As per usual (meaning since last year), I’ll start off with some stats from Spotify!
Compared to 2016, I doubled the number of minutes I listened to music on Spotify, probably because I finally got Spotify Premium. Overall, it seems that I shifted from kpop to more Mandarin-language music. Last year, all four of my top tracks were kpop, but only one was this year. As for top artists, Taeyeon remains (love her!) but no one else. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly deep Taiwanese pop is, but it’s probably safe to assume it means Mayday even though I thought that they were supposed to be more of a rock band.
And now for the more detailed history!
Help me I’m studying
My first song obsession of the year started early on January 2 with “How Far I’ll Go” after seeing Moana during a hangout with my high school friends. A month later in early February, I discovered Park Kyung’s “Ordinary Love” ft. Park Boram, a cute and sweet gem of a song that was just perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Another song I listened to a lot while commuting and studying last spring was “Dust My Shoulders Off” by Jane Zhang. I’d noticed it as a YouTube recommendation a few times and finally decided to click on it in a fit of boredom. I ended up loving the quirky music video, and the message of the song really helped me push through a lot of academic struggles last spring.
Taeyeon released her first full-length album around spring break, and I was pleased to find that I liked all of the tracks (except “I Got Love”). In particular, my favorites are “Fine”, “Cover Up”, “Feel So Fine”, and “Fire” although “Time Lapse”, “Love in Color”, and “Eraser” deserve mentions too. I find it kind of amusing that when I listen to this album I think about sitting in a chemistry lab building on campus and gazing down at the pharmacy building while waiting for my classes!
After spring break, weekly workouts for Texas 4000 started, and I had to take the bus at 5 in the morning to get to campus in time for morning workouts. On the very first ride, I started listening to Porter Robinson & Madeon’s “Shelter”. I’m not exactly sure why, but the song reminded me of two of Texas 4000’s pillars: hope and charity. To this day, when I’m struggling on a ride, one of the things I think about is how the hope our team spreads and the money that we raise can help “shelter” those affected by cancer.
And then comes Kimi no Na wa!! Most people should know by now that I am obsessed with this film. Once again, I’m going to save the gushing for a separate post. But let’s just say I listened to the soundtrack countless times while commuting to and from campus during May, and I continued to listen to it at Capital One over the summer. (Two repeats usually got me through the full workday.) It’s no surprise that “Dream Lantern” and “Zenzenzense” are both in my top tracks this year.
At some point, Yoga Lin’s “Flight” wormed its way in. It was the music video that elevated this song for me. I’m honestly a little surprised that it was one of my top tracks this year, but I’m guessing that I put it on repeat on some late nights in the spring, when I wasn’t listening to the Kimi no Na wa soundtrack.
Summer: internship, running, karaoke
Early in the summer, I went to see Wonder Woman with some coworkers. My friend Ben started listening to the soundtrack the following week at work, and after giving it a second listen in his car as he drove us to lunch, I decided to add “To Be Human” by Sia to my music library.
While at work, I often found myself listening to new music on Spotify during downtime. It was at Capital One that I discovered:
- “NANIMONO” by Yasutaka Nakata & Kenshi Yonezu – motivating feel!
- “Home” by Diana Wang – the first song in her self titled EP.
- “I Don’t Know” by Diana Wang – an adorably cute song about love.
- “Heartbeat” by Diana Wang – very musically interesting!
- “Strobo by illion” – very soothing. I listened to this on repeat a lot to ease stress over the summer.
I also started listening more to San Holo’s “Light” – another good jam for running, along with the songs mentioned above (except “Strobo”)!
At the end of July, my intern friends and I finally went and sang karaoke, and now “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada reminds me of it. That night Tim sang two songs that caught my attention: 乾杯 (“Cheers”) by Mayday and 不為誰而作的歌 (“A Song for No One in Particular”) by JJ Lin. The following morning, after a long night’s sleep to regain some of the spent energy from singing, I re-watched the music videos on YouTube and ended up sobbing in tears because they were just. so. good.
After karaoke Tim had told me that he thought that I would love Mayday’s music, and he was so correct because I have since developed an obsession. (And I am still heartbroken I didn’t go see them in concert when they were in Houston this past November.) Interestingly, the one Mayday song on my top tracks list isn’t one of my top favorites. However, it is the first song of their latest album, which is my favorite, so I’m guessing it ended up with a lot of plays since I oftentimes didn’t finish listening to the album in one sitting and would just restart from the beginning.
Back to kpop
School started, and I discovered some kpop music. Sunmi released “Gashina”, her first single since Wonder Girls’ disbandment. The music video is so aesthetic, and the song is so catchy. Such a jam! I am not surprised at all that this was one of my top tracks because I definitely put this on repeat for a while.
Next, Dreamcatcher caught my attention with their anime theme song-like sound. When I told a close friend I had found a new girl group, I was asked if it was Oh My Girl. I recalled that I hadn’t liked their music, but I proceeded to check out some of their songs to confirm. Update: I still don’t like their music…. But I did stumble upon “Closer”, and the ethereal feeling of the song and concept hooked me in.
At about the same time, I found out that Dia had released new music – and a full length album at that! I’d been looking out for new releases from her ever since her short stint in the now disbanded girl group Kiss & Cry back in 2014, so I was very eager to listen and see if I liked it. I ended up immediately listening to the album before, during, and after a T4K workout, and because of that, running at Clark Field is now the specific memory associated with the album!
Entering into October, I reached a slump in music and only discovered two songs that I really liked. The first was the lovely and soothing “Autumn Morning” by IU. The second was Lin Yu-pin’s 我的愛情不平凡 (“My Love Isn’t Ordinary”), an incredibly catchy song from one of my Discover Weekly playlists that I just couldn’t get out of my mind no matter how hard I tried.
It wasn’t until I was done with school and back home that I got some new songs to be obsessed with. My mother watches Hong Kong TVB dramas, and over breaks I usually watch them with her. I had first heard Hubert Wu’s 到此一遊 (“A Visit”), the theme song to the drama The Exorcist’s Meter, back during Thanksgiving break, but I didn’t gain a deeper appreciation for the song until I started watching Heart and Greed 3, fell in love with the sub-theme song 欲言又止 (“Hesitantly”) by Hana Kuk & Vincent Wong, and looked up both songs on Spotify.
Finally, “Let It Go” by Eric Chou gets the award for the last song to be discovered in 2017! This was one of those rare songs where I instantly developed an obsession. I was lying on my bed writing in my journal and listening to Discover Weekly when this song came on, and within a few seconds I had already saved the song.
Listen to my 2017 playlist!