Junior year soundtrack

Junior Year Soundtrack

Every school year, when I get to the end of the spring semester, I think, “there’s no way it could get any tougher than this,” and then somehow, it does.

That’s not meant to be a complaint – my years in college have been some of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding years of my life. Still, the rewards are easy to forget when you’re drowning in multiple 10-15 page papers and group projects while working two jobs and a maintaining some excuse for a social life. A lot of times, I find myself listening to music for encouragement, motivation, or just comfort.

As is my tradition every year, today I’m sharing a short playlist of the songs I listened to this past school year that encouraged and inspired me. As is NOT tradition, this post comes halfway through the summer. Even though it’s been a few months since the semester wrapped up, I still think this is worth sharing (and I’ll never let myself live it down if I let this school year go by without a playlist.

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21 songs for 21 years

21 Songs for 21 Years

I had another birthday yesterday (May 5), right on schedule. I spent most of the day writing papers and working on projects for school, but I got to do it while eating cake, so it was still an improved experience!

Anyways, for my past birthdays I’ve done posts with fun facts about myself, the things I want to do as I grow older, and the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life. They all sound very profound (though some are actually rather silly), so I wanted to shake it up a bit and do something that’s a little less words-focused. This is mostly because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how information and stories can be conveyed through other media like images and audio, but also because I have two days before exams begin and there is so much to be done.

So this year, as I turn 21 and become an actual adult (so I’m told), I’m sharing 21 songs that have been important to me over the years. I might write a sentence or two for each one, but for the most part, I hope they’ll speak for themselves.

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Image with raindrops on a window and text "Songs for Sad Days."

Songs for Sad Days

Let’s talk about being sad.

No one wants to be sad, but sometimes, life is too much. There are days when it feels like we’re carrying an elephant on our backs, or it’s sitting on our chest, keeping us from getting out of bed. This happens to some of us more often than others, but I’m sure all of us can think of a time when we felt weighed down by life.

Not long ago, I found myself “stuck” in one of these periods, when I felt like what I described above. There were a number of things that helped me push through, but I relied on my music a lot. Music in general has always been a comfort to me, but there are certain songs that help me the most when I’m going through a hard time. I know we all have different tastes in music, but today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite songs to listen to when times are tough.

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The Music Tag

I Love Several Songs (Music Tag)

As you probably know already, I love music (like, a lot). I’ve written about it in the past, everything from my favorite music videos to analyzing specific songs like a nerd (but I embrace it). Naturally, I never pass up an opportunity to talk about music, and so this week, I’m participating in the Music Tag! No one actually tagged me to participate in this, but I found it on Wanderer’s Pen and decided it would be fun to just chat about music for a bit. Without further ado, on to the questions!

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The Poetry of Metal: “Wake Up”

A few months ago, I started a series called “The Poetry of Metal,” where I analyze the lyrics of metal (or metalcore, if you want to be picky) songs in an effort to show that there’s more to them than just screaming. I believe that there is a lot of fantastic and even beautiful writing in this genre – you just have to look beneath the surface a bit.

The last time I did this, I covered the song “Panic Room” by Silent Planet, which was written about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This time around, I’d like to look at a song by one of my favorite bands: “Wake Up” by Wolves At The Gate, from their album VxV. You can listen to the song below, or just keep reading to see the lyrics.

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The Ultimate Summer Setlist

Summer. A time of freedom, excitement, and adventures. No one’s telling you what to do – your time is your own. You can do anything you want!

…Well, unless you’re like me and you’re working a full-time job. In that case, you still have some responsibilities.

Even if you’re working a 9-to-5 though, there’s still something to be said about the free feeling of summer. Things are a little more laid back, maybe you take a vacation or pick up a new hobby. Summer is a time for adventures and doing things you wouldn’t normally be able to.

Of course, every summer adventure needs an awesome soundtrack. Whether you’re taking a trip to the beach or playing basketball with your friends, you’ll want some background music, something that just screams “Summer.” Well my friend, you’re in luck today, because I’ve compiled a Summer Setlist, just for you!

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Maggie’s Concert Checklist

I still remember the first rock concert I ever went to (okay, that’s not saying much, but bear with me). My parents took me to WinterJam in 2012 to see Skillet, one of my favorite bands at the time. Now, WinterJam probably isn’t what you’d consider a “traditional” concert experience, but it was awesome nonetheless. Since then, I’ve gone to a lot of other concerts and festivals to see my favorite artists, and I’ve always had a wonderful time.

When I first started going to concerts (WinterJam notwithstanding), I was definitely a bit overwhelmed. While concerts are awesome, they can be confusing for people who’ve never been to one before. I’m certainly no expert, but with concert festival season coming upon us, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned from going to concerts.

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Sophomore Year Soundtrack

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you might know that music is a big part of my life, despite the fact that I’m probably tone-deaf and can’t play any instruments. I love listening to music pretty much anytime, and it’s one of the things that encourages me on a regular basis.

Around this time last year, I wrote a blog post about my Freshman Year Soundtrack, where I just had a list of songs that inspired me, motivated me, or I just listened to them a lot over the course of the school year. I thought I’d do something similar again at the close of my second year of college, since my music tastes are always changing and new songs are always being released.

If you’d like, you can listen to the full soundtrack on YouTube here. Otherwise, keep reading to see my list and why I picked them!

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The Poetry of Metal: “Panic Room”

It’s no secret around here that I love metal music. I’ve written a couple of blog posts about it, after all.

I personally think metal is a great genre of music, but it often gets a bad rap – understandably so, in some respects. It’s certainly not a genre for everyone (much in the same way that country music is not a genre for everyone), so I’m not here to try and convince you to listen to it. However, I do think we need to give it a chance. Metal often gets brushed aside because, “it’s just senseless screaming,” but beneath the screeching guitar riffs and pounding bass lines, there’s some really beautiful artistry.

I’m also an English major, so analyzing words is kinda my thing.

That’s why I decided to start this series on my blog, which I’m calling, “The Poetry of Metal.” Every so often, I’ll pick out a song I like and analyze its lyrics, showing how the artist uses the words to create art and meaning. Maybe by the end of it, you’ll still think that metal is loud and annoying, and that’s okay. What I do hope is that you’ll come away from these posts seeing that metal, like any other genre of music (yes, even CCM) deserves to be treated like the poetry it is.

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Writing Lessons From Wolves At The Gate

In this series, I’ve already covered writing lessons from books, video games, and even a musical. As you can probably tell, I like to draw from some unconventional sources, because I believe that anything can teach us about writing, from books to movies to music to video games. They all tell stories, just in different ways.

Not long ago, I talked about what can be learned from the musical Hamilton, which tells its story through music. This week, I’m going to discuss music again, but in a different light.

Wolves At The Gate (WATG) is a hardcore band from Cedarville, Ohio. I first saw them when they opened for RED a few years ago, and I saw them more recently at Uprise Fest last year. Though I love many hardcore bands, there are few that I’ve really connected with like WATG, and they’ve become one of my favorites. Not only does their music sound amazing, but the lyrics and themes are so artfully put together, and so today, I’d like to talk about what writing lessons we can learn from their music.

Note: I know many in my audience aren’t fans of hardcore music, so I’ll be providing links to lyrics and to the songs themselves. Feel free to listen to them, but you won’t be missing out on the point of the post if you would rather just read the lyrics.

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