2010 Music

The Music That Made 2010 ‘010

Needtobreathe by susanlloydphotography.com

Howdy, lucidswirl here.

Music plays an important part in my life, and in many others.

2010 saw me run the gamut in genres. However, there seems to be a central theme throughout. Some sort of peaceful hope and awareness while searching for deeper meaning or purpose. Here are my top-five songs (and in some cases albums) of ‘010, in no particular order.

“Something Beautiful” Needtobreathe from “The Outsiders”

“I know that I’m in reach
I am down on my knees
And waiting for
Something beautiful”

Honestly, until I wrote this just now I thought it was “I am all out of memories.” Now this makes the song even better! Time to sit down and read lyrics again like back in the day. Either way, this entire album is perfect. From the banjo kicking off a loud “The Outsiders” with the chorus belted out from the pit of your vocal regions to the resulting the outro segueing into “Valley of Tomorrow” you are set up for an excellent disk. There are a few albums that start off with such a sound progression but fail to keep that vibe and energy balanced correctly throughout the whole album. “The Outsiders” does though, amazingly.

There is steadfast hope to restart in “Valley of Tomorrow” (“I pulled a .38 out of my bleeding heart/I killed my selfishness for bringing me this far/This far away from you”) and the optimism to be blessed with helpful gifts in “These Hard Times” (“It’s clear enough to me/The ugliness I see/Is evidence of who I need”).

Much of Needtobreathe has a religious tone to it but it is written in such a way to work even on a secular level. But it is that undertone that really reaches out to me now that I have finally given this band a shot after two years of keeping them on the reserve squad. Thanks to Susie, Mike, Michelle and Todd Fing Palmer.

Plus, you can’t help but like a band with a lead singer named Bear. Right?

“The Saltwater Room” Owl City from “Ocean Eyes”

“Time together is just ever quite enough
When you and I are alone, I’ve never felt so at home
What will it take to make or break this hint of love?
Only time, only time”

First, I must add this album was released in June 2009. I didn’t discover Owl City in depth until after listening to “Fireflies” with the youth group on the drive home from snowboarding. But once I got ahold of the rest of Adam Young’s album I never looked back. I have listened to this album at least once a week since the start of the year probably and each time is just as wonderful as the first. Heck, it is one of my rare “Listen to while going to sleep” albums too.

Much like Needtobreathe, it is hard to highlight a single song. “Fireflies” was all over the radio and is clever and great. Nothing wrong with a popular song being good. “Vanilla Twilight,” “On The Wing” and the 2:14 long brief “Meteor Shower” are but only a few mentions. The whole album is excellent and in my mind’s eye perfect, even if some of the songs were on Young’s previous album.

But while the lyrics from “On The Wing” wish at something maybe we all have had (“Alone, awake and thinking of the weekend we were in love”) it is “The Saltwater Room” that I have always started with. There is something outstanding about this particular song; be it hopeful love, Young managing to rhyme introvert and overcoat, the beautiful duet with Breanne Duren, or the melody.

“So tell me darling, do you wish we’d fall in love?
All the time.”

“Alive Again” Matt Maher from “Alive Again”

“You called and You shouted
broke through my deafness
now I’m breathing in
and breathing out
I’m alive again!”

There are a few times in my life where real spiritual renewal/refocus has happened: possibly my Confirmation retreat in high school, definitely living my Cursillo in college and then going to the Steubenville youth conference this past summer with my high school youth group kids. The music at Steuby – especially during Adoration & Benediction – is what did the most for me withMatt Maher was our musical minister all weekend with the help of the lovely Audrey Assad and Ike Ndolo. I had never heard of Maher before but it took about five minutes to think, “This guy is good.” Come to find out that little ditty “Grace Is Enough” made popular by Chris Tomlin was his song.

So much music was played over the weekend but “Alive Again” from his (then) just released second major label album “Alive Again” made me fall in love. Because that is what that renewal or recharging is all about, being alive again. Sometimes one just needs to stop and listen to what is being whispered in a shout in order to refocus. While I have never been far off the path (what can I say, I’m a Gryffindor) this song always seems to hammer it home for me once again. It and another, more epic, song on the disk.

The whole album, once again, is wonderful. “Hold Us Together” lifts you up and “Love Comes Down” is another favorite. But it is “Christ Is Risen” that still not only takes me back to Adoration that Saturday night with thousands of youth but means so much to me from a friendship formed since while sitting on the tailgate of my truck listening to the song.

“Kings and Queens” 30 Seconds to Mars from “This Is War”

“We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser god
Between Heaven and hell, Heaven and hell.”

Again, another album that came out in 2009 (December though, so can’t fault that) but has made it down the 12 month stretch. Quite a few epic songs on this album and it’s totally a buyer, but “Kings and Queens” is a favorite. Maybe because it’s the lead single but moreso because it’s just great. The song itself is not cut and dry as I see it, as it really is diving into a deep matter. Some research provides that Jared Leto read a book in South Africa and wrote the first part of the before a flight back to the States and completed it upon touchdown. The book “ended up being a good metaphor” for world events over the year recording he said. Either way I have liked this song since I first heard it and I continue to ponder over what it could really mean often. To me, on a basic level maybe, it’s just man succumbing to being man and not the mankind it needs to be.

“I May Lose Everything” Ministry of Magic from “Onward and Upward

“And I may lose everything
But you never had it, had it
Where once I felt nothing
Now I feel sorry”

Yeah yeah. I’m a geek. I’m ok with it though.

A few years ago I was listening to Pottercast or Mugglecast and first heard about “wizard rock.” I began listening to Harry and the Potters. Sometime in 2009 (I believe) I heard about the Ministry of Magic on Pottercast. YouTube was a great help checking them out but iTunes gift cards on Christmas ’09 let me delve into the band’s discography. It really is some great music on both a lyrical side and musical side. To me the Ministry of Magic is Owl City meets One Republic. There are simply to many songs from MoM to chose to highlight, though most would agree “Accio Love” would probably be the one to start with. “Lovegood,” “Snape vs Snape,” “The Bravest Man I’ve Ever Known,” “The Hero,” “I Heart Weasleys,” “A Phoenix Lament” and “Meet Me On Diagon Alley” are but a few favorites.

The band’s fourth album (not including the acoustic EP “Acoustiatus”) released earlier in December is chalk full of great songs like “Lily” and “This Town” but I really love “Don’t Leave.” It’s basically the first part of “Deathly Hallows” where the Trio is on the lam and Ron decides to split. But it is so new I don’t feel I can say it is in my top-five for the year, unfortunately, though I am sure it could make the cut next winter.

No, I will have to roll with “I May Lose Everything.” A song from Harry and Voldemort’s point-of-view at that moment where Voldemort has taken over Harry at the end of “Order of the Phoenix” during his battle with Dumbledore. It’s just amazing and the vocals are top notch.

And honestly, if Rush and Zeppelin can sing songs about Lord of the Rings then why can’t some talented individuals sing songs about Harry Potter?

Honorable Mentions:

“Good Morning Charlie” by The Oceanic Six (L O S T music from MoM and The Remus Lupins members)

“Our God” by Chris Tomlin

“Golden State” by Delta Spirit

“Letters From the Sky” by Civil Twilight

“Airplanes Part Two” B.O.B. feat. Hayley Williams and Eminem

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