My Favorite Music in 2019

Wrap-up season is officially upon us! While I’ll be getting into the TV/film and bookish goodness very soon, today I’ll be focusing on my favorite albums of the year. I don’t talk about music too much on the blog, but I would love to incorporate it more. Music primarily gets discussed here on Fangirl Fury in music-inspired book reviews, music-inspired book tags, and in the life happenings sections of some of my monthly wrap ups. I am by no means a music connoisseur—I have no idea how to talk about music using music terminology/lingo – but like many, I absolutely love listening to it. In the future, I’d like to include occasional blog posts about what songs and artists I’m currently listening to.

My 2019 favorites are split in three categories: albums that came out in 2019, music that I discovered in 2019, and music I especially revisited in 2019. I’ve also tried to keep my favorite songs to a 5 song minimum.

2019 Releases

taylor-swift-lover-album-art-1560458980-640x640-1560529343Lover // Taylor Swift- While I enjoyed the single releases leading up to Lover, I was a bit nervous how the album would come together because “Me!,” “Lover,” “You Need to Calm Down,” and “The Archer” all sounded so different. However, this album completely delivered! As long as I don’t have anything too crazy going on in life by then, I am determined to go to Lover Fest. It of course has its own sounds, but if I had to describe it in T-Swift terms, Lover combines the sound of 1989 and Reputation but its messages and song lyric quality is very similar to Red.

Favorite Songs: “Lover,” “Soon You’ll Get Better,” “I Forgot That You Existed,” “I Think He Knows,” and “Cornelia Street”

Sing to Me Instead // Ben Platt- After devouring The Politician in September and October, I went on a Ben Platt kick and found myself head over heels in love with Sing to Me Instead. I love the music video so much for “Grow As We Go,” and “Run Away” is actually incorporated into The Politician– River and Payton play it together on the piano.

Favorite Songs: “Grow As We Go,” “Run Away,” “Better,” “Honest Man,” and “Share Your Address”

Music from The Politician // Ben Platt and Co. – Spoiler for my favorite 2019 TV and movies wrap-up, but The Politician is one of the many shows that stole my heart this year. One of the many reasons why is the show’s incorporation of music- while it wasn’t necessary to the plot, the covers were just so well done.

Songs/Covers: “River,” “Unworthy of Your Love,” “Vienna”

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College YA Meets Music: We Are Still Tornadoes Review & Music Habits Tag

Summary: It’s 1982, and for Cath & Scott, everything is about to change. Growing up across the street from each other, the pair have been best friends for most of their lives. After graduating from high school, Cath heads off to Wake Forest University, while Scott stays home to work in his dad’s shop and tries to get his band off the ground. Even though the duo definitely expected some changes, neither of them thought life after high school would be this hard. Told in a series of letters, through heartbreak, family drama, and life really, Cath and Scott realize that their friendship means more to them than they could have ever imagined.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Michael Kun and Susan Mullen’s We Are Still Tornadoes popped up on my TBR radar thanks to an awesome post about college-set YA novels from BNTEENBlog. As some of you know, I’ll always love YA, but I’ve been craving college YA a lot more lately–growing pains in your reading life are real.

I loved We Are Still Tornadoes as a college YA for providing two different examples of post-high school life. Cath goes on what I guess is the more “traditional” route, heading off to college the fall after high school graduation. Meanwhile, Scott stays at home and works in his family’s clothing store and starts a band. I think Scott’s life classifies the book as a college-aged YA. It was fun reading about Cath’s adventures and misadventures at college alongside Scott’s on-goings at home. I really liked both protagonists, but I must admit that I liked Scott a tad more because of his humor! There were so many times that his jokes and teasing made me laugh out loud. For the sake of spoilers, I will just say that I did not expect that significant change in Scott’s life to occur (my hand went over my heart when I read that line).

The book acts a flashback to the 80s, taking place from September 1982 to September 1983—I liked how we got to experience a full year with our characters. If you look for books featuring music like how I’m always searching for college YA, We Are Still Tornadoes is the perfect combination of the two! Scott often sends lyrics to his band’s songs to Cath (I admit it was hard to imagine the lyrics as songs, but they can really read like poetry), and the two share a love for music. It was fun being able to recognize some of the songs they talked about, even though I admit I only recognized the bigger artists of the time, like The Beatles and Michael Jackson.

We Are Still Tornadoes is similar to the format of I Hate Everyone But You, as We Are Still Tornadoes is told through letters between Scott and Cath and I Hate Everyone But You is told through text messages and emails between its protagonists. However, in my opinion, We Are Still Tornadoes is the better version of the latter.. While I Hate Everyone But You gets points for its focus on female friendship and diverse character,s and by no means am I bashing it because I had a fun time reading it over spring break. I feel that the character development and story was stronger in We Are Still Tornadoes.

I’m giving We Are Still Tornadoes a 5 out of 5 stars not because it’s the most amazing book that I’ve ever read, but because I had such a great experience reading it. I feel like I keep mentioning in my reviews how great such-and-such book is perfect for a readathon (I guess I do read faster than I think I do!), but I wish I had had the time to read We Are Still Tornadoes in one sitting or over the course of one day. Only 2 weeks left of the semester before I can do this!

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Music Habits Tag

A few weeks ago, I was tagged by the lovely Rebecca of bookishlyrebecca to do the Music Habits Tag. Since music plays such a large role in Cath and Scott’s friendship, I thought it’d be include the tag alongisde my review. The Music Habits Tag was created by Sumedha of The Wordy Habitat.

Do you download songs or stream on apps?

Both! I use Spotify to listen to music on my laptop, and I purchase and download songs using iTunes. I know I could easily download Spotify on my phone, but I usually listen to music on my phone while running and I don’t want to use too much data.

What’s your current favorite song?

Blame Love, Simon, but “Rollercoaster” by Bleachers.

Last song you listened to?

“Helpless” from Hamilton 

Who are your all-time favorite artists?

Paramore, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, The Beatles… does Glee count??

Have you been to any concerts?

I’ve been to quite a few. My first was Avril Lavigne when I was five years with my best friend (who’s still my best friend today!). I went through my Disney stage (Hannah Montana and Cheetah Girls included) and saw the Jonas Brothers twice. I’ve seen Paramore once, Fall Out Boy twice, Luke Bryan three times, and Train with Gavin DeGraw and The Script.

Do you play your songs on shuffle or choose a playlist?

Playlist, then shuffle.

Where do you usually find new music?

Movie soundtracks (honestly, I think I got hooked on to Ed Sheeran because of “All of the Stars” from TFIOS), and keeping up with my favorite artists on social media.

Name one song that you think everyone should listen to:

“Found Tonight” by Ben Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

For the sake of your finger cramps, I did cut out some of the questions from the tag, so make sure to check out Sumedha or Rebecca’s posts for all the questions!

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Have you read We Are Still Tornadoes? What’s your current favorite song? Share in the comments!

My Experience Seeing Waitress the Musical

There are only a few shows on my Broadway bucket list, and Waitress was of course one of them. I’ve wanted to see the show since Sara Bareilles and Jessie Mueller’s performance of “She Used to Be Mine” at the 2016 Tony Awards, so when I had the opportunity to see the show last Tuesday, it was easy as pie to say yes! It’s a musical featuring baking, for crying out loud, my inner Lara Jean Song was screaming!

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I went to the show with a friend and we had little over an hour to kill before the show, so we decided to walk around Times Square and the theatre district, which meant that we were obligated to walk past Hamilton: An American Musical, which also meant going into the Hamilton merchandise shop. AND I’M VERY PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT I RESTRAINED MYSELF FROM BUYING ANYTHING—I kept reminding myself that Christmas is near, despite my NEED for a “Wait for It” mug.

We made it to the theatre a half hour before the show began and that left me plenty of time to buy some Waitress merchandise. I ended up picking up a really cute Waitress mug, and I’m still debating if I’m going to display it on my bookshelf or use it for tea and hot chocolate.waitressmug

Waitress is currently on a national tour in the US right now, but if you see the show at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City, don’t worry about where you sit! While the theater sits around 1000 people, it’s on the smaller side. I sat a few rows back in the center mezzanine and could see everything perfectly!

In short, Waitress was absolutely amazing. I loved how pie was incorporated throughout the set, even though they made me crave something sweet- thank gosh Thanksgiving is this week! I was super lucky to be able to see Jason Mraz as Dr. Pomatter in his ten-week engagement with the show. I never really listened to the Waitress original cast recording prior to the show but now I couldn’t imagine anyone else as Dr. Pomatter. Stephanie Torns played Jenna and she was absolutely perfect, I was so impressed with her singing. While the show is very emotional, there were many comedic moments. As much as I loved Jenna and Dr. Pomatter, the side characters stole the show for me, including Dawn, Becky, Ogie, and Joe. I admit that it takes a lot for me to cry when it comes to books, TV, or musicals, but I was broken during the last five minutes of the show, as there was just such a heartwarming (and a bit heart-breaking) of an ending. My favorite songs from the show include “Opening Up”, “Bad Idea”, and “She Used to be Mine” .

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Waitress was my fourth Broadway show and aside from Hamilton, it was the best Broadway show I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend seeing it if you have the opportunity to and I would love to see it again one day!

Have you seen Waitress the Musical? Share in the comments!

My Experience at Harry Potter in Concert

Last Saturday, I went to the symphony for the first time in my life. But in Fangirl Fury fashion, of course, this concert was based on one of my all-time favorite literary obsessions: Harry Potter. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presented Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets In Concert, where the orchestra performed the score of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while the film played for the audience. I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about these movies meets orchestra performances, especially for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, and once I heard that my school was hosting a trip to the show, I knew I had to attend.

I attended the event with one of my friends from our university’s music appreciation organization, so it was really awesome to connect through our love of Harry Potter. And we prove that Hufflepuffs and Slytherin can be friends! We sat in the second row of the rear mezzanine, and we were clearly able to see the orchestra on stage and of course, the movie screen. The concert in general had such an awesome atmosphere—how could it not be in a room filled with hundreds of Potterheads?? Throughout the show, the audience would cheer when characters first entered the movie (I think Snape and Hermione received the loudest applause), laugh along with scaredy-cat Ronald Weasley, and applaud during pivotal moments. The orchestra was absolutely phenomenal and there were many times where I became so immersed in Chamber of Secrets that I forgot that the music wasn’t being played on the film’s soundtrack.

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Despite how many times I indulge myself in Harry Potter movie marathons on Freeform, I haven’t watched Chamber of Secrets in full in a long time (I also chalk some of this up to the fact that Freeform definitely plays the last three films the most). It was really fun to go back into Chamber of Secrets and be reintroduced to this chapter in the wizarding world, where we of course meet Dobby and  Gilderoy Lockhart. I also forgot how light this movie is compared to the later films in the series. Ron was so funny and stole the show for me, between his under-the-breath remarks and fear of spiders.

I didn’t buy any merch at the show, although they had some really cute T-shirts that said, “Dobby is a free elf”. I did treat myself to a chocolate frog as a snack, where I received a trading card of Madam Pince inside the pack. This was my second chocolate frog ever (okay, we all know I need to make my way to Universal ASAP), so now I have her card and Professor Sprout from my frog that I bought at the Cursed Child release party. On the way home from the symphony, I fittingly started listening to Carry On by Rainbow Rowell on audiobook.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Harry Potter in Concert event, I highly recommend that you do! It was such a cool way to experience the symphony and the music behind the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling.