Thursday, May 15, 2014

[SoftD] - 'She Smiled Sweetly' - The Rolling Stones

Between the Buttons is hardly a hard rocking Stones album such as the likes of Exile, but the pensive, softer, and even sad sound is a force to be reckoned with (if not wrestled with) none-the-less. This album was released in the UK and the US in 1967 as almost completely different albums. 'Let's Spend the Night Together' and 'Ruby Tuesday' appeared in the US release, with the latter going on to reach #1 on the charts.

You may remember 'She Smiles Sweetly' from The Royal Tenenbaums. It's the scene in the tent where Richie checks himself out of the hospital after attempting suicide and comes home to tell Margo he loves her. This song is the perfect soundtrack to this moment. 

Richie says, "I can't stop thinking about you. I went away for a year and it only got worse." And Mic, in turn sings, "Why do my thoughts bloom so large on me? / They seem to stay, for day after day / And won't disappear, I've tried every way."

It's never easy to let go of someone who touches you so deeply, especially if the love seems forbidden, or doomed in some way. I guess I chose this song today because I am trying to be a person who can smile sweetly without breaking someone's heart in the process.          

Thursday, May 8, 2014

[SoftD] - 'Father Figure' - George Michael

In a dramatic turn from Tuesday's SoftD, today I felt compelled to listen to George Michael's epic album Faith. Specifically, 'Father Figure'. Like any good late 80's album, Faith is both overly-dramatic and fantastic, sexy yet serious, and full of lyrical quests for love and identity. George Michael seems to want to both teach and to be taught, and somehow the synthesizers blend in naturally with the soft, strong sound of his voice. 

In the late 80s and early 90s, George Michael ruled the MTV scene. Around that time I discovered that my taste in music was as much influenced by my need to rebel as my need to understand who or what I was rebelling against and why. Like most teenage girls, I spent my time filled with angst; anxious to hurry on through the process of being a child to being an adult, and reign in my emotional and sexual state of mind. On top of that, I had to let go of the main man in my life, my Dad, in order to make room for the men I would eventually date and love. 

It was a long and arduous process, and I spent years thinking I hated my Dad - writing countless, candlelit journal entries about it. When I discovered 'Father Figure', I wasn't trying to replace my father, but rather I envisioned being taken in by a man and taken care of. Ironically, much like my dad had been doing for years.

Maybe it's way too Freudian, but understanding George Michael's use of the term 'father figure' as an allegory for his hunt to find the kind of love and support you would have in that relationship, but this time in your lover sort of blew my mind. I'd like to think that my tiny hand will fit into his, whoever he may be, without having to bring my Dad into it, but let's get real. Every man I will ever date will inevitably have to contend with the fact that I've spent most of my life understanding men through understanding my Dad. Sorry ladies, but there it is. I'm even so much like him that I could be a goddamn father figure if someone needed me to be. But I digress. Get back to George Michael, and try not to think about Michael Cera when you do so.     

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

[SoftD] - 'Would?' - Alice in Chains

Today's Song of the Day (SoftD) is brought to you by Alice in Chains. Inspired by The AV Club's coverage of Jar of Flies, I brought 'Would?' back out of its sleepy place in my brain for today. This dramatic, hypnotic, and dare-I-say-sexy song closes Alice in Chains 1992 album, Dirt.

I was completely preoccupied with the rest of the grunge scene, listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam mostly, and not quite into this kind of metal yet, so it took the movie Singles to get 'Would?' into my heart. I had seen Alice in Chains on MTV before Cameron Crowe forever implanted them in my canon, but the truth is, without that movie, I never would have explored them further. I have owned Singles on VHS and DVD, as well as the soundtrack on tape and CD - worn out and purchased again on both occasions. Truly a musical awaking for me.

Anyway, between Singles and Reality Bites, my precocious, romantic heart couldn't wait to get into my 20s and find my own true love. Seeing Steve and Linda meet at a truly amazing show in Seattle was like the coolest thing that could ever happen. I knew that was my destiny. That or marry Ethan Hawke. Note: Neither happened. Oh well.

This is a terrible pick up, but it makes Steve all the more adorable later when he and Linda fall in love. Plus,  we get to see amazing insight into Cliff's character. Please enjoy.

Monday, May 5, 2014

[Song of the Day] - 'Low' - Lewis

Lewis. Where the hell did you come from? This indie singer/songwriter has a great voice and a haunting sound - my favorite parts of making a hip hit. In her new song, "Low," Lewis invites you in to her world though real lyrics, heavy bass, a plucking piano that almost sounds like a banjo at first, and that voice! Oh, it's like honey on toast.

From one mess to another, check her out:

Friday, May 2, 2014

[Song of the Day] - 'All Night Long' - Lionel Richie

With my best friend Michael coming to town, I had to find a song that both expressed my happiness, and implied exhaustion. Starting tonight, we will be blasting around New York having as much fun as possible. Tomorrow is the Holi Hai Festival of Colors, which promises to be a messy, amazing dancing event in the streets, followed by 'Heathers: The Musical'. I've already seen it, and what can I say except, Corn nuts! Sunday is always a Fun Day, so who knows what will go down except a trip to Queens and epic brunch.

Anyway, back to the music. I chose Lionel Richie's 'All Night Long' because I have a feeling I will be up all night long, dancing in the street, which is what Lionel is all about. Happy Friday, dear readers, and try to have a party.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

[Song of the Day] - 'Serve the Servants' - Nirvana

While I started out my day listening to the ladies, including St. Vincent and Tori Amos, ultimately, I found myself dying to hear 'Serve the Servants', the opening song from Nirvana's In Utero

I have many memories tied to this album, including my teenage musical awakening to bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Archers of Loaf, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden (of which, Dave Grohl speaks of hearing 'Black Hole Sun' for the first time, and it's amazing). We poured hours into understanding this album - reading into lyrics, identifying with the anger and sadness, wishing to be Kurt's beloved, as if we could ease his distain. Indeed, my teenage angst has paid off well, and now I am bored and old. Or so it is told. 

The last time I listened to this album was on the eve of a break up. Put on by the bartender at one of my soon-to-be ex's favorite haunts. Too much whiskey and malaise, the sing-along pushed me over the edge and I knew it was over. Don't worry, I don't miss the comfort in being sad.       

So here we are, and whatever the reason, teen angst or adult unrest, today, May 1, deserves a little Nirvana love, and In Utero is doing the trick.