Kye Kye. This song is super chill and super calming. I really like Kye Kye’s voice, the simplistic beat and instrumentation, and lyrics of the verses.
  • The Paper Kites. I like a lot of The Paper Kites’ older stuff, off their albums Woodland and Young North. They’re acoustic-y, pretty, and chill, with some great vocals (and harmonies. Always harmonies). Favorite songs: “Featherstone,” “A Maker of My Time,” and “Paint.”
  • “Tears” by The Tragic Thrills. Thank you, Spotify Discover Weekly! This song is driving and fun with a great beat and positive message about accepting scars and tears as a reminder of our humanity. The changing instrumentation from verses to chorus to instrumental riffs is also a plus.
  • The Inlaws. Of course, they only have three songs (“Future,” “Walls,” and “Don’t Give Up”), but I can’t decide which is better. The vocals slayyyyyyyy, the melodies are wonderful, and the messages of the lyrics are hopeful, telling the story of working hard for love. Their self-titled debut EP seems to be all about building: building a relationship, building trust, building willingness to be with another person. Add a lot of acoustic guitar, and that’s one beautiful album.
  • Ben Rector. Without this man, I don’t know if I could make it through college applications. Ben Rector’s happy melodies, brilliant lyrics, and fun, dance-worthy songs have been getting me through essay upon essay upon essay. They’re just good love songs and good life songs. Favorite songs: “The Men That Drive Me Places” (which is so amazing I just can’t), “Crazy,” and “Sailboat.”

I hope these recommendations create a playlist of wondrous fall-itude. Happy fall, y’all!

Emily Hearn Is Just Plain Fun

Emily Hearn has been one of my favorite musicians ever since I heard her open up for a Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors concert this past fall. Her voice is pretty in a very simple, uncomplicated way, and her sound is consistent throughout all of her music but each song is still different and unique. She keeps things fresh and new without ever branching too far out into the “what the heck is in my ears” zone. Her writing covers a range of emotions within relationships. And… she’s also a really nice human.

“But wait, Haley,” you might say. “How do you know that Emily Hearn is a nice human? It’s not like you’re her bestie.”

While I am unfortunately not Emily Hearn’s best friend (yet), I do know that she is a nice human because… I met her. *ensue excited squeals* Yes, yes, I have met this fabulous musician, the writer and performer of such epics as “Like Ships Need the Sea” and “Rooftop.” I have seen her with my actual eyes and taken selfies with her with my actual camera.

Emily Hearn was leading worship at my church retreat this past week, and I tweeted at her pretty consistently to try and meet her. On the last day of the retreat, she tweeted and said that she could meet up with me during free time. I almost died. I showed up with my friend and small group leader in tow, she showed up with her husband (they are perfect together, by the way), and we talked for over an hour about everything from music to Harry Potter. That’s right, she’s a Harry Potter fan. Could this girl get any cooler? (The answer is no because she’s the coolest.)

I got to ask her questions about her upcoming album (which she is currently recording) and meet some other fans, who were also super nice. She even asked me about my music, which I felt totally unworthy to talk about. This girl has songs that people buy, songs that I listen to in my car, songs that she performs in concerts… and she’s asking me about my music? Overall, Emily Hearn just seemed so genuine, down-to-earth, and grateful for her fans. I’m so incredibly glad to have found her music and so incredibly blessed to have met her. Emily Hearn is going places.

Now for some suggestions! If you’re in the mood for songs about heartbreak, check out the album Paper Heart, other than the song “Rooftop” (because it’s not about heartbreak), which you should listen to anyway because it will make you feel better about your heartbreak. If you’re in the mood for songs to listen to as you aggressively squeal with happiness over cute couples doing cute things, try “Found a Heart” or “Gotta Have Him” or “Like Ships Need the Sea.” If you’re needing someone to put into words what you’re feeling about a friend, please please please listen to “Cutting Ties.” My faves are probably “Paper Heart” and “Cutting Ties,” so if you’re just in the mood for some good music, check those out and support this amazing artist!

Greetings

Hello, Internet, and welcome to this thing.

Basically, I suck at introductions and at this point you should probably just stop reading. I wish I could just jump right into the pool of blog, but I am not a jump right into the pool kind of girl. I am a test the waters kind of girl, and also one who likes ceremony. It would feel wrong to start without an introductory post.

First, you should hop on over to my about page and read all about me because I’m a narcissist and that makes me feel better. (Not really.)

Also, and this is probably just me, but I feel like the font on this theme is enormous. For some reason it’s stressing me out. Feel free to zoom out if it’s stressing you out, too. I won’t be offended. (Someone please explain to me why I thought that was funny.)

I will also now explain to you that on this little thing of mine, you can expect to read posts of four types:

  1. Music recommendations. I listen to a lot of acoustic/singer-songwriter stuff, so I will probably be posting a lot of recommendations of artists and songs who aren’t very well known.
  2. Book reviews. I heart reviewing books as I detail what I liked and didn’t like, as well as my favorite scenes and characters.
  3. Christian blurbs. Sometimes, God will lay it on my heart to write a thing, and I will write that thing.
  4. Other crap. I’ve been known to write from the point of view of my hair, so I really have no idea what this category will contain.

Feel free to pick and choose which of these you would like to read. I hope you enjoy the world of blog. (Ugh, you guys, that was so cheesy. Help.)