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Farewell American Idol …For Now

American Idol sang it’s final tune last night. I was an avid viewer and fan of the first 8 seasons, half-watched 9, came back for 10 & 11, but kind of fell off the Idol wagon when Simon Cowell left the judges panel. I stuck around another year or so but was never as engaged after Season 11. Last night, after watching many past contestants perform on the Idol stage one last time, I thought I’d take a look back and re-watch all of my favorite performances throughout the series. Here they are!

Jason Castro “Hallelujah” – Looking back, the soft-spoken dread-locked singer-songwriter was my favorite Idol contestant of all time. His voice wasn’t spectacular by any means but if you watch his interview bit before this performance, that’s basically why he was my fave.

David Archuleta “Imagine” – This may be the single best solo performance on Idol in all its 15 years. Not only is Archie’s voice crystal clear but he sings with such natural conviction that a lot of contestants just don’t have.

Carrie Underwood “Alone” – I just always liked this song and her take on it. I forgot Simon predicted her to win & sell more records than any other previous Idol winner. And that she did.

Carrie Underwood & Rascal Flatts “Bless The Broken Road” – While this isn’t technically a performance that got “judged”, this is when I was first introduced to my future wedding song.

Alison Iraheta “Alone” – For me, no one has ever covered this song as well as Alison Iraheta (not even Carrie).

David Cook “Always Be My Baby” – Watching this again, I got chills. What David Cook did to this song is mesmerizing.

Hayley Reinhart “Bennie & The Jets” – She was probably my favorite female contestant throughout the course of the series. The girls got pipes.

Adam Lambert “Tracks Of My Tears” – Oh my Adam. This gentle take on the timeless Smokey Robinson song is breathtaking. That last note, are you kidding me? Praise.

Trent Harmon “Chandelier” – I admit, I didn’t watch many episodes of the last season of Idol. However, I did catch this particular performance and while re-watching it, I cried. A lot. Trent’s take on Sia’s pop hit is incredible. After crowing him the winner of Season 15, I think it’s safe to say that American Idol ended on a VERY high note.

Epic

I haven’t posted in a bit because I haven’t heard anything worthwhile in about a week or two. So I decided to write this post instead…

I firmly believe that every one of us wants to hear something epic every now and then. A song that moves us to the point of stillness. A song that captures a moment in our lives so perfectly yet we’ve never even crossed paths with the artist singing the words. So, how would they know how we’re feeling?

Music, as said time and time again, is a universal language. And when you hear lyrics that resonate with you and melodies that travel deep down into your veins, it kind of makes you feel not so alone. That someone out there gets you and how you feel. And that’s powerful. That’s epic.

Below is a list of some of the epic songs in my life. What are yours?

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The Ben Taylor Band “Surround Me” – A hug in the form of a song.

Cary Brothers “Honestly” – This song reminds me of the fall, my favorite season. When the leaves are their most colorful and there’s a slight crispness to everything. When there is so much beauty around you, yet you can still be sad.

Chantal Kreviazuk “Time” – An anthem I’ve been in love with for a long time.

Delta Rae “Dance In The Graveyards” – The embodiment of joy and happiness.

Ella Eyre “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” – Her voice. Those words. That passion. I’ve never met a cover song I’ve loved so dearly.

John Mayer “The Heart Of Life” – My favorite from my all-time favorite.

Kate Bush “This Woman’s Work” – A heartbreakingly beautiful song.

Kodaline “All I Want” – This one might be the most sonically epic on this list. And the video is one of my favorites.

Kwabs “Perfect Ruin” – Every time I hear this song I fall in love with it all over again. When it’s over, I get kind of upset until I realize, that’s what the back button is for. Repeat! And believe me, I do. Every time.

Lifehouse “Simon” – This song reminds me of a time when music was about the music itself. Some of my favorite live music experiences were watching this band live.

Mumford & Sons “After The Storm” – This one is epic in the most delicate form.

Sheryl Crow “I Shall Believe” – If you ever watched the episode of Roswell (RIP) where Liz dances with future Max to this stunner, and you were single at the time you watched it, and nearly twenty years have passed and you’re still single, then this one would get to you too.

Sia “Breathe Me” – Remember when Myspace had background music for your profile page? Remember Myspace? …Well, this was one of the first songs I chose for mine and I felt sooooo cool because it wasn’t a well-known song at the time. Plus the lyrics and piano beat were darker than anything on the 9 at 9 (Z100 reference). My profile page may be long gone but I still feel cool as shit when this songs lives on through my headphones.

Faarow “Ready Or Not” (Refugees) Vs. “Chandelier” (Sia) Mashup 

Happy New Year all!

Here’s a musical mash-up that’s sure to turn up your Monday afternoon 🙂

Ashes Picks For the Best Music Videos Of 2014

After an incredible year of video-viewing, here are my 2014 favorites:

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Sia “Chandelier” **top honors 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vjPBrBU-TM

At her young age, the video’s star – Maddie Ziegler – was able to pull off the story of alcoholism through dance. It was intense. Profound. Fierce. And above all, an excellent video accompaniment to the years best pop song, arguably. But yea, it is.  

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Ingrid Michaelson “Afterlife”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf_QhUZX3BM

Ingrid’s songwriting is impeccable. She delivers yet again with an astounding, uplifting song & video about being fearless and living life to the fullest. It’s a touching, tear-jerking visual. And the message is essential today and always. 

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Bear’s Den “Above The Clouds Of Pompeii”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGXBR1wR-mo

Simplistic yet heart-wrenching, this one put tears in my eyes. A true piece of visual art. 

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Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp-EO5I60KA

This is destined to be 2015’s #1 wedding song for sure. Ed Sheeran has clearly proven that he can not only kill it on the guitar, but on the dance floor as well. A perfect 10 in my opinion. 

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Sam Smith “Leave Your Lover”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=182TRJq9Zt8

If you have read my blog, you already know how much I adore Sam Smith. Being a third wheel is no fun for anyone, and Sam succinctly encapsulates the heartbreak of unrequited love in this stunning video.

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Ashes Picks For the Best Songs Of 2014

Happy December!

Wow. What a year for music. Even though nothing will ever beat the comfy, nostalgic warmth of the late 90’s/early 00’s for me, 2014 was quite impressive (albeit, still not over).

Below is a modified list of the songs that were quite literally music to my ears these past 12 months. I’m 99% sure all songs listed can be found by searching for them on my blog. 

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Anything by The 1975. Seriously. But if I had to pick, I’d go with their most recent gem, “Medicine”

It’s a three-way tie for Ariana Grande’s “Break Free” f/ Zedd, “One Last Time” and “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” This year did wonders for her career. 

Banks “Beggin For Thread”. An understated pop phenom. 

Bleachers “I Wanna Get Better” + “Wild Heart”. Do yourself a favor and go see them live. You won’t regret it. 

Clean Bandit “Rather Be” f/ Jess Glynne. What’s a best of year list without this song? I mean, those strings! 

Damien Rice “The Greatest Bastard”. The feels. 

Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud”. The man can sing AND dance!

Ella Eyre “Comeback”. Let that motherfucker burn 🙂

Jessie Ware “Say You Love Me”. The feels part deux. 

La Roux “Sexotheque”. As close to perfect as a song can get. 

O.A.R. “Peace”. Underrated. 

Sia “Chandelier”. Sick.

Tove Lo x2 with “Out Of Mind” + “Moments”. Pop’s newest contender. 

White Sea “Future Husbands Past Lives”. Epic shit. 

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Sia “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile”

(2014 Annie Film Remake)

Happy Friday ya’ll 🙂

Sia “Chandelier”

This video actually made me like the song a lot more. The featured tiny dancer is brilliant. Seriously, one of the best videos I’ve seen in a while. 

https://open.spotify.com/track/6x0ex5urwhqB3AYLREVRUd?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Sia “Elastic Heart” f/ The Weeknd & Diplo

Very excited about this soundtrack. Love when The Weeknd comes in for his verse. 

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