Birthday Playlist 2017

I’m not sure how this tradition began but many years ago I began making playlist for my birthday. They don’t contain music I’m currently listening to at whatever given age I may be turning (which actually sounds like a better idea). Instead they take a glimpse back into past years almost like a nostalgic road trip.

I try to choose a relevant year and look at the music most popular during that time, but this year I issued myself a little challenge. The formative years of life where we begin shaping who we are range somewhere between ages 8 to 18. We develop quite a bit before then, but this is the time we really try to explore who we are, what we like, and the world around us begins to dictate more influence on ourselves. Finding music that essentially defined me during that time turned out to be really difficult. There are so many sources and it changed so much over time no one but me could possible ever listen to a playlist like that.

So the playlist I ended up coming up with is filled with 90s music that I listened from like 3 to 13. I did this entirely from memory trying to recall what CDs and cassette tapes I once owned, what my parents listened to frequently, and what takes up significant space in my brain. That said because music comes from many places there is tons missing from this. I didn’t want to self-disclose too much so there are a lot of personal songs missing because it became way too long (2 hours is already getting a bit long and it used to be about 4). No one is that nostalgic for the 90s.

Thanks to my parents for their influence, years of cheerleading routines, 90s teen movies, and the obscene amount of time I spent watching MTV for helping shape my musical taste during these years. While it seems wildly inappropriate for a child to listen to any of these songs, I’m pretty sure they made me the sparkling ray of cynical sunshine I am today.

Tracklist & Links below


What I’m Listening To, Volume 2

I don’t really have a good theme for this month’s mix/playlist. Sure I could do “spring” but it probably would have ended up with a similar feel anyway (and I’ve done Spring Break). So I’ve just put together a playlist of stuff I’m really into lately. It’s mostly new music (songs or tracks from recently released albums) with a variety of genres.

Some stand out tracks include: Don’t Take the Money by Bleachers which I desperately want to hear in some kind of throwback 1980s teen movie montage, Heatstroke by Calvin Harris which is impossible not to dance to, and Third of May by Fleet Foxes which I’ve been waiting a billion years to hear. I can’t wait for this Fleet Foxes album.

Tracklist and streaming links are below. Enjoy!


What I’m Listening To, Volume 1: February 2017

Months ago I got asked to curate monthly mixes of things I’m listening to now. I posted them here and there, but I decided to make them set apart from themed mixes. I feel like maybe it’s too much effort for something no one really listens to anyway. I just really like sharing what I’m listening to now even if no one cares. Plus when everyone is mentioning this stuff in a few months it’s incredibly entertaining for me to roll my eyes. It’s the little things in life. 

What I’m Listening To features a mix of new music I really like. old favorites I’ve heard recently, and just songs on my radar. While I love theme mixes or mixes curated with a purpose, sometimes it’s just fun to get back to basics. I tried as best as I could to separate the songs by mood/tone. The slower stuff is towards the beginning and the louder stuff towards the end. That way it’s not a shock going from quiet solo singer to a full band. That’s really the only difference and real effort put into this.


Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

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Mixtape 04: Happy Holidays

Around the middle of November one of the most popular local radio stations switches to Christmas music for the length of the season. It is one of my favorite traditions even though I appreciated it more when it began ON Thanksgiving. I have the happiest memories of laughing hysterically at my sister singing Boney M’s version of Mary’s Boy Child while looking at holiday light displays with my family. Why she loved the horrid disco song I’ll never know, but it makes me laugh to this day when I hear it.

Christmas Carols become a part of our lexicon and yearly traditions. There are half a million different ones all of which make listeners feel warm and fuzzy inside. Plus, they are pumped through the speakers of every retail and shopping establishment for a month straight to spread cheer and bring happy memories to the surface so you spend more money (marketing trade secret right there). There are classic ones, modern ones, and one’s I just don’t understand. What is figgy pudding? Why do you want it so bad? Why are you going to stay outside my house until I give you some? I didn’t invite you here. You just showed up and expect me to feed you?  Baby, It’s Cold Outside? Creepy and weird. Santa Baby…uh is she offering herself to Santa in exchange for gifts?

That brings me to this holiday mix I’ve made. It contains some of my favorite holiday music of past and present. All of the songs I turn up on the radio and the songs I play while baking or cooking in the kitchen during the season. I’ve even included the Mariah Carey version of All I Want for Christmas is You because it is a crowd pleaser. So consider this a little gift from me to you or just a chance to get inside my head (the secret to being Nicole is the music) if that’s your sort of thing.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!



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Mixtape 03: Cheer Up

The last week or so has been a complete bummer. Not just for me but seemingly for everyone I come in contact with. The election was stressful and the result was less than acceptable, in my own opinion. While I will refrain from spreading anything political here on this blog, I will state my displeasure with the outcome.

That said, it kinda seems like everyone needs a bit of a cheering up. Eating your feelings and watching crappy television only goes so far. Trust me I know. Everything feels a bit discouraging and almost like I just can’t quite get anything right lately. I try and I try only to fail in a mostly spectacular fashion. Its a little overwhelming and I truly hate feeling like I’m drowning.

So, I decided to create a mixtape of songs that tend to cheer me up when I’m feeling down. Mostly these songs just make me sing a long and forget for just 3 or 4 minutes how bad things can feel sometimes. I did leave one song out but that’s because I can’t give away ALL the secrets of what makes me, me. Hopefully at least one of these songs can bring you a bit of joy when it feels like things suck too much.

Consider it a Wednesday treat…

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify

Photo Credit

Monthly Mix 001

Happy Wednesday. Let’s have some fun with music to make it through the rest of the week, shall we?

I make a lot of playlists. In fact, I’ve shared a bunch here before so this is no surprise. But they come about in a pretty strange way. There is no rhyme or reason. Just one comprehensive “current rotation” labeled playlist in my Apple Music. Recently, I got a request to share monthly mixes of just what’s on my radar right now and I was reluctant to share.

I’ve been blogging for a while off and on and I always felt no matter if I hand crafted playlists or put them together based on just how great songs are right now, no one else really cared. But I thought I would give it a shot again just because. I’m not sure this will happen every month or just whenever I feel like it, but it’s directly from whatever I’m listening to now. Sure, I love a good theme and those make the occasional appearance.

For now enjoy what I’m currently listening to a lot and with a handwritten note. Sorry about the less than stellar handwriting…

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

Welcome + Mixtape No 1

As I sat here mid-afternoon snacking on the remnants of a hollow chocolate bunny, it occurred to me I should probably actually post something to this blog. If I never post anything the blog never happened. That’s a real saying right? (It’s not.) I figured I’d start with something I do on a regular basis for myself: mixtapes.

Sure, the mixtape is a long forgotten art, usually has a theme, and isn’t really done virtually with the likes of Spotify. But this is 2016 so I’m working with what the technology Gods bestowed on civilization. There’s really no rhyme or reason to this particular mix of songs or any mix really.

My music philosophy is simple: I listen to what I want. That’s everything from classic rock to the current pop on the hits radio station. I have an affinity for hip-hop, and most of my formative years were spent listening to 80s New Wave, indie rock, & whatever was popular during the Emo Wave. I will admit when something is good even if it means people laughing in my face. Life is way too short to hide the things you like and its way to short to make fun of things other people like. That said, most people find me really easy to read or guess at based on my appearance (which often times, I’ve heard fits a specific stereotype that begins with the letter h and ends in ‘ipster’). At the end of the day, I just throw songs I am liking at the moment together in a playlist for my commute, when work gets too quiet to think, or just for fun.

I like sharing them sometimes so if this is our first musical meeting you just have to trust me. You are bound to find something you like. If you know me in regular human life, you already know the deal. Odds are I’ve talked your ear off about at least one of these songs or played it for you in my car.

So enjoy.