Music single-handedly embodies an authentic medium through which we find ourselves reflecting on a version of us. I believe music and its artform provides us with a mechanism to explore elements of our personal selves. Influential yet detrimental at times, music is one of the most vital instruments we have available to us. Although tastes vary by individual, exploring novel music has expanded my mind to measures I never thought.
Below, I have curated an a-to-z list of music that I think everyone should listen to.
A - "Algiers" by The Afghan Whigs
The Afghan Whigs - Algiers [OFFICIAL VIDEO] YouTube
One of my favorite bands across the board, The Afghan Whigs are an amazing American alternative band that continues to inspire me every time I listen to their music.
B - "Brother" by Lord Huron
Lord Huron helps provide all of those dreamy-wanderlust vibes that swirl in your head. Anytime I daydream, I find myself lost in their melodies and lyrics. 100 percent on my summer beach playlist.
C - "Cigarette Daydreams" by Cage The Elephant
If you have not already listened to Cage The Elephant at some point in your life, I recommend that you do immediately. They stand as an all-time classic for me. "Cigarette Daydreams" is the ultimate Sunday-cruise-with-the-windows-down song.
D - "Down In The Valley" by The Head and the Heart
An indie folk band that blends together Americana, rock, and some Beatleseque pop poetically forms songs through strong use of instrumentation and vocals. This song follows the story of a narrator longing to fulfill his dreams.
E - "Elegy" by Leif Vollebekk
Leif Vollebekk - Elegy (Official Video) YouTube
Leif Vollebekk explores a realm of melancholy, capturing a yearning desire. "Elegy," a more reflective song, looks into Leif's journey on the verge of big life changes.
F - "Fire Eye to the New Sky" by Lost Under Heaven
Lost Under Heaven's spiritual songs, specifically "First Eye to the New Sky," pour in novel emotions through dynamic and dramatic build-ups, culminating into an intense finale.
G - "Godspeed" by Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean curates introspective narrations throughout his music. "Godspeed" takes us into the helm of an individual's teenage life, a wild journey which leaves listeners exploring more of Frank Ocean's poetic creations.
H - "heroin(e)" by DeYarmond Edison
DeYarmond Edison includes the famously known musician Justin Vernon (a.k.a Bon Iver), whose music will always find itself on my playlists.
I - "Idaho" by Gregory Alan Isakov
The collection of strings and ambient instrumentation in Gregory Alan Isakov's music poises introspective musical creations. "Idaho" delves into the nomadic lifestyle through Isakov's narration.
J - "Just the Same Way" by Journey
Journey is one of those bands that you just have to listen to. All of their music is easy to listen to and boosts elation.
K - "Kaya" by Bob Marley
Every individual should explore reggae and include it in their life. Point made.
L - "LOVE." by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar - LOVE. ft. Zacari YouTube
Kendrick Lamar is one of the only modern-day rappers that I will listen to. Each of his songs swells with emotion and stories.
M - "Master & a Hound" by Gregory Alan Isakov
Gregory Alan Isakov's music delivers impeccable passion in his smooth and elegant songs. "Master & a Hound" is no exception. It is a marvelous masterpiece you'll want to check out.
N - "Nights" by Frank Ocean
Another poetically formulated piece by Frank Ocean entices listeners with an incredible and smooth syncopation. Veering from soulful elegance to a narrative exploration of Frank Ocean's life, "Nights" create a peaceful aura for any listener.
O - "Otherside" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Otherside [Official Music Video] YouTube
One of the most notorious rock bands, Red Hot Chili Peppers, redefined music of their time and is still a must-listen today.
P - "Probably Nu It" by Tree
Tree, a hip-hop and rap artist, is unlike similar contemporary artists. He employs melodies and beats that are similar to reggae. "Probably Nu It" is a song that can easily uplift your spirit and energy even though it has moderately sad lyrics.
Q (L) - "Lost in The Light" by Bahamas
I do not know of any thrilling songs that begin with Q, so I offer you another one of my favorites in its place. Bahamas does more with less, allowing soulful vocals and guitar to lead the pathway of its indie-folk melodies.
R - "Re: Stacks" by Bon Iver
Bon Iver - Re: Stacks - Live @ Hollywood Forever Cemetary 9/27/09 in HD YouTube
Easily my all-time favorite song by Bon Iver.
S - "Sedona" by Houndmouth
"Sedona" will surely deliver nostalgia with its smooth melody and vocals. An easy-listen that is perfect for lazy afternoons.
T - "The Heart of Life" by John Mayer
John Mayer is known as the modern-day swooner. Although he holds a pretty mainstream reputation, his music backs up his recognition.
U - "Unites" by Lost Under Heaven
I had to include another song by Lost Under Heaven solely due to their repeated success in every song. Although a unique band that many may not like, their spiritual songs like "Unites" continue to inspire me.
V - "Vide Noir" by Lord Huron
What I love about this song specifically is its differentiating characteristics compared to Lord Huron's previous releases. On their new album, and in "Vide Noir," we find many more rock and electric characteristics that I have found myself loving.
W - "While Oceana Sleeps" by Sparta
"While Oceana Sleeps" is a song that boasts ecstasy and will have you inspired in no time.
X - "XO" by EDEN
EDEN covers all realms of well-known EDM music. All of their music boosts bliss and is perfect for those long road trip drives. Although "XO" is categorized closer to pop, it reflects much of EDEN's other incredible songs.
Y - "Yellowstone" by S. Carey
S. Carey pulls all the power of good indie-folk music but in a more simplistic nature. Using few instruments to weave poetic instrumentation, his main focus is on vocals. S. Carey can also be heard as the drummer and supporting vocalist alongside Bon Iver.
Z (D) - "Dirt" by WU LYF
Z is another letter which holds no important songs to me, so I offer another one of my all-time favorite songs. WU LYF, in all of their music, urges revolution upon the individual. "Dirt," among their other songs, follows an indie-rock genre that represents the movement of WU LYF.
I hope you enjoy listening to new songs and continue to hold an open mind to contemporary music. I'd love to hear which songs resonate most with you or ones you think should be added. Feel free to reach out!