I can see by her eyes she’s been waiting
Nineteen is the year I seem to revisit most often. It was the year that I found things, lost things and began to carve out a “me” from things outside of my upbringing, things that didn’t come from book pages or classroom settings, nor from anything I perceived as “expected” of me.
I used to wander aimlessly through Fullerton College, the junior college I went to just out of high school. With my eyes slightly glazed over, I would turn in another paper, memorize a new monologue, or switch out the mandatory math tutorial tapes for cassettes of The Cure and Suzanne Vega’s Solitude Standing.
It was me and “Luka” in those math labs, and sometimes “Charlotte“ as I scribbled numbers and graphs into workbook pages.
Those afternoons felt like a slow-moving purgatory. They kept me a prisoner of my own design until the buzzer would ring, classes ended for the day, and I would walk zombie-like to my Honda Civic.
I never named that little red car, though she meant everything to me. She was my first. My confidante most days. My partner in crime. Sometimes the two of us would skip classes and study labs all together – my car and me – driving to the beach and parking for hours by the sand.
I rarely got out. No, at the time I preferred to roll the windows all the way down, recline the driver’s seat as far as it would go, leaving the keys at half-mast so the music could still play. The Cure’s “Lovecats” meowing me into an afternoon nap.
The three boys who had been my sanity in high school called me up one night, in the early part of my nineteenth year. They’d been spending most evenings in Hollywood and were determined to get me to come along.
I’d pulled a disappearing act since high school had ended. Two days a week taking classes, and every other day I worked in the mall, at Jay Jacobs.
I wasn’t sure what I was doing, where I was headed, or who I was. I was just going through the motions, numb to most everything.
Back in high school, we’d all obtained identities, even if we didn’t choose them. We were part of groups, or we were excluded from groups, our identity the accusation, or the solution.
But now, well, no one put me anywhere. No one knew me as anything except “the girl behind the counter”, or “the girl cleaning out a dressing room”, “or the girl who did a Carrie Fisher book excerpt for her first monologue”.
I was becoming “Solitude Standing”, staring out windows, or rolling them down to let the salty air in. Squinting at my reflection in the dressing room mirrors wondering who I was becoming.
Was I becoming anything at all?
I was lost.
I was waiting for something.
“Solitude Standing” by Suzanne Vega
from the album, Solitude Standing (1987)
My best friend from Senior year was still in school. She had plans to move out as soon as she could, and asked me, over and over, why I hadn’t left home myself. My mother was more lost that I was then, staying out late with her friends, calling to have me pick her up from random locations. I’d find her some mornings standing in an apartment complex parking lot, last night’s heels in her hand, looking like she didn’t know who she was either.
Feeling lost has no age limit.
I had lost my role as a daughter, trading it in for a makeshift caretaker and hall monitor for her, and a surrogate parent for my little brother.
We were all still shattered by what had happened the year before. Still stumbling around like a family of zombies; infected, actually dead, but not yet aware of it.
Those three boys, they saved me again, just like they’d done during that nightmare of a year. It was that phone call – their invitation that they wouldn’t let me refuse – that would end up defining nineteen. My nineteen.
I climbed in the backseat.
They handed me a bottle of Strawberry Boones Farm, one dollar a bottle.
It tasted like Jolly Ranchers with a bite.
I took swig after swig while “Shake the Disease” played on the car stereo. I was wearing new shoes and as we drove I could feel the not broken in faux leather stiff and restrictive, causing my toes to sting.
I just took another drink straight from the bottle, one of the three taking my hand in his in the backseat.
The boy who was driving caught my eye in the rearview mirror and winked. He then proclaimed to the car, and everyone in it, that we should kiss Marilyn before going to Ground Zero.
“Lore, you’re wearing just the right shade of red.”
None of it made sense, not yet, but all of it sounded amazing.
I felt the alcohol buzzing in my head and the throb in my toes, and something more. I felt like I was finally waking up.
“Between Something and Nothing” by The Ocean Blue
from the album, The Ocean Blue (1989)
Video of the Day
“And I long to know you’re real.
And I long for you to be part of me.
I long to know you’re real.
And I long for you to be a part of me.”
Blue Jay was directed by Alex Lehmann in his fictional feature debut, from a screenplay by Mark Duplass. It stars Duplass and Sarah Paulson. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2016.
The film was released on October 7, 2016, in a limited release prior to being released through video on demand on October 11, 2016. (from Wikipedia)
Blue Jay (2016)
Written by Mark Duplass
Directed by Alex Lehmann
Movie of the Day
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past. The film marked the Duplass Brothers’ first film under their four-picture deal with Netflix. Netflix financed the film without seeing a script, but just reading a 10-page outline of the story. This allowed for a true independent film experience.
The film had no script. The actors were given a summary of the movie and their characters and the rest was improvisation.
Blue Jay was the first feature film for director Alex Lehmann. He also served as the director of photography and cinematographer of the film.
The film was shot over the course of seven days in and around Crestline, California. It was filmed on a canon camera without built-in recording or built-in power source.
The film’s score was composed by Julian Wass.
One of my best friends recommended Blue Jay to me. I’ve said this before, at lyriquediscorde, but any and every movie she has ever recommended to me has ended up on my list of all-time favorite movies (if you want some recommendations by her, too, you should follow her movie Instagram – breewatchesmovies.
Here are some of my thoughts on the movie, written originally after seeing it for the first time.
Nostalgia has plot holes, but oh how I have such a soft spot for it. How many times have I thought about what it would be like to run into a past love, to have a day to spend together, to talk and re-connect, and share a moment again. Not just any past love, but one that mattered, one that had real significance. But, given that opportunity, is it not potentially loaded with emotional landmines that can, or most likely will, go off unexpectedly?
This movie hit very hard. I had a nostalgia reuniting situation a few years ago, and it was full of wonder and magic and passion – at first, but eventually all it had was a hell of a lot of landmines, and boy did they go off. Would I do it again? At one time I would have said yes, but now, where I am in my life, my answer is no. Would these two characters do it again? Yes, I think they would. I really do.
This film reminded me at times of the second installment in Richard Linklater/Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy’s “Before” series, as well as Graham Greene’s book, “The End of the Affair”. The former because of the reconnecting of past lovers, and the day spent together, though to me “Blue Jay” had more hope and joy to it, even in the sad moments, than “Before Sunset” did. The latter (“The End of the Affair”) in the reveal that what you assume, and what you decide to say, is not always what you want, or mean. I do not want to spoil anything, but there is a moment where you see that things that happened, and things said, were not as true as they seemed at the time.
Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass are two favorite actors of mine, and they were brilliant in this. They had chemistry and ease and emotional deft that brought these characters immediately to life for me, and also pulled my heart around for the entirety of their day/night together. I felt so much watching this film. I laughed, I cheered, I sang-a-long, I hurt, I cried — a lot, and I felt — a lot, too.
I think what hit me the most was how lost Amanda seemed to be, in her life, and in herself. Jim is lost, too, but he seemed more cognizant of it, more recently aware. But, I felt like it was all hitting Amanda. Maybe seeing Jim joggled some of that in her; the experience of hearing her voice on the tape, coming head-on with her younger self, as well as her first love. That resonated with me as I find myself wrestling with my own lost self, and traversing my way through it.
I loved the way these two connected to music in this, and how music played a part in their relationship, and their meeting up again moments. I love the black-and-white filming of it, the way it added to the starkness of winter in this small town, and the bleakness of being lost and being back home again. And, I loved both of these characters so much. When the movie ended I wanted so much more, but at the same time was good with where they left it.
The film plays out like a play. I’d actually love to see it performed on-stage, preferably with Mark and Sarah. I can’t imagine anyone else playing them.
The choice to have the movie shot in black-and-white was a brilliant one. I think it adds to the intimacy and almost too close look into these two people’s lives. It strips away the distraction of color and just focuses on these two characters – just as a play, in a small theater, with two actors on a stark and nearly empty stage would.
“No More I Love You’s” by Annie Lennox scene
Sundays have always been my favorite day of the week. It started back when I used to work six days a week, Monday thru Saturday, back in the ’90s, when I was in my 20’s. Sunday was a special day. My only day off. A day when I’d get the urge to cook lots of food, and have people over to eat, drink, and have great conversations. Oh, and listen to lots of music.
Sundays don’t have that same charm anymore, yet the day still holds a specialness to it, for me. There is something peaceful about it. A day when I try not to have too many places to go, or too long of to-do lists. I like to ditch time on Sundays, taking the day as it comes instead of holding to schedules and places I have to be. It doesn’t always work out that way. What ever does? But today I’m happy to say is just like that.
I’m indulging in my second cup of coffee while sitting at my dining room table, listening to today’s selection of Top 5 Music Obsessions, and letting the songs take me where they want me to go.
I’m still struggling a lot and sleeping too little, but the music is helping some today. As is the coffee, and no particular place to go. I do have a to-do list. Laundry, a bit of housework, and a work project that’s deadline is tomorrow. But, I’m taking it slow, and taking some time to write, and listen to music. It helps.
So, let’s get right to it. To the music. To today’s Top 5.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Sunday, June 2, 2019
1. “Can’t Stop You” by Pete Yorn
Single released 2019
Can’t stop you from hurting yourself.
(Can’t stop you)
It’s not you who’s driving us all away.
(It’s not you)
Can’t stop you from losing it all.
(Can’t stop you)
Can’t stop you.
Can’t stop you.”
Pete Yorn is one of my forever all-time favorites, and it shows here at lyriquediscorde. One of his songs was the very first post here, back in 2011, and he has been featured here countless time since. I love his music. His music gifts me so many things, comfort, hope, dreams, inspiration, and just that indescribable feeling that music that means the world gives.
Of the two new singles released this week, “Can’t Stop You” is my favorite. It resonates deeply with me right now. Both in how I feel/how I am impacted by things people I love are going through, and how I feel about the struggles and issues I’m trying to get through myself. This song is honestly just what I needed right now, and I am so grateful.
It has that tried and true Pete sound to it, but with a little extra flourish that makes it both timeless and contemporary. It feels like Summer. It feels like time at the ocean, times on the road with the windows rolled down, and times sitting alone in contemplation, worrying and wondering about someone (or yourself), and learning to let go of things you can’t control.
Give this track multiple listens. Then go out into the world, on a walk, or a drive, and play it again. You’ll thank me for it.
2. “Possibly Maybe” by Björk
from the album, Post (1995)
“Your flirt finds me out,
teases the crack in me,
smittens me with hope.”
Fitting right in with this month’s theme, and today’s Song of the Day, “Possibly Maybe” is the perfect crush song. A tune for when you feel that first flush of feeling from another person. There is excitement, desire, and the uncertainty of where it will lead if it leads anywhere at all. Possibly it could become something more. Maybe it could even become love.
This track also has a Summer feel. I guess my ears, and music obsessive heart is readying for the Summertime (though I could skip right over the heat – when it comes).
3. “Desire Lines” by Lush
from the album, Split (1994)
“We hold parties in our sleep.
We fill ourselves up in our sleep.”
I’ve been diving in deep to women in music in the ’90s for this month’s Song of the Day theme, and keep finding songs I can’t get enough of. This one is definitely in that category.
Sleep has been elusive lately. I’ve had three nights of very bad insomnia where I’ve hardly slept at all, and when I do finally doze off, bad dreams come to take me over. I wake suddenly then, full of panic and anxiety, and the struggle to fall asleep starts all over again.
I’m longing to fill myself up with sleep. I know my body, mind, and emotions really need it. Maybe it will be better tonight.
Maybe I need to make a lullaby playlist.
4. “Turn Me Down” by Julia Jacklin
from the album, Crushing (2019)
“It’s a lot to ask of you,
to believe in me,
when I can’t even promise,
I’d do things differently next time.”
I feel like this song, especially the lyrics above, were written for me, in my life, right now. They resonate so much it hurts.
Julia Jacklin is one of my favorite new discoveries of the year, and her album Crushing will definitely be on my favorite albums of 2019 list.
P.S. This song also feels like Summer, to me.
5. “Kinky Love” by Pale Saints
from the EP, Flesh Balloon (1991)
“Good to me.
Kinky, do all the things you should to me.
Wake up I’m nervous.
Sleep inside of me.”
Another “women in music in the ’90s” song. Another Summertime vibe kind of song. Sensual, sexy, soothing, and so beautiful.
I feel like I didn’t appreciate Pale Saints enough in the ’90s. I feel almost like I’m discovering them for the first time now. I’m sure glad I finally came around.
I want to swirl around in this song all morning, and afternoon.
TOP 5 MUSIC OBSESSIONS – JUNE 2019
Day 2 of June’s Song of the Day theme – Women in Music in the ’90s – features one of the most danceable, addictive, theatrical, feel-good songs from the ’90s, “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Björk. “It’s Oh So Quiet” is tied with “Army of Me” as my go-to Björk track, tied for favorite, a tune that will always put me in a better mood. Always.
The song is track 4 from Björk’s 1995 album, Post, her second solo release. Something new that I learned about the song today is that it’s a cover. I’d always assumed it was an original. But no, it was Betty Hutton who recorded and released the catchy tune in 1951 as the B-Side to her single, “Murder, He Says”. But that isn’t the original either. Betty’s is a version of a German song, “Und jetzt ist es still”, performed by Horst Winter in 1948, with music composed by the Austrian composer, Hans Lang, and lyrics by Erich Meder. The English lyrics were written by Bert Reisfeld. A French title, “Tout est tranquille”, was performed in 1949 by Ginette Garcin and the Jacques Hélian Orchestra. (from Wikipedia)
Damn, this song has made its way all over the world. I think it’s time to have a listen, don’t you think? Let’s start with Today’s Song of the Day, Björk’s 1995 version.
“It’s Oh So Quiet” by Björk
from the album, Post (1995)
Song of the Day
“The sky caves in.
The devil cuts loose.
You blow blow blow blow your fuse.
When you’ve fallen in love.”
Listening to “It’s So Quiet” this early Sunday morning I immediately remember a local bar my friends and I used to go to, in the mid-90s, that had this very cool jukebox (oh how I love jukeboxes). This was one of my favorites to play. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was always part of my rotation when I slid my money in to pick a handful of songs.
It also reminds me of an apartment I had, my stereo in the living room, this song blasting out of the speakers while I danced around, bouncing up and down to the loud and soft (shhhh) intervals of “It’s Oh So Quiet”.
I’m getting that urge to dance around my living room right now, but I’m trying to “quiet” the desire and keep on writing. I mean, really, how can you not want to dance to this?
“It’s Oh So Quiet” became Björk’s biggest hit in the UK. It led to the Icelander’s subsequent single releases “Hyperballad” and “Possibly Maybe” also reaching the UK Top 20. Björk later virtually disowned the song by not including it on her 2002 greatest hits album. It is thought that Björk was disappointed that her most popular song is an unusual cover done in a style totally different to anything else she has recorded.
Björk was quoted as saying this about the song, in Record Collector, August 2002:
“It was sort of a joke really. It was a song Guy Sigsworth used to play on the bus when we were touring. Ever since I almost regret doing it because I wanted to put so much importance on making new music. So many people are doing old music and you’ve even got new bands doing old music. If I put something out in this world, it would be the courage to go ahead and invent things, so it’s ironic ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ became my biggest song. The best bit was the video.” (from Björk.com)
The music video (see above) was directed by Spike Jonze and was inspired by musicals of the ’40s-’60s, notably the 1964 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Björk was ill with a fever and could only speak in a whisper during the shoot. (from Songfacts)
Let’s have a listen to Betty Hutton’s 1951 version now:
What do you think? Björk’s version is definitely a loyal cover of the high energy, musical-style tune.
I hit play on Björk’s take on the song again, and I inhale those feelings of listening to it back in 1995. I was 26. I remember really feeling this song, singing it with that glow and shine that usually accompany that first falling for someone feeling.
I’m reminded, too, that this was the year I’d see Björk play live for the first time. She played it then. My friend and I danced around in the crowd, my head spinning in that drunk and a little delirious kind of way.
Do you have any specific memories attached to “It’s Oh So Quiet”?
Let’s end today’s trip back to 1995 by going back to the 40’s, with the actual original.
“Und jetzt ist es still” by Horst Winter
Wait. I changed my mind. Let’s end instead with Björk performing the song live. Okay?