One More Chapter
A twenty two year-old's view on life, death,
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
Welcome to my third annual "Album of the Year" blog post.
First off, I'm sorry to those who enjoy reading my blog (it is very possible I'm speaking to no one here) for not having posted at all this year. I thought several times about writing a post, even started writing, then lost my inspiration. Not sure why, it's just what happened.
So, this is my first post of 2018 - just in time for the new year! (I wrote this line in 2018, not realizing it would actually be the first post of 2019).
This year, my list of the top albums will be done differently, listing my selection by genre rather than just a top ten list. I think it will help ensure a more varied list, help you find new music, and allow me to put more of what I want into the list. So...here we go:
This blog began in December 2013, when I created a list of 14 goals for 2014 and vowed to write a blog post every day of that year. I failed miserably, of course, but it got me writing more regularly and began this project. So, I have stuck with the tradition that got it all started: creating a list of goals to guide me through the year ahead and allow for a more interesting self-reflection once it has ended. In this blog, I'll look back on all the things I've done this year, see how many goals I was able to achieve, and create a new list for 2018.
Last year around this time, I created a post called "Album of the Year 2016." It was one of the best years the music industry had seen in a long time, and it still is. It was the year of "Lemonade," "Life of Pablo," "Joanne," and so much more. Exploring all those albums was amazing and overwhelming, in the best way. Over the past two months I've been exploring as much of the music that came out this year as possible, hoping to have a similar experience to last year. This year some of my favorite artists put out new music (The Staves, Passenger, Sufjan Stevens, Sam Smith, The Oh Hellos - the list goes on) but not much really blew me away. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed most of it and added many new songs to playlists, but there were only a few that really blew me away, felt special, or left an impact - and those made the top ten list. So if you're looking for something to distract you from the horrible news headlines for a little while, here are my choices for the best albums to come out in 2017.
It's hard to believe that it's almost the end of November. In just a little over a month I'll be preparing to return to Umass Amherst as a student for the first time in 12 months. I'm excited for this next phase of life (or, perhaps, to return to a previous one) but I will be sad to see the freedom of the last year slip away.
I left school for many reasons: mental health and new interests being the most prominent. Grassroots politics, environmental journalism and non-profit work had begun to peak my interest, career-wise, and I knew it was something I needed to explore at the moment. So that is what I did. In addition, I took the opportunity to get out, travel, and move away from the "stuck" feeling that comes with being in school.
So, for those who were wondering what I was up to this year...here is a little taste of what I've been focusing on these past 12 months:
I would like to preface this by explaining that I started to write this a week after having left the Lakes of the Clouds hut for the last time this year. But, as it often does, life got in the way and I never published it. So, here it is:
It's been one week since I last slipped out of my grimy, blue sleeping bag and felt the sobering smack of my feet upon the cold floor of our eleven-person croo room. It's been six mornings since I woke up to the smell of pancakes flipping on the griddle and the sound of the ceaseless wind hitting the window near my bunk. And, my god, do I miss it.
When I accepted the offer to be a part of the Lakes of the Clouds croo back in March of this year, I was unprepared for what was to come. I had no idea what kind of community I was about to join. And little did I know, I was headed straight towards a summer that would change my life forever.
Since the birth of this blog in January of 2014, I have made a list of goals that I hope to accomplish by the end of the year. Most of the time I promptly forget about what I wrote in this list a few weeks after publishing it. I kind of prefer this, because when I go back to the post in December to see how many I've accomplished, it makes for a fun time of seeing how different I was 12 months prior and how I usually seem to meet most goals even without remembering them.
Normally I do a list of goals the same length as the year the list is for (for instance, "My 14 for 2014" and "My 16 for 2016") but it's beginning to get out of hand...so here are my 10 for 2017:
i want to talk about social media.
we need to stop believing what it's telling us. stop letting it all in. all its shouting and screaming and ringing in our ears. it's too much for us to take.
stop thinking what others show you is genuinely them. we are not who we craft ourselves to be in front of the world.
This year has been pretty unfortunate in a lot of ways. As Trevor Noah said recently, "this year started with Zika...and then got bad." But, wait! There was one piece of 2016 that gives us a reason to rejoice! MUSIC!
This was, undoubtedly, one of the best years for Music in a very long time. SO MANY AMAZING ALBUMS were released this year. Almost so many it's overwhelming. And now I'm going to go over some of, what I feel, are the best albums to have been released in the year 2016. I hope that you take the time to check some of these out and discover new music. It's a great form of escapism.
I've included a bit of everything in this list: indie, folk, experimental, soundtracks, rap/hip-hop, pop, singer-songwriter, electronic, slow, fast, sad, happy - you name it! Have fun perusing!
As this is a very long list, here is the order to help navigating easier (note, the order is completely random, not by preference):
1. "It Doesn't Have to Make Sense" by Ingrid Michaelson
2. "Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet" by Greg Laswell
3. "Cleopatra" by the Lumineers
4. "This Unruly Mess I've Made" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
5. "This is Acting" by Sia
7. "Life of Pablo" by Kanye West
8. "Red Earth and the Pouring Rain" by Bear's Den
9. "22, A Million" by Bon Iver
10. "Lemonade" by Beyonce
11. "Joanne" by Lady Gaga
12. "How to be a Human Being" by Glass Animals
13. "Who Will Be Next" by Joe Purdy
14. "Young as the Morning and Old as the Sea" by Passenger
I started this blog in January of 2014, as a way to force myself to start writing more. And every December since then, I have done a review of my year, seeing if I reached the goals I set for myself.
Last year around this time, I wrote out my "16 for 2016." A list of what I wanted to do this year.
Now is the time where I look back at that list, which I have since completely forgoteen, and see if I accomplished any of these goals.
Over the past few years I have slowly watched my priorities in life, my self image and my overall goals shift dramatically. Going to Umass (a leading university in sustainability and environmental awareness), becoming a vegan and spending more and more time researching the environment has proven to have taken it's toll on me. I can no longer continue on in good conscience with some of my own day-to-day behaviors that I know can be altered to better the planet because it often makes me feel like a hypocrite when I preach about all the ways that veganism is benefiting the planet but then go on to use plastic grocery bags, reusable water bottles, and chemical-filled bathroom products.
So this semester I have decided to make a few changes in various areas of my life that will help to minimize my plastic usage, support local businesses, cut down on chemicals and allow me to live an overall more sustainable lifestyle.
About This Blog:
I started this blog as a way to challenge myself to write more over the 2014 year, but it has blossomed into so much more than that. I use it to let people in on what's happening in my life, talk about things I find important and to spread the news about amazing people, places and art.