Sing it with your hands in the sky

When 2016 started, I decided to create a playlist on Spotify called 2016 (heh). It’s mainly to keep track of the new songs I discovered this year, and also a way to make it easier for me to make playlists like this. Because look at that, it’s July already, and we’re halfway through the year, yadda yadda yadda <insert minor freak out here>.

Oh, and did I ever mention that I love Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist? Or that I love Spotify, period?

Truth be told, I almost forgot about making this list, if not for Timehop reminding me that I’ve been doing this for the past three years. Let’s not break the streak, and let’s not forget this blog exists, right? So here are 8 songs for the first half of 2016. 

1. Bawat Daan by Ebe Dancel

Kung puso ko ay imamapa
Ikaw ang dulo, gitna, at simula
Nahanap din kita

I got into Ebe Dancel again thanks to Heneral Luna, so I spent quite some time listening to his solo album on Spotify. I loved Sugarfree, his former band, back in college, so it was quite nostalgic listening to his songs. I love, love, love this one, and I would’ve put this in the final year soundtrack but I want to feature it now because I don’t want to forget it later. I really, really want to watch him perform this live one of these days.

2.Rejoice & Pray by Ablaze Music

Never be afraid of anything
Just pray and keep the faith

I honestly didn’t think I’ll get the ~feel~ of this song when I heard it first, but there was a particular time at the start of the year when I heard this and caught that lyric, and I smiled because it felt like a reminder to keep on writing my next book. This is one of my favorite pick-me-up songs now. :)

3. 3 Stars and a Sun by FrancisM

I’m ready to defend the 3 stars and a sun!

This song is brought to you by PETA’s 3 Stars and a Sun, which I watched with #romanceclass friends early this year. Talk about a very, very intense play, from the very beginning up to the very end. It became a lot relevant later on, too, especially during the Philippine elections. It’s probably the first time I felt super emotional on some political things. My favorite part of this song, really, is the start, where someone is narrating the story of Honorio Punongbayan:  But the most important thing they shared was a ferocious love of freedom. Hay Pilipinas kong mahal.

4. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching by The Natural

She see me like a Freddy Prinze
so I’ma treat her like she’s all that, yeah

This is the first song I really liked when I discovered Discover Weekly on Spotify. Hee. I haven’t danced for so long (not the kind of classes I used to take, anyway), but this one just makes me want to dance again.

5. Pagsuko by Jireh Lim

Ikaw at ako ay alaala na lang kung susuko ka na

Another Discover Weekly discovery that just screamed my character Faith’s name over and over again when I first heard it. This always makes me feel so melancholic even if I couldn’t relate to this at all. Thanks for the feels. :P

6. Forgetting You by Nathan Angelo

I’m forgetting the way you moved
The way I felt
I’m forgetting the time we spent
All by ourselves
Cause it’s too late to try to change your mind
And there’s nothing else I can do
I’m forgetting you

Nathan Angelo is a new to me artist that sounded familiar, like the other singer-songwriters that I follow. I chanced upon this song randomly and I liked it on first listen. Kind of melancholic, just like song # 5, and also maybe a book # 2 song. I’m quite happy that I can’t relate to this. :P

7. Autopilot by Reese Lansangan

You’re more than I imagined
And I’m shaking my head, girl you did good
My eyes are screaming “Just take my hand”
I’m staring you down so hard

I first heard Reese when I attended Marla’s event, Letters Out Loud, almost four years ago (!!!). I followed her online and was really pleased to find out that her debut album is on Spotify, too! I liked everything there, but this one stood out because of that beat and because I realized this is a Fall Like Rain song. Hihi. I kind of miss the feeling that this song is trying to say, hee.

8. Alexander Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Oh, Alexander Hamilton
When America sings for you
Will they know what you overcame?
Will they know you rewrote the game?
The world will never be the same, oh

If you haven’t heard of Hamilton yet, stop reading this post and listen to the entire cast recording right now! I’ve seen people talk about Hamilton: An American Musical all over my social media feeds but it took a while for me to get into it. When I finally did — oh my stars, what a nerdy, fun, and heartbreaking ride. I listen to the whole recording over and over again and I discover something new every time. (Or when I don’t, I just learn how to rap it better. :p)

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How many times did I say “Spotify” in this post? I didn’t mean to. Or maybe I did. Any songs you liked in the past 6 months? Share them in the comments. :)

* Featured image (c) Rawpixel

2015 Mixtape, Part 3 of 3

And this is the last part of my 2015 mixtape. Will 15 songs even fit a single tape?

To be honest, I had a hard time coming up with 15 songs, and I highly suspect it’s because of two things: there’s not a lot of feels in this year (or hugot, if I must use that word), and I don’t venture out too much from my playlists. I can’t really remedy the first one (do I need that?), but I can work on the second one. Like maybe next year, explore more playlists on Spotify (did I ever say how much I love Spotify? looove Spotify!), and get more recommendations. So friends, if you’re reading this, throw me songs, artists, playlists for 2016 and I’ll listen to them!

Here we go, the last 5 songs for 2015. (Spotify playlist at the end of this post!)

11. Not Over You by Gavin De Graw

If you ask me how I’m doing
I would say I’m doing just fine
I would lie and say that you’re not on my mind
But I go out and I sit down at a table set for two
And finally I’m forced to face the truth,
No matter what I say I’m not over you, not over you

No, no, no leftover relate feelings for this song! I was randomly jumping around artists on Spotify and found this. This screamed Faith!!! on first listen, and I just had to put it on her playlist.

12. Perfect by One Direction

And if you’re looking for someone to write your breakup songs about
Baby, I’m perfect
Baby, we’re perfect

So 2015 is the year I really became a Directioner, haha. Two songs in this list! But this song is pretty fun to listen to, and this pretty much spawned a lot of plot bunnies for our little romance writing group. Also, look at how good these boys look (even if Zayn is already out of the picture)! I think Niall is my favorite boy now. :P

13. Masterpiece by Andy Grammer

One, you get one heartbeat so, take it seriously
This is your masterpiece, don’t forget to dream
And taste the colors in the air you breathe
It’s your masterpiece, go ahead and feel it all
Don’t stop till it is beautiful

I discovered Andy Grammer this year and his songs are some of my favorite cheer-up songs. And finally his album, Magazines or Novels, is already on Spotify. This is my favorite in the album, and it reminds me to really to make my life a masterpiece. (And it also helps me in my writing!)

14. Mary, Did You Know? by Pentatonix

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

I’ve heard of Pentatonix before, but I didn’t pay attention to them because I thought they weren’t the kind of group I would listen to. Then I came across this version of Mary, Did You Know? and I am blown away. Gosh, what a beautiful version. Plus points because I’ve always loved Christmas songs that were about the people surrounding Jesus, because it kind of helps me try to comprehend the beauty of His birth. :) (Listen to MercyMe’s Joseph’s Lullaby  and Jars of Clay’s Bethlehem Town!)

15. Hanggang Wala Nang Bukas by Ebe Dancel

Ang makita kang malaya, at umibig ng payapa
Mabuhay sa mundong itong ligtas sa takot at gulo
At makita kang malaya ang nag-iisang panata
Yayakapin, mamahalin kita
Hanggang wala nang bukas

I have so much love for this song because I have so much love for the Heneral Luna film. The last time I felt so moved about a movie was at The Passion of the Christ, and but then I was more remorseful than angry. Heneral Luna made me so angry even at the second watch, but even so, I look forward to watching it again (hi, DVD!), and to watching the rest of the movies that they will be making based on our heroes. I think this is one of the most important movies that came out this year, and it’s really something one has to watch to understand and think and be moved by it. And this song by Ebe Dancel is just perfect for this movie.

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And that’s it for my songs for 2015. :) Here’s the playlist on Spotify – currently missing Ben Rector’s Favorite Song because it’s not on Spotify, but you can play the video, anyway! :D Till then, more songs in 2016! (Seriously, recommendations, please? :D)

 

All These Things (1)

I meant to blog more before July ended (because that last post can get a bit too maudlin, right? Also, I haven’t used the word maudlin in ages), but alas, work, a typhoon, several SFC events, and sickness got in the way. Before I knew it, the month was over and we’re well into August, and I…well, look, we’re in August.

I realized something recently, though, in my new-ish job (can’t believe that I’ve only been here for less than 3 months – feels like forever already): the more you do something, the better you get at it. I mean, okay fine, I know that already, but being in this new role proved it. I haven’t done any major designing stuff since 2008, 2009. Now that one of my job functions is to design ads for work, I have been stretched in an interesting way and I find that it is getting easier for me to be more creative in making ads.  I am learning to use Adobe Illustrator more now, and I am really liking vectors. And I have used the Pen tool properly! How about that. Excuse me for being a noob, but it’s all so fascinating. (And to think I used to say I was a graphic designer. Heh.)

Then I realized how much that principle also applied to other things, particularly, writing. I admit that being so busy in all this newness has stopped me from writing – here, in my book blog, and even creatively – and I missed that. But if I can get better in designing because I do it everyday, then I would get better at writing if I do it everyday regularly more often than I do now.

Like I said, nothing new there. But indulge me a bit.

To put that in action, I am starting this little, semi-regular thing called All These Things. Because I don’t always have to write about oh-so-serious stuff – sometimes, I just really need to write. So let’s start.

If there’s an award for a song that has given me the most massive case of LSS, this would win. I heard it in my friend’s car last week and I have been playing it all week. I haven’t played it today yet, but I bet later I would play it and sing it and I don’t know if it would end anytime soon.  And there, I just played it again.

I just finished reading Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, upon recommendation of a friend. I liked it, but I have very mixed feelings about that ending.

mebeforeyou

But this is not a review, so I won’t talk about that. There’s this line from the book that I want to print out and frame so I would remember it everyday:

Some mistakes…just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let that […] be the thing that defines you.

Book season is starting in the Philippines. Book season = time for sales, book fairs, and reader conferences. And just this week, we kicked off the 3rd Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. Nominations are now open! Nominate your favorite 2013-published book by a Filipino author. There are thirteen new categories! :D

I’ve had my gym membership frozen since March because I wasn’t going there anyway. I’ve been contemplating on having it cut because I haven’t been using it as much. I forgot to have the freeze extended, so I got billed for August. I decided to use it again and went back for a dance class yesterday. I forgot how fun it was. And how much I missed dancing. :) This little fella dances way better than me, though:

Baby-dancing-Groot

One of my new favorite bloggers, Hannah Brencher,1 wrote this post a couple of weeks ago. I keep going back to it because…because:

And while I’m not an expert or a ghost buster, I think a ghost gets born out of a constant wish that maybe you and another person might have more to say to each other. Like maybe you never reached the point of finally saying everything. And maybe, just maybe, if you can manage to keep a person in your orbit or your memory a little while longer then you’ll never have to face the real truth: you can’t fix everything.

So many powerful words in this post that I can’t pick. But what she said about having final words, about how “Final words shift the atmosphere” give me hope. And it reminds me of this quote from Yann Martel’s Life of Pi:

So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.

Maybe all I really need are those words.

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Have a great weekend, everyone. :)

** Featured image credit

  1. Hannah, who actually inspired me to come up with this thing with her Field Notes feature []