Let’s talk about 2014.  I don’t have a memory like I used to, and I don’t write like I used to, but music is memory so here is the year in songs.

It is winter, and a little like hibernation.  I have a dream about “I Will Buy You a New Life.”  I study calculus to The Lawrence Arms and when it is above ten degrees fahrenheit, which is what I deem ‘warm enough,’ I walk home to the Against Me! album.

Elisabeth does a One Week One Band and I will cry over “a shoe is not not a self” the first time I read it, and later too.

I listen to “Kids Again” on the way to a biodiversity field trip where I am taught how to wear snowshoes.

I take my biology midterm the day that I listen to The Wonder Years for the first time.  There are three hundred people in the room but I finish first and walk out, already cuing up “We Could Die Like This.”

I spend Reading Week on the computers in the GIC, listening to YG and Angel Olsen and watching the snow come down outside.

The R5 album hits me during exams and I take breaks in studying to walk up and down the stairs of Burnside, breathing.

I spend a solid week on the sixth floor of McLennan studying for biology and I put a lot of songs on repeat but I am hard-pressed to remember what any of them sound like.  The Neon Trees album?  MSMR?  What?

I put on the Cher Lloyd album as my mother and I track yard sales and the 5 Seconds of Summer album as I drive to and from work.

At some point I get emotional in a Rite Aid because it’s playing “A Long December.”

My co-intern and I listen to “Cut Her Off” a lot running soil samples.  Some days she’s not there.  Once I play “Believe Me” like fifteen times in a row, but sometimes when I’m tired it’s just “Use Me” over and over like it’s 2013 again, spinning around in a rolling chair.

I go biking down by the river listening to Teen Wolf dubstep fanmixes.  I get into country radio with my coworkers.  I watch the music videos on MTV and VH1 and Palladia every morning as I eat breakfast so I have to see “Am I Wrong” one million times.  Also “Morocco.”

I start blurbing sometimes for the Singles Jukebox, which means I get to download a lot of mystery stuff based on the names.  This is how I meet Tkay Maidza.

I hear the Tove Lo album for the first time as I am trying to fall asleep during a lakes class field trip.  I run through NDG to Betty Who, especially “Glory Days,”  also “Came Out Swinging” on repeat.  I lose my mind about Taylor Swift and Sam Hunt.  At some point I stop reading music criticism because I can see where they’re wrong, which is almost everywhere.

The D’Angelo album comes out and I realize that literally no one I know has ever heard of D’Angelo.

That’s it.

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It snowed for three days?  Four days?  Yesterday I woke up and yelled at the outside, “Am I ever going to see the sun again???” which was nice and cathartic.  This is my last semester and I will be done with McGill in…four days, which means it’s cover letter season again.

But let’s repeat that; I don’t want to gloss over it.  I’m graduating, no jokes.  I thought it wouldn’t ever happen but this year has had a lot of those moments, moments when I realize that what I say to other people also applies to me.  You can get things back.  You’ll be fine.

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New United State of Pop is out.  I like it a lot, especially all the parts that sample “Don’t Tell ‘Em,” because I am only human.

But to be honest with you–which I am, most of the time, if vaguely–I have not been in a pop state of mind.  Last night I was lying in bed and I started singing that Okkervil River song “Red,” which you might remember if you were around me in late 2009.  Or maybe not; back then it was a new sad guy singing every week.

It is disarming, after all this time, to recall those lines so neatly. I stopped singing because it was too sad.  I am not sad these days but I was yesterday; it happens.

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Updates from the land of academia

‘it’s garbage can, not garbage can’t’

‘I feel like I’m LOSING MY HEAD and it’s just rolling around on the floor going ‘ahhhh!!!!’ while my body is stumbling into walls and flailing its arms and stuff.’

No, Microsoft Word, ‘salmonid’ IS A WORD

“Hey, did you know caribou are excellent swimmers?”

Willamette falls is pretty


Dreams worth more than money?

‘I know that California ain’t to blame’ whoa unexpected depth, Love and Theft

‘tussocky muskeg’

this is all the non-paper-related stuff I wrote down this week, while writing papers.  I think I’ve mind-melded with the caribou.  You know how it is.

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I didn’t do this last year because I was in the darkest place and I couldn’t think of anything to be thankful for.  And it’s late this year because I kept forgetting about Thanksgiving; it’s easy to forget when you go to class and to the library and to hang out with your friend and that’s it.


I am thankful for the people who will text me back.

that time that Adrian Marcel sang on 106 & Park


the university pool

how one season rolls into the next

Crystal Light

the feeling of reading a line and recognizing it in yourself

public transportation

this cloud-atlas-true-love book

modern medicine

the way my mother sounds when she picks up the phone


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music notes from the past few weeks

The Leighton Meester album is INDESCRIBABLE, I LOVE IT

new Chumped album, holla

spent Shannan’s trip annoying her with “Change Your Ticket,” but then when I listened to it on the way back from dropping her off at the airport it made me all :((((

finally listened to the Tinashe, my fave is “Feels Like Vegas” because of ‘lifestyle’s finally changin” and the flashing lights


maybe this is the wrong time to listen to ‘hallelujah’ on repeat but I never went through a ‘hallelujah’ phase so I GUESS IT’S NOW

good for Nick Jonas.  in general.

“Yellow Flicker Beat” was the best part of the AMAs, Lorde’s performances have gotten so much more fully realized, she throws her hair with the best of them

I’m also so proud of Charli XCX, I saw her do a show here last year and I bet I couldn’t afford whatever she’s charging now

a couple weeks ago my old boss told me I looked like Tove Lo and I STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN OVER IT.  he doesn’t even know what a good compliment that is.

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Shannan came to visit me this week.  And the thing is–the thing is–the thing is that I love her so much.  That’s it, that’s the only thing that matters, that we’ve been friends for fifteen years, that she made me laugh from the very beginning and I have only ever wanted to make her laugh back.  I have a million anecdotes but they all come back to the sound of our laughs, twining together.

It was nice to have her here.

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