So, without further ado!
"Cover" image is John Howe's Eowyn and the Nazgul. I spent months looking for an image that evoked the same feelings as this scene from the book/movie, but when I came across this one, I didn't see the sense in using anything else. (Eowyn is kind of my hero, if you didn't know.)
1. Times Like These – Foo Fighters
I organize my soundtracks in roughly chronological order (with a few changes for better flow). Thus, this song symbolizes my feelings at the beginning of 2010. I was coming out of a tough time and felt hopeful about the year ahead and ready to rebuild, but I was also on my guard. I was also listening to the Foo Fighters' Greatest Hits a lot.
2. Hey Man! – Nelly Furtado
I discovered Whoa, Nelly! ten years after everyone else (fairly typical for me). I love the shimmery strings in this song, and the theme that although things look pretty on the surface, the clouds are gathering.
3. Breakeven (Falling to Pieces) – The Script
This is just a great, well-constructed song, sung by cute Irish boys.
4. 99 Times – Kate Voegele
Of course, I knew of Kate Voegele from her semi-autobiographical role on One Tree Hill. I don't remember if I first heard this song on the show or not, but it grabbed me. It's one of her best.
5. Which to Bury, Us or the Hatchet? – Relient K
One of my greatest joys is making mix CDs for people. Both of my siblings have gotten "breakup" CDs from me in the past, so I was touched when my brother made one for me! This was one of several Relient K selections on it. I'm not a huge fan of theirs, but this song is very applicable and I like the use of the banjo.
6. When It Rains – Paramore
Narrowing down to one Paramore song for this mix was like Sophie's Choice. In the end, I chose this one over "For a Pessimist…", "Emergency" and several others because it said best what I wanted to say.
7. Eet – Regina Spektor
I don't know what to say about this except that it's like one of my melancholy moods in musical form.
8. Black and White – Stefanie Morgan
Stefanie is amazingly talented. She's also my brother's girlfriend. :) I included this song because it's never been more clear to me that I'm an intense and "multicolored" person and have to live accordingly.
9. Past Pain – Gene Evaro Jr.
Fans of Deadliest Catch will recognize this as the tribute song for Phil Harris (RIP, Captain Phil). Gene Evaro Jr. wrote it about the loss of his sister. It's sad but beautiful.
10. You're Not Sorry – Taylor Swift
I love Speak Now and thought about putting "Better Than Revenge" or "Innocent" on this list. But this song from Fearless is a better representation.
11. You Already Know – Train
I had heard this song a few times before my ex left, but never really heard it until it came up on shuffle in my car one day. Then I started smiling. I replayed it at full blast approximately five million times over the next couple of months.
12. The Comeback Kid – B.Reith
B.Reith is sort of a hip-hop Jason Mraz. His EP was free on Amazon one day, and I loved this song immediately. It's silly and fun, but I feel empowered every time I hear it. Although I wish he would stop complaining about people mispronouncing his last name (it's a common theme in his songs). We get it, B.
13. These Walls – Hanson
I was working my way through Hanson's new Shout it Out album (love it!) and hit this song on a really down weekend. It summed things up.
14. Defying Gravity – Glee Cast
I still haven't seen Wicked (though I really want to). But for motivational music, does it get any better than this? Here it represents my shift toward feeling more ready to move ahead with my life.
15. Shine – Anna Nalick
This is one of several songs on this list that I turned way up and sang along to really loudly a lot. Because I have only begun to shine.
16. Uncharted – Sara Bareilles
Kaleidoscope Heart may be my mainstream album of the year. I don't know of any other that could be described as an optimistic breakup album – expressing deep pain and hesitations, yet largely cheery and upbeat. When I heard this song I was like "Yep. That's pretty much it."
17. Can't Keep Me Down – Myla Smith
I'm SO, so proud of Myla and all she's achieved this year! She deserves all of her many accolades. :) This was her first single from White/Gold (which would make a great stocking stuffer!). I have many great "live" memories of this song, which was written for another friend of hers, and now it's sort of mine too.
18. The Heart of Life – John Mayer
Great song. Great message.
19. Feels Like Today – Rascal Flatts
I know something is coming. I don't know what it is, but I know it's amazing.
20. She Must and Shall Go Free – Derek Webb
I hadn't listened to this song in a long time, but it popped into my head one day when I was struggling with some spiritual and social things. I need the reminder that I am free in every way because Jesus says so.
21. Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine
I'd heard this song here and there, but never really noticed it. It's not the type of song I would typically be drawn to. But when the Glee kids performed it, it, like happiness, hit me like a train on a track. I increasingly ask myself why I have so much hope for my future. Why should good things happen to me? From where are these things going to materialize? Is this belief for happiness and fulfillment from God, or am I selfishly making it all up? Every time I listen to this song, it feels like confirmation. It's become deeply emotional and personal to me. This is my rallying cry for 2011. Join me, won't you? :)
Happiness hit her like a train on a track.
Coming towards her, stock still, no turning back.
She hid around corners and she hid under beds,
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled.
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink.
The dog days are over, the dog days are done.
The horses are coming, so you better run.
Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father.
Run for your children, for your sister and brother.
Leave all your love and your longing behind.
You can't carry it with you if you want to survive.
The dog days are over, the dog days are done.
Can you hear the horses? 'Cause here they come.