Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gearing up for that one drive.

I love fall and everything that comes with it. Even more than the season itself, I love listening to music (mixed CD's in particular) during fall. Also, some of my favourite albums have been released in the fall, causing me to associate my falling in love with them, with the September and October months. I love it all. I love the crisp breeze, the smell of a wood-stove burning, walking up a lane way that's blanketed in multicoloured leaves, etc. Fall, more than any other season, makes me feel alive - which is odd because technically leaves and plants are dying. But I don't really feel that way. Fall, after the summer months (which always feel dramatic and temporary), is a refreshing time when even though times are turning, it all seems to stand still for awhile.

My favourite example of the beauty of music in fall, is the music that comes just around the time of Thanksgiving. For some reason, it's always the best music. And I feel like the reason (for me) is the Thanksgiving drive home to Kingston. I always make everyone in my family (my Dad, Mom and brother Sam) one of my mixed CD's. And, usually, one of my parents is kind enough to come and retrieve me from Ottawa and bring me home at the beginning of the weekend. It always ends up being around the dinner hour on the Thursday or Friday - and one of the CD's is always popped in for the 2-hour evening drive home. I guess I just end up associating whatever new songs are on those CD's, with that golden fall drive home down the highway. Some of my favourite Thanksgiving drive home songs from the past have been:

1. Your Love Means Everything - Faultline feat. Chris Martin: This haunting, echoey love song is both melancholy and hopeful as Faultline (a mainly instrumental artist) combines with the popular vocals of Coldplay's Chris Martin. Faultline (David Kosten) is known for his strange mixtures of studio effect and intense landscape instrumentals that create an ambient but melodic experience. Martin's voice plainly drifts atop the eerie, tinkering track, and it's nothing short of beautiful. The lyrics of this song speak strongly to me, as I (and many others I'm sure) feel I've made some decisions in my lifetime to stay by people, when in the end, they choose to suffer on their own. It's a good stare-out-your-window-sort-of-song. Your Love Means Everything - Faultline featuring Chris Martin

2. Sink Ships - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Ryan, my main man. Everything this indie-country-rock God does is OK by me. This song is one of those classic twangy, roadtripping songs that is perfect for the open highway and the breeze blowin' in your hair. The twist that it takes near the end of the song (2:20) brings it right away from it's smooth country opening and into a power-rock-ballad ending - as Adams voice thrashes emotionally against the heavy instruments, longing for ability to go back in time. Mandy Moore...you're a lucky woman.
Sink Ships - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
*If you get the chance, watch the Black Cab Sessions version of this song here- it's magical.

THE Ryan Adams

3. Dreamsome - Shelby Lynne - Not my normal choice-genre of music...at all. I first heard this song on a Thanksgiving drive home, and it was when the mixed CD ran out. Awful turn of events. We turned on the radio, and this dreamy little tune came on, and for some reason rang a bell with me. It was calm and tender - making me feel lethargic and ready to put my head back for a weekend away from reality. Dreamsome - Shelby Lynne

4. Where to Begin - My Morning Jacket -  This song is one big journey. A poetic song by one of my favourite bands - it's perfect for that 6:30 p.m. fall evening when the sun starts going down. I remember falling in love with this song a few years ago, mainly because of the lyrics. The "unknown" that this song speaks of is often something I think we all tend to feel this time of year. Not a scary sort of unknown, just a curious, wondering kind of unknown that comes across in his voice. Also, the line "It's the art of feeling naked in your clothes" is one of lead-singer Jim James' most magnificent croons. Where to Begin - My Morning Jacket

5. Bring It On Home to Me - Sam Cooke - Sammy knew how to make music. Between this song, "A Change is Gonna Come" and countless others, this man is a classic, a legend, a real taste of soul. This Motown jam is one of my favourites and it sure does feel great to roll into the city with a lovestruck anthem like this playing. They just don't make 'em like this anymore, do they? Bring it on Home to Me - Sam Cooke

I hate smoking, but Sam Cooke sure does makes it look tempting.

6. The Bluest Eyes in Texas - A Camp - Now, this is a song with some substance. I dare you to throw this Springsteen-esque cover on the stereo and not give it your full attention. Nina Persson (of The Cardigans) and her solo side project covered this cheesy Restless Heart 80's anthem for the Boys Don't Cry Soundtrack, and it still gives me chills to this day. I have this idea that all artists should be commended for their own craft, but an artist who can also take an original song and completely uproot it's original purpose and feeling, has a real gift. From 4:00 until the end of the song are some of my favourite seconds in music.
The Bluest Eyes in Texas - A Camp

That's a few from the past, stay tuned for some suggestions for this year's Turkey drive...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's a round?

Good question - I don't know. I decided to call this blog "In the Round" not because it's a free-standing sculpture that can be viewed from any angle (Thanks, Wikipedia), but because of the song behind it and who sings it. "In the Round" is a song written and performed by one of the most unbelievable, well-written and underrated bands - The Cardigans. Everyone thinks of their worst and, unfortunately, most popular song when they think of the band. They think of that stupid "love me, love me, say that you love me" song. That is so, so not the kind of music they made. They made unbelievable rock, alt-country, and piano-driven music with thoughtful lyrics and a hard-hitting female voice to back it all. Their songs are complex, multi-faceted and sassy. "In the Round" has these lyrics about being young, coming at people "live," and getting talked about while doing it. The way Nina Persson's raspy voice conveys the message is enough to get men, and women alike, dancing in the round. It's how I feel about a lot of things, I suppose... "I wanna do it right this time, I gotta get it right this time."

Listen to it, you'll get it.

Here goes nothing...

Well, after countless blog attempts, dozens of silly blog names, thematic ambivalence, and all of the other confusion that accompanies the most free-for-all type of journalism - i'm doing this for real. Why try again? Because I love writing, I love clicking away at the keys, and I love picking a song to play while I do so. 

Anyone who knows me well, knows that music is a constant and loyal fixture in my life. One thing that I could never live without, is a playlist and my headphones. Life without a soundtrack, what a sad thought. Since I can remember, my life has been a series of daydreams, car rides, journal entries and moments all accompanied by the perfect song. I wish I could remember all of the songs that have taken my breath away, but unfortunately, in the age of technology, a crashed computer or scratched mixed CD can mean music casualties - songs that you may never remember to play again. I get told I say "this is my favourite song"  too much, but I don't care, because one song and the feeling it gives you can mean for those kind of strong emotions. That one song might not be your favourite forever, but in that instant, that second where all you want to do is have somewhere to go so that you can plug in your iPod and listen to it, over and over again, it sure feels like it is. And what a great feeling. This little site will hopefully be a chance for me to spread the love, emotion and pure bliss that comes from hearing one of those songs.