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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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!
Growing up, I didn’t really listen to very good music. In my younger years is was mostly contemporary Christian music mixed in with whatever they were playing on Sunny 95. As I made my way into high school, I mixed in a little Pearl Jam and They Might Be Giants, but my listening habits still largely consisted of crap. Even throughout college, where my favorites consisted of Live and Red Hot Chili Peppers, my taste in music wasn’t really where it is today.
It really wasn’t until I got my first job out of college that I started listening to indie rock. So while I call this compilation my “best of the decade” mix, it’s really the best of indie rock that has been the soundtrack of my past ten years. I’m not claiming these are the best songs written in the past ten years, only that they carry the strongest memories for me in my post-college life. And in true “High Fidelity” style, I present them to you in autobiographical order.
Every year when I put together my “best of” music mix, I have three very strict rules:
- Only include tracks that you’ve first heard in the past year
- Include music with strong memories associated with it
- Don’t go overboard
While I would prefer to include only music put out in the past year, there is almost always a large chunk of the mix that has been around for years, but I’ve only just heard it at some point in the past 12 months. I feel pretty good about this year’s mix: only half of the tracks are from 2008 or earlier.
I tried to add all the tracks that have a strong memory attached, but also really didn’t want to violate the third and most important rule. What kills a good mix, nine times out of ten, is too many tracks that just don’t all go together. So I’ve got a nice 11-track mix here that sums up 2009 nicely for me.
I hope you enjoy it, click here to give it a listen
For the past few years, some friends and I have compiled our “best of” mixes to share after New Years Day. It doesn’t have to be music that was written or even released in the past year, just music that we discovered for ourselves in the past year that we really liked. I’ve gotten a bit of a jump on this year’s compilation and I thought I would share it here. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.