It’s that time of year when all the websites and publications are publishing their “best of” the year posts. I enjoy these posts, as it’s always great to get a “Reader’s Digest” version of the year’s best books, articles, songs, movies, and the like. I used to write year-end blog posts recapping my year in reading and watching; but those things took a major backseat in 2019, while running and music took a front seat. Sadly, I read only four books this year. But apparently I listened to A LOT of music!
This post is not one of my traditional essay blogs, nor is it your typical “best of” list. But since music plays a big part in my daily life, I thought I’d reflect back on a few highlights from this year and the ones that preceded it.
I do the majority of my listening on Spotify. It always accompanies me — while I work during the day, when I run and walk the dogs, and driving in the car. My other music-listening periods are afternoons/evenings when I’m reading on the couch, cleaning the house or cooking. And for those times, I turn to vinyl on the record player.
According to Spotify, I spent 56,632 minutes on Spotify. That’s 944 hours! I listened to 4,005 songs, discovered 962 new artists (of which 25 were from different countries). My top artists of 2019 are as follows:
And since we’re about to start 2020, my top artists of the decade was:
Spotify also told me that I am “genre-fluid” and refuse to let one sound define me. I know a lot of people, including my kid, would disagree with that. But this is what Spotify says I like:
Last year, I wrote about an article that said people generally stop discovering new music at the age of 30. The study said that between the ages of 12 and 22, our brains go through so much change and we’re more receptive to the songs we hear; hence why we are more open to new music. And that after 30, we gravitate to the same songs over and over again because of musical nostalgia.
I’m definitely a person who listens to the same songs on repeat, but I can’t imagine not discovering new music and singers/songwriters each year. I think about how much my taste in music has expanded since 2010. For me, music is about self-discovery. Songs can express exactly how we feel in a way our own words cannot, giving voice to sadness, happiness, confusion, anxiety, anger, disappointment, and love. It’s all about changing the perspective and gaining so much in return. I’ve been told me that if songs are meant to find me, they will, no matter what. Yet, at the same time, I cannot imagine not having new life experiences or meeting new people that helped me discover those songs.
Both my artists of the decade and 2019 — Dawes and First Aid Kit — are bands that I just started listening to in 2016. And the fact that I discovered 962 artists in 2019 alone is pretty staggering. It’s hard to think what life would be like had I not discovered them (I probably would have read more books, but that’s a separate issue entirely).
Live Music in 2019
Other than listening to music on Spotify and vinyl, I also attended a few live shows. In 2019, I had the pleasure of seeing a re-creation of The Band’s “The Last Waltz” performance, Gin Blossoms (welcome to 1992!), Lord Huron, Mary Chapin Carpenter with Shawn Colvin, Trisha Yearwood and Kim Richey, and Itasca.
All of these shows were great, but Spotify said I really jived with Kim Richey. I first discovered her when she opened for Mary Chapin Carpenter some 20 years ago. After seeing her live again this year, I went in for a deep dive of her music and spent over 13 hours listening to 73 of her songs on ten albums. It was time well-spent.
Leah’s Thoughts on Music Over the Decade
As we close in on 2020, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about music over the last decade. Since I’ve been writing this blog for ten years, here’s a listing of all the posts I’ve written about music over the time Leah’s Thoughts has been in existence:
- My Mom, My Musical Foundation (June 2019)
- Welcoming Spring and Archiving the Memories and Music of Winter (April 2019)
- A Tribute to My Dad Through the Songs of Harry Chapin (January 2019)
- Discovering New Music, Appreciating the Old, and a Laurel Canyon Playlist You Need in Your Life (October 2018)
- My Top 100 Favorite Songs and the Power of Music (August 2017)
- Music, My Old Friend, and a Few Favorite Albums (January 2017)
- What Does That Song Mean?: Explaining 9/11 to Children (September 2012)
- Turn on Those Sad Songs (April 2012)
An Epic 1970s Playlist for You to Enjoy
I want to leave you with a “thank you” for reading this post and sticking around all these years (or just joining me recently). Last month, I celebrated my 44th birthday with a 1970s-themed party. My friend and I created (what we think is) an epic 1970s playlist consisting of nearly nine hours of listening. Feel free to take a listen and maybe discover a few new songs to add to your collection.
I’d love to know what your year of music was like. What were your favorite songs, artists and albums of 2019 and the decade?