Posts Tagged musica


I’m about halfway through Season 1 of Glee, which I picked up on DVD after having it highly recommended to me by multiple friends.  And indeed, it is a very fun show.  The ever-present drama and comedy of your standard sit-com (this one set in a high school) is as expected, maybe even a little better than usual because the characters seem to display more genuine emotion.  The fact that the cast breaks out into song, musical-style, about 2-3 times an episode is also totally awesome, and I really enjoy it for the same reason I enjoy singing along with the radio and singing along at karaoke – sometimes you’ve got emotions that are easiest to release via song.

Above all, however, the thing that makes me most happy about Glee is the show’s theme: that people are happiest when they are being themselves, even it means looking foolish in front of others.  I’m sort of a sucker for emotional moments in television, but it hits me harder in Glee because the aforementioned message is reinforced time and time again through the winding plot.  It’s an ideal I strive for in my own life and it resonates with me as the characters of the show struggle with it in their own circumstances.

I don’t want to give it a full blown review quite yet, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who shamelessly sings in the shower, hums along to the radio, or just enjoys emotional, musical television.

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Songs over the Years

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
What was your favorite song this year? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Twenty?

This question reminded me of a service that offers (used to offer?) where they’d make you a chart that looked like this, showing your music listening habits, once you were a subscriber for a couple of years:

Since I have never really moved from Pandora to that service, I am sadly missing such a sweet graph.

As for songs, I think my favorite song this year is King of Anything, by Sara Bareilles.  It’s pop-y, has a strong female singer (generally I am favorable toward repeat listening of such singers), and actually has a real story to tell with the lyrics, not just a fairytale.

Five years ago was 2005 – I was living in Boston, working at Lincoln Laboratories.  Although I believe the song came up previous to that year, one of my favorite songs from that era was Accidentally in Love, by Counting Crows.  Counting Crows has consistently topped my list of bands (probably top 3 overall), in part because of our college association with Round Here, and in part because their lyrics are just absurd.  I remember Accidentally in Love being the iTunes Free Song of the Day the first day I had iTunes installed on my computer.

Ten years ago was 2000 – I was at Caltech as a sophomore.  I don’t think I was doing much driving that year (I could be misremembering, but I recall having a bike, so it’s less likely I had a car), but I do recall hearing Everything You Want, by Vertical Horizon, on the radio.  We’ll call that my favorite from that year.  This does point out the fact that when I am listening to the radio because I am driving a lot, I am much more connected to music than otherwise.

Twenty years ago was 1990 – I was a small child in Phoenix, Arizona.  I recall listening to a lot of my parents’ Oldies but Goodies cassettes, especially since they would play them loud in the house when cleaning was going on.  Let’s go with Rocky Mountain High, by John Denver, since I recall hearing it clearly and I associate it strongly with camping outings we took up in northern Arizona every once in a while.

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Leigh Elion

I met Leigh because she is Chris’s sister, and Chris and I were friends and dormmates at Caltech.  Chris was kind enough to invite me to stay with his family in RI once when I was living on the East Coast, and I got to meet his family – all of whom are badass, and Leigh near the top of the list.  Leigh eventually ended up in Boston while I was there, and invited me to a party, which may not seem like much, but it’s often the small things that define the merit of a person – in this case, kindness to friends, even not-particularly-close friends.

Leigh and I have spent some time chatting online, since we are all connected in that way socially these days, and since I moved away from Boston I haven’t found the time to visit as many friends as I’d like.  She’s got a great sense of humor – probably the wittiest/most sarcastic I know? or at least tied with Alexis! – and has no problem chatting about random stuff like music and job envy and so on.  I should have found time to look her up in Madison, WI when I visited but did not 😛 so I will be planning another trip there sooner rather than later!

It’s always awesome when you find an excellent friend, and through them other excellent friends.  It’s like the system is working properly!

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Maxwell’s Song

Erik mentioned I don’t say enough about little puppers Max on my blog anymore, and I was feeling musical today, so here’s a song for the best beagle.

O ~ to be a Beagle, soft and cuddly
Sniffin’ and stretchin’, waggin’ and lickin’
When my human leaves for work
I know it’s me that he’ll be missin’

Shh ~ don’t tell, I’ve got a secret
My adorable face can’t be resisted
Tilt my head to the side and gaze real deep
Human gets the leash like his arm’s been twisted

Yeah ~ I know, I love him so
Wait near the door when I hear him get home
Each day is dry food, and that tastes nice
But if I’m a good boy, I’ll get that bone


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Musical Hooks

I like a particular kind of music.  I once had a conversation with Sarah about this: her claim was that she listened strongly to melody but not to lyrics, and that I did the opposite.  Over time, I have come to agree with this hypothesis (I do definitely enjoy songs with interesting lyrics more than not – see Third Eye Blind’s work vs. Black Eyed Peas I’ve Got a Feeling which makes me feel awful) but I think I also am more likely to continue listening to a song with a specific kind of melody.

I should probably ask Pandora what that quality is – I’m sure it has to do with the rhythm and pacing, but I don’t have the vocabulary to define musically what it is I like.  It may also have to do with the way in which I listen to music, generally — one new song on infinite repeat, and then (once the newness fades) switch into list of songs I listened to in that way (on repeat).  Here are some examples:

  • 10 Days Late, Ode to Maybe and Motorcycle Drive-By from Third Eye Blind
  • Hello Seattle from Owl City
  • The District Sleeps Alone from The Postal Service
  • Closer to Love from Mat Kearney
  • Cindy from Tammany Hall
  • Hands Down from Dashboard Confessional

This came up because on the radio they played The Police’s Everything She Does is Magic, and it definitely had one of those qualities… maybe the verse buildup and then release into chorus?  Is there a music word for that?

Other than Pandora, I find I’ve found interesting music from radio music experiments (the station I listen to – Star 101.5 – has these every once in a while and most of the music they play and have people vote on is very catchy) and from Zach Braff’s work – Scrubs and Garden State.  I heart Zach Braff.

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Hrm.  Posting late in the day doesn’t feel too great, so I’m going to strive to post earlier.  Yesterday was only a minor exception to routine (see below!) and it knocked me out of whack schedule-wise, so I’ll need to focus more on stick-to-it’ness.

My opportunity to get myself out and about came much earlier than I was expecting — a high school friend, Amy, posted on Facebook that she and her frontlady Mia Riddle would be going on tour with the start of the new year, and part of their tour was taking them to Seattle.

When?  Why, Monday night, of course!

Good man Lee Sharpe had my back, agreeing to join me on the expedition, and I let Amy know that I was going to show and hear their rockin’ tunes.  We headed down there yesterday, to a bar in Ballard called Sunset Tavern.  It was cute, and very very red.  We got there a bit before show start, so people trickled in at a slowish rate, which meant it was a lot less crowded than I expected.  Which also meant a table for us!

Shortly after I got my Black Russian following my White Russian (the bartender claimed she was out of blue and purple, so my original Grape Crush order was unfulfillable <– drink snobbery), Amy showed up and sat with us.  Over ten years had passed since I departed our high school, so needless to say, we had a lot to catch up on and not nearly enough time for it.  She seemed very happy to be performing (it’s clear she loves the music) and only mildly stressed about (not having a) regular job.  I envy anyone who can just go for it and get into something like live performance and all the risks it entails, and Amy is no exception!

Afterward, we chatted only briefly – the band that took the stage after Mia, Amy and crew was titled Demon Rind and unsurprisingly was quite (obnoxiously) loud.  I got to meet Mia and discover her “day job” is ALSO web developer – small world!

The show overall was pretty great, the people even more so.  I miss being in bars, and although Lee was excellent company, the more the merrier!  I might be forced to take drastic measures to get more people to attend my next outing!

If you’re interested in the kind of music they played, google Mia Riddle and use the handy links to listen in on a sampling – of course, you won’t be able to listen to my current favorite, Las Palmas, from their new album, which I have on the EP I bought from them (neener neener).

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