Five Star Reads

Friends – I’ve discovered the secret to being able to play music while reading. I really thought I’d have to resign myself to only listening to instrumentals while reading (not that that’s a bad thing in the slightest) but I’m gonna share my lil secret. It’s not really a secret because it’s stupidly simple.

Put the music hella quiet.That’s it. Just…crank the volume down. You want to be able to hear it, but…just. If you can make out the words perfectly, too loud. You want the sound of the music but not the details of it. Because it’s really all about setting the vibe.

Speaking of the ‘vibe’, when I’m listening to music, I tend to find myself listening to my vibe or die playlist, which you can find below. None of the songs are super high energy, and they don’t really require you to sing along. I’ve found myself throwing this playlist on when I’m settling in for a solid couple hours of reading and so far, no issues!

For today’s post I hope you don’t mind me branching out a bit. BookTok and BookTube have really picked up speed this year and it’s been amazing to see so many people get back into reading. Last year I was able to meet my reading goal, and this year I’m a couple books off from hitting my goal of 50 books. All this time in lockdown has obviously allowed me to increase my reading goal each time I’ve met the previous one, but it’s also allowed me to read a whole range of books, re-read some favourites and get into some solid book tracking.

For tracking my reading I used to be a faithful GoodReads user. However I’ve made the switch to StoryGraph, a black, female owned book tracking platform that honestly, in my opinion, is ten times better. It gives you heaps of stats about your reading patterns and habits, plus it just eases my mind a bit that I’m not supporting another Bezos business, ya know?

For today’s post I wanted to share my vibe or die playlist that I’ve been listening to while reading, so I thought it would be only fair to share my Five Star books. I’m pretty sparing with my ratings so for these books to snag a 5 out of 5, it’s fair to say I loved them.

Some of these books I read at the start of this year, some are super recent finishes, some I’ve re-read as part of my reading goal and others are books I saw floating around social media and bought purely because of that.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
I’m convinced that every young girl should try reading this book. I mean, anyone can read this because I’m sure it’s not just women who would enjoy it, but there’s something about the protagonist Esther, the way she speaks and describes her environment and emotions and how each time I read it, I understand more and more. I re-read this book in August and it hit me a lot harder than the last time I read it. It’s an American classic and without really spoiling anything, the ‘bell jar’ is a metaphor for Esther’s depression, her mental health and a bit of a spiral she finds herself in. I just love the way Sylvia Plath created Esther’s character, how some times you love her, sometimes you find her completely infuriating and other times you just don’t know how to feel. It’s a quick read, but it’s worth it.

After Dark – Haruki Murakami
This book. My goodness. The writing is sensational, very typical of Murakami’s style and the way he blends reality, dystopia and just complete make-believe into this one-night event of sorts just hit me when I read this the first time. I’m considering re-reading this one as well because again, it’s a quick read, but it’s a fulfilling one. Haruki Murakami is to date, one of the best writers I’ve read and the way he creates these worlds and describes sensations that are so hard to put into words just really captivates you entirely.

The Secret History – Donna Tartt
I would go as far as to say that this book is in my Top 3 books ever. My lord, the way this book sent me on a spin. I first read it back in 2016, I read it twice that year, and I only picked it up again to start a re-read this month. The writing, the characters, the way Donna Tartt dips into gothic literature and moulds it around the settings in this book just make you shiver. It’s an intense read, and it took 17-year old me two really slow reads back in 2016 to full grasp the story. It’s an intense depiction of morality, class, betrayal and evil and the pace forces you to really be ready for anything. I can’t really put this book into any more words than that. If you’ve read The Secret History then you might understand what I mean and if you haven’t, you can only really read the book to try and understand. This book has stayed with me for the last 5 years and I’m very happy I’ve started re-reading it.

On The Come Up – Angie Thomas
This book, written by the author of Concrete Roses and The Hate You Give, is undeniably underrated, especially when it stands next to titles as impactful and as popular as the two I just mentioned. It’s about a young girl named Bri who wants to make it as a successful rapper, following in the footsteps of her late father who was an underground rap legend. It covers how her dreams interweave with her reality, her mother losing her job and the lives of poor and working-class African American communities. It touches you in a way that Angie Thomas has mastered.

The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited The Soul of Black America – Marcus J. Moore
This is the first and only biography of Kendrick Lamar, one of my favourite rappers of all time and Marcus J. Moore nails it. It covers his timeline, growing up as a young child in Compton having to manoeuvre around a life filled with gang violence, poverty and racism, channeling that into his music and his craft and fighting his way to the top of the game. You really get a sense of how much Kendrick has truly impacted the musical scene. His assistance in the resurgence of bebop and jazz within hip-hop and rap, and how much of an impact he’s truly had.

Shoe Dog – Phil Knight
I wasn’t sure what I expected when I decided to read the memoir of Phil Knight, the creator of Nike. I had an interview with the company lined up earlier this year and I was intent on knowing everything and anything about the brand I already loved. Phil Knight, is one of the best story-tellers I’ve ever read. The way he was able to reflect, replay key moments and interactions and really take you on a deep dive through the history of his life, the ideas and events that lead to creating the iconic brand and all the people involved, kinda removed that ever-present feeling you sometimes get when reading memoirs and biographies. There’s this sense of humility and gratefulness when you read his memoir and at the same time you constantly have to remind yourself that this is the man who built an empire. The humble beginnings really give you a sense of just how huge the brand is and everything it encompasses, all wrapped up perfectly in a book written by an incredible storyteller.

Song Of Achilles – Madeline Miller
I picked up this book and it really cemented my love for Greek mythology, Greek gods and their worlds. I dipped my toe into the genre, more like threw my whole foot in, by reading Troy by Stephen Fry and fell in love with it. I also previously read another one of Miller’s books, Circe, and loved it, so when I saw BookTok going bonkers for Song Of Achilles, I bought it straight away. This book ruined me. It follows the Greek god Achilles, and Patroclus, a young prince who is exiled from his kingdom and how they’re brought together, purely by chance. The way these two characters develop and blossom throughout the book really pulls and tears at all of your emotions. Patroclus is a character who you can’t help but support and empathise with, despite his many faults. His wins become yours and you share in his failures. Achilles, in a way, becomes much more human and accessible and half the time I was reading this I forgot that this was Achilles, the Greek god Achilles. Madeline Miller manages to capture boyhood, love, honour and grief incredibly in this book.

Playlist Deep Dive // courtesy of aus

Hello friends! Back with another playlist deep dive post for you all. Today’s post is brought to you by one of my favourite playlists on rotation at the moment, courtesy of aus, a playlist I created to curate a list of all my current favourite tracks coming out of Australia. There’s a bunch of amazing artists and songs you need to hear but here’s just a taste.

Strong Enough – Approachable Members of Your Local Community
Lemon – Moktar
Ramen Bowl – ROYBOY
Jersey City – Golden Vesel, rei so la
Threads – Liyah Knight
Want It All Back – Julia Lostrom, Max Glyde, HAMLEY
Games – Squid The Kid
Nobody Gotta Know – Open Till L8, Youngn Lipz
MF ILY – iyah may
Love Online – CYRUS
Talk – Budjerah, MAY-A
Dribble – Sycco
Running Around – Sampology
Dead Weight – The Grogans
Fine Line – NoLess
Dry – Rancid Eddie
High Again – Rory Noble
LOVEU2BITS – BOY SODA
Tension – Kira Piru

If you want to have a listen to any of these tracks as well as a bunch of others, and follow the playlist so you can watch the rotation keep on going, follow courtesy of aus bellow and check out some of my other playlists while you’re at it!

x

Priya

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Songs You Don’t Know But Should Pt. 28

Hello friends, hope you’re well and thriving.

I’m just popping in to deliver you another round of songs I desperately think you need to listen to if you haven’t heard them already. There’s a bit of a mix, we’ve got some amazing Australian artists you need to keep an eye on as well as a bunch of international artists as well. Some old favourite favourites in there, and some new artists who I’m just discovering too! Let me know what you think and don’t forget to follow the playlist on Spotify!

sould – p-rallel, Greentea Peng
BS – Milan Ring, Che Lingo
Dopamine – Julius Black
Sleeping In – Jye
Hypotheticals – Lake Street Drive
Into My Heart – Squidgenini
Blink Twice – San Joseph
Sisyphus – Quadeca
How Many Ways – Mackenzie Thomas
U – Reuben Fleetwood
False Alarms – Lawrence, Jon Bellion
Let’s Roll – STNDRD
Ain’t The Same – Diggu Dope, choicevaughan, P.Smith, MELODOWNZ, Summer Vaha’akolo
Concrete Jungle Fever- Jerome Farah
Broken Home – Youngz Lipz
Catcha Grip – CD, PANIA
Ezinn – B Wise, Sampa the Great, Milan Ring


x

Priya

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Tracks For Motivation

Hello friends!

I hope you’re all well and thriving as much as you can in the current state of the world. Today’s post is a lil playlist and lil recommendation, a lil collection of songs I kept adding to this mental list in my head throughout my day.

I’ve been making fitness and physical performance goals a bigger focus of mine in 2021. Since December last year, up until about the end of July I hit a morning F45 session and it’s still a favourite of mine. I’m due back as soon as Lockdown 6.0 is done. Over the last month or so however, I’m back at the gym, lifting weights, going for longer sessions and doing my own solo thing.

Today’s shoulder session was blessed by the shuffle button if I do say so myself. It was like every song that came on was the perfect song I needed to get through the next two minutes that were creeping up on me. So I thought for today’s post I’d share some of the songs that really came through with that extra kick of motivation. Let’s go.

Edge Of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks
Let’s Begin – Jon Bellion, Roc Marciano, RZA, B.Keyz, Travis Mendes
No Hands – Waka Flocka Flame, Roscoe Dash, Wale
Tomboy – Princess Nokie
Deceptacon – Le Tigre
Dirty Diana – Michael Jackson
Random – G-Eazy
t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l – WILLOW, Travis Barker
Captain Hook – Megan Thee Stallion
DIET_ – Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats
Purple Hat – Sofi Tukker
Floor Seats – A$AP Ferg
Lapdance – N.E.R.D, Vita, Lee Harvey
Vossi Bop – Stormzy
Rushing Back – Vera Blue, Flume
Is Everybody Going Crazy – Nothing But Thieves
Red Nation – The Game, Lil Wayne
Hayloft – Mother Mother
Age of Machine – Greta Van Fleet
Barracuda – Heart


It’s amazing what a solid playlist can do for you. I can literally get thrown off by a song that doesn’t hit as hard as I need to, hence why I made a playlist specifically filled with songs that just really set the tone for me. You can follow my pump playlist and my inhaler playlist and use them for whatever it is you wanna do, lifting and throwing around weights or going for a run and setting a pace.

x

Priya

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Songs You Don’t Know But Should Pt. 27

Hello friends!

I hope you are all well and thriving! Today’s post is an old favourite that I’m excited to bring back, songs you don’t know but should. I mean, can you tell it’s a favourite of mine, considering we’re up to the 27th post in the series?

I thought since I’m still kinda recovering from an unintentional hiatus, I probably owe you all a really chunky delivery of some new tracks that I think you need to hear! As always, you can find all of these songs and plenty more, as well as a heavy rotation of new discoveries on my Spotify page below.

Claymore – Isaiah Rashad, Smino
Ghostin’ – Wesley Joseph
Never Have I Ever – Ahlei
not what i’m used to – Bella Taylor Smith
Facade – Nganeko
BYO – Ojikae
Strawberries & Cream – MIM
Don’t Recommend – Reagan Capaci
It’s A Mess – Billy Fox
Sleeping In – Jye
First Take Strut – Troy Kingi
I Can’t I Wont – Nilo Blues
Made For Silence – Miiesha
Language – Paperboy Face, Brent Faiyaz
You Comfort Me – James Vickery, EARTHGANG
Strawberry Cheeks – Ula
Forever – Teza Sumendra
Emotional – Eddie Benjamin
Derail – Strange River
slip – anees
Pears – Weston Estate
Want It All Back – Julia Lostrom, Max Glyde, HAMLEY
Spaceship – Noah Davis
Blue Denim Jeans – p-rallel, Lauren Faith
Bad Dreams – Olive Amun
Wish We Could Be Friends – Abby Bella May
4am – Luke Burr, Olivia Nelson
So So Sick – Joyce Wrice


x

Priya

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An Unintentional Break & Apology Playlist

Hello. Hope you’re all well.

Good to start with mentioning that I definitely didn’t intend to go silent for over three months but it happened and it’s done. To be fair, I don’t know when I’ll actually get around to finishing this post and actually posting it but I’m attempting to which is what counts, right?

I guess this unintentional break that I’ve been on was somewhat intentional in that when I realised I hadn’t made a post in a long while, I didn’t exactly rush back to pick up and kick into gear again.

I mean, it did kinda kill me inside when I realised that I missed not just my June Tunes post, but also my July Tunes and my August Tunes, my monthly song roundup being one of the most consistent posts on my blog as a whole, but I’ll be honest, it didn’t kill me enough to send me running back.

So what have I been up to in my absence? Like I may have mentioned a little while back, I quit my job at the music shop which was a great move even if it did leave me a little bit financially stranded for the most part of the year so far. I continued teaching singing and piano and running the admin side of the music school I’ve been at since 2019 and that kept me going decently. I had a small hiccup with a job I was really excited for that lost out on itself due to COVID 19, and since then I’ve started a new full time job, back in retail but with a sports brand that I’ve been in love with since I could walk. Love their clothes, love their athletes, love their sneakers (easy guess by now surely, it really ticks all the boxes) and I’ve really happy in my role there so far. I mean, what little I’ve worked considering Melbourne is back in lockdown and have been on and off since mid-July.

We’re up to lockdown 6.0 here in Melbourne and it’s definitely running it’s course over everyone, like a train. Morale is pretty low if I’m being honest, but to be honest, there’s not much else we can really do and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m in a pretty lucky position, having a great full time job that still pays me while I live with my family and don’t have any major bills to cover. I know there’s definitely people who are doing it extra tough with these on-going lockdowns and COVID as a whole.

I’ve been listening to lots of music. Not even a question really. Like, a lot. I redid my Spotify, again, adding and deleting a few playlists, giving my profile a bit of a clean and it’s been a fun little project. I’m also reading. A lot. My goal for 2021 has moved from 25, to 30 and is now currently at 40 books to read for the year. *Side note – if anyone is currently tracking on Goodreads, StoryGraph is an amazing alternative, WOC-owned rather than Bezos-owned and it’s got super slick graphs and stats on your reading habits. Let me know if you set up a StoryGraph, I wanna see what y’all are reading!

So, what am I sharing with you today? Well, one of the main things that has been keeping me amused through these lockdowns, and I’m sure a few of you may be in the same boat and see where I’m going – it’s TikTok. Not only is it a daily intrigue to see what part or side of TikTok I stumble onto, but it is a treasure trove of undiscovered artists, musicians humbly sharing their songs in their bedrooms or promoting their latest releases, and I’ve curated quite the playlist over the last few months.

Aptly titled; found em on tiktok.

Now usually I rotate through my playlists, I’ve been removing and adding new tracks to each of my playlists pretty regularly with my newfound free time, however with this one I plan on just letting it marinate and grow. I wanna see just how good TikTok is at getting some of these artists out there and across the line.

Take Lizzy McAlpine for example. I found her back in January. Now she’s hanging out with the likes of Jacob Collier and Dodie, posting covers in their backyards and just generally being great. There’s so many cool artists and musicians on TikTok, it’s becoming for them what YouTube was for Justin Bieber, what Vine was for Shawn Mendes.

If you’re keen to keep up with some new music, discover some fresh tracks or follow any of my playlists, you can find my Spotify, my pride and joy, HERE.

Please feel free to catch up in the comments. I wanna know what you’re all doing, how you’re going, what I’ve missed, what you’re listening to, the whole lot.

x

Priya

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Playlist Deep Dive // girl gang

Hello boys and girls. I hope you’re all doing well and keen for another little playlist dump. Today’s playlist I wanna share with you is a staple in my collection, reserved solely for when I’m getting ready to hang out with the girls, for while I’m with the girls, for when the girls and I are in the car or when I really start missing, you guessed it; the girls. My girl gang playlist is one of my favourites and it has a bunch of tunes, old and new. It spans decades and a couple of different era’s. Here’s a couple of tracks from the playlist, which you can also check out below. Let me know what you think! 

What You Waiting For? – Gwen Stefani

In The Middle – Sugababes

How Ya Doin? – Little Mix

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue

What Kind of Man – Florence + The Machine

I’m Outta Love – Anastacia

Fantasy – Mariah Carey

Waiting For Tonight – Jennifer Lopez

Wild Girl – Kito, Empress Of

Eternal Flame – Atomic Kitten

Bulletproof – La Roux

I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan

Boys Ain’t Shit – SAYGRACE

Party – Beyonce, Andre 3000

Superstar – Jamelia

x

Priya

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RnB That Makes You Feel Some Type Of Way

Hello friends! I hope you’re all living and thriving now that we’re well and good into 2021! Today’s post is yet again just me sharing some good old music with you. Today’s theme? RnB. The good shit. Stuff that just makes you feel a certain way. Like you’re in an old school music video from 2001. One of my favourite genres of music, most definitely in my top three.

Making this list was hard. This year one of my goals was to really work on finessing my Spotify. Clean up all of my playlists, keep them rotating and curating a few more, but it’s a different story when it comes to my RnB playlist. I couldn’t tell you the last time that playlist was less than 100 songs. It’s currently sitting around 200 at the moment, and you’d be torturing me if you asked me to whittle it down further. It’s just not gonna happen. That said, it’s for that reason that the easiest thing for me to do while curating this post, was just throw the playlist on shuffle and share the first few that came on. I can’t lie, it’s how I make majority of these posts at this point. 

If you’re interested in finding some more gems like the ones I’ve shared below, I’ve also thrown the playlist at the end of this post too so you can listen to the whole thing!! 

So Into You – Tamia
Get To Know You Better – Mary J Blige
Weak – SWV
Just Fine – Mary J Blige
Love – Keyshia Cole
Together Again – Janet Jackson
You Make Me Wanna… – Usher
Now or Never – Mya
What About Us? – Brandy
How Many Drinks? – Miguel
Summer Rain – Carl Thomas
Cupid – 112
Rain – SWV
Soon As I Get Home – Faith Evans
How Do I Breathe – Mario
Follow Me – Usher
If You Had My Love – Jennifer Lopez

x

Priya

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Songs You Don’t Know But Should Pt. 26

Hello friends! Hope you’re all well and looking for some new music because at the moment that’s all I have for you. I’m currently in Tasmania, on a very last minute family trip, enjoying a bunch of beautiful scenery and hiking a bit more than I’m used to, but I still prepared a small selection of new music I’ve been loving for you guys while I’m gone.

You can find all of these songs on my Spotify playlist as well as a bunch of other tracks that I reckon you need to hear! I’m making a bit more of an effort to keep my Spotify moving, keep a good rotation with adding new songs, getting rid of old songs, updating playlists and continuously providing you with fresh tunes and updated vibes, so let me know if you check it out!!

Hot Chicken – Ocean Alley
oneofone. – Soulo
Far From You – H^LES
Like This – R.A.E
Treat Me Like Fire – LION BABE, Snakehips
I Don’t Want To Lose You – Girls of the Internet
Deep End – BenjiFlow
Golden City – Sunny Suljic
The Hook. – NONEWFRIENDS
Freckles – Lawrence
Helen – Oliver Malcolm
Pass By Me – Buddy, Kent Jamz
Exception – Sasha Keable
Talk To Me Nice – William Singe
Limbo – Kirsten Salty
Sailor Moon – Planet Vegeta


Hope you found a new tune to boogie to!! Let me know in the comments xx

x

Priya

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Gals Just Wanna Sing

Let’s be real.

There’s something about a gal just singing that makes everyone feel empowered. Like, a woman completely embodying herself and letting rip, just hits different.

Good morning/afternoon/evening boys and girls, and welcome to one of my favourite playlists ever.

This is one of my favourites because every artist on this playlist has a stupidly, offensively good voice. Whether you’re listening as an avid fan, a casual listener or a keen-eared musician, every artist on this playlist delivers, and every time I listen to it, I find myself making all sorts of faces in awe and admiration.

A quick scroll through the playlist the other day revealed to me … of the 84 songs currently on the playlist, only 16 are sung by or feature male vocalists. Meaning, to my absolute joy, of this playlist, that brings me so much joy on the daily, nearly 80% of the songs were sung by kick-ass females.

So, what better way to celebrate this discovery than forcing you to discover yourself.

Treat me Like I’m All Yours – Sasha Keable
Ego – Beyonce
Ups & Downs – Shavaun Marie
The Honey – SAYGRACE
2000 n Somethin – Kaiit
Can’t Wait – Jill Scott
Once – Maren Morris
Evergreen – YEBBA
Love by You – KIRBY
The Night Song – Ravyn Lenae
Still – Teyana Taylor
Don’t Let Me Down – Joy Crookes
Have Mercy – Eryn Allen Kane
Love The Things You Do – Pip Millet
Familiar. – Madison Ryann Ward
Love On The Brain – Rihanna
Find Someone Like You – Snoh Aalegra

These are just a handful of songs you’ll find on the sang playlist, which you can find here:

Let me know what you think – I’d love to hear your thoughts! My favourite thing ever is showing new people some of the women in this playlist and watching their faces transform in absolute awe, because honestly it’s just a personal throwback to the first time I ever listened to these incredible artists!

x

Priya

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