Fun fact: I love music. I have since I was old enough to recognize the differences. I grew up listening to the “Ultimate Oldies Station” in Atlanta before moving onto alternative rock in middle school. The music of the mid-90s was incredible, making it a great time to be a teenager. I used to sit in my room with my headphones on for hours, making mixed tapes (this was before CD burners were mainstream). Whenever I hear Counting Crows, Oasis, Bush and Collective Soul and so many others, I am rocketed back to my early teenage years when alternative music was on the rise … until the boy bands sprang on the scene.
My music taste hasn’t veered off the course much from 20 years ago. I still prefer alternative rock and classic rock (and various Christian artists) to almost anything else. Okay, maybe except 80s pop* because those are some ridiculously awesome tunes (*Africa by Toto). I will sometimes fall victim to the catchy pop song of the moment, but for the most part, I am into alternative rock.
But here’s the thing: I’m picky about my music. I prefer lyrics that mean something. That tug on my heart. It’s for that reason that I don’t select just any band to insert into my ears. I think the music you listen to affects your decision making more than we let on. The same goes for television. We as faithful Christians are called to more. And sometimes this means sacrificing listening to music with degrading lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, I used to listen to rap when I was a teenager and even some in college. But somewhere in my early 20s, I grew up and moved past it. Sorry, rap listeners.
I now listen to music that I feel edifies me in some way, inspiring my writing, inspiring my faith or allowing me to expand my creative side in some way. I write best with music in my ears. I wrote my entire book listening to Matt Maher on repeat (Thanks, Matt!). In college when I had to write a paper, the best (and really only) way for me to concentrate was to sit down at my desk in my room with the door locked and put words on the page. That habit has stuck with me to this day (including as I write this blog post).
So with that, here are my current favorites to play regularly (in no particular order):
- Matt Maher — Saints & Sinners
- Mumford & Sons — Wilder Mind (though I regularly listen to all of them)
- Alabama Shakes — Sound & Color
- JD McPherson — Let the Good Times Roll
- Sam Smith — In the Lonely Hour
- Rend Collective — Campfire & The Art of Celebration
- Ed Sheeran — + & x
- Taylor Swift — 1989
- Sean Rowe — Madman
- Parker Millsap — Parker Millsap
I know a few of those are more mainstream, but hey mainstream music is popular for a reason! Of those, Matt Maher, Mumford & Sons and Parker Millsap happen the most often in my ears. There is something about their voices and their lyrics that inspires me and allows me to be at my most creative. So thanks guys!
Editorial comments: I can’t get into The Avett Brothers despite so many people telling me they think I would like them. Sorry, gang, not a fan. And some folks have come out criticizing the new Mumford & Sons album, but I think it’s a great step up for them. Something different. And the lyrics are as passionate as ever. I’ve found I appreciate the songs more in headphones and on vinyl than when I listen in the car. Something about really being able to HEAR the music I suppose!
I’ve started to pick my favorite digital downloads to purchase on vinyl. I outlined that in a previous post about my new passion for this old school method of enjoying music. Man, the sound is so luxurious. I’m getting spoiled.
Sidenote: Quality sound is important to me. I bought these ear buds recently and I love them. The basic Apple earbuds are not comfortable for me to wear long-term for my creative stints, so I invest in nice headphones (but not too expensive since I travel with them and sometimes break them — oops?). Sony has discontinued them, but I did a lot of research and finally found a great post at thewirecutter.com that influenced my decision to purchase them. Hooray for Amazon. Next up will be a purchase of a pair of Sony noise-cancelling headphones to replace my pair that are 20 years old and broken, but I’m hoping Santa might bring me some this Christmas.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite music? Share in the comments so we can all find some new music!