24: Now Let’s Talk About Music! (10/2013)

Sometimes I get into ruts where I hate every single song in my music library. Sometimes I get into ruts where there are three things I want to listen to, and only three things, and I will listen to those three things Ad nauseam.

I don’t know if I’m in one of those  ruts right now, but my sister and I did see an off-Broadway performance of Once a few weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to the Glen Hansard version of “Leave” since purchasing it on iTunes late Saturday afternoon.

Some songs deserve to be played at their highest volume, and “Leave” is definitely one of them. I’m pretty sure my officemates hate me. …I’m also pretty sure I don’t care.

Oops.

Aside from sad Irish music, I’ve been really obsessively listening to “To Build A Home“, by the Cinematic Orchestra. It was used in the trailers for Brit Marling’s Another Earth a few years ago, and has been rattling around in my head ever since. I’ve been doing a whole lot of fiction writing lately as well as trying to keep this blog as up-to-date as possible, and when I’m writing, I definitely fall into past comforts.

With that said, I’ve also been obsessively listening to “Skyscraper” from Demi Lovato on repeat, too, because my brain goes into a very singer-songwriter-y, yearn-y place whenever I’m trying to write. Say what you will about the Demster, but she’s sure got a set of pipes on her.

On Friday, I listened to Chris Bathgate’s “A Corktale Wake” the whole way through at least 30 times, and I still want more of it. I’m going to attempt a longer, more focused post on that guy and how astounding I find his music, but those types of posts take focus and also time, two things I am strongly lacking on the Tuesday after a long weekend.

If you’re interested — and you should be interested — check out, well. Check out the whole album, really, but especially the song “Serpentine“. I promise you won’t regret it.

What are you guys listening to obsessively? Do you sometimes hate all your music too? Come by and tell me and maybe we can share some tunes!

(All links provided are from YouTube. Thanks, YouTube! None of them are NSFW, either, because I like to provide you with a clean, PG experience every time you drop by.) (…this is a total fucking lie. :D) (This post was not sponsored by YouTube, but if anyone from YouTube is Google Alertsing themselves? I would totally be up for that.)

7: Harry Potter, Six Feet Under & Finales: Part 1.

Do you ever think about the things you don’t care about anymore?

This band I was obsessed with for most of my late teens and early 20s is releasing a new album in the next few months, have dropped new tracks and inter-personal tragedies, and while I certainly don’t wish them ill, I’m also too busy and too reluctant to get involved again. I haven’t heard a single single or watched any of the videos, and I only know about the sad things because people have linked me to posts about them. I don’t know that I would say I have an addictive personality, but when I do get invested, I go hard, and I’ve found that I’m just not at a place where I can care that way anymore.

Man, I’m old.

For example: yesterday my friend Pants tweeted out this Yahoo article about the 10 songs that can’t be used on TV again, and there are some old standards, of course — that Snow Patrol song was everywhere in the early 2000s, along with Rilo Kiley’s “Portions for Foxes” and Jeff Buckley’s (gorgeously, gloriously, hauntingly beautiful but entirely too overplayed) version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” — but the clip that gutted me the most was that of the Six Feet Under series finale and the Sia track, “Breathe Me”, that overlaid the final moments of that show.

I came to Six Feet late, but it hit me at exactly the right time. I was a morbid teenager, and a show about a family that owned a funeral home sounded right up my alley. I think I watched the first four seasons in less than 5 days, and a few months later when this finale aired, I was completely heartbroken.

What a relief, I thought, that we get to see the future lives of these people, even if they are sad.

I had never seen a time jump like this explain away the future details of its protagonists’ lives. A few years later, JK Rowling would attempt to do something similar in the epilogue of “The Deathly Hallows”, and although I doubt she had Six Feet Under in mind, I can’t help but catalogue the similarities. I read the finale of HP while on a water taxi heading into Venice during a college backpacking trip with my sister. I was older than Harry at that point, even though we’d been the same age when I’d started reading the novels, and I felt like I’d outgrown him. I was bored, and by the time I finished, even moreso.

This isn’t the case for every long-term fan, I’d imagine, and I agree that some things definitely get better with age (Castle, for one. Law & Order. Most procedurals find their footing in the second or third seasons and only improve from there, I’ve found), but I’ve noticed that the longer breaks there are between creative bursts, the less I seem to care.

Watching the clip from the Six Feet finale again, I was moved, because I’d loved those characters. Keith’s death still hits me the hardest, and my heart stutters every time when Ruth sees Nate as she lays dying. It doesn’t hold the same power it did once, though, and that was startling for me to realize as I was drying my tears and trying not to let my office-mates hear me snuffling. It makes me wonder about media, and power, and what it is about humans that makes them care less as life goes on.

I’m not sure. I just know that I’ve been watching It’s A Wonderful Life with my family on Christmas Eve every year since I before I can remember, and that makes me sob like an idiot every time. I wonder if it’s just habit at this point or if there’s anything to be done about it, except for maybe to stop watching that movie.

What do you cry over? What don’t you cry over? Are there things that moved you in the past that no longer carry the same emotional trigger? Come talk to me about feelings! Or, at least feelings scripted and acted by other people.

4: Now That’s What I Call Writing Music!

If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time in front of your computer, staring blankly at the vast, white expanse of your Word, Drive, TextEdit or FinalDraft, completely at a loss for what to expound on during any given day. Sometimes there are assignments and parameters, but mostly, changing the world one cleverly written sentence at a time is tasked to your brain and your brain alone.

I’m baffled by the folks who can sit down and just have the words pour forth from their fingertips. I am surely not one of them. Ask my best friend how long it took me to even come up with the idea for this blog. …or don’t. The answer is even more pathetic than you might think.

Regardless, what does drag me out of my writing funks is music, and I figured I’d share some of my favorite writing salves, because the post I’d planned to write today refuses to come out the way I want.

I frequently work really well to the Phantom Planet album “The Guest”, specifically to the track All Over Again. There’s just something about blaring it on the loudest possible volume that really lights me up. It’s not even really that angry a song, but there’s something about it that gets my blood boiling.

Chris Bathgate‘s, “A Cork Tale Wake” is one of those alums that just stops me in my tracks. I was first introduced to the song Cold Fusion (Snakes) and for actual years, only listened to that one track. I can be pretty dumb sometimes, and not checking out the rest of that album immediately was most definitely one of those times. It’s such a cohesive, haunting listen.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Neko Case. Her lyrics are beautiful and deliberate and so, so visual. Lots of songs tell stories, but for my money, she does it best. I listen to her when I need to write happy stories and sad stories, and everything in between. If Neko can’t drag me out of the abyss, nothing can.

Check out the record “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood“. It will change your relationship with words and sentences, I promise.

Now, here’s the fun part! What are you listening to? What gets you inspired? Can’t hurt to share some tunes and make the writer’s block quake in its boots!