Ah yes! My favorite blog of the year where I get to discuss about my insane musical tastes.

Aside from racing and photography, I enjoy my music. I often have guilty pleasures and tracks I crap on. But when it’s good, it hits right in the feels!

If you don’t know, I share 100 tracks I enjoyed listening throughout 2021. Disclaimer, it’s not a list of my favorite 2021 songs because that’s not exciting.

Instead, I open my musical doors to all decades and styles. To me, that’s what makes music so amazing to hear.

You’ll notice a pattern with my records, notably three bands appearing for a combined total 27 times. Also, 17 songs re-appear on this countdown with a good amount being from last year.

As always, the only way a song makes my list is if it’s on Spotify and made my private top-25 tracks per month.

Then, I rank each song that made my monthly top-25s (202 tracks to be exact) and narrow it down to the aforementioned “Top 100 Songs I Felt the Vibe in 2021.”

Below are my previous lists of the songs I played frequently that you should give a chance of exploring.

PREVIOUS LISTS: 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Let’s not waste anymore time, so here’s the songs I enjoyed hearing most this year.

100) Heroes by Peter Gabriel (2010)

Peter Gabriel’s cover of David Bowie’s classic, a song I loved hearing most in 2015-16, is simply beautiful. More so after getting back to my crappy Florida hotel room past 3am after covering the Daytona 500.

I can’t illustrate why this song resonated to me, but I will say is that it slowly started my comeback trail after a miserable 2020 I had. It wouldn’t be until May when such comeback really kicked into high gear, but it was a start.

99) Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths (1984)

A straight forward deep track. While I don’t have a car anymore, this was the track I needed to hear while looking for my first car. Fresh yet effective.

98) Heaven (Live) by Talking Heads (1984)

Another song that hit different while in Florida. Taking the Uber rides to New Smyrna Speedway was when I further enjoyed this song a lot. Looking back, it’s a both a joyful yet sad song to ponder. More so after the tragic events that month had and the two people from my school days being no longer with us during the second half of 2021.

97) Dreams by The Cranberries (1993)

After not watching Lying Eyes in like 4-5 years, I re-watched it again this year. I forgot how this song was predominately featured in the film. It’s arguably my favorite Cranberries song right now.

“Linger” will always hold a special place to my heart, especially the time (college) I had strong feelings from a girl I no longer speak with anymore. But “Dreams” is more of my alley from a musical structure point of view.

96) One by Metallica (1988)

2019 RANKING: 3
…And Just For All often tops my Metallica album list. I don’t have a true definitive No. 1 because it changes between this album, Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning.

“One” does one thing for sure, it makes me think about my true favorite Metallica record? It’s also difficult because they’re one of my all-time favorite bands. When an act have many bad ass songs, it’s excruciatingly hard to choose.

This year, “One” re-kindled why AJFA often tops my album list because it has everything that I love in a record: energy, storytelling and structure. Only thing missing is some bass.

95) Stars on 45 – Stars on 45 Medley (1981)

This track is officially called “Medley: Intro ‘Venus’ / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I’ll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want to Know a Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You’re Going to Lose That Girl / Stars on 45,” but who wants to write all of that?

If I started making top-100 list in college, it probably would’ve made my top-three songs of 2016. Haven’t listened to the song since that year, but this version sounds more better.

Despite how corny the medley is put together, especially towards the end. The beginning makes the record in my eye, especially the bass solo for some reason made me think of late 70s F1. Don’t ask why, but it does and the venue I think of is Long Beach. Back when it used to be more rugged and X-Rated.

94) Blue Flower by Mazzy Star (1990)

I like rough sounding records. “Blue Flower” showed me that Mazzy Star are more than just one track. Whatever they’re attempting to do, it’s an experience and likely sound good. Hope Sandoval’s voice is amazing on this one and well accompanied by the late David Roback’s guitar notes.

93) Madhouse by Anthrax (1986)

This song may be associated with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but I think of GTA V when wanted level stars hit. Great song, but I think of negative outcomes. I hate GTA V’s star system because it really ruins the fun the series once had like in VC.

Whenever I get frustrated, more so with technology, I growl and sing a few lines like “trapped in this nightmare.” I used this track at a high school assembly once in 2012. I believe the opening riff was for the 2014 class, but I’d rather forget about 2012.

92) Creeping Death by Metallica (1984)

Per usual with my playlists, I share a live version of the song. Usually, it ends up being a Metallica record because it hits super different. This one was a year after the track came out with the performance taking place at the Metal Hammer Festival in Germany.

It certainly got me through the hell that was GTA Online, my least favorite of the series. Whenever (if ever) GTA VI comes out, it better be an improvement because GTA Online killed it for me.

91) Daydream by The Aces (2020)

The Aces is such an amazing band. If that wasn’t established to your head, now you know. For better or worse, I’ve had my share of daydreams in 2021. The guitar bridge though, etched to my mind for a good while now.

90) If I’d Been the One by 38 Special (1984)

Another tune I loved listening on the road and not a bad one to quietly sing behind the wheel. Just have to be alone and be in the right mood to do it. Will I play it in rental cars? Very likely.

89) Today is the Day by Dope (2003)

WWE PPVs from 2003 had the most kick ass themes in history! Remember when that company was relevant? Remember when feuds meant something? Remember when match promos were masterpieces?

This was used during the No Mercy PPV, notably for the Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker feud. It was played heavily in August and assured any day will be the day in some capacity.

88) Up by Cardi B (2021)

One of the better number-one songs from this year. Not a track to sing out loud, but the hook is catchy. For a few months, I thought I heard this track from a friend’s playlist, but realized I was wrong. It was because it hit number-one. Shows how much I remember these days.

87) My Phone Is Trying to Kill Me by The Aces (2020)

Thanks to my mom and youngest brother, they think I’m Jay-Z. Why? My dumb ass thought singing along to this song at The Aces concert while recording it. Hey look! We’ve all done it! I can’t sing worth a lick, but I love this track. I even used it when Jeff Gordon was just vibing early this season.

86) Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand) by Irma Thomas (1964)

Come On, Come On is a flick that’s extremely thought provoking. I don’t like thinking about life and death at all, but a solid film. This track was featured and instantly had a euphoria feel. I enjoy songs that take me into a different mindset and imagine a different life. After the movie, I had to find the IDs. Took a few days, but found it.

85) Colorblind by Beach Bunny (2020)

The day before passing my driving exam, I enjoyed my last driving practice because of this song. Golden hour in Lynnwood with a Beach Bunny track playing was pure vibes. Even before and after, I liked this tune so much. A lot of Beach Bunny tracks will do that before it really clicks into you. Honestly, it gets better over time in my book.

84) Cemetery Gates by Pantera (1990)

2020 RANKING: 57
I still love the intro of this track. I often only listen to the beginning when I’m a bit moody. Especially, this month because I’m coping with losing another fellow classmate. Music is how I cope with difficult circumstances and it’s not a bad thing.

The core of the song is as good too, don’t let that be mistaken. It’s Pantera’s most underrated track because it’s almost a two-part song. Like many tracks before it, notably “Fight Fire With Fire,” it’ll get your adrenaline rush going.

83) Bridged By A Lightwave by Deadmau5 and Kiesza (2020)

One thing I learned to really hate while working at my non-media job I still wish I can get out of sooner than later, it’s EDM. Just not me anymore and honestly hasn’t aged well! A lot of the genre is pure dumpster fire, but not this one! I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! All in large part of Kiesza.

The nine-minute tale is a whole ass mood and instantly fell in love with the whole song. This is deadmau5’s magnum opus and he wasn’t the reason. You cannot change my mind!

82) Fast and Frightening by L7 (1990)

I prefer the live version that played in the L7 documentary. It sounds more meaner, faster and so bad ass. It’s the version I heard while parking the rental car in downtown Long Beach and walked to the track. Yes, on a Friday morning of INDYCAR Championship weekend, I jammed out to this. The studio version is still good though.

81) Feel the Fight (Feel Alive) by SATV Music (2019)

I want to believe this was used during Sky Sports’ F1 coverage in either the British or Hungarian Grand Prix. I know it had to do with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. It was played before break, but can’t recall exactly which race it was though. One thing I do know was both felt the fight and kept the F1 title chase alive to the absolute bitter end.

80) Orion by Metallica (1986)

2019 RANKING: 27
“Orion” remains one of my all-time favorite metal instrumentals. Throughout the year, I still consider the usage of this song when focusing on the Fast Nine of 1997 at Indianapolis as one of the better parts of that year’s 500.

79) BOOKER T by Bad Bunny (2020)

Sorry mom! This is one of only 2-3 songs I don’t mind of Bad Bunny. Being a wrestling guy at one point in my life, this song still slaps in my book. Even if it doesn’t make any sense.

What made it funnier was he didn’t have a bad match at WrestleMania 36. He held his own and respected the craft which you can’t say about a lot of celebrities that partake in shit like that. Aside from the homage to the 5x WCW Champion, the instrumental is so damn good and really made the song memorable.

78) Physical by The Aces (2017)

2020 RANKING: 23
Still remains a real catchy track to sing along when the mood is right. The band have certainly grown over the past few years and it’s neat looking back of how far they’ve come.

77) Smells Like Teen Spirit by Malia J (2021)

I’m very picky with covers. The moment it sounds bad or underwhelming, I immediately consider it terrible. This wasn’t one of those bad covers in my book.

It really set the tone to Black Widow and compared to Nirvana, it’s more intense from an emotional, roller coaster experience point of view. Malia J really gave it a different identity like a big conflicting and eternal battle is about to begin.

76) Little Dark Age by MGMT (2018)

You can thank S1apSh0es for this one! When he created a Mark Martin video with this track, I immediately enjoyed the strange yet subtle track. This is the only other track I’ve heard from MGMT too. The other being “Electric Feel” because it was played quite a lot in high school with Prom 2011 being the vivid highlight.

75) The Steps by HAIM (2020)

There’s a lot of thoughts I have of this song. On one hand, the opening had a mix of that drum solo of “In A Gadda Da Vida” and plenty of 70s classic rock. There’s also the feel of how mind blowing it sounds on an acoustic. When it sounds both great live and in studio, you have an amazing record. When time allows, it’s currently one of the few songs that’s on my heavy rotation.

74) Ready to Go by Republica (1997)

2018 RANKING: 3
2019 RANKING: 13
2020 RANKING: 44
The only song that’s made every Top 100 to date. While it’s much lower than the previous three years, the song remains impactful. More so when re-watching the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls highlights during spring.

73) Blame Game by Beach Bunny (2021)

When you think about it, the lyrics of this record is true. It’s one track you really need to listen multiple times to fully grasp the message. The music video itself also illustrates the song tremendously. If I ever were to focus on a top-25 best songs that came out in 2021, it’ll certainly be high on my list. Doesn’t take much honestly.

72) Electro Pharaoh by The Egyptian Lover (2008)

If the timing is right, 80s breakdance music rules. Only problem is that this track wasn’t from the 80s like I thought it was. It actually came out in the 2000s. During the first phase of driving, this song would constantly play in my shuffled playlist. This song really comes to life when I’m behind the wheel during night hours.

71) Feliz, Feliz by Mi Banda El Mexicano (1993)

Here’s another weird dream tale. Whenever I think of this song, I think of a Buick powered Indy car pushing 240+ mph at Indianapolis. As if this track is the Spanish equivalent of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” or something because that Van Halen track makes me think of Indy. This song has nothing to do with racing, but the fruitful nature life provides to people.

70) If I Could Change Your Mind by HAIM (2013)

Days Are Gone is certainly an all-time favorite album from the 2010s. I’ve mentioned in my 2018 blog that HAIM were my go-to female group until The Aces came into the picture.

Fast forward to 2021, HAIM have come back into my heavy rotation and tracks such as this one, solidified why I loved the band in the first place.

69) Sports by Beach Bunny (2018)

This is a fun song to just sing out loud, jump around and be in a mosh. Wait, that actually did happen. It happened at their concert in Seattle early this month. Totally unexpected and tried not letting the mosh crew hurt people.

Song wise, I like this record quite a lot and see why Beach Bunny can also be considered a punk rock group. Didn’t think of it much until this month. Gotta love how you pick up band characteristics over time.

68) Fade Away by Susanne Sundfør (2015)

The movie Flower is rather weird looking back. It had a Jamie xx track and this one. May need to re-watch the flick as to whether or not I really liked it aside from who were in the movie.

What I do know that holds true is this ending track was another nostalgia inspired banger. I played the hell out of this track during my trip to Indy.

67) Formula 1 Theme by Brian Tyler (2018)

2018 RANKING: 10
2019 RANKING: 31
Abu Dhabi aside, this year’s F1 season was by far the most memorable I’ve seen since 2008. I didn’t get to see 2012, 2014 or much of 2016 because of school and lack of DVR recording. The battle between Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton will be talked about for years to come. This is the perfect theme for a motorsports discipline and it’s became a staple to Formula One.

66) Primal Concrete Sledge by Pantera (1990)

2020 RANKING: 41
Carnage! Carnage! Carnage! Did I say carnage? “Primal Concrete Sledge” remains a song that makes me want to avoid mayhem at all costs.

65) Midlife Crisis by Faith No More (1992)

2020 RANKING: 8
If I wasn’t in a midlife crisis then, I may be in one right now. Yet, I don’t turn 40 until 2034. Maybe this ongoing pandemic has played a role in feeling such crisis.

64) Going Home by The Aces (2020)

2020 RANKING: 32
What really is “home” for me? Is it when I’m at a race track? When I’m in California? I’m still battling such question, but the song is beautiful. Especially, the guitar riff by Katie Henderson! Inject that to my veins for days!

63) Dirty Water by The Standells (1966)

Okay! When I was staying at that crappy hotel in Florida, the shower clogged up for three days. I had to literally unclog it alone because the water was so damn dirty when it wouldn’t go down. This song was the first thing I thought of and it’s about Boston! I played this song to death while unclogging the shower with plastic bags wrapped around my hands. That wasn’t fun! So forever, I’ll associate “Dirty Water” to Florida Speedweeks.

62) I’m Still Standing by Elton John (1983)

I wish I could go to France and Monaco. Remains a pipe dream after the last few months turned into shit for personal reasons. This track was a go-to back in January because I still felt like standing. Really set the tone I had throughout 2021, I’m still here. Still am, but not as much at the moment.

61) Right Now by HAIM (2017)

Everything about this track and video sent some cold chills down my spine when I first heard it. Paul Thomas Anderson directed the video and after seeing the witty, captivating film called Licorice Pizza, I further appreciate his works.

Track wise, understanding how women view things like relationships is real difficult. Sometimes music is a way to get an idea how they see things, but even that can be difficult. A good way to illustrate why this track is great, click here!

60) Animal Magnetism by Scorpions (1980)

A tune I’m surprised hasn’t made my Top 100 before is this one. I really enjoyed the song when I first heard it on The Wrestler back in 2018. Re-watched it again this year and the song still holds up. Especially, the slow build and guitar tone. All of that made the scene with Marisa Tomei realizing that dancing isn’t doing it for her anymore. She’d rather be with Mickey Rourke.

59) 801 by The Aces (2020)

2020 RANKING: 40
While driving at 5am in Southern California, “801” (the area code for Salt Lake City) hit so different. Just the way I’d imagine with the song’s tone. It also sounded great live in Seattle. Now, I haven’t been in Utah since 2000, so I’m not sure how the 801 is these days.

58) He Venido A Pedirte Perdón by Juan Gabriel (1980)

Loved this song as a kid. Love it as an adult. From the film El Noa Noa, this played at the end of the movie when Juan spent one last night at a dance club with a woman. It was a hokey scene but the song is great.

57) Position to Win by Migos (2019)

Still not big on the Migos flow from other artists, especially from Ariana Grande and Eminem. That shit doesn’t register with me because I think of Migos. It honestly only works for them these days. This song is catchy as hell and trying to mimic the track isn’t easy. Song is beast AF to the point I just want to swing around the city and save the day, Spider-Man style.

56) Put Your Head On My Shoulder by Paul Anka (1959)

The oldest entry on this list and all-time. You might’ve heard this song in those silhouette challenges, but that’s not what I’m here for. An all-time gem is soothing to hear alone on a summer evening. Kind of what I did in Napa Valley in June.

55) Ride by ZZ Ward feat. Gary Clark, Jr. (2017)

As you’d guess, put the floor on the pedal and go fast. Hell, even as a passenger, you’d want to do such thing. Now experiencing both, it made the song better than ever.

54) In the Heat of the Night by Sandra (1985)

Sandra is one of those artists that made elite-tier night life music. All I envision when hearing this song is a foggy night seeing a crush eye-to-eye as people around us watch in awe. There’s a dance scene from Rad that captured a familiar vision. Okay, the slow motion montage but hey, “No guts, no glory.”

53) Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies (1983)

2019 RANKING: 9
2020 RANKING: 4
Still want a Pepsi! I bought one for my 27th birthday at the Mariners game, but still not enough. Also, my main resentment for Pepper Potts was interrupting Tony Stark’s work while this goated track was playing in Iron Man.

52) Love Is Contagious by Shanks Mansell & Martha Bean (2016)

2020 RANKING: 59
Another track I think of when things are going to the edge of madness and lust. It’s my highest ranked production track. By production, I mean songs used for TV and film.

51) One Vision by Queen (1985)

2020 RANKING: 72
Like “801,” “One Vision” sounds so awesome while driving. This one I think played after in my 5am drive in Southern California. Did I turned it up to max volume? You bet!

50) For A While by Fenne Lily (2018)

When I landed a non-media job I refuse to talk about here or others (unless I really know you), this was one of two tracks I played heavily in June. Sad track in my eye and one of the only tracks from 13 Reasons Why I still listen in 2021.

49) Fade Into You by Mazzy Star (1993)

2020 RANKING: 1
Last year’s top track still remains impactful to my life.

Not as much this year, but when I hear the song, I can’t skip it. This is one I must listen from start to finish in order to get that strong feel. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a track that’ll remain for years to come.

48) Gimme Some More by Busta Rhymes (1998)

This video is weird. Same goes with my vision of seeing a flying F1 car in the 1960s (my vision sees a Lotus). I didn’t hear this track until I saw the Jim Cornette Buries AEW video where it used the instrumental. Aside from the Psycho opening theme, 90s Busta Rhymes was at a different zip code. Another February banger.

47) Unforgettable by Robin Schulz feat. Marc Scibilia (2017)

When you’re dealing with strong feelings towards a person or someone you’re in a relationship (me with the former), emotions run high. You just can’t get a person out of your mind because of how much that person impacted your life. That’s the vibe I get with this track.

46) Calla Tú by Danna Paola (2021)

If you were to tell me this was the first time I’ve heard of Danna Paola’s music, you’re right. I’ve only seen her as an actress from that telenovela my mom and I watched a few years ago. It’s another track with a vital message. Translate it and you’ll get the idea.

45) Who’ll Stop the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)

Whether it’s February or May, rain was the norm. Casually, I used this song in an IG Story or two but this song is splendid. Still hate the rain though!

44) Price Tags by Jazmine Carpenter feat. Anderson .Paak (2021)

A comment summed it best – it’s a soulful “WAP.” That aside, this is the type of rap music I prefer. Not lyrically, but overall song structure. Both crushed it here!

43) Volcanic Love by The Aces (2018)

2019 RANKING: 47
This remains one of (if not) my favorite Aces song. To this day, I can fall in love into the track and just don’t give a shit about my surroundings. If you haven’t heard any Aces song (at this point), this one’s a good introduction.

42) Adulting by Beach Bunny (2018)

Adulting sucks! Simple as that. You can see why I adore this track all across the board!

41) Sad But True by Metallica (1991)

2020 RANKING: 55
EET FUK! I don’t know bout you, but this take of “Sad But True” makes me scream EET FUK! More louder and meaner than the final cut. Great track to hear after a long ass week and just not give a shit anymore as the weekend kicks into high gear.

40) Unholy by KISS (1992)

Casually, I was watching a 2001 OVW match of Kane vs. Batista (then known as Leviathan) and heard this track. I don’t know why, but this being played during Kane’s highlight reel hit different. This version of KISS sounds more serious and I like it!

39) I Can’t Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar (1985)

I started 2021 with this song! This is the Sammy Hagar I want to remember, not the one from the All-Star Race at Texas. Hagar ruled in the 1980s and still find him very underrated.

38) Painkiller by Beach Bunny (2018)

2020 RANKING: 20
A year after hearing this song for the first time, it sounds as good the more times I’ve heard it. If you ask me a great song that sounds uplifting but with sad lyrics, this would be my go-to.

37) Can You Do by The Aces (2020)

This track makes me want to travel back to the 90s and train for a basketball game. I totally love the vibe they went with this track. So much, that my mom even loves it! Compared to the other tracks from Under My Influence, it’s a different tone and attitude.

36) Man from the Magazine by HAIM (2020)

Have I told you that Danielle Haim is in my top-10 favorite female vocalists of the 21st century? Well, now you know. This is another experimental track with a lot of throwback influence with a delicate hook.

35) Metal Health (Bang Your Head) by Quiet Riot (1983)

This track is self-explanatory as to why it kicks ass! Quiet Riot did play a vital part of 80s metal being one of the greatest periods in music history.

34) I’m In Love with A German Film Star by The Passions (1981)

Haunting. Chills. Lust? Three words I associate with this rather hidden 80s gem. If there’s one amazing trait Grand Theft Auto does well is opening up Pandora’s box to amazing songs. More so if it’s an obscure one like The Passions’ hit.

33) Kelly by The Aces (2020)

How many Kelly’s have we’ve known in our lives? A good amount. How I feel about each of them vary. No matter what I do, there’s always a Kelly somewhere. At that non-media job. At the track. At the arena. Gotta love how that works in life.

Cristal Ramirez’s delivery of the chorus is forever etched to my memory, wondering what each of them are doing. Minus the love and appearance of course.

32) Scentless Apprentices by Nirvana (1993)

When I first heard this track, I really didn’t know what to think of it. All I got out of it was Kurt Cobain’s screams. That was years ago. This is a GET REKT jam I play at full volume whenever it comes up on my shuffled playlist.

31) El Noa Noa by Juan Gabriel (1980)

Ever wonder what it’s like walking alone at night seeing nothing but bars and clubs? This track is what I think of when such scenario happens. Wait? That’s from the self-titled movie Juan Gabriel did. Anyways, another Spanish classic for y’all!

30) I Love You But I Love Me More by MARINA feat. Beach Bunny (2021)

Here’s a more recently released collaboration track I really liked. The tone and lyrics are a total mood. Eventhough there’s one problem, I’ve never been in a serious relationship to face such epiphany.

29) Maldito by Jessy Bulbo (2006)

My favorite Spanish track from this year was an absolute no-brainer. Makes me want to hit the dunes and tear it up, hoping I don’t eat dirt. Very in your face, even the tooth brush bit kicks ass. Watch the video and listen closely for it.

28) 6 Weeks by Beach Bunny (2018)

For some strange reason, “6 Weeks” was the one track I wanted to hear after leaving Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Like, I wanted to go back and repeat the weekend experience. Yeah, the race wasn’t great but it really boosted my confidence as a media personnel. I suggest playing “Goodbye Summer :(“ first and immediately play this track. Gives you a different flow and feeling in my opinion.

27) brutal by Olivia Rodrigo (2021)

“brutal” kicks off SOUR but to me it feels like a sequel to “good 4 u” (spoiler alert, it made my Top 100 list). Now, it’s more of a buildup to it knowing the track order. It didn’t eliminate the notion of how great is it that rock is being accepted into the mainstream again. I’m a sucker for drastic tone changes and this one delivered.

26) Suddenly Last Summer by The Motels (1983)

Don’t ask me why I feel like a metal cover would work here. A minimalistic gem from the 80s (go figure) that won me over and played throughout the tale end of summer and early fall. To be honest, this song helped get me out of the ongoing rut of my accident in October.

25A) Straight to Hell by The Clash (1982)

The inspiration behind “Paper Planes” came from The Clash. I can’t remember where I heard this song before and it still bothers me! This band is slowly becoming a group I’ve appreciated a lot more than I did ages ago. The context of the song is a trip within itself where you can see Joe Strummer’s brilliance. Good song hearing before going to hell that is my non-media job.

25B) Straight to Hell (Live) by Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War (1988)

Another tradition of mine is to include the same song twice, but list it as A & B. Why do I do this? There’s records I love under different versions. “Straight to Hell” being one of those because of this liver version. This was after The Clash split and Joe Strummer was doing his thing. This version just had a beautiful flow and made the song identity different, but the message even unique.

24) Waves by Beach Bunny (2016)

This is a true story. As I was at the Indianapolis airport, I first heard this track and fell instantly in love. Again, the track. Not a woman. Pretty simple yet it swooned me as my flight ended up delayed for a few hours and noticed a group of kids carrying DHL luggage’s. This was a few days after the 105th Indy 500 BTW.

23) Put It On The Line by The Aces (2018)

Sometimes, we take family for granted. Not all of us have a Vin Diesel mentality and this track highlights how hard family can be. The past few years have been tough for my group of families. By blood or not, we’ve put ourselves on the line for others and sometimes, shit doesn’t work out.

22) For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) by AC/DC (1981)

One of three major tracks that really motivated me throughout the Month of May. While I was at my worst shape (weight wise), this song was all I needed to get ready for the news challenge. I should honestly start posting playlists for major racing events. Now watch me forget!

21) Maria Magdalena by Sandra (1985)

Action AF! The opening screams 80s but I love it. I’ve always been enamored by the name Magdalena since 2007. What happened in 2007? That’s when Rock of Love with Bret Michaels premiered and one of the contestants was named Magdalena.

Now hearing this song, I can picture this being played at a night club where you see nothing but Coke and booze. Isn’t that what the 80s life was about? Good chances it was.

20) Levitating by Dua Lipa (2020)

Fun fact: This track peaked at No. 2 in the Billboard Hot 100 last year. That in mind, it’s Billboard’s 2021 Song of the Year. Only the fourth time a non-number-one single was the top track in music. I mean, it earns it because this is such a fun song to sing with a group of people before The Aces hit the stage.

Never cared for Dua Lipa nor this song early this year because it reminded me of the opening from Rihanna and Young Jeezy’s “Hard.” By the way, it’s a good Rihanna track which are extremely rare from me. That changed in November and now I totally dig the record.

19) White Flag by JOSEPH (2016)

Another sisterhood group that so happens to be from the PNW. Strong anthem for those needing to rise above the hellfire all of us deal with in some capacity.

18) Bigger Picture by Jax Anderson feat. VÉRITÉ (2021)

Gardens. First thing I think of when hearing this beautiful song featuring the lovely VÉRITÉ. There’s a unique vibe when I heard it in a Seattle garden, especially when the setting was cloudy.

17) Summer Girl by HAIM (2019)

Henry Solomon on saxophone really made that instrument sexy AF! “Summer Girl,” “I’ve Been Down,” and “Los Angeles” featured his sax performances and each are so damn good! Now to get the idea of this track, it’s an open love letter. I don’t know how to put it besides that.

The story behind “Summer Girl” focuses on Danielle Haim’s band producer and boyfriend Ariel Rechtshaid’s cancer diagnosis. Danielle’s message was indeed to uplift Rechtshaid during difficult times. Sometimes, it’s tracks like that where it sounds so amazing and uplifting.

16) Alive and Kicking by Simple Minds (1985)

That one track from the Premier League commercial almost 30 years ago. It’s as early 90s as it can get! I guess the men in football/soccer were a different breed.

I didn’t hear it first from that Sky Sports ad, but at a store. All I was thinking, man this is another Simple Minds banger! It was a victory anthem after passing my driver’s test in August. No question about it!

15) Los Angeles by HAIM (2020)

As much as I talk abut SoCal, there’s times where a miracle to get out of the madness lingers. Just haven’t been to NYC to experience the cold, living in Washington is enough for me. I can’t imagine how cold it gets down there. This song I associate with driving and drinking coffee. It’s the mellow flow!

14) I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner (1984)

Love is a cruel thing. I’m still struggling to understand what it actually is. Beautiful track and arguably defines 80s music to an absolute tee. Flawless and strikes a nerve on people because love is what we all want.

13) ‘Cause I’m A Man by Tame Impala (2015)

Another song I first heard through S1apsh0es. It’s quite a trip hearing this song this late into 2021 and ponder how life treated me. More so with certain relationships with people as the song suggests.

12) Police On My Back by The Clash (1980)

Loud and blunt! Playing this at max volume while walking across the streets of Oklahoma City in early May provided a unique energy. This was before I got my license, so I kept myself out of harms way.

11) FUBT by HAIM (2020)

This track really fucked me up this summer. From the raw guitar tone to Danielle’s storytelling really set the vibe and it’s been stuck with me from that point forward.

10) If It Makes You Happy by Sheryl Crow (1996)

There have been times where I ponder what makes me happy. People may think what I do isn’t that bad, but sometimes it’s not easy. Sheryl really rocked this record and certainly stood the test of time.

9) déjà vu by Olivia Rodrigo (2021)

Angry fact: Where I work, they ONLY play the first minute of the song and it outrages me! EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Total injustice to an angst driven record.

Overall, it’s my personal favorite Olivia record but what if I told you it’s not my highest ranked song from her SOUR album. This is true and it had everything to do with timing.

8) The Real Thing by Faith No More (1989)

Everything about this saga is pure bliss. Incredible build, amazing riffs and powerful vocal delivery by Mike Patton defines my personal favorite Faith No More track from the aptly titled The Real Thing.

7) good 4 u by Olivia Rodrigo (2021)

Picture this. You’re staying at a place in Indiana, trying to come up with a solid angle about the Indy 500 track conditions. However, you’re enduring some writer’s block. Safe to say, this number-one hit got me out of that rut.

This rockin’ track came at a perfect time and so thankful it brought rock back into mainstream notoriety. This has a mix of Nirvana, Avril Lavigne and Paramore which is why I heavily dig this track.

6) Cat People (Putting Out Fire) by David Bowie & Giorgio Moroder (1982)

Shosanna Dreyfus (played by Melanie Laurent) is wicked wifey material. Don’t know the reason? The usage of this thrilling record in Inglorious Basterds is one of my favorite cinema scenes of all-time. A true preparing for the ultimate attack anthem.

The opening to “Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face” is definitely what I’d love to recreate in a photoshoot someday because the visuals were stunning. Yes, I prefer this version way more than the one from Let’s Dance which appeared in an episode of The Office.

5) Policy of Truth by Depeche Mode (1990)

In Spring 2019, I binge watched Beverly Hills, 90210 until I lost track of which episodes wasn’t available to stream and missed some recordings. Not once I recall hearing this record. Must’ve been because it was dubbed but one of my editor-in-chiefs brought the show to my attention.

There’s one line Dylan McKay (played by Luke Perry) that stood out: “Watch out, man. You’re flirting with bad karma.” If this isn’t the story of my life, I don’t know what is.

Now I’ve heard this song many times in the past. It’s because it played in Selena (the 1997 movie), but never knew the name until this year. Played this on repeat at Long Beach as well. Unique record that certainly gets me thinking all the time.

4) Dreams by Van Halen (1986)

Forget “Jump,” this is the definitive Van Halen record! I love many tracks like “Panama,” “Right Now,” and many more but “Dreams” hits at a whole different level. People crap on the “Van Hagar Era” but it had great lyrics from time-to-time.

Need an adrenaline rush? Watch this video, the 2002 Aaron’s 499 intro and you’ll feel it.

3) Saturdays by Twin Shadow feat. HAIM (2018)

It’s unhealthy how many times I’ve played this song in 2021. You can partially thank one of my friends for introducing it! Each time there’s racing going on during those Saturdays, I play it. It had an amazing blend of 80s sound and romance which is why I’m gravitated to this record.

2) Don’t Freak by The Aces (2021)

My anthem for the 105th Indianapolis 500. I don’t know why it led to that being my go-to song, but it just became the anthem for me. What I do know is that it’s my favorite song that came out this year. Captivating lyrics and an unforgettable opening riff. What more can I say? “Don’t Freak!”

1) Falling by HAIM (2013)

I kind of spoiled my song I felt the most vibrant feeling in my reflective blog before turning 27 nearly three months ago. The lyrics especially sold me on how incredible this record is.

No matter what, I’d rather not look back but can’t give up on my ambitious journey. The hurdles and obstacles I’ve been through, resonated when hearing “Falling” back in August.

Found it amazing that it played at a Shari’s while having dinner with my mom and sister after struggling to find my first car (I no longer have).

At the end of the day, I must keep fighting and bring a mean streak into my passions, hoping it’ll last for many more years to come. It’s what I’m put on this earth to do, even if the falls haven’t been kind. In a way, it’s the new anthem I live by.

Another list down and many more songs to listen going forward.

Maybe there’s more incredible tracks to be found. Perhaps, it’ll resonate with me even more. Music is a unique beast and I love it.

It’s certainly part of my life and way of living. That’ll never change.

Until we meet again, doubt me if you insist, prove me wrong if I give consent.

Published by Luis Torres

University of Idaho graduate that's currently pursuing the dream of becoming a motorsports media personnel.

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