Life is far from easy. Most of the time in life, we come to hurdles along our path that teach us something about ourselves or a higher truth about life. What exactly does it mean to “live lightly?”
When I was asked to read Living Lightly for an honest review, I was transitioning from a heavy period of my life: yet another hurdle I could either get stuck behind out of fear, shame, and regret or one I could let open my eyes to a truth regarding learning to love myself and part of that process involved coming to the realization that in the process of letting what happened in the past go, I must forgive myself.
The first day I sat down to read Living Lightly I read the entry for that date and it was surprisingly exactly what I needed to read regarding my situation:
Living Lightly is the perfect read for five to ten minutes a day. Each entry contains an anecdote with a reflective or emotive question or a poem.
If you’ve been down, torn up, heavy-laden, Living Lightly will provide an escape and a bigger picture truth to remind us that life isn’t meant to be carried, like baggage on our shoulders but meant to be enjoyed and even more so, meant to be lived fully and completely.
Coming soon: An interview with the authors Dale Curd and Kimberly Alexander
Pop songs in March saw an uplifting change of pace. They feature subjects such as self-love, drowning in love with someone recklessly, and gender equality, and 2 new songs from my faves Hot Chelle Rae.
Does your music library need some fresh blooms? Check out these amazing tracks in pop music:
Music Mix Playlist
Kings and Queens: Ava Max popped on the scene with Sweet but Psycho an EDM track that launched her onto the Billboard Hot 100. Now she’s back with a female empowerment track with the same signature EDM musicality and fire-breathing lyrics.
Feel Me by Selena Gomez: A bonus track for her newest album Rare, it’s a dancy and hypnotic track about a lover you never forget.
I Love Me by Demi Lovato: Following her first single Anyone since her near-fatal overdose, Lovato is back with an empowering self-love ballad with a fun and lighthearted musicality that begs the question:
I wonder when I love me is enough.
Where Am I At? by MAX: A Piano Ballad by the hitmaking soulful voice behind that song you kept hearing on the radio “Lights Down Low.”
Unlike the love in that track, this one is about the loss of a love that causes you to feel like a piece or part of you died.
Wave by Meghan Trainor: The first single off her recent album Treat Myself about a lover who isn’t entirely available but you want anyway, and allow yourself to swept up by the undercurrent of falling in love.
Drown by Martin Garrix: A dance pop track with a similar theme to the previous track about wanting someone so much you would drown in your love for them.
Afterlife by Hailee Steinfield: A song Steinfield wrote for the Apple TV show Dickinson to which she said:
There’s a line in the song that says, “Immortality is bliss,” and it reminded me a lot of Emily Dickinson’s poems. She lived during a time where women were forbidden from voicing their opinions, so the majority of her work wasn’t published until after she died. The inability to express herself fully in life, but to be so revered beyond her death—her writing continues to be remembered and relevant to this day, making her immortal.
It’s a breathy and dark song about someone’s love keeping your spirit alive even in moments when you don’t feel alive.
Love Me Anyway by P!nk and Chris Stapleton: A duet between the pop powerhouse singer and country singer Chris Stapleton that turns over the thought of unconditional love.
Old Me by 5SOS : Just another banger by this punk meets pop rock band from Australia about realizing that after all the mistakes you made and things you’ve been through, shoutout to the old you because that person taught you a lot. It is the fourth single off their album (out this Friday March 27) CALM.
Stay by Hot Chelle Rae: The third single off the forthcoming Tangerine EP about the loneliness and needed someone to fill the void you feel. It’s got an EDM pop musicality while lead singer Follese’s vocals emote every ounce of how much he needs to not be alone.
Don’t Call Me Angel by Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Lana Del Ray: A female empowerment song written for the 2019 Charlie Angel’s remake soundtrack about not needing a man to get by or to fight their battles. Discusses the oversexualization of women based on their body and not in what they have accomplished, the thoughts or brainpower they bring to the table.
Tomorrow Me by Hot Chelle Rae: OMG, sorry not sorry that I love this band so much.
Straight after the COV-19 outbreak and pandemic, and deep into the beginning of our science fiction level quarentine in real life, it’s a great track to be released about going all in and letting the mistakes and the problems of the night and all the “sins and debauchery” be something that this person can handle after the hangover subsides the following day. The minor piano chords in the musicality hint at the subtle regret of the speaker’s lack of remorse in the moment. I haven’t stopped listening since it came out last Friday. It’s just that good, and will also be featured on the forthcoming Tangerine EP.
It’s a party anthem and a “I Like It Like That” for 2020.
The Other Side by Justin Timberlake and SZA: A jazz musicality colors this track about getting to the other side of what is holding you back. The feel good positive pop track is featured on the soundtrack of the new Trolls World Tour movie.
Didn’t I by OneRepublic: This next single off of OneRepublic’s fifth album Human features a piano based melody in contrast to earlier singles Rescue Me (dance based) and Wanted (string influenced). It also runs longer, at almost four minutes. Its theme centers around a lost relationship, asking “tell me why good things have to die?”
It is my favorite song out right now and I can’t stop listening to it.
I’ve always thought Ariana Grande was a star. I first watched her act on Victorious and thought her character Sam was spot on yet likeable. Then, she launched her music career shortly after that and I was blown away that someone who stands about four feet nine inches could have such a booming and powerful voice. Yet, with Thank U, Next she wrote, recorded, and produced this album within six months of her previous work Sweetener.
Before we talk about the Grammy nominated album Thank U, Next, let’s first note the sweetest tracks on Sweetener:
Debuted at #1 with three Top 20 singles in the US
Finished out the year at #38 on the Billboard Hot 200.
First notable track: God is a Woman– a female empowerment track discussing sexual empowerment using spirituality imagery. Musically, it is trap-pop with some reggae elements.
Second notable track: Breathin’– a dance pop mental health bop discussing Grande’s overcoming struggles with anxiety.
Third notable track: No Tears Left To Cry – A dance pop and disco track about overcoming a tragic event and turning it into a positive.
Fourth notable track: Get Well Soon – a soul-ballad that has a laid back R&B melody with lyrics that talk about Grande’s personal anxiety & trauma following the Manchester Arena bombing.At the end of the song, 40 seconds of silence are played as a tribute to the twenty-two victims of the bombing and the date of which the bombing took place (May 22, 2017).
Thank U, Next Song by Song Review
Grande’s 5th studio album was released on February 8, 2019, and spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200, as well as four weeks in the Top 10 of Billboard Hot 200.
Musically, it contains pop, r&b, soul, dance hall, trap and urban. It was nominated for both Album of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Ends 3/31/20 and open to an international winner. Sorry for the wonkiness.
Imagine: First promotional single about an unattainable love. About a “now and forever” unreachable love. It’s musicality contains whistle noises and is an R&B trap ballad.
Needy: mid-tempo minimalistic song with a metronome-like synth in the foreground. Lyrically, it shows that any lover can be insecure and craves emotional support.
NASA R&B tune featuring a thumping bass and trap drums; a song about needing space or distance to create a “miss you” effect with the person you are in a relationship with.
Bloodline: My instant favorite off this album about wanting to be friends with benefits. A reggae pop song with R&B influences that contains brassy horns and a pumping bass. The song opens with a sound bite of her grandmother referencing her hearing aid.
Fake Smile: A hip-hop soul track with a trap groove, Grande discusses her dissatisfaction with life and how she won’t wear a facade to hide her emotions. This is her opening up about the Manchester bombing and the death of her ex Mac Miller.
Bad Idea: An EDM and trap number opening with an 80’s rock ballad intro compared to David Guetta’s Titanium featuring an orchestra in the bridge and outro. Lyrically, it discusses using a lover to numb her pain.
Make-Up: A wonky pop and bubblegum influenced sound with a rap-influenced bridge set up a double entendre about makeup applied to one’s face to enhance one’s features and make-up sex after a heated argument.
Ghostin’:An emotional synth-and-strings ballad about being with someone while still being in love with someone else.
In My Head: A track with trap pop hybrid musicality with many R&B influences about falling in love with someone she created in her head only to realize that is not who the person is at all.
7 Rings: A trap and R&B cover of My Favorite Things by Julia Andrews from The Sound of Music. Instead of the musical reprise, the track has a female empowerment hip-hop flex feel. It’s also acknowledges the power of women friendships and women who support one another.
Thank U, Next: The title track off the album. Self-empowered pop and R&B track discussing being grateful for the lessons learned in past relationships and from past lovers.
Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored: Trap-pop and R&B song that samples “It Makes Me Ill” by NSYNC in the bridge. A song that at first sounds like being attracted to a guy only to realize he has a girlfriend but she really wants to love herself.
Grande hit the nail on the head despite the short time span this album took to create and come out but sometimes, it’s the heaviness of life that creates the most lasting art, song, or story.