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My Top 100 Songs On Spotify: An Explanation On My Most Listened To Songs

By David L. Hawkins, III / Published on Monday, 10 Dec 2018 21:42 PM / No Comments / 55 views


 

One of my favorite parts about having Spotify Premium is all of the great things you get around the end of each year. You get Spotify Wrapped statistics that show things such as the first song you listened to in 2018, the oldest song you listened to all year, and various other things.

Along with these very interesting statistics, Spotify users get 2 playlists: Tastebreakers (which changes its name every year and includes songs you may like but may have missed) and Your Top Songs. Within this article I will be going through every song included on my Your Top Songs 2018 playlist with my opinion on the track and why it likely made the list. Each song will also include a link for you to listen, although the full playlist can be found here.

#100: “Bummin'” by Relient K

Relient K, as a band, will likely be a fixture on my yearly playlist even as my music taste changes and matures. “Bummin'” is a single from their 2016 album, Air For Free. Air for Free is an album that I listen to a good bit pretty much every summer. It is Relient K’s foray into pop rock, although in my opinion it hits more on rock rather than relying on the easy pop aspects of the genre. This is a change in sound done right while also maintaining the lyrical content that gained them so many fans to begin with. This song, in my opinion, is just about going through life and trying your best yet still failing. It is in no way a sad song, but more of an anthem of continuing on, or bummin’,you despite any setbacks that may come your way.

#99: “Mountain, Pt 1” by NEEDTOBREATHE

This is a very odd thing to end up on this list, especially show up above a Relient K track. This is a short opener for NEEDTOBREATHE’s 2016 album, H A R D L O V E. The album explores topics regarding fame, religion, and marriage. This short opener talks about the difficult journey of life but how there is still “a river made of roses just over this hill.” Not much else to say about it in all honesty.

#98: “None of My Business” by Andy Mineo

The first appearance of a CHH song on this list, although trust me when I say there are plenty of those songs on here. “None of My Business” is part of II: The Sword, the second and latest installment of Andy Mineo’s four part EP series he is putting out. The Sword is a lot less cohesive as I: The Arrow was earlier this year. This EP took more of a simplistic pop-oriented vibe than the one previous. This a fun song and Mineo does have some cool vocal moments despite a fairly simplistic beat.

#97: “psycho heart!” by nobigdyl.

nobigdyl.’s SOLAR album, which dropped this year, is really good and covers a lot of topics that people were not expecting from CHH. This song in particular caused some people to question the rapper’s direction. There is a weird part of Christianity that thinks if something is not directly quoted from scripture, it is not worth discussing. This causes many issues to be talked about in a dishonest way. What is this track about? It is about trust issues and how they can destroy a relationship. nobigdyl. talks about a girl who insists on going through phone and forcing him to act in ways he does not feel comfortable with. Overall she “distracts him from [his] purpose.” It is a very cautionary and honest tale about modern relationships and the pitfalls that can erode them. It has a pretty cool hook that matches the tone of the track.

#96: “Role Model Pt. II” by Kaleb Mitchell ft. Adrian Stresow

Kaleb Mitchell and Adrian Stresow are both part of that weird group in CHH that create super honest music not afraid to throw in words and subject matter that may be considered taboo within the faith-based genre as a whole. Kaleb Mitchell blocked me recently due to my criticism of him using the term “coon” to describe other African Americans within his music, but he is still a very good musician. His vocals are deep yet smooth, and Adrian Stresow’s tired-sounding flow on this track work very well. It is a song from Mitchell’s debut commercial album, So Help Me God, about fame and people looking up to him.

#95: “Supreme” by Aha Gazelle

This is a fun song from Aha Gazelle’s Trilliam, one part of a trilogy of mixtapes he has dropped. This is one of his more surface-level tracks but one of his most popular and my introduction to his discography. He is controversial due to his signing, and then quick leaving, of Reach Records and his “CHH is bullsh*t” comment. He is a just an honest artist who lives on the edge of the genre with names like Adrian Stresow and Kaleb Mitchell. Some lyrics on this song are what could be considered ‘cheesy’ but given the context that seems to be purposeful and it not a running theme in his other music.

#94: “Leave Out All the Rest – One More Light Live” by Linkin Park

Given the context of this year, this song is something I totally expected to pop up here. Last year, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park committed suicide by hanging in his California apartment. The sudden death led to sadness among fans and his remaining band members unsure of their future. One of the things they later came out with was this album of live recordings from the One More Light Tour. This was Bennington’s final tour with the band and the message of this song is particularly haunting given the context. The song was originally on Minutes to Midnight and is a plea for every to remember Bennington for the good that he brought to the world rather than his shortcomings. Also, one of my favorite parts of this version is Mike Shinoda’s vocals in the intro.

#93: “Clear” by Social Club Misfits ft. Foggieraw

Social Club Misfits’ music is a mixed bag for me. They make fun music but it is certainly my favorite. The feature, Foggieraw, is very controversial in CHH due to his usage of the word ‘nigga’, although I don’t listen to his solo music so I cannot attest to how much he uses. His vocals are an acquired taste but I do enjoy him as a feature. Also, I am going to see Social Club Misfits at Liberty University this New Years.

#92: “Vincent” by Don McLean

This is one of my favorite songs and albums of all time. My introduction to the song is an odd one. My friend, Marcus, introduced this song to me due to my enjoyment of the Vincent Vangogh episodes of Doctor Who. I did not realize at the time that it was from the same guy who did “American Pie” or that it was even from the American Pie album. This is a sorrowful track about the artist that can best be described  by the line “you took your life as lovers often do.” It is about artistry and being misunderstood.

#91: “Fashion Joe” by GAWVI ft. KB

Probably one of my least favorite tracks from GAWVI’s sophomore album, PANORAMA, that he dropped this year. I will say his Fortnite song is infinitely worse to the point to where I made a playlist for the album excluding that track so that I can listen to it as an album without it. This song is very catchy and KB’s verse is a highlight. GAWVI produced it himself and the production of the track certainly is a highlight.

#90: “Exit 104” by WHATUPRG

Fair warning, almost the entirety of the Pleasant Hill EP shows up on this list. WHATUPRG is one of Reach Records most recent additions and he has been a rising artist in CHH for the last few years. He very often mixes his Mexican heritage with his music. Within this song, he talks about a toxic relationship that ruined his emotional state. He compares the reality of the relationship to “what Solomon spoke about before”, a reference to the Song of Solomon book of the Bible that talks about Biblical love between two people. This is a very chill song with an emotional end. I love the production as a whole on this project,

#89: “Deathbed” by Relient K

Remember when I said that Relient K would be a fixture on this playlist? This song has made the list all three years I have had Spotify: 2016, 2017, and 2018. I could spent an entire article analyzing this 11-minute song and the lyrical and instrumental motifs contained within. For now, I will keep it short. This song goes through the entire life story of a man whose dad, a traveling preacher, abandoned them. Through his life he struggles with relationships and religion as a result. These struggles lead to divorce and sickness and addiction. The song is a bittersweet testimony about a God that is still there and that “love[s] that lamb with every sinful bone.” I highly recommend anyone, Christian or otherwise, to give it a listen as it is an amazing song musically.

#88: “crash” by EDEN [EXPLICIT]

This is an odd song that I really do not revisit much. The best way I could describe EDEN, is that he is blackbear if blackbear’s music was not hopelessly cringe-inducing. This is an emotional electro-influenced song about the crash of a relationship. I have seen EDEN’s music being described as alternative rock, indie pop, dream pop, and indietronica. It is a chill and sorrowful song I think some may like, while others may find it boring.

#87: “Conversations with my Wife” by Jon Bellion [EXPLICIT]

If I am not mistaken, this is the first single from Jon Bellion’s 2018 album, Glory Sound Prep. In my opinion, Jon Bellion is one of the best artists in modern pop. His music is very electronic-centered but his songs do have depth. This song is sweet and kinda sappy song to his wife, as the song title suggests. It focuses on pride, fame, and religion, and how his wife’s love helps him through all of these issues.

#86: “Baby You’re a Haunted House” by Gerard Way

I am very surprised this made the list since it is a seasonal track that dropped like the week before Halloween. I really dig this track even though I was never on the My Chemical Romance train. And for those of you who are unaware, Gerard Way was the lead singer of MCR. This song is a fun Halloween track with a mid-2000’s garage rock vibe to it.

#85: “NINESEVENTHREE” by Kaleb Mitchell

Once again, the king of blocking me on Twitter appears. All jokes aside, this was a pretty good EP except a lot of the tracks were very similar. The outro track appears on this playlist late and is my favorite off of it.

#84: “Transform” by Aha Gazelle

A political track from Aha Gazelle’s final Reach Records release, Trilliam 3. I do not agree with everything Aha Gazelle says on this track but he really kills his flow and talks about police brutality and other black issues in a very interesting way.

#83: “2 Sides of the Game” by Lecrae & Zaytoven ft. K-So Jaynes and Waka Flocka Flame

One of the most interesting things in CHH this year, was the release of Let The Trap Say Amen, a trap-oriented album where Zaytoven collaborated with Lecrae, one of the most popular Christian artists. As someone who does not typically listen to track, I did not love the project but I do enjoy this track. On this track, they talk about the darker side to the life that modern rap often glorifies. Rather than talking about the money that crime comes with, they talk about imprisonment and being separated from your family.

#82: “Stones Under Rushing Water” by NEEDTOBREATHE

For this South Carolina native band’s second appearance on this list, they bring a slow duet with Ellie Holcomb. This is a sweet track with an even sweeter harmonica solo on the latter half. Even you want to add more southern-styled music that is much better than modern pop country, I recommended digging into this band’s discography.

#81: “Broad Shoulders” by Taylor Bennet ft. Chance the Rapper

Oddly enough, this song came to my radar through AP Literature. We were given a choice between a few songs to write an identity essay on. This is the song of the group that I identified with the most. This collaboration between Chance the Rapper and his brother talks about something fairly common in the African American community as well as others in poverty, absent parents. Taylor and Chance talk about their father’s absence, or at least his minimal presence. I related to this one due to my mother’s abandonment.

#80: “I Don’t Wanna Die Right Now” by Mogli the Iceberg

Mogli the Iceberg made it on the top artists of 2018 due to his 2018 album, Let’s Talk About Feelings. This lead single gave a glimpse of the subject matter and the tone of the project. This song is the perfect introduction, and outro as it is the album’s final track, that shows a project about depression, uncertainty in relationships, and faith. It is a Christian rap project with a punk rock edge, including a Yellowcard cover. I recommend!

#79: “Mía” by Mykael V, WHATUPRG, and nobigdyl.

The first, and I do not think last, Spanish track on this playlist. While the Spanish wave in pop music has brought boring music like half of Cardi B’s discography and “Despacito”, it has produced some great tracks in CHH. This collaboration track is one of my girlfriend’s favorite songs and although I do not know any Spanish, I have read the rough English translations for the lyrics.

#78: “With You” by GAWVI

This was the final single before PANORAMA and it is significantly different from the more hype-oriented singles. It is a slow song with a slight acoustic edge about Jesus and faith. I do not remember listening to this much but it is a really nice song.

#77: “Almost…” by Andy Mineo ft. Dave James

Not much to say about this, as it is part of the greater context of the aforementioned The Arrow EP.

#76: “God Only Knows” by for KING & COUNTRY

This Christian pop duo is pretty great and puts on an amazing live show but their recent album as a whole, burn the ships, was somewhat underwhelming. The instrumentation was just not as intricate as previously. This track is a highlight of that record. It is catchy and the vocals are as great as always.

#75: “Candlelight” by Relient K

Relient K’s third entry on this list is one of my favorite love songs ever. Also, Forget And Not Slow Down is probably my favorite full Relient K record. The song’s lyrical imagery is unique and intricate and the instrumentation is beautiful up until the intro where everything slows down in preparation for the song’s outro which is a track called “Flare.”

#74: “Nightmare” by Social Club Misfits

This is a fun semi-brag track from Social Club Misfits where they compare themselves to secular rap. The highlight of the track is the flow which switches between the two in the rap duo. The beat is very minimalist which fits the flows.

#73: “Jackpot” by Nikki Lane

Along with NEEDTOBREATHE, Nikki Lane is yet another local artist that I listen to a good bit. Nikki Lane hails from Woodruff, South Carolina and can best be described as revivalist outlaw country. She does not get much radio play on mainstream country radio, but I highly recommend her latest album, Highway Queen. “Jackpot” is a catchy love song about gambling.

#72: “Vegeta” by Aha Gazelle

This song from Trilliam 2 is probably my favorite from Aha Gazelle. This song about pride and imperfection is all about using success to hide your own shortcomings and pushing people away, especially those in a relationship, who may see your darkest parts. Aha Gazelle pleads for this person to “get as far they can” from him so that he does not waste her time. He also says that it isn’t far for her to have to wait on him getting past all of his securities. I love the whole theme of “don’t be fooled, I’m nothing special.”

#71: “KING KONG” by Kaleb Mitchell

This is another track from the NIVESEVENTHREE project. Kaleb Mitchell delivers an aggressive flow, although the hook is not my favorite I have heard on one of this songs. The beat is interesting and includes a cool intro that ends with a sample.

#70: “Backwards” by Jon Keith ft. Wordsplayed

Jon Keith has really interesting flows but this is probably my least favorite track from Lost Boys. The hook is kind of bored and tiring.

#69: “Dreams” by NF

With tracks like “Let You Down” and “If You Want Love”, Perception became the album that launched NF into the limelight. This is an underrated gem on the album. It is a fairly lowkey track about the financial situation NF grew up in his small town way before he got even close to finally achieving his dreams the way he has now.

#68: “See Me As I Am” by Mogli the Iceberg ft. nobigdyl.

Another single from Let’s Talk About Our Feelings, this track goes deeper into the relationship problems mentioned in “I Don’t Want To Die Right Now” as well as those in nobigdyl.’s “psycho heart!” I had this on repeat the day it dropped.

#67: “8:28”  by Lecrae ft. Lewis Sky

“8:28” is kind of the title track of Lecrae’s All Things Work Together? I mean Romans 8:28 is the verse from which the title is derived so we will go with it. This song goes through a variety of issues. The first verse is primarily about Lecrae’s status as a father and how he feels like he can’t due to he himself never having a father there. I have read Lecrae’s book, Unashamed, which goes through his testimony and his father was never really there. The second verse goes through body image issues, poverty, and more. I did not like this album as a whole but this song in particular is a standout.

#66: “Oh, Carolina” by NEEDTOBREATHE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzpckjKZxy4

This song just makes me think of traveling and South Carolina as a whole. I am not originally from South Carolina but I genuinely feel at home here and I hope to spend my life here. Spartanburg may not be the busiest place but I wish to stay here and help the town grow. This is the perfect soundtrack for a road trip in my opinion. The album this is from, Rivers in the Wasteland, is one of NEEDTOBREATHE’s most stripped down albums in terms of instrumentation.

#65: “O God Forgive Us” by for KING & COUNTRY ft. KB

The original version of this song that did not feature KB was my least favorite song from for KING & COUNTRY. I thought it was slow and boring, but now the song means a lot more to me. KB’s addition is beautiful and so is the track as a whole. It is a quiet anthem to faith.

#64: “Hard Times” by Paramore

THIS IS A POP ALBUM DONE RIGHT! Paramore has had mainstream success before with songs like “Misery Business” and “Ain’t It Fun”, but Afterlaughter is their biggest stride into the pop genre. The album is heavily stylized, as shown in the music video of this lead single. I recommend the entire album to really anyone who enjoys some great pop.

#63: “I Hate You” by Westover

Westover is an electro-influenced dream pop flavored group. This song is fairly self-explanatory. It is about the feelings left after a breakup as part of you still loves that person but you hate them at the moment.

#62: “Of Course” by Derek Minor ft. Byron Juane

Derek Minor’s recent music has been really amazing but honestly, Byron Juane shines on this track. His verse makes the entire worth it. The hook is high energy and catchy. One criticism is the flow switch up Derek Minor does that I do not particularly think fits.

#61: “Rise Up” by Imagine Dragons

This song’s inclusion of here is a testament to my music taste changing. I hate this band and this song is meh. I really do not want to spend too much time on this mess of a track. It is an anthem for people who unironically enjoy Michael Bay movies. Moving forward!

#60: “Dream Lover” by Dion

Do I really have to say anything about this song? You have all heard it even if you do not think you have. It is great and I love it and Dion is a king.

#59: “LIGHT” by Kaleb Mitchell [EXPLICIT]

This is an amazing song from Kaleb Mitchell about poverty, alcohol abuse, and rising above all that. It also includes some really interesting things about the cycle of crime in the African American community and the racial injustices present in the justice system. Again, not all things that I 100% agree with but things I find interesting regardless. Not bad for someone who blocked me on Twitter.

#58: “All Gold Party” by Aha Gazelle

I called “Vegeta” my favorite Aha Gazelle song earlier but this may actually be it. This is a tongue in cheek brag song and – and then the bridge hits. And Aha Gazelle starts singing about a girl who he pushed away due to his success and him prioritizing work rather than that relationship and it is legit so good. This song has a lot of layers to it.

#57: “Ghost” by Mogli the Iceberg ft. Oncue

Yet another song about someone pushing someone else away? This is a song from an older Mogli the Iceberg album and it s pretty good.

#56: “Lil Holy” by WHATUPRG

Yeah, most of this EP is on this playlist. This is the hype song of the bunch. I am still waiting on WHATUPRG to drop that double single but overall this is a fun song that is a break from the emotional vibes on the EP.

#55: “If You Want Love” by NF

I do not know if NF expected this song to blow up as much as it did after Perception dropped. It was not originally a single until the music video dropped last week. When the album dropped, this song quickly become one of NF’s most played songs on Spotify and I saw people posting the lyrics of it on social media and everywhere. I totally understand the appeal. It is relatable and an easy listen. One of the best tracks on the album easily. NF definitely should sing more on future albums.

#54. “Hyena” by Ruslan ft. YourWelcome

My introduction to Ruslan as an artist came during the big CHH drama when Shai Linne, when of the classic Christian rappers, called out Reach Records for focusing more on personal testimony rather than using only scripture. His diss track is here and it is pretty good. “Hyena” is about fake people in the industry and various other things. Ruslan is a great lyricist and the hook from YourWelcome is perfect.

#53. “Land of Yesterday” from Anastasia: The New Broadway Musical

I recently saw my first Broadway show with my friend, Cynthia Bruce, and Anastasia was it. It is a really enjoyable musical that captures that Disney but not Disney tone perfectly. My favorite part of this track is the drunken part from the show that you can hear in the instrumentation.

#52: “College Kids” by Relient K

This is like original Relient K. This track is pulled from their second album, two lefts don’t make a right. With this being my senior year and me hopefully being a freshman at Wofford College next year, this song has been my anthem for the year.

#51: “All My Hope” by Crowder ft. Tauren Wells

One of my favorite Christian worship artists and one of my favorite worship songs. The original version of the song did not include Tauren Wells but his vocals on this version greatly improve this song. It has an old hymn tone to it while also being modern. It is beautiful and I have heard it in concert.

#50. “Bridges Burn” by NEEDTOBREATHE

NEEDTOBREATHE has had a busy last few years. They gave us H A R D L O V E, the HARD CUTS EP, and the Forever On Your Side sessions. This single from Forever On Your Side is a nice introduction to the pop influences on the EP.

#49. “Learn to Do It” from Anastastia: The New Broadway Musical

This is a really fun song and is like the most Disney song in the whole show. I really need to watch the original animated movie that the musical is based on.

#48. “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” by Alan Jackson

Song that will get white people lit. This song has so many great memories for me. It is typically part of the set of Bailey George, one of my good friends who is a radio DJ for Bristol. He is super talented and does this song really well. I created a Farmer’s Week playlist, if you go to Dorman High you know what’s up, and this is one my favorite songs on it.

#47. “Call It What You Will” by Larry and His Flask

This is yet another song that Bailey George introduced me to. It is a fun song about the… recession. Yeah it is kind of a downer in terms of lyrical content and context but that works since it really depicts the blissful ignorance in the credit card industry. This blissful ignorance resulted in the caving in shopping malls and the boarded up windows. And I love the bridge that is actually melancholy and asks “is it worth what you spent?” before going right back to the fake happiness. It is such a good song.

#46. “Morning” by nobigdyl.

This is a song all about sin and forgiveness from nobigdyl.’s debut album. I don’t like this album as much as I love SOLAR but it is a nice album regardless. Not much else to say.

#45: “YellowPaint” by WHATUPRG

The opener to the Pleasant Hill EP switches up several times and it heavily influenced by EDM. It also introduced many of the lyrical motifs that are all over the EP.

#44: “Place to Start” by Mike Shinoda

After Chester Bennington’s death, Mike Shinoda started devoting his time to solo music that resulted in the Post Traumatic EP and the full length album of the same name. This track was on both and depicts Shinoda’s inability to figure out what to do with his friend now gone. The song ends with voicemails of people trying to send their condolences to him, constant reminders this Bennington is gone.

#43: “joy.” by for KING & COUNTRY

The lead single to burn the ships, “joy.” is a high energy single that shows the duo’s new direction. This is another song off of the album I enjoy but it still does not hold a candle to their previous work.

#42: “No Chains” by KB

KB has been teasing new music since his last album, Today We Rebel. So far he has dropped “No Chains”, “Die Rich”, and has teased “DNOU pt. 2” on Twitter. I like the song but it is a tad repetitive for my taste.

#41: “Clarity” by Andy Mineo

The main song from The Arrow journey through faith and cynicism. The song also has some samples about theology spliced in to add even more layers to Mineo questioning his faith in God. I love how Andy Mineo really honestly depicts doubt and how it is necessary for faith.

#40: “Happy Accident” by Social Club Misfits

I like the beat on this one.

#39: “Out of the Blue” by Fleurie

This is called like dream pop or bedroom pop I think? Well I was introduced to Fleurie through his NF collaboration on “Mansion.” Her music is chill and stylized. It is very easy to listen to. Also, I really like the aesthetic of the music video. This was the lead single of her first full length album, Portals.

#38: “Our Time Together” by Ivan B ft. Marie Elizabeth

This song really ain’t the best? Early 2018 was odd?

#37: “I Don’t Have The Answers” by We Are Messengers

I remember hearing this song and this band for the first time at Winter Jam 2016! I love this song.

#36: “Fight for Me” by GAWVI ft. Lecrae

This song is my favorite ever GAWVI song and I relate to it so much. I am glad it blew up although I do not think the Lecrae feature was very necessary.

#35: “WHY”by NF

I remember when this dropped! I was at a restaurant with my girlfriend and her family. I had to borrow her earbuds so I could listen to it. NF’s flow is so great and I hope he does more songs like this on whatever his next album is gonna be.

#34: “Glow” by WHATUPRG

This song was basically WHATUPRG’s introduction to Reach Records’ fans who may not have been following him before. This was the announcement of his signing and is a great song talking about his pride and his family lineage. It also ends with Spanish voicemail from his grandma.

#33: “The Ocean” by Joseph Solomon

This is Joseph Solomon’s second song but I found it due to his spoken work poetry. This song is nice and all but I need a full project of some sort from him.

#32: “Romeo & Juliet” by Hobo Johnson [EXPLICIT]

This song is a dark, modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet centered around parents’ marriages falling apart and having a single parent. The intro is weird and I don’t like people overhearing it but the outro is literally perfect.

#31: “I so Hate Consequences” by Relient K

Did ya think Relient K was done on this list? This is one of my all time favorite songs from them. I desperately want to see Relient K live and sing along to the beautiful outro this song has.

#30: “Levitate” by Twenty One Pilots

This was honestly one of my favorite singles from Trench. Trench is an album that does have as much rapping as previous albums, so the rap parts of “Levitate” are greatly appreciated.

#29. “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers

Do you want to know what the biggest political issue of our generation is? The fact that “Ain’t No Sunshine” is a better Bill Withers song than “Lean On Me.” This song is beautiful and I absolutely love it, even that quirky part where Bill Withers says “I know” like 3 million and a half times.

#28. “LONELY” by Kaleb Mitchell

This is from Kaleb Mitchell’s other project he dropped in 2018, MITCHELL. I really like the tone of this song. The beat has an almost reversed sound to it.

#27. “Come Around” by Jon Keith ft. Joey Vantes

Hey, if you pay attention, the video for this song was done in only one take. This is my favorite track from Lost Boys, Jon Keith’s debut album. Joey Vantes/Joey Jewish does pretty good on the hook but Jon Keith’s verses are the highlight.

#26. “I’ve Been…” by Andy Mineo

Another odd bit of an EP that is much better in the full context of the project.

#25. “A Rumor in St. Petersburg” from Anastasia: The New Broadway Musical

This show and this song are so good.

#24. “700,000 Rednecks” by Nikki Lanes

Another song from Nikki Lane’s Highway Queen. I cannot recommend the album enough. Bailey George and I would drive all around Spartanburg listening to this song. This song is all about Nikki Lane’s experiences as a female in the music industry, particularly the country music industry.

#23. “Wesside” by WHATUPRG

This is not the last WHATUPRG but I am fairly certain this is the last song from Pleasant Hill to appear on here. My girlfriend loves this song. It leads into RoleModels and the whole vibe of it is really fun.

#22. “Everyday” by Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly is one of my favorite artists of all time, and Bailey George also introduced him to me. He is referenced in Don McLean’s “American Pie.” Also, my friend John got me his debut album with “That’ll Be the Day” on it and his music slaps, lemme tell ya.

#21. “NO EXCUSES (Acoustic Live)” by NEEDTOBREATHE

NEEDTOBREATHE released an acoustic live album from an acoustic tour they did and there is some beautiful music on it. This song actually has their version of “House of the Rising Sun” added into it and that sounds weird but the songs fit together really well from a musical standpoint. The vocals on both parts of the track are beautiful.

#20. “shadow” by nobigdyl. ft. Jesstaylo and Sarah Juers

As stated previously, SOLAR is a beautiful album that covers a variety of topics. I love the lyrical content of this one, especially how the first verse is juxtaposed with the second.

#19. “Over Again” by Mike Shinoda [EXPLICIT]

This song from Mike Shinoda’s Post Traumatic EP and full album, is all about the reminders Shinoda experienced when the band put on a memorial concert for Chester Bennington. He talks about the anxiety he felt as they went through the concert and you can really feel it. I also used this song’s chorus for a school project in video class where I had my sister cover it.

#18. “No Stains” by Aha Gazelle

Recently Aha Gazelle put out 2 songs that are his first drops since leaving Reach Records: “No Stains” and “Yippy.” “Yippy” has not been out long enough to make this list but I really like “No Stains” and the duality it shows in Aha’s personality.

#17. “At Least I Tried” by Adrian Stresow [EXPLICIT]

Adrian Stresow’s At Least I Tried is my favorite album of his. The title track is just as good as the rest of the project.

#16. “GET EM” by GAWVI ft. Aklesso, Rhomar Jessy, and TROSSTHEGIANT

To me this song is similar to”The One With My Friends” by Marty for President, where it is a good introduction to new artists. It features rappers you may not know but all of the artists provide some great verses. I am really hoping this one gets a music video soon.

#15. “Family Photo” by Andy Mineo ft. Weathrman

Another great song from Andy Mineo’s The Arrow. I relate way too much to songs about absent parents. This song begins with Andy Mineo’s wedding and how he can’t even focus on how great the day because his dad isn’t there. The song at one point depicts Andy Mineo’s anger at his father perfectly. The audio version of the song also ends with a prayer which is really nice.

#14. “changes” by XXXTENTACION

I don’t like this guy. I don’t like the person and I don’t like the fake deep art but… I like this song. I think I can live with that.

#13. “Harry Potter” by Foggieraw

I have no idea why the title is “Harry Potter.”

#12. “Don’t Forget to Live” by WHATUPRG

This is basically the song that introduced everyone to WHATUPRG. I love the beat and simplicity of the song.

#11. “Neon Gravestones” by Twenty One Pilots

This is a song pretty much all about suicide, particularly celebrity suicide. It is tragically beautiful in the way it handles this subject manner. It begs for people to stop glorifying suicide, and instead glorify those who live on. Tyler Joseph talks about how if he committed suicide he would always be remembered, and that is true. If you keeps living, his music may be pushed into obscurity and he could lose everything and there is so much uncertainty in life. Yet Tyler pleads for people to live on. I love this song and its nuanced view on suicide.

#10. “I Will Rise” by Benjamin Tod

This song is being performed by a homeless musician, which really helps provide context for the lyrics. Bailey George introduced me to this song and told me that it would make a great and powerful Christian but some Christians would hate the subject matter. It is a homeless man dealing with sin, depression, and alcoholism. And it is about rising about that despite everyone betting on the way you’ll die.

#9. “NO NAME” by NF

I do not like this song nearly as much as “WHY” but it was released earlier, giving me more time to listen to it.

#8. “Tree Tops” by nobigdyl.

The flow on this title track is pretty great.

#7. “Legends & Friends” by Mogli the Iceberg

Like “Neon Gravestones”, this song deals with recent celebrity deaths. This song specifically deals with drug overdoses and how for every celebrity death there are countless deaths of ‘average people.’ It is a very important song during the opioid crisis.

#6. “I Am Not the One” by KB

This song has two major focuses, 1. people calling KB ‘too white’ growing up and 2. him being sold out for God. The second focus is the primary one. He wants everyone to know that God gets the glory, not him.

#5. “Questions” by Adrian Stresow

“Questions” is very similar to “At Least I Tried” but I enjoy the subject matter more. Adrian Stresow is filled with uncertainty over the future and shame over the past.

#4. “It Is What It Is” by Derek Minor

This is one of my favorite political songs and a song with a long of nuances. It is all about the African American community and the many things they experience. A talking point very few people talk about is the predatory nature of Planned Parenthood’s clinics in impoverished neighborhoods.

#3. “Creve Coeur 1” by Hobo Johnson

This may be my favorite Hobo Johnson song. It is about trying to love someone who has dealt with paternal issues. This breeds many insecurities within her.

#2. “18” by Kaleb Mitchell

This is the last song from that guy that blocked me on Twitter, I promise.

#1. “Aquafina” by WHATUPRG

This song is named after a brand of bottled water and I am not sure why but it is a perfect song about modern relationships and love v. lust. Some of these same issues are explored in his later Pleasant Hill EP. This is my favorite track of his, especially the bridge halfway through the song. I highly recommend this song!



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