I didn't see much live music, but I did spent a lot of time in my car this year, listening to songs that soothed or spoke to my heart. But by the time it came time to put my feelings about this year's music into words, I was worried I didn't have them. I struggled to finish this year-end review; it felt like the words were there, but blocked from coming out. So tonight, I did what I do best: I put on my headphones and hit play.
There were so many times like that this year: when I worried I wasn't capable of completing something, or wasn't going to finish it in time for it to matter. But each and every single time, I came through. Music played no small part — many of these albums and songs were critical soundtracks to my success. Sometimes, it's simply a matter of finding the right musical companion or cheerleader for the moment, and I hope that some of the below might serve you in this way, like they did for me, in the new year and on. The songs on these albums have been my friends, saviors, soft landings and side-by-side fighters in a year that took everything I had to give, returned the investment, and then still asked for more.
Music as motivation to keep going and take care of yourself has never seemed more important than now: the world is rather bleak and may feel pointless at this time for many. But "if life is getting old forever / at least we're getting older together," Hannah Cole sings in the heartbreaking chorus of "Hilda," a line that has kept me afloat for the past month. Hang in there, even if it's just to hear another year of amazing music, friends. See you this time next year.