The Music Tag (A Blog Hop)

I’m not gonna lie – I was SO excited when Victoria Grace Howell nominated me for this blog tag (thank you, Tori!) that this was my reaction.

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration… But music is one of my many loves in life, along with writing, books, and tea. So if you’re a music fan as well, fair warning: This post features YouTube videos. It also features links to more YouTube videos. I tried not to go overboard… but you still might be here a while. 😉

First, like any blog tag, let’s start with…

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My 10 Favorite Albums of 2014

If I could use one word to describe the music of 2014 for me, it would be “weird.” Firstly, it was a year of transition and rediscovery music-wise. In May, I left my music-reviewing post at Sonic Cathedral after 5½ years so I could concentrate on novel-writing and other creative pursuits. Suddenly I had more freedom – and time! – to listen to genres besides female-fronted rock and metal. That explains why this year’s Top 10 list features the most variety I’ve ever had in my end-of-year countdowns. Yay! 🙂

Secondly, the quality of 2014’s music took me on a bumpy rollercoaster ride. There were awesome surprises, huge disappointments, and an unusually high number of “in-betweens” that I needed to replay several times before knowing how I felt about them. And in some ways, my #1 pick summarizes my year of music: It tips its hat to my “head-banging” past while shocking the hell out of me – in the best way possible. In fact, I don’t think my SC colleagues would have seen this one coming (except for one – she knows who she is, because it’s all her fault *winks*).

Buckled in? Then let’s go! Continue reading

Music Monday: Lindsey Stirling – “Beyond The Veil”

I’ve only had Lindsey Stirling’s latest album Shatter Me for a couple weeks, but – wow! This is one of the coolest and most playful CDs I’ve listened to in a while. The amount of ground that this violin / dance music marvel (and former “America’s Got Talent” contestant) covers is astonishing: turbo-charged dueling with guitars and synths (“Roundtable Rival”), mournful dubstep (“Ascendance”), evading a laser beam alarm system (“Heist”), a dance of joy from the heart and soul (“Master of Tides”), and two vocal collaborations, including the impassioned title track featuring Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. One song I keep coming back to on the mostly uptempo set is the breathtaking “Beyond The Veil.” It’s not a typical ballad, since it shifts back and forth between slow and fast, but my gosh is it gorgeous! The blending of synths, programming, and classical elements injects an evocative, oceanic quality. Slower sections shimmer like the water’s surface above, while waves thrash from the brewing storm as the music intensifies. Then there’s Lindsey’s instrumental prowess. She lets her violin skirt the waves and dive deep to swim with dolphins and mermaids. Her talent rounds out this hypnotic track with the spirit and whimsicality that’s impossible for vocals to imitate.

And judging from Lindsey’s video for “Beyond The Veil,” I’m not the only one who imagines water when I hear this song. 😀  What do you think?