Song of the Week

This has been a very long, brain-mushing week for me. Has it been for you? Here’s something that may make you laugh.

My mom just got an iPhone. This is her first fancy phone, so it’s a big deal. She’s getting the hang of it slowly. Yesterday I told her she should download Words With Friends. She successfully did that, but then got thrown off when the phone asked if it could send her push notifications for Words With Friends. She im’d me this:

Mom: it asks if i want it to send me push notifications
wtf is that
that sounds like a woman in labor
me: oh my god mom! that is all hilarious what you just said 🙂
Mom: yeah i’m funny

I am not sure where she learned the term “wtf.” And I think she’s absolutely correct—push notifications sound like what the doctor tells a lady in labor when it’s time to push.

Part of the longness of this week I contribute to the fact that Michael is in Sweden. He left last Saturday and will be back next Sunday. Turns out when you live with someone, he becomes a big part of your daily routines without you even realizing it. Just in little ways. So this past week my every day things have been just slightly off-balance without Michael just…here. The getting up, the making dinner, the walking the dog, the going to bed, you know. The things you take for granted until they’re just slightly different, and suddenly you’re searching for familiarity to knock things back into place.

So I’ve turned to music. One night I listened to three Beatles albums. And one morning on my way into work I put on the Indigo Girls. We sing “Closer to Fine” at camp and there’s nothing more familiar and comforting to me than a camp song. They take me to my happy place. Sitting in my car with this song blaring, I was in Middler Lodge at camp, a group of counselors standing in front of us campers during assembly leading us in song, doing all these hand movements with certain lyrics.

One summer I came home from camp and found the Indigo Girls album they had. It happened to have “Closer to Fine” on it. I sat in my room listening to that song over and over and over again on my little boom box.

So here’s my familiar song. What’s yours?


Song of the Week

Here I am. Back from Spain. Refreshed. Tan. (OK sunburned.) Happy. No further rundown here. I’ll give you a brief trip summary with photos later this week.

As for now, I’ve been desperately trying to catch up on my Google Reader. Joseph Arthur caught my eye in my NPR First Listen feed. He’s a singer/songwriter from Ohio and his new album The Graduation Ceremony comes out May 24th.

I’m sitting here at work, catching up, reading through layouts as deadlines approach, getting high on carpet glue fumes that float through the office hallways today, and listening to this album. It’s enjoyable. Typical singer/songwriter pleasantness. Perfect for a too-cold-and-rainy-for-May day. Then the last song plays. One line leaps out at me.

Love never asks you to lie.

Hey, turns out that’s the name of the song! And that line is repeated again and again. I listened over and over again.

Love is not having to lie, not wanting to lie, not being too scared to say the exact thing on your mind, even if that thing is scary. You have no idea what a relief it is to be able to be open, to feel comfortable saying everything and anything. The best loves, whether they’re friends, family, or significant others, don’t ask you to lie. They allow you to be completely honest.

Oof. Deep for a Wednesday afternoon? The post-vacation days have been kind of rough. I’m glad we had vacation time when we did.

So anyway, here’s your song. Love Never Asks You To Lie, Joseph Arthur.

Song of the Week

Happy Friday y’all! (I’m missing Green Cove something fierce right now so just go with my use of southern dialect.) Do you have big weekend plans? I’m planting the three tomato plants, two basil plants, and rosemary that I bought at the farmer’s market last weekend. Also weeding. The flower bed area along the side of my house is filled with green. I can hardly tell the actual plants apart.

Now for a song of the week. Or two.

Meet my newest and latest band crush: The Head and The Heart. I bought this album a few weekends ago at Luna Music on National Record Store Day. It’s been playing quite a bit on the iPod and in the CD player of my car. I’m such a sucker for boys playing guitars and/or banjos with a nice alt-country sound. See Mumford and Sons and The Avett Brothers. The Head and The Heart gets extra points for including a lady in their band. I love when her sweet, high voice chimes in contrasting with the heavier voices of the rest of the band.

What perfect music to turn up and sway and dance around to while you shut your eyes dreamily. Sometimes I really start feelin the music (ya know how that goes) and my body involuntarily starts shaking and moving in foolish ways. Then either Mira barks at me and breaks me from my music coma or the other editor chuckles from her office and I remember that I’m sitting at my desk at work.

The first video, I just love this song. It was my immediate favorite after listening to the album once through. You know, the song that just jumps out at you for no concrete reason, the one that you go back and listen to a few more times before you finish the rest of album.

The second song, this one took a few listens for me to start loving. The lyrics sing to me right now. I get them.

Song of the Week

I’m a little bit worried that this song of the week thing (which is more like a song of whatever week I remember it) should become Music Recommended by Carol instead. The song I have stuck in my head right now is from her most recent set of mixes. She sent me three and they’re all amazing. In fact, I’ll probably post a few more songs from them in the coming weeks.

So, considering this, I’ve asked her to do a little guest blog for this song. Ladies, and gentlemen, my stalker.

So- You and I (it’s by Ingrid Michaelson).

I love this song—who wouldn’t? Except my mom I guess—the first time she heard it, she thought it belonged on a Target commercial.

This song is such an innocent little diddy but also kind of more. I love the lines “so I will help you read those books if you will soothe my worried looks and we will put the lonesome on the shelf”. It’s this kind of child-like lyricism sung by an incredibly mature voice and totally not pretentious. I also love how the song builds from one voice to a duet to a chorus/percussive kind of thing. Maybe that’s too much analysis- I just love Ingrid Michaelson- thanks to YOU.

And here’s the song – You and I by Ingrid Michaelson

Song of the Week

Hi! Hi! Hi! I’m going to North Carolina today!!!! I’ll have been to North Carolina three times this year!!!

I just realized my keyboard is embarrassingly dirty. I’m so glad only my cat and dog can see it.

Anyway, I’ll be off reveling in the joys of Charlotte, one of my best friends in the world, the mountains, camp, and horses. This is a vacation to clear my head.

And this is a song for my weeks. Maybe for yours too. I have this friend Carol. She’s a freshman at Cornell. And despite the fact that she’s 8 years younger than me, she gets me in a pretty awesome way. She’s a very insightful girl. She posted this song on my wall on Facebook about a month and a half ago. I love her.

And right now I love this song. Noah and the Whale is a good band from the few songs I’ve heard. And this one, well, blue skies are definitely calling. I’m so ready for them. I’m so ready to leave this slightly crappy year behind. So listen to this song. I think it’s hopeful.

Songs of the Week

Well I have been slacking on the songs of the week. Plus I have two concerts to review. So here is one big happy music post for you!

I discovered this band when they were the opening band at Barenaked Ladies concert I went to in 2000. I fell in love with Brian and the bongos. These guys and their music have gotten me through a lot and are always there for me. Seeing them live two weeks ago was like seeing old friends. Hearing those familiar songs, the ones I know all the words to by heart and in my sleep, felt like coming home. Does that sound silly or do you have a band like that? So the concert was great. And the past few days I’ve been glad to have Guster in my ways-to-feel-better arsenal. Particularly these two songs from their new album.

I woke up with this song in my head this morning.

Last weekend we saw Band of Horses in concert. I felt kinda like crap that evening and probably didn’t enjoy the show as much as I should have. But this song did touch me for some reason. It’s really kind of a sad, aching song, but gives me shivers anyway. The way their voices blend and weave in and out of each other, and the simple guitar. Beautiful.

Song of the Week

I have this AMAZING apple pie recipe to share with you guys, but today I can’t. This pie deserves to be written about with the same excitement and enthusiasm with which  it was eaten. And today I just do not posses any excitement or enthusiasm. Only a sense of weirdness and unfairness. So, I’m begging you to please stick with me with great anticipation for the apple pie, the one that will be gracing your Thanksgiving table this year. Instead I’m giving you a song of the week.

The National

I’m sorely behind on songs of the week. They’ve been more like songs of the month during September. I give you no excuses. Instead, as an apology, I give you The National. This is quite a gift I give you, and I hope you cherish it. The National is this super band with kind of a haunting sound. The lead singer, Matt Berninger, has a very unique, deep voice, almost calming in a weird way. I think I must have first heard these guys when I was working in the coffee shop in Raleigh. The manager had good taste in music and our playlists were always filled with the newest and coolest bands. When I moved home and met Adam, I was excited to find that two of his friends were also into The National. Lucky us, we’re going to see The National in concert on Saturday with those friends! I’ll try to take some pics or vids. (haha, see how I shorten things to be cool?)

So please, soak in fall with this band, and dream about apple pies.

The National, Secret Meeting

Song of the Week

Guster’s new album comes out in one month!! Excitement? Yes, I think so! They’ve put out a video of one of the songs on that album called “Stay With Me Jesus,” and it’s this week’s song.

This song really made me stop and listen. First off, Guster is not a Christian rock band. Quite the opposite in fact, as all three members are Jewish. So I wonder why they wrote a song basically all about Jesus.

A quick excerpt from their newsletter in which they debute the video. “Track 5, “Stay With Me Jesus” — sounds like a Christian Rock title on the surface, but it’s not.  Guster is not Christian Rock.  Guster had Bar Mitzvahs.”

I listened to the song and came to the conclusion that I really like it. And that the song’s not so much about Jesus in the Christian religious sense. It’s more about Jesus being the name for some inexplicable protecting force, the comforting idea that something is watching over you and snatching you up, or stepping in, or keeping you sane at the last crucial second. And that is a universal sentiment. I do wonder why they chose Jesus as the way to explain that feeling though. I’m not at all pissed. (though honestly, I may feel a little weird belting this one out at their concert. But hell I’ll do it anyway. It’s just a word here.) Listen to the song, I doubt you’ll be offended once you do, because you’ll probably be able to relate to the lyrics, whether you believe in the actual and literal words they’ve chosen to sing or not. And maybe that’s their point. It doesn’t matter what word, person, belief you associate with that feeling of being protected and saved. That feeling is still the same across the board.

Or maybe I’m reading way to much into this song. Just listen, OK? And leave me a comment. Tell me what you think. Because I’m extra curious about this song!

Song of the Week

My parents appreciate good music. They love the classics and are open to the new stuff, my dad especially. I get him music almost every holiday/birthday. Kid Rock, Old Crow Medicine Show, the Beatles, and She & Him to name just a few. Growing up, my mom would put on the Beatles or Simon and Garfunkle, and she and my brother and I would dance together in the family room. Sometimes she even taught us dances steps from her aerobic dance class. I’ve known the words to Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, and Mrs. Robinson my whole life. In the car we listened to the oldies station almost exclusively. I think 60s and 70s pop brought back childhood memories for my mom. She once told me that American songs would come out in Holland, and she and her friends would sing along not knowing what the words really meant. She had a Neil Diamond poster hanging in her room. As a result, I was the kid in middle school who awkwardly (please, everything I did in middle school was awkward) avoided the question of favorite music because oldies weren’t “cool.” I was so insecure. (Ha, was? Who are we kidding, I will always be the epitome of awkward and insecure.)

We didn’t only listen to classic rock though. My parents were avid symphony goers, even if my dad sometimes fell asleep in the theater after long work days. Classical made appearances in our stereo, too. Every Christmas, even now, my dad picked a classical CD to play while we cooked and opened gifts. The rising and falling of strings and horns mixed easily with family chatter. My dad actually owns and really enjoys a copy of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. I think we must have listened to classical shows on NPR because I remember my parents always writing down the names of composers and symphonies.

So anyway, I have this soft spot in my music heart for anything classical or classical-esque. Today’s song of the week reflects that. James Blackshaw is a guitarist and pianist. NPR calls his music “transcendental chamber music.” I don’t know. I’d go with like riding a slightly angsty and dark but somehow inspiring wave. This is a track from his new album All is Falling Apart. I can’t seem to find the full length version of it that I can embed here, but I can find a seven minute version.

Song of the Week

Carolina, someday I’ll, one day I’ll come home. (Avett Brothers, Salina)

Last night Sam, Jen, and I went to a house party. We wanted to pretend we were nineteen again. We struck up a conversation with a girl who really was nineteen, and moving to Minneapolis. She said Asheville had been her second choice. Of course, I started blabbering about how wonderful Asheville is. She said, “That’s what everyone tells me, and you lit up the second I mentioned it, so it must be a great place.” Was I that insightful when I was nineteen? Doubtful. Unless you consider leaping down an entire flight of stairs insightful.

I like this song for more than the fact that it mentions Carolina. Something about running around the country trying to find Somewhere. I relate to that.

Oh, the song is Salina by the Avett Brothers. This is them performing it at Bonnaroo this past June.