The Music That Moved Me in 2018: Chris Furino
Updated: Dec 31, 2018
Written by Chris Furino
You know how the old adage goes, “There are three things certain in this world: death, taxes, and Spotify’s Annual Top Songs Playlist.” Okay, it’s not quite like that, but as someone with a very eclectic taste in music, it always excites me when my personal playlist is released so I can look back on my year in music. There is something therapeutic to think about the moments I had and the emotions I felt through my musical musings. There are some people for whom music is not that important; I am not one of those people. I am always listening to music, as evidenced in the fact that according to Spotify I logged nearly 82,000 minutes of play time. That would equal about 68 consecutive days of non-stop music listening (mark my words, my 2019 resolution is to log over 100,000 hours of music listening).
The songs I listened to in 2018 represent moments of struggle and success, sadness and fun, nostalgia and life’s transitions. Britney Spears’ “Overprotected” takes me back to a very interesting ringing in of 2018 in Boston that involved a sink being ripped off the wall. Alvvays’ “In Undertow” takes me to my two impromptu trips to Southern California to spend time with my friends John and Mel and to show some support for Anna Eskamani’s HD 47 Campaign. Mon Laferte’s “Amarrame” brings me back to one of the most fun experiences of my life in Colombia with my friend Joy. Marshmello and Bastille’s “Happier” helped me navigate the loss of my Poppi after prolonged illness, while Cardi B, Bad Bunny, & J. Balvin’s “I Like It” was my consistent turn up song of 2018. The tagline of Bandifesto is music that moves us, and for me that could not be more true. Because of that, it is my joy to reflect with you all on 2018 with 10 songs that helped me through a wonderful, challenging, and transformative year.
10. Karaoke – Big Freedia & Lizzo
This song was definitely a turn-up favorite this year. Separately Big Freedia and Lizzo are dynamic stars making waves in the music industry, so it only makes sense that having them on a track together would create the ultimate bop. This song is fun, wild, and extra in the best ways. A consistent part of my morning shower routine, this song would always hype me up. Lizzo consistently puts out feminist anthem after feminist anthem, and Big Freedia’s is so important for LGBT representation. Karaoke continued to do serve those purposes and hype me up. I’m honestly even getting a little hype as I listen while writing this piece. In 2018, Karaoke consistently brought me joy.
9. Friend of Nothing (Acoustic) – together PANGEA
Before this year, I had not heard of together PANGEA; however, an out of the blue discovery of their music this fall quickly added them to my rotation on repeat. The acoustic version of Friend of Nothing carried me through many Grad School papers and late-night study sessions. This song was easily on repeat all Fall. The band has created a sizeable Californian post-punk following; however, their acoustic version of this song gave me some soft sounds to put me right in my feels. This song also served as a gateway to many other great music discoveries and has had me consistently looking for opportunities to see together PANGEA in concert.
8. Heat Wave – Snail MailSnail Mail, the project of Lindsey Jordan, was another new discovery of 2018 that quickly became a favorite. She opened for Japanese Breakfast at The Abbey (a show I saw with Bandifesto’s Queen, Ida) and I was quickly enamored. The Baltimore-based band’s melancholic low-fi tunes captivated me. When Heat Wave was released as part of her debut album, Lush, the song quickly became my Summer Song. I experienced longing and nostalgia whenever I listened. Beyond that, Snail Mail is definitely making waves in the music industry, and is quickly gaining strong recognition, even being recognized by some sites as an artist to watch and one of the best Albums of the Year. I am sure some of their music will be on my 2019 list.
7. Estamos Bien – Bad Bunny
Y’all, I am in love with Bad Bunny Beiiibiii. He has consistently put on bops and bangers throughout this year, and Estamos Bien was no exception. This song, about the Puerto Rican people getting through the struggles post Hurricane Maria, is positive and fun. Beyond that, it is generally uplifting and provides a general “we’ll get through this” mentality. For not having put out an album until this month, Benito has continued to experience commercial success on the English and Latin Charts (see Cardi B’s “I Like It”). This song made it onto many party playlists and long drives and was definitely the song of my Chicago trip in October.
6. La Llorona – Natalia LaFourcade
While not featured in my earlier post about music that moved me during my trip to Colombia, Natalia LaFourcade’s cover of La Llorona, a classic folklore, is both soft and emotion-evoking. The song, and her entire folklore cover album, was on heavy repeat during my deeply impactful trip to Colombia. I actually discovered her album from my friend Bianka after having a beach day for my birthday and was quickly smitten. Beyond that, the song provided catharsis for me during the loss of my Grandfather in November. LaFourcade’s take on the folklore classic about “La Llorona” (The Crying Woman), and her entire folklore album, should be added to your heavy rotation.
5. Corazon – Maluma ft. Nego de Borel
This song was my top played song of 2018, and honestly, I’m not that surprised. 1) Maluma is fine as hell. 2) This song is such a cool bop with a fusion of Spanish and Portuguese lyrics. I played this song when working with immersion students, at my desk, in the car, truly anywhere. I also have convinced myself that I have a fuller grasp on Portuguese than I actually do because of this song. This song is fun and playful and brought me such joy whenever I listened to it. Maluma continues his dominating of the Latin Music Industry, and I am sure some of his songs will top my 2019 list (particularly his Mala Mia Remix ft. Anitta & Becky G).
4. Happy & Sad – Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful albums of this year. The album captures softness, joy, longing, and so much more in its short 40-something minutes. It is no wonder it has been nominated for the Grammy Awards Album of the Year (and I wholeheartedly believe it should win). I have been a fan of Kacey’s for a long time, particularly for her fun and Progressive country tunes. I listened to Golden Hour for days after she released it (and still listen to it on repeat nearly eight months later). Probably my favorite song from the album is Happy & Sad. This song captures the existential melancholia that I often feel (especially as a Cancer). “Is there a word for the way that I’m feeling tonight, happy and sad at the same time?” At the risk of being my usual extra self, I feel that! This beautiful song also proved significant for me as I transitioned from a job I loved dearly after more than four years, happy for a new opportunity of growth and sad to leave something I love so much behind.
3. Dreams – Japanese Breakfast
The Cranberries are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I took the death of Dolores O’Riordan really hard this year. I’ve loved and listened to them since I was a child. I feel such pride and connection to this bad-ass, woman led, Irish band. Soon after Dolores’ passing, I saw Japanese Breakfast at The Abbey in Orlando with my friend Ida. I had heard some of Japanese Breakfasts’ music before; but when they played their cover of Dreams by the Cranberries, my love for them was solidified. Dreams is probably one of my favorite songs of all time. I actually started crying at the show because of how much this song has meant to me. When they released their Spotify Studios version of the song, needless to say it made its way into my frequent rotation. The cover is uniquely Japanese Breakfast without losing the beautiful and powerful way of Dolores.
2. Bird Set Free – Sia
This song sadly did not make it into my Top 100 played songs of 2018; however, it is one that is still extremely important to me. The song is so important, that I even got the lyrics tattooed on me this year! As a Queer person who lived in Orlando during Pulse, I felt a lot of struggle while processing my own trauma. Before Pulse, I still was very closeted and harbored much inner shame. As I was going further through my coming out journey and unpacking my trauma, I discovered this song. The song is about someone being liberated of the people and things holding them back, not caring of what others think of them and their song, as they will sing it anyway. Because of that, this song and my tattoo represent my freedom and journey towards radical self-love.
1. Nobody – Mitski
While it was not my most played song of the year, Mitski’s “Nobody” is without a doubt my top song of 2018. I am afraid I will not have the words to sufficiently describe the beauty of this song and how much it means to me. Mitski’s entire “Be the Cowboy” album is poignant and emotionally evocative, which is why was at the top of many outlet’s “Best Album of the Year” charts. The longing expressed particularly in the lyrics of “Nobody” resonated with my personal feelings of anxiety and desires to find love. Listening to this song helped me explore those feelings internal to me and make a commitment to my own mental health and self-care in 2019. Beyond that, both the studio and live versions capture the rawness in her emotion in a way that is beyond compelling. Truly, I think this is one of the most beautiful songs of this year, and one of the most beautiful songs of our generation; I hope I will have the opportunity to see her perform it live very soon.
So those are my Top 10 songs of 2018. The songs are as eclectic, dynamic, and emotional as my extra Cancer-self. Ranging from pop to reggaetón, indie to Spanish folklore, and even bounce and country, each of these songs was significant to me in 2018. I hope some of these songs moved y’all too, and if not, I hope you’ll at least add them to a playlist. Music moved me so much in 2018, through life’s changes and loss, new beginnings and a lot of Grad school papers. I am excited to see the ways music will move me, and hopefully y’all too, in 2019.
Chris Furino loves music… like a lot. According to Spotify they listened to 82,000 hours of music last year! Their queer identity, love for the revolution, and overall angsty attitude (they are a very proud Cancer) have led to an eclectic taste in music ranging from indie bands to country queens, and pop divas to Latin Trap stars. They’re excited to take you on a journey about the music moves them!