Archive | February 2013

Big K.R.I.T. – Shine On (feat. feat. Bun B)

If you love Hip hop and you’re still not listening to Big K.R.I.T., you’re seriously missing out on one of the hottest rappers to come out of the south in a long time. The 1st single off his upcoming mixtape K.R.I.T. (King Remembered in Time), “Shine On” is a nice showcase of his talents as both a rapper and producer as K.R.I.T. delivers some slick verses over a moderately uptempo beat that has a southern feel to it. Definitely a good track for you to chill out to after a hard day’s work. Download the track below.

Chromatics – Back from the Grave

Because I have a cherry blossom tree in front of my house, I was pleasantly surprised that my yoga teacher for today started the class by talking about how beautiful cherry blossoms are this time of year. Using the rebirth cherry blossom trees undergo after the winter season as an analogy, she spoke of how we too experience our own “winters” (or slumps as I like to think of them) and how there is beauty once we get past those bumps in the road of our lives. It was a lesson I could appreciate not simply because I have a cherry blossom tree, but moreso because I liked how it got me to focus more on the light at the end of the tunnel rather than the difficulty that was likely to come during the class. I feel that lesson is one we can all use when we encounter difficult stretches in our own lives.

One of my favorite songs at the moment, Chromatics’ “Back from the Grave” is a song that’s sure to puts your mind in the same positive place a good yoga class would. The lyrics in its opening verse tie in nicely to the cherry blossom analogy:

In a white room where the grass would grow and the music was slow all the pleasure and pain washed away like the rain…”

It’s a wonderful intro because it paints a vivid picture in your mind of a sort of rebirth along the lines of a post-winter cherry blossom tree taking place. The dreamy vibe created by its synth & guitar-infused beat only adds to the song’s beauty. Listen, enjoy, and remember that there is a light at the end of every dark tunnel you encounter.

Kendrick Lamar – Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe

After watching the cult classic Bull Durham, a late ’80s baseball rom-com that’s arguably one of the greatest sports movies of all-time, this past weekend for the first time in ages, I was reminded of one of the most important reasons I fell in love with baseball in the first place: it taught me that it’s okay to be cocky. As the grizzled minor league veteran Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) says to the young up & coming pitcher Ebby Calvin LaLoosh on how to go about playing the game the right way,

You be cocky and arrogant, even when you’re getting beat. That’s the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.”

While I may not entirely agree with the bit about I fear, I do feel that a little bit of cockiness & arrogance is just as necessary to succeed in life as it is to succeed in baseball.

Although everyone and their mothers have probably heard it by now, I felt that no other song relays the point of maintaining a proper cockiness & arrogance better than Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Aside from being a hard-hitting intro track to Good Kid, m.A.A.D. City, I love it because the chorus serves as a motivating phrase I have repeating in my head whenever people tell me I’m incapable of doing something. Hopefully it can do the same for you whenever you encounter people who try to kill your vibe.

Future Islands – Give Us the Wind

It’s funny how luck works. Some days you feel like the luckiest person on earth because the little things (e.g. finding a parking spot in the city, finding a heads-up penny on the floor, etc.) seem to be working in your favor. Other days it feels as though the world’s conspiring against you because you can’t seem to catch a break. Without a doubt, that come-and-go inconsistency of luck can be extremely frustrating at times because you never know what kind of luck you’ll be getting (if any) on any given day. However, as random as luck may seem, I honestly believe that the luckiest people are typically the hardest workers.

Struggle is a good thing because it forces us to push ourselves to be prepared in the event that luck doesn’t work our way. If we do our best to anticipate and prepare for the worst possible outcomes, luck will be in our favor because we smartly prepared beforehand and won’t be caught off guard. Take baseball for example. Whenever you see an outfielder make an amazing catch that leaves you in awe (e.g. 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout’s insane homerun saving catch), sometimes it is purely luck, but more often than not it’s because they worked so hard on the nuances of fielding that they’re able to position themselves to be in the right place at the right time and make a play. Same thing goes for life; the harder you work to prepare yourself for the worst, the higher the chances of you being “lucky.”

The lyrics in Future Islands’ “Give Us the Wind” drive this point home nicely as lead singer Samuel Herring confidently urges the hardship to come his way:

Give me the pen

Give me the sword

Let me cut away the darkness, and pin it to the wall.

Give us the wind, give us the wind

Give us the storm.”

It’s a fairly chill synthpop song that’s relaxing enough to help ease your mind into the week, yet deep enough on a lyrical level to get you thinking about what you need to do in order to create your own luck. Work hard and stay positive.

The Lumineers – Ho Hey

It’s no secret that love is probably the most-written about topic in music considering that it’s a relatively easy subject which people can relate to. While there are a numerous amount of love songs out there, I feel that the best ones are often those which don’t try excessively hard to express love in some overly profound way (e.g. Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”), but rather come across as being more down-to-earth.

The Lumineers “Ho Hey” is a great love song because of its relative simplicity in terms of both instrumentation and lyrics. Easygoing guitar chords, a bit of tambourine, and some light percussion make up the beat over which lead singer Wesley Schultz sings of the ever-relatable scenario of feeling as though the person you’re currently interested in isn’t with the right person because that person isn’t you:

I don’t think you’re right for him

Look at what it might have been

If you took a bus to China Town

I’d be standing on Canal

& Bowery

And she’d be standing next to me.”

Regardless of whether or not it’s a scenario you’ve been in, the warm vibes and laid back nature of “Ho Hey” are sure to put a smile on your face. Listen to the track below.


Miguel – Use Me

If there’s a song that gives a pretty good idea of the kind of sound you can expect from Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream, it’s probably “Use Me.” With a beat that’s part rock, part r&b, and all parts trippy, it’s a track that literally makes you feel as though you’re high off love as the vivid imagery conveyed in the song’s lyrics along with the intense passion in Miguel’s vocals make for some pretty powerful stuff. Peep the track below.

Local Natives – Ceilings

Whenever people say “the sky is the limit” they mean that there are essentially no limits to what could be. It’s a phrase we often hear during pep-talks because it’s another way of reminding us that we go as far as we want to go. If the limits to our potential are the sky, then our potential, like the sky, is limitless so long as we continue to act under that belief and not doubt the limits to what we can achieve. Our ceiling is as high (or as low) as we make it.

Aside from the fact that I was dying to spotlight just how good Local Natives’ latest album Hummingbird is, I decided to run with “Ceilings” as the song of the day because of its encouraging dare-to-dream lyrics.

All my silver dreams lead me to you.”

While it’s more about love than anything else, one lesson I feel we can take away from this lovely indie rock diddy is that the only to end up where you truly want to be in life is to be brave enough to chase after your dreams even when the odds may be stacked against you. If you wholeheartedly believe that nothing can stop you from fulfilling your dreams and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them, no obstacle will be impossible for you to overcome. Keep that in mind as you listen to the soothing sounds of “Ceilings.”

One love.

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