In another life, U2’s Beautiful Day or the Beatles’s Across the Universe would be my travel anthems.
But in this life, I love *pop* just as much as I love any other genre of music. Perhaps even more, to be honest. And while it’s productive to use travel time to reflect and make life-changing decisions, there’s nothing wrong with simply “feeling good” and being “in the moment” and then, without warning, bursting into a Taylor Swift song onboard the bus or the train. Because really, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.
Enough being defensive. Here are 20 most played tracks in 2013 — if my player’s counter is to be trusted — and what was running through my head as I listened to them. (Some of them were released the previous year or are not current at all.)
20. Avicii – Wake Me Up
Because it paints images of cowboys dancing in the club. There’s that.
They tell me I’m too young to understand
They say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes
Well that’s fine by me
19. AWOLNATION – Sail
Because, regardless of the lyrics, the beat makes me feel oddly invincible.
Maybe I’m a different breed
Maybe I’m not listening
So blame it on my A.D.D. baby
18. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Same Love (ft. Mary Lambert)
Because I’m gay, and it empowers me.
And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to…
17. Ariana Grande – The Way (ft. Mac Miller)
Because it reminds of the old Mariah sound. She’s like the second coming of Mariah Carey. And as a guy who survived my pubescent years in the 90’s, I find a sense of nostalgia in anything Mimi-ish.
16. Labrinth – Beneath Your Beautiful (ft. Emeli Sandé)
Because really? How could you not like it?
You’ve carried on so long
You couldn’t stop if you tried it.
You’ve built your wall so high
That no one could climb it.
But I’m gonna try…
15. Mutya Keisha Siobhan – Flatline
Because I missed the original Sugababes so much, and this was the perfect song to return with.
Oh baby, I’m running every red light
Look at me, holding on to me too tight
Evidently, never gonna make it home…
14. Ingrid Michaelson – Keep Breathing
Because I got so emo at times. Imagine looking out the window of your hotel room while listening to this in the middle of the night. It makes you feel. It makes you want to press your nose against the window pane and cry even when there’s no reason to. Or maybe that’s just me.
I want to change the world
Instead I sleep
I want to believe in more than you and me
But all that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing
13. Birdy – Skinny Love
Because I discovered Birdy just this year and this is my favorite Bon Iver song. Loved, loved, loved this cover.
Tell my love to wreck it all,
Cut out all the ropes and let me fall.
12. Florence + the Machine – Shake It Out
Because having Florence in my head keeps me sane during 15-hour train rides.
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn
11. Calvin Harris – Sweet Nothing (ft. Florence Welch)
Because having Florence in my head keeps me sane during 15-hour train rides and this was her latest single at the time.
So I put my faith in something unknown
I’m living on such sweet nothing
But I’m tired of hope with nothing to hold
I’m living on such sweet nothing
10. Fleetwood Mac – Rhiannon
Because damn American Horror Story reminded me of just how much I adore this haunting song. Best track to listen to when walking around the city in late winter nights.
All your life you’ve never seen
Woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
will you ever win?
9. Christina Aguilera – Let There Be Love
Because, for some reason, this song makes me walk faster.
8. Zedd – Clarity (ft. Foxes)
Because this song makes me walk even faster.
‘Cause you are the piece of me I wish I didn’t need
Chasing relentlessly, still fight and I don’t know why
If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy?
7. Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Because I’m still not over this song.
The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all…
6. The National – Terrible Love
Because every time I give their new album – Trouble Will Find Me – a listen, I tend to play this song next. And then repeat it over and over again.
It takes a while
To settle down
My ship of hopes
Wait til the past leaks out
It takes an ocean not to break
5. Rihanna – Stay (ft. Mikky Ekko)
Because sometimes I find myself singing in the bath tub, too. Hahaha. Seriously though, it is Rihanna’s most emotional and best single to date.
All along it was a fever
A cold sweat hot-headed believer
I threw my hands in the air, said, “Show me something,”
He said, “If you dare, come a little closer.”
4. Lana Del Rey – Young and Beautiful
Because I feel young and beautiful. Duh? #CharLang. Hahaha.
I’ve seen the world, lit it up
As my stage now
Channeling angels in the new age now…
3. OneRepublic – Counting Stars
Because, like Ryan Tedder, I feel something so right by doing the wrong thing. And I feel something so wrong by doing the right thing. I couldn’t lie, couldn’t lie, couldn’t lie. Everything that kills me makes me feel alive. Yeah.
2. A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Say Something
Because it’s one of most beautiful songs released this year, and Christina’s vocals are just everything.
Anywhere I would’ve followed you.
Say something, I’m giving up on you.
1. Mariah Carey – #Beautiful (ft. Miguel)
Because… well, actually I’m surprised to find it on the top spot, too. (Why doesn’t anybody believe me?!) I didn’t realize I played it that many times, or my player is getting me punk’d.
But seriously, because — never mind the flirtiness — it just fills my day with positivity.
I can’t even pick a good line to quote.