December 24th, 2010

children of dune - leto 1

sing it until you believe it; then keep singing

Music. As I am supposed to be wrapping presents and that's totally not happening.

I know, it's been a musical month. It's just--okay, I have, like, healthy ways of dealing with stress and I have the ones that got me a mandatory psychiatric evaluation in my late teens and early twenties and permanent scarring. To say the last few months have been bad is to understate the case. I can't tell if it's getting better, but it's good right now, and this is part of the reason why.

[The irony of clinical depression; it goes away eventually. At least for me, it always eventually clears. But that really doesn't mean much when you know it will come back, no pattern, no meaning, no timing, no warning. So I take what I can get.]

Today's theme is singing; what, you say you can't sing? Why on earth do you care? Music is how we connect not only with each other, but with ourselves, and nothing internalizes it faster than singing along, feeling the shape of each word on your tongue as the melody fills your mind, hear your own voice giddy and breathless and dizzying as the music settles shivering beneath your skin and in your body memory. Every time you hear it after that, your body will remember it, a heady rush of glittering pleasure, meaning, joy.

It's you and the music; bring it. If someone doesn't like it, they can go away. It's not about them, so fuck 'em. I'll buy them earplugs myself if they're being a dick.

All links to youtube.

My Chemical Romance - Sing

[Note: I need to watch this video.]

I listened only half-heartedly the first time, immersed in Summertime since I haven't done an end to end with the album yet. Hello, what the fuck was I thinking not listening straight through?

I bend toward the less perky side of the musical force; my happy playlist is fifteen songs and it's every happy song I have that I don't hate or isn't R&B. If it's perky, it's something I dance to, not listen to or write to. But I think I could write to this, if I could stop rocking out with the two year olds around the Christmas tree to it.

There's also, like in lit, a strong bend toward the idea of positive emotion being a little beneath us all, which is really easy to internalize to the point where anything with a spark of something other than cutting yourself with your meth kit razors is like, shallow and shit. But oh, this one, this one I feel; this is catchy and dizzy and ecstatic with a high, sharp fast build that rushes like a hit of ecstacy, and I so do not care if Gerard totally judges my musical choices, I'm going hoarse from this one.

Instructions: Turn on your speakers to the highest legal decibel you won't get arrested for, hit repeat-one, and play this until you lose your voice. If you don't come out of that high out of your mind, do it a few more times. You'll get there. And move for God's sake.

Fefe Dobson - Don't Let It Go To Your Head

This is the easiest memorization since Meredith Brooks' Bitch; the chorus will have you in three listens. Everything about reluctantly falling in love with someone in a good way, shocked at yourself, at them, at how wonderful they are and you can't even believe you're feeling like this, how you never thought you'd feel like this again and oh my God, this is just amazing.

It's like that.

Instructions: headphones, middle range, effervescent joy you have to dance to. Parking lots are perfect, but the mall escalator works too. Just don't bounce yourself off mid-way down.

Kurt Nielsen - She's So High

He thinks her awesome is legion, and this song makes me believe it. Chorus is perfect and any songwriter who can work in Cleopatra and Joan of Arc into a love song wins forever. Picks up even more after the first chorus.

Instructions: mellow, sway a little, smile when you sing it; you really won't be able to help yourself. Speakers recommended.

Train - Drops of Jupiter

If you were never obsessed with this song, we need to fix that right now; email me and I'll send you it, because seriously. From the slow, sweetly lilting beginning to the rich build to a sharp, giddy crescendo before it brings you back down in a glittery sweep, it's the perfect goddamn song, but what gets to me every time is the lyrics.

Conscious memorization; I worked to get this one down, every ridiculous, genius word of it, because all of us have watched someone we love go through a sharp, startling change and wonder if we'll be left behind. This is all the reasons we won't be.

Instructions: just don't blow out your eardrums, okay? And do 2:23 through 3:00 in one breath. Imaginary microphones are a plus, but hell, do it with a real one. And yes, you damn well should dance across the Milky Way when it says to.

The Beatles - Come Together

[Note: holy shit, does Paul have a mullet?]

The rhythm is what sets this one apart; it's really hard to get off-beat when it's pounding in your blood, and also, yeah, we've all heard it in commercials forever. Commercials do not do it justice. I can't even tell what it's about even singing it; I so do not care.

Instructions: in the car, mid-bass. Possibly while stoned out of your mind. Er, don't drive, though.

The Beatles - We Can Work It Out

Oh please; this is my glee zone. It's not just the video, though yeah, I forever associate it with John and Paul on the cusp of getting murdered while giggling like tween girls, but it's a contrast song. I read a review of it that quoted John on how Paul talks about a fight but how everything will be fine and John comes in with "and also, we could die, you know" and it's kind of hysterical to feel the shift, not quite of mood, but of resonance. Catchy pop meets introspection meets hope springs eternal.

Instructions: put youtube on the largest screen in the house and rock out while watching John tripping his ass off and Paul carry on like a girl with a crush.

Snow Patrol - If There's a Rocket, Tie Me To It

The anticipatory build, in general, didn't tell me anything interesting about this song the first time I heard it, and I pretty much tuned it out until [personal profile] svmadelyn commented on some seriously vivid imagery early on. I gave it another try and this time listened, and oh, I got to the staccato build leading into the chorus, which is about fire and fuck yeah.

You get there, there's no turning back; you'll feel this one everywhere, in your pulse and your teeth and your feet.

Instructions: headphones or stereo, but seriously, bring it anytime they say fire. It feels amazing. Stay standing. Twirl around a little; no, not by the coffee table, move that first. There we go.

Emm Garner - Synchronic

[Note: can't find this one on youtube. dammit.]

Okay, let's go a little mellower. Smooth and gorgeous lyricism, the celebration of the best parts of a former relationship, the things that you loved about them and still do. This is the good parts you never want to forget. It's a quieter alternative to Drops of Jupiter; even if they're gone, when the bruises heal, it was still amazing and you don't regret a thing.

Instructions: lighten the bass, raise the treble just a little, and relax. Excellent post-Sing to calm a little and rest your voice.

Fallout Boy - Sugar, We're Going Down

In some universe three over or so, I never heard this song and that's a sad, sad universe indeed. If you can sit still on the downbeat, I am completely shocked. Like a musical assault, they throw everything at you at once, and I'm pretty sure maybe this is about a breakup or something, w/e, I'm in it for the loaded God complex, cock it and pull it, as loudly as I can sing it.

Instructions: Up your bass, not really a moving song so much as a jumping song. Funnier on headphones, perfect for late afternoons. Wear a hoodie. Borrow one if you have to.

Jordin Sparks - Battlefield

I love pop with a nice, clear theme, chorus, and a good beat so I can go autopilot. All's fair in love and war, this is so ridiculously catchy I automemorized in one listen. It's ridiculously fun.

Instructions: on the stereo with a group of friends. They only need a listen or two to join in. It's totally like a battlefield.

Des'ree - You Gotta Be

If there was ever a song to wrap up everything humanity will ever be in a good way, this one is it. Not a lot of variation in melody line, but the lyrics don't need it, and the chorus bounds along like the happiest puppy of human growth and change in the universe.

Instructions: stereo please, and see if you can get the chorus in one breath. You feel it yet? Do it again; you will.

Eminem - Lose Yourself

I like the speed of time running by too fast to catch, desperation, and something I can feel in my calves when the bass is right, and the slow and inevitable build going faster every second that passes, until you're already pounding the floor and can't walk the next day because your hamstrings are too tight.

Lyrically, this one makes me weirdly self-conscious; it's almost too exposing for someone who grew up very working class and just barely hanging on to that (thanks, Reagan). The chorus is okay, but that's not why this one goes on rotation when I need to burn out some energy; it's the quickly growing desperation, the need for more, the realization that something has to change because you can't keep going on like this, and you can't fail, you can't; there's no choice left worth making.

Instructions: fuck the neighbors. Blast this one until you can't remember what silence feels like.

REM - It's the End of the World

There's the first time you get all the words out, half-suffocated and dazed and panting and dizzy-high, possibly from oxygen deprivation, but whatever, remember that? Yeah. Do it again.

Instructions: stereo totally, out loud and competitive, best in groups, hilarious in masses, and if you aren't dancing, why?

Honorable Mentions

[Note: will add links.]

This got really long, didn't it?

Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire - doubles as an excellent American history twentieth century cheat sheet. Pick up the urgency at the end of each stanza and run with it.

Alanis Morrisette - You Outta Know - well, who hasn't put their headphones on and shouted remembering the feel of skin beneath their fingernails? If you have to have a bad breakup, you should get vent it. At the top of your lungs, even.

Carbon Leaf - What About Everything? - bop along with the world.

Dixie Chicks - Not Ready To Make Nice - it's okay to be mad; it's also okay not to get over it. Sing it until you believe it.

Pink - Cuz I Can - fuck yes. You may need new speakers afterward.

Journey - Don't Stop Believing, Bon Jovi - Blaze of Glory, Bruce Springsteen - War, Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love, Dobie Gray - Drift Away -- go rock out already. You know you want to.

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