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Exclusive: Stream MIKEH’s New Curated “Songs I Wish I Wrote” Spotify Playlist

By: Staff –

To celebrate the release of his debut solo EP, Golden Hour: First Things First, Marianas Trench bassist, Mike Ayley (under the moniker, MIKEH), has curated a brand new “Songs I Wish I Wrote” Spotify playlist. Stream it exclusively via Aesthetic Magazine below.

His first single, “Kaleidoscope,” was inspired by an unexpected chance meeting. It’s about falling in love, feeling lost, floating through life like you have no home – then being completely found, grounded and exactly where you belong. It’s about how time can be so fleeting. It’s about having to live and leave a dream all in the same day.

The song feels dreamy and surreal – it’s like the moment when you first realize that you’re falling in love. The vocals are like two worlds coming together in a way that shouldn’t make sense but somehow works in an almost magical way.

Of the playlist, Ayley said, “this is a short playlist of some songs from the past 20 years that I would love to have written. Some monster hits and some great album tracks you might not have gotten to.”

Tate McRae – “You Broke Me First”

I think as far as straight-ahead pop songs go, this one hit the nail on the head. Great melody, words and music. Very simple and effective. This is a lesson in not overwriting and just taking a great idea, producing it well and properly and letting the results come in!

The Chainsmokers – “Don’t Let Me Down”

Whatever year it was when this song came out, it was my favourite song of the year. I think it was one of the earlier songs to use that “DJ breakdown post chorus thing” really effectively and it totally enhanced the song’s already excellent vibe! A lot of other songs use that move (A LOT!!) and most of the time I find it nothing more than a time filler. This one, in my mind, was the Template for that song writing era.

One Republic – “Stop and Stare”

I could just as easily put “Apologize” or “Secrets” because I love all of those songs. But “Stop And Stare” was used on So You Think You Can Dance and it really hit me in a way that I have never heard it the same since. Ryan Tedder knows how to write great songs-this is merely the tip of the iceberg of his incredible catalogue.

Taylor Swift – “This Love”

There aren’t a lot of albums I listen to from front to back but 1989 is one of the few exceptions. This album is SO COMPLETE. It can get me through a 90 minute drive because I’m going to repeat this song (as well as “Out Of The Woods”) about 3 or 4 times. I put out a Christmas song in 2021 with my wife called “Forever Christmas” and really tried to capture a similar vulnerable and incredibly delicate feel like this song. Taylor hid this gem late in the album track list and I think it’s a treasure for all the hardcore fans who listen to more than just her hits!

Avril Lavigne – “Nobody’s Home”

Avril has a lot of hits and this is probably not one of the biggest but it is DEFINITELY my favourite! Could be the writing or maybe it’s the production but the guitar tones and parts work so well that the volume gets turned up beyond safe listening levels whenever it comes on!

Green Day – “Wake Me Up When September Ends”

While I’m on the topic of guitar tones, this song had to be added. I don’t know what Green Day did on American Idiot but I have never heard an album with better sounding guitars and it’s not just this song. The whole album sounds SO epic! This song is one of the handful of their hits that are the reason they have become a truly timeless rock band.

Luis Fonsi, & Daddy Yankee – “Despacito”

Honestly, this one is on the list for the paycheque! Billions of streams on Apple, Spotify, Amazon music, etc and billions of views on Youtube too. What a smash song! Also, since I hardly speak a lick of spanish, it would be a miracle that I wrote this song for other reasons than the retirement plan aspect. haha!

Imagine Dragons – “Believer”

Another simple and surprisingly effective smash song! I couldn’t believe how simple the guitar part in the verses is and somehow it felt like I’d never heard it before. These guys have a ton of massive hits and somehow, they sound like hardly anybody else putting out top 40 songs. Impressive to do that as a band these days. If you want to delve into great songwriters, check out Justin Tranter. This guy has been part of many, many songs you know and he looks like a super cool person to work with. He is on my dream collaboration list.

Nickelback – “Photograph”

This song cemented Nickelback as one of the biggest bands of the 2000s. If they hadn’t already done it with Silver Side Up, All The Right Reasons made sure they were all time legends. Say what you will about Nickelback, they have a lot of very good songs. This is one of my favourites. I think they did a really effective job of capturing nostalgia. I did a song on my Golden Hour EP called “Up Up Up” and went for a similar sentiment. I’m not sure if I hit the nail on the head as well as “Photograph” did but I took my best shot!

Fall Out Boy – “Centuries”

Fall Out Boy had a few smash hits and then kind of went off the radar for a minute (or maybe it was just my radar) but when they came back with this song it proved that they weren’t just a 3-year pop-punk fad. I’ve seen them live and Patrick Stump is a very, very good singer. I didn’t know what to expect but his performance was beyond anything I thought I’d see.

All American Rejects – “Move Along”

This is one of my favourite songs of that Pop-Punk wave of bands and songs that occurred from 2000-2010. I like this one because the songs great, but moreso because the recording is so perfect! The production and mix are literally flawless. Honestly, the song really felt more like a straight-ahead rock song rather than pop punk trendy hit and could have been a smash if it was released 10 years later or earlier than it was put out. It’s undeniable.

Marianas Trench – “The Killing Kind”

This song is from my band. It is not a single but I think it will go down as our biggest song eventually and, for some, it might be considered one of the greatest songs of all time. I’d put it in the league of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I don’t want to compare them side by side but I think it takes a listener on a crazy journey and it is so visceral! We have played this song hundreds of times and I’ve practiced it on my own more than a thousand times and it’s the one song where I still find myself turning up the volume as I go. It’s a helluva way to close out a show too! Josh is a genius. I don’t even hope to write a song like this one day. Aspiring to that is enough to make a hard-working song writer want to quit! haha.


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