Sunday, August 31, 2008

stuff that life is made of

"the not-knowings, not-understandings, and not-endings are part of the mystery of life, the things that keep us all guessing."

ghosts of block island ~ fran migliaccio

will you feel better

better (radio cut, alternate video) ~ regina spektor
better ~ regina spektor

"born like sisters to this world,
in a town where blood ties are only blood.
if you never say your name out loud to anyone,
they can never ever call you by it.

if i kiss you where it's sore,
if i kiss you where it's sore,
will you feel better, better, better?
will you feel anything at all?"

i adore regina. her songs are made of that stuff that lies between the dark and the sweet, the heartbreaking and the falling in love, the optimism and the jaded. she sings like she's lived in this world as a real girl, with skinned knees and a hopeful heart. her songs are the kind that i want to play over and over again, sing-a-long loudly to, and slip into music mixes that i make for people.

doesn't it make you feel better?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

this is my four leaf clover

head over heels ~ tears for fears (video, donnie darko)
head over heels ~ tears for fears

kate and i used to spend any extra money we had, or any holiday money, at record stores. we had a system, we never bought the same albums (though I suppose there may have been an exception here and there), because in many ways the collection we had as individuals were shared between us. we would carry our stacks home and invariably go to one or the other's houses, and make copies of each other's.

i suppose it was how we were with clothing and fashion. we never had much money, but we knew how to make the most of it, and we knew how to blend what we did have with each other. and yet, even though we shared so much (and as close as we've always been as friends) we always managed to still be our own person, or look like unique selves. even our music collections, and the records we carried home, were individual to our tastes and sensibilities.

this album, songs from the big chair, was one in her collection. i can vividly remember sitting on her bedroom floor, with my back leaned up against her bed, holding the album in my hands as we listened to it. this was the song i fell in love with.

the video, in the library, reminded me of lunches when a few of us at my high school would hide out in the back corner of our much smaller library. we'd sit up against the stacks of world books and encyclopedias, filling out slam books or paging through magazines. tom in his green sweater, the one i always remember him in, lisa sketching eyes and band names on the backs of her notebooks, or the sides of her shoes. none of us wanted to go back to the hallways, or into another classroom - but we were too afraid to leave.

sometimes it seems so long ago, and other times, it seems like just weeks passed from then until now. music brings those kinds of memories right back.

(i love how this song was used in donnie darko, it just fit - so perfectly)

Friday, August 29, 2008

to know me as hardly golden

the funeral ~ band of horses (video, live on david letterman)
the funeral ~ band of horses

"i'm coming up only to hold you under,
i'm coming up only to show you wrong;
and to know you is hard and we wonder,
to know you all wrong, we were."

ever have on of those songs that you've heard occasionally, or even often, but only in the background kind of way? what i mean is, you've heard it, you recognize it, you might even be able to name the band (or recall it when someone says "oh this? this is...", as you nod in recognition). but, you never really heard the song; it never truly made an impact.

and then one day you are riding in a car and the song comes on. perhaps your senses are more alert, or maybe you are just open enough where everything around you - a story being told, words said (or not said), the shapes of buildings you pass, the shadows cast in the mid-day sun, and the song that is streaming through the speakers. for whatever reason, on this day you actually hear it.

this exchange, it forges a connection, and the song becomes part of the moment, and the moment becomes part of the song. without warning, or provocation, the music is sewn into your memories. it is a little bit like falling in love.

this song should be played loudly, while driving aimlessly, in the middle of a hot afternoon - very loudly - at least once.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

sleepyhead where did you go

altogether ~ slowdive

shoegaze, dream pop, space rock, ambient; these are the terms that come up when the band slowdive is talked, or written about. i push replay on my music player and listen again, trying to see all those descriptions in the sounds. for me what i hear and feel is ethereal, sensual, and nocturnal. i close my eyes and imagine a dark room lit only by the twinkle-flicker of candles, the slight scent of vanilla in the air (from the candles maybe, or a stick of incense). the music tastes like a rich red wine, the kind that you drink slowly, the feeling of it trickling down your throat warming, and slightly hypnotic - like this song, like this sound.

to me it matters more how the music feels to me, then what bucket i can drop the sound into. i'm not very keen on labels, not in my life, not in music, not in anything really. even with films, my favorites are usually in some grey area that exists between the genre categories. perhaps my aversion to labels is why i struggle with writing proper music reviews (or any other type of review). i turn the music to inward, i think, and then the only things i can think to say, or write, are about my experience with the music - or what it brings out for me; memories, images, dreams. i suppose that makes my connection with music very self-indulgent, but it is what it is; the connection makes me happy.

this song, it soothes me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

i know i'm not forgiven

this night ~ black lab

this song sounds like the way the middle of the night feels, when you are sleepless, weighted down with some kind of sorrow. there is that moment, within the context of grief, when you realize that something is over; but you are still here, you are the one left standing (or staggering). sometimes in that middle of the night desperation we play tricks on our mind, and our heart, to get through it.

sometimes it is a scrolling list, just inside our half-closed eyelids, that reminds us of what we did wrong, and what we did right. we convince ourselves that we did our best, that we were brave to try at all. and, of course, we see the tell-tale slashes of where we think we failed.

all those conversations we play in our heads, the things we should have said. i know i'm always so much clever hours later, when i replay scenarios - it is there that i am witty, unforgettable, and wise.

also, this part of the song, something about it recalls sinatra's infamous my way. and, when i press repeat, and listen again, i also hear sid vicious' cover, and the way i kept playing that version over and over when i was nineteen.

at first listen i also thought this song feels so cinematic, so dramatic, so made to be part of a film's soundtrack. though, looking through youtube it seems it was used for promotional spots for a season of the shield.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

& the vampires roam

building a mystery (album version, video) ~ sarah mclachlan

"you're a beautiful,
a beautiful fucked up man."

the stories continue, whether we choose to write them, or not. i close my eyes to sleep and the characters dance in my head, nudging at me, persistent and unshakeable. i never remember it any different from this - i think i was writing before i knew how to hold a pen.

just like music, and my ability to love, the drive to write has always been with me.

i don't think i'd ever want it any other way.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

things that i never said

"you could have just propped me up on the table like a mannequin,
or a cardboard stand-up and paint me (paint me),
any face that you wanted me,
to be seen.

we're damned by the existential moment where,
we saw the couple in the coma,
and it was,
we were the cliche,
but we carried on anyway.

so, sure, i could just close my eyes.
yeah, sure, trace and memorize,
but can you go back once you know?

(you don't know me)
you don't know me at all
(you don't know me)
you don't know me at all
(at all)."

marks & memory

keep art alive; art by joshua petker

alice ~ the sisters of mercy

marks & memory

all the books on the shelf,
all of them were mine.
but she left her mark on each one,
each page,
each line that she highlighted in pink pen or
her way of remembering,
of pronouncing importance and available logic.

these are the things she left behind:
markings between bent and dog-eared pages,
and the beading around the scars of my soul.

i am growing older now,
the weeds of time are choking my identity and luster.
i need to mow down the barriers that i built alone.

i guess i let her peer through the trellis walls.
once or twice or maybe a bit more.
she turned on the blinkers and turned right into me
well, i let her, didn't i?

and now i wonder if it was all just a ploy,
a way to get my attention and my coffee bean tree,
a way to step inside and mess things up,
then walk away.


i have places to go,
these boxes to pack,
a train to catch and ride and forget on.

like i could ever forget her.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

you know i can't let you slide through my hands

wild horses ~ the rolling stones

wild horses (cover) ~ the sundays

"i watched you suffer,
a dull, aching pain,
and now you've decided to show me the same.
no sweeping exits,
or offstage lines,
can make me feel bitter, or treat you unkind."

the original is one of my favorite songs, and the cover by the sundays is a musical snapshot of a certain time in my life. it was summertime, near this time of year, and i was back living at home more by consequence of clumsy decisions then anything near choice. i was chasing after an dreamed up wish for peace, and running away from myself - as usual.

we sat on the floor, legs tucked into ourselves, knees touching as we faced each other. you passed a half-smoked joint to me and i made a face. you said it had been too many days, that i was keyed up - that we both were, and that it would help. i laughed. nothing really helped in those days.

you were teaching yourself to play guitar. i noticed it leaning against the wall, and smiled. "everyone i have ever loved has played guitar." you tilted your head then, looking at me with a funny expression, and asked

"do you love me?"

i whispered, "no."

you stood up and crossed over to the guitar, cradling it like a child in your arms. you sat on the edge of the bed and started to play, your eyes closing, shutting the world out, and disappearing. i knew the song immediately, and sang it softly to myself.

"wild horses, couldn't drag me away."

Friday, August 15, 2008

do you miss me

"next door the TV's flashing,
blue frames on the wall,
it's a comedy of errors, you see,
it's about taking a fall.
to vanish into oblivion is easy to do,
and i try to be,
but you know me,
i come back when you want me to."

i woke this morning with this song heavy in my consciousness, cloying, penetrating, like the oppressive warmth of the humid room, and the dry-from-thirst feeling in the back of my throat. i dream of songs sometimes, or at least they play their part, stroking my hair and nudging the surreal plot along. the dream, well its contents are hazy and i can only see the sketched outline of movement and feelings, as if i walked into a room right as the television is switched off, and all i see is the fading images, disappearing. is that what missing looks like then? the visuals switching off as our eyes narrow, trying to capture what we still want to see?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

i want to paint secrets

missive swirl

spread it out, spread it thin,
here it is.
this broken down heart,
this pleading sense of peace.
i want to drive circles around the how and why,
becoming the things of dreams,
or at least something more, something cascading.

i want to rip this mask off the face in the mirror,
even if it rips my skin clean off,
leaving drops of who i was in the sink,
drizzle, dripping, dry.
i want to stand in front of the world and admit everything,
and nothing.
that i was wrong with all of it,
and saw the warning signs along the road.

(they were right)

but here i am twisting and turning through this big fade,
my beloved crumbling eternal mess.
i want to sweep it all up in a brown paper box,
tissue paper, penny for luck, tuck it inside.
i want to fasten it to the underside of a demon,
or attach it to an angel wing,
whoever is the highest bidder,
or the losing straw.

which are you?

i'm this precious doubt, yes,
and i'm this burning sense of wish and must.
i want to lose all of it, some of it, none of it,
stand across the sea and dive as deep as i can, sink, sigh.
cloud my eyes with water, read the contents of all i already know.
we're losing you, young lady. speak up. say it again,
i can hear them already.

they spell it out to you.

my kaleidoscope baby,
my razorback girl,
you enter and exit the motions in me, emotions.
leaving marks with crayon.
on the interior of my eyes, my soul.
you read me.

i want to paint secrets on your toenails,
draw a map to a greasy spoon diner on your back, with pixie stick sugar.
let's climb to the top of the hello kitty factory,
search for our twin star, our scented life eraser.
scream mistakes and memories, lyrics to songs stuck in your head,
or just i love you's.

words don't come easily

baby, can i hold you ~ tracy chapman

is all that you cant say,
years gone by and still,
words dont come easily;

like sorry,
like sorry."

there are more than a billion words in the english language, and any number of other languages, i would like to hear today except for i'm sorry. and i thought "i love you" was overused and under-meant, but truly "i'm sorry" takes the cake. there is only two people who i think i could hear it from and think it genuine, but then again, i'm not even sure on that.

maybe we should all try instead to live our life in a way that reduces the need to use those two words.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

& you walk in the night

islands in the stream ~ feist & the constantines

"slowly losing sight of the real thing."

one of the best cover songs i've heard in a very long time. the original was never a favorite of mine, reminds me too much of my childhood, and pieces of it that i'd sooner like to forget. but this version takes it apart and puts it back together, turning it into something new, and rather beautiful.

hiding the tears in my eyes

keep art alive; art by james jean

a small excerpt of an adolescence

dark black swirls around in spiral s’s and y’s spin down the bathroom sink drain. the clock reads 6:53 p.m. while ‘the perfect way’ trickles in and out of sound grasp. my head dunks in and out, as the faucet begins to run cold.

how long have I been in here?

how long have i been rinsing and repeating?

how long has my mind been re-tracing the past four years of hell and high-water, or just high school?

they say this is where the story ends, or begins (who are they, anyway?).

and, here i am. hair dangling and dripping down my neck, my shoulders. black as midnight, as death, as mom would say. but my cheeks are flushed red as cherry pie. the steam overtaking the room, it nearly suffocates me, drawing me into a dizzy, dreamlike haze. i like the look of me this way, foggy. the effect is almost like staring out into the world with squinted eyes. i’m there somewhere, in all the shadows and black outlines. blurred. i think i like my life a little bit out of focus; upside down, misplaced.

he was supposed to call tonight. we had outfits to discuss, and a sanity plea. he said he had things to be spoken, bled out in words and music; we both know how to blend the two, how to weave together lyrics and language. it makes sense to us. underwater i can’t really hear the lack of ringing, with the music on i can pretend to just drown. to drift away. i can block out the rumors that i try (and fail) at ignoring. people like to talk about everything, don't they? lies are so appealing. but no one knows us, none of us, not really.

i want to wear his t-shirt tonight, i want to sleep in it. the one with the fins painted on them, on the back, from the night we'd snuck back into the theatre building. it helps to be a teacher’s pet sometimes, i'd pointed out. all those good grades and mocking echoes, well, they got us in that night, didn't they? sitting backstage on the dusty floor, side by side, our knees touching.

"make me magic, louise. turn me into something beautiful".

and i did. paint stained my hands, glitter and make-up. i tore up costume dresses and fashioned them into wings. we sketched wings on my jacket, fins on your shirt. it was all splashed colors, arms and legs, and lips. we stopped being bodies, even, becoming just some kind of molecular beings that needed to be intertwined. ‘boys don’t cry’ was playing in the background.

i stopped hearing the music now, only scratches, and then nothing but air. silence is always too heavy, too laden with expectation and unknown. no one is back home yet, there are still so many hours to go. yet as i open the door i feel footsteps. i sense the eys, the hands. a shallow knot of not being able to breathe hangs in the back of my throat, and settles deep in my chest. cold zigzag lines of water slip under the towel's edge, snaking down my now arched back. everything seems to be moving slowly, languidly, painfully so. the water is almost tickling me, taunting me, trying to distract my fear. but, then i feel the eyes again - and breathing (is that me? is it someone else?)

my room seems miles away. the long hallway stretches out in front of me, growing exponentially, like in those saturday morning cartoons. but, i know which way the mallet lands, and i know i won't get back up this time.

dirty & sweet, clad in black (oh yeah)

what exactly do you make of "a hub cap diamond star halo"?

this song reminds me of slithery boys met in sidewalk lines and dark hallways. it makes me want to close my eyes and spin (or something).

Monday, August 11, 2008

but i have the sense to recognize

what ravages of spirit
conjured this temptuous rage
created you a monster
broken by the rules of love

and fate has led you through it
you do what you have to do
and fate had let you through it
you do what you have to do

but i have the sense to recognize
that i don't know how
to let you go

every moment marked
with apparitions of your soul
i'm ever swiftly moving
trying to escape this desire

the yearning to be near you
i do what i have to do
the yearning to be near you
i do what i have to do

but i have the sense to recognize
that i don't know how
to let you go

i don't know how
to let you go

a glowing ember
burning hot
burning slow
deep within i'm shaken by the violence
of existing for only you

i know i can't be with you
i do what i have to do
i know i can't be with you
i do what i have to do

and i have the sense to recognize
that i don't know how
to let you go

i don't know how to let you go

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I knew this place was never the place for me

"don't give me that face
i know when i should live in disgrace
not dig up the deadwood
i knew this place was never the place for me

and of the years that rolled by
yeah some were so good
but now i know that
you were the coward
the holes in your soul
in tatters for all these years

but you can't see it that way

a way, a way
we'll have it today
the dancing ones they really mean it
and mark my words
something's gonna change

sometimes i forget how much i love this.

I've learned to listen through silence

album version (video)
album version (song)

between the lines ~ sara bareilles

"time to tell me the truth
to burden your mouth for what you say
no pieces of paper in the way
cause i cant continue pretending to choose
the opposite sides on which we fall
the loving you laters if at all
no right minds could wrong be this many times

my memory is cruel
i'm queen of attention to details
defending intentions if he fails
until now,
he told me her name
it sounded familiar in a way
i could have sworn i'd heard him say it ten thousand times
if only i had been listening

leave unsaid unspoken
eyes wide shut unopened
you and me
always between the lines
between the lines

i thought i thought i was ready to bleed
that we'd move from the shadows on the wall
and stand in the center of it all
too late two choices to stay or to leave
mine was so easy to uncover
he'd already left with the other
so i've learned to listen through silence

leave unsaid unspoken
eyes wide shut unopened
you and me be
you and me always be

i tell myself all the words he surely meant to say
i'll talk until the conversation doesn't stay on
wait for me i'm almost ready
when he meant let go

leave unsaid unspoken
eyes wide shut unopened
you and me
always be
you and me
always between the lines"

& it's hard to hold a candle in the cold November Rain

"when i look into your eyes,
i can see a love restrained.
but darlin' when i hold you,
don't you know i feel the same?"

since the song last night mentioned this song i thought i'd listen to it, and put it up today. guns n' roses are very much a part of a certain time in my life in such a way that their songs almost carry along with them a snapshot album of memories, of car rides, of a certain brand of cigarette, a scent of perfume, a drug of choice, and the feel of the summer sun hot through the windshield window.

a love restrained? a shared feeling of restrained love? not much of a love song, is it?

and the cheesy-quotient is turned up high with holding a candle (keeping the fire going) in the cold november rain (the pre-winter of our discontent). but as regina says, "that solo's awful long, but it's a pretty song."

Monday, August 4, 2008

this is how it works

"this is how it works,
you're young until you're not,
you love until you don't,
you try until you can't,
you laugh until you cry,
you cry until you laugh,
and everyone must breathe,
until their dying breath.

no, this is how it works,
You peer inside yourself,
you take the things you like,
and try to love the things you took,
and then you take that love you made,
and stick it into some someone else's heart,
pumping someone else's blood,
and walking arm in arm,
you hope it don't get harmed.

but even if it does,
you'll just do it all again.

and on the radio,
you hear november rain,
that solo's awful long,
but it's a good refrain,
you listen to it twice,

'cause the dj is asleep."

i think i've posted this song before, but some days i re-discover lyrics, take them in and they are re-defined. this song is today, tonight really. i played in the park tonight with the kids, got caught in the sprinklers, and got so wet we had to ring out our clothes. it was in that moment - when the choice was to get upset to have gotten wet, or to laugh and find the bliss in it at all that a lightbulb went on. you know those kinds of moments - the ones where you realize what it is you need in this life, and what matters to you in another person.

it is not something i would call a deal-breaker, but it is something i take notice of, and in a way it is something so important to me. people who can dance in the rain, who can get drenched and laugh about it, who can find the bliss in the mundane, in the accidental, in the could be catastrophe. and i like people who like getting wet.

that might sound silly, or it might sound dirty actually, but i know how i mean it and what it means to me.

I'm spinning on a dime

"on your third broken window,
with your hair full of glass,
saw your clothes in the hallway,
just a curtain on your back.
i laugh.

are there heart strings connected,
to the wings you've got slapped on your back?
better climb in the window cause,
i'm closing the door."

happy birthday, bree.

i'm wishing and hoping this is the best year in your life, so far.
wish i was there to celebrate with you.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

black holes and revelations

"my life,
you electrify my life,
let's conspire to re-ignite,
all the souls that would die just to feel alive."

still lost in the pages of breaking dawn, and wrestling with the urge to race through it so i can talk to a few people about it (who have all already finished it), or to savor it, letting myself linger in the story just a little longer. though i feel lit up and inspired to write myself, and to get out and see more of the world - and to devour more words and feelings and life in the process. it is hard to explain, and as i mentioned before i am not sure i want to explain, just that i feel more alive and more full of love.

i remember hearing this song for the first time, and being mistaken on who the artist was. i was attracted to the song at first, but i never felt the song as much as i do now. i suppose there is the connection to the books, and the stories - and the way the band's songs seem to just capture the emotions and feelings of it all. and maybe it is where my life and feelings are at right now, as well. not just this song, others by muse, but today it is this one specifically.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

if you're a thought you will want me to think you, and i do, and i did

"what do you plan to do with all your stories"

spent the last night late night awaiting the last book in the twilight series (well, the supposed last, i am still hoping for midnight sun). i am influenced so heavily by music, by the vivid play of sound and vision that plays between the blinking of my lashes as i read a book that takes me - and yes, these books have taken me.

i suppose they have more than taken me, they have actually returned me to myself, connected me closer to my daughter, and woken me up. it is hard to explain, and i am not sure i wish to bother explaining, how a set of young adult books gave me back pieces of myself - all i know is that they have.

typical me, i have been building playlists and mixes to accompany the books, jules and i both have, and this is one that seems to be nudging at me to include in the yet to be finished breaking dawn soundtrack. and now i return to reading - excuse me while i let myself get a little lost in pages this weekend.

Friday, August 1, 2008

i put my hands where your wings should be

maybe an angel (live) ~ heather nova (video)

"something i feel,
you are an angel,
or maybe you couldve been.
something out here,
you are an angel,
or maybe you couldve been."

the cd came out of a bin of dropped off promotions from one of the record labels i worked with. this was back when i was still a buyer at tower records. i played it over the stereo speakers, on the sales floor, early one morning before the store opened. we were stocking for a new release tuesday and the in-store artist was hanging up some of his work in one of the windows. i was unpacking cardboard long boxes of cd-singles. this song came on and we both stopped what we were doing - and listened.

it was the live version we played that morning - the best version, if you ask me. he came over, and pressed repeat and smiled at me.

"i think we need to hear that again."