12 Songs We're Thankful For
In a time where everyone is being thankful for the people and things in their life, our team felt it was only fitting to tie that in with music for this blog. We’re thankful for family, friends, the ones who support our projects, and of course, the music that inspires us. There are just some songs that can be there for you in the perfect moment and you just feel seen. Those are the songs to cherish.
Here are 12 songs personally selected by our team that we’re thankful exist.
“Oceandust” by Hands Like Houses | Genre: Alternative Rock
There’s something special about Oceandust that had me captivated by it from the moment I first heard it. I’m a sucker for a band’s vulnerable slow ballads amidst upbeat jams. It makes me feel closer to the band and like I’m seeing inside their soul. I’m thankful for this song because it reminds me that it’s okay to be sad and feel those emotions. It doesn’t have to all positivity all the time. Take a listen for yourself.
“Half Alive” by Secrets | Genre: Post-hardcore, Metalcore
I picked one song, but honestly, I’m thankful for every song written by Secrets. They are one of my favorite bands because their lyrics are so honest, deep, and relatable. I’m particularly thankful for “Half Alive” because of how it makes me feel. It makes me feel seen and understood. It perfectly describes the self-doubt one has about their passion, the fear that they aren’t meant for it, that they’re killing themselves to reach a peak they may never reach. On top of all that, it’s very fun to sing along to. Even if post-hardcore isn’t your thing, take a listen. This is one of the tamer songs from them.
“Oblivions Peak” by Knocked Loose | Genre: Hardcore, Metal
This is a band that I’m thankful exists because of how hyped up their music gets me. Whether you’re happy, angry, or sad, this band helps me feel better. The intro to “Oblivions Peak” always gets me excited. Then hearing that breakdown where he yells the song name, always takes me back to seeing them live. I’ve seen them seven times and each time was incredible. I have this amazing memory of going into the mosh pit at one of their shows (it was my first time willingly going into one), and how much fun it was to yell the lyrics right back with everyone around me. If you’re a fan of heavier music, Knocked Loose is a great newer band on the scene that is blurring the lines between genres and incredibly unique.
“YOUNG” by Grayscale | Genre: Pop Punk, Alternative Rock
There are just some songs out there that can make a person feel alive, like nothing can touch them, that maybe things are going to work out. “YOUNG” is that song for me. If I’m having a bad day or simply need a distraction, I put this song on. There’s something so satisfying about singing, “I think I’d rather love than be a heart of stone that can’t be saved. Give it all ‘til it all gets better.” I’m thankful this song exists because it makes me feel good, it gives me hope.
“Aquaman” by Walk the Moon | Genre: Pop Rock, New Wave
I love this song because it has a cool 80s synth sound that feels timeless despite its release in 2014. Don’t ask me how a song can sound like ocean waves lapping at the shore. It just does. To be honest, I would say I’m thankful for the whole album this song is from. Talking is Hard by Walk the Moon is so upbeat and fun to listen to. But I chose this song because it’s a beautiful love song that makes me think of my husband and love. I always loved the song, but when I went to a Walk the Moon show, I saw a fan propose to his girlfriend while the band played “Aquaman.” It brought a special joy to my heart and a tear to my eye, to see that this song connected to their love. When it came time to pick the song for our first dance for our wedding (we just married this year), I remembered the joy of that song and that moment at the concert. The song’s about going to a special place, just you and the one you love and feeling connected. I love hearing the line, “All I know is I wanna be here with you from now on.” Picking it was a no-brainer. I’m thankful it exists because now it makes me think of our wedding, and all the fun we had trying to coordinate a dance when we both have no rythym.
“I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You” by Lavender Country | Genre: Country
Country-folk artist Trixie Mattel, released the song "Stranger” as a single featuring Lavender Country. After thinking who is this old man and why’s he here, I did a little digging. This was Patrick Haggerty, lead singer of Lavender Country and first openly-gay country musician, and this was in fact a cover of his song, “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You.”
Lavender Country is a band from the early 1970s who released the very first gay country album. Can you imagine the backlash then from that community? At that time, Society was in their own closet. But thankfully, Haggerty’s supportive father encouraged his son to remain true to the beat of his own drum which proved to be an unshakable foundation for Haggerty’s confidence. If not for that, would we ever get lyrics like, “Sure I'll kiss you, but who's gonna miss you/ When you're chasing midnights through?”
In short, I’m glad gay country music exists and I’m thankful for this band of gay musicians and allies. If music is a vehicle for self-expression and pushing boundaries, it has to be that for everyone.
“Vienna” by Billy Joel | Genre: Rock, Soft Rock
When I was young (probably too young) my mom would quiz me and my twin sister on the “The Greats” of music. Queen of Soul? Aretha Franklin. King of Pop? Prince. Queen of Country? Duh, it’s Pasty Cline. But the King of Rock and Roll was always reserved for Billy Joel. And for his music, I’m most thankful.
I remember painting my bedroom with my sister and my mom to the tune of Billy Joel’s The Stranger album. As a nine-year-old, I had the lyrics to “Vienna” by Billy Joel down pat. “Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?/You’d better cool it off before you burn it out.” In college, I circled back to Billy when I got homesick. “You’ve got so much to do/And only so many hours in a day (hey-hey-hey).” And now, out on my own, working and living in a confusing, temporary, arbitrary adult-world, I’m thankful for a song to take me back and set me straight. “It’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two/When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?”
“Tainted Love” by Soft Cell | Genre: Synthpop
I am thankful for this song because it has a driving rhythm and I am sucker for heavily rhythmic songs. But the main reason I am thankful for this song is it was one of my mom’s favorites. Anytime it would come on she would crank the volume and start singing along and if she was driving she would tap the gas pedal along to that distinctive dah-dah-tainted-love beat. I can still remember being in the car as it would spurt forward and she would shout out “TAINTED LOVE.” The song itself is great, but it is the memories of how much my mom loved the song that makes me thankful for it because when I hear that song, I think of her and I smile.
“Cyberpunks” by Del the Funky Homosapien | Genre: Hip-Hop
This song was one of the first that I discovered on my own, a secret little gem that no one else seemed to know. It was also the first of what you might call nerd rap I ever heard. I had never heard a song talking about Tron and Starscream before. The eighties influenced sound and beat gave it retro future feel even when I first heard it over 20 years ago. And the song was clearly a precursor to Del’s work on Deltron 3030. I put this song on, and I immediately start doing my best (i.e. awful) attempt to rap along. Most songs you find as a hidden gem, especially those you find early in your music journey, end up being not very hidden. It will turn out lots of people know them. And while no one in my high school knew who Del was, even after “Clint Eastwood” with Gorillaz hit big, I learned later just how well known he was. But even still, this song remained a hidden gem, only ever officially released on a compilation album in 2007 (do not ask how I might have heard the song back in 2000 or so...cough…Napster…cough). And now that so much time with song has passed, this song reminds me of being 17 or so and all the good and bad memories that come with that. It is unique and try as I might I haven’t been able to find a similar song that hits me the way this one does.