Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Songs that were shuffled in... (Billy Idol, Julius Airwave, & The Shins)

Ahhh, it is so close to vacation. Granted it’s just a long weekend, but four glorious days of hanging around my house watching woman’s pron (e.g. HGTV - Wanna know what really turns women on? Watching sweaty men in tight shirts expertly fix home improvement disasters like a Superman), painting, and practicing my guitar. What can I say? I’m a simple girl, and I enjoy the little luxuries of a lovely staycation.

I have been so focused on my music lessons that I haven’t spent a ton of time listening to music. My picks this week are more about what I’m learning and what my lovely little iPod keeps insisting on playing.
Billy Idol – White Wedding

My absolute, most favorite guilty pleasure is and has always been Billy Idol. I grew up in a time when he ruled MTV. Rebel Yell always sounded like perfection to me, and I loved singing more more more along with him. It has led to more car dancing that I care to admit. I’m currently teaching myself how to play this song. I can’t listen to it without wanting to totally rock out and own it.

Julius Airwave – Nannerl

I can’t remember how I came across this band, but for a good two years I would listen to this album on a daily basis at work. There’s a perfection to the songs. They fit a specific moment in my life. Any time my iPod wants to throw me for a loop, it will shuffle this particular song in. Mess me up. You mess me up all day and I love it...

The Shins – Girl Sailor

The Shins fall into the same category as Julius Airwave. For a segment of my life, I listened to them non-stop and worshipped the sound of their music. Every time Turn On Me comes one, I still have to exclaim to myself just how much I love it. Today alone, I think that Girl Sailor has shuffled like 3 times (out of the 6500 songs on my iPod!). Who am I to judge the fates if they’re trying to tell me something?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Books 14 - 18: Some Added Emotion, Please and Thank You

14: A Shadow Falls – Nick Brandt

This one probably is more like cheating because there wasn’t much to read, but I loved the book so much that I had to write about it. Awhile back, a friend at work sent me a forwarded email with a bunch of Nick Brandt’s photos. I was completely blown away and intrigued. I read about him on his website and then was so sad to find that a bunch of the elephants that were photographed had been slaughtered. In all honesty, I was heartbroken and might have cried a bit (err… a lot). After such an emotional reaction, I bought the book. I’ve always been interested in photography, I love elephants, and it felt like a really good thing to support. When I received the book, I spent the afternoon studying each photo. I was completely lost in the beauty of the images. So for that reason alone, I share this.

15: In Zanesville : a novel - Jo Ann Beard

I wanted to love this book. The concept was great. The setting was similar to my own adolescent hometown (I was first interested in the book because I thought it was set in Zanesville, OH and I’m originally from Ohio). The characters were interesting, well-developed, and likeable. It also made me laugh a lot. However, it lacked plot. It was more of a random gathering of stories, a slice of these teenage girls’ lives. So much time and effort was put into developing these interesting pieces of the plot (the babysitting fiasco, all of the clothes on layaway, the fear of her father’s suicide, the family’s money issues, etc.), but none of these things are ever dealt with. I felt like I invested a lot of time and energy and then the book just fizzled out at the end.

16: How to Talk to Famous People and Make Your Grandma Laugh - Tommy Leonard

This book was pretty odd, but it did make me laugh and entertained me when I couldn’t sleep one morning. I enjoyed the randomness of it and equate it to hanging out with that really weird friend that talks mostly nonsense and then comes out with random gems of insight. It didn’t change my life, but it was definitely entertaining enough. I’m still a little foggy at the general purpose of the book, but sometimes that’s ok.

17: Preludes & Nocturnes - Neil Gaiman

Growing up, I had some serious love for Robert Smith, so, one day at the record store, when I came across a poster/drawing of a guy that reminded me exactly of the awesomeness of Robert Smith, I had to have it. That poster hung in my bedroom all through high school. It was a Sandman poster.

I had never read any of Gaiman’s novels and I wasn’t really into comic books/graphic novels. On a random Kindle shopping spree, I bought The Graveyard Book and loved it. It made me interested in the Sandman series. I bought this without knowing much about the story, what to expect, or if I was going to enjoy that type of reading. I was pleasantly surprised. I found the story really engrossing, was really intrigued by the mythological aspect, and was really inspired by all of the art work.

18: Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Friday night, I was flipping through my latest issue of Entertainment Weekly and was sucked in by an article discussing this book and Asher’s personal story. The book is about a suicide victim who leaves behind a collection of tapes that describe what happened to her and how each person fit into her story. While reading this, you feel all of the emotions that the narrator is going through as he listens to the tapes – you want to help her, yell at her, cry, get mad, and still somehow make it better. I’m really not sure how anyone could read it and not find themselves paying a bit more attention to their loved ones and friends.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Songs for learning and performing... (Sarah McLachlan & Simon and Garfunkel)

In my typical, overexcited, joyful exuberance, I have overextended myself. I am learning to play guitar. I love it and am excited to find that as I learn (at a very, very slow snail’s pace), I find it all that much more exciting and fun. Instead of focusing my full attention there, I decided that I also need to learn how to sing. I thought that the two would neatly fit together and fill my life with music. I love both things, but it’s a lot more work than I had considered. My fingers are torn up and my abs are killing me... in a sort of awesome, badass way. My picks this week are the songs that I’m currently working on.
Sarah McLachlan – Blackbird

This has got to be one of Paul McCartney’s most beautiful songs. It sounds simple, yet it is still musically complex. I’m working on this for my vocal lessons and would have picked The Beatles version, but the silence and singing birds really throw me off when trying to sing. Plus, I read somewhere that McCartney said that this song was perfect for McLachlan.

Simon and Garfunkel – I Am A Rock

Growing up, my friend Michael was so obsessed with this song. We’d have long discussions about music and he’d always tell me how he thought that this was the most miserable, dark, and lonely song and then he’d constantly play it. It shouldn’t make me laugh, but it reminds me of days helping him write songs (by picking random chords) via ICQ when he was away at college, and that one night he caught me singing along to Counting Crows and told me that I can really sing. So for me, it has a bit of a sweeter meaning and I like to think that maybe it’s more of a call for help and less about shutting everyone else out.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Songs for when my travels go wrong... (Simon & Garfunkel & The Smiths)

I spent the last week in denial that I had the flu Sadly, it finally took me down in the middle of my vacation to New York City. I crawled my way home early and spent the remainder of the holiday weekend hiding out in my bed. It wasn't so bad though. I got lost in a marathon of episodes of Medium and lots of sleep.
  Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound

Not until I was stranded, sick and alone is a big strange city did I fully understand the meaning of this song and just how much being home sick can completely take you over. Plus, when I feel down, bad, or whatever, nothing calms me and makes me feel safe quite like Paul Simon’s voice. Growing up, I would listen to my Simon & Garfunkel albums for hours while painting and writing and hanging out. They are a little bit of home to me.

The Smiths – This Charming Man

In general, I think The Smiths are considered a pretty depressing-sounding band, but it is impossible for me to listen to this song and not completely jam out and sing along… with my fake English accent and all. I think that I was born with love for both the Mozzer and Johnny Marr.