Fav albums of 2019!

Here are my top 10 favorite albums of 2019. These might not necessarily be the artists that I listen to the most, but these are the albums that I listened to in their entirety over and over .

  1. Lover – Taylor Swift
  2. Dedicated – Carly Rae
  3. Erotic Reruns – Yeasayer
  4. Betty – Betty Who
  5. Heard it in a Past Life – Maggie Rogers
  6. GIRL – Maren Morris
  7. Violet Street – Local Natives
  8. Bad Ideas – Tessa Violet
  9. Sucker Punch – Sigrid
  10. Cheap Queen – King Princess
  11. Honorable Mention: Fine Line – Harry Styles

Fine Line just came out so late in 2019 that I feel like I had to give it to the other albums I’ve been listening to all year!

Here are my favorite tracks from my favorite albums:


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calm the fuck down i pinky promise you won’t be single forever.

Valentine’s day is my favorite! Life hack: if you tell all your friends over the years that Valentine’s day is your favorite everyone reaches out to you on Valentine’s day and then you feel super special and loved.

One of my Valentine’s day traditions is to create a mix cd with my bestie, Shan. It started out being an angsty, single and bitter fueled activity. Over the years we’ve mellowed and it has evolved into a celebration of our dramatic, younger selves and a reminder that being single is not the end of the world.

Whether you spent this February wallowing in your single status or happily coupled you’ll definitely dig these tunes. pinky_promise

If you’d like to check out our previous creations you can find them here:

2005: It Sucks to Be Single

2006: It Still Sucks to Be Single

2007: It Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2008: It Really Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2009: It Honestly Really Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2016: Calm the Fuck Down You Won’t Be Single Forever

2017: Calm the Fuck Down I Promise you Won’t Be Single Forever

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Fierce | The Bright Sequence League

The Bright Sequence League is a group of rad humans (meet them here!) who collaborate on a monthly playlist based on a word or phrase.

The Bright Sequence League is here with volume five.

This edition our inspiration was fierce. After listening you’ll be 100% ready to take over the world.

At the very least it might inspire you to have enough self-control to not text your ex at 2am.fierce_cover

Some songs weren’t available on Spotify – I’m looking at you Beyoncé – so the full playlist is on YouTube.

Andrew: “Los Ageless” by St. Vincent

This track is an aggressive buzzsaw to the face. In a good way.

Carrie: “Everybody Knows” by Kimbra

It’s slinky, is sassy, and you know she’s pissed. Someone hurt Kimbra and she’s moving the eff on. She’s cool and removed, healing, vindicated, and, well, fierce. The first single from her upcoming album, Primal Heart, is experimental soul meets synthpop. It’s both etherial and showcases a driving beat. It’s a mysterious but focused sonic landscape that skips the decorative sound of Kimbra’s past work and really focuses on an emotional beat. It’s tough, catchy, and mature.

Claire: “Beautiful” by Betty Who

Nothing says “fierce” like a little self-confidence. GIRL, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

Emza: “Diva” by Beyoncé

You can’t say ‘fierce’ and not think about Queen Bey

John: “Filthy/Gorgeous” by Scissor Sister

I’m a classy honey kissy huggy lovey dovey ghetto princess. And the vocoder at 2:40.

Jess: “Sorry not Sorry” by Demi Lovato

IMO Demi is the queen of the empowering breakup anthem (Kelly Clarkson can come in a close second). Girl is unapologetic about how she feels and owns it and I could not be more obsessed with this jam. I would really love to blast this song and drive by all my high school crushes houses now so they know that I’m a bad b now… or at least I can pretend to be one while listening to this song.

Peter: “You F O” by Stela Cole

When I think ‘fierce’ I inherently think strong female powerhouse vocals, and I also think of wittily aggressive lyrics and this song combines both of these! Stela’s voice goes from sweet to smashing from verse to chorus and she certainly doesn’t hold back her intensity in the lyrics. One of my go-to songs right now!

Sam: “Hold Up” by Beyoncé

If “I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’mma fuck me up a bitch” doesn’t make you feel fierce I don’t know what will

Sarah: “Fashion Week” by Wale & G-Easy

This song has the perfect beat for a FIERCE catwalk!

Jithu: “My Neck, My Back” by Elle King

I’ve been obsessed with this version for years! This song is big on owning your sexuality and how to ask for what you want. When Khia came out with it in the early 2000s, it was scandalous and so out of the norm! She was unapologetic about who she was and what this song meant. Also, this version by Elle King just makes me giggle. It is nostalgic and soft and so very fierce at the same time.

Brucey: “Pure Desire” by Sheer Mag

I love Sheer Mag. I love Tina. I love her damn voice. SO FIERCE. This probably isn’t her “fiercest” song (see: Expect the Bayonet) but I love the bass so much. This whole album rules.

Shan: “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

She’s a free bitch, baby, who knows what she wants and what she does not (SHE DOES NOT WANT TO BE FRIENDS in case you were wondering). I just couldn’t pass on Gaga for this one. Sure, there are some more obscure tracks I could have opted for, but it’s just so hard to top “Bad Romance”. Fun fact: this is Bruce’s favorite Lady Gaga song!

Jill: “Grown Woman” by Beyoncé

BECAUSE IT’S BEYONCE. And this song always makes me want to get shit done.

What song would you add to our FIERCE playlist?

Check out all the other Bright Sequence League playlists here.


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Magic | The Bright Sequence League

The Bright Sequence League is a group of rad humans (meet them here!) who collaborate on a monthly playlist based on a word or phrase.

The Bright Sequence League is here with volume four.

This month our inspiration was MAGIC. This might not be the Harry Potter soundtrack, but it will make you feel like you’re at a local dive bar surrounded by eclectic strangers, which is pretty magical if you ask me.


Hit “Follow” on Spotify to save in your playlists for later.

Andrew: “Do You Believe in Magic” by The Lovin’ Spoonfuls

Well, do you?

Lisa: Magic” by The Cars

Ok the name is right on the nose, but this song is amazing & the epitome of 80s music greatness. Also the video is a pretty crazy pool party and we are in the final weeks of summer 🙂

Claire: “Illuminata” by CEO

I wish I had a more creative reason as to why I chose this song besides the fact that it’s from an album called “White Magic.” It does feel preeeetty magical though.

Emza: “Ghosts” by Made in Heights

I went to a Tokimonsta show at the Rock & Roll Hotel in DC many moons ago. It was one of those shows where I hadn’t heard of the opener (Made in Heights) but ended up loving them more than the artist I was there to see. With their choreographed dances, groovy attire, and funky energy –  it was one of the most magical shows. And hey, ghosts are magical too y’all!

Jithu: “Magic” by Coldplay

Well, the name. Also, I went through a month where I listened to this song 100 times. It is now in my Spotify Daily Mix 3. That’s right. Coldplay + Me = Magic. HEHEHE

Tyler: “Song for Zula” by Phosphorescent

It has a slow building instrumental intro then begins with a Johnny Cash lyrical reference. Both the vocals and instrumentals are dreamy and light at times, pleading to the listener at some points. Feels like some *~#&MAGIC!!*~# to me.

Jill: “Love, Sex & Magic” by Ciara ft. Justin Timberlake

This song is literal magic. I always forget how much I love this song until it comes on and then I magically know every single word. AND you can’t help but dance to it. Like, try listening to this and not dance in your chair. It’s impossible.

Jess: “Little Bitty Pretty One” by Thurston Harris

This song always reminds me of the scene in Matilda when she discovers how to control her powers and she’s so happy! (As seen here) For me the most magical moments in life sneak up out of nowhere and aren’t easily replicated. This song for me embodies the feeling of realizing you are having one of those moments and fully leaning into it and enjoying it as it happens.

Shan: “The Grand Illusion” by Styx

  1. Illusion is a synonym for magic
  2. Styx songs are catchy
  3. This song is so damn relatable
  4. It was only a matter of time before I chose a Styx song…

Emilie: “Looking for the Magic” by Dwight Twilley Band

This song is the +i+$

Sarah: “Coconut” by Harry Nilsson

The theme song from the MIDNIGHT MARGARITAS scene in the movie Practical Magic 🙂

Baby J Reynolds: “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” by Kanye West

You can live through anything if Magic made it…

Brucy: “Romantic Rights” by Death From Above 1979

I remember finding out about this band on MySpace back in the day. After reading the description of the band I was like “meh, one bassist, one drummer? That’s it?” This was the first song I ever heard from this band and was completely mind/ear fucked. How am I hearing all this sound from a bass guitar and drums? Wtffffff?! I’m so glad they are back together making new music.

Carrie: “Hologram” by Lydia Ainswirth

I really was going to try and submit a song that wasn’t a couple years old, but then this song came on and I just couldn’t help myself. Disembodied, ethereal voices float with Lydia Ainswirth’s more grounded verses over heartbeat percussion, piano melodies and a large, ever expanding electronic landscape. It sounds like soaring through misty, ancient green mountains or darting through a foggy, quiet pine forest at dusk in late fall. (I saw her in a little room at Webster Hall in 2014 and it was just her being delightful weird with a laptop. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.)

Sam: “I’ll be Home for Christmas” by Frank Sinatra

I actually hate Christmas, but when I hear this song it reminds me of the spark in the air that happens around the Holiday.

What song would you add to our MAGIC playlist?

Check out all the other Bright Sequence League playlists here.

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Campfire | The Bright Sequence League

The Bright Sequence League is a group of rad humans (meet them here!) who collaborate on a monthly playlist based on a word or phrase.

The Bright Sequence League is back with volume three.

This month the word was Campfire. Get your s’mores supplies ready and hit play below.


Hit “Follow” on Spotify to save in your playlists for later.

Brucey: “Going Up the Country” by Canned Heat

Perfect chill bluesy song with some killer flutes. Essential listening for your inner hippie on a camping wkd.

Emza: “Home” by Johnnyswim

Any song with a harmonica belongs with a campfire – I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes. Plus, this is a super fun song to sing along with y’all!

Tyler: “Bleeding Out” by The Lone Bellow

From past experiences I feel like songs around the fire need to have strings, male/female vocals, and a sort of a folky feel to it.  I love this band, I especially love this album, and if I remember correctly an awesome member of our league is related to a band member actually! So a tune from The Lone Bellow feels like it’d fit in perfectly around a campfire.

Sam: “Old Pine” Ben Howard

These lyrics make me feel nostalgic for summer.

Emilie: “In the Moonlight” by Blithe Field

I really dig this song and the whole album. The album feels nostalgic, and camping is something nostalgic for me. I’ve always loved camping and still do.

Sarah: “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty

When I think of campfires, it reminds me of late summer nights with my friend’s angelic voice serenading us to classic rock covers.  Tom Petty is a regular on the list 🙂

Claire: “She Lit a Fire” by Lord Huron

Not a new album, but one that always reminds me of summer and the great outdoors. “She Lit A Fire” is a figurative expression in this song, but I imagine it would be great to belt out around an actual campfire.

John: “Trip” by Vacationer

I first heard this song in June of 2012, a point in time that involved huge change for me. It’s been permanently cemented in my brain as a song for summer and a song for new beginnings. It was the first song that came to mind when I read the prompt, so I let my subconscious do the choosing. No better time than the summer for a campfire and a trip – mentally and physically.

Jithu: “Noche Nada” by Givers

I love the Givers! They are such an underrated band and are just super fun to watch and listen to. The reason I chose this song is because it has a very chill California vibe. This is what I imagine the kids in the OC (Summer, Seth, Ryan, Marisa, and Co.) would have listened to on a balmy summer evening in front of a campfire.

Jess: “The General Specific” by Band of Horses

Hanging out in backyards, rocking jorts, and drinking PBR is what campfire dreams are made of and that’s where this song transports me. It reminds me of the summer of 2008, driving down back roads in my blue Pontiac Sunfire with the sunroof down, and talking about everything and nothing for hours.

Andrew: “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

For some reason the word campfire makes me think of this morbid song about having a buddy soul with you when you’re stuck in limbo between heaven and hell.

Carrie: “Hey Ya” by Obadiah Parker

This cover is not new. I think it came out in 2007 and it definitely got played in my show on WXJM. For me, “campfire” conjures up two distinct images: summers on Hatteras and WXJM camping trips. Everything about this cover is singalongs and laughter around a campfire while we pound PBRs and get yelled out by nerds who expect total silence even before the sun goes down. 10 years later, it is still a solid cover that makes me giggle. It sounds like a warm night in those happy, heady days of college radio and getting to see my favorite people every day.

Jill: “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey

This is the first song that came to mind. And I remember when this music video first came out and I was like I need to go to summer camp in order to find true love.

Natalie: “For What It’s Worth” by The Cardigans

First of all, I’ve just got to say that The Cardigans are one of the most underrated bands of the 90’s and the 00’s – and they are so much more than Lovefool!  This whole album feels like a glowing candle in a dark room to me.  For better or worse, campfire will always make me think of acoustic guitars and the twangy intro of this tune just fits the bill for me.  I also like that the song is both upbeat and sad.

Peter: “North Carolina” by divineMAGees

This Divine Maggees album came to me at a time when I was spending all of my days running around barefoot, mostly naked, and camping with Appalachian queers out near Asheville, NC. When I think “campfire” I think of those mountains and when I listen to this song I can almost smell the smoke.

Hannah: “Tell Me True” by Sarah Jarosz

This was so hard!! Being from North Carolina, I LOVE camping so much and I love playing the guitar with a fire going and singing along to the music. I was even in a folk band with my sis for a while, and I loved singing and playing in the woods with a campfire going and seeing nothing but trees surrounding you. This song is just a pretty voice with a banjo and that’s for me the epitome of a good campfire song.

Shan: “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty

Every year, Tom Petty plays a huge role in the soundtrack to my summer. I don’t know if it’s the number of times I’ve seen him at Star Lake, the joy that blasting his albums with the windows down brings, or something else entirely, but his music just begs to be played when the weather gets warmer. The opening chords to this track are instantly recognizable as someone strums them on their acoustic around the campfire, and then proceeds to sing the song…badly.

What song would you add to our CAMPFIRE playlist?

Check out all the other Bright Sequence League playlists here.

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Dark | The Bright Sequence League

The Bright Sequence League is back with volume two.

If you’re like, “Bright Sequence who?” Don’t worry you haven’t missed much! The Bright Sequence League is a group of rad humans (meet them here!) who collaborate on a monthly playlist based on a word or phrase.

Our debut playlist was based on the word Bright. For contrast this month we are going DARK.


Hit “Follow” on Spotify to save in your playlists for later. 

Jithu: “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man

I read the topic as real and vulnerable. As people, we tend to hide the darkest corners of ourselves. I heard this song on The Graham Norton Show and have been loving this artist. This song is dark, funky, and points out the obvious fact of our humanness.

Emilie: “Unfucktheworld” by Angel Olsen

This song is so beautiful and so dark. If you look up the lyrics, you can interpret them in several different ways. However, no matter what you take away from the meaning of the song, it always ends with someone being alone.

As a person who struggles with being alone, being alone is a dark thought to me. I’m not saying it is for everyone, that’s just my perspective 😉

Jill: “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae

I’ve seen Delta Rae in concert like 5 times now and each time they perform this song it’s so eery and captivating. If you haven’t heard of them before, look em up!

Emza: “Love is Dead” by Hazel English

Dark makes me think of dark/mopey topics that occasionally swirl into my mind. The thing I love about this specific track is that although it’s about the end of a romance it’s still upbeat and jivey. It puts a spin on the darkness, if you will!

Peter: “Blood in the Cut” by K.Flay

Oooh…’dark’ makes me think of The Bronze vibes. Grungy, dimly lit, divey, sexy, dirty, vampire bar style. This song checks all those boxes and I can’t get enough of it.

Shan: “Plague” by Crystal Castles

This is the opening track off of Crystal Castles’ album (III), but before I ever listened to the first track, I was captivated by the album art. Turns out it’s an award winning photo. The album is thematically focused on oppression and power imbalances which fits with our theme. It’s also definitely dark electronica and gives me a complete sense of unease when I listen to it. I’m picky with electronic music and dislike a lot of it. This album…I love, and this track gives you a good taste of what’s to come on (III).

Natalie: #1 Crush” by Garbage

The ominous sound of the music is quintessentially what comes to mind when I think of ‘dark’ music.  The lyrics are perfectly suited to the theme as well.  Who doesn’t remember their middle school crush dedicating this song to them at a dance, only to realize that dedicating this song is actually a little creepy.

Jess: “Youth” by Daughter

This song is what immediately popped into my head when Dark was selected as the word this month. The vibe of this song is so ethereal you can’t help but be entranced by it. The way Daughter captures the hopelessness and despair that stems from an exceptionally bad breakup is so depressing and relatable. Even if you’re in a positive place relationship-wise this song immediately uncovers those emotions hidden inside yourself.

Carrie: “A Kiss Goodbye” by Emile Haynie feat. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Devonte Hynes & Sampha

It’s hauntingly, achingly, heartbreaking which counts as dark, right? Yeah, pretty sure that quietly beautiful and hauntingly sorrowful count towards the theme. Charlotte Gainsbourg’s breathy vocals fade into a far away, angelic choir floating on a cloud of steady electronic beats and Hayne’s subtle guitar. A brief moment of silence catches like a tiny gasp in the back of your throat, and then the track dissolves into stripped-back piano and Sampha’s sorrowful and aching recounting of lovely moments lost. It’s orchestral, heartbreaking and gorgeous.

Hannah: “Trust in me” by Scarlett Joahanson

When I think of the word dark, I think of going into a dark place, or hypnotic state of mind. Sometimes when I perform I go into a dark state of mind, and when I heard this song it took me back to that feeling. This character from the Jungle Book also represents having dark, ulterior motives, and I love Scarlett Joahanson’s rendition!

Claire: “The Middle” by Wet

I listened to this song a lot in the winter when it was literally v. dark for many hours, but I also chose it because the lyrics allude to a dark time in a relationship (I think?). The intro: “One more try/We can only hang on for so long/But we won’t rise/Someone’s always somewhere in the middle” gives a dark realization of failing love. It is sad and beautiful.

Brucey: “2020″ by SUUNS

THIS WAS ONE OF THE HARDEST DECISIONS. But I ended up choosing this song. It has such a haunting, downtempo vibe to it. And I don’t know if all the B-rated horror movies on Netflix have the same music producer, but I swear this song appeared in several shitty movies and only at the part where the film was like…panning through a sex dungeon/underground murder shelter or something. It’s awesome.

Tyler: Closer” by Kings of Leon

This is an older song off of what some would say is the most successful album for Kings of Leon. When writing this album their frontman had a shoulder injury and wasn’t able to move his arm very much on the neck of the guitar. So some of the songs on this album have a different sound and feel to them than their others. The album begins with this song that is full of eerie guitar sounds, heavy drums crashes, and vocals that seem to be pleading for help.

Andrew Rohlk: “The Wretched” by Nine Inch Nails 

The first time I heard Nine Inch Nails I was in fifth grade, and my little 10 year old self didn’t know how to handle it. I was a bit scared at the raw, aggro sound of Trent Reznor’s bellow. Now I find the sound of NIN to be quite relaxing and sometimes use it go to sleep. Something about all the layers of production on The Fragile album especially I find oddly calming now. Tastes really do change I guess. Growing up is weird.

What song would you add to our DARK playlist? 

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The Bright Sequence League | a collaborative playlist series

This is a shiny new idea that I’ve been wanting to do for years (?!) and I’m finally making it happen. Welcome to the first edition of The Bright Sequence League.

The Bright Sequence League is a group of humans I’ve connected with over the years through music. Ranging from friends I’ve had since middle school to my college radio station days to people I’ve met since moving to Austin. You can meet them all here!

Listening to music tends to be a solo experience (at least for me!) and I wanted to create a community vibe where people could share and learn about others through music.

Each month The Bright Sequence League will be given a word or phrase as a prompt. Then each member submits a song and explanation for why they picked it. This month the word is bright.

I’ve already found some new favorite gems from this first edition and I hope you do too!


Peter: “Sail Into the Sun” by Gentlemen Hall

When I think ‘bright’ I think about sunny skies, beaches, the sun reflecting off the water, and these song lyrics speak to all of my visuals. It also sounds very bright, the synths are very tinny and light, it’s upbeat, the melody is relaxing and happy, and makes me feel uplifted and brighter after hearing it! Love this song, it’s on my personal beach playlist, and really brightens my day!

Emza: “False Alarm” by Matoma, Becky Hill

This is one of those songs that a pal of mine played for me, and I subsequently had her replay our whole car ride down to Charleston, SC. I then played it for my best friend, who also wanted to listen to it nonstop driving back from a friends wedding at JMU. I have since danced and laughed with some of my best friends to this jam and it really BRIGHTens up any day.

Emilie: “Water Bombs” by Twinsy

My best friend from high school and I used to listen to this song and have the best time. It reminds me of when I got my license and how much I loved driving in the beginning. I always loved when the saxophones drop. You can’t help but want to dance when you hear it. Ah, simpler times, what could be brighter?

Andrew: “Bright Lights” by Gary Clark Jr.

It’s in the title, ya dig?

Tyler: “May I Have This Dance” by Francis and the Lights

It feels so wonderfully 80s, like a Peter Gabriel tune, yet it was released in 2016! The current word is “bright” and I instantly thought of this bright, fun, and dancy song that is full of surprises as it seems to travel all over the place in just a few minutes.

Jess: “Gone” by Jr Jr

I loved this song the first time I heard it and then continued to listen to it on repeat for a very long time. This is one of those songs that sounds best when the sun is shining. I mean, who doesn’t love a good whistle intro? This is my understated power anthem that reminds me to ignore external expectations and embrace who I am as a human. It always leaves me with a bright happy feeling inside and a smile on my face.

Claire: “Sunrise” by Snø

I stumbled across “Sunrise” on a Spotify playlist last summer and listened to it obsessively for longer than I am comfortable revealing in my first BSL post. With only one song to his name, SNØ was kind of a mystery at the time, but I went ahead and declared him Finnish Justin Bieber anyway. He has since dropped an EP, but this song remains my favorite. Besides the obvious fact that it’s called “Sunrise,” I chose this song because it reminds me of long summer days and [CLICHÉ ALERT] falling in love.

Catherine: “Heartlines” by Broods, Cheat Codes Remix

Upbeat remix – can’t help feeling good about.

Sarah: “All of the Lights” Kanye West

Songs with a good bass beat that are constantly changing/featuring different artists are my go-to favorite for getting pumped up!  My girl crush for Rihanna continues to grow…I love her part in this song!  It makes me want to get glammed up and dance.

Hannah: “Gimme All Your Money” by Alaska Thunderfuck

It’s like.. Is she saying “give me all your money” because she can and because she wants it? OR, is she making the statement that every artist we listen to is asking the same thing and she’s just being transparent..? Either way, the bitch looks fierce so here’s all my money, Alaska.

Lisa: “Obstacle 1” by Interpol

When I was thinking of the word “bright” the Interpol album Turn on the Bright Lights popped into my head, and Obstacle 1 was one of the first songs I remember listening to of theirs. My husband and I first started dating in 2003 and we listened to this album a lot, so it always brings back memories from that time period 🙂

Jill: “Sing to You” by John Splithoff

This song is perfect to bob your head along to. I always turn it on at work when I need to take a break from all the cray.

Jithu: “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers

Yes, I found it on that viral video but this is a total earworm and is sooooo fun!

Carrie: “Outside” by TOPS

I have no shame in admitting that Teen Witch was my favorite movie during the majority of my childhood, so I appreciate any tune that sounds like big perms, spangly jewelry, tutus over tight dresses and swaying slowly at a high school dance. Hang some glitter covered stars from the ceiling, get a prime position under the disco ball in a smoke-machine filled gym, and start slow-dancing with that cute boy in the letterman’s jacket. Try not to get so caught up in the quiet, romantic vocals that you forget to leave space between you and your hunky partner! You wouldn’t want the gym teacher to pull you apart in the middle of this blissful, dreamy song. (I saw them play at Baby’s Alright at CMJ 2014 and it was just as sparkly and dreamy as you’d hope. Alas, no Madame Serena or Brad Powell sightings.)

Brucey: “Wake Up” – Arcade Fire

One of my least favorite AF songs. But ever since that weirdo kids movie trailer came out, this song reminds me of bright, bursting sunrises. Starts with a longish intro build up then it’s just a beautiful wall of sound.

Shan: “Superman” by Goldfinger

Ska music just screams bright to me — the plucky, upbeat guitars and the blaring horn sections. I’ve had a special place in my heart for this song ever since Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater came out. The lyrics may not be super “bright” in theme, but this song always makes me smile.

What song would you add to our BRIGHT playlist?

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calm the fuck down i promise you won’t be single forever.

Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. I’m well aware that this is an unpopular opinion. One of the reasons it’s my favorite is because of a tradition that started back in high school.

No, I didn’t have a secret admirer profess their love for me on Valentine’s Day or anything else super sweet to make me love this day forever. It is actual the complete opposite. My bestie, Shan, and I were hella bitter about dudes and we started making mix CDs each year for Valentine’s Day entitled It Sucks to Be Single. You can read more about the origin story here.

Last year we brought this tradition back with a slightly different twist. Instead of focusing on how terrible it is being single we wanted to inspire some hope and to reassure our younger selves that it’s really not that bad.

We are ready to unveil this year’s masterpiece. Our anti anti-Valentine’s Day playlist. Celebrating unrequited love, breakups, and everything in between.


If you’d like to check out our previous creations you can find them here:

2005: It Sucks to Be Single

2006: It Still Sucks to Be Single

2007: It Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2008: It Really Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2009: It Honestly Really Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2016: Calm the Fuck Down You Won’t Be Single Forever

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Top 10 Albums of my Teens


I’m sure you’ve seen this Top 10 Albums from your teen years list going around the internet. When it comes to music and nostalgia there is zero percent chance that I wont participate.

Coming up with my list was a struggle because most of my teen years I didn’t listen to entire albums! This was the dawn of the Napster + mix CD era, so I primarily listened to singles. I think anyone who knew me in my teens would agree that this is a solid representation of who I was as an emo around the edges teeny bopper. #stilltrue

[Listen along here!]

Why did these albums make my list? I’m so glad you asked! Here’s a breakdown with more deets inside the mind of teenage Jess as the mind of 30 year old Jess remembers it.

1. The Click Five – Greetings from Imrie House
Favorite song: Friday Night
(Fun Fact: This was my first ringtone.)

the click five

Y’all!  I can’t even get all my feels out about The Click Five. My senior year of high school into freshman year of college I was straight OBSESSED with them. The summer between senior and freshman year of college I think my friends and I saw them live 4 times in 2 months or something ridiculous. I need to do a full post on The Click Five sometime soon because, damn, it was bonkers and I have such a happy place in my heart for this time in my life. Do I still follow all of them on social media? Yes. If you have no clue who these dudes are you might remember their biggest hit, “Just the Girl“.

2. Ashlee Simpson – Autobiography
Favorite song: Surrender


This photo is right before we all piled into my Chevy Lumina, Lela, and drove downtown for the Ashlee Simpson concert. (BTW this was the first time I discovered The Click Five, they were one of her openers!) I unapologetically still love this album. I loved the Ashlee Simpson show, she seemed so fun and spunky and just edgy enough for my rule following high school self. Honestly, the number of times I’ve copied Ashlee Simpson’s hair styles over the years should be embarrassing, but I just don’t give a fuck. My friends and I listened to this CD on repeat on the way to the Jersey Shore one summer. 17 year old bitter and single high school me really identified with these lyrics from Autobiography “right now I’m solo, but that will be changing eventually.” 😂

3. *NSYNC – No Strings Attached
Favorite song: Space Cowboy / It Makes Me Ill


Obviously *NSYNC had to make the list. You can see more about my *NSYNC obsession in this previous post I wrote. No Strings Attached is the album that made me decidedly TEAM *NSYNC in the war between *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. This was Justin Timberlake’s best hair phase IMHO. This album showed us that *NSYNC wasn’t going to continue to be taken advantage of by Lou Pearlman and taught middle schoolers everywhere about cyber sex. What more could you want?!

4. Relient K – mmhmm
Favorite Song: My Girl’s Ex-Boyfriend

This is right before a Relient K show at Club Laga before it closed. We were in the very front row and Dave smiled at Ashley (left in photo) with a toothpick in his mouth. It was a very exciting moment for high schoolers. I’ve seen Relient K live more than any other band and they’re still a go-to when I’m having a bad day. Confession: I actually hated Relient K originally, but they won me over. I would still totally date Matt Theissen, who I like to think of as the blonde Adam Brody.

5. The Killers – Hot Fuss
Favorite Song: All These Things That I’ve Done
the killers_albums
This album came out my senior year of high school and my bestie Shan and I used to listen to it when she was tutoring me in AP Calc. I owe all those C’s I got to her 💜. A friend of mine recently made a post on Facebook that said, “Mr. Brightside by The Killers is the best rock n roll song of this millennium. Fight me.” and I can’t say that I disagree too much. This album is still so so so good. Walk the Moon covered “All These Things That I’ve Done” on their most recent tour and I lost my fucking mind. (Seriously do yourself a favor and watch it here.) I really think they should have considered using my expert level album art…

6. Jesse McCartney – Beautiful Soul
Favorite Song: Get Your Shine On
Senior year of high school my bestie, Ida, and I were OBSESSED with Jesse McCartney.  My dad took us to NYC when Jesse McCartney was on TRL and we stood outside with this poster we made out of 4 poster boards taped together. It was February and cold AF, but we laminated our poster and everyone was jealous of us because their posters were ripping.We were in the same graphic design class together and every project was based on JMAC. The shirts we’re wearing we made in that class. They say “I’d Come See Your Big Modern Loft Any Day” and they are based on this shirt that JMAC wore. I also dabbled in some really sweet photoshop in our graphic design class like this work of art: me and jesse black and white
7. Justin Timberlake – Justified
Favorite Song: Like I Love You
Obviously Justin Timberlake was my favorite member of *NSYNC so his solo album was an instant favorite. I went to the Justified Stripped tour featuring Justin and Christina Aguilera during her DRRRRTY XTINA phase and it was amazing! I remember driving to the movies to see The Ring and I made sure to have this CD in the car. I only had my permit so my dad was present along with my friends and crush, that boyband haired soccer player pictured #noshame. For the record my crush got really scared during The Ring and held my best friends hand instead of mine. It’s fine.

8. Simple Plan – No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls
Favorite Song: I’d Do Anything


This album was so perfect for my teenage angst. There’s no one who knows the struggle of high schoolers like a bunch of Canadian early 20-somethings. We listened to so much of this album on band trips or in the car on the way to practice. Many songs from this album were AOL away messages and made it on mixed CDs when I was feeling sad about boys, which was always.  Simple Plan was also featured in the Mary Kate and Ashley masterpiece, New York Minute, which I was very into and currently own on DVD.

9. Jet – Get Born
Favorite Song: Rollover DJ / Get Me Outta Here

This was another album I used to listen to with Shan. “Get Me Outta Here” was basically our anthem for senior year. We were sooooo over high school and all the bullshit. Because, like, finding a date to prom is fucking exhausting.

10. Skye Sweetnam – Noise from the Basement
Favorite Song: Tangled Up In Me / Hypocrite

big modern loftsHere’s some more album art I created. This was a Skye Sweetnam + Jesse McCartney mashup. I honestly can’t tell if I made this in photoshop or MS paint which feels equally problematic and amazing. Skye Sweetnam was so much girl power and I love it. She was rebellious, but approachable. I really identified with her lyrics like, “Nerd, geek, super freak I’m a movie of the week.” 😂 This album was definitely about embracing who you are even if/especially if you’re different. Early 2000s “edgy” pop is the best.

Thank you internet trend for this nostalgia spiral that led me to this happy music-filled place. I’m a pretty big fan of Teen Jess and her musical tastes.

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A Breakup Mix For T. Swift

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that the couple formerly known as ‘Hiddleswift’ has ended their relationship.

If you’re oblivious to this news then you should probably stop reading. Not sure what choices you made to end up here.

I am not here to judge my girl Tay’s love life. Because, if I’m being honest, in the current dating climate a 3 month long relationship feels like a pretty solid accomplishment to me.

I’m here to provide Taylor with this breakup mix.

whatever you do, don't think of what used to be

The tone of this mix is meant to encourage feeling all the feels of a relationship ending while maintaining an optimistic outlook for the future.

As a friend of T. Swift’s, based on her definition provided in this video, I’d like to let her know a few more things.

Taylor, if you need someone to spend your time with I have a pretty busy schedule, but I would be happy to make time for you. Female friendships are so important! We could paint portraits of our cats, drink wine, and play Mash to determine who we’ll actually end up with. [Fingers crossed I get Matthew Gray Gubler, have a mini pig as a pet, and live in a modern loft after honeymooning in Tokyo.]

I’ve been giving a lot of thought about who you should date next — when you’re ready, of course! I really think that SNL’s Colin Jost is a fabulous choice. What’s your stance on being referred to as ‘bae’? colinjost snl weekend update
Just think of how cute it will be when you host SNL and you can make a cameo on Weekend Update with your adorable new BF next season. I see a Leslie Jones flirting battle in your future and it is awesome.

Keep your head up, girl! Way to be brave and put yourself out there. There are so many people who don’t embrace their feelings and just live cautiously in fear. Remember, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.


Do you have any go-to breakup songs? I’ll save them for the next time someone I meet on Bumble doesn’t want to go out on a second date. 💁🏼

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