Tag Archives: emo shiz

Song of the Day: Midnight

New Coldplay single…

…thoughts?

I am digging it. More than anything they’ve put out in a while, actually. It’s got a very dreamy, ambient pop feel to it.

Ambient pop has been having a moment for a while now — as well it should, because who doesn’t want to pretend that life is just a pretty, pretty dream? Oh, you prefer reality, do you? Not I.

coldplay

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Love At First Listen

smashing pumpkins

Happy Monday, kids, and welcome to a new column that we hope to post on a regular basis, entitled ‘Love At First Listen’.

There are some songs that grow on you. The first time you hear them you may not be completely blown away, but upon further listening you end up appreciating the nuances that, with any song, reveal themselves over time (an example of this for me is U2’s ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’). With others there may be an initial strong attraction, deepening gradually into love (most of my favorite songs fall into this category). Then there is the type of song that you fall for, head over heels, the moment that you first hear it. Love at first listen.

Probably the first time this ever happened to me was the fall of 1993. My friend Chris lent me his copy of The Smashing Pumpkins’ new record Siamese Dream (released in July of that year, but we were living in Singapore at the time and everything came out there a bit later). I remember, vividly, lying on my bedroom floor and pressing play. I liked the first two tracks, but as soon as song #3 started, after literally the very first bar, I thought to myself “This is it. I am in love”. And I was right. As the song progressed, it just kept getting better and better, and I listened along dreamily, stars in my eyes. I was a total goner. I must have played that song 20 more times that day, and had it on repeat over the following months.

The fact that Billy Corgan wrote the song about a day in which he was having suicidal thoughts, with lyrics of depression and self-mutilation, did nothing to diminish my ardor – in fact, being sixteen at the time and suffering myself from the requisite dose of depressive thoughts that go along with being a teenager (though no self-mutilation or suicidal ideation, thankfully), it made me feel less alone to know that there were other people experiencing similar emotions.

As is the case with any true love, my romance with this song continues to this day. It is still as relevant to me ‘Today’ as it was the first time I heard it.

How about you? What song did you fall for the first time you heard it?


Ricky Jehovah’s Witness

trouble

Whenever I hear a song by Cat Stevens, I think of the following conversation that DamnYouSkylon had in high school with his friend Brian:

DYS: “Dude, so Cat Stevens gave away all his money, converted to Islam, and changed his name to Yusuf Islam”.

Brian: “Really? He changed his last name to the same name as his religion?”

DYS: “Yeah man, I guess that’d be like changing your name to, like, John Christian or whatever”.

Brian: “Or Bob Hindu…”

DYS: “Richard Buddhist…”

Brian: “Ricky Jehova’s Witness…!”

Now every time I think of Cat Stevens I hear a little voice in my head saying “Ricky Jehova’s Witness!” and it totally makes me laugh. You could say I’m being disrespectful of Stevens’ (Islam’s) life choices, but to be honest with you I think that “Spencer Christian” has a nice ring to it, so I might change my name too. I’m not renouncing all my worldly possessions though. I’m no dummy. My collection of old Sweet Valley High books might be worth something someday*, you know.

*They will never, ever be worth anything.

Anyway, when it comes to Stevens’ (Islam’s) music, I am totally divided. I love some of his songs (‘Morning Has Broken,’ ‘Another Saturday Night,’ ‘Father and Son’ — which always, always makes me cry) but others annoy the f*ck out of me (‘Wild World,’ for example, literally makes me want to punch myself in the face).

However, my very favorite Stevens (Islam) song is this one, ‘Trouble’. The lyrics are so sad and dejected, and yet the song is somehow uplifting. You can hear the weariness in his voice during the verses, but then all of a sudden he’s got this amazing harmonizing thing going on and it sounds so pretty and hopeful. It’s the perfect song to listen to when you’re feeling down…in fact, I’ve always thought that it was written about depression. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know, but with lines like “You have made me a wreck / Now won’t you leave me in my misery” I have to think that he’s pleading with the “black dog” of depression (as Winston Churchill so aptly described it) to move on and let him be. Anyone who has experienced a depressive episode will be able to relate to this sentiment, the feeling of being “Shattered and tossed and worn,” and the desire to have the cloud lifted.

But even if you’re not sad, it’s a great song — simple yet eloquent, haunting yet hopeful.

And as a bonus, here’s my boyfriend, Eddie Vedder, performing his take on the song:


Song(s) of the Day: a couple of classics from a man who knows his music

roy orbison

patsy cline

I hope that everyone had a good holiday weekend! The Finn and I were out of the city, at his dad’s cottage in Haliburton. It’s a beautiful spot. On Sunday night we sat around listening to old 45s and drinking shots of Grand Marnier, which is actually really good, you guys. I totally thought it’d be super strong and difficult to drink, but it turns out that it’s quite delightful. Or maybe I’m just an alcoholic! No matter. Anyway, as you may recall, a few weeks ago The Finn’s dad called me out for not including any Patsy Cline songs on my list of top breakup tunes. So this weekend I guess he decided it was high time that we ignorant youth received some schooling in some of the classics of his generation.

A little background information about the Finn’s dad — we’ll call him Finn Sr. If you are at all familiar with the Finnish as a people, you will know that even though they often have hilarious, subversive senses of humor, they generally appear fairly stone-faced. If you are not aware of this, hanging out with them can be a little intimidating. Before I met Finn Sr. for the first time, the Finn and his friends tried to prepare me. “It may seem like he doesn’t like you,” they said, “but don’t worry. He just doesn’t smile that often”. I definitely spent the first few years of my relationship with the Finn worried that Finn Sr. thought I was a complete fool, since he’s pretty no-nonsense, and anyone who has met me knows that my genetic makeup is about 80% nonsense. Anyway, over the years I have gradually gotten to know Finn Sr. better and have come to appreciate the depth of his humor and character. He is a very cool dude. This past weekend he was telling me about the Finnish word sisu. There’s no real English equivalent, but basically it means “strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity”. It’s a quality that Finns are very proud of. If you want to know more, you can read about it here. (The one example of the Finnish heavy metal singer injuring himself without noticing makes me laugh because it reminds me of the time that the Finn and his brother went out on a winter walk with Finn Sr. When they returned home after an hour and a half of tramping through the woods, Finn Sr. removed his boots and one of his feet was bleeding profusely. He had stepped on a large nail that had embedded itself in his boot and the sole of his foot. “Oh my god, Dad!” the Finn and his brother exclaimed. “Why didn’t you make us stop so you could get the nail out of your foot??” Finn Sr.’s reply: “I didn’t want to cut short our walk”. That’s stoicism, people).

Anyway, as I was saying, we listened to a lot of music on Sunday night (including some rather spirited Russian folk music) but the two records I enjoyed the most were Patsy Cline and Roy Orbison. I’ve always liked Orbison — Finn Sr. and I agree that he has the best voice of all time — but I’ve had only a casual acquaintance with Patsy Cline’s music. Well, let me tell you, Finn Sr. is right — no one does ‘hurtin’ music’ better than Patsy. Seriously, the emotion in her voice is incredible, and I love it how pretty much every song is about a man who’s done her wrong but she still loves him anyway. Even the song below, ‘Walkin’ After Midnight,” though relatively upbeat (for Patsy), is still about a woman out in the middle of the night searching for her (presumably misbehaving) husband/lover.

So please enjoy ‘Walkin’ After Midnight,” along with Roy Orbison’s cover of ‘Love Hurts’ (so, so good. GAH! That voice!!)

You know, life can be tough, kids. But with a little Patsy for the pain, a little Roy for the soul — and lot of sisu — we just might make it through.


Song of the Day: ‘Changes’ by Stars

stars

Have you ever felt so tired that you just want to lie your head down on your desk, feel the comforting coolness of the hard surface against your face, and close your eyes? Or maybe crawl into bed and lie in someone’s arms, so silent, so still and peaceful, all the noise and the static from the world and life and job gone, that blissfully comforting exhaustion you feel when your bodies fit perfectly together and everything just…stops. The knowledge that it’s only a short moment in time, and nothing lasts, ceases to really matter. All conscious thought derailed. Sometimes lying in someone’s arms really does feel, well, perfect…and yes I am fully aware of how supergross and cheesy that sounds. But it’s true.

Anyway, this song makes me think about all of that. So it’s my song of the day. Enjoy!

*Note: there is an official video for this song, which can be viewed here (NSFW), but I dunno, sometimes I just prefer fewer visuals.


Love Is a Battlefield, Part 2

broken heart

Well, well, well. Here we are in mid-August already. How did that happen? The Finn and I spent a blissful two weeks on vacation, but have sadly now returned to the daily grind. Y’know, I always laugh when I hear people say that they would keep working if they won the lottery because they like to keep busy, need to feel productive, blah blah blah. Like, are you for real? There are about a MILLION things I can think of that I would do if I hit the jackpot. Actually, my current life dream is to be able to sit around all day watching & blogging about ‘80s teen movies. There are SO MANY good ones!! Teen Wolf, for one (which I seem to be obsessed with lately). The Lost Boys, License to Drive, and Dream a Little Dream (all starring the two Coreys). Better off Dead (John Cusack) and Real Genius (Val Kilmer), only two of the best movies of all time. A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (River! *sob*) And I haven’t even gotten to any of the John Hughes (“a genius of our time”) classics.

Sigh. If there’s anyone out there reading this who wants to pay me to write about masterpieces of ‘80s cinema* such as these, please do let me know. I LOVE THE ‘80s SO MUCH.

*Yes, I do realize that some of these are regarded as fairly terrible movies, but that is only because the general public obviously has no taste.

Anyway, what better way to celebrate the return to reality with a dose of morose songs celebrating the death of love? Yes, that’s right —  I am finishing off my list of favourite breakup songs. Here are the next five:

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