Category Archives: Music

2015 Retrospective – Music

Every time I hear a new song that resonates with me for the first time, I throw it into my “new music” playlist. At the end of the year (or sometimes a few months into the new year) I spend a little time going over the list and put together a playlist of the best music I discovered over the past year.

There are a few artists making repeat appearances from years past, but also quite a few new faces. In fact, there are quite a few tracks on here that I bookmarked for inclusion in this list but never went on to listen to their full album, so hopefully this will also serve as a time capsule for me when I’m looking for something new to listen to.

I hope you enjoy it, and if you have a few minutes I’d love to hear about your favorite music from 2015—drop me a comment below, and it may end up in my “best of 2016” list next year.

2015 Retrospective

2014 Retrospective

Every year, I keep a running playlist of the music that I hear that resonates with me, and then in December I pare it down to a playlist to represent the year. Well, December turned into January, which gave way to spring and now summer. So now, in what I believe may be the last compilation to come out of the year, I present you with the Team Soell 2014 Retrospective. I hope you enjoy it.

2013 Retrospective

It’s the time of year when one stops to reflect on what’s happened the previous twelve months, and I’m no exception. For me, this always starts with the music that’s served as my soundtrack for the year. I had to pare down from thirty or so tracks, and what I was left with was a bunch of music that I really, really love—but that doesn’t seem to fit together all that well. Nevertheless, I’ve compiled them together here for your consideration.

So long 2013.

2012 Retrospective: Music

Every year, I like to compile a playlist featuring music that has served as the soundtrack for the past year. They aren’t all necessarily songs that were released in the previous year, but are generally songs I’ve first been introduced to in the past year. 2012 started off slow; I don’t think I got to ten tracks until the Fall, but it built quickly from there to the point that I had to pare it down from nearly 30 tracks to it’s current set of 15 songs.

If you would like to listen to the Team Soell 2012 Retrospective on Rdio, you can listen below. If you’d like to take it with you “to go,” you can download it in MP3 format.

What about you? What are you best tracks of the year?

April Workout Playlist

A couple of years ago I signed up for personal training at my gym.  To be honest, it really really sucked.  The first trainer they gave me was awful.  I won’t bore you with the details, suffice it to say he was inappropriate and completely clueless. The second trainer dropped a 65 pound weight on my head, and then I got pregnant and then the workouts got so watered down I hardly saw the point.  After I had Lucy I decided to take a stab at coming up with my own workouts. I did some research online, had a Biggest Loser marathon, and enlisted my sister as a workout partner.

I lost forty pounds over the last eight months and while those aren’t Biggest Loser numbers, I’m still happy with my progress.  As anyone who has attempted to lose a significant amount of weight can tell you, IT IS HARD. Some weeks after busting your ass you barely see the scale budge. Sometimes you do. This time around, I’ve done a lot of mental work as well.  Instead of thinking about what size my jeans are, I have been working on thinking about how strong my body is.  Am I a size six? No. Not even close. I probably won’t ever be. Am I winded when I get to the top of the stairs? Not any more.

I used to obsess over how much I hated my body, how it looked, how it felt, and what I felt like inside it.  After I had Lucy I had a whole different perspective.  My body did something completely crazy and wonderful.  It grew and nourished another human being for nine months at the end of which it was cut open to bring that life into the world and then it put itself back together.  Somewhere along the way, I realized I was fighting a battle with myself that I couldn’t possibly expect to win.  Hating and hiding weren’t going to get me anywhere.  I needed to find a way to take care of my body so it could be there for me when I needed it.

I’ve spent the last eight months putting one foot in front of the other, weaving my way through sleepless nights, hormonal cravings, and depression. My progress has not been fast, but it has been steady and when I fall off the wagon, I do my best to get back on and not just give up. My body is now able to do things it couldn’t before and I feel stronger.  I’m happy with that.

Every month I try to come up with a new playlist for working out to keep me interested.  A good playlist is really important to me because I use the music to push my pace and give me a second wind when I get tired.  Andy can listen to podcasts or books on tape when he runs, but I have never been able to do that.  I get bored so quickly.  I swear the minute I start a workout the monkeys that live in my brain go berzerk. I typically shuffle the list so I don’t know what’s coming.  It keeps me on my toes. I tend to be a pop/rap only girl when it comes to working out.  I believe strongly that this is why pop music exists.  Maybe some of you can listen to your supercool fancy music when you work out, but I need a strong beat and a loop, dammit.  Oh, that reminds me, this playlist is not meant for all audiences.  There are some bad words.  You have been warned.

 

2011 Retrospective: Music

Most years, compiling my year-end musical retrospective isn’t too difficult. I fire up iTunes, sort everything by the “date added” field, and pick out ten to twelve tracks that really defined the year for me. This past year, however, I came up with 25 tracks.

I really only have two hard-and-fast rules when putting this playlist together: 1) The songs have to evoke a strong memory from the past year 2) Don’t add more than 12 tracks. I’ve learned over the years that exceeding twelve tracks is the quickest way to make a playlist that falls short somewhere. There’s always a dud song that kills the pace. This year, I’m throwing that rule out the window, and I think it’s paid off.

If you would like to listen to the Team Soell 2011 Retrospective, titled Lucy & the Council of Elephants, you can listen below. If you’d like to take it with you “to go,” you can download it in MP3 format. What about you? What are you best tracks of the year?

Favorite Christmas Albums

It’s no secret that I do not have the cool kid genes when it comes to musical taste.  I like to think of my musical tastes as “eclectic.” I like top 40, I like rap & hip hop, I like some indie stuff, I like musical theater, I even like some country. After one month of dating, Andy said to me, “It’s not that you have bad taste in music….you have no taste in music.” Sweet, right? 

Most of the time I defer to Andy’s collection when it comes to playing music in the house or when we’re both in the car, but the one time of year I show complete disregard to his musical preferences is Christmastime.  And by Christmastime, I mean any time after Halloween.  These are my absolute favorite Christmas albums. I love them all so much and each one has significant memories attached. Except for the She & Him album.  It’s new this year but I’m sure in years to come it will always remind me of Lucy’s first Christmas. She loves her some Zooey Deschanel!

Favorite_Christmas_Music

 

ONE: Christmas with the Beach Boys  TWO: Carpenters, Christmas Portrait  THREE: Celine Dion, These Are The Special Times  FOUR: Over The Rhine, Snow Angels  FIVE: Jewel, Joy: A Holiday Collection  SIX: A Very She & Him Christmas

Social music: Introducing rrrrradio

Some of my best memories from college involve just listening to music with friends; Live’s The Distance to Here with my neighbor Dan DeBruyn, Fiona Apple’s Tidal with my roommate Andrew Draper, driving to the Taco Bell in Muncie with Matt Guilford, listening to the Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack or Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind. Many conversations were had set to music and to this day, more than a decade later, I can listen to any one of these albums and I’m instantly taken back to those moments and I can remember exactly what it was like.

Music has always been an intensely social thing, and as music has evolved away from physical media into the digital age of direct downloads and personal MP3 players, I kind of feel like it’s lost a bit of that interconnectedness. Music has slowly become a more personal, introspective thing and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing I do miss the social byproduct of listening to good music with friends. As we get older and our lives get more hectic, it gets harder to get together for the “less important” things like just sitting around listening to music.

rrrrradio_desktop

rrrrradio is a little something I built to help bring the social aspect of listening to music to the 21st century.  Here’s how it works: You’re sitting at your desk, getting ready to start on your day’s work, but you want a little music to get you started. From any web browser, you can navigate to http://rrrrradio.com and, after logging in, click the play button to get a steady stream of music. When a friend logs in to the site to listen, they will hear the exact same thing you’re listening to. If there is a song in particular you want to listen to, you can search for it and add it to the upcoming queue, jukebox-style, and everyone who is logged on will be able to listen to it. Listeners can even “dedicate” their songs to specific people, who will be notified via email of the upcoming song.

Building rrrrradio really is the culmination of a decade of experiments in this area, and I think what we have here is just about the best implementation of social listening that I’m aware of, outside of actual album release parties. The site has been live in a sort of low-profile mode for the past two months and has been running incredibly smoothly. It’s fun for as few as two listeners and has even had it’s mettle tested with upwards of 30 simultaneous listeners.

But the music doesn’t have to stop when you leave your computer. With today’s public announcement of rrrrradio’s web version, I also want to introduce the mobile version of rrrrradio: the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch app. Fresh from Apple’s approval process, the app is available for immediate download. Listen in your car, on a run, while mowing the lawn, or anywhere else you have an Internet connection.

Now for the fine-print: Powering this application is Rdio’s third-party API, which provides access to the streaming music itself. The upside to this is that the music itself and all the licensing that goes with it is handled directly by them; Without going into too much detail, they deal with the record labels, lawyers, and provide the necessary bandwidth so that developers don’t have to worry about it. It’s really a great deal for developers who want to integrate music into their applications, and we’re taking full advantage of it here. The cost associated with it is, in my opinion, insanely reasonable: In order to listen to the web-based version of rrrrradio, you will need to be subscribed to the $4.99 “Rdio Web” subscription, and if you want to use the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch app you will need the $9.99 “Rdio Unlimited” plan. This monthly subscription not only enables access to the rrrrradio experience, but gives you acces to their entire library of 10 million songs, on demand, whenever you want through their web site, desktop applications, or mobile apps.  I’ve been a subscriber for the past four months and it’s changed the way I listen to music.

If you’re interested but not quite sure you want to plunk down that monthly price, take advantage of their freel 7-day trial. You’ll be able to listen to their entire catalog of music and experience both the desktop and mobile versions of rrrrradio for a full week. I think you’ll enjoy it. Sign up, join in, start listening, and let me know what you think!

2010 Retrospective: Music

It’s list-making season again! I’ve already put together my holiday wish list, we’re almost done buying what we need for friends and family on our holiday shopping list, and I’m wrapping it up with my annual year-in-review music mix, listing out the most influential music from the past year in my life. I used to refer to this as my “best of” list, but I kind of want to make the differentiation here. I’m not claiming that this music is the “best” of the past year. For that matter, most of the music wasn’t even released in the past year. Rather, this is a sort of soundtrack from my past year, filled with music that has some of my favorite memories attached to it. Give it a listen here, or download it in MP3 format, and let me know what you think!

I Don’t Like The Beatles

It seems like an appropriate day to make this confession. “Confession” isn’t exactly right, as it implies that I’m a little disappointed in myself for this fact. Really, thought, I’m not embarassed to just come right out and say it. I don’t like The Beatles.

When I was younger and really wanted to get someone’s goat, I would compare The Beatles to the OC Supertones. If you’re unfamiliar with the Christian music scene, The Supertones were (I believe) the first “Christian ska” band and were modestly popular for a while because of it. If I really wanted to get someone going after telling them I didn’t like The Beatles, I would make some direct comparison of them to the Supertones, claiming that they were only as popular as they were because they were the first band doing what they did, and that there have been a lot of bands to come since to improve on their art. If I was lucky, the person I was talking with was also a Supertones fan, so I could goad them on in multiple veins at once.

Really, though, The Beatles were clearly talented. I can recognize that they did a lot for music, and inspired several generations of new musicians in the years since their last album. To me, though, it just all sounds pretty dated. Not in a good way, like Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. Just old and tired.

Like the Supertones.