Best of 2020…So Far

swaggie maggie quarantine edition

this week has been a long year

It’s hard to remember that we’re actually at the beginning of 2020. The absolute craziness of this year has caused the first few months to feel like multiple years instead of weeks. We started the year with terrible wildfires, #worldwar3 trending on twitter, and now COVID-19. It’s not the best start to 2020. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of the world, but I want to remind everyone that good things are still happening.

Even while it feels like the world is falling apart, there are many things to be happy about. The sun is shining where I live, I’m home with my family, and I have a wonderful job with wonderful coworkers that will be waiting for me when the dust settles. There is also a lot of new music that has already been released in 2020! Here are a few of my favorite songs of 2020 so far.

the 1975: me & you together song

This wouldn’t be an article on Swaggie Maggie if I didn’t mention my love for The 1975. Their newest album Notes On A Conditional Form is set to release on April 24th, and this single has gotten me so excited for it to finally be here! “Me & You Together Song” is a song I’d want to listen to in my car at night during the summer. It’s breezy and youthful with punk undertones and a poppy melody. This is the kind of song that makes me think of summer love and sunsets. If this is what I have to look forward to on the rest of the new album, I’ll be one happy girl!

The Killers: Caution

I’ve been waiting for new music from The Killers since I saw them live back in 2018. Their stage presence and pure talent made me fall deeper in love with their music and become a super-fan. Their upcoming album “Imploding The Mirage” is sure to be a musical masterpiece, much like their other albums have been. The band throws “Caution” to the wind as this upbeat cry of restlessness and storytelling.

all time low: getaway green

In this time of uncertainty, it’s always nice to find something that is familiar yet new and exciting at the same time. Enter All Time Low’s new song “Getaway Green.” The band has blessed 2020 with something we all need: a classic pop-punk song. It’s upbeat, gritty, and tons of fun to sing along with. It reminds me of long summer days and working hard.

the weeknd: in your eyes

I’ve always been a casual fan of The Weeknd. His music has been a staple in the soundtrack of my life pretty much since he hopped onto the scene. It always seems like one of his songs ends up being important in my life, even though I’ve never actively sought out music by him to listen to. His latest album After Hours caught my eyes because of all of the hype I’d been seeing about it through work. The first song I decided to listen to was “In Your Eyes” and I was HOOKED. It’s sexy, groovy, and both so typically The Weeknd as well as so new.

haim: the steps

While the HAIM sisters have unfortunately had to postpone the release of their new album Women in Music Part III until summer, they’ve still given us an EP to tide us over! The Steps is a perfectly balanced EP with only 4 songs. It includes “Summer Girl” and “Now I’m In It,” two of my favorite songs to blast in my car. They’re typical HAIM, but truly so good. Plain and simple.

2020 vision but for music

There have been so many new songs and albums released in 2020 so far, and it makes me excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for us! No matter how crazy things get or how stressful life is, there’s always new and old music to turn to.

-Swaggie Maggie

How To Make the Perfect Playlist

Swaggie Maggie: quarantine edition

It’s official. We’re all stuck in our homes until further notice and there’s nothing to do. We all are experiencing the same thing. You wake up, drink a cup of coffee with breakfast, waste your day on the internet, eat dinner, drink some wine, and go to sleep. The next day is the same. And so is the next day. I’m going to challenge myself to change my routine and I hope you will too. On the blog, I’m planning on writing something every day. These could be opinion pieces, how-tos, a playlist, or throwback memories. Honestly, the options are endless.

This first post is dedicated to helping you create the perfect playlist. I make playlists constantly. They become the soundtrack of my seasons and they help me process my emotions when things in my life get crazy. Consider this your all-inclusive, step-by-step guide in creating a playlist. By using this formula, you’ll be able to create the perfect mix of songs for any occasion.

Quarantine and chill

First things first; name your playlist. For this playlist, I’m going to name it “Quarantine and Chill”. I like to create a name that makes me smile when I look at it and that is related to what the playlist is actually about. For example, a spring playlist would be called “Spring has Sprung” or simply “Spring.” A playlist about falling in love could be named “Falling” or “My Heart Went Oops.” You get the idea. My friend Olivia made a quarantine playlist called “Quarantunes” and its genius. So pick a name and move on to step two.

The Playlist

Now comes the fun part! It’s time to choose which songs should go into your playlist. Here’s how I do it. I start with a song that I have been listening to on repeat for the past few days or weeks. I know that it’s what I want to hear so it’s the first thing song on the playlist.

For the second song, pick something that makes you feel nostalgic. This could be a song that you loved in the past or a song that makes you think of simpler times. This one should be personal for you. When I’m feeling nostalgic, my brain floods with memories and I feel a little wistful and romantic. For my nostalgic song, I’m picking “America” by Simon and Garfunkel because it reminds me of travel and freedom.

The next song should be something that literally pertains to what you’re making the playlist about. So for my third song, I’ll choose something that is about staying inside, being alone, and taking one for the team.

Now, pick a song that always makes you smile when you hear it. This can be any song, it just has to make you smile. And not a little grin, a big, stupid, full-face smile that’s plastered there the whole time the song is on. You know what I’m talking about. If you have to think about this one for a little while that’s okay because the point is to have something in the playlist that makes you truly joyful while you’re listening to it. For this playlist, my happy song is “I Think He Knows” by Taylor Swift. I’ve been obsessed with Lover since it came out and this song just gets me to smile every single time I hear it. And, if you know me, you know I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan so I have to have one of her songs on this playlist!

Throwback vs. nostalgic

Okay, so for the fifth song you should pick a throwback song. This could get a little confusing because it is not the same as your nostalgic song. While most throwback songs are nostalgic, not all nostalgic songs have to be throwbacks. A throwback song should take your mind to an exact moment of your life when you hear it. This song should be something you used to listen to constantly or something that reminds you of a specific time or experience.

Now it’s time to slow the playlist down a little bit. This song should be calming and mellow. It should make you feel at ease. The benefit of choosing to put a smooth song in the  middle of your playlist is that it will give you a chance to just lie down and listen to the music for a few minutes. A lot of times, when I’m listening to music I can’t help but start dancing if it has an upbeat tempo, so including a calm song creates a nice contrast.

For the seventh song, you should choose a song that you genuinely just want to listen to. Like if you were going to play a song right now, you’d probably choose this song. This will make you more likely to press play on this playlist when you have the opportunity to.

Now, pick another situational song. You want the playlist to be a bit thematic. You should think of another song that is relatable and adds to the entire mix by being relevant.

For the ninth song, pick something that makes you feel invincible. You know the songs that make the hairs on your arms and on the back of your neck stand up? And you get butterflies? And sometimes you tear up a little bit?

Time for a dance break! Pick a song that makes you want to get up and dance every single time you hear it. Because this song makes your toes start tapping and you can’t help but move.

Bonus Songs

After about ten songs, you can start either repeating the process above or doing some freestyle within the playlist. I usually like to add a song that makes me cry, a song I know all the lyrics to, and a song that I haven’t listened to in a long time. You can make your playlists as long or as short as you prefer, but I like to keep them at about 10-20 songs.

Enjoy the playlist

Finally, it’s time to enjoy the playlist you’ve created! Crank the volume all the way up and let the sounds and lyrics and rhythm touch your body and soul. Dance like nobody’s watching, sing at the top of your lungs and cry if you feel like it (I promise, it’s healthy). I hope you like this Quarantine and Chill playlist, I certainly do. Now you can create the perfect playlist for any situation or experience without any hesitation. Have fun!

-Swaggie Maggie

Movies for Music Lovers | Netflix

Calling all music lovers and movie buffs! Countless streaming sites available are at our fingertips and it is easier than ever to catch up on movies that bring the musical charm. If you are looking for films that seamlessly incorporate music into the cinematic world, look no farther. To start, let’s take a look at what Netflix has to offer in terms of movies for music lovers.

Netflix's Music & Movies Page

“Across the Universe”

I’ll admit, “Across The Universe” is my favorite movie of all time. There is no way it wouldn’t make it onto this list. The 2007 film uses music by The Beatles and the Vietnam War as a backdrop for the love story of Lucy and Jude. The film uses experimental visuals and combines action, romance, and music seamlessly. The cast’s performances are beautifully accompanied by the genius songwriting of the fab four.

“Michael Jackson’s This is it”

This 2009 documental concert film documents Michael Jackson’s rehearsals for his concert tour that was originally scheduled to start on July 13, 2009. The tour was canceled eighteen days prior to its start due to his passing on June 25. The film portrays Jackson as he rehearses his musical numbers, directs his team, and holds dancer auditions. Director, Kenny Ortega, revealed that the footage was never intended for release, but after Jackson’s death, it seemed right to create the film.

“Jersey boys”

Clint Eastwood’s 2014 musical drama, based on the Tony Award Winning musical of the same name, tells the story of Franky Valli and The Four Seasons. The film follows the band as they discover themselves as a musical group, and as they discover life as well. The film portrays the massive trials and tribulations that came with the the success of their music career. The incredible true story comes to life on the screen.

Netflix Originals:

“taylor swift’s Reputation Stadium tour”

A front row ticket to one of the most anticipated tours of 2018, without the insane cost? Count me in! Before watching the Netflix Original I thought it would be a concert documentary, much like the “1989 World Tour Live” on Apple Music, but this was just concert footage from the last night of the Reputation Tour at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Swift’s setlist includes every song from “Reputation”, as well as old favorites. The energy that She brings to each and every song in this 2-hour long extravaganza is fascinating and well worth the watch.

“Springsteen on Broadway”

After reading Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography “Born to Run” over the summer, I knew I needed to see his Broadway show. As luck would have it, the weekend I visited New York City in July it was an off week at the Walter Kerr Theater. I was devastated. Flash forward to December and news spread that Netflix would be releasing a special recording of the show. Springsteen performs to a small crowd of less than a thousand people. The show follows the arc of Springsteen’s life and work. He speaks, sings, and plays guitar and piano in a tender and nostalgic fashion. The American Icon is captivating in all of his pursuits, and this Netflix special is no exception.

In the age of streaming,  music and movie lovers can unite to watch musical films in countless genres. From concert films to documentaries, to good old movie musicals. There is something for everybody, especially movies for music lovers. Netflix has a huge selection of films including Netflix Originals that music lovers will be happy to watch. The next time you’re scrolling through, wondering what to watch check out one of these films. They won’t let you down.

 

 

Album Excitement 2018

We are less than a month into the new year and we already have new music to be excited about! 2017 was a great year for music, but I’m betting 2018 can top it. As of now, there are already a few albums that have piqued my interest and I can’t wait to hear them in full when they are released! Here are a few albums I’m most excited to listen to in 2018.

  • IMG_6684Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows February 9

    • I’ve been a casual fan of Dashboard Confessional for years, but once I saw them live this past summer I became obsessed! As soon asI got home I decided to listen to their entire discography and began wishing for new music. They have released two singles from the album, “We Fight” and “Heart Beat Here” and fans are more than ready for the album todrop tomorrow!
  • MGMT – Little Dark Age – February 9

    • Again, as a casual fan, I learned about MGMT’s new album in one of my classes this semester. I was a huge fan of their song “Kids” and when I heard about their upcoming album I got excited! Catch MGMT performing at a slew of festivals this summer.
  • Moose Blood – I Don’t Think I Can do This Anymore – March 9

    • I love Moose Blood and listen to them anytime I feel like I need a good cry. Their emotional expertise comes through in their lyrics, and their instrumental ability is amazing. I can’t wait for this album to come out!!
  • Jack White – Boarding House Ranch – March 23

    • Jack White is a Michigan Native, so I’ve been listening to his music since I was a kid. He recently announced his upcoming album and accompanying tour, which always brings excitement to residents of our state. I always feel a sort of pride for all Michigan Made musicians. There is some conversation surrounding his tour, seeing as he’s pushing for fans to check their phones at the door and go technology free.
  • The Vaccines – Combat Sports – March 30

    • The Vaccines have made their way into every single one of my playlists since I was a senior in high school, so I was obviously excited when they announced new music. So excited that I actually chose to study the release of Combat Sports for my music production course!
  • The 1975 – Music for Cars – 2018img_3403

    • While we don’t have a confirmed date for the album, The 1975 have been teasing Music for Cars on their social media accounts for the past year. The third, and final installment of The 1975 era is sure to be their greatest yet! While I’m definitely sad that this final album marks the end of one of my favorite bands of all time, I’m happy that I’ll at least have one more record to play on repeat.
  • Kanye West – Turbo Grafx16 – TBA

    • Okay, so nobody actually knows when Kanye’s newest album will drop, and it may not even come out in 2018, but I’m still excited about it!

So there are the albums I’m most excited for this year! Are there any that I should check out before these drop? Let me know in the comments!

-Swaggie Maggie

Maze – Lorne

On November 23 English artist, Lorne released Maze, his debut EP, and I’ve had it playing on a constant loop since then. The four-track is incredibly unique, seeing as Lorne is a classically trained pianist who is using his talents to create beautiful songs that incorporate both his classical roots and modern sounds.

Lorne image

For an EP that is so short, the diversity between each track is astonishing. The songs go from deep and brooding to uplifting and poppy with ease. Not only are the instrumentals stunning, but Lorne’s vocal ability is impeccable. His voice is pristine and filled with emotion through each track. Lorne obviously puts every ounce of energy and passion into his music, and all that hard work definitely pays off!

Check out Maze by listening above, and follow Lorne on Instagram @lornemusic!

-Swaggie Maggie

One Way Trip – ALPHA

I’ll let you in on a little secret, seventeen-year-old Jai Garcha aka ALPHA is the next big thing. A year ago he embarked on a mission to create an emotionally charged, debut visual EP that chronicles the serious issues he has had to face in his youth. One Way Trip features edgy songs are backed by RnB and urban sounds with smooth vocals.

OWT Album Cover 1400

I spoke to Jai about the most important part of the creation for this EP and he gave some great insight into his process. “One Way Trip revolves around this idea of life and the time it’s made of being a continuous, unstoppable motion. I have always been interested in how this affects the lives we lead in terms of the decisions we make and the things we aspire to be.”  Take it from me, you do not want to sleep on ALPHA! He is so young and already tackling real-world issues through his love for music. He is also creating a new standard for young artists. It isn’t as simple as having the talent anymore. In today’s ever-evolving creative community you have to be talented, driven, passionate and have a unique vision. ALPHA has all that and more.

One Way Trip consists of 5 songs that were produced by Jai’s own production company, Alpha Bravo Studios, and features other upcoming artists from London, Cambridge, and Hertfordshire. Upon recalling the physical process of writing and recording the tracks, Jai realized that “through spending hours with some beautifully talented people, and spending hours alone in the studio I found that my narrative was being shaped by the process of making the EP itself.” Each of the songs has an accompanying short film and they do not disappoint. One Way Trip will be available on all major music streaming services including Apple Music and Spotify on the 18th of November, so make sure to check it out!

-Swaggie Maggie

 

I Can Dig It: Co-Headlining Tours

Two great bands for the price of one? You can count me in! Over the past few years, I’ve been to quite a few co-headlining tours and I seriously dig them. The idea of two similar bands getting together and sharing their music in the same place is not only appealing to me, but to plenty of fans. Here are a few of my favorites!

The American Lines Tour: Mayday Parade and The Maine

In Spring 2016 Mayday Parade and The Maine set off on a 17 city tour to promote each of their new albums. The Maine had released “American Candy” in March 2015 as their fifthIMG_0017 studio album while Mayday Parade put “Black Lines” out in October 2015. The two bands do a great job of combining their unique sounds to create a concert environment that is unlike any other. The emotional ballads and rock anthems of Mayday Parade paired with the goofiness and realness of The Maine’s stage presence combine to make concertgoers feel comfortable and accepted while having a great time!

Summer Tour: The All American Rejects and Dashboard Confessional

This past summer The All American Rejects paired up with Dashboard Confessional to fulfill every former emo kid’s dream lineup. As soon as the tour was announced I knew it was a concert I absIMG_6685olutely had to attend. The Rejects took the stage with an insane energy  that made the crowd go absolutely wild while we screamed the lyrics to Dirty Little Secret like it was 2005. Dashboard closed out the show in my city, and the band was sharing some seriously great vibes with the audience. Lead singer, Chris Carrabba, shared memories of being accepted as an artist in Detroit when he was starting out, so it was obviously a special show for him. Carrabba closed the show with Dashboard’s hit Hands Down and it lives on in my memory as one of the most intimate concert moments I have ever experienced.

Co-headlining tours are great ways for fans to see two of their favorite bands on the same night, and lose themselves in a unique concert experience. Whenever I see a co-headliner announced I get excited! I’m always down to knock out two concerts in one night, especially when each band builds off of each other’s energy and makes the show a memorable one!

-Swaggie Maggie