A year later…

Posted: February 7, 2016 in Music

It’s a year later (well, to be totally accurate, over a year), but I have a good excuse for not posting anything. I moved to San Francisco a year ago because I got into the masters nursing program here, and I’ve been trying to be a really good student (to be totally accurate, I am), which leaves me little time for writing less scholarly things such as these blog-posts. But this evening, as I was roasting my chicken dinner in the oven, I was listening to music and voila! [photo from a year ago on the GG bridge]IMG_5768.jpg

Tonight’s song is something I’ve played many times before, but tonight I really listened. How often is it that we go through life hearing things, but not listening? All day long our ears are bombarded with sounds of the city, TVs, our families, our friends, our lovers, but are we listening or are we just hearing? Because if we aren’t listening, we are missing out on a lot.

In nursing classes, we learn how to listen. It’s essential for us to not just hear as a nurse.¬†It’s not easy to be a good listener, though. One of our professors told a group of us the other day that we are “human-beings not human-doings.” We walk around hearing and doing things non-stop. Where is our thought process? Where is our “why is this happening, what is this person feeling, why is this person feeling this and what can I do to connect?” I think a lot more people today could learn how to listen and how to be.

Some people who just met me in the past year and are reading my blog for the first time probably didn’t even know I was a “blogger-girl” before the”blogger-girl” became a trendy actual paid thing mostly revolving around clothes and makeup. Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes, but nursing and music is where my heart is, and I like to feel I add a bit of substance and love to those topics on here even though I don’t get paid.

Without further adieu….the song I actually listened to…Broods “Everytime”

Are you with us, darling? Cause you treat it like a game And you mess yourself up It’s such a shame, such a shame You got issues, darling Cause you waste it all away You’re full of yourself It’s all in vain, all in vain And it breaks my heart And it breaks my heart… (Oh, oh) Cause every time is the last time (Oh, oh) And I’m kicking myself just trying to be understanding (Oh, oh) Tell me how did you think that? (Oh) You’re leaving me waiting and acting like I’m so demanding (Oh, oh) Cause it’s never your fault When you’re keeping your knees clean And sorry’s below you It’s always me, always me You told me you could change your ways Youre collecting scars but you look away You promised me you could make it better You told me it won’t be the same But your eyes stay shut and my screams fall faint I only wanted to make it better Make it better Make you better

This song is one of my favorites. And it’s done well by both Feist (the original writer) and the later re-imagination sung by James Blake.

Feist’s has more involved lyrics and a more natural and carefree sound. I’m imagining her thinking ‘There’s a limit to your love, but everything is going to be A-okay!’ After all she loves (3x) “the trouble that you give me,” and fighting her way “upstream” even though there is a “limit to your care.” At the end we see that despite there being a “limit to your love” …”there is no limit to my love.” I can relate. Especially because of the first line “clouds part just to give us a little sun.” If there were no sun perhaps there would be a limit to her love.

James Blake’s lyrics are so simple (in contrast to the wordy, but thoughtful Feist). Typically male? ¬†The structure, piano interspersed with heavy pedal use, rhythmic percussions, a little vocal layering and nuances of breath that stretch it into a sometimes meter-less song really makes it special, though. Blake never says there is ‘no limit to his love’ or that “only I can save me”. He’s just expressing thoughts about someone else. He knows it, he’s retelling it, and there is a mournful emotion in the way he is performing it, but he’s not outright telling you anything about himself as Feist does. ¬†(again…typical male?) In fact Feist sings “I love I love I love” while Blake sings “Your love Your love Your love.”

PLUS I love how James Blake says “waterfall.” I’m sure you do, too. Could this be why Blake’s “Limit to Your Love” surpassed sales of Feist’s? I don’t mean just that he says “waterfall” like he does. He also has a cool video. And his version comes up first in searches.

Listen to both.

               James_Blake_-09473  JAMES BLAKE VS FEIST Feist-feist-1566158-2213-2560

What happens when you like the remix better than the original? Is that a bad thing? Who gets the credit for taking it over the top–to “better than good”? What if the remix ends up getting more air time? Worst case scenario (for the artist): What if people think the remix is the original?

Here are a few remixes I personally think are better than the originals. 

Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High) – Hippie Sabotage Remix

Major Lazer – Original Don – Flosstradamus Remix

Ellie Goulding – Lights – Bassnectar Remix

Radiohead ‚Äď Talk Show Host – Nellee Hooper Remix

Destiny’s Child – No, No, No Part 2 – Wyclef Jean Remix ft Wyclef Jean

This doesn’t really have anything to do with music. It has to do with being superstitious. Maybe they’re just coincidences, but ever since I was little, I was slightly superstitious. I think it’s because I’m an only child and when you grow up without siblings, you often times have to keep yourself entertained and you end up talking to yourself. Part of this talking was dealing with my hopes/desires/luck via superstitions. Not normal things like “don’t open an umbrella inside or walk under a ladder or watch out for black cats crossing your path.” I did all of those things with glee! I made up my own superstitions.

Present day: I take care of a woman who has been on this Earth for 94 years. She gave me an old tarot card deck and tonight, I decide to pull one out and see what the meaning of it is.

I get THE FOOL. Oh great, I think….The Fool. Only Fool’s Rush In, Fool on The Hill. (had to add some music)

Fool=Negative (in my mind)

BUT

It’s also April Fool’s Day, which is my birthday–April 1.

So, I look up what The Fool card actually means online…according to tarot card readers, and I was surprised:

“We begin with the Fool (0), a card of beginnings. The Fool stands for each of us as we begin our journey of life. He is a fool because only a simple soul has the innocent faith to undertake such a journey with all its hazards and pain.

[picture of Card 0]At the start of his trip, the Fool is a newborn – fresh, open and spontaneous. The figure on Card 0 has his arms flung wide, and his head held high. He is ready to embrace whatever comes his way, but he is also oblivious to the cliff edge he is about to cross. The Fool is unaware of the hardships he will face as he ventures out to learn the lessons of the world.

The Fool stands somewhat outside the rest of the major arcana. Zero is an unusual number. It rests in the exact middle of the number system – poised between the positive and negative. At birth, the Fool is set in the middle of his own individual universe. He is strangely empty (as is zero), but imbued with a desire to go forth and learn. This undertaking would seem to be folly, but is it?”

I was shocked.

I am The Fool. Maybe there is a reason I was born on April Fool’s Day. And I guess I’m okay with being The Fool.

Trends repeat themselves. We all know this. We try to hold on to things that seem classic and may come back with full force in the future but marked up in price x10. (Beanie babies never got there and never will) Some things I question. Like overalls. I was a real overall girl in the 90s. I had corduroy overalls for the winter and denim overalls I wore to death that my mom put star shaped patches in to cover up the holes. I was even in the trend of not fastening one of the straps and letting it flop around. If you wore both straps buttoned, you were unfashionable. How ridiculous! ¬†Now, they are charging hundreds for a pair of overalls and adults are wearing them! Okay. This isn’t a post about overalls. This is a post about music, so how is this all relevant?

The line between creativity and “genius” and “copying” or having been influenced within music is a thin one. It’s hard to be really creative with music. It’s easy to say ‘Oh this sounds like this band or that band.’ If a band sounds similar to another band does that make them unoriginal? Should things we once like be repeated and proliferate?

Popular music these days sounds like ___(you fill in the blank)___.

So when we hear music that doesn’t sound like today’s music we get a little shocked. It’s original for mainstream, but in the scheme of things, its kind of been done before.

Lately I have been listening on repeat to two artists who sound “old.” I’ve also been listening to Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles as per usual, but I still go back and listen to these two songs because although they sound familiar and like they could’ve been written in the 60s, they’re different.

Here’s a brief background on each:

Foxygen:¬†¬†This is a band that started in 2005 out of Westlake Village, California by two guys–Jonathan Rado and Sam France. The song I’ve been listening to is called “San Francisco” and it comes from their album fittingly titled: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. I really like the chorus.

Tame Impala:¬†Kevin Parker from Perth, Australia leads this band, and although I like the whole album Lonerism, the song “Elephant” is probably the most accessible. By the way, fun fact of the day, Impala is a medium sized antelope.

overalls in middle school

overalls in middle school. not repeating that trend.

Cooper and Ian AGAIN! If you have been following my blog (and if you haven’t you should), you’ll know that Cooper and Ian shot one music video partially in my bedroom¬†and that these two cousins won SXSW’s best music video. ¬†I think they’re changing the world of music videos. A beautiful metamorphosis, at that. All of their videos make you want to know what is going to happen at the end. They are unpredictable while still cradling the music well. This newest video is by Mr. Little Jeans who is, in fact, a female from Norway.

Dance to it, drive to it, get mad to it, make love to it, cry to it, but whatever you do, watch it.

 

 

 

 

After the recent collaborations on main-stream TV (Grammy’s and SNL) of Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar, one could question…Is Imagine Dragons turning hip-hop? Does the band with Utah roots and Mormon members secretly want to spit rhymes like Kendrick Lamar? Adoring and God-fearing teen fans are also fearing this may be true–pleading on Instagram and Facebook: “Please don’t change!” “Kendrick Lamar ruined your songs” or “My mom wont let me listen to your music if you start cursing.”

imagine dragons and kendrick lamar post grammys

imagine dragons and kendrick lamar post grammys

Here are my two cents. Their live performances are definitely different with Kendrick Lamar. Dan Reynold’s voice is less fluid and “song-like” when Kendrick is about to get on the stage. In youtube videos from 2012 and 2013, his voice sounds more like the recording on the CD, but in recent shows such as the Grammy’s and SNL, his voice lends itself to harsher, more broken patterns emphasizing the rhyme. His mannerisms are also more hip-hop-esque. Flicking his shirt up like “it ain’t no thang,” “point out the bounce” [Jay-Z reference] in his step while he’s singing.

But it’s all good. You’ve got to prepare yourself for when you’re on the stage with Kendrick [just guessing]. And for all the kids out there who are scared Imagine Dragons is going to change…they wont. How many really successful bands change genres amidst the height of their career? But even if they did, is wanting to be like Kendrick Lamar so bad? Some people look at hip-hop and automatically judge it as being all about money, sex, having your way with any girl around, alcohol, big booties, violence, drugs etc. Or at least that’s what the majority of the Grammy voters [aged 50+] probably thought.

But when you listen to Kendrick Lamar, who by the way should’ve won all those Grammy’s, you hear something else–something original, something positive.

1. Swimming Pools: No. He’s not telling you to “Drank”

“now I done grew up round some people livin their life in bottles, granddaddy had the golden flask, backstroke every day in Chicago.” He’s relating to those people who live with alcoholics. His granddaddy is swimming/drowning in alcohol, and that’s not a good thing.

2. The Art of Peer Pressure

Rush a nigga quick then laugh about it later, aye aye aye aye
Really I’m a peacemaker but I’m with the homies right now

And momma used to say
One day, it’s gon’ burn you out

Kendrick describes peer pressure in full, detailed artistry, and how it’s easy to get mixed up in but that there are so many positive things and forces. We are all really Good Kids in a Mad City.

I could go on…but to close, what were Kendrick’s actual verses at the Grammy’s?

Bury me alive, bury me with pride
Bury me with berries, that forbidden fruit and cherry wine
Thank you berry much, but tonight’s my night and I’m Barry Bonds
Swingin’ for the fences, barbaric Kendrick in idle time

Everything in life’s subject to change, change whip, change grind
Change clothes, change opinions, right before I change my mind
I don’t really know yah business, been in there since I was bendin’ Lego blocks
Now you tell the world about me, dry snitch

Tater tots on my shotgun, now I gotta pop one at the stars
Sky’s the limit, I gotta finish as the first rapper on Mars
Mark my word, I’mma make my mark, even when they start their Martial Law
Even when these Martians alienate, my mental state is still at heart

Look in my eyes, tell me I died, tell me I tried, to compromise
Tell me you love me, tell me that I, don’t give a f*** and can barely decide
Wishin’ good luck on my enemies, all of my energy go to the almighty God
I could drown in a bottle of Hennessy, f*** your amenities, I’m gettin’ better with time

A few of my favorite meanings: “dry snitch”–when a person accidentally says something about somebody to the police. He says it regarding the fans or non-fans who are snitching on him and thereby spreading his music around.

“tater-tots”-potatoes were used to silence guns. In this case, making a potato into a childish thing kids like to eat but still saying he’s going to knock down all the other rap-stars in his way.

And then the last stanza says he doesn’t care if you’re a hater. He wishes you luck because he’s going to make it no matter what. Hate is just going to drag you down.

See IMAGINE LAMAR on SNL 

Read the rest of this entry »

“Light Side of the Moon” is the third track on Luna Achiary’s, or as I like to call her Miss Moon’s, newest album, More Human Than God. It’s certainly a¬†play on words of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and later on we get another track title that mimics the English band’s– “Breathe.” But it’s not just the similarities in the words. Luna’s entire album lends itself to being the centerpiece at a vibey party where some hip chick wearing a full length skirt and a second-hand plaid button-up resides. There may or may not be drugs at this party. The girl has just removed a Pink Floyd LP (you choose)…next up, Luna Achiary’s¬†More Human Than God.¬†

You’ve got to listen to this album from head to toe…no bathroom breaks. Ok, go ahead and go if you drank too much. This album flows; it transitions nicely, yet you never know what you’re going to get in the next 15 seconds. It’s an ocean. There are lulls and gentle waves and roaring tidal waves. The thing has you on the edge really. That’s what I love about Luna’s music. At the tender age of 24, she’s not afraid, and you can tell that through her music. She is experimental. She is the female Pink Floyd. I just looked up a female version of the name Floyd, and it doesn’t exist. Anyway. Pink Luna Achiary. Also, what the heck is she singing about?? She’s got a real nice boyfriend (who, by the way recorded and mixed this album, Johannes Raassina), but she’s talking about all this cray stuff in her lyrics that I’m pretty sure isn’t about him.¬†

Luna also has a pretty unique music video for her song, “Friends”. The video really captures the message she is singing. If you don’t listen to the lyrics you might not understand it. And thank goodness she’s not following trend and attracting attention with #twerking….but instead this

If you live in LA, make sure you come see her performing¬†More Human than God¬†live at The Joint. Judging from the last live performance of hers, this one is sure to be explosive. If you’re not in LA, support her creativity and get her album (link at the top).

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Ever notice how people who are uncomfortable or can’t stand silence talk about the weather? It’s easy. You’re both living in it. It’s hard to go wrong. It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s snowing, it’s raining.

Tonight is windy. 

I live in Los Angeles, where the weather is as certain as the traffic. So when it deviates from the norm. it’s an easy topic to talk about. It can become more interesting when instead of the falling leaves of Autumn we get smacked in the head with a palm frond the size of a whale tail with shark-like razor ridges on the edges. Fun. Raking isn’t so easy. Jumping in the pile when you’re done? I wouldn’t advise small children to do it let alone adults.

Tonight I can hear the wind over my thoughts, which is good. I’m listening to Atoms for Peace latest album, Amok. I’ll be seeing them in concert here in October.

Tonight I’m on Default repeat. The beginning of it makes me go a little loopy and then I fall…drowsily…down…into the…words and the layering of beats. I’m pretty tired. The weather …can’t… interrupt….

It slipped my mind. And for a time. I felt completely free
Oh what a troubled Silent, poor boy. A pawn into a queen
I laugh now. But later is not so easy
I’ve gotta stop.¬†The will is strong
But the flesh is weak.

I guess that’s it.¬†I’ve made my bed.¬†And I’m lying in it.¬†

I’m still hanging on.¬†Bird upon the wires.¬†I fall between the waves

I avoid your gaze. I turn out of phase. A pawn into a queen

I laugh now,
But later is not so easy
I’ve gotta stop
The will is strong
But the flesh is weak
I guess that’s it
I’ve made my bed
And I’m lying in it

But it’s eating me up
But it’s eating me up
It’s eating me up (If I could feel all the snakes on my heads)
It’s eating me up (If I could feel all my snails on my heads)
It’s eating me up (If I could feel all my snares on my head)

Today I’m going way back to 1977 with Fleetwood Mac’s song, “Dreams” from their album Rumours.

A little bit about this song:

Stevie Nicks wrote this song in about 10 minutes. Everyone in the group was going through a separation–Mick Fleetwood through a divorce, bassist John McVie and pianist Christine McVie were separating from their marriage and Lindsey Buckingham, the guitarist, was ending an 8 year relationship with Stevie Nicks. Holy moly. I can’t imagine working as a group when all of this is going on.

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A little bit about me:

Definitely feeling this song right now in every way possible. Also, it just occurred to me that I may have been given a Stevie Nicks haircut at one point. What do you think?

video below