Tags: music

Heart & Key

Mix Tape

I had an idea. I remember reading a pop science book that when a class had to match a group of students with the top 10 songs on their iPod, they did so with remarkable accuracy. People have always considered music very representatives of themselves.

Since favorite music is a fairly accurate measure of a person, why not make a mix tape of some of your favorite songs, songs from the year you were born, songs from milestones in your life, songs you just have a connection to, whatever for someone you’re just starting to date?

You exchange mixes, listen to them and either call or meet up again to explain why you picked the songs you did. I think it might make dating a little more interesting and, frankly, enjoyable. I had an ex make me a random mix and I discovered several bands I now love that way.

Some of my songs would have to be:

The Only Exception by Paramore

This is a love song for cynics ergo I love it.

Only If For a Night by Florence + the Machine

I love the ethereal sound of this song.

Innocence by Halestorm

I really like this band and this is one of my favorite songs by them. It also comes across slightly better than “Love Bites (But So Do I)"

Awake and Alive by Skillet

I discovered this song at a Caps game when they cut video to it. Plus, it’s just a good song

When She’s On by Chris Young

I love the sentiment of this song plus I can sing along with it rather well if I do say so myself

This City feat. Lupe Fiasco by Patrick Stump

I am a Maryland girl born and bred. There are only 3 ways I’m leaving this state: witness protection, a job is throwing money at me, or a job is throwing money at my husband. I’ve listed this in order of likelihood.

Turning Tables by ADELE

I love songs about broken hearts because all the best ones come from real experience. They have an extra layer of emotion behind them. This one is no exception

These are definitely not the only ones I'd use and are subject to change as time goes by. If I ever try this in real life, I’ll report back.


Sing It to Me

I’ve been listening to a lot of good music lately so I am here to share more poetic pocket wisdom.

The more I do the less I know. –ADELE “Don’t You Remember”

Where is the edge of your darkest emotion? –Within Temptation, “Where Is the Edge”

If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won. –Mumford & Sons “I Gave You All”

I don’t own emotion, I rent. –RENT soundtrack, “What Do You Own”

It’s broken. I can’t let that hope in. –Mandy Moore, “Yo-Yo”

I struggle to find any truth in your lies. –Mumford & Sons “Awake My Soul”

I’ve broken my parachute. Well if gravity happens then I’ll fasten wings to my shoes. –Kate Voegele “Gravity Happens

Lend me your hand and we’ll conquer them all. Lend me your heart and I’ll just let you fall. –Mumford & Sons “Awake My Soul”

Raise your glass if you’re wrong in all the right ways. –P!nk “Raise Your Glass”

We’re outcasts only because we chose to dream. –House of Heroes, “God Save the Foolish Kings”

I’m right down the middle of all your dreams. –Stevie Nicks, “In Your Dreams”

Sympathy’s better than having to tell you the truth. –Anberlin, “(*Fin)”

You must know life to see decay. –Mumford & Sons “After the Storm”

Where is the light of your deepest devotion? –Within Temptation “Where Is the Edge”

Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead. –ADELE “Someone Like You”

Where you invest your love, you invest your life. –Mumford & Sons “Awake My Soul”

Forbidden Fruit

The 27 Club

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard that Amy Winehouse died. While I was saddened, I wasn’t particularly shocked. Winehouse was a very talented musician and I got my first introduction to her when my mother’s coworker gave me her Back to Black album. He was a big fan and knew I was into music so he decided to share the love.

I definitely enjoyed her music but it wasn’t all she was famous for. Some have tried to argue she was even more famous for her struggle with drugs and alcohol. Most of her career was spent with her going from one train wreck to another. It is really sad that, despite her musical skill, the last thing she did in the business was that awful concert in Serbia. At least that is not the only she’ll be remembered for.

Winehouse was 27 when she died which has lead to her induction into the 27 Club. Also known as the Forever 27 Club, it is a group of renowned musicians who died at the young age of (you guessed it) 27. The Club began when Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones (of The Rolling Stones), and Jim Morrison all died at the age in 27 between 1969 and 1971. Losing that much musical history that quickly and all of them the same age forever cemented them in this piece of pop culture history.

Other famous 27 Club members are Kurt Cobain, Robert Johnson, Ron McKerman, and Dave Alexander among others. Many have argued that Robert Johnson is the original member of the 27 Club since he died first and helped paved the way for all of the other musicians. Additionally, there is some debate over whether Kurt Cobain’s suicide was timed so he could become a member of rock n’ roll history in the 27 Club but it’s credence is limited.

Wikipedia has an extensive list of members in the 27 Club including Latin American and Russian performers/musicians. I don’t know if the 27 Club is culturally relevant in those places or if those members were added by their fans in Western culture.

Either way, these are all pieces of talent that were taken from us too soon. Let us hope they are still rocking out in that big arena in the sky.
Heart & Key

Music Man

I come bearing song quotes and a few thoughts on them.

Girls do what they want and boys do what they can – The Maine, “Girls Do What They Want”
Not a universal truth but definitely not inaccurate.

I am not a force to be reckoned with and you don’t have a clue who you’re messing with –Anna Nalick, “Bleed”
In addition to loving this quote, it’s very true about me.

Drunk off nothing but each other ‘til the sunrise, If true love hurts than this could almost kill me –Ke$ha “The Harold Song”

TV taught me how to feel now real life has no appeal –Marina and the Diamonds “Oh No!”
Remarkably (and depressingly) true about many in my generation

Before this turns to black let’s burn away our past and set this cruise control for crash –October Fall “If We’re All Alone Aren’t We in This Together”

I’m not asleep I’m not awake after the way you loved me –Adam Lambert “Sleepwalker”

I don’t want to be a footnote in someone else’s happiness –Fall Out Boy “Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet”

Nobody wants to be the one that’s full of hope –Better than Ezra “Briefly”

There’s more to living than being alive – Anberlin “Alexithymia”
I originally heard this as “There’s more to living than real life.” The meaning of the statement totally changes with that misheard lyric.

Tragic endings get remembered –October Fall “If We’re All Alone Aren’t We in This Together”

I noticed that truth and honesty are major overarching themes. It becomes particularly interesting when the various lyrics contradict one another and the statements still seem accurate.

We’re honest only cause the truth it cannot hide -House of Heroes, “God Save the Foolish Kings”

Honesty is what you need, It sets you free, Like someone to save you –OneRepublic “Someone to Save You”

The truth never set me free so I did it myself –Paramore, “Ignorance”

You can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming or the moment of truth in your lies. When everything feels like the movies, Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive. “Iris,” The Goo Goo Dolls

Honesty appears to be the close relative to truth since it is the human element. The truth doesn’t always tell itself. That’s our mission, should we choose to accept it.

Turning Tables

I've gotten into ADELE recently. She's an incredible English soul singer. Her current single is Rolling in the Deep which has a lot of power and drama. I always rock out when it comes on the radio. Fire to the Rain is another great song that has the same power but is simpler.

But my favorite from that album may be Turning Tables. It's a song about love and heartbreak (from me, shocker) and the unplugged version I've link isn't drastically different from the album version. The stand out sounds are her and the piano. The song has a lot of emotion and that's where it all comes from. It's absolutely worth a listen.
Sweet Lips

Song Challenge

I recently discovered the 30 Day Song Challenge on FB. The idea is that once a day for 30 days, you’ll post whatever song applies for the specification that day. Rather than inundate everyone who is my friend on FB, I’ll post it here. I enjoy music memes and I update my status entirely too much as it is anyway.

Day 01 - your favorite song
Breathe Me - Sia

Day 02 - your least favorite song
Rude Boy - Rihanna [It was a close one but I have always hated that song]

Day 03 - a song that makes you happy
Drumming Song - Florence + the Machine

Day 04 - a song that makes you sad
I Can’t Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt

Day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
Peacock - Katy Perry [Not quite what you’d think]

Day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
Chicago Is So Tow Years Ago - Fall Out Boy [Again, not what you’d think]

Day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
The Time Warp - RHPS Movie Cast

Day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
Mine All Mine - SHeDAISY

Day 09 - a song that you can dance to
Yeah! - Usher & Ludacris & Lil John [This says so much about my high school]

Day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
A Day Without Rain - Enya

Day 11 - a song from your favorite band
Bittersweet Life - My Favorite Highway

Day 12 - a song from a band you hate
Love the Way You Lie - Eminem

Day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
Tik Tok - Ke$ha

Day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
Today Was a Fairytale - Taylor Swift [This category is about half my music library but I’m not a romantic so this may just be it]

Day 15 - a song that describes you
Levon - Elton John [I don’t know if it describes me but I’ve always felt really connected to it]

Day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae [Overplayed to my ears beyond the point of recovery]

Day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
Written in the Stars - Tinie Tempah feat. Eric Turner

Day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
Levon - Elton John

Day 19 - a song from your favorite album
What You Own - Rent (Original Broadway Cast)

Day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
Headstrong - Trapt

Day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
U + Ur Hand - P!nk

Day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
Missing - Evanescence

Day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
Can You Feel the Love Tonight - Elton John [If I am sappy enough to get married, I’m going all out]

Day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door - Bob Dylan

Day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
White and Nerdy - Weird Al

Day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
4’33” - John Cage

Day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
These Two Hands - Hana Pestle

Day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
Let It Go - Cavo

Day 29 - a song from your childhood
It’s a Small World

Day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year
Iris - The Goo Goo Dolls

2011 Grammy Awards

The Grammys were last night and I watched them and some of E!’s red carpet coverage. I loved Katy Perry who brought her grandmother as a birthday present. They even gave her a bedazzled cane to match the Armani outfits Katy, Grammy, and Russell Brand were wearing. While Katy didn’t win, she did leave with a Grammy (she actually said this, I’m not making a bad pun all on my own). I saw Rihanna’s red carpet dress and it was like those little feather boas all over a sheer number. It definitely got her noticed.

I loved the opening performances which included Christina Aguilera (who remembered all the words, God bless teleprompters), Jennifer Hudson, Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine), Martina McBride and Yolanda Adams in a tribute to Aretha Franklin. She has been awarded many Grammys and has performed at several. She appeared via a live video feed because her cancer made her too ill to come. A great tribute to a great woman.

Justin Bieber’s performance was good. It had a lot going on with dancers and lights etc. I did like his OMG duet with Usher. Rihanna and Eminem’s performance was great. Eminem had his usual intensity (seriously, does that guy ever smile?) and Rihana had a lovely dress that definitely invoked the flames you see in the music video. I think my favorite performance that I saw was Cee Lo Green and surprisingly Gwyneth Paltrow. The best way I can describe the whole thing is Elton John meets Avenue Q/The Muppets and the whole thing is on acid. Paltrow did very well in her performance which I did not see coming. I know she was in Country Strong (which I still need to see) but this was definitely not country.

And I would be remiss not to mention Lady Gaga who arrived in a womb being carted around her dancers until she was ready to perform her brand new hit Born This Way. The last time I saw her perform at an Awards show it was Paparazzi and that involved drama, darkness, and copious amounts of fake blood. This one was a very happy, fun, and lively. Even the organ bit added to it. I think what she did with the incubation is a little nutty but that’s how it goes.

Katy Perry’s performance was just what I expected from her. It started with her ballad Not Like the Movies with her in a swing and her cute little dress having a massive train. The train became a video screen that projected footage from her wedding. I absolutely loved that! Then it turned into a Vegas style V-Day tribute when she performed Teenage Dream which she dedicated to all the V-Day lovers. Nicole Kidman even rocked out a little which was very cute. It was a good performance and definitely fit her last record.

I agree with a lot of the critics who didn’t expect Katy to win. While I love her record, it was fun and fluffy. Award boards likes things that are more concept and push boundaries. I’m glad she was nominated though. If her next album is as good but has more of the vibe of her songs Pearl and Who Am I Living For, she could win the next round.

Best new artist went to Esperanza Spalding which I did not see coming. I was rooting for either Florence + the Machine or Mumford and Sons, both of whom are different kinds of awesome. I’ve never really listened to Esperanza Spalding but I guess I’ll have to try her now. As for Arcade Fire’s album of the year, I tried it when iTunes had a sale and it didn’t strike a chord with me. This won’t be the first time I “just don’t get it” and it won’t be the last.

I liked that Miranda Lambert won for her category. I honestly did not see Lady Gaga’s win coming since hers was more of a mini-CD. Although Ke$ha did the same thing not too long ago. Are mini-albums between big releases going to be the new norm?

I did not expect Lady Antebellum to win in multiple categories. The country win didn’t surprise me because it’s a great song that strikes a chord with almost everybody (especially today of all days). You could tell they didn’t expect it either which made it sweeter.

And I have to say because I know I’m not the only one: I’m glad Justin Bieber didn’t win. He’s too new and too caught up in the fame for this to mean all that much right now. I think he’s story is great but a great story doesn’t make you worthy of a Grammy. If he was going to win, I’d much rather he won after his career was established and he turns out to have real staying power (less NSYNC which has completely vanished, more Usher who is still going strong).

I see parallels here with Taylor Swift. I love a good breakup song more than your average person but it’s all she really does. I think she needs to grow a bit more as an artist to get more critical attention. She started to on her last album and I think she’ll get there in time. Let’s see if Justin can’t follow suit.

I wish I’d seen more of the show (I still have that whole day job thing I need to sleep for). One thing I didn’t like was how many times they said “already a winner tonight” when talking about somebody else. When do they give out these awards, during the commercial breaks? Why are they not announced at all to the viewing public (which is half the reason for awards shows)? Can’t they have disembodied announcer voice throw in “and [blank] was awarded [blank] for best [blank] in between performances and commericials?

Alternative to Christian Music

I think that iTunes needs to do a better job of identifying Christian music. Some Christian bands do a good job of mixing in secular tunes with religious tunes which I think gives them more mass appeal. Take Anberlin and Plumb for instance. They are Christian bands and have Christian songs on their CDs but their music is a mix of non-religious and religious songs. I didn’t even realize Anberlin was a Christian band right away which I think is good since it also shows the band is multi-faceted and able to reach a wider audience.

However, I have encountered some bands where almost every song on the CD is Christian with the odd secular tune that seems to be some sort of fluke. As someone who can best be described as spiritual, this irks me. Since iTunes has lengthened the song samples to about a minute, it’s easier to catch now.

Now before I go far enough to offend somebody, I would like to say that I’m sure Christian music has plenty of valuable things to say and can be just as artistic, musically complicated, and otherwise awesome as secular music. I just don’t want to find that out without my consent.

In the past, I have been unpleasantly surprised. I love music but I don’t want to spend 9-13 tracks of a CD listening to someone praise their god when that’s not what I signed up for. Now if it was clearly advertised and I just missed it, that’s my bad but it usually isn’t.

I think we should implement a 25% rule for this sort of thing. If more than 25% of the tracks on the album, EP, and/or extended single are overtly Christian in theme, it needs to billed as Christian music, not rock or alternative.

Just because rock band X does 3 country covers on rock album Y doesn’t make it a country album and vice versa. Just because House of Heroes does a few Beatles covers (and does them well I will admit), doesn’t make them alternative if all their other stuff is Christ-centric. They clearly kick it Jesus style with their music so please advertise this. Jesus is cool and all but I don’t like being Christ ambushed.

Would You Hold It Against Me? I Just Might...

Britney Spears just released a new single that I heard for the first time on the radio this morning. It’s called “Would You Hold It against Me.” It’s got a very synth/techno feel which is different from her previous stuff and is very popular for Top 40 songs right now. I think that after all the drama she’s had in the past few years she’s trying very hard to stay relevant. It’s been said that she doesn’t have her own signature sound but rather goes with whatever trend is hot at the time. I think this is completely true but she tends to do those trends pretty well.

The song title comes from the lyrics that emulate that fantastically lame pick up line “If I said I want your body, would you hold it against me?” One of modern pop’s greatest royalty is resorting to that? Really? When I heard it I laughed out loud because that line would get any man shot down and few women have the nerve to pull it off. Britney might be one of them but that doesn’t make it as catchy or enjoyable as “Circus” or “Womanizer.”

Parts of the song really reminded me of a song off her Circus album “Shattered Glass.” The beats were almost identical and I can’t imagine the music was all that different because Spears doesn’t have that much range. I don’t think she will pull a full on Daughtry and have all her songs sound alike but I just couldn’t ignore it. Her new single was like “Shatter Glass” meets “Time of My Life” by the Black Eyed Peas.

My overall feeling was “meh.” I didn’t like it that much. Neither “Circus” nor “Womanizer” were particularly brilliant but they were catchy and fun. I just didn’t feel that way with this. Maybe some of her forthcoming singles will be better.