The House Chants on Without Us

This song makes me feel amazing.

Cette chanson me rend awestruck.

The lyrics are catchy in that they’re velcroed to the melody. I love the way it builds. The chord progressions. The instrumentation, oh man. And the layering with the voices in harmony. The instrumentation, you have got to be kidding me! This song swells to sheer indescribability.  Seriously. My heart can’t take it. They’re so good. Phenomenal.

Weathervanes is an excellent album. This song hooked me. Well, several songs hooked me for the reasons listed above. Yay for the Freelance Whales.

$5.00 for the mp3 album at Amazon (see the above link). Just do it.

You’re KILLING Me, Patty Griffin

I can’t even think properly around this song right now; my heart gets in the way. Patty wrote this years ago; I don’t know why I haven’t come across it until now. Girl can sing the sad ones.

I cry pretty easily, but with this, I never even had a chance. Never saw it coming.

Maybe it’s the timing. It’s definitely the song.

Patty Griffin, “My Dear Old Friend”

How will we smile ever again
I’m asking you sincerely, my dear old friend
What do you say, is there a way
My dear old friend

How will we laugh just like before
When there’s water rising up to our door
And we may never see each other again
My dear old friend

Will there be someone to remember
A little place that we loved
How the music played all night and day
Through the windows up above

How the birds sang in the morning
How the dog barked in the yard
I guess that’s nothing much but everything to us
And that’s what seems so hard

How will we smile ever again
I’m asking you sincerely, my dear old friend
The moon on the hill says we probably will
My dear old friend

Greg Laswell

I like him. Some friends and I went to his concert in September, when he stole my pen.

He’s amazing live. And totally lusty. How he’s rocking my world right now:

“What A Day”

“How The Day Sounds”

If I hadn’t already committed to preying upon considerably younger men for the next one-and-a-half to two years, and if Mr. Laswell were not dating someone seriously enough to relocate from California to New York City, I would stalk him.

He’s safe for now.

More Movies, A Little Music

Just a few more in the past week …

A Man for All Seasons: I could have sworn I blogged about this movie before. I can’t find it, so it must not have happened. That Thomas More, what a man of principle. Stood his ground, defended his faith against the law; became a martyr because of it. The scene where he forgives his executioner before he rests his head on the chopping block? I cried.

Memento: One of my favorite movies. I’ve reviewed it previously, as a way to stall reviewing The Dark Knight. Same director. Similar darkish tones. Different approaches to the storytelling, though. I didn’t cry, but I was all, whoa.

Passengers: Patrick Wilson? Anne Hathaway? Plane crash? Grief counseling? You would think this might be awesome, but IT IS NOT. I mean, I get what it was trying to do, but it unacceptably broke rules regarding dead people and unfinished business. Execution was weak. It’s kind of the writing’s fault. I could have cried for the awfulness, but I have seen far worse movies.

(500) Days of Summer: I liked this, probably because I personally know similar stories to the major relationship in the movie. Sometimes the truth you’ve known all along manages to sucker-punch you. The characters are relatable. It felt a lot like real life. It was funny and melancholy and poignant. I almost cried.

The Dish: Fun. Historical. Hilarious. Particularly enjoyable to watch with certain rocket scientist friends who happen to be extremely fond of Australians. It’s also quite moving. I cried a little.

10 Questions for the Dalai Lama: I suppose this does an adequate job as a documentary. Informative, slanted, but only because it’s inherently political. I liked getting to know Kundun, his manner of speaking, his personality. The interviews were intimate, and the documentarian seemed genuinely interested in the history and culture and non-violence, and he conversed freely, yet respectively with His Holiness. I didn’t cry.

Penelope: Rewatch. I love this movie for two main reasons: 1) The James McAvoy kiss at the end. You know the one. Where Cristina Ricci is at his place and she walks toward his piano, and he grabs her, and awesomely kisses her. I want that kind of a kiss. Now would be nice, actually. It takes my breath away every single time I watch it. And I’ve rewound the scene multiple times, successively, and the thrill just doesn’t fade. That moment brings me to tears. 2)The penultimate song on the soundtrack, the one that isn’t in English? It’s by my favorite Icelandic band at the moment: Sigur Rós. I’ve blogged about another song of theirs before.  This is a video of the song featured in the movie. It’s beautiful. It’s really, really, really, really cool. It brings tears to my eyes. I’ve included the words and translation below. It’s also quite fitting for summer, even though the video is set in the winter. The entire concept deserves an entire entry of its own, but that will have to wait.

Hendumst í hringi
Höldumst í hendur
Allur heimurinn óskýr
Nema þú stendurRennblautur
Allur rennvotur
Engin gúmmístígvél
Hlaupandi inn í okkur
Vill springa út úr skelVindurinn
Og útilykt af hárinu þínu
Eg lamdi eins fast og ég get
Með nefinu mínuHoppípolla
I engum stígvélum
Allur rennvotur (rennblautur)
I engum stígvélumOg ég fæ blóðnasir
En ég stend alltaf upp

Og ég fæ blóðnasir
Og ég stend alltaf upp

Jumpin’ Puddles
Spinning ’round and ’round
Holding hands
The whole world a blur
But you are standingSoaked
Completely drenched
No rubber boots
Running in us
Want to erupt from a shellWind in
And outdoor smell of your hair
I hit as fast as I could
With my noseHopping into puddles
Completely drenched
With no boots onAnd I get nosebleed
But I always get up

And I get nosebleed
But I always get up

Earworm of the Day: Patty Griffin, “Rain”

It rained nearly all day yesterday. Thunder, lightning, darkness at midday; falling, steady, splashing sheets veiling the windows and everyone’s vision; soaking everyone to the bone. It got this song stuck in my head. Sometimes it really captures how I feel, especially the chorus. Patty and her songs. Man.

Today? Gorgeous.

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It’s hard to listen to a hard hard heart
Beating close to mine
Pounding up against the stone and steel
Walls that I won’t climb

Sometimes a hurt is so deep deep deep
You think that you’re gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep
With all this rain falling down

Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
But I’m holding on underneath this shroud

Its hard to know when to give up the fight
Two things you want will just never be right
Its never rained like it has to night before

Now I don’t wanna beg you baby
For something maybe you could never give
I’m not looking for the rest of your life
I just want another chance to live

Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
But I’m holding on underneath this shroud

Song on Repeat: “Hometown Glory” by Adele


This song speaks to me on so many levels. First, musically. Listen to the way Adele phrases each line, each word, parts of each word. Listen to the combination of the piano and strings, how it enhances and not overwhelms Adele’s amazing voice. Feel the emotion of the song. Consider the lyrics, bring up old memories of way back when; they’re probably still quite vivid, as if they didn’t happen all that long ago.

According to my facebook profile, my hometown is Jacksonville, Florida, and my current city is New York, New York. I tell people I’m from Jacksonville because not very many would recognize the town of Middleburg, which I hear has turned into quite the suburb. Orange Park has spilled over into the little town where I grew up. It now has a fancy Publix and a Home Depot and a Super Wal-Mart. Housing subdivisions are everywhere, especially down the road where I lived my senior year of high school. Old Jennings Road. Traffic is ridiculous on all arteries leading to and from Blanding Boulevard and Branan Field Road. It has developed into your run-of-the-mill, organized, cookie-cutter chaos. I’ve been back to that part of town, driving around, seeing how Middleburg now very directly connects to Jacksonville, so Jacksonville is also overflowing into my little Middleburg without filtering through Orange Park. The sign indicating the town limit reads in large letters, “MIDDLEBURG,” then in smaller letters below it, “Unincorporated.” That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

It would seem almost everything about my childhood, at least the last eight years of it, has been corrupted. Maybe not. If you drive further south and west, the landscape looks just about the same. Head west on State Road 218 and cross Mimosa Road and you’ll see the same dirt roads and mobile homes and less crowded land. You’ll see untended weeds and stray dogs and horse stalls and chicken coops. You’ll see my junior high school, and if you drive far enough, my elementary school. One noticeable change is a big, obnoxious gas station at Mallard Road.

Once, probably five years ago on a home visit (which had become Jacksonville), I drove to Middleburg. I turned north on Mimosa Road for a few miles, then west on Johns Cemetery Road, which becomes Plankton Avenue. The grass was higher. The brush was thicker. The acre plot of land where I lived from 1987 to 1993 had grown over with indigenous foliage, as well as a bunch of rubbish. The neighboring plots looked very much the same. The Roenisches lived next to me. Becky Fraser lived over on Foxtail Avenue, maybe a mile away. Her cousin, Stephanie Cardone, lived closer, on the corner of Johns Cemetery and Parsley. Jackie Anderson and Lynn Reed lived on Parsley. Mike and Trent McKay lived on Kay Road.

These friends don’t live there anymore. My generation, my peers. That realm – the era, the location – was carved out specifically for that part of my childhood, and no more. I watched in my rear view mirror the cloud of dust the car kicked up as I made my way back to the paved road. This was a part of town everyone shrugged off, ignored, abandoned; purpose served. And that part of town seems perfectly okay with it. Unincorporated, it is.

Seems I needed to revisit, if not geographically, then at least in my mind. Turns out I have similar thoughts here. Those memories of way back when we keep rather close to the surface. We don’t really bury them, after all.

I’ve been walking in the same way as I did
And missing out the cracks in the pavement
And tutting my heel and strutting my feet
“Is there anything I can do for you dear? Is there anyone I could call?
No, and thank you, please madam, I ain’t lost, just wandering”

Round my hometown, memories are fresh
Round my hometown, ooh, the people I’ve met
Are the wonders of my world, are the wonders of my world
Are the wonders of this world, are the wonders and now

I like it in the city when the air is so thick and opaque
I love it to see everybody in short skirts, shorts and shades
I like it in the city when two worlds collide
You get the people and the government
Everybody taking different sides

Shows that we ain’t gonna stand [ – ]
Shows that we are united
Shows that we ain’t gonna take it
Shows that we ain’t gonna stand [ – ]
Shows that we are united

Round my hometown, memories are fresh
Round my hometown, ooh, the people I’ve met

Are the wonders of my world, are the wonders of my world
Are the wonders of this world, are the wonders of my world
Of my world, yeah, of my world, of my world, yeah

Black Eyed Peas Featuring Justin Timberlake, “Where Is The Love”

Is it in a box?
In a fox?
Under some rocks?
Behind those clocks?
In Fergie’s botox?
May, where is your love?

Maybe this is one of the few instances where I can stand Fergie. Sometimes, when it’s this song’s turn on the iPod, I’ll repeat it 4 or 5 times before letting it go to the next song. Maybe having this song on my list will satisfy my crazycrush on Justin Timberlake. Easy enough: I don’t even have to meet him, just feature him in a song about The Moral Of The Story. Yeah, the message is strong and that’s part of why this song’s in my top 10, but I think I like this one more for the music.

Catchy tune, nice beat. It’s extra fun when those lower strings kick in for real. Maybe about a third from the end. You know where. You can’t hear it so much in this live version, but in the studio version, it’s pretty awesome. If I were stranded on some seemingly deserted island, wouldn’t this song be handy to have around? Just in case? Justin case?

If you don’t like it, I may not like you. I may not love you. Maybe this will get you questioning: See video.

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Birthday Gifts

My mom sent me something, even though I really hadn’t expected her to. It was a nice surprise. She told me not to be disappointed if I didn’t get anything because she was trying to help out my brother, which I fully support.

I consider the following video to be a gift from my friend, Lisa. I’ve been listening to this song constantly. It’s important to listen to this song full blast. The driving beat, the grittiness in her voice at the end of certain phrases. It’s a lot of fun, and I thank Lisa for sharing this video.

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I received an email from my junior high school band director. I don’t think he knows it’s my birthday. The day I finished the one piece about the clarinet solo in 9th grade, I sent him the link to the post. And then Monday night I wrote him again, telling him about Mechanical VIOLET. He wrote back, and I read the message today, and it was wonderful, and I could hear Mr. Coleman’s voice as his words jumped from the computer screen to my eyes.

Thanks again, everyone.

2008 Songs on Repeat : “At Last” by Neko Case

I listened to this song over and over again because I wanted it to be longer. It’s not quite a minute and a half long, but it feels like it should keep going. Maybe that’s the point of the song. The melody could extend, but it doesn’t; the lyrics stop and leave me wondering. At last, Neko says, the end is here, and I shouldn’t drag it out; I shouldn’t prolong it. But you – you, May – can repeat it.

I played this song repeatedly so that maybe it could keep living, or whoever the song is about could keep talking to me. Or whatever the narrator in the song is talking about could continue its melody in my mind’s hollows. This song is a brilliant personification. The song may end, but it doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to. Maybe it is meant to be repeated. Neko may be on to something.

Hmm. She’s coming to the Nokia Theatre in April. Hmm.

By the way, this video sounds even better than the studio recording I have.

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I can say that I’ve lived here in honor and danger
But I’m just an animal and cannot explain a life
Down this chain of days I wished to stay among my people
Relation now means nothing, having chosen so defined

And if death should smell my breathing as it pass beneath my window
Let it lead me trembling, trembling
I owe every bell that tolls me

2008 Songs on Repeat: “Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur” by Sigur Rós

I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this song and been completely fine not understanding a single word of it. I really enjoy how it sounds. I love the driving beat, the instrumentation, the grandness of the chord progressions. The English translation of the title is pretty cool: “Within me a lunatic sings.” Without knowing Icelandic, the song kind of sounds like a lunatic is singing. The vocals and music go well together. The song’s structure really appeals to me. I can’t quite describe it, but I love how the song intensifies and then bursts, releases into openness at the end. This band from Iceland is a pretty big deal. I hear they draw huge crowds even though no one can understand them. Maybe for similar reasons I’ve stated. Plus, that’s a sousaphone in the video. Who can hate a song with a sousaphone?

If you’re interested, and if you want to brush up on your Icelandic, here’s the English translation of the entire song. I’m still fine without it.

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Á silfur-á
Lýsir allan heiminn og augun blá
Skera stjörnuhiminn
Ég óska mér og loka nú augunum
Já, gerðu það, nú rætist það
Ó nei

Á stjörnuhraða
Inni í hjarta springur, flugvélarbrak
Ofaní jörðu syngur
Ég óska mér og loka nú augunum
Já, gerðu það, lágfara dans
Allt gleymist í smásmá stund og rætist það
Opna augun
Ó nei

Minn besti vinur hverju sem dynur
Ég kyngi tári og anda hári
Illum látum, í faðmi grátum
Þegar að við hittumst
Þegar að við kyssumst
Varirnar brenndu, höldumst í hendur
Ég sé þig vakinn
Ég sé þig nakinn
Inní mér syngur vitleysingur
Alltaf þið vaða, við hlaupum hraðar
Allt verður smærra, ég öskra hærra
Er er við aða, í burtu fara

Minn besti vinur hverju sem dynur
Illum látum, í faðmi grátum
Ég kyngi tári og anda hári
Þegar að við hittumst
Þegar að við kyssumst
Varirnar brenndu, höldumst í hendur
Ég sé þig vakinn
Ég sé þig nakinn
Inní mér syngur vitleysingur