Winter Break Ideas: Vol. 1

Published 12/22/14 by:

In this week’s edition of Winter Break Ideas you will find things that you should lend your ears to while you’re on winter break. While some of these are best for rocking out in the car, others are for contemplation with a candle burning, or for some groove-filled cookie baking.



Taylor Swift’s album 1989 – You’ve probably heard at least one track off of this album, but it’s best enjoyed with warm libations and comfortable dancing clothes, because you will want to sing and shout to these catchy tunes. So break out those footie pajamas and bust a move. (Note: my favorite track is Wildest Dreams, but Clean is climbing the ranks as well).

1989 Album Cover


Little Joy’s self-titled album – If you enjoy Elvis movies and the humor/talent of Zooey Deschanel then you’ll dig this band. They’ve got kind of a sixties beach party groove that makes me feel warm on wintery days.




Sarah Koenig’s Serial podcast – For those of you who enjoyed HBO’s “True Detective” or are still wondering who killed JonBenet Ramsey, this is going to be your new obsession. Koenig, an investigative reporter whose resume includes reporting for The Baltimore Sun, as well as NPR’s “This American Life”, delves into story behind Adnan Syed, a teenager, who in 1999 was (not convincingly) convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend. Your commute just got a lot more intriguing. You’re welcome. (PS if you ask me what a podcast is, I won’t be able to keep a straight face, even on the internet).


Serial Logo


The Turnpike Troubadour’s album Diamonds & Gasoline – A friend of mine turned me onto this band a few months ago, and I can’t get enough. They make me want to open my own Honky Tonk bar and quit this life of teaching.



What have y’all been listening to? I’m ready for some recommendations!

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Album Round-Up For 2013

Published 1/8/14 by:

Album Round-Up For 2013


 Bottom line: in order for me to praise an album (as a holistic piece of art) I have to like more than three songs on it. Under the “hits” list are all the albums that meet that prerequisite. To be fair, the albums on the “misses” list are all people that have impressed me over the years, to my expectations for them are pretty high. The people in the “misses” category are people that I’m highly critical of because they already have so much for me to compare them to. I mean, let’s face facts: Gaga might never have another “Bad Romance”.



Lorde’s Pure Heroine – Practically every track has a unique beat that I can both drum on the steering wheel to, or shake my hips. She’s like a delicious cross between Stevie Nicks and Regina Spektor. I can’t wait to see how her artistry grows as she exists teenager-dom.

Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer Different Park – Half the tracks on this album ooze Sheryl Crow circa “Tuesday Night Music Club”. Yes she’s a Texan. Yes, she’s twangy. But here’s the thing: it’s believable, and catchy.

Blake Shelton’s Based On A True Story… – I’ll admit that this album isn’t for everyone, but it met the criteria aforementioned.

Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience – This album is completely versatile. I think that’s what dazzled me the most. It has beats that could be in the club, a stadium, a convertible, the beach, or a rave. Not a lot of albums that have that kind of variety are considered cohesive, but this album just has it.

Jake Owen’s Days of Gold – While this album is mainly for roadtrips, backyards, or barbecues, it definitely showcases Owen’s baritone voice more than his previous tunes. “Sure Feels Right” and “Good Timing” are not to be missed. Let Jake be your country music gateway drug.

Haim’s Days Are Gone – This trio of California sisters are the perfect cocktail of Cyndi Lauper, The Cranberries, and Wilson Phillips. You’re welcome.

Ariana Grande’s Yours Truly – I was blown away by the vocals on this album. Everyone is calling her a young Mariah Carey, and her voice definitely garners the accolade, but she’s got this R&B thing that seems a lot more effortless than when Mariah dabbled in it. “Tattooed Heart” is reminiscent of milkshakes and letterman jackets but Ariana somehow makes it suave. I hope she’s here to stay.

Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz – If you had told me a year ago that I would like more than one song on a new Miley Cyrus album I would’ve laughed in your face. Now I can’t stop because she’s a wrecking ball.

Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party – If Luke Bryan sang a jingle for a car commercial (Michael Bolton, anyone?) I would recognize his voice instantly. There’s something very distinct about it. He’s got some good kick up your boots and shimmy shake tunes on here, but the heartfelt “Drink a Beer” which is a hat tip to Bryan’s deceased brother and sister steals the show.



Jay-Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail

Katy Perry’s Prism

Lady Gaga’s Artpop

Kanye West’s Yeezus

Britney Spears’ Britney Jean

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