Vibe with Our Tribe: Sarah Vazquez!

Let’s just get this out in the open right away – I love music. I mean I love it. I eat, breathe and sleep music. I can’t go a day without music and if I leave the house without my iPod, a little piece of me dies inside.

Music has been a present and important part of my life from the very beginning; my earliest (and favorite) memories all involve some form of music. Being gifted my first cassette player at 4. Unwrapping my first guitar on Christmas morning at 10. The rush of blood to the head that almost knocked me out when I saw The Script (my first concert) at 14. The college scholarship I won after writing an essay about The Beatles at 17 (see mom, that obsession paid off, didn’t it?) No matter what form it takes, music is an aspect to my life that I regard with the same amount of importance as I do friends or family.

So, needless to say, when I sat down to put this article together I struggled. I don’t really have favorite songs because my taste ranges so much. I listen to music from pretty much every decade starting with Jazz in the 30s and people like my first love Louis Armstrong (I have very vivid memories of weekends in the Poconos surrounded by snow and a warm fireplace while Louis spun on the record player), to current acts like Mumford and Sons and Taylor Swift.

So, in an effort to actually get this article written, I put together a list of the first five songs I could think of that are not only constantly on repeat, but also bring a smile to my face that could rival that of the Cheshire cat’s.

 

Tor Miller – Carter and Cash

You can go ahead and call me a liar all you want, but I’ve always wanted to write a song about Johnny and June Carter Cash. Theirs is a story I’ve admired for years, filled with all the glorious highs and tragic lows that explain how their “fire ran wild” for 35+ years. Now I’ve never written a song, but being an amateur musician and a writer, it’s a natural pipe dream. So you could imagine the jolt I got when I was on iTunes one day and saw the free single of the week was a song called “Carter and Cash” by singer/songwriter Tor Miller.

I had heard his song “Midnight,” a love letter to New York that I’ll look back on fondly in my later years as my mother does with Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” a couple months prior and was already a fan. The song, thanks to its infectious beat and Miller’s rich vibrato, is one that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since it was released – and neither will you. So don't "bat a lash" and give Carter and Cash a listen!

 

Fleetwood Mac – Dreams

Anyone who knows me, and I mean really knows me, knows one of my all time favorite bands is Fleetwood Mac. But that wasn't always the case. For my 16th birthday, my best friend scoured through her dad’s record collection and, with his permission, gifted me with a stack of albums, many of which have become some of my favorite albums. One of those was Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 masterpiece Rumours.

I had always heard of Fleetwood Mac and I think everyone and their mother has heard "Don’t Stop" at least once, but it wasn’t until I received this album (along with a Fleetwood Mac guitar tablature book from an amazing high school teacher of mine) that I really fell in love with their music. This song in particular is the first of theirs that I learned to play and the one that I always have in my recently played playlist. Stevie’s vocals are flawless on this track – something that I can confirm is still true as I saw them on their last reunion tour (featuring ALL FIVE original members) with my best friend. To say it was a full circle, fangirl moment would be an understatement. 

 

 

Q-Tip – Gettin’ Up

Listening to this song brings me back to middle school, in the best way.

Don’t ask me how I came across this song – I couldn’t tell you – but it’s the one song that I can put on at anytime that will immediately put me in a good mood. I grew up listening to A Tribe Called Quest, so, without even realizing it, I've been a fan of Q's for a while. With this infectious beat, sampled from a Black Ivory hit from the 70's, alongside Q’s positive lyrics, you'll find yourself immediately walking with a little more pep in your step. 

 

The Guess Who – Laughing

If you’ve seen Superbad, you know The Guess Who – you just don’t realize it. Do you remember that part where Michael Cera starts singing to the drug dealers after he gets locked in the basement with them? Well, he’s singing These Eyes by The Guess Who.

This is a band that I have been listening to since I was a kid. A favorite of my mother's, I spent countless weekends with their greatest hits on rotation in the car. Over the years, this was the one song that stuck out the most to me and is still my favorite to this day. The emotion felt through this song is the thing that resonates with me the most. It's a song that perfectly encapsulates the sucky feeling after a relationship ends where you find yourself hurting while the other person is seemingly fine. It feels like they're laughing at your pain, doesn't it? This isn't an emotion I can say I find myself in quite often, but the melody and words expressed here never fail to make me appreciate the fact that this is not my situation.        

 

The 1975 – Somebody Else

When The 1975's debut album dropped in 2013, I was hooked. Their 80's sound, funky grooves and deep lyrics made me an instant fan who craved more. Three years later I got my wish.

When their sophomore album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, dropped earlier this year I picked it up immediately and was not disappointed. This album saw the band take a little detour from their signature sound, something I'd call more of a natural progression and growth than flat out change. However, this isn't the case for every song on the album. Case in point: "Somebody Else." This is a quintessential 1975 song, if there is such a thing. But besides having much of the same sonic elements we all have come to know and love from the band, it's the lyrics that take the cake. Gut-wrenching statements like, "Our love has grown cold / you're intertwining your soul with somebody else," leave you overwhelmed by the immensity of love while simultaneously wondering who the hell would break Matt Healy's heart. This is song that deserves to be heard so set aside a couple minutes, put on your best headphones and revel in the genius that is The 1975. 

 

BONUS

George Harrison – The Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll)

Remember before when I mentioned I won a scholarship after writing about The Beatles? I liedkinda. I technically wrote it about a Beatle – George Harrison.

George is one of my top favorite musicians, so picking a favorite song from him isn’t easy. That's why I initially hesitated putting this on here. George's catalog is immense so to even pick a favorite album is a challenge. However, his debut solo album, All Things Must Pass, is one that stick's out, as does this track that's featured on said album. There’s something about this song sonically that makes me feel. I feel everything so deeply and powerfully when I hear this song. The melodic guitar and staggering piano just bring me to such a happy place, to not include this song would be wrong on so many levels. And when it comes down to it, I couldn't deprive my readers the opportunity to expereince the magic that is George's music.