Music and words….a most blissful combination. Bright Star; a movie about John Keats mingles them together resulting in a rather intoxicating confection.

Men, before you stop reading I would like to remind you that Valentines Day is coming, and this movie (along with voting for Pedro) could make all your wildest dreams come true.

I am entirely captivated and spellbound when this movie is on, when its over I am left dazzled and somewhat intoxicated. Much of this is due to the beauty of the music and the poetry. Also the romance. I love this movie, and want to share with you all things musical that I love.

This is part of the soundtrack with words from the poem “Ode to a Nightingale”

Movie trailer

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My Dad came to visit us earlier this week. He drove 9 hrs to come and do a presentation for my son’s 3rd grade class on Native Americans. He’s just cool like that.

When he was done, all the kids were still in school so we came back to our house, ate lunch and watched Muse perform live on their H.A.A.R.P dvd. It was really fun. He had never seen them perform, or even listened very much to their music before that, but he is a musician so watching how AWESOME they are live was a great experience together. Now he knows why most of his kids love Muse so much.

We also finally went to see the Compline choir at St. Marks in Seattle that I blogged about last month. It was amazing. I can’t wait to do it again.

I have always enjoyed listening to music with my dad. I’m pretty sure its one of our favorite things to do together. When I was little, and my mom would leave him in charge he would crank up the stereo and we would rock out. I would definitely say he helped form my love for music. We also share one other thing in common now: bad hearing…..:)

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Dec 292010

While reading my friend Jenean’s music blog; Digestible Trax, I was amused to see that she is also wanting to be more “in tune” with what her husband is listening to.    I had an experience a few weeks ago that totally surprised me.

We were filling out a family survey sheet for Tac’s aunt with questions ranging from “what is on your bucket list” to “what is your favorite book this year?”   When I read Tac’s answer to “favorite album this year,” I had never heard of his answer.    !!?!

You know I quietly looked it up on our itunes later and added it straight to my playlist.   And I even like it.   Then I asked him the very obvious question of why didn’t he tell his music loving wife about his new fav thing.   Answer:  he didn’t think I would like it, which in all fairness he could have been right (that day).   I am so finicky with new music and timing is unnaturally important to the process.

The band that caused this little hiccup is Ratatat.  I like the album “Classics” the best.   There are no words, its just music (which is a big reason why Tac didn’t think I would like it).

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As of late I have been doing something I can only describe as cleansing my musical palette.  It has even led to something completely new for me: I have been listening to the actual radio.  There is an awesome classical station in Seattle, and it has dominated the speakers in my mini van the last month.

My mood has been very reflective and my musical taste buds have not wanted much to do with my normal favorites.   I have followed my cravings and they led me to one of the most amazing things ever: the Saint Marks Compline.   It is a choir of men that sing beautiful songs and chant prayers every Sunday night in the Saint Marks Cathedral in Seattle.   It has become so popular that you can listen to it online or download it as a podcast.

The music sounds just like I would imagine it in a cathedral in the 1500′s.   I recently read a book about Joan of Arc that really affected me, and currently reading “Out of the Flames” a book describing the Reformation, in particular the scholar and martyr Michael Servetus.   This combined with a love of history, music, and the  never to be forgotten feeling I had when we were in St. Pauls Cathedral in London earlier this year when we sat and listened to the choir sing, has made me love this compline service.  Really I love the singing, the chanting is interesting though I am not a Catholic.  But they are worshiping our Savior Jesus Christ, and as a Mormon I enjoy and appreciate it very much.

I really want to see the service live, but it takes place way after my kids bedtime so I have not done it yet.   I think it would be a great experience for them, although I am a little nervous that they would pretend to hit themselves in the head and laugh loudly at their Monty Python reference.

So this is what I’ve been up to lately, and it has cleansed my palette and made me ready to enjoy other music again.   I think I needed to find a new balance, and learn how to deal with a beloved relative’s sickness.

I can think of nothing more soothing and lovely than this at the moment.   I hope that you listen to a service, you may be delighted with what you hear!

Now that I’m feeling so good, I think I’m ready to dive into some Jonsi next.   My really neat friend Larry has written about him at least twice on his blog (in my blog roll: Royalkeister United) and I have been saving it up for just the right time (kind of like how Ive been waiting all year to eat cheesecake on Christmas Eve).

Merry Christmas everyone who actually read this to the end!   (and to those who didn’t )

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“Its so cold in this house” seriously people, it is really cold in my house! We just now turned the heat on for the first time this winter because neither one of us has had a big desire to make the hour round trip to the special furnace store to purchase the $125.00 air filter required to run our even more special furnace.

However, in an attempt to show my husband love and support during a particularly busy, stressful work week (and to stop shivering) I made the trip today. We have officially turned the heater on, so I figured I better hurry up and blog this song before its inapplicable to us.

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I was Mary Poppins for Halloween this year, its kind of a work in progress for me with really big plans to do it again next year.  My son thinks I should be Zombie Mary Poppins, we will see.  I love Mary Poppins- a lot, and I have had so much fun singing her awesome songs this Halloween season (when no one is listening of course).  Hope you all had a good time trick or treating!

My friend Damien Street just made this picture of me flying, its awesome! Thanks Damien.

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I did something I don’t do very much, I went running.  I ran around the track for an hour during my son’s soccer practice.   I needed a workout that didn’t involve my sore shoulder.

While running, I had my ipod on shuffle because I just love being surprised.   The most perfect song started playing about half way through and it just really made me appreciate EVEN MORE what a fabulous place I live in:

“Northwestern Girls” from Say Hi’s album “The Wishes and the Glitch.”   I love this song, but  now I really love this song.   Because you know I’m a Northwestern girl and I was breathing in “the air here” and it is some amazing air.   And the falling leaves make it smell even better, especially with that crisp October edge.

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I follow Billy Corgan on Twitter, its pretty cool. I get the chance to see some of the things that he is thinking and saying about his music and life in general, but its not invasive of his privacy because its all stuff that he is making public himself. I’ve always tried to stay away from paparazzi kind of things because it just seems so wrong, I feel as bad as the person who is snooping and taking bothersome pictures when I read it.

The point is actually this: some of his tweets awhile ago have gotten me thinking about the relationships that we have with music. He was understandably irritated with alot of the criticism his band has gotten as of late (or always as the case seems to be with SP) and it made me feel kind of guilty because I have worked through my feelings on this blog having to do with the new Smashing Pumpkins music, and not all of it was kind. But it wasn’t mean either.

So why (I wondered) do people tend to have such strong reactions to music, and even more so why do the Pumpkins get bombarded regularly with heavy criticism? Why would I, a devoted fan whose life has been blessed with such a love for the music that Billy Corgan has made, have such a negative reaction to some new music that I had to “take a break” from all of his music for several months?

My conclusion is that for starters (and you can take my bias for all that its worth here) Billy Corgan creates music that is so much more than average music. More captivating and feeling, it is real and beautiful; but not too real. His razor voice really does cut into you and if you let it in, it makes a mark. Personally I think its impossible to listen casually to him, his voice is so unconventionally lovely. Because of this, fans of the band have formed intense relationships with his music. Some of those relationships are not positive, but the reactions seems to be stronger than what is usual for disliking certain music. Others have formed good relationships that are most likely more important to many of them than actual relationships they have with other people. So, when he does something different than what they are used to, its almost like a best friend morphing into someone other than who they used to be. Emotional waves usually start rolling and it can cause big reactions.

For me personally, I just had to stop listening and make a clean slate. I didn’t listen to the Pumpkins for many months because it was painful to me. I wasnt totally sure about some of the new songs and for me not to LOVE a song coming from those lungs was too arduous. That sounds silly, unless you too have that kind of a relationship with music. But my time apart followed by an amazing concert was just what I needed. It allowed all of the Pumpkins music (old and new) to find one nice box in my head and live together in peace and happiness. I really needed that.

And all day I have specifically needed this: enjoy

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I really liked The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  I went in with mildly hopeful expectations and the movie totally exceeded them.   It was funny, the acting was quite good, and music played an important role in the story line!   See my favorite scene here.

The female main character was so cool, she had her own college radio program.   And as love often does, it brought music into some-one’s world and made it even better.  Hence the neat Tesla coil laserium show in the secret laboratory.  Thats right I like a bit of romance and dulcet sound with my cheese.

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So I’m having a great summer, but my blog is getting a little dusty what with the lack of being written on.  If it weren’t for Tac’s highjacking a few weeks ago, it may have run away from home all together looking for someone who would love it and play fetch with it.   (yes my dog sent me telepathic messages all day that I feel guilty for ignoring)

I have not really bought any new music lately, or made a musical discovery that made me do the jump and clap thing, but I have still been living my life to music all the same.  And I still think about it all the time too.  I was reading my friend Scary Larry’s blog today all about his lovely experience at a Black Happy reunion concert.   He said something that sparked my mind:

Black Happy’s music has always stayed with me, much like my most treasured friendships of my youth. I needed this concert to reconnect me with who I was then and with people and a place that I seemingly abandoned. Black Happy gave me the courage as a teen to be me and not what I thought I should be in comparison to others my age. Through them learned it was possible to rock the casbah and maintain my integrity at the same time. I still carry that with me today.

While I have been to at least two Black Happy shows in my life, and loved every bit of them, I am a little bit older than Larry, and so Black Happy was not “that band” for me.  I was already in college when we went to see them.   So….what was that band for me?   After carefully considering my options, I came back to the same band that I thought of right away:  Oingo Boingo.

They were different, a little crazy, and sooo much more than just “Weird Science.”   I don’t even like that song.  I would listen to them, and really experience their music, and have to do it on my own usually since almost nobody that I knew liked them very much, and that was ok.  In a way, that was a good lesson on how being different from your friends was ok, and it didn’t mean that you were worth less or insignificant or less alluring….just not to everyone.   But knowing that Oingo Boingo is awesome, even though not everyone thinks so is a pathway to knowing that you are awesome even if not everyone realizes it.  Or something like that.

Here’s “Grey Matter” from a live show I only wish I could have been at, I don’t even know where that show was, but any of them would have been extraordinary.   One of my musical regrets in life is never getting to see Boingo live.

And Larry, I’m so glad you got to see Black Happy again!  I loved what you wrote about it.

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