It’s funny that my last post for 2018 is a Musical Monday and my first for 2019 will be a Throwback (Musical) Thursday. I’m disregarding all of the rules. 2018 was a strange year for many of us with a ton of ups and downs and some dramatic changes or lack of anticipated development. It carried a lot of potential and while some was realized, it wasn’t always as planned for. Music has always been a constant source of comfort for me during these kinds of whirly, swirly times and this year has been no different. I have attached many emotions and memories to this year’s releases, as has everyone in the herd, and I’ll spend a lot of time in the future weeding through what all of it means and how I want to carry that with me into the new year.
Music is and will always be one of my priorities, it will just have to look a little different in the next year. Fewer concerts, fewer physical albums, fewer sandwiches purchased for starving idols. As I get my finances back in order after a rough year, I’ll be relying on my streaming service, more YouTube, and probably an increased need to further develop some life-saving fantasies to see me through. Total first world – middle-class first world – problems.
I honestly do realize that I sound like a spoiled brat here. I know I’m heading to Korea in less than three months for more than two weeks and I know that it isn’t really a huge sacrifice to not spend hundreds of dollars to go across the country to see a concert that I have spent hundreds of more dollars to attend. I know that I don’t listen to physical cds and that I can look at most of the photos online. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll miss these luxuries any less. And I’ll get them back in time.
So for this end of year Musical Monday I’ve chosen to share, or re-share as it were, the music that was most pivotal to my 2018. The music that saw me through. The videos I lost sleep over. The songs I had on repeat. And then played again. It’s not an exhaustive list of things I love, rather, those few songs that I clung to because I stumbled on them when I needed them most and they never let me down. I have no good way to arrange this list…it’s just…songs. It’s a list of songs I love and need. Also, they aren’t all from 2018…I simply absorbed them to the fullest in 2018.
It’s no secret that one of my favorite things in the whole wide world is Dean. His music, his style, his face, his bad hair, his everything. I have a playlist of almost everything he sings on and I went through a period of about 2 months where no matter how hard I tried, I ended up hitting play on that sucker a million times a day. It made me feel good when I was having a hard time. It made me feel sexy and fun and distracted from real life. I, obviously, don’t know Dean in real life, I don’t know what he’s going through, what he’s thinking, or what he’s feeling, but his Instagram has been something of a study of someone struggling to figure his shit out and do what he wants to do. I love that. It just felt and feels so familiar and close.
Dante’s Creek, THEY (ft. Dean)
This song, Sorry, actually came out as a single in 2017 and I obsessively listened to it for weeks, rarely going a day without hearing it at least four or five times but as with anything, time and new tracks pushed it out of my mind. However, it was released again in the summer of 2018 on The Rose’s album The Void and the obsession started all over again. I have keen memories of sitting in my car in a parking lot blasting both the AC and this song just one more time before heading out into the boiling sun to hit my next meeting. It makes me feel all sorts of angsty, young adult feelings on the surface of my skin, deep in my joints, and in my heart.
Sorry, The Rose
There are a couple of groups that have been through a lot this year, a lot of good and a lot of bad. These ‘scandals’ and how the members were treated because of them have led some of us to take stock of what we listen to, what it means to us, and what we are supporting by throwing our cash into Kpop. No matter where you’ve landed after that soul searching, there is no denying that both Pentagon and N.Flying played an important part in our lives during 2018. Shine and Hot Potato were played so often in my house that I’m pretty sure my dog has the choreo memorized. I started buying albums because of Pentagon. My oldest daughter started wanting to learn members names because of N.Flying. My attachment to both groups can’t be denied and no matter how upset I am with the fandoms or with their management or with the entire situation surrounding both groups, I am still here for them both 100%.
Hot Potato, N.Flying
I also realized this year, after much self-reflection, that I do in fact have a softer side. I actually require hours of listening to coffee shop singer-songwriters wax poetic about love. It’s a thing. And my need for it focuses very tightly on Jeong Sewoon. There isn’t an official video for one of my fav songs on his album from this year, but there IS a fan made version. Dear lord, I want to 19-year-old date him. I want him to adore me as much as he loves his guitar, sudoku, and strawberries.
La La, Jeong Sewoon
If you check my music stats for 2018, I guarantee that my number one played song was NANANA by IMFACT. I listened to that one song so many times that it has worked its way into the fabric of my being. I want to be that song. For months, if you’d asked me what I want to be when I grow up, my answer would have been ‘Ungjae’s opening lyrics.’ I’ve seen every stage on YouTube, have strong feelings about every outfit they’ve worn while performing the song, have almost wept from the sheer notion that it is only four minutes long. To this day I still pop it on at least once a day, just to ground myself, to find myself when I’m feeling a little lost. It scares me that IMFACT isn’t more popular, that they haven’t released a follow-up, that they may one day disappear.
At least I’ll always have this song.
Manitto by Villain has got to be one of the best songs to have been crafted in 2018. The whole album, Bank Robber, is absolutely one of the most consistent, enjoyable, and meaningful albums that I have heard in a long time. I love this so much, I have forced many people to listen to it hoping they will feel the same. Knowing in my marrow that they will. Being more than slightly disappointed that they don’t. Thank goodness for those that do. I could have put almost any of the PLT songs here, and many of the solo songs from the Planetarium Records boys, but I’m going to stick with this one because it just hits me somewhere special.
Because I made it clear from the start that this list is in no particular order, I feel like I don’t need to say anything like ‘last but not least.’ However, because of the depth of my feelings for all things Highlight right now, I do feel like I should qualify this final little ditty by saying that this entire list could have been the tracks from both Calling You and Outro. For some reason, this group has…it’s…I promised not to talk about them again this year. I failed. Another fav without a video…
Leave Me Alone, Highlight (Junhyung and GiKwang)
There are others out there, floating around, that I feel guilty about not including because I still listen to them regularly and love them like they were my own feelings, but I can’t rattle on forever. VAV, Nu’est W, EXID, Penomeco, Joo Young, Red Velvet, Heize, Changmo, South Club, Mino, LOONA, MX, Seventeen, Hyukoh, Great guys, ATEEZ, Bol4, and NCT in all of its iterations have all put out songs I’ve struggled to absorb enough. I wish, with all of my heart, that I could reasonably listen to all of these artists at the same time just to get enough of them. Thank goodness I have all of 2019 to listen to more.