Tag Archives: music

Free.

This weekend I escaped walls and running water and pretentiousness and went to Camp Euforia with my friend Laurie to cover the event for her blog, DSMVibe.

Maybe I will go into more detail later, or at the least link back to another blog post, but all I can say for now is, although not my scene, it was such a welcome change of pace. I needed open air, tents, kind strangers, dancing, and hula hoops more than I thought I did.

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Kick It!

Today I realized I was more of a Beastie Boys fan than I realized.

Wait. Let me take that back.

Fifteen minutes ago, I realized I was more of a Beastie Boys fan than I realized.

Earlier this afternoon, I found out via twitter and Facebook (like many of us) that Adam Yauch aka MCA of the Beastie Boys passed away today from cancer. And I acknowledged this was sad, but went on with my day. He had lived a great, meaningful life and while it is always sad when someone goes before their time, it was just another celebrity passing.

But then as I was driving home from work, something strange happened. “Brass Monkey” came on the radio and I felt a tear fall from my eyes. And then another. And soon they were consistently streaming. And then came that feeling in the back of my throat and the pit of my stomach where I felt a full-on BAWLING coming on.

This shocked the hell out of me.

I hate crying. Well, I like crying about stuff that doesn’t matter (like last night while watching a particularly sad episode of One Tree Hill). But I try to man up and handle the “real stuff.” You see, that’s what happens when you become known as the kid who cries a lot when in school: you either cry some more or you suck it up. I chose to suck it up.

But what did this mean for me? Well, you see, the Beastie Boys have been a constant for me at every stage of my life. Being born in 1982, I’ve been along for pretty much the entire ride. As a small child, my Dad used to sing (well, scream) “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)” at me. We didn’t have cable, but we would go to my parents’ friends’ houses to watch MTV and Beastie Boys videos. We sang the songs on the playground in elementary school. In middle school Ill Communication came out and I’d spent summer days at my grandparents’ (still no cable) waiting to see the “Sabotage” video and thinking it was the coolest thing ever (it still pretty much is). I remember finally purchasing my own copy of License to Ill in high school and having it in constant rotation in my car. I remember my friend Mok pretty much BEING the Beastie Boys, at least in my head. And “Intergalactic” . . . !!! It was EVERYWHERE. Then college came and while there weren’t as many new songs taking over my life, an even greater appreciation for their work was developed. And in law school there was the party where Blake, Kevin, and Ian came dressed as the “Sabotage” video, complete with briefcases.

You can’t deny the influence and the presence.

While always a fan but never a SUPERFAN or an OMG I HAVE THEIR ENTIRE CATALOG OMG OMG person, the loss of MCA and the loss of the Beastie Boys as I knew them does create a void in my life, like it or not.

 

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In My Head.

Most mornings, I wake up with a song in my head. Totally randomly. I don’t have a music alarm clock and I don’t listen to music as I fall asleep. It just pops in there some time between slumber and morning. And it’s usually totally random.

One week, far longer ago than I should probably admit, I decided to track what was in my head every morning.

Monday

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“Kookaburra” – Yes, I started the week with this infectious nursery rhyme from grade school in my head. And I was truly evil and let people know and then they had it in their heads. MUAHAHA.

Tuesday

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“I Love You More Today than Yesterday” by Spiral Staircase – Seriously?! How the hell did this get in my head?! Ok, so this song is really awesome. My sleep-self must be super awesome.

Wednesday

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“Are You that Somebody?” by Aaliyah feat. Timbaland – This did not surprise me at all, seeing as during this timeframe it was in my head more than it was not (baby noise).

Thursday 

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“Stronger” by Kanye West – My sleepself must also be part robot. Me likey.

Friday

“Talk that Talk” by Rihanna feat. Jay-Z – Yup, no idea. A song I’ve only really listened to in passing. Yay passive listening inserting itself into your brain.

Saturday

“Hello, My Baby” – Three letters: WTF.

Sunday

“Take Care” by Drake feat. Rihanna – Totally understand this: I just love the song.

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No shame. Ever.

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Priorities.

I dreadfully regret to inform myself that I am getting old and my priorities are changing.

What I am talking about here, specifically, is music.

When I was younger, particularly while in college, music was life. Common musical interest was the basis for my friendships and attraction. Music was always on and I was always discovering new bands or new reasons to listen to old favorites. It was the age of the “scene kids” where your scene (emo, hardcore, twee, metal, goth) defined you. “Hipster” wasn’t so much a term thrown around like it is today, though looking back I know of at least once scene that would be what we today call hipsters.

Fortunately I have grown from that scene mentality and have evolved into being more open-minded. But that doesn’t mean I want all the magic of that era to be gone.

One of the disadvantages (meant in the most loving way possible ever) to my part-time job is working with high schoolers. There is very little common ground and vast differences in maturity/work ethic in most cases. Then there are the constant reminders that I do not fit into that world anymore.

Last night, one of my coworkers (17 years old) was commenting on the repetitive Christmas music and stated this was torture for her as music is her life. And when she said this, she had such a look of seriousness on her face and I could see tears forming as she passionately talked about the bands she loves and the instruments she plays.

At some point, I lost this.

I lost this feeling that music is all and music is the golden standard.

Nowadays, I find myself listening to the pop station while in my car because it easier and mindless. I seem to only discover music through happenstance or having it handed to me by friends. I’ve asked others how they keep up with music and the answers I’ve been given make it seem more like a job than a pleasure bringer.

What happened to the joy of discovery? Is it really this much work for a grown up with a job to find new music?

When it comes down to it, I realize my priorities have shifted. Whereas in the past music was essentially my #1 priority, now it isn’t even ranked. Not that I don’t still genuinely love and care for music, but I’ve got other things to worry about. I can’t spend all my money on new releases and forgotten treasures. I can’t stay out late every night catching bands in town or travelling to neighboring cities to catch shows. When I get home from work, I don’t want to spend  my time scouring blogs and reviews to find something I might like. I mean I want to, but I really don’t want to.

Just another part of growing up we never thought would happen but find ourselves in the middle of and wondering how we got there.

 

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Things I’m Digging: The Weeknd

On my radar for a while but having not yet really jumped in, I finally gave an in-depth listen to The Weeknd this week–and haven’t been able to stop. Much like my perfect mix, this is music.lights.blankets. music. But also so much more.

The Weeknd is this Canadian dude, Abel Tesfaye, who was not even alive in the 80s. Seriously. Born in 1990. Which still seems so odd to me and is just another sign that I must be getting old . . . back on task. While an album has not yet been released, there have been two mixtapes released this year and a third on the way. You can download them for free on the website.

First of all, dude states he was directly influenced by R. Kelly’s “Down Low” to become a musician. This speaks to me on so many levels. Mostly I can relate as I myself am a member of a prominent R. Kelly cover band, Our Kelly, but on a broader level there is really no denying the talent of (pre-Trapped in the Closet) R. Kelly.

The music. The very first track on House of Balloons, “High for This,” pulled me in with its melancholy, not quite surreal, 808 beats much like Kanye did with “808s and Heartbreak.” (That album just means so much to me. Deal with it.) Then you add the vocals, vocals of a type you don’t really encounter being delivered so effectively and deliberately these days. A dream-like, R&B melody built upon beats from the state half between sleep and waking; half between wanting and needing. It’s this feeling I may not be able to put perfectly in words, but that I can perfectly feel. Dark, beautiful music, that almost sparkles. Music you almost don’t want to share with anyone.

I have a love for cheesy pop and hip-hop that I am not afraid to own up to. The Weeknd is not cheesy, but the lyrics echo of the same elements that bring my love for that cheesy pop and hip-hop to fruition. Talk of knocking your boots off, little ladies, bitches, and getting faded make me nod my head rather than chuckle. I feel sad, I feel hopeless, I feel everything!

It’s like this: I’m trapped somewhere with very little light and it’s not cold but certainly not warm. The walls are stone and the only sounds are these faraway beats and haunting voice bouncing off the walls. And instead of feeling cold and empty, I feel almost okay with the darkness. Oh yeah–and there is no ceiling and I can see a pitch black sky with the brightest stars.

While writing reviews may not be my forte (so what if I describe albums what type of place it makes me think of?!), my convictions are strong with this one. If this post at least makes you think, “hmmm maybe that’s worth a listen” then I have done something right. If you still need convincing, check out Justin’s review of House of Balloons. He’s better at this stuff than me. Maybe some day I’ll be able to sync up this device with my brain and pull out the essence of the feeling this band gives me, but today is not the day. Hopefully these words will do those feelings at least half the justice they deserve.

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It came to my attention today that my friend Cass does a “Things I’m Digging” feature on her blog.  Guess  I must have been influenced by the afternoon I spent reading her blog! Check her stuff out for a great take on wellness, creativity, and self-awareness.

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