Hey there 👋

Thank you all for being back here for Issue #9 of 25 on 25! I’ve had the greatest pleasure and joy of curating music and writing about it for all of you this year. Thank you for staying and sticking with me.

I started making these monthly playlists in April 2017 and also started writing about them this year in April. The goal is and always has been, as one of my favorite musicians Nils Frahm put it, to use music “to convey an ocean of feelings.” I hoped I’ve achieved that and that through these playlists, you’ve not only discovered new music but also realized a greater appreciation for different genres of music.

I also want to give a special shoutout to my girlfriend, Laureen, for being my chief editor and my biggest supporter. She was one of the first people to encourage me not only to keep creating these playlists but to have the courage to share my appreciation of music with more people and with better writing. Thank you for patiently combing through my rough drafts to help me bring what I’ve envisioned in my head to life ❤️

Theme of this Month:
🌒 Ending The Year in the Most Beautiful Way I Know How

For long-time listeners of my playlist, I’m sure many of you have wondered why I choose to end all of my playlists with a “classy” finale— the 25th and final song is always a classical or instrumental piece. The truth is, it was an attempt to bring more exposure to a genre that I feel has often been overlooked and misunderstood, or at the very least less widely appreciated by the average music listener today. Eventually, it became a ritual in the curation of my playlists; finding my way through 25 songs to a resolution that evokes as much of the beauty and optimism that is central to my vision as possible. 

You see, even as someone whose mom is a piano teacher and who’d go to a classical concert at least once a year, it still took me a long time before I fully appreciated the depth and complexities of the genre. Through patient and intentional listening, sounds that I had once considered dull, sad, or one-dimensional were now alight with poignant evocations and moments of deep beauty. Once I had learned to embrace the unhurried pace and subtle nuances of it all, a world of exquisite complexities, rife with emotion and narrative became available to me. It’s like looking out the same window you always have, and finally noticing how intricately beautiful the expansive blue sky is. 

I’ve dedicated this entire playlist to the concept of ending the year with as much beauty and optimism as possible. With the year that we’ve had and the great uncertainties that lay ahead of us, it feels more timely than ever that we exercise the skill of finding silver linings, feeling the joy amidst the sorrow, and still celebrating the wins and the love that have gotten us through it all. Since it’s Christmas, I’ve also prepared a special gift for you!

This month I’ve invited my friends to share a story from this year and featured them alongside some of my favorite tracks from this month’s playlist in a web experience. 

Hope you all enjoy it and have a lovely Christmas and happy holidays! 🎄

Listen now!

I hope you enjoyed this!

I'll be back next month on the 25th with a newly curated playlist on Spotify. If you're getting value out of this newsletter consider sharing it on Twitter!

- Andrew Tsao

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