Archive | Music RSS feed for this section

The Thing About Heartbreak

5 Feb

The thing about heartbreak is that sometimes, before it happens, we build it up to be something that it isn’t. We imagine it being painful and beautiful and raw. We imagine they will break our heart, and we’ll feel the way that Billy Joel does when he sings “And So It Goes”. We imagine shedding a single tear, as we kiss them one last time and say goodbye forever. The moment rips our hearts from our chests, but also culminates in the most beautiful art in our universe. Gentle tears flow down our cheeks as soft notes on a piano, and we wonder into a world of beauty and loss. We shed our naive skins, and slowly we become wiser, calmer, until finally we are overcome with peace.

Only… in practice heartbreak isn’t quite like that. We sob in their cars, rubbing our wet snot into dirty sweatshirts. We feel more like Linkin Park than Mozart, and find ourselves wishing we could rip off the headphones. It’s sad- and not just heart-wrenching, it’s pathetic. Here we are weeks later, writing them letters in the hope that it might ease this confusion, but knowing that if they write back you will back at square one. We call their number hoping they will answer, and they hang up when they do. What the hell are we doing?

You wish that you could smile softly when you heard their name; slightly sad, but glad that you had shared love with them. But when their name comes up in conversation, you desperately feel the need to tell everyone, everyone, about every single stupid, selfish thing they did. “It wasn’t me”, you hear yourself say out loud. You wish their friends would stop talking to them, and tell them that they suck. You still care about them, so you don’t really want that, only… you do.

We’re doing heartbreak totally wrong. But that’s okay, I guess. It’s not a competition. One day we’ll make it though this messy, dark forest of whiny emo music and birds that sometimes chirp sadly, but also sometimes take a shit directly on your head. Sometimes it isn’t beautiful and painful. Sometimes it’s just stupid and painful. Sometimes love ends, and it doesn’t wind up making you wiser and calmer and generally better all-around. Sometimes it just makes you angry and hurt, and you deal with all that stuff until eventually you just kind of forget or move one. You know what? Maybe that’s okay. Maybe it was worth it.

Advertisements

More Productive

5 Nov

I’m sitting here with math homework. There are lights outside on the street, and I have a hard time looking away from them, because I think…

When you send me a message, my phone makes a ping. My heart beats faster, but I don’t look up. In front of me are hundreds of problems. Where will they take me, these parabolas? When I learn them all, will they be proud?

I wonder what I would do if you were to call me while I studied. I doubt you know how much I care about you, and studying. I couldn’t stop, I don’t think. I wouldn’t answer. You would have to find some way to figure it out alone.

In the summer, I sat at home reading Sylvia Plath. I would place a book on my knees, and my feet on the couch, with my head propped on an arm rest. I would read for a while, until I wondered why I was reading, and then I would think of other things that I didn’t see any point in doing, and then read some more.

While the sun baked the earth outside, I stared at the taupe wall and wondered what it meant to be alive. I thought, even, about giving up. Not killing myself, so much as just deciding not to try much anymore. I was alone.

When she came over, we walked to the park and lay in the grass by the baseball fields. “What do you think?” she asked me. “I don’t know.” I answered. “You’re so sad.” she told me, “and why is it? Is it because he doesn’t like you?”

“I don’t think so.” I told her.  “I don’t think that’s quite what it is.”

I wondered if there was anything left to say about it. I couldn’t think of anything, so we walked back home. I don’t remember what happened after that.

In the fall, she drove me there. The lines in my planner have nearly every line filled. There is not a moment when I’m alone.

“It’s best if you don’t read Plath in the summer.” I tell her now, and she agrees. “It’s better, sometimes, when you’re busy.” she adds. “You don’t want to think about it too much.” I’m happier now. I don’t have any time. I don’t have any time to think, only time to work.

“It ought to be that way too.” she tells me. “Because you seem to be doing better now. You’re more productive.”

On Beauty, Confidence and One Direction

29 Jun

The other day, I found a video on my phone from about a year ago. It’s just my friend and I talking about insecure people. “Insecure people are the worst”, we agreed. They drain your energy, creativity and passion for the things you love. They make it almost impossible to like them, giving you constant reminders of why they don”t like themselves. They’re exhausting to be around, frustrating, boring- the list goes on.

Let’s back up. I’m an insecure person. We all are. There are upward of 50 billion things that I don’t like about myself. I’ve let my insecurities keep me from doing so many things I’ve wanted to do. The biggest problem I face (and I’m sure I’m not alone in this) is that I have the tendency to think that other people are better than me.

It doesn’t feel so wrong, sometimes, to think that someone is better than you. They can do things that you can’t, do better at things you can do, have more friends, read more books or just seem all-around more genuine. It seems almost fair that you should be the person who’s just… not as good. The problem with this (as I’ve learned from experience), is that you can’t really love someone who you think is better than you. This forces them to be a person who can’t feel comfortable being honest with you about their faults, impeding their growth. It also causes you to always be “the insecure one”. Are you good enough to talk to them? Is this joke funny enough to tell? Can I Facebook message this person twice in a row? So there, you’re finally communicating with this person, who’s just really fantastic, and you’re what? Miserable.

It’s becoming very clear to me that to love another person, you first have to love yourself. It’s a line that everyone likes to nod to, and yet one that most people don’t really spend much time considering. Loving yourself is so much more than loving your ideas or knowing that you’re good at something. Loving yourself is having an honest understanding of the fact that you are more than your specific accomplishments. Loving yourself has to do with accepting yourself while understanding your faults, and having faith in yourself to grow.

Take the song “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful”. This song always bothered me, because you’d think a musician of all people would understand the importance of self-confidence. But this is how our culture is. We are told that our self-worth comes from our physical appearance and our accomplishments. We believe that we’ll know when we’re good enough, because someone will tell us if we’re good enough. So we wait and wait, and beg every person we talk to to be our One Direction and tell us that we’re beautiful, and we just don’t know it. Only they don’t. They get fed up with our insecurities and they find us boring and self-obsessed, and we think that they hate us because our eyebrows are weird or our thighs are too big (or was that just me?).

Here’s the thing: the worth of human life is more than just your weird eyebrows or your I’m-a-female-and-past-puberty thighs. You deserve respect from every person, and if a person doesn’t give you that, that’s their problem. It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, but I’m a pretty cool person. I’m not “better” than anyone, but nobody is “better” than me. I’m good enough, cool enough, funny enough, smart enough and pretty enough to love the people I love. I know I’m beautiful, and that’s what makes me beautiful. So screw you, One Direction.

My 20 Favorite Albums

10 Jun

20. In Rainbows/Radiohead
I actually made this list backwards, and surprised myself with the amount of Radiohead on here. It makes sense, though, because nobody can make an album an album quite like they can.  I’ve omitted so many bands that I love, but I just can’t justify putting their imperfect albums with a bunch of great songs in front of In Rainbows. Similarly, this could be The Arcade Fire’s Funeral, but that album doesn’t have quite the emotional punch for me. More than any Radiohead’s there other albums, In Rainbows drawn you in and scares you with how close you’re getting. It’s always a good time.                      
(favorite track: Nude)

19. Give Up/The Postal Service
I don’t know if I can write this thing now due to I’m now remembering performing Such Great Heights (Track 2) in the 7th grade talent show with my best friend under the band name “The Cuties”. Like the fruit. I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed by this. Anyways, Give Up. I’ve heard people say that they like this better than anything Death Cab. I can’t agree with that, but it’s definitely some of Mercer’s best work. Give Up was also my first experience with electronica, and sort of blew my mind for that reason.
(favorite track: Such Great Heights and We Will Become Silhouettes are tied…)

18. Weathervanes/The Freelance Whales
The Freelance Whales are the most charming mix of indie pop and electronica. After listening to Weathervanes a few times, I was thrilled to discover that there was much more to these songs than just the catchy tunes. The whole album works perfectly as a whole, and this maybe the only album that I can listen to more than 5 times in a row without getting sick of it or exhausted. That’s saying a hell of a lot of anything with “pop” anywhere in its genre.                                                   
(favorite track: Broken Horse)

17. Wish You Were Here/Pink Floyd
I knew the title track off Wish You Were Here long before anything else. This is sort sad to me now, considering how much cooler that song is in the context of the album. Pink Floyd’s lyrics are incredible as usual, and the guitar on here is crazy.
(favorite track: Wish You Were Here)

16. Noble Beast/Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird whistles, sings and plays like 4 instruments, all of which he does perfectly. Aaaaaandrewwww. Be my best friend. His style’s not really different or anything, it’s just better than ANYTHING in indie music (except, you know, the Shins). Armchair Apocrypha is perfect too, but I just don’t know it well enough yet to make it top 20. It will probably get there. I’ve heard he’s incredible live, too. Oh my gosh, I really want to see that.
(favorite track: Souverian)

15. Houses Of The Holy/Led Zeppelin
I get that this is kind of a weird favorite Zeppelin album to have, but it’s the one with the majority of my favorite Zeppelin songs. I also feel like it has the perfect mix (for me) of hard rock and lighter, blues-y moments. Like a lot of other stuff on here, I didn’t like this album at first because it wasn’t like what I was used to, but the individuality of it eventually made me love it much more than if it was generic. Also, watching The Song Remains The Same (the movie) made me fall in love with Robert Plant, so that doesn’t hurt either. 
(favorite track: Dancing Days)

14. Wincing The Night Away/The Shins
Ah, Wincing The Night Away. This album is pretty much the reason why I decided to befriend the person who then became my best friend for 5 years.”You like the Shins? Okay, now I’ve decided that I love you and am going to tell you everything about everything I’ve ever thought about ever.” Even now, it makes perfect sense to me. You can’t have a functioning friendship without dance parties, and you can’t have dance parties without fantastic dance music, like The Shins’ Australia. So.                                                                                                                                                                                             (favorite track: Australia)

13. Abbey Road/The Beatles
Abbey Road is cool because the whole second half is like one long song with a constantly changing melody. I can’t think of another band that could possibly do this half as well. My dad also summed up my love for Abbey Road with the following; “I think it’s fantastic how you can be singing about being in love with a girl one moment, and the next moment you’re singing about a creepy kid who beats people to death. That’s what I love about The Beatles.
(favorite track: Maxwell’s Silver Hammer)

12. For Emma, Forever Ago/Bon Iver
There’s a line in re: Stacks (Track 11) that goes “everything that happens, is from now on”. For several months, this was my motto. I didn’t listen to any music that reminded me of anything or anyone. I mostly just listened to For Emma. This was something that I very much needed, and this was very much the perfect album for it. For Emma doesn’t have a single track on it that I don’t love, and includes some of the most gorgeous songs I have ever heard, including Skinny Love and the title track.
(favorite track: re:Stacks)

11. Parachutes/Coldplay
If my life was music, it would be a very long version of Parachutes.  This is as close as I will ever get to admitting that early Coldplay is not the most interesting thing ever. I don’t even care. I love Chris’ voice so much, and these songs are basically designed so that he can show it off. Don’t hate on his falsetto, people. It’s beautiful.
(favorite track: Shiver)

10. We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes/Death Cab For Cutie
This is the perfect fall album. This and Modest Mouse’s The Moon and Antarctica. If you have them both, you’re set. I tend to not be able to stop talking about this album, so if you really care, you can read this thing.
(favorite track: Scientist Studies)

9. Graceland/Paul Simon
Graceland is both the album and song most played on our family iTunes (my dad, brother, and I). We just put it on repeat during road trips, and my brother would play Graceland and You Can Call Me Al over and over and over. It’s really upbeat, and also very musically interesting because it has all these cool African influences. Needless to say, it also brings back a lot of great memories.
(favorite track: The Boy In The Bubble)

8. OK Computer/Radiohead
The first time I listened to OK Computer, my thought process was something along the lines of “This is not music. This sucks. I hate this.” Luckily, my step-dad told me to/made me listen to it 4 more times before deleting it off my computer, and GOOD LORD. It really IS music! Insanely awesome music at that! Thus began my summer-long decoding of the themes, and boring the hell out of my friends and family. If anyone ever wants to have a 3-hour conversation about the state of modern society as presented in OK Computer, I will definitely completely not object.
(favorite track: No Surprises)

7. The Suburbs/Arcade Fire
Here’s a fun question for discussion; has the Arcade Fire ever made anything that isn’t perfect? I mean, I guess Neon Bible isn’t, but it’s still damn close. I could go on (and on) about this album, and in fact I have, so I won’t do it again.
(favorite track: Wasted Hours)

6. Rainy Day Music/The Jayhawks
I actually hated this album when I first heard it (sometime around 2007) because this was during my “I’m-listening-to-cool-music-like-Daniel-Powter-and-Sara-Barilles” phase. Luckily, my dad played it incessantly and made constant comments about how much he loved it and how I should too. I tried to fight it, but couldn’t, because… so… good. Since 2008ish, my dad and I have been singing along to Rainy Day Music with ridiculous amounts of enthusiasm, often driving around the block several times before going home so that we can listen to our favorite parts.
(favorite track: Angelyne)

5. Pretty Paper/Willy Nelson
Here’s my WTF pick; it’s Willy Nelson and it’s Christmas music. There’s an explanation, though. I’ve always had issues with falling asleep due to anxiety. Between the ages of 3 and 5 I would listen to this almost every night, year round. I absolutely could not fall asleep without hearing the entire album. It makes sense, too, because Christmas is when everyone was happy and nice, and Christmas was when things were good. Besides still having a really strong connection to this album musically (though I only listen to it at Christmastime now), it reminds me of what music can do. It can change my mindset and my mood. It can make me ridiculously sad or comfortably happy, and I think that’s one of the most wonderful things in the world.
(favorite track: Pretty Paper)

4. Viva La Vida (Prospekt’s March Edition)/Coldplay
This was my first ever Coldplay album, and what got me into Coldplay (as well as my love/hate relationship with Chris Martin…). Coldplay and I have been through a lot together since 2008, to say the very least. After learning all of their older music, I definitely had a greater appreciation for the direction that they went with this album. Viva La Vida is more upbeat, more varied, generally more interesting. While I’m a huge fan of older Coldplay, I’m so glad I started here.
(favorite track: Strawberry Swing)

3. Kid A/Radiohead
I’ve heard people say that Kid A is basically emotional acupuncture. It just sort of hits you everywhere, and by the time the album’s over, you feel strangely different. This is very true. Kid A is like absolutely no other album, and makes me feel things that nothing else in the world can. It also scared the crap out of me when I first heard it, but it’s slowly become one of the most comforting albums I can think of. I can’t listen to it around other people, though. It just makes me too uneasy.
(favorite track: Ideoteque)

2. Oh, Inverted World/The Shins
For being this high on my list, my love for Oh, Inverted World is not very (melo)dramatic. This is the album that I listen to when I need to calm down (which is, um, a lot). I think that’s the best way to describe this album, really. It’s calm and simple and beautiful, and I never get sick of it. I makes me sort of trance out and go on the fantastic journey that is this album. Towards the end of The Past and Pending (track 11), I start to feel sad because it’s like waking up from a really beautiful dream. You’re in meadow with someone who you love more than anyone else. The sky is orange and pink as the sun goes down, and you’re walking down a dusty path away from all of it. It’s so heart wrenching that it’s actually made me cry several times (okay, can’t avoid the melodrama). There is definitely a place this album takes me. I also love it because it’s the only one on this list that is completely and entirely my own.
(favorite track: New Slang)

1. The Wall/Pink Floyd
Every album on this list changed the way I see music, but no album changed the way I see life like The Wall. This album quite literally marks the end of what I consider my childhood, which is both scary and a little sad. I can honestly say that there is no other piece of music that I’ve connected with like this, nor any other piece of music that I’ve ever been quite as obsessed with (though if anything could come close it would be OK Computer). I’m constantly amazed by the production (for instance, the perfectly timed background noises), as well as the flawless instrumentation and the way the album flows seamlessly from start to finish. I could go on and on about this album, or why I like it better than The Dark Side of The Moon, but none of it will make any sense. I can’t explain what it was about hearing The Wall (it was probably mostly the timing of it), but this album has become a huge part of who I am and how I see the entire world.
(favorite tracks: Goodbye Blue Sky, One Of My Turns, Nobody Home)

Total credit for this idea and font and everything else goes to Peter, who should have a WordPress (as WordPress is obviously the best blogging site), but sadly does not. Therefore, we have to resort to linking rather than reblogging.

Sing Me To Sleep/ Lullaby

1 May

Sing me to sleep,
Sing me to sleep,
I’m tired, and I,
I want to go to bed,

Though I know that evenin’s empire,
Has returned into sand,
Vanished from my hand,
Left me blindly here to stand,
But still not sleeping,

So Take me on a trip
Upon your magic, swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped,
My hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step,
Wait only for my boot heels
To be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere,
I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade,
Cast your dancing spell my way
I promise, to go under it.

_______

Golden slumbers fill your eyes,
Smiles await you when you rise,
Sleep pretty darlin’, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby

_______

Down a hill
Of pine tree quills
To the bottom of a stream where thick moss grows,
Beside a stream
Under the rocks are snails,
And we can fill our pockets
And let the go one-by-one all day
In a brand new place

Down by the seaside
See the boats go sailin’
Can the people hear, oh
What the little fish are sayin’?

Out in the country
Hear the people singin’,
Singin’ ’bout their progress,
Knowin’ where they’re goin’,
Oooo -oooh -ooh,
Aaaa -aaah -aah

Sing loud for the sunshine,
Pray hard for the rain
And show your love for Lady Nature
And she will come back again
Oooo -oooh -ooh,
Aaaa -aaah -aah

Thank you for giving me pleasure,
Thank you for giving
Me pain,
Thank you for teaching me to treasure,
Thank you for giving me these lessons
I have gained

Now it’s time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say

And like a boat out on the ocean
I’m rocking you to sleep
The water’s dark and deep, inside this ancient heart
You’ll always be a part of me

Goodnight my angel, now it’s time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart,
There will always be a part of me

Someday we’ll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on,
They never die
That’s how you and I
Will be

_______

I Want To Tell You

17 Apr

I want to tell you, I feel hung up but I don’t know why.

I want to tell you that you don’t make me sad, except when you’re sad. I’m okay with you never talking to me, but when I see your tweets and Facebook statuses, they frustrate me.

I want to tell you that it’s normal how you feel like you understand so little. I feel it too. I’m not really sure about anything most of the time. Most of the time, I’m not really sure how I feel about you, or why. But I know that I like you. I’m sure of that. I know that sometimes you’re angry, due to people. I wish I could fix it, but I can’t. The worst of it, though, is when you question yourself.

I want to tell you that the song you wrote last spring is on my list of 163 favorite songs of all time, ever. It’s right between The Hardest Part and Fake Plastic Trees. I used to feel wrong listening to it at all, because it’s not for me (also, don’t be too creeped out; it’s really easy to get those things onto iTunes). Just lately, it’s been different. Just lately, I’ve started understanding that the things I feel when listening to it have nothing to do with knowing you, or you at all. It’s beautiful because it’s so honest, it’s so true. It reaches an understanding of something no other song in the world does. It makes me feel all of the things that you must have been feeling. It’s sort of lonely, confusing and terrifying, but it’s so beautiful. That fact that you can write things like that amazes me. I mean, it actually blows my mind.

I want to tell you that I understand something about making music now. I don’t know if I could ever do it because you have to put way too much out there to make people feel that way. It’s scary. Like, really scary. I think it’s worth it though, and I think (I hope) that you do too. That must have been why you gave a song like that to just the general… world. I think I understand a little better now, partially because of this blog. There are things I never wanted people to know on this thing (like this!), but there is another part of me that wants people to know them. I want people to understand, and most of the time that part wins out. I usually feel better when it does.

I want to tell you that as a human, I have a very hard time doing anything for entirely selfless reasons. But I tried to write this for you. I’m not writing this for me, or for you and me. You and me is not even a thing in any sense at all, and maybe I should also add that I don’t even want it to be. That’s not the point. I’m just writing this for you.

I want to tell you that meeting you changed the way I saw the world. A big part of that is just coincidence, but the fact still stands. Here’s why; you were the first person I saw (or maybe just the first person I noticed) really trying to follow their dreams. You made me want to do the same thing. It’s not just you. I don’t want to over-dramatize this or make you think you are my whole life. But this has been a domino-effect kind of thing. I want to follow my dreams. They’re not your dreams (hell, they’re not even close), but sometimes I think they’re just as out-there and crazy. Day after day, I try to charge forward. The background of my computer even reads “The best you can is good enough, go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” It’s Radiohead/Thoreau, and I read it a hundred times a day. I believe it. Thanks.

Mostly, I want to tell you that you are good enough. You’re good enough to make beautiful music, to write things that no one else could write. I want you to succeed because I believe you can, and I believe you deserve to. But even more than wanting you to succeed, I want you to try. Because the best you can is good enough. It always will be.

We Are Never (Ever, Ever) Getting Back Together

20 Mar

“Now I know why all the trees change in the fall, I know you were on my side, even when I was wrong”- The Best Day/Taylor Swift

Dear Taylor,

I remember the days when I started to like you. Too much, actually. I was young, but I was old enough to know that your music was not quality. I was embarrassed. I made excuses for loving you.

They were true, these excuses. Because it’s true that I never liked your music. Not the music part, anyways. All I ever loved was they lyrics, and even those I knew were bad.

Yes, they were bad. But they were how I felt. I would have been better fit for the guy who liked the popular girl (You Belong With Me). Then there was another boy, and he may have looked the slightest bit like an angel (Hey Stephen). But in the end he let me down (White Horse, The Way I Loved You, The Story Of Us). And you were on my side Taylor. You were on my side even when I was wrong.

That’s the thing, though. I was wrong. In hindsight that first guy would have been a horrible match for me. He would have been bored with the things I talked about, and the things I thought about. I would have been bored with him.

And that second guy? Well I screwed up that one, Taylor. Back-To-December style screwed it up. If anyone was crazy, frust-er-ating, complicated, it was me. Yep, it was definitely me.

See, the thing is, teenage boys are not perfect. They’re not. But neither are teenage girls. There were times when I should have let it go, should have considered my own issues, should have apologized. But you didn’t tell me that part, Taylor. You told me that we were hurting together because he hurt us. But did you ever wonder- did we hurt him?

I don’t know who “he” is, really. He changes from album to album, from song to song, from blog post to blog post. When you’re young, sometimes that’s how it is. The “he” changes. People come and go. You learn and grow. And I want to change, too. I need to.

But you haven’t changed. So I need to tell you, Taylor, that we can’t be together anymore. I’m growing up, and I’d rather listen to Radiohead. Because the music is beautiful, and I’m sick of blaming him.