Holiday Gift Guide — Music Edition

Merry Blogmas!!! The holiday season is finally upon us, which means two things — stress and more stress. Although the holidays evoke immense feelings of excitement, anticipation and joy, the thoughts of  holiday cooking, festive parties and buying the perfect presents, are enough to make someone wish it was January.

Since I’m a teenager, and happen to know what teenagers want as presents this holiday season, I thought I would conjure up a list of gifts that will fit any budget to help ease the pain of the gift giving process this year. But there’s one catch to this gift guide… All gifts are based on music, since that’s where my passion and expertise falls.

               7 MAGICAL GIFTS FOR MUSIC LOVERS:

  1. Record Player ($50 – $110)

Yes, a record player. I know what you’re thinking, why on earth would I buy someone a record player? It’s 2017! Well, you know what they say, everything comes back in style. Record players made a comeback around 2014 and they’re here to stay. Hipsters will claim “everything sounds better on vinyl”, and I can’t disagree with that statement. Common places to purchase record players include Urban Outfitters, Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, or any local music shop.

2. Vinyl’s ($10 – $50)

You can’t have a record player without vinyl’s. Surprisingly, vinyl’s can be found almost anywhere, but you need to watch out for stores like Urban Outfitters and Barnes and Noble who tend to be on the pricier side of the spectrum (I’ve seen them sell vinyl’s for $45 a pop). A cheaper alternative is Amazon. I have ordered many vinyl’s from Amazon, they have a diverse selection and the lowest prices I have found so far.

3. Wireless Headphones ($10 – $200)

With the new iPhone’s gearing up to be one of the most popular gifts this year, wireless headphones are essential. Ever since the release of the iPhone 7, there has been one key feature that is missing from the device, a headphone jack. Now, Apple does sell headphones that you can insert through the charging port of the device, but this makes it impossible to charge your phone and listen to music at the same time. Wireless headphones have also proved themselves to be more efficient and less of a hassle than regular headphones, which are bound to end up in a knot by the end of the day. If you’re looking to buy Apple’s wireless earbuds (AirPods), you are looking at $159.00 in expenses, not including tax. If you don’t care for Apple headphones, or feel like buying a cheaper alternative, Office Depot, Amazon and Best Buy sell wireless headphones for as little as $10. But with any type of electronics, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for long lasting, high quality headphones, I would recommend the AirPods or Beats wireless headphones which come in a range of colors and styles.

4. Rolling Stone Subscription (Holiday Special, $29.95)

Rolling Stone is a magazine that majority of people, especially people fond of music, are aware of. Each edition has music content and many include features on musical artists. This is a great gift for someone because it’s a 1 year subscription. Which means the person you are gifting this too will receive a present once a month for a whole year! You will truly hold the title of “the gift that keeps on giving”.

5. iTunes Gift Card ($10 & up)

Although most people have strayed away from buying individual songs from iTunes and now use Spotify or Apple Music, iTunes gift cards can act as payment methods for the monthly subscription rate for many streaming services!

6. Concert Tickets

Concert tickets will range in price depending on the popularity of the artist you’re seeing, and the venue you’re attending. Giving someone an experience as a gift instead of a physical item is a memory that will last a lifetime!

7. Books on Music

If the person you’re buying a gift for likes to read, this is a unique gift they will love! Barnes and Noble has a large selection of music books, ranging from music history, to books on specific musicians and even books on what to listen to! Gifting someone a book on music puts a personal twist on a gift you know they will love!

That’s all I have for now, but I will be sure to post an updated list of any more thoughts that come to mind! Happy Holidays!

– Carly

“Let Me Go” – Hailee Steinfeld

     How do I put this nicely… Hailee Steinfeld is someone who I have never had much musical respect for. It’s nothing against her personally, I tend to enjoy her interviews on the red carpet and like her personality, but her songs are just too juvenile, and plainly, not good. But, with the release of her new single “Let Me Go” with Alesso ft. Florida Georgia Line & watt, my opinion on her music has been altered.

       Maybe it’s because there’s other established artists featured on this track, or maybe she just got something right, but there’s nothing too bad that I can say about “Let Me Go”! I’ve listened to it a few times, and every time, I like it more; which is VERY strange considering this is Hailee Steinfeld, and I usually change the station when she comes on.

     I’ll admit that I generally do like the beats behind Hailee’s music, it’s usally the lyrics that make me cringe. But the beats behind this track are so fun and uplifting (we can thank Alesso for that), and it makes the whole track. 

     As for the lyrics, I haven’t paid much attention to them, and I haven’t looked them up because I want to like this song, but at first listen they’re not terribly cheesy.  I also love the fact that Florida Georgia Line appears on this song, I genuinely like them and I think they bring this song to a level it couldn’t have reached without them. Their voices compliment each other nicely, and it resulted in a chorus that makes me want to dance! 

     The only critique I have for this song is that it gives off a summer vibe. This is the kind of song you would listen to at a pool party, not driving on winding roads with leaves changing colors. This track probably would of done better if it was released in June. But nonetheless, it’s still a bop.

     I have come to the conclusion that “Let Me Go” is the exception for Hailee Steinfeld. It’s the one song from her (so far) that I won’t laugh at, and as of now, I won’t be changing the station when it comes on (until it’s inevitably overplayed). I look forward to hearing more from Steinfeld, maybe she’s found her niche in electro pop!


“Too Good At Goodbyes” – Sam Smith

     After almost two years of silence, Sam Smith is back with another soulful single. Smith released “Too Good At Goodbyes”, the first track off his upcoming sophomore album, on September 8th. Smith is known for his lifting sound, big choirs, and his beautiful, but heartbreaking lyrics. I have yet to meet someone who denies his talent. 

     Sam gained an immense fan base and a large amount of support from other artists, upon the release of his first single “Lay Me Down.” He followed up “Lay Me Down” with the iconic singles “Stay With Me” (a song that will never outgrow the radio), and “I’m Not The Only One”. From that point on, Smith proved himself a musical force to be reckoned with, and made a home for his music at the top of the charts.

      Now, three years have passed since his first album In The Lonely Hour, and he has released the very first single of his highly anticipated, second album. I wasn’t sure what to expect before listening to “Too Good At Goodbyes”; was it going to be similar to his other music, or was it going to be something completely foreign? 

     Well, he fused the two together and created a Sam Smith 2.0 sound. He still has his signature choir on the chorus, big bridges, and expressive sound, but he also sings in a hushed voice which brings a more intimate sound to the song. Sam even adds finger snapping and a piano tune that builds throughout the song, which makes this track all the more unique. 

      As for the content of the song, Sam gives insight on his love life and what he’s like in a relationship. One of the reasons he took a hiatus was to focus on his love life (which clearly wasn’t successful based off the lyrics). He speaks about being closed off in his relationships, out of fear of being hurt, and how he appears to be “cold and heartless”, but that’s the only way he knows how to protect his soul. By listening to this song, it is very apparent that Sam being “Too Good At Goodbyes” is most likely his downfall when it comes to his love.

     Sam Smith is no amateur when it comes to making heartbreak sound beautiful, and this song is no exception. I have too much excitement for his upcoming album (said to be released before Christmas), and have high expectations for Mr.Smith. You can expect a full album review once it’s released, my ears can’t wait to listen!


Harry Styles, Debut Solo Album Review

After a year and a half long hiatus, Harry Styles re-entered the music scene, dropping his debut solo album, Harry Styles. The self-titled album took the world by storm and quickly sky rocketed up the charts. The album strays far from the sound of his previous albums released with his former band mates of One Direction. Instead of giving us a traditional, upbeat, pop album, Styles surprised the music world with an album that samples bits and pieces of all different genre’s of music. The album features soft indie tracks like Meet Me In The Hallway, to full on glam-rock songs like Only Angel and Kiwi. The 10 track album flawlessly demonstrated his vocal range, from his high notes in his first single off the album Sign of the Times, to the soft sounding love track, Sweet Creature, back up to his rugged pop-rock sound in Carolina. After listening to the album repeatedly, the album is a clear winner of my heart, along with the millions of other hearts it has stolen this past week. I’m eager to see what the future holds for the 23 year-old musical genius, and I can not wait to support him every step of the way.