Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
I wish that everyone who loved me or wanted to know me or understand me could see me in the moments that no one really does. It's what you do when no one is looking that makes you who you really are. That sounds sort of creepy I guess, but I don't mean it in a voyeuristic way... I just mean that you don't typically dance with abandon when you're with people, or sing as loudly in the car, or sit at your desk and type along to the same song for 15 minutes or an hour or two, to get the words as close to you as you can. Do you ever really let that last veil drop? But, if you could see without me showing you, since I am unable, you would know me so much better.
I was at the Post Secret event at GWU this week-end and made the comment that strangers being vulnerable makes me uncomfortable. (I think I said that bearing witness to other people's intimate moments makes me uncomfortable, actually.) Maybe that makes me a bad person or something, but I think that having that level of anonymity that Post Secret is founded on is what makes it work. The same way that I can sit here and reveal these incredibly personal things about myself on the internet and hide behind the relative safety of my computer screen. Even though there are people I know that read this, somehow it's easier to say it online rather than in person. I am better on paper anyway, where I can erase and reword and shift paragraphs around so that I sound relatively coherent.
And now that I have gone off on my tangent... So, it's been a weird day. A two nap, not enough food, ghost filled, completely unproductive sort of day. But, I heard this song while watching "Marie Antoinette" and Jimmy-Jam told me who it was, so I downloaded it. I have played it seven times in a row (so far) and as my bedroom is right above his studio, I'm sure he wants to kill me right now. But, it is making me feel more grounded, more strapped into my skin.
Sitting and writing has been something I've done fairly regularly for going on six years now, but for whatever reason, pouring it out to music is so much more cathartic. I think because it's a return to something that I used to do when I was growing up... if I wanted to learn the lyrics to something, or if I got a new CD or whatever, I would sit with the liner notes in front of me and just read along until it stuck. It's something that I really miss- as much as I love being able to have instant access to almost any individual song that I want, I think the care that used to go into entire albums isn't there across the board anymore. As such, you often have this disjointed view of a band or a song and its rare to come across an entire album that you spend time with and become invested in.
I really like The Strokes, more and more the longer I'm exposed to them. I remember when they first came out when I was a freshman in college and it was this really hopeful moment for music. It sounded so raw and relevant and just real. They've managed to maintain that stripped down sensibility throughout their career and I think its one of the reasons why so many people connect to them- they don't sound like they're trying so damn hard. I am a bit prejudiced- if you haven't noticed, I have no shortage of love for garage rock.
I wish I could pinpoint what it is about this particular song that does it for me. Julian Casablancas has such a distinctive voice. I love the way the song starts out so high and when it falls into him singing, the energy doesn't drop but just changes. The chorus comes before the verse here, which works so well. This song is really versatile- mood wise. You could dance to it or drive around to it or get slowly drunk to it. But, more than just that, I love how this song conveys such a specific complex emotion. The kind that isn't simply met by "happy" or "sad" or "frustrated" or even "confused", "conflicted" or "nostalgic".
Also. Tennessee Williams is my favorite playwright. And I do. Come together in the middle of the night. I have the most energy and ambition and my head is clearest when everyone good has long since gone to bed.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Personally, "Into the Groove" is my jam. I'm tired of dancing here all by myself... Jimmy-Jam walked in on my dancing to this yesterday morning when we were getting ready to leave. I'm just glad he didn't witness me singing along with "Crazy for You". *sigh* I love that song. Truth be told, I like most of Madonna's music. Wonder how that will go over when I move in with G? He'd probably dance with me.
Ah. But this isn't about me. One of Z's favorites is "Like a Prayer", which I used to not be able to stand (I think the brunette Madonna video traumatized me as a kid or something). But now it always reminds me of her. Straight down to the gospel choir background. So, Z, some fun "Like a Prayer" facts for you on your Birthday. The version on "Immaculate Collection" is actually a re-mixed version. Both versions of the song feature guitar by Prince. (!) It was ranked #300 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. (I'm a little shocked by that one, honestly. Apparently, Z has better Madonna taste than I do.) And and and, did you know that both Rufio and Tori Amos do covers of this? Now you do!
Happy Birthday, Z ! Hope the next year is the best one yet.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Driving faster in my car...
I have been waiting for the right moment to talk about this song. I have come to the conclusion that there isn't one. Stone Temple Pilots- "Big Empty". It has been my favorite song since the moment I heard it- when I was nine. It happens to be on the soundtrack for the movie, "The Crow" (one of my favorite movies ever) and the soundtrack is amazing- Nine Inch Nails' cover of "Lost Souls"... but I digress. It's also found on the album, Purple, widely accepted as the best offering STP has ever come out with.
This song means things to me that words simply don't describe. Not only has it remained my favorite song for, oh, going on 16 years now... but it also seems to pop up at the most opportune times. Days when I especially need to hear it, need to be reminded of who I am, moments when it seems like I am just utterly down and out- it seems to just come on the radio or on my iPod or somehow wind its way back into the fabric of my life. Sustaining me, filling up my soul with sheer joy. I'm not even exaggerating. This song is pure magic for me, from the first opening bars until the last strains of it are silenced.
How do you describe your favorite song? The lyrics are just enough. Uncomplicated, unable to stand on their own, but fitting into the music perfectly. It's some combination of Dean DeLeo's slide guitar and Scott Weiland's voice that really does it to me. All the building and falling, the palpable tension, and the sheer sexiness of it all. I cried, literally cried, when they played this when I saw them live (Hard Rock Live- Orlando- Fall 2002). I hear it and I just stand still and stop breathing for a second or two, taking it all in. I'm sure it's amusing for other people to watch. (It came on when I was playing pool one night and I stopped mid-conversation with my date, utterly fixated.)
It's a feeling that can't be transferred, apparently. I've made countless people listen to it, in the hopes that they would not only understand me better, or feel the things I do when I hear it- but that they would be able to have that feeling too. Pure adrenaline wrapped up in a valium. The experience from this song is unique only to me it seems. Unfortunately or not- it isn't something that I have been able to share- mostly due to my own inadequacies in expressing it. And possibly because it's too much pressure. You tell someone how this song is your touchstone and your soul and they listen to it and don't hear it all? Utter disappointment. Thus, I've stopped sharing.
And, at the end of the day, I don't want to. I mean, I'd love to share it, but I don't want to try to express it. I think finding an adequate way to put it into words, encompassing the sheer intensity of this song for me, would take a bit of the shine off. Though, if you've ever seen a shirtless, boa-clad, Scott Weiland singing this in between drags of a cigarette from six feet away you might get a small glimpse of what I'm talking about.
Too much trippin' and my soul's worn thin.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I love this song. "Love Man", off the album by the same name. This album was actually released in 1969 after Redding had already passed. He died in 1967 in a plane crash. So sad. I also really love "These Arms of Mine". Sometimes, I'll turn them up really loud when I'm home by myself and just dance around my room. Something about it all, Redding's voice and the music can just completely take me away.
Monday, January 12, 2009
All that being said. It's not home. And no matter where I roam, and I'm sure I couldn't tell you all the places I will or want to, Florida always will be. I hate to start the new year off on such a melancholy note, but this is the first thing I've heard in a week that made me really want to sit down and write. I listened to this album a lot about this time two years ago. It came out in September 2005 but took a full year and a half for me to take notice. Late nights won't do me justice. Augustana. All the Stars and Boulevards. Song of the same name. Interestingly enough, this was the first song off the album that I really connected with. The album, overall, is really well produced. Mixed well, the energy flows nicely from one song to another. It would be easy with so many sad or similar sounding songs to lose focus halfway through, but the music is captivating. It stays with you. This is one of those rare albums that I can listen to from start to finish without getting bored, sleepy, or fidgety. That's really saying something since my music ADD is well known and I am guilty of spending entire car rides without listening to any single song all the way through.
It's easy to listen to. I love Dan Layus' voice. It's husky, often wounded sounding, and it really propels the music forward. It won't bring you down if you're in a good mood. But, if you're not... it's a satisfying balm. They're only gonna tell you all the bad things I've done.. I used to drive around in my car (shocking) in the dead of Florida winter (which was frigid to me then) with the windows down, playing this album, alternating between feeling completely numb and incredibly alive. Not sure if I would do that here.
This song in particular, "All the Stars and Boulevards", was played in copious amounts during the winter of 2006-2007. The first time around, I was in the middle of ending a relationship, possibly starting a new one, and graduating college. I changed a lot of well thought out, agonized over, and yet, mislaid plans in a very short amount of time. I felt confused, jumbled, guilty, damaged and very alone. Like there was no place for me, like I didn't belong anywhere or with anyone. It's a feeling that only grew in intensity over the next year. I'm not sure that there are lyrics that could apply to my personal situation at the time any better than these. The music itself, the guitar, sounds resigned. Layus' voice does too. Resigned, yet desperate, clinging, but trying not to. I also really like the live version of this song. It's got a great melody and on the live version, the harmonica, piano, and guitar meld in a way that I think speaks to the soul of the song even more than the original version.
I told you I could give you anything, but anything won't do. Circumstances in my life currently couldn't be more different than they were then. So now, even though this song, this album, this music, reminds me of that time... it also resonates in a new way. Isn't it funny when something like that happens? When you hear the correct lyrics for a song you've been singing for years? Or you stop to listen to something that you didn't hear clearly before and it opens your eyes to this whole new meaning, this whole new world? Now, I have direction, healthy relationships, life experiences. I know more about myself, what's good for me, and what I want than maybe I ever have before. I love D.C. but I belong elsewhere. It's simply that home is where your heart is and both home and my heart are 800 miles away. I miss things that I can't have here right now. Four months is such a short amount of time, but it can seem like forever when you have as little patience as I do. It's both too much time and too little.
Seems like I'm never comin' home.