High Rotation: 10 Songs That Will Make You Want to Fall in Love

This week in High Rotation were taking a deep dive into my music collection to look at 10 songs that will make you want to fall in love (or at least that make me want to fall in love).  Although there are a few “classic love songs” on the list, what it really focuses around what inspires me to love. The wonder, the struggle, and passion that make us want to be a better version of ourselves.

 

1 . Arkells – 11:11

Oh, 11:11… The first time I heard this song on it was seared in my brain. I must have listened to this some 1,000 times last summer. It’s fun, upbeat, makes me want to dance (when I saw them in January it looked just like the video lol), and for as smooth as it is… just as anxious as me.

I was nervous just standing with you, you were glowing in the dark

I mean if I could choose a way to fall in love, enjoying an evening at a show would be it.


2. Reuben And The Dark – Heart in Two

I made a huge miss when I didn’t include Funeral Sky from Calgary’s Ruben And The Dark in my 5 Albums I Wish You Knew post. Seriously. Buy it. I first encountered their single Heart In Two when I saw them play at the 2015/2016 NHL Face-Off (first game of the season) concert. They only supposed to play three songs and but they snuck this one in and it came across with such passion.

You say reverie came over me – Like fire, like blood, like sunlight

This is not your typical love song, it’s about being lost in their wonder while longing for their presence. Stuck in a daydream.


3. Dashboard Confessional – Remember to Breathe

This a been one of my favourites for a very long time. It’s a conversation I have with myself from time to time. It’s interesting to me that some situations that are simple, so small can mean so much to us. I love this line.

I’m starting to panic, remember she asked you, remember to breathe

So very me. Sometimes we forget the anxiety, the nerves, the butterflies, it tells you your headed in the right direction. If it’s nervous and awkward for both of you, there just might be something real there. Embrace the awkward.


4. Matt Epp & The Amorian Assembly featuring Serena Ryder – When You Know

This wonderful duet between Canadain rockers Matt Epp & Serena Ryder was born from a conversation about how they both “just knew” that has found their one, and it answers the age-old question “How do I know if I’m in love?”

Change man, change man, never be the same man, everything is different when you know

We all long for that moment it just clicks and we know, this is the person I want to spend my life with.


5. Kina Grannis – The One You Say Goodnight To

Love is an inspiring thing. When I’m in love it inspires me to create, to show my passion, and return it in kind. Kina Grannis’s The One You Say Goodnight To is beautiful, it reminds me of Ingrid Michaelson’s The Way I Am and that’s a huge compliment.

Funny thing is I’m trying hard and it’s unlike me to get so caught up in things. But I won’t quit, I won’t quit ’til you smile at me.

If I could be the way to inspire someone like that… there wouls definitely be a smile from ear to ear.


6. You + Me -You and Me

You + Me is the supergroup lovechild of Dallas Green (City and Colour / Alexis on Fire) and Alecia Moore (P!nk). Their skilful lyricism and beautiful harmonies create a vivid picture of what love actually means.

You can be flawed enough but perfect for a person, Someone who will be there for you when you fall apart, Guiding your direction when you’re riding through the dark, Oh that’s you and me


7. Wakey Wakey – Adam & Eve

I can’t have a list about love and not include one of the most passionate artists I know Wakey Wakey. I wish I knew the actual circumstances of this song but Adam & Eve to me it the plea to not run from something real.

You and I are still a seed, Reaching for the sunlight, Pushing up through the rocks and weeds, Trying to grow upright

It’s not the sunshine and rainbows love songs you’re used to, but the beauty of love is in the struggle. The last line is awesome, “I’ll be Adam if you be Eve, you can get me into trouble” lol


8. He Is We & Aaron Gillespie – All About Us

This is one of those songs that makes you want to grab someone and dance. I am a huge fan of He Is We and their collaboration with Aaron Gillespie (Lead for The Almost, Drummer / Vocalist for post-hardcore band Underoath, and touring drummer for Paramore) just sweeten the deal. If I was to pick a first dance song for my wedding, this would be it.

Suddenly, I’m feeling brave. I don’t know what’s got into me, Why I feel this way. Can we dance, real slow? Can I hold you, real close?

Two side notes. 1. I had the pleasure of seeing He Is We live in Columbus, Ohio back in 2012. Lead singer Rachel Taylor suffers from Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis in which there is long-term inflammation of the joints of the spine. That day touring was taking its toll and she was taken to the hospital for treatment. She came from the hospital, sang her heart out, and was immediately taken back to the hospital. Mad respect.

2. This song was re-recorded with Owl City for the Mortal Instruments soundtrack and with hopes of greater radio play… don’t get fooled… it’s nowhere near as good as the Aaron Gillespie version.


9. Marty Sampson – Landslide

This song was extremely hard to find but I’m glad I did. Landslide is from Australian Marty Sampson’s one and only solo album Let Love Rule, he recorded on a break from the Christian youth worship band Hillsong United. This is hands down my favourite song to sing and you will often find me singing it in the shower lol.

Lay by my side, lay your head apon my shoulder tonight, you know its gonig to be alright

Laying awake, looking down while someone you love sleeps cuddled in your arms is one of life’s prefect moments.


10. Relient K – The Best Thing

Sometimes love come along just when we need it, and changes everything. After the year I’ve had, it certainly would be the best thing.

Cause when I looked into your eyes and you dared to stare right back, You should have said, “Nice to meet you, I’m your other half”

Randon Fact: Matt Thiessen used to date Katy Perry and their breakup resulted in a fantastic album lol. Since then he has co-written many songs with Katy and his wife engineered Katy’s album Teenage Dream.


Bonus: Vocal Few – Blue

Time for the bonus round! Blue from husband and wife duo Vocal Few is not a “love me” song, but an I love you so freaking much song. So much that you can’t stand to see their pain, you would rather bear it yourself. Matt (The Classic Crime) & Kristie MacDonald’s ability to capture the realism of marriage from all sides is fantastic. If you ever get the chance to see them live I highly recommend it. I was fortunate enough to see them in a strangers living room a few years ago, and amazing experience.


 

What song makes you want to fall in love? Let me know in the comments and if you have a topic idea for future editions of my music series High Rotation, I would love to hear them.

 


 

When You ❤️ Love & 😬 Dating : A Recipe For Awkward

Navigating the world of dating is a lot like space travel. We know it’s possible, there have been great successes, but most of our attempts end in catastrophic failure. We’re faced with constant indecision, mountains of self-doubt, and somehow we’ve been tasked with tearing down the walls people have built around themselves. Despite the looming clouds above, we press on through the wind and the waves in search of the light.

The following is a collection of short thoughts compiled over the last year. They cover various aspects of love & dating but are not necessarily related to each other.

Society Tells Me I’m Broken

I’ve never really been that man that popular culture says we are, and I’m thankful for that. As a single man in my early 30’s I constantly feel more and more enraged with the words and actions of my own gender. I keep thinking if this is what women knows, that they expect. I certainly don’t fit in.

  1. Sow your oats young man.  I have married friends that are on a mission to cheat on their wives. Sometimes I feel like they only want to hang out so they have an outlet to hit on other women. As someone that chooses to be militantly faithful, I can’t understand why others can’t “man up and step up”. Someone choose to invest their life in you and it’s your duty to invest in them. Half the energy you spend avoiding your marriage would go a long way to building it. My single male friends that ask me questions like “Why don’t you just fuck the loose Tinder bitches like the rest of us?” Personally, I’m not one for “locker room talk” in fact, it really makes me want to punch people in the face. I constantly feel chastised because I’m not trying to add notches to my bedpost like it’s a video game. Sorry, but I’m not into creating a wake of hurt.
  2. The laws of attraction. Most men long for summer where bikinis reign supreme, I long for cardigans in the autumn air. (Why yes, I did notice your cute sweater. Indeed, I should’ve told you) Each to their own but I find tasteful modesty attractive in both dress and attitude. There is something magical to me about a woman that doesn’t feel like she needs to put it all out there all the time. I’m attracted to you, not your cleavage.
  3. Love like the movies. To both my credit, and my downfall I have a 16-year-old view of love. I do believe that love can be amazing, that magical moments exist and ultimately people are good. I believe it’s your duty to win you lovers heart every day in whether it a grand gesture or doing the dishes. Hey, there is no reason why you can’t take a helicopter to a mountain top picnic just because it’s Wednesday… and Wednesdays suck.
  4. Failure to launch. For a lot of men it’s easy, but asking a woman on a date or even asking for a phone number is incredibly difficult for me. The reason is two-fold. First, I am incredibly shy one-on-one. Something that has grown exponentially over the last year and a half, I’m working on it slowly, but for now… I really need to know you first. Secondly, I go out of my way to not inconvenience others. I never want to be that asshole hitting on a girl that is just trying to have fun with their friends, or give someone anxiety about how to reply. I’m stressed just writing about this.

Yes, I’m a man. I love sex, have a dirty mind, and desire the company of a good woman. I also value respect, dignity, and context. There is a time and a place for everything. Yet, I don’t fit in with the guys, and I can’t help but feel like I’m broken.


Lessons From A Tinder Dropout

Since it’s launch Tinder intrigued me. My life has not taken a typical dating path, and I’ve always been in long term relationships so I was curious what it’s like. Would anyone swipe right for me? What kind of person swipes right for me?  Is it possible to find something real on Tinder? So when I felt like I might be ready to date again I signed up, crafted a bio, curated my photo gallery and sent it to masses, so strangers could quietly judge my worth.

Screenshot_20161109-181107.png

My actual Tinder profile with bio version 2.0

I wouldn’t say that I struck out on Tinder per say. I had quite a few matches (I just installed the app to take the screenshot and still have 5 matches after months of inactivity) but I can’t say that any of them turned into actually meeting someone in real life. After a month or so of jumping down the rabbit hole, I decided to retire Tinder. Here are some insights from my journey in the Tinderverse.

Why I didn’t swipe right for you

  • Your photos look like a Where’s Waldo book. In a context where you are given so little to go on, photos are important. I want to see you and your personality.
  • Your photos span a massive timeline. Your profile should be about who you are, not who you were. My personal rule of thumb was to only use photos taken in the last year. Yes, I was skinnier two years ago but it’s not relevant now.
  • All of your photos contained alcohol or drugs.
  • Your photos portrayed smoking or heavy drug use (yes there was many).
  • You didn’t fill in a bio. If I have nothing to go on, our conversation is going nowhere.
  • Your bio was overly pompous or the first word was tattoos. Hey, I like tattoos too but if you’re not a tattoo artist they shouldn’t define you.
  • The quality of your photos made you seem like a bot or phishing scheme.
  • Your profile didn’t lead me to believe that we would have an interesting conversation.

Why I didn’t message you when we matched

  • When I reviewed your profile a second time I questioned what I was thinking the first time.
  • Upon review, your bio lacked enough information to have a real conversation.
  • My personal anxiety created a situation where I didn’t feel like talking then, but as a result, too much time had passed and I didn’t want you to think you were plan-b.

Why I unmatched you

  • I was always forced to lead the conversation.
  • You took too long to message back. Usually, 48 hours at first and timeline varies after initial contact based on the context of the conversation.
  • You avoided simple questions about yourself. If I’m going to meet you, I need to know something about you.
  • You seemed uninterested in learning about me.

How not to talk to women on Tinder

  • DO NOT seem genuinely interested in who they are or what they do. The more genuine you try to be on Tinder, the more people think you’re a creep. Even though their bio says “absolutely no hookups”, the majority of Tinder matches are expecting you to throw yourself at them.
  • DO NOT start a conversation with anything you would normally start a conversation with. You want to start with an interesting question or if you’re the brave type, a horribly bad pickup line.

Tinder was an interesting world I can say that. I know a lot of my list is superficial and subjective, but that’s exactly what Tinder is. I could tell our world was heading this direction when back in the 90’s every chat rooms conversation started with ASL????? The online conversation game annoyed me then, and the AOL chatroom has been reborn in Tinder.

Tinder isnt for me because I’m not into playing the field, I play for keeps.


There are two more sections I excluded for length. If you enjoy my ramblings about love & dating leave a comment below and I will consider posting them soon.

What are your experiences with online dating?

Have you had success? Failure?

Six Months in Exile

Reflections from the other side of love

In December I shared my thoughts on love and loss – 99 days after the end of a long term relationship. Writing that article really helped to put the true situation into perspective for me, and since then I’ve been asked a lot of questions. This week we passed the six month mark and I thought it was a good time for an update of my perception and to answer a few questions.

A Tangential Journey Through Spacetime

Time is an interesting thing. In the span of a lifetime, six months is barely a blip. A sliver so small it can be perceived as quite insignificant, yet at certain milestones in our lives that same sliver can stretch to eternity. Although the intricacies human perception are vast, I’ve discerned that this feeling is most prevalent surrounding events of two distinct categories.

  1. Anticipation – As we approach a significant event that is time bound, (the birth of a child, a wedding, a big trip, graduation) the closer you get to the event, your perception of time seems to slow to a crawl.
  2. Loss – Conversely, when we loose something we care deeply about, (death, breakups, employment) life seems to grind to a halt. Unlike events of anticipation that pass quickly because of their time bound nature, loss persists for an indeterminate amount of time.

Although, these categories are not mutually exclusive. One major overlap between the two categories is longing. We can both be anticipating seeing loved one again and longing for their presence. This manifests itself much like the way we feel loss (anxiety/depression) and can be a major burden on many relationships. When longing is combined with loss it can intensify both the pain and duration of the event.

Anticipation VS Loss

I personally feel that loss of an intense love is more painful then the death of a loved one. There is no denying that longing exists after death, but death is black & white, it’s an absolute. With love nothing is that simple and without a catalyst such as hate, the feelings of longing and loss will persist indefinitely.

How has life been since 99 days?

There is no getting around the fact that the past 6 months have been terrible for me, filled with setbacks, culminating recently in the loss of my job and a suspended drivers licence. That said I have been working hard to build positive experiences in my life through volunteerism and look forward to starting the next chapter of my career.

Has the perception of your relationship changed?

Writing the 99 days article was like therapy for me and since I have also done an interview for an upcoming relationship podcast. Forcing myself to think through the relationship has given me fresh perspective on a few things. Notably, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have lost her and the constant anxiety is slowly leaving.

However the longing has not left me. I still think about her everyday, and as I’m sleeping more she still pops up in my dreams. She was far from perfect but like art, in love perfection is found in the imperfections. I constantly find myself reminded of the way she would do laundry or clean the house. Leading to the feeling (as the title of this post suggests) that I’ve been banished to exile.

Would you have married her?

Without question. Knowing that her time to move was coming near, I spent much of the last year we were together planning and saving for the perfect proposal. For me, that was always the plan.

Would you get back together?

That is a difficult question. The simple answer is of course, I love her. The reality is it would have to be a different scenario. I couldn’t do long distance again and because of the reality of my situation she would have to move, get her own place, and take it slow. As much as I believe that nothing is impossible, the probability of that happening is extremely low.

Do you think you could’ve done more to hold it together?

I can honestly say I did everything I could to keep it together. I did hold back on giving her the final anniversary gift I made her, as I knew her mind wasn’t there and I feared it would just upset her more. The one thing I wish I did was identify and mitigate some of the fears earlier.

If you could do it again what would you change?

Honestly not much, but in our 5 years together the one thing I really failed to build a strong relationship with her mother and sister. Although I tried, I was not able to show her mom the value of my love and her opinion meant a lot to both of us. If I could do it again, I would really try to forge that relationship early.

Have you tried putting yourself out there?

My friends say that I just need to move on, get out there and forget her. I’ve had a few conversations with women and went for coffee with one, but honestly, even though it’s been six months I can’t see myself moving on it yet. I have a strict “Don’t be an asshole” policy and I can’t in good conscious court a woman while my heart and my mind belong to another. I made a mistake in the past and lost a good friend because of it, something I still regret. I’m not that guy, I refuse to be that guy. It’s going to take an amazing woman to spur me forward.

So after six months…

I realize my journey is far from over. I’ve come and long way, I respect her decision and have distanced myself. I also recognize that you can’t control love and there is a long way to go. It’s still a struggle fighting the loneliness and making new friends, but there is hope, and hope drives forward motion.

I’m Still Counting The Days

Reflections on love, pain, and the road to recovery

It’s been 99 days since she said she can’t think of a scenario where things will work out between us. 119 days since I last held her hand, 120 Days since I brought her breakfast in bed, 132 Days since everything fell apart, and I still think about her all the time.

Although it was not easy, we spent 5 glorious years together. I living in Alberta, Canada and her in Ohio, USA we spent our evenings sharing our lives with each other by the glow of our computer screens. We never meant to fall in love, we we’re 2,100 miles away, but love doesn’t discriminate because of things like distance and we fell, hard.

Over the years we took 116 flights, covering enough ground to travel clear around the world 4.5 times. We were quite literally halfway to the moon. We had a lot against us. Borders and time zones, flights and currency, longing and missed phone calls, friends and family. But we made it work.

I spent a lot of time counting that days, the hours, the minutes, the seconds until we could see eachother again. It gave me drive, it gave me purpose and most of all it gave me hope.

In the end, the distance killed us. I have two wonderful children and the circumstance dictated that if we were to be together in a more permanent capacity, she would have to move here. The knowledge of that brought me pain every day and I spent years trying to solve that kobayashi maru of an equation. She loves her family, and they are amazing people. I can’t fault her for wanting to be with them, I loved them too.

Now what?

I’m single. The words feel odd coming out of my mouth. My last two relationships combined span 16 years. In my 31 years on this earth, I have been committed for more days than I have been single.

Crash & Burn

I am not one to give up easily. I’m passionate, romantic and I try to be diplomatic. I couldn’t save us, I couldn’t solve the problem, I couldn’t show her what she meant, I couldn’t move the mountain. I failed at the one thing I poured my everyting into. I lost the one thing, I truly desired. But I will respect her wishes.

Being alone shouldn’t be hard, we spent a lot of time a part so it will be ok right? Not true. Not true at all. The best part of my day was always coming home to her, hearing her voice on our 5 minute phone calls while she drove to hockey, or between my meetings. Despite my best efforts, even after 99 days, it’s still a struggle not to call her. God I miss hearing about her day.

Now while others are sleeping. I spend most of my evenings working late or writing sappy love songs on the guitar I never got to give her for her birthday.

Fight The Loneliness

5 years in a long distance relationship takes it toll on many things, and most of all friendship. In my dedication to her I lost touch with most of my friends for one of two reasons.

  1. She was 2 hours behind me so if I wanted to talk it was straight home to talk and fall asleep together. That doesn’t leave much room for friends and social outings.
  2. I’m militantly faithful. My brother once told me, if you don’t have plan on how to NOT cheat on your significant other you’re doing it wrong. This involved never being alone with another female, not texting other females, and not engaging in friendships that could be misconstrued by the other party or my significant other.

This has left me very extremely alone. This may be a surprise to some who read this but I am an extremely shy person. I don’t make friends easily, and when I get nervous I talk way way too much and it scares a lot of people away. So I find myself going to the pub or the movies alone, something I never thought I would do.

The Search for Companionship

I need relationship, not a relationship. I’m so far from ready for that and I couldn’t do that to someone else, try to build something while my heart belongs to another. I can’t bring myself to be that asshole. I currently have 9 Tinder matches and zero will to respond to any of them. It’s honestly just nice to know someone wants to know you. I’m old school, I’m not into playing games, and I will be a good long while before I dip my toes in that water. I need to really know someone before I ever consider a relationship.

No, I need some close friends. Dinner having, concert going, movie watching, friends. Finding friends as an adult is hard. I’m not one of the guys bro-ing it up, and the single guy friends I do have are guarded, like we are competing for the same mate. Where the majority females don’t trust that you’re just looking for friendship. This is a piece of single life I wish was not so hard.

Wish You Were Here

Part of me wishes things ended badly, so I could be angry and bitter, so I could move forward with zeal… but that’s not me, and that’s not us. If 99 days has taught me anything, it’s that more than ever I wish she was here. I am coming to terms with the fact that I have lost her forever, but there’s still that flicker of hope.

Theres still the question, does she still think of me?

1-6pfy7kIcyhtBWU9K8aKZFQ