Music of my Life (part 3)

Written on August 13, 2022
Posted under Personal

alt text

Welcome back to the final installment of Music of my Life, a series of blog posts that started as an exercise of “what songs do I love” and quickly spiraled out of control into something that has occupied a ton of my time and sent me down a ton of nostalgia rabbit holes. If you missed any of the previous posts, check out Part 1 and Part 2!

For this final installment, we’re talking about the 10 year stretch that has happened since I graduated from college, ages 25 to 35.

The last 10 years have been… a lot. New jobs. Living in 4 cities, and working in 7. A relationship that turned in to a wonderful marriage. Our first child. There’s so much that has happened, and my musical tastes have definitely reflected that.

Pink Floyd - Time and Coming Back To Life - I’d always been a casual fan of Pink Floyd over the years, but it took until my graduation for me to actually latch on to the band as one of my favorites. Time is definitely a classic, and I feel like I’m cheating a bit tossing it in here, so I’ll actually link one of my favorite tracks that isn’t as well known. Coming Back To Life is a song from the 1994 album The Division Bell, one of the least well known Pink Floyd releases, and this track just hooked me in with the guitar tone.

Of Mice & Men - Second & Sebring - Ok, time for some sad. 2 days before my 26th birthday, my mother passed away due to cancer. The lyrics of this song had been hooking me since I found out around 3 months prior, and I remember listening to this song the night she passed and really getting pummeled by them. I still can’t listen to this song without feeling sadness and loss. (On a lighter note, if you are not familiar with crabcore, read this article and then watch the video.)

Porcupine Tree - Time Flies - Porcupine Tree was the band that finally tipped me into the prog rock/metal world. I saw a video of their drummer doing a clinic on one of their other songs, Bonnie the Cat (here’s the video), and fell down the rabbit hole of listening to their entire catalog, both as a band and as Steven Wilson’s solo content.

DispersE - Dancing With Endless Love - Back in the day, I used to listen to my entire library on shuffle; thousands of songs just randomly chosen by the app. I’d had this album in my collection, but had never listened to it, and this song came on one day. It’s an instrumental intro track with a beautiful melody, transitioning to a heavier feel. It was much later that I finally listened to the whole album, and realized that the melody was a motif that returned for the final track of the album (skip to 2:49 if you want to hear where it comes back).

Snarky Puppy - Lingus - Out of all the tracks on today’s post, this is the one where I encourage you to carve out 10 minutes, get in whatever situation is best for your musical enjoyment, and watch. This is musicianship at its finest, and one of my favorite videos on the internet.

Tycho - Awake - A song for anything and everything. A car trip. A workout. A meditation. One of the best instrumental songs ever written, in my humble opinion.

Hidden Hospitals - Trilogy and Rose Hips - Steve’s band is back, this time with their full length album. The whole album is worth a listen, but these two are some of my favorites. Trilogy is a calm, atmospheric track that suddenly punches you with a heavy riff, while Rose Hips tries to rip you to shreds with dissonance. I’m sad the band is no longer together as a group, but they left behind some wonderful tracks for us to enjoy forever.

TesseracT - Phoenix - I love TesseracT. Such a wonderful band with a truly unique sound. This track is my favorite because it showcases Dan’s incredible vocal range (starting around 1:30).

Devin Townsend - Deadhead - A few points:

  • The Spotify playlist song is the album version. You want to watch the live YouTube link.
  • Devin is incredibly sick when they did this show
  • The best part happens at 6:28, so at least watch that (you’ll know when it happens)
  • I wish I could’ve been at this show
  • I wish I could be Devin’s friend; he genuinely seems like such a swell individual
  • If you need a YouTube rabbit hole to go down, look up “vocal coach react Devin Townsend” and enjoy.

Intervals - Epiphany - I started getting into instrumental prog metal around this time, and this was the song that tipped me over the edge. The little riff at 1:18 that leads into the first heavy section is just so beautiful, and the rhythmic riffs hook me straight to my core. (Also, the drummer for this band, Anup Sastry, did the drums for the end of Devin Townsend’s most recent album, and his video playthrough is absolutely stellar. Great drum videos are probably my favorite. You can watch Anup “shift gears” at 2:36, and again at 3:22, and it’s just cool how infectious that energy is.)

Plini - Handmade Cities - This whole album is a masterpiece. This track somehow manages to stand out above the rest. The solo starting around 3:28 is just perfection (so much so that apparently Doja Cat “borrowed” it for her EMA performance? The things I learn looking up videos for this blog.)

Sleeping At Last - I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) - Making their return to today’s list, Sleeping At Last managed to mellow out a wonderful love song into something powerful and soulful. This was the song Becca and I danced to at our wedding. Such a beautiful song.

Thrice - Hurricane - Thrice was a band that I knew of in high school, but never got into for whatever reason. I remember hearing an acoustic version of this song and thinking “huh, I should check this band out”. Such an incredible voice, an edgy 90s rock sound that still carries weight 30 years later. So good.

Vulfpeck - Dean Town - Yes, I put a bass solo up here. Vulfpeck are so much fun, and this song makes you want to groove with no lyrics. Bonus: here’s the track performed at their show at Madison Square Garden (and the audience sings along, which is my favorite), and here is probably one of my favorite mashups of all time - Vulfpeck + Beyoncé.

Bear’s Den - Stubborn Beast - The version on the record rules, but seeing this band live with my wife in Minneapolis the year before the pandemic hit is still one of my favorite memories.

Periphery - The Way The News Goes… - I thought about writing a blog post just for Periphery. Easily my favorite band out there working today. Energy and emotion and rhythm and riffs for days on end. They continue to blaze a trail for progressive metal, as musicians but also producers, software creators, and more. News is a chill song compared to most of their catalog, but the riff is divine and the drop into the heavy section at the end makes me want to run through a brick wall. Honorable mentions: Reptile and Satellites (just carve out 25 minutes to listen to both of these).

Leprous - Nighttime Disguise - The first entry to all 3 blog posts. This was the song that had been stuck in my head for a few weeks when the prompt was first presented. A great representation of the musicality that is prevalent within the metal community right now, and worth your time to listen to.

So that’s it! That’s the end of my list of inspiring music. There are so many more tracks that have impacted me throughout the years, but these are the ones that have stood the test of time over many, many years. Let me know what you think - did you have a favorite song? Anything new I introduced you to that you now can’t get enough of?