Over the years, I've learned something about myself: I tend to get stuck on new music that I like. I think the reason for that is that it's more enjoyable for me to listen to a song or album once I am familiar with it (for me, that means knowing all the lyrics.) Sometimes that's a good thing but sometimes it means I get sick of an album by the time I've listened to it enough to memorize the words. HOWEVER, these songs/albums are ones I've had on repeat for months now and haven't even come close to tiring of, which means they must be pretty great.
If you need help spending money in iTunes, here you go:
1. Travis Cottrell's "I'm Living Proof": this is pretty much by favorite Christian music I've bought in the last year. Just about every song is wonderful, but my favorite is "Awesome"; I've had many worshipful times in the car with that one. =) And if you want to feel like an amazing, Lauryn Hill-type Gospel singer, try belting along with "Take Me to the King." (That's Amy's favorite... new lip-sync video, perhaps, Little Sister?) Oh, and if you want to cry, "Never Once" is your best bet. =)
2. "Into the Woods" soundtrack: I know, I know... some people (a lot of people?) really hated the movie, for two reasons, I think. Number one: it's a LOT of singing. When Jonathan and I watched it the first time, I said, "Um... do they talk at ALL?" (Not that I minded.) If you're not really a fan of musicals, or are only like a fringe fan, then this movie is probably over the top for you. Also the second half is a lot darker and has some twists that are sad and blah blah... I won't give it away but it's definitely not a typical fairy-tale ending and I know that bummed a lot of people out. HOWEVER... I am not one of those people and I bought the soundtrack about two days after seeing the movie because I absolutely loved it. I snagged it at Target for $9.99 and because I'm a loser who needs to know all the words I was thrilled to have the physical CD with lyric pages included. Anyway, Stephen Sondheim is a clever, clever genius and these songs are beautiful, clever (yes, it merits a third use) and really different from anything I've heard before. I've listened to this a LOT in the past three months (so much so that I catch Jonathan singing along, much to my delight.)
3. Gold: Carpenters 35th Anniversary Edition: I've been a Carpenters fan from birth, I suppose, since I can't remember a Christmas without their glorious music. (Christmas isn't Christmas without Carpenters music, okay?) But in my childish ignorance, I didn't realize that they actually sang, you know, non-holiday stuff. I'll never forget my parents coming home from Costco with this album when I was in 9th grade. All of a sudden a whole new world of music opened up. These songs were fun! And beautiful! And haunting! And cheesy! And all with Karen's magical alto and Richard's phenomenal arrangements... ah! Overload for my 15-year-old music-loving self. Anyway, I've known and loved these songs for over a decade now but only recently purchased the entire album on iTunes for myself and it has brought me a lot of joy ever since. I guess these songs aren't for everyone (I mean, if you hate the most amazingly mellow voice imaginable...) but if you like the Carpenters or "oldies" check this out.
4. I preordered Josh Groban's new album, "Stages", which included a few pre-lease singles and I. coudn't. stop. listening. to. them. I've loved Josh Groban for a loooong time now- since his very first CD- but some of his post-David Foster stuff has been a little odd for my taste. However, when I saw that his new album would be all Broadway songs, I nearly fainted. Josh Groban singing my favorite genre? OKAY! The singles, "What I Did for Love," "Bring Him Home." (tears!) and "Pure Imagination" (yes, from Willy Wonka!) are golden.... GOLDEN I tell you. And since they were released on iTunes, he's also allowed "sneak peeks" at a few others, including a duet with Kelly Clarkson that may very well blow your mind. That girl can sing like nobody's business. BUT the album was released today and you better believe I'll be listening to it exclusively for the time being (no offense to anything else on this list.)
5. "Pray" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir: I love choir music, I think now more than ever because I don't actually have to listen to it in preparation for church, and of course Brooklyn Tab is best of the best. (Visiting the actual church last year was awesome!) That being said, sometimes choir music is a little much when you want to listen to something soothing (and 100+ voices are all but yelling at you). But this album is so great... uplifting, beautiful, worshipful... and sometimes you WANT to belt it out with dozens of your closest NYC friends. (Maybe that's just me.) Anyway, I love these songs but my favorites are "Worth It All," "Come to Jesus," and "He Loved Me." If I had to recommend just one song, it would be "Worth It All" since I've probably listened to that one alone about 50 times.
Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I would also have to add the Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella album, which I've had playing on Spotify constantly. Laura Osnes is the modern-day Julie Andrews, folks. Youtube her and hear the magic. ANd I'd have to add the new James and the Giant Peach album... I read the book for the first time (I know!) a few months ago and I love the story. These songs and the voices are awesome, and you can actually download the album FOR FREE right here.
There you go... lots of good music! Go download it ALL... or at least the Josh Groban album unless you're not a fan of beauty and pure joy.