Life Without A Rubric’s 2020 Curtain Call: Music Part 1

Life Without A Rubric’s 2020 Curtain Call: Music Part 1

Hi, Hello and Assalamualaikum! I’m Aina and welcome to Life Without A Rubric!

          I’m back from a short unforeseen break and I haven’t posted since November. Just a short statement there BUT even then I’ve been thinking about Life Without A Rubric a lot, especially with how it’s going and how it’s going to be…

          But that’s a story for another day.

          It’s December! Can you believe it? I don’t know why but November was honestly one of the faster-paced months this year. My friend ‘J’ and I were talking about how our birthdays are essentially checkpoints towards the end of the year. Her’s being the last day of the second last month and mine being the last day of the last month. Thinking about it made it seem like so far away. Yet hers has already passed and now mine’s within sight. How time flies…

          This post marks the beginning of the end!

The last week of 2020! 

          So I thought I would finish off the year with a series of posts going into 2021.

As you can tell by the title, this will be a mini-series is called:

 ‘Life Without A Rubric’s 2020 Curtain Call!’

         With the end of this year comes a reflection period of sorts. Where we can exit the year reflecting upon the person we were when we entered the year. Where we can look back on what we did, why we did it and how we can improve from there…

          But today is not the day for that reflection!!

          Instead, I’ll be deep-diving into my ‘Spotify Wrapped 2020’. An annual overview of what I’ve listened to on Spotify, my all-time favourite music streaming platform since 2015. I’ll be inserting a lot of links throughout the blog, so feel free to take a journey made of song and video as you read! (they look like this) This is a two-part special so don’t worry about being overloaded because even I found this blog in its entirety overwhelming.

Here we goooooooooooooooooo2o2o!

2020 Wrapped

          We shall start off with the ‘2020 Wrapped’ Title page. The only reason why I’m highlighting this is because, by chance, when I opened my ‘2020 Wrapped’ none other than ‘Destiny’ by Mamamoo was the first song to play.

          This song has its own importance to me but for it to be the opening to something that was signifying the end of the year made it feel like everything that has happened to me this year has been my ‘destiny’ and that everything has happened and will happen for a reason.

           Regarding the song itself, ‘Destiny’ by Mamamoo was the very song that pulled me across the line of becoming a fan of this incredible and empowering girl group. Prior to this year, I had no interest in the group and yet they became a highlight of my 2020. Very fitting for the beginning of this Spotify Wrapped.

          ‘Destiny’ has a very wild-west feel to it and the intro is very unique compared to anything I have heard before. What I particularly like about this song is the unpredictable melody. The strong bass in the verses contrast with the acoustic guitar strumming that follows in the pre-chorus. The first time I heard this, I wouldn’t have expected the chorus at all. The first time I watched this song happened to be the first time I heard it. Here’s that exact performance!

          Safe to say, I am now an avid fan of this girl group and I’ll be supporting and looking forward to what they’ll bring in coming years!

My 2020 Growth: New Artists Discovered

          I was particularly happy about seeing this number. This number is important to me simply because it represents how I was willing to try something new in a simple way.

          Listening to new artists means I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and go beyond who I already knew. By doing this, I gained more ground in knowing what kind of music creators are out there. I particularly enjoy asking questions of:

Why this genre of music? Did they always make this type of music? Are they singer-songwriters?

         I like learning where artists started, how they’ve grown and seeing their development in music. Especially because I find it interesting as to how some people grow with their music as if it’s an extension of their personality. This possibly goes not only for music creators but music listeners as well. Just like how we may not currently have the same preference of artists than in 2015, artists may produce music of a different genre now than when they embarked on their careers.

New Genres and Top 5 Genres

          Speaking of genres, that’s the next part of my 2020 Unwrapped!

          I was shocked when it came to numbers. Simply because I didn’t know that there were THAT many genres!! You learn something new every day. Similar to why I found the number of artists I’ve listened to important, this big number just comes to show I was willing to welcome other genres of music and listen beyond my comfort zone. Showing me that I was willing to try something new in a small way.

          Let’s do a deep dive into my top genres and have a quick comparison to what they were last year!

1.  Last year: Pop
‘Pop’ is my reigning number one genre simply and it’s the umbrella term for a lot of the more specific pop genres that I listen to.

2. Last year: K-Pop
This year it’s ‘Show Tunes’, meaning musical theatre. Was I surprised? Yes but only by how high it is on the list. Admittedly, this genre got me through a lot of chores during the quarantine.

3. Last year: Hollywood
‘Lo-Fi’ actually made it onto my top 5 genres! Last year it was ‘Hollywood’ and to this day, I still don’t know what that genre envelopes.

4. Last year: Modern Rock
I was genuinely surprised as to how low ‘K-Pop’ is on the list especially since this is the genre that I thought I listened to most. As of this year, most of my monthly playlists consisted mainly of ‘K-Pop‘.

5. Last year: Soundtrack
‘Modern Rock’ dropped down one place but I didn’t realise it was going to stay. ‘Soundtrack’ Music has inevitably disappeared into a lower rank. I believe it’s because it was my source of study music but I found solace in ‘Lofi‘ Music instead.

My Top 5 Songs! (+5)

          Spotify provides you with a breakdown regarding your top song which I thought was quite fascinating. I got to see when I first played it, when I reached a certain number of listens and how many times I listened to it, which was 99! Just one more listen and I’d have gotten 100!

Now for my Top 10 breakdown:

1.‘Fairy Of Shampoo’ by Tomorrow X Together (TXT)

          Personally, this is an ethereal version of the song. It’s a remake of the hit 90’s song originally by Light and Salt inspired by a poem of the same name. The unique point of this song is the rap which is entirely original and was written by the eldest member of the group (Yeonjun). It’s nothing like the raps I usually hear with its super soft and smooth melodic flow. Although I love the whole album, ‘The Dream Chapter: Eternity’, this song is arguably my favourite from the album.

2. Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head)’ by Powfu feat. beabadoobee 

This was a song I first heard when making Dalgona Coffee on Tiktok was a big trend. I fell in love with this song after I heard it. This song samples ‘Coffee’ by beabadoobee which is the non-rap part of the song. The innocence and purity of the song was what got me first. I came to appreciate the rap the more I understood what he was talking about. The innocent, soft first part had sadder undertones once I did. I had it coming with a song by the name of ‘Death Bed’. 

3. ‘Maria’ by Hwa Sa

This is an empowering song. ‘Maria’ is Hwa Sa’s baptismal name which just comes to show how personal this song must be to her. This song inspires me so much. It gives me the confidence to be who I want to be and do what I want to do. Mid-song it cuts immediately into a Latin inspired section and I remember the first time I heard it, I was in awe. The music video has so much imagery and really shows the listener how she felt and how she feels about her fame; it’s an intricate video. What really got me was, after the song ended, the video cut into a clip of her sitting alone and from behind, her fellow group members (sisters) of MAMAMOO came in with gifts for her. 

4. ‘Maze In The Mirror’ by Tomorrow by Together (TXT)

What made this song special to me was the fact that it was co-written by all the members. It was first written by Beomgyu (a member) when they were trainees and is meant to represent the challenges and the hardships they had to go through in order to debut. I love the acoustic pop sound, it makes me feel warm especially with the dynamics that build from beginning to end.

5. ‘Watermelon Sugar’ by Harry Styles 

This was a song I was anticipating to show up. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Watermelon Sugar’ is a total jam but the reason I was anticipating this song to make an appearance was because whenever I was about to play the album – which I did on repeat – I would play this song first so I knew it wasn’t going to come up later. This song was just overplayed everywhere. Often, I didn’t get through the whole album song so I always listened to this song regardless. Let me just reiterate, I LOVE ‘Fine Line’, the album. Absolutely love it, every track and I wasn’t expecting to love it this much. 

My next top five songs were the following:

6. ‘My Future’ by Billie Eilish

This song became my mindset towards the second half of 2020 and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. 

7. ‘God’s Menu’ by Stray Kids 

A LEGENDARY SONG and deserved so many awards that it didn’t get. I won’t ever get tired of this song and it’s hard-hitting instrumental. The music video is on another level, especially with its transitions. The quality is *chef’s kiss*.

8.‘Blue Hour’ by TXT 

This is the title song to their latest album. Also, it has been my favourite overall era of theirs. The vibe was immaculate and I compare this song and its music video to what being on hallucinogenic drugs would possibly be like.

9. ‘Lights Up’ by Harry Styles 

This always got stuck in my head. I love how soft the song is throughout. I can only describe it as absolutely groovy.

10. ‘Soldier, Poet, King’ by The Oh Hellos 

The second ‘Tiktok song’ on this list and I am unashamed. The trend that came with this song was so wholesome. It was along the lines of either someone telling a story in the form of this song or someone listening to a story about them, often in a medieval setting. My favourite POV had to be when the listener was a demigod and was telling his mortal companion (you) that the song they were listening to was about him. Also, this song made me really realise how much I quite like Irish influenced music.

That’s it for part one folks!

          I hope that the above provides you with new songs, new genres or even a new perspective! Below ‘The Stuff’ as usual, lies my ‘Song Recommendations’ section with even more song recommendations to support what didn’t appear on my Spotify Wrapped. There’s more to come in part two so do read that after this. No quote to end here because this isn’t the end so see you in part two!

Merry Christmas!

Music Recommendations:

1. ‘LMM’ by Hwa Sa, the B-side to her mini-album, ‘Maria’. LMM stands for Lost My Mind. I could go on and on about that song with its orchestral backing and strong yet tender vocals. Besides that, the only thing you need to know is the music video made me tear up. It’s BEAUTIFUL! 

2. ‘Ex’ by Stray Kids, the B-Side to their first full album by the name ‘In Life’. It’s another emotional song and music video. It’s about a devastating breakup. I really liked their comeback stage of it and the symbolism of a promise ring that they use as a prop with their choreography.  

3. ‘Juice’ by Lizzo, a hype song for everyone. I came to like this song through Harry Styles’ cover of it and then through that, I was introduced to the wonderful world of Lizzo. I never listened to her songs because I thought ‘Truth Hurts’ was overplayed but now it’s one of my favourite hype songs.

sidenote: I am only now realising I should’ve left links in every song recommendation bit I’ve written.

Aina’s Monthly Playlist 

Currently Reading: Mindfulness in 8 Days by Kathirasan. K, The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer, The Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Life Status: Hopeful

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