Spotify Knows Me Better Than I Know Myself (my favorites of 2016, 101-90.)

(me, at the fourth grade talent show. i was very punk rock as i pretended to play the guitar.)

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Spotify user. Every year, I look forward to its end-of-the-year recaps because Spotify has a way of recapping my year for me better than I’m actually able to do. In recent years I’ve stopped writing as often as I used to, (I KNOW.) and the yearly retrospectives have been the easiest way for me to recall various memories. Spotify recently released a playlist which is apparently determined by the number of times a song has been played. I finally checked it out last week, and let me tell you, I was really irritated that the tunes I listened to the most in 2016 were from previous years! However, I discovered some really cool artists that are new to me, and I’m so excited to continue listening in the coming year!

Starting from the bottom of the list, here are the songs I streamed the most in 2016.

101. “Fantasy”- Mariah Carey: I can’t remember the point where I finally surrendered and decided to throw my hands up and reveal my secret love for Mimi to the public. If I had to guess, I’ve been hiding it since the sixth grade. I discovered this tune when my sixth grade teacher played it one day before the bell rang. I was extremely peeved that this song had sampled “Genius of Love” by the Tom-Tom Club, and I felt like my teacher was supposed to stop listening and announce it to the class. Unfortunately she didn’t, and I stayed secretly upset by my teacher for the rest of the year.

I think my embracing of Mariah happened by what I like to call a “YouTube rabbit hole” session. I log on to YouTube intending to watch or listen to one artist, and I completely end up on an unrelated search. My starting point must have been Britney related, and it slowly crept completely into Mariah territory. I spent the majority of the semester walking up and down the Hill at WKU to this song. I made sure to remain pensive as possible to fool everyone into thinking I was listening to something extremely introspective.

100. “In My Room”- Grant Lee Buffalo: Left over from my Friends obsession of last year, I listened to this song constantly on Spotify, and tried to play it as much as possible during my radio shifts. Believe me, I was pretending to stare sadly out the window at the rain while I imagined being really upset at Ross.

99. “4th of July”- X: I’m more familiar with earlier tunes from X than later material, like this song right here. I think I first discovered this song a few years ago while lurking around Facebook a few years ago on, you guessed it, the fourth of July. It wasn’t until this year that I shared the video on the fourth of July and became completely obsessed with how catchy it is. Needless to say, I played it and danced around to it way past that day.

98. “Come On Back This Way”- Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders (featuring Sharon Van Etten): Good God. In a music related conversation, it probably takes less than five minutes for me to mention how much I love this song so much so that I listened to it enough in 2016 for it to make YET ANOTHER year-end list related to me. If you’re just enrolling in Taylor 101, this song was the tune that got me out of a funk after being the music director for my college radio station, and feeling extremely disappointed that I couldn’t find a song that didn’t sound exactly like every other song I was listening to on a weekly basis. This song dominated 2015 for me, and I kept it in my station’s heavy rotation category much longer than anyone on staff or listeners wanted me to.

My best friend Ford bought me a Jack Ladder t-shirt for my birthday, which came with a card autographed by Ladder which was pinned to my refrigerator with a Jack Ladder magnet. My parents still cringe when I blast it on the stereo. I have a problem.

97. “Then He Kissed Me”- The Crystals: This song is featured in my favorite scene in Goodfellas, so I listened to it repeatedly when I didn’t have a copy of the film with me while at school.

96. “Going Down To Liverpool”- Katrina and the Waves: I’ve been in a relationship for a very long time with this song. You might know that I’ve had a huge obsession with The Bangles since my childhood, and they covered this song on their first LP. I had known their version for years before finally listening to Katrina and the Waves’ version. It doesn’t pain my Bangle devoted heart to admit that I’m a bigger fan of this version! It rocks so much harder, and I think Kimberley Rew deserves so much more recognition for writing this gem.

95. “Georgia Dust”- Sunseeker: Sunseeker is based out of my hometown of Nashville, and I went to high school with two of the members, which made me exceptionally excited to hear this track when it was released in the Spring! This song was a departure from my typical soundtrack, and the rotation I was putting in at the station. I loved writing to Sunseeker’s folk sound, and really liked their harmonies.

94. “It Must’ve Been Love”- Roxette: I care only slightly about how embarrassing it is to admit that I’ve got a pretty big soft spot for this song. I’d heard it on the radio while on the bus in Bowling Green, and it stuck with me; I thought it was the best accompaniment to my extreme frustration that I was always en route to my math class. Seriously, don’t ask me why hearing this song took me on an extreme quest to find a copy of Pretty Woman. I finally bought it after searching for it at two video stores in Bowling Green (yes, really) and finally subjecting Ford to two hours of Julia Roberts’ vein in her forehead. Songs can make you do strange things.

93. “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight”- Richard and Linda Thompson: I think my father was a little worried when I admitted to knowing who Richard and Linda Thompson were, a few years ago. This song is the first song of theirs I discovered while in a good mood. I found it via the “Discover Weekly” playlist from Spotify in the Fall of 2015, and good god, it’s a good one. I associate this song with a road trip I took to Lexington to see my boyfriend, and we walked around the mall while he ate a huge chili dog.

92. “Whenever You’re On My Mind”- Marshall Crenshaw: I really wish I knew this song when I was in high school and crushing on every male I ever conversed with. It’s a beautiful pop song that’s pure three-minute power pop. I associate it with warm Spring days and being completely at ease and happy. I absolutely love Marshall Crenshaw’s music. Play this if you’re feeling romantically happy! I just had to pause my music to play this one.

91. “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”- The White Stripes: This one is simple. I heard it playing on Revolution one day, and spent the rest of it singing the chorus over and over. I couldn’t stop.

90. “Congratulations”- MGMT: You know when you hear a song and it’s perfect for the present moment? My discovery of this song happened in a perfect moment. I was at a friend’s apartment, and he was spinning “Congratulations” on vinyl. I’d heard plenty of MGMT before on the radio and the countless episodes of Gossip Girl that I’d digested this year, but it was as if I was hearing MGMT for the first time. Nothing I had previously heard from MGMT had sounded this perfect. I played this one song to death for weeks afterward.


trash by taylor

what’s new?


(Me on a 5th grade field trip to the zoo. It was incredibly hot, and we were taken to a cemetery on the zoo property. Hopefully that explains my look of optimism and wonder.)

As with every post it seems, I’m going to begin this one with “I should’ve written this earlier.”

I’ve been home from college for a week and a half! My favorite spot and time of day is my childhood bed, and mid morning when I’m coherent enough to function after one cup of coffee. Squirrels are trying to make a spot in my parents’ attic, and it’s driving me insane. I’m waking up at various parts of the night to insane racket, afraid that they’re going to fall through the ceiling. It’s probably because of some irrational childhood fear. I guess if that is the only irritation I’ve got, then I’m doing pretty good.

“They” (the various essays and articles I’ve read about moving back into your parents’ house) say that it’s pretty common to regress a little once you come home. I feel more comfortable than I was before in general. I’m enjoying the little things that come with “home.” I’m binge watching Netflix episodes, and reading lots of books in my grandmother’s new chair. It’s so nice and I’m feeling so relieved after a tough end to the semester.

I’m not *that* comfortable though. I think a lot about what is next on my agenda. I need to get a job, an internship, and figure out my transportation situation. I need to make a full on transition into living in Nashville, and I’m kind of wigging out about it. I’m excited, but I’ve always been someone who needs to have a little bit of a plan ahead. I’m trying to become a little less dependent on details, but it’s been a struggle.

I have six hours left of school before I graduate. Many people have told me that I just need to concentrate on finishing school before I tackle the “bigger stuff.” I’m beginning to wonder if I’m being advised to ignore the prospect of planning ahead; that’s gotten me in a bit of a bind before. I know that it is good to figure out some goals and accomplish them one at a time. I’m a little angry at the concept of goal accomplishment right now. I didn’t accomplish my biggest goal of 2016, so I’m not putting much stock in anything I want to accomplish during the new year.

Not everything has been bleak and difficult! I’m working on saying “yes” to any sort of opportunity or activity that comes my way, because I’m hoping that situations will lead me to any opportunity to get out and explore a bit. I’ve also had the desire to get creative again. I used to write like it was nobody’s business (and a lot of times, it wasn’t. ha ha.) I would write lots of poetry and try to capture every single thought that passed through my head. That is what is keeping optimistic during this time of transition and wonder for the next step. Who really knows?

trash by taylor

i went to the mall today.


(Picture credit goes to Tumblr.)

Tonight I’ve been sitting around and living in my personal corner of nostalgia. It’s sounding really ridiculous for me after writing that sentence, but I’m really feeling the warmth of the neon lights and weirdly distance smell of popcorn and hairspray which derives from my definition of nostalgia.

I went to the mall today with my mom and grandparents for our annual holiday shopping trip. I hate shopping; I try to avoid it to a comically insane level. Shopping for clothing is my equivalent to going to the dentist and getting a root canal done. I never enjoy going to the mall with my mother, except during the holiday season. There’s something different about the annual holiday shopping trip; everyone is in a good mood, and we’re all fine aimlessly looking around. The feeling definitely takes me back to weekend trips to the mall during my childhood.

I don’t know how it started, but there was a period of time where my parents took me to the mall every Saturday. I would walk around all of the stores and just stare at everything. For some reason the atmosphere was intoxicating for me. I loved going to record and media stores with my Dad; I remember the dark blue neon lights on the ceiling of Camelot Music. I think seeing those neon lights and associating them with my pure excitement over looking at music and video tapes is the source of my strong association of shopping malls and nostalgia.

My grandmother would laugh and call me a “mall rat” when she would ask me what I had done that weekend. I thought about going to the mall constantly! Escaping to the mall was always my biggest daydream subject whenever I would sit in my third grade math class. I was always so happy at the mall. It seemed like an entire different world; it was definitely an escape from my third grade hell which consisted of multiplication tables and church choir.

Overtime my favorite stores started to close, and they were replaced with other stores that didn’t hold my interest. I stopped going to the mall and opted not to hang out with friends when they wanted to go to the mall. It wasn’t until I went to college and discovered the mall in my college town. Its layout was totally similar to my old childhood mall, and its music rotation was almost exclusively 80’s music, which I’d always had an odd association with nostalgia. Older music provides me with a sense of nostalgia for a place I’ve never been. I’ve spent so much time wondering if that makes any sense?

I spent a lot of time during my freshman year of college hanging out at the mall with my boyfriend. We would go a lot on Saturday nights and just walk around. It was like entering a new world that was so much more innocent than the one I currently lived in. I slipped back into that weird longing for the mall like I had in my childhood; we would skip class and hang out at the mall when it first opened and we were alone with the early mall walker dwellers. We felt like the empty mall was ours.

I’ve often tried to explain to people how the inside of my brain looks. I’ve been so sure that my brain mirrors a shopping mall hallway adorned with neon lights and a faraway water fountain. After spending much time trying to analyze why I have always loved shopping malls, I still can’t figure out why. I think history has a lot to do with it. History and culture are two aspects that play a role in my personal relationship with the shopping mall, so it will always be an ongoing study for me. I guess I will always feel my history whenever I go to the mall.  the concept of the mall has and will continue to change, but it will always remain tucked away for me in a faraway metropolis in my head.


last day in bowling green

i visited a log cabin

when the weather was hot

my black t-shirt clung to my body like a badge of honor

and a man looked at me

that’s all i ever wanted


i skated under a street light

with a boy i’d never met

he stuck his tounge down my throat

and put life inside of me.

my mom told me never to do that,

but i did it anyway.

and i lived a life full of sin


for two years and ten days

i stayed up all night polluting my lungs and kissing his fingers

after we shared doughnuts at GADS and survived another late night cooped up in Mass.

he left me one summer afternoon

and my life started


i sat under bright lights as he scooted next to me

and he held my hand

giving me more action than i had at seventeen

it was wrong it was wrong it was wrong wrong wrong

but for someone in her late teens,

i didn’t know what life meant to me.


goodbye to a platform that made my voice loud

when i had no idea how to speak

televisions blare

and messages tear at me all the time

but they’re not as loud

as when you asked me to be yours

in your car parked at the Sonic

i had to be in spanish class in 20 minutes

what a day that was.