Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't be surprised what you discover

#983 - You’ll Find A Way :: Santigold

“Go Ahead,
you know you want it.”

I love the energy of this, the lyrics, the almost caffeinated feeling that this song instills in me. It is a great “wake up in the morning and hit the freeway” song, as well as a “it is finally Friday, let’s slip into something more fantastic” tune.

The sound is reminiscent of some 80’s pop - think Blondie, Kim Wilde, Missing Persons- fused with some modern indie pop acts, such as Metric, The Ting Tings and a less political-skewed M.I.A.

This song has Summer in its veins, dancing in its undertones, and throw yourself your own car concert (road trips, daily commutes, and everything in-between) in its smirk and wink. I keep hitting repeat, and repeat, and repeat again.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

But its gone from your eyes

#984 - Eyes Without A Face :: Billy Idol

"I spend so much time,
believing all the lies,
to keep the dream alive."

I'm pretty sure we've all been there, haven't we? Closing our eyes, and our perspectives, to keep something going - to "keep the dream alive". The heart can make us cloudy, hazy, foolish and blind. But, sometimes the hazy heart is right.

This song always reminds me of breaking free of something overdue to be free of. Trading lies in for truths, having the face come clear/your vision clear, shattering the dream to help put it back together into some kind of reality.

The change in tempo, and break in the melody, when he "steals a car and goes to Las Vegas" is more of that freedom. Seizing your life back, and finding release in your own ways. I love the line "reading murder books, trying to stay hip", more imagery of killing off the lies, to get back on to one's life.

I've always loved this song.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Transition to another place

#985 - New Life :: Depeche Mode

"You think you only know me when you turn on the light."

Early Depeche Mode brings to mind late nights sat in my room listening to the radio, fingers aimed and ready on my portable cassette player, trying to record all my favorite songs of the week. They remind me of a first kiss on a Disneyland ride, Star Hits magazine, Licorice Pizza record store, and sleepovers at some of my closest friends houses.

I lost my taste for the band for quite awhile during the late 80's/early 90's due to some not-so-great associations with the band and someone(s) in my life at the time. It is kind of a shame when someone, or an experience, taints your perspective on a song and/or band. But sometimes it is inevitable, and impossible to change - memories and people attach to music, just as times in my life do.

Time heals though, and I usually am able to come back and forgive certain songs and bands for their memory triggers (or maybe I forgive the person, or time and place) - perhaps a bit of both?

This song, though, reminds me of good times and some of my memorable (in a good way) adolescent experiences.

Is all I need to calm the pain

#986 - Love Resurrection :: Alison Moyet

“Just a little divine intervention.”

What a voice Alison Moyet has - powerful, sexy, beautiful, show-stopping really. I discovered her voice first back when she worked with Vince Clarke with the band Yazoo, and the song Don’t Go…and later Only You (another favorite of hers that I love). I bought the album Alf, which this song is off of, on cassette soon after it was released - wanting more of her amazing voice.

This was a radio hit (and video hit, a combination that was pretty much a given in the 80’s) - but also was one of the songs I loved the most on the album.

The juxtaposition of religion and sex, and the need fulfilled in both, is intriguing to me - the layers of meaning in a song (something I’ve mentioned being drawn to in an earlier post).

No matter what we all say, and do, in life - we all are looking for something to love, and believe in. Whether that be another person, family, pet, project, or some kind of faith/religion - or some combination of the above.

I tend to be a big believer in love - so this song, I appreciate it…

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You don't know how bad I got it

#987 - Wouldn’t It Be Good :: Nik Kershaw

“You must be joking,
you don’t know a thing about it.
You’ve got no problems,
I’d stay right there if I were you.
I got it harder,
you couldn’t dream how hard I got it.”

In some ways one could say this song could pair up with The Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want, in as far as the “grass is always greener” perspective. And perhaps Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill in the “can we trade places” vein.

That said, this song takes a more adolescent approach to the theory, stating in that “you don’t understand at all” tone of voice about how it would be oh so better to be in someone else’s life (or in these lyrics, “shoes”).

No wonder I loved this song so much as an adolescent. I still carry some love for it now, though I’ve gained a heap of perspective in how we all struggle, we are all conflicted, and we all have our own green behind the fence, our own sense of bliss and sadness and chaos, and sometimes life just sucks.

A car goes by

#988 - I Go Crazy :: Flesh For Lulu

“This city’s mad in the head,
and sick in the soul,
all the stars flew away a long time ago.”

This is one of those songs that remind me of Los Angeles, Hollywood in particular, and days past that I spent running around under the street lights and ever-changing clubs. I close my eyes and can picture the street signs, liquor stores and pizza places across from dance clubs and concert venues, hookers walking next to tourists walking next to next week’s rock band.

And the band of us, piled into a tiny hatchback car, looking for something, and everything, and nothing.

There was an energy, an electricity, that ran through the nights spent in the city, and through all of us, back then. Some of them were chemical, or alcohol, induced. Some of it was the pulse of the city, the dreams low-circling the sidewalks, and the spotlights flashing on and off behind walls and security gate enterances.

Just beneath all the chaos and clutter there was always an undercurrent of emptiness. We were all looking for something to fill it, the people we knew, and the strangers we’d pass, we all carried with us that hunger.

We were all going just a little bit crazy.

I'm waiting for you

#989 - Milk :: Garbage

“I am weak,
But I am strong.”

If I were to make a list of the most sensual/sexual songs I love this one would definately be near the top (this version, remixed by Massive Attack, especially). I love the feel of it, slightly cloying, almost a feeling of aural humidity, mixed with vocals that seem to swirl around the musical refrains.

The lyrics are contradictions, weak and strong, good and bad, heat and cool - just like love, and lust. The swirling, dizzy feeling that takes your breath, but also ignites you into something stronger - that infectious, irresistable pull to another body and soul.

This song is delicious.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'll pick up the pieces and mistakes

#991 - Fall Hard :: Shout Out Louds

“If you fall hard,
I fall harder.”

A band I love and a song I have recently fallen for. Songs tend to mean all that much more when someone sends them my way, or at least they mean something different, perspective and view a bit more personal.

The sound and style reminds me of the band the Ocean Blue, mixed with a little Belle and Sebastian. It calls to mind road trips up the coast, the ocean breeze tickling bare arms leaned out the window. It reminds me of ferris wheels on the end of the pier, and summer nights that stay light late.

And the song reminds me of love, hope and wishes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands

#992 - You Can't Always Get What You Want :: Rolling Stones

"But if you try sometimes,
well you just might find,
you get what you need."

Is it merely a question of perception that determines what we want versus what we need? Do our desires match our expectations, or do we somehow along the way confuse settling with satisfaction? Do we ever get what we want, or are we forever forced to not get truly satisfied?

(I can't get no satisfaction, sung later by the same band...interesting)

I often wonder if we all suffer from a similar disability of sight. Do we always wish for something on the other side of the fence, something unknown and mysterious? Do we convince ourselves that someone else always has it better, or is better? Is it true that we only realize what we have when it is gone?

Or, do we fool ourselves into aspirational wants, and lose sight of what we really need?

For a simple rock song, it certainly pokes at some pretty heavy thinking, at least to me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why don't we ever believe ourselves

#993 - Worn Me Down :: Rachael Yamagata

“Worn me down to my knees,
I did anything to please,
but you can’t stop thinking about her.”

To live in the shadow of someone else’s past love is one of the roughest roads to traverse upon when in a relationship. It is a constant competition, even if unspoken, to somehow come out ahead, and to finally overtake the memory of a ghost of a girl (or boy) who still haunts the one who holds your hand now.

It is exhausting. It is emotionally brutal. And, it does wear you down.

I did it once, for awhile, with someone who meant the world to me. I think I knew it going in, too - actually I know I knew it. The consequence of being a friend first, I suppose. But I think I played that trick with myself that so many people do, I believed I could change the person, the past, the memory, and the situation.

Lessons learned, even if it hurt - I now listen a hell of a lot better at the start, and I speak up when things hurt. And, I refuse to live in the shadow of someone before me. I don’t mind baggage, hell I have an airline carousal of my own baggage, and I don’t mind issues (again, I have quite a few of my own) - but I won’t tolerate someone who is using me to get over someone else, and I won’t be someone’s second best.

I don’t choose to be worn out that way anymore.

You only have to look behind you

#993 - Destroy Everything You Touch :: Ladytron

“Everything you touch you don’t feel,
do not know what you steal.
Shakes your hand,
takes your gun,
walks you out of the sun.”

Science Fiction, other-worldly, spinning through space kind of music. I close my eyes and picture the Tardis circling through time, Leeloo falling into Dallas’ cab, or Alice leaving the infected behind to run off to a post-goth club with Neo pre-being-the-One. This is part of the soundtrack I have set aside for when I write one of two novels I’m attempting to get through.

This song, especially, reminds me of some post-apocalyptic wasteland, where there is still art and music - humanity and expression surviving all else.

There goes the fairy tale

#994 - If Love Is a Red Dress (Hang Me In Rags) :: Maria McKee
If Love Is a Red Dress (Hang Me In Rags) (live) :: Maria McKee

“If love is shelter,
I’m gonna walk in the rain.”

I have a big, probably semi-dysfunctional, love affair with songs about heartbreak. I love the rip your heart out and throw it on the ground where you lay kind of songs, full of bitterness, loneliness and regrets. I tend to cry my eyes out to songs like this, and there is something healing about that. Maybe it is that inner need to feel connected, even in pain (or maybe, especially when in pain) - so music about heartbreak acts as a cord to the collective sorrow we all feel when we lose love, or love in vain.

I’ve loved Maria McKee’s voice since her days with Lone Justice, and think she is terribly underrated as a singer. She is the voice of the five whiskeys down, corner of the bar in your favorite dive, feeling the sting of somebody leaving - and somehow, in all that despair, her songs have this inner lining of hope. Maybe that’s the soul in the heartbreak? Or in the fact that you would not be crying at all if you did not risk it all for love, and isn’t that part of living? That risk?

Love songs gone wrong sometimes bring me to life.

#995 - Dance This Mess Around :: The B-52’s

“Remember when you held my hand?
Remember when you were my man?
Walk talk in the name of love,
before you break my heart.”

There’s something about this song that I’ve always loved, and that has always transcended what I think of when I think of The B-52’s. Although one could argue that this is kitchy and campy, I think it has more of an edge then say their Love Shack era. But then, for me, I always favored their first album, and their earlier recordings, to anything that came after (and not in the “I liked them when they were new/cool/no one knew who they were before” kind of music-snobbery, just in a what I like kind of way).

This song reminds me of going dancing in the very late 80s at a 70’s themed club in Hollywood, and of certain friends, and certain albums, I listened to during ‘88 and ‘89. It reminds me of smoky rooms, disco balls, fishnet stockings and boots, and that mixture of sweat/Boones Farm Strawberry wine/chemicals spinning around in one’s bloodstream.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Its not time for me to go

#996 - Stay :: Belly

"But I love him dear,
and I love him dear,
and I've loved him hundreds of thousands of years."

Back in the early 90's, when Julia was just a baby and we still lived with her father, there used to be this coffee house that we all went to that I truly loved. It was not even a full block from the apartment we lived in, and no matter what time of day or night you stopped in, you always saw someone you knew. There was live music in the back, random and interesting conversations everywhere, and coffee.

This album came out around then, and often it was playing from the kitchen. Sometimes I stayed around after closing, often because Julia's dad was working a shift there, or someone else I knew was. This album played often, more than often, and I cannot hear any of the songs off of Star without being reminded of the Winged Heart Cafe. This was my favorite song off the album, and one that I often paired up with Kate Bush's Man With The Child In His Eyes, as timeless/eternal/ageless love.

The song also reminds me of reading Richard Bach's Bridge Across Forever, which I read right around that same early 90's time, and which also ties into timeless/eternal/ageless love.

And everytime you overdose

#997 - Last Dance :: The Raveonettes

“Your addiction and you are in love,
not starcrossed.
I wait my turn.”

This is a more recent favorite, and a song that I love for a few, very differing, reasons. From a musical and stylistic perspective I love the feel good pop feeling of the song, the infectious melody, the feigned cheerfulness in the singing, the catchy lyrics - I love that it feels that way, but that the song itself is very, very dark. A love song, of sorts, about being in love with an addict, and being second to addiction. A song about mortality, and about being in that waiting zone of limbo, watching someone fade away. I find the contradictions interesting, and the song more than just surface listenable.

On a personal level, I love it for telling it like it is. Sometimes my musical loves are of the I get this, I understand this, I fucking relate to this variety - because really, songs like that, well they make you feel less alone in the world, don’t they?

Reality isn’t always pretty, not even wrapped up in a catchy indie pop song like this one.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I am not impressed

#998 - Impressed :: Charlie Sexton

I'll never kill you this I swear,
then kill myself just to be fair.
I'll never need another queen,
we'll never face the guillotine.

I have a lot to thank John Hughes for, not only for some of the movies that shaped my adolescence (and helped me feel so less alone), but also for introducing me to some of my favorite music from the 80's. His music was featured in some scenes in Some Kind Of Wonderful, which I believe is the first place I heard him. I then remember hearing some of his music on KROQ, late at night, and then later reading about him in some music magazines.

I remember being surprised that he was just a year older than me (he was 16 when the album came out that this song is from, Pictures for Pleasure), and I also remember thinking he was damn fine looking. I went out and bought the album at Music Market, one of these meccas of music (oh how much vinyl they had!) that Kate and I would frequent, often trying out albums/bands for the first time just from the covers and names. I believe we both loved this album, and it probably held residence in both of our bedrooms, and stereos.

This was my first favorite song of his. I loved the references to all the great love stories (Romeo & Juliet, Nicholas & Alexandra), as well as some of the juvenile ones (Barbie & Ken, Mickey & Minnie Mouse). I loved the idea that it was a love song denouncing all the fairy tales/fables of love, and saying "ours is better".

Your mama don't know what I got in store for you

#999 - Rock This Town :: Stray Cats

Well, we found a little place that didn’t look half bad.
I had a whisky on the rocks, and changed half a dollar for the jukebox.

This song always reminds me of my first adolescent crush. It was junior high, eighth grade, and there was this boy who stole my newly teenaged heart. I went to a small private parochial school, and we had very few students in our grade level. In a very short time you knew everyone well, too well really, and there was not much mystery or excitement that went on. He was a new student, the son of the new church minister, and he had a band. He dressed “rockabilly” and his band played nothing but Stray Cats songs, and he was a bit full of himself - but at the time, I thought he was all that, and more.

I went to some party through the church’s youth group, I think one of the younger group leaders held it (I remember they were all college age, and took us to do activities that had nothing to do with “bible study”) in their parents’ basement. His band played, and they played this song, and it was truly awful - but wonderful, all at the same time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reminds me that there's time to change

#1,000 - Drops Of Jupiter :: Train

did you fall for a shooting star,
one without a permanent scar?

There is not a single time that this song comes on the radio that I do not sing-a-long with it. It doesn’t even matter where its playing, I will be there, singing.

One of my favorite memories of this song was one night, when my daughter Julia was in high school, I was picking up her, and two of her friends, from a party they’d been to. It was the middle of the summer, and it was late at night.

They were all exhausted, and the car had grown silent as they had tired of talking about the some of what had happened with each other. I flipped on the radio, and after an advertisement or two, this song came on. We all started singing along, a bit softly at first, but then all of us were singing - loudly - together.

This was during a very short period of time when my daughter and I did not get on so well, but in that moment we connected - a musical bridge was thrown across the great divide that sometimes happens in those years between 15 and 16, between mother and daughter. We all sang-a-long.

And, I guess I’d like to think that everyone sings-a-long to this one, no matter where they are, or who they are with.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"I've been roaming around,
I was looking down at all I see.
Painted faces fill the places I can't reach.
You know that I could use somebody."

Use Somebody (live) :: Kings Of Leon

Growing up in the shadows of broken homes, television show (non) realism, and the echoes of childhood fairytales it becomes quite the feat of strength and persistance, and belief, to be in love. We are encouraged to be independent, to not need anyone, to play games and act coy, and not let it out how much you care. It is some kind of strike against feminism, and the good fight those who came before us (of the female variety) to admit to needing someone, or letting on that you are vulnerable to a man.

On the other hand we are also encouraged to spend all of our adolescent to adulthood years, while single that is, pursuing a relationship. Time out with other female friends are almost always set and planned at places where a relationship might be sought out, or at least the company of someone for the night. Everything depends on the attention one gets while out - from the initial plan of where, the clothes chosen, even the music played on the way. There is always the overwhelming expectation of meeting someone, or at least being noticed by someone.

Of course, flipping back the page to the other side again, these are the same friends who often treat you strangely once you are in a relationship. They talk amongst themselves, behind your back, accusatory of many "crimes" committed - "she never has time for anyone but him", "she puts up with xxxfill in the blankxxx", "I don't like him", "she's stupid because xxxfill in the blankxxx", "it will never last".

And then there are the familial expectations that follow a woman everywhere. Around the water cooler conversations, when female, almost always start off with "are you married" or "are you dating anyone?" or "do you have kids?". I can hardly remember the last time someone at work asked me anything that was not focused on a relationship, or family brought on by a relationship.

What if you were to say no to all the questions? Or what if you were to say the truth, the real truth, about whatever you are currently in? What if you said "well yeah, I'm with someone but I'm still unsure about where its going", or "I think he likes me, but I think I text him too much", or "I am so in love right now I can hardly concentrate on anything, including work or even what this coffee tastes like", or "I think I'd rather swallow glass shards and razor blades than date anyone, but thanks for asking"

And what if you sent out post-cards to all your friends when you did fall in love that said "hey, yeah, he's not perfect, I'm not perfect, but I really dig him so I'm giving it a go", or "I may not have as much time right now, but I'm trying to balance it all, I am. It would help if you did not constantly say negative things about love and drag me to singles bars everytime we did try to hang out though", or "Hi, I'm a strong woman, I'm still a feminist, I am still independent, but I really love this person and they make me happy, and yeah, I need that".

Love does not have to be the damn poison apple, nor does it have to be the be all and end all to happy ever after, and it does not have to turn you into some weak, cartoon-cliched princess - it does not have to be everything, but its okay if sometimes it is.

Painted faces fill the places I can't reach

Use Somebody (live, cover) :: Bat For Lashes

monterey avenue
five and dime
she would hide lipstick cases
pretty pink pearl
in the deep pockets
of hand-me-down jackets
three older brothers
calling names
always growing

but there's a girl in here
you know
under the long sleeves
grass stain knees

she tells secrets to imaginary
friends and foes
sometimes they fight each other
duel at dawn
those times she can't sleep
bottle crash
you dirty whore
clash crash smash

but her mother smells of rose water
lights candles for the neighbor's sick boy
and aunt louisa
with her nine month sin

someday the hatch will open to the sky
and she'll sprout wings
grow bold
packages of promise tea
and a one-way escape hatch
for her and me

close your eyes and you will see

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Look at the stars

"Where I'm seeing you there,
with your hands in the air,
waiting to finally be caught."

Another night with the same patterns, the same ice clinking in a cold, damp glass, and those same un-named expectations. I look next to me and wonder how I got here again. No matter how much older I've become I still feel those pangs of adolescent nerves pulsing just under my skin. This does not feel all that different than some High School dance in a dimly lit gym - we all stand to one side, lingering, hoping for something to happen.

The anxiety builds as the room becomes smaller. The drinks come and go, we lose track, and the music rises and falls. At some point we all decide what will happen by the end - don't lie to yourself, we all think about it. There are trade offs and negotiations that go on silently, sometimes outside, leaned up against the wall, smoke billowing between exchanges of lights and a witty repose.

There are pieces of ourselves that we lose in those dark rooms, and parts of ourselves that we lessen, trade down, and let be slashed at - as if some drunken fumble in a backseat, or a set of numbers typed in to our phone, mean anything at all. It is all a case of loneliness, of time ticking away, and of the same self-deprecating game that being single sometimes becomes.

Every so often we find something real in all that masqueraded personas, but what have we lost to get there? Can it be repaired, your soul?

"If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose"

:: Charles Bukowski

Monday, May 3, 2010

The world was hers again

Splendour in Silver Dress :: Velocity in May Music Mix

Teardrop (Mad Professor Mazaruni Mix) :: Massive Attack
Come Clean :: Eisley
Mansions of Los Feliz :: Eels
Colours :: Editors
Velocity Girl :: Primal Scream
It's Up To You :: Shop Assistants
Dearest :: Buddy Holly
Domestic Scene :: The Radio Dept.
Metal Heart :: Cat Power
Wanted :: Abbie Gale
Only You :: Alison Moyet
A&E :: Goldfrapp
Shells :: Mirah
Zak & Sara :: Ben Folds
You Make Me Feel Good :: Yo La Tengo
Congratulations :: Mgmt
Wild World :: Mike Bailey (from Skins)
Rise Above :: Dirty Projectors
All My Stars Aligned :: St. Vincent
Lavender Cowgirl :: Thea Gilmore

All things go, all things go

"I was in love with the place,
in my mind, in my mind.
I made a lot of mistakes,
in my mind, in my mind."

Chicago (video) :: Sufjan Stevens
This song has such personal history and memories attached to it, for me, and no matter when I happen upon it, and no matter where I may be, I have to pause to listen, and remember.
Some of the recollections are candy-coated postcards full of wish you were here
sentimentalities, and lipstick traces left on cool skin. There are phonebooths and train stops, half-drunk promises of things like love and forever, and an image of a girl and boy playing at being something together.

I close my eyes and listen, and between the verses I see that coat I found right before my second trip, the one that reminded us of Penny Lane, the one that helped to inspire all those scrawled notes about really falling in love with a band (and all those half-schemed dreams to follow the music down highways, and anywhere towns - to run away, together).

I lost it at the airport, that coat. I walked a way for a moment, turned my head, and it was gone (in a way, that same day, so were we).

Then there are the darker alleyway shadows, stray-cat scratches and tear-stained cheek kind of moments this song brings to mind. Mistakes realized nearly too late, clinic waiting rooms, losses and plane tickets, and goodbyes that should have precluded any hellos.

All of it, and none of it, and whatever falls in-between - somehow that city played its part in it all. And, locked in some harmonic memory, this song about that city.

Certain songs they stay with us forever. They affix themselves onto our hearts, swim sideways through our veins, and become part of the make-up of who we think ourselves to be. We collect soundtracks all our own, re-writing the order as we go, and the meaning. And sometimes we forget things, some pages of our stories blur and fade, but often - at least for me - a song can bring it all back. Certain songs last longer than lovers, than apartment leases, than dreams...

this will forever be one of those songs.

"Chicago is a city of contradictions, of private visions haphazardly overlaid and linked together. If the city was unhappy with itself yesterday-and invariably it was-it will reinvent itself today."

:: Pat Colander "A Metropolis of No Little Plans"