This Dark World is Precious to Me: 14 Songs for 2014

4842505983_b76ddf0307_mGuest post by Joel Heng Hartse

This is my seventh yearly playlist for Good Letters. I’ve been racking my brains to come up with a theme for this one, but to be honest, I think the theme of these playlists is almost always the same: basically, the human condition—joy and sorrow, faith and doubt, triumph and tragedy, and all that.

These songs are roughly arranged in two parts, with the first half being more sad and angry, and the latter half more hopeful and upbeat. Really, though these are just fourteen songs I heard this year felt warm, human, and true. You can listen to them on a playlist here. I hope you like them. [Read more…]

Home is the Place: Twelve Songs for 2012

Guest Post by Joel Heng Hartse

Robert Frost wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” I’ve only recently begun to realize that I’m becoming the “they” and not the “you.” Two things made me start thinking that this year: first, we had a kid, and second, we moved again, for about the fifth time in eight years. This move was just a few blocks down the street, but has been the most stressful, in some ways.

Why are we doing this again? When will we just stop? Will this ever be our home? I sit here at the Wired Monk, I watch the snow fall, and I try to figure out a way to make a home.

These are twelve songs released in 2012 that seem to fit that rubric, more or less. The usual caveats: I don’t pay that much attention to new releases, I mostly listen to records by white guys with beards, and I only have about five favorite bands, whose new songs always end up on these lists. (Perhaps they make me feel more at home?) [Read more…]