Music · Uncategorized

Best Music of 2013 – Things I Found

The_Walking_In_Between_album_coverBen Rector – The Walking in Between 

A friend of mine introduced me to the genius of Rector and he quickly became one of my most played artists of the year. I love all his albums, but this is his newest and it did not let down from the quality I had come to expect. I saw him in concert and he is brilliant live. If you don’t know him or have not hear his music, do yourself a favor and drop what you are doing and go get this!

Favorite tracks:

Ordinary Love, When I’m With You, Sailboat (Honestly the whole thing!)

71kAct3OGkL._SL1500_Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

Very seldom is there an album that comes out these days that I will just listen to straight through, this is one of the few. I have listened to this at least 30 times, all the way through. The lyrics are fantastic and the music will have you humming for days. This is a great band! (Excited to see then in concert in 2014)

Favorite tracks:

It’s Time, Demons, On Top of the World, Amsterdam

Derek Webb I Was Wro#F0A679Derek Webb – I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry and I Love You

Webb had lost me for a while with his music, yet he reeled me back in with his latest album. Honest, real and reminiscent of his past stuff while at the same time sounding completely fresh; he has created something wonderful. This album spoke to me and God used it to remind me of some truths I have trouble accepting. As usual, Webb has tapped into the realities of life and crafted something that reminds you, you are not alone in your hardship or questions.

Favorite tracks:

I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry & I Love You, Lover, Pt.3, Everything Will Change

0C10D72A-AE28-1A57-5304942B93BA7C5AJohn Mayer – Paradise Valley

I have been following Mayer since he came on the music scene and have mostly enjoyed every single album, but this one captures the magic of his Room for Squares while mixing in all he has learned over the past 13 years. For me Mayer is summer – riding with the windows open through the valleys of Colorado with my best friend and he delivers again with Paradise Valley. This is an album I can turn on anytime and enjoy.

Favorite tracks:

Wildfire, Who You Love, You’re No One ‘Til Someone Lets You Down

714-GxzvBpL._SL1200_Sara Bareillis – The Blessed Unrest

Bareillis has a way with lyrics that speaks to my heart like few other artists. I love this album, it is another that I can listen through all the way, almost anytime. I was lucky enough to see her in concert this year and she is amazing. Her voice is one of my favorites of all time. You should not miss this album. (Confession – I frequently listen to “Little Black Dress” on repeat, it’s just that kind of song)

Favorite tracks:

Brave, Chasing the Sun, Manhattan, Little Black Dress, Cassiopeia, 1000 Times, I Choose You

jack_johnson_from_here_to_now_to_you-portadaJack Johnson – From Here to Now to You

Johnson is like an audio Corona commercial and this album is no different. I love being able to turn it on and immediately feel miles from anywhere. This is classic Johnson with some fun new sounds.

Favorite tracks:

I Got You, Washing Dishes, Never Fade, Tape Deck

Jars of Clay - Inland cover artJars of Clay – Inland

I had not listened to Jars of Clay in more years that I can count, so when I randomly came across their new album on iTunes, I was blown away. This is a gritty and authentic album about the struggles of life and faith. I am so thankful for this album and it’s message of hope in the midst of life’s hurricanes.

Favorite tracks:

After the Fight, Reckless Forgiver, Love in Hard Times

OneRepublic-Native-2013-2000x2000OneRepublic – Native

I have always enjoyed OneRepublic but this album captured me. I saw them live and they rocked so many of the songs from this new record as well as their old classics. This is an album meant to be turned up and sung to or danced too. So pick it up and dance it out.

Favorite tacks:

Counting Stars, If I Lose Myself, Feel Again, What You Wanted, Can’t Stop

thecivilwars-1375124398-1375306352The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars

I found The Civil Wars earlier in the year and was very excited to learn that they would have a new album in 2013. This album continues their sound and quality. I love the revival of Folk in popular music and they are so talented. Lovely harmonies and heart-rending lyrics, what more could you ask for.

Favorite tracks:

Dust to Dust, Eavesdrop, From This Valley, Sacred Heart, D’Arline

Cover__300RGB-9Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal

I found this band because they have a song on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack. Best of all was that, that song was not the only good thing they have done. Folksy-rockish and just plain good. They have an alternative sound that can’t be beat. It you haven’t heard them I recommend you check them out.

Favorite tracks:

Dirty Paws, King and Lionheart, Mountain Sound, Little Talks

My Favorite One-Off Tracks

Wake Me Up – Avicli

Step Out – José González

Lorde – Royals

Sweeter than Fiction – Taylor Swift

Gunger – Beautiful Things & The Earth is Yours

Comment and tell me what you liked in 2013

Children · College · Film · John Mayer · Marriage · Mentoring · Movies · Music · Self-esteem

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The Problem with the Childfree Life:

Ford_Time_Ubrella1Time magazine has stirred up the social pot again, with its recent cover picturing a couple clearly reveling in “The Childfree Life.” In her cover article Lauren Sandler offers a vivid glimpse into the fast-growing world of women “having it all without having children.” She not only lets us see the statistics; she also lets us hear the voices of the women they document. The statistics themselves are dramatic: for example, about one in five American women now bear no children, compared to one in ten in the 1970s. We’re talking about remarkably quick demographic change.

The Rise and Fall of Katharine Hepburn’s Fake Accent:

HEPBURN“Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By,'” purrs a moon-faced Ingrid Bergman in the now-famous scene from 1942’s Casablanca. Staccato t’s and accordion-stretched a’s lend a musical flavor to Bergman’s lilt. “Early” becomes “euh-ly” and “perhaps” unfolds as “peuh-haps.'”

The grandeur and glamor in her voice, though, is a sham.

You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids’ Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self-Esteem?

good-grief-charlie-brownFor all the chatter about the formulaic sameness of Hollywood movies, no genre in recent years has been more thematically rigid than the computer-animated children’s movie. These films have been infected with what might be called the magic-feather syndrome. As with the titular character in Walt Disney’s 1943 animated feature Dumbo, these movies revolve around anthropomorphized outcasts who must overcome the restrictions of their societies or even species to realize their impossible dreams. Almost uniformly, the protagonists’ primary liability, such as Dumbo’s giant ears, eventually turns into their greatest strength.

Enjoying John Mayer’s New Album Does Not Make You a Bad Person:

954867_10151686223176252_1578322741_nI was into John Mayer before he was big. I was into him when he was so small-time; he couldn’t even afford velvet bandanas. His guitar strings were old shoelaces. He was still a kid. He was so small. He didn’t even know what a bandana was. He was still in his mother’s uterus, banging on the walls, screaming to be let out so he could make the world sing.

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal:

Studnet-Debt-1On May 31st, president Barack Obama strolled into the bright sunlight of the Rose Garden, covered from head to toe in the slime and ooze of the Benghazi and IRS scandals. In a Karl Rove-ian masterstroke, he simply pretended they weren’t there and changed the subject. The topic? Student loans. Unless Congress took action soon, he warned, the relatively low 3.4 percent interest rates on key federal student loans would double. Obama knew the Republicans would make a scene over extending the subsidized loan program, and that he could corner them into looking like obstructionist meanies out to snatch the lollipop of higher education from America’s youth. “We cannot price the middle class or folks who are willing to work hard to get into the middle class,” he said sternly, “out of a college education.”

When Mentoring Exposes Your Idol of Being Needed:

mentorSharing the gospel is inextricably tied to sharing other aspects of life with those we’re mentoring. Consider what the apostle Paul says: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Biblical mentoring requires engaging the whole person for more than just a scheduled time each week or month. It includes meeting for lunch or coffee, showing up for an important event in the life of the woman you’re mentoring, inviting her to be part of your life or family, serving together, and even enjoying together the seemingly “frivolous” activities such as watching a movie or going shopping.