Current Artist Obsession-Dawn Landes

Hey everyone!

So I have a new artist obsession. I discovered her from, of course, Spotify and I love her music! Her name is Dawn Landes, and she has several songs that I have been putting on repeat when I do school or writing. A few months ago I was listening to one of Spotify’s acoustic soundtracks (they are all SO good) and one of her songs, Heaven’s Gate, came on and I was hooked.

Here’s my playlist–experience the music for yourself!

Most of her songs are very calming, inspiring pieces that feature the piano, guitar or violin. She has a very folksy element to her music (which I always love), and while her lyrics are fairly short and sometimes repetitive, there are a few songs that have pretty deep lyrics. But the sound is what I really appreciate, and her voice is so soothing.

Another cool thing was her cover of “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John. That’s a very indie song and she turned it completely country. I love it haha.

Probably my favorite songs on this playlist are “Lullaby for Tony,” “Heaven’s Gate,” and “Diamond Rivers.” The ‘bridge’ of “Diamond Rivers” is so striking and absolutely beautifully stunning and I wish it were longer than two lines!

Anyway, that’s just my current artist obsession. Thank you Spotify for introducing me to yet another underrated/not very well known artist who has beautiful music!

Pax in Christo,

Grace

Into the Ocean

Hi everyone!

Today I wanted to share with you a song I recently “rediscovered.”

Into the Ocean by Blue October:

I remember listening to song when I was about seven or eight on my tiny pink Sony MP3 player. I haven’t heard this song in several years, and in finding it a week or so ago I was pleasantly reminded by the beauty of the song. Lyrically the song is mysterious (possibly about suicide) but also it masterfully draws in the listener inside the head of the singer. The music too just perfectly reflects the lyrics and in producing the mood. The violin is a BEAUTIFUL touch too–I could picture being in an ocean from the combination of all the elements.

Blue October’s Into the Ocean: 10/10 totally. Just wanted to share it with y’all!

Have you heard this song before? What are your thoughts on it?

Pax in Christo,

Grace

 

 

 

Once Soundtrack

Greetings everyone! Wow, I haven’t done a music post in a while, and I should really do so more often. However, today I bring you a soundtrack that I absolutely love! I wonder, how many of you truly love an album in its entirety? Like, you could listen to every single track and enjoy it. It seems, and I could be wrong, that as we progress in this digital age, less and less albums are being enjoyed in their entirety, less albums are being bought. All you need to do is purchase a single song (after the album’s been released, not just singles released before the album officially comes out) on your phone and enjoy that song. We create playlists with just the songs we like, which are mostly from different artists, etc.

I’m not trying to generalize, but that just seems to be the path we’re going down. I don’t think there’s truly anything wrong with it, but I also think we would be surprised at how much more we could love an artist when listening to all the songs on an album. A few of mine are Taylor Swift’s debutFearless and Speak Now, the Cranberries’s No Need to Argue and Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why can’t We? and the Once Soundtrack.

This soundtrack is golden.

Like the other aforementioned albums, I love every song on the album and listen to it in full (like right now!). And look at the album cover. THEY’RE WALKING ON A GUITAR NECK. ❤ Of course, I love some songs more than others, but I definitely appreciate every song. Every song is so distinct from the next, and there’s always a unique element I love about each.

Once is a 2007 Irish film, starring two extremely talented musicians Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard who play two “struggling musicians” in Dublin. The film follows their budding romance through the course of a week, I think, where they write songs together and fall in love. The actors (Hansard and Irglova) actually wrote and performed the ENTIRE soundtrack for the film. This just wasn’t a film where the soundtrack was written by someone else and then they just sang it. These two wrote the entire composition, and that makes it special to me.

Now, I know I have a lot of younger readers on here, so I don’t recommend you watch the actual film (I haven’t been allowed to see it yet, but I will be able to later this year) because the foul language is pretty bad and frequent. It’s not normal to any of us, but I think it was used so often because it’s fairly normal to them. I don’t agree with that, but I just want to see them performing the music.

And boy is the music AMAZING.

Reading reviews on the album, I found a sufficient description of the soundtrack: organic. It really is organic. If you listen to any of the songs, I don’t doubt you’ll feel the raw emotions and effort put into each melody, to each verse. I think the most emotional songs are The Hill, Leave, Say it to Me Now, and Falling Slowly. It was hard to even discern which were emotional, because frankly they all have an element of strong emotion embedded in them.

~Particular Tracks I Love~

The Hill

The Hill has actually been my favorite track ever since I first started listening. The piano is what really captured me, and the weak yet pained vocals hit it home. I learned how to play the melody on the guitar, and gosh it’s just so beautiful. The violin adds a ribbon of beauty towards the middle of the song when she plays the bridge. I’ve never seen the movie, so I only can imagine what she’s talking about in this song, but recently I watched the scene online and wow. It’s incredible. It’s simplistic, yet oh so powerful. My favorite verse:
“I know you can’t do it all, but you can’t say I’m not trying.”

Falling Slowly

Probably the most famous track from the album is this one. I learned how to play this about two years ago on guitar, and my sister and I performed it at our old school’s talent show. It’s such an emotional piece, and I can’t love it enough. The piano, the violin, and the guitar marry so well together. The two voices can’t be touched. If you want a slower, softer song, take a listen.

Trying to Pull Myself Away 

Every album needs that one you can just jam to. This song is the one on this album. I love the grunge of the guitar, especially in the chorus. It makes me imagine about a guy trying to catch a girl who’s leaving on a train (even though the lyrics are just the opposite haha). The violin in the second verse is very beautiful and adds nicely. Definitely love it.

All the Way Down 

Another beautiful, but sad track. The guitar is so pretty (he’s such an amazing guitarist!). The chorus is my favorite part of the song.

Gold

“Gold” is definitely an Irish folksy type song. I didn’t prefer it at first, but I’ve definitely warmed up to it. The guitar is very beautiful, and watching this acoustic session was amazing. You can see how much they’re into it as they play, and the fiddle accompaniment adds an element of Irish to it, haha! (and Hansard’s red beard also does not fail in making you think ‘Irish’).

When Your Mind’s Made Up

(warning: there is one bad word in here, in the beginning of the second verse)

This is probably one of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching songs for me on the album. Like the piano in the chorus is lovely, and the screaming (it’s not screamo lol) is so raw and real and the intensity is what brings it to a new level.

I feel like my descriptions can’t do the listening experience justice, so I recommend you just listen to the album rather than taking my word for it xD Everything about the music inspires me, whether to become a better musician and lyricist, or to  follow the messages in the songs. I just wanted to share this gem of a soundtrack with you. I totally get it if some of you like it and some of you don’t, because we’ve all developed different music tastes from one another. However, I hope this post has led you to a new music discovery 🙂

Have you ever heard of Once? Have you listened to any of these songs before? What did you think of them? Let me know below in the comments!

Pax in Christo!

~Grace

Oceans (music and Christian youth)

Sometimes music is so powerful you don’t know how to fit it into words. It’s nearly impossible–you have a dozen components in your head, reasons as to why it’s powerful, but truthfully, it just is and that’s enough for me.

Oceans is that music.

I was never much for Christian worship music. I kind of wrote it off as cheesy, annoying, repetitive and boring. I loved my faith, but I didn’t feel like I was absorbing anything by listening to a banjo and Jesus’ name repeated twenty-seven times in a row. I don’t think anyone else in my middle school class was feeling it either. But…people change with one action, and everything surely changed when I listened to Oceans by Hillsong United.

Yeah, so I contradict myself. I hated repetition, but I think it depends on how that repetition is executed that makes it work or not. See, in oration repetition is used to create emphasis. When a speaker wants his or her point to really get across, they bend the rules and use repetition to emphasize the importance of their statement. It gets people’s attention. However, if you drone on and on the same word over and over again, you lose the attention. Less is more, but sometimes more is more. In the bridge of Oceans, the “Spirit Lead Me” on repeat could not resonate more with me.

Oceans is the best song I have ever heard in the Christian contemporary genre. The music accompanying the lyrics is phenomenal. It’s starts soft, then builds. I’m not all for techno and electronic music (which there is some of in this song), but it works with the piano when it bursts forth from the quiet pauses and the raw vocals. Sometimes you shouldn’t focus on every detail. Let the words be the force that breaks the dam, and your love of God be the water that pours out. Music can be a force, and when I began to listen to Oceans, I certainly felt it. It was only the beginning on my discovery to love Christian contemporary (but really only some of the songs–there are still those that I find less exciting or powerful, but I recognize now that it doesn’t matter–it’s the message embedded in the words that should matter the most…though I’d still probably only listen to it in a worship setting).

Each year teens across the country come together in hundreds of different conferences to have their faith ignited again. It’s easy to get lost in the everyday life. Our focus is distributed to dozens of other things, and it’s all too simple to get caught up and forget why we’re here. That’s the purpose of those conferences: to remind us what we should be doing, and to re-energize the soul. I know it can sound kind of lame. Shouldn’t we be working on keeping our faith consistent on our own? Well, yes. But realistically, it’s still hard to be as energized every day as you are at your Steubenville conference with three hundred other teens that share your same responsibilities and challenges.

Last summer was incredible. I went to my first Steubenville Conference in Orlando, Florida with my youth group. It was three days of hardcore Catholic youth stuff. We had Mass, we had music, we had break-out groups and emotional discussions, Confession, all with my close friends. Adoration could not have been more embarrassing for me as I realized what I was doing wrong (and as a human, I’m still doing it wrong). But it really opened my eyes to new ways of connecting with God, and one of those ways was through music. I started listening to Oceans constantly, It is Well (Live) by Bethel Music, I began learning those songs to play on guitar.

(this is beyond awesome)

(and this)

I’m human. I’m hypocritical. I don’t always act as I should. But this music definitely gives me hope.

But hey, we all are called to live our lives differently. It perfectly makes sense if you don’t like Christian music, if you’d rather sing traditional hymns and connect to God in different ways. The most important thing is to just love and follow Him, regardless the method (well the Ten Commandments are pretty much the outline, but you know what I mean).

To listen to these songs daily definitely keeps me from immersing myself in life so much I forget. I played Oceans at my youth group last week, and you can just see the faith in the room. It was energizing and awakening, and I just love playing that song on guitar and singing it (just don’t expect me to hit that “my God” during the transition to the last chorus xD Can’t do that LOL).

Now I quote my favorite lyrics because I totally can (with beautiful tumblr images):

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Have you heard of the songs I mentioned? Do you like Oceans? Or do you like other Christian songs? Which ones: comment below! [I also love Holy Spirit by Francesca B., and a bunch of Matt Maher songs.] [And Hosanna and Lead me to the Cross also by Hillsong…just too many! xD]

 

 

When You Love Music So Much You Need to Share It

Ah, rediscovering an old song is gold, isn’t it? It’s finally come back to you, even though you weren’t looking for it. A phase in your life has suddenly revisited you, but not in the sense it’s really nostalgic. It doesn’t remind you of a certain time in your life when you heard that song for the first time. It just reminds you how much you loved the song, the music, the lyrics, and for me: the instruments.

As a guitarist who sometimes lacks the passion, I live off of awesome songs that feature guitar. For me I can just imagine the strums pulsating, I get so excited and I’m itching to reach for my guitar, to smooth my hands against the body surface, finger the strings and pluck a note. And then when I learn the song, I feel accomplished. It’s just exciting to learn a song you love. It’s also super helpful to watch the band members play acoustic versions of their songs (because I play acoustic and I can watch their fingers).

So recently I revisited two bands: Vertical Horizon and Keane. Keane’s not really a guitar group, but more keyboard, however their songs sound lovely on acoustic. I especially love:

I recommend you check out ALLLLL the songs. I don’t know what it is about Keane–perhaps their lyrics, their chord structures, just the sound they produce is so different yet it sounds really really good. Their lyrics are raw, in a sense–they aren’t necessarily following “ars poetica non est dicere omnia,” but rather are directly explaining the issue, yet still embedding a deeper message. Like, that kind of writing makes me so enthralled. It’s not loud or flashy [or trashy], it’s just true. I really value that.

OH and this:

AND THEY CAN PLAY LIVE REALLY WELL:

*clears throat*

It’s too bad they don’t make music much anymore, but I won’t ever stop listening to what they have created.

Vertical Horizon is a little bit older than Keane, and can we just look at their band name for a minute? Awfully thought provoking if you took the time to really think about their name. An oxymoron, if you will. Anyway, I really appreciate them for their lyrics and guitar. That’s kind of how they’re different from Keane: Keane features keyboard (heck the electric guitar intro in “Is it Any Wonder?” is a keyboard sound) and drums the most in their songs, whereas VH features electric and acoustic guitar.

Their lyrics are just as powerful, however. “He’s everything you want, he’s everything you need–but he means nothing to you and you don’t know why.” It’s an interesting take on the meaning of love: even if the person seems absolutely perfect, there’s no guarantee you’re going to love them. That’s not how love works. But then you look at it from the speaker’s perspective: friend zone. Yep, basically that. Like, “we’re perfect together, I don’t understand what I need to do to make this work?” I also appreciate the play on words, the alliteration. The song:

And this acoustic cover by Boyce Avenue: (that guitar *sighs*)

Not to mention how to down to earth the singer of VH is:

(and now I’ve given you three versions of the same song. It’s safe to say I LOVE IT)

I think this one is also a personal favorite of both mine and my mother’s: [that opening line is extremely good]:

Ah the feels.

Anyway, these are just a few of the songs I love by them. The lyrics are simple, yet powerful, very carefully woven with the impression they weren’t that hard to write, but I know each word, each note, holds a lot of emotion. I encourage you to check out more of their songs: Send it Up and You’re a God are very good too!

I know I’ve written a few musical posts on here, and you can see my taste of music varies widely, but I always value the honest music: the music written and produced by the same person/people, with real instruments, with real meaning.

I know it can be argued that perception is reality, and with each generation comes that agitated look at the newer generation’s music, but I don’t know, this music isn’t even that old, and yet it feels so different compared to a lot of the shimmery, sparkly and loud music of today. I guess some music will always be viewed that way no matter the era, but to me, these bands are the epitome of what it is to be real in music. They’re low key, underrated, but they’ve always got that one hit that catches the world’s attention. They aren’t necessarily all up about how they look, but rather how they sound. They’re true to themselves, and that’s what is timeless.

Keep your head above the water and don’t let fame shove it under. Other bands come to mind: The Fray, Lifehouse; the two bands I discussed in detail aren’t the only ones.

It’s music like this, musicians like this, that encourage me to work harder at my guitar skills and my songwriting skills.

I hoped I’ve introduced more music to you, and now you know a little bit more about me through my music tastes. I felt it was really important to share it with you all reading; there’s this joy in sharing what you love with others, no matter what you’re actually sharing, you know? You’re giving a piece of yourself, almost like a secret, and you’re hoping they take it and enjoy it themselves. I’ve always loved doing that.

Maybe on the surface this is me just fangirling over songs, but at the same time this is me sharing with you what I love, and there’s nothing wrong with that 🙂

Have you heard of these bands? Do you like the songs? What are some of your favorite bands/songs and why? 

Most importantly: what is the best kind of music in your opinion? Do share!

~Grace

Peaceful Piano~

I remember posting earlier this year about music and what roles it can play in writing.

Well today, I’m here to offer you my musical discoveries! Sometimes when I do my school work or poet, I like to turn on Spotify and browse through the Browse section to see what I could listen to that day, as I listen to music based on mood. I’m sure a lot of us do as well, and, of course, some of us don’t. But every now and then I’ll resort to classical music to get me focused, and what better way than to play one of Spotify’s “Focus” playlists?

Peaceful Piano is a wonderful playlist, ladies and gents.

Often times words in lyrics can distract us from what we write, read, or study. It’s been proven that classical music aids in studying, because “the [classical] music put students in a heightened emotional state, making
 them more receptive to information.” Melodies assist in recalling specific information you read while listening to the melody, just like chewing gum “gets blood flowing to the head…where it improves memory, according to how quickly a test-taker can recall information in the lab.”

So here’s what I’ve found recently, modern and classical pieces alike that I loveeeee:

Note these specifically:

Tokka by Agnes Obel

Intro by Black Elk

Image-Autumn-Womb by Goldmund

and oh, what the heck? Most everyone song on the above playlist xD

Even if you don’t have Spotify, I recommend you checking out these songs on YouTube or another music site.

Music

I think it’s safe to say music is one of the many tools writers use to poet or write. To me, it’s one of the most important and most effective in my writing. Sometimes I’ll be listening to Pandora while writing a chapter, and song after song plays, some with different emotions and messages. When I go back to revise that chapter, I find the emotions drastically changing to match the songs I had been listening to! xD

On a more serious note, lyrics can inspire. Ever heard a lyric of a song that triggers the writer in you? Of course it’s going to be different for everyone, but when I hear a very unique lyric in a song, I sometimes think: “That could be a short story” or “a chapter in my novel.” I dunno, little quips here and there that make me want to write to the emotions playing through my headphones. 😛

With that being said, what music do you like to listen to when you write? I’ve recently discovered (because the weirdness in me causes my music tastes to change like every three weeks) that the Cranberries and Indie Rock keep me writing. I could listen to every single song on a Cranberries album. The Irish band may not be that well known anymore,  but back in the 90s, it was a painter’s soundtrack [as my mother told me]. 

Indie Rock is just all around AWESOME. The simplistic, repeating beats and melodies with acoustic guitar and harmonies really drive me to write an extra paragraph when I feel like stopping. The radio station on Pandora really selects great songs. Plus the 90s is awesome. 

And of course there’s the country side of me. DOLLY PARTON ALL AROUND. If you ever find yourself writing your novel or short story on a ranch, you better turn that country up. 😛 

I guess the point I’m trying to make is, songs can influence our writing greatly. I always like to select songs that match the scene I’m writing, or even reading. My sister loves to select certain songs that produce a certain emotion while she’s reading a part of her book, because then it enhances the experience of the book [when the emotions match, of course.]

So the questions for you all are: Do you like to listen to music while you write or read? Which music, and why? Do you think it has any influence on your writing? 🙂

Have a fantastical day~