Daily Song Challenge: Days 13, 14, and 15

…..and welcome back! I really do hope you all have been enjoying this series, and would love to hear from you all on songs that you would apply to all of these categories! Please feel free to share. There are few things I enjoy more than discovering new music!

days131415

Day 13: A song that is a guilty pleasure

I knew when I posted the last entry that the next song title on my list would have to be a “guilty pleasure” and I’ve been spending quite a bit of free time over the last few days trying to figure out if I had a guilty pleasure. I am of the opinion that if you love a song, you should love it, and not feel bad for doing so, so the concept of a “guilty pleasure” bothers me. The whole idea that you love this one thing, while the rest of the world hates it and thus you’re left feeling bad about it is troublesome. So. Guilty pleasure? I personally don’t have one. I love a song the rest of the world appears to hate, but I don’t feel bad about it. Starship’s “We Built This City” was a song I grew up with, and the idea that a city had been built on rock and roll was a source of inspiration. Can you imagine? A city where rock and roll is church. Where the culture is built around rock and roll. I wanna live in that city. I’m not going to post the video proper, as most of the world is well familiar with the song. Instead, I’m sharing the Rock of Ages clip that uses it. When I first watched Rock of Ages and saw this clip, I about died. I LOVE THIS SEQUENCE. So much. Fight me, I dare you. (Ok. Don’t. I’m a terrible fighter.)

Day 14: A song no one would expect you to love

So….y’know that song, “Shake it off” by Taylor Swift? I really like that song. When done by Screaming Females.

True story: I don’t listen to a lot of radio. Mainly because I’m a pedestrian and public transit user 99% of the time, so I don’t listen to music in a car, which is where most people still listen to radio. So when Swift came out with “Shake it off” it never crossed my radar. But I’d been following the AV Club’s Undercover series on youtube and the premise of it is so fantastic. They have a list of songs, they invite bands into their space, and the bands choose a song and it’s crossed off the list forever more. The results are spectacular. G.W.A.R. covering Kansas’ “Wayward Son.They Might Be Giants covers Destiny’s Child classic “Bills, Bills, Bills.” Iron and Wine covering G.W.A.R. 

There are so many rad covers.

Including this one. Which if I had the option of paying money for, oh would I. And I’d probably listen to it every day. Because I’m sorry Swift, but this song was made for Marissa Paternoster’s vocals. When I finally did hear the real song, there was a very odd sense of deja vu and the song is great….but Screaming Females did it best.

 

Day 15: A song that describes you

Out of all my favorite songs, each which I love for very personal reasons, what song describes this being that is “me”? What a peculiar question. But I have an answer. And I’m going to share it and the runner up.

The first song is obvious. Look at the title of this blog. “When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution.” Sound familiar? It should. I have long been inspired by the riot grrrl movement and the song “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill is a song that inspires me still. It’s defiant. It’s celebratory. It’s punk rock at its finest. It’s a reminder that we are revolutionary creatures. It’s a reminder to be confident and be yourself.

The runner up is a song that I have a deep attachment to. Much like “Rebel Girl” it’s an inspiring song, one that I use as a reminder as I go through the world. “Be Brave” by My Brightest Diamond is deeply personal as a reminder of just that. Be brave. Yes, it’s scary. But it’s a beautiful thing.

The lyrics:

I am a bird in water, a whale on sand
I am the flood, the fire, the oil spill
I’m feeling scared and I am overwhelmed
And so I don my mask and finger bells

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara now get to work
Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara this is going to hurt
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone, undone

I am a slave, I’m under house arrest
I am the beater, I am beaten for less
Than being punk and feeling anger swell
And so I don my beaded dress and finger bells

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara now get to work
Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara this is going to hurt
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone, undone

It’s so hard, it’s so heavy
To be hungry, to be happy
It’s so light, it’s so easy just to be

It’s so hard, it’s so heavy
To be hungry, to be happy
It’s so light, it’s so easy just to be

Oh God, what would you do with me
Oh God, what’s my responsibility
God, what would you do with me
Oh God, what’s my responsibility

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara now get to work
Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara this is going to hurt
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone

Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone
Be brave dear one
Be changed, be changed, be changed
Changed

 

 

 

Advertisements

Days 8-12 of the 30 Days of Music Challenge!

Daily rituals are hard to keep up, especially once you start slipping up. But this challenge will be done, one way or another! And this week I’m going to recommit myself to doing this daily, instead of playing catch-up. Last week was a long, crazy week, with one wonderful moment that I hope to write about later today. But we’ll see.

Okay. So where are we?

30-day-song-challenge-8-thru-12

You’ll notice that #12 has been changed. The original text was “A song from a band you hate”. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I don’t really enjoy dwelling on things I don’t enjoy. The world is full of brilliant, interesting music and our lives are too short to listen to all of it, so focus on the stuff that is enjoyable!

Day 8: A song that you know all the words to

I’m going to start this one with a fun story about me, and then give you an actual answer.

So way, way back in my middle school years (mid 90’s), I believed I had the key to one of the MOST ANNOYING PROBLEMS EVER. You know how pop radio loves songs that are ultimately earworms? The songs that you can’t get out of your head no matter what? Well. I was a genius. And I had the answer. The answer: Find one of your favorite songs. Listen to it a couple of times so that you know the lyrics, especially the chorus, and any time an earworm tries to get in your head, use the song you have purposely memorized to defeat the earworm.

For the record, it worked. My trouble with earworms has really only happened over the past few years, and even now it’s minimal. My song of choice? “Sheep go to Heaven, Goats….go to Hell” by Cake.

See? Even as a young ‘un, I was brilliant.

Okay, the actual answer. So a moment of confession: I’m the WORST with lyrics. the worst. Even on songs I think I know, I forget a line, or think I know but come up with something super bizarre. So the songs I know all the lyrics to tend to be the songs that were truly part of the foundations of my love for music. There are exceptions, of course! I’m going to share one of the exceptions, I think. I could share “Just a Girl,” by No Doubt or “Shatter” by Paula Cole or “You Oughta Know” by Alanis, but I’m going to share this song instead. It’s a track by Regina Spektor that you can find on her Live in London album. I love Regina Spektor and have for a great many years. Soviet Kitsch might be one of my favorite albums, partly because of the tracks “Ghost of Corporate Future” and “Your Honor.” She has of course gone on to release a lot of amazing songs, but those two songs are forever favorites. Anyway. Back to Live in London. So there’s a track that she sings called “Silly Eye Color Generalizations” that is absolutely beautiful. It’s unaccompanied, vocals only, and the message is simple, but important. When I first heard it, I listened to it on repeat several times over, and singing along to this track is a very enjoyable activity, I highly recommmend it.

Day 9: A song that you can dance to

I am not a dancer, so my form of dancing tends to be the awkward dance of bopping along to a song as best as I can, or in the case of frenetic punk rock doing the pogo thing or in the case of metal doing a super tragic headbang type of thing. Again: Dancing is so not my thing. That said, all music is inherently something you can experience through dance/movement. And I suppose one of my favorite examples of that would be “Y.A.L.A.” by M.I.A. This is a track that has jumpstarted many mornings and gets included on any party playlist I put together. And the power of the last line in this song makes it extra explosive. (Fun fact: MIA and Deap Vally are completely different artists in so many senses, but their music together? Just…..YES.)

Day 10: A song that makes you fall asleep: 

I disagree with the language of this particular entry. To me, “a song that makes you fall asleep” suggests that the song is either a)super boring or b)one of those songs that you listen to as you fall asleep and as such any time you listen to it, you fall asleep. I personally don’t like when art (especially in music or written forms) becomes part of that category. Art is meant to be appreciated.

That said, this category does have some merit in the idea that songs can be soothing and create that space needed to fall asleep on those nights where sleep seems so far away. Way back in the day, the album that would help facilitate sleep for me was Loreena McKennitt’s Book of Secrets. I just had to make sure I was asleep before her cover of “the Highwayman” because if I wasn’t the verses would settle in deep and I’d find myself in tears.

These days, the album that I’ve been listening to when I can’t fall asleep: Agnes Obel‘s album Philharmonics. This album is beautiful, and the soundscapes that are created are powerful and delicate.

Day 11: A song from your favorite band

My favorite band? Just one? Does anyone really have ONE favorite band? How do I choose this? Hmmm. I have so many conflicting emotions here, because I have so many favorites.

But since I can just choose one, I’m going to choose a song by the DC based band Priests. The reason? Since I discovered their album Bodies and Control and Money and Power, I have found myself listening to the album in full on repeat multiple times. Over, and over again. From start to end, this album is perfect.

Day 12: A song in a different language

As mentioned above, lyrics are easily forgotten for me. That isn’t to say I don’t believe good lyrics can help make a song, because oh do they ever. “Silly Eye Color Generalizations” is a perfect song to prove that. I do think music is powerful, no matter what language is used for the lyrics. Songs have an ability to create mood and atmosphere that transcends words. And the world is a huge place. To limit one’s enjoyment of music to their spoken language does the world of music a disservice. Just like one should travel beyond one’s state or country, so too should they do that with music. Keep your options open, and your musical playlists will be so much better for it.

I think I’m gonna cheat with this one and pick two. The first track is proof that rock and roll goes beyond american and british borders. The Mexican rock band Ruido Rosa has been rocking since 2005 and this track is one of my favorites. It’s intense, it’s loud, and if you love rock and roll, this song is for you.

The reason I really want to cheat on this category is because I will take any and every opportunity to share this next track. I am a military brat. I’ve been outside of the United States and during my high school years in Germany, I very eagerly looked into the popular German alternative artists and found some favorite songs that I’ll still go back to. But it wasn’t until I moved back to the states and was in college that I found a song that truly captured the idea I expressed above. The lyrics aren’t the most important. It’s the song. I believe when I found this song I was enrolled in college level Spanish courses. I made an effort to find Spanish songs and try to learn the lyrics where I could. During this period I discovered the Colombian rockstar Juanes thanks to his duo with Nelly Furtado, and then the Argentinian musician Federico Aubele. There are some songs that will live with you forever. Whether it’s the music, the vocals or just the atmosphere it evokes, they will be there. This song is one of them. “Postales” is a beautiful and haunting song and the video that accompanies it such a perfect piece of art, all on its own. I don’t really have the words to express my love for this song. So….listen to the track. And enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: A song that makes you sad

I’ve spent most of the day wondering how I would write about this song, and have come to no conclusions. So this is going to be a short introduction. I’m going to let the song speak for itself, as it should. This song, “I Have Never Loved Someone” is by My Brightest Diamond, the project of the brilliant musician Shara Nova. I was first introduced to My Brightest Diamond through a friend of mine, who shared her cover of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” Shara Nova’s voice is beautiful, her mastery of her craft unquestionable. As I listened to more My Brightest Diamond it was clear to me that she is something special. Her way of creating lyrics that are poignant, genuine, and clever, of bringing everything down–lyrically and musically–to the heart of things….She is a musician who has truly had an impact on me. If you aren’t familiar with My Brightest Diamond, I deeply encourage you to check out her music. And we’ll start with this. It’s a song that carries so much love, and is so gentle, and so beautiful….and….well. Let’s let the song do the talking.

 

30 Day Song Challenge. Day #1

Sometimes, the best thing to do to get you into daily habits are month-long challenges. Since today is the first day of September, it seems like a perfectly admirable place to start. So for the next thirty days, I’ll do my best to post here….most days. Life does happen. So some of the days might get put together in one entry. But anyway. Let’s do this!

Here’s the challenge as found on Pinterest which directs to this page which was originally posted in 2011:

30day song challenge

Day 1: Your Favorite Song.

Favorite songs are hard. The truth is, when it comes to music I get excited about new music as much as I get excited about hearing my favorite songs in unexpected places. I also don’t listen to the radio much. My main source of music is through spotify and the music I own. Let’s see. I’m going to think out loud for a moment.

Favorite song like I sing out loud as soon as I hear it? I have quite a few of those. Favorite song as in timeless? Again, there are a few of those. I’ve been around the block a while and with so many years of music discovery behind me and yet to come, there’s gotta be some timeless tunes among them.

Favorite Song. A song I could listen to on repeat? That happens pretty frequently too. Not sure that would make a song special. Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” is definitely a favorite. As is “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill. Those tracks stand pretty high up on my all time faves list. But The Favorite song? That gives one track an awful lot of power. (Seriously, how do people answer this question?)

Okay. I’m gonna go with a song I don’t listen to often, but it’s definitely one of those songs that reminds me of another place and time. The song is called “Habit” and it’s by the band Jump Little Children. The first time I heard this track I was struck by the way it seemed like had freewritten lyrics, and how wonderfully the music matched up to it. I related to it, and felt like the world around me could easily relate. The song struck me back then and even now–when I’m making general purpose playlists–I can’t help myself. This song tends to be on most of my general playlists. No matter how much time passes, the story in this song is universal. We’re all searching for something. We all have habits that we know we should quit, but can’t help it.