First June Friday. I took this one off to take care of some things, and to give myself a mental health/physical health day. I feel like I really need it this week. I’m feeling a mix of overwhelm and stuckness (not really a word, but it is today). I think with the world nearing being open again I’m getting itchy to be out in it. More than that, though, I’m craving some time by myself. I don’t know what that exactly looks like. Maybe a day off completely, away from the house, away from everyone. I don’t know where I’d go, but I kind of like the idea of not knowing. Ideally, I’d like to go to a place where I could sit and write, maybe with access to coffee, and to the ocean.
Honestly, though, I’d be fine with the park a few blocks away as long as I could get some alone time, some space to breathe, and to write. I know we are all feeling it, but damn it’s been a long pandemic.
At least there’s always music.
If you could go off somewhere today, on your own, where would you go? What music would you take along with you?
Give Me Five – June 4, 2021
Song 1: “Strange” by Celeste
“Isn’t it strange?
How people can change?
From strangers to friends,
friends into lovers,
and strangers again.”
When I hit play on this track today I could swear it was a cover. I know I’ve heard it before. I may have even posted about it before, or included it in a playlist (or both). Or perhaps I heard it in a show, or a film (looking up info on the song now. Ah. It was used in an episode of ‘Bridgerton’, though it was a classical cover. Oh, and on ‘Ted Lasso’ – that’s where I know it from!)
There is something very classic about this song. As I listen I can imagine Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan singing it. Maybe even Nina Simone. It has that timeless quality to it. I could even picture Nat King Cole singing it.
The questions and contemplations in the lyrics above really resonate with me. I’ve been there. I think most of us have. Taking that leap from friends to lovers, and then something not working and losing both – the lover, and the friend. It is a “strange” feeling to see someone as a stranger who you were once close to, once intimate with. It happens though. I know it has for me.
Celeste wrote and recorded “Strange”, along with Stephen Wrabel, as well as with Jamie Hartman, who also produced the track. (source: Wikipedia)
Celeste has said that “Strange” is a reflection of a broken relationship. The song, she says, was inspired by, or was her artistic reaction to, the 2018 California wildfires. She says that she began to think of all the destruction the fires caused with people finding themselves isolated without a home anymore. Celeste says she also reflected on the loss of her father, who died of lung cancer when she was a teenager. She utilized her own emotional turmoil to write “Strange”, a song that has been described as a heartbreaking dissection of the end of a romance. (source; Songfacts)
If you’d like to learn more, and hear more, of Celeste, and if you’d like to help support her music, you don’t have to be a stranger (or “strange”), just click here.
Song 2: “Buried” by Abimaro
“He looked just like you.
Running with a new heart in his hands.”
My first introduction to Abimaro was with the song/single “Folding”. I featured it in a Give Me Five right after my first listen. I loved the soulfulness of her voice. It reminded me of church singing, of gospel. With this song, “Buried”, I get even more church/gospel/soulful feels. Her voice is angelic, truly beautiful.
Here is a quote from Abimaro that really resonates with me:
“If my name means something, then surely every word means something. Surely every word carries great significance.” (source: BIOGRAPHY | Abimaro)
Animaro was born into a multi-cultural family. Her mother is English, and her father Ugandan. She’s said that words have always been a powerful tool of expression for her, and that it is her sensitivity to language that feeds her lyrics, and give them poetic clarity. (source: BIOGRAPHY | Abimaro)
I completely agree with her lyrics being like poetry. It was one of the first things that pulled me into her music. That, and her uniquely gorgeous voice that I often see referenced/described as “ethereal”. Yes, I see/hear that, too.
If you’d like to hear more about Abimaro, discover more of her music, and help to support it, float over to here, please.
Song 3: “In a Bind” by Vagabon
“My bodies gone awry,
And, my love is in a bind.
I don’t know what to do about that.”
I have fallen so hard for this version of “In a Bind”, and for Vagabon’s music. There is something other-earthly about her voice, something that transcends genre and style. I hear Tracy Chapman sometimes. I hear Sinéad O’Connor and Beth Gibbons sometimes, and then I hear something that is completely hers.
The first song I heard from Vagagon was “Every Woman”. It was part of a Give Me Five, as well. I just keep discovering more and more of her songs. I keep wanting more and more.
Vagabon (Laetitia Tamko) is a Cameroonian-American self-taught multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and music producer based in New York City. (source: Wikipedia)
Vagabon had this to say about this “Strings Version” of the song “In a Bind”:
“When recording ‘In a Bind’ for the album, I struggled with what arrangement was best for this song,” explains Laetitia. “Originally, I thought it should include soaring strings and be very theatrical and dramatic. A few days before I was meant to hand in the album, I did away with the strings and found that to be the best decision given the context of the album as a whole.” She continues, “I’m glad this string version gets to see the light of day with this video directed by Maegan Houang. I like for my videos to give the listener a visual perspective they may not have thought of when left to their own imagination. In listening, it’s easy to hear ‘In a Bind’ as a love song but through this video I wanted to show what was in my imagination. As I stand through all the disasters, lyrics such as ‘my body’s gone awry’ take on a new meaning, a meaning the listener didn’t imagine. It felt perfect to pair this visual with the alternate string version of the song. I would like to note that one of the disasters in the video is a tornado, which of course may bring to mind the tragic storm in Nashville last week. My thoughts are with everyone in that city. For those looking to help, the Nashville Scene has compiled a guide with many options.” (source: DIY Mag)
Here is the original recorded version, from her self-titled album, from 2019:
I’m also really loving this live version:
If you to hear more about Vagabon, and if you want to help support her music, dream yourself over here.
Song 4: “I Think We’re Alone Now” by The Wild Ree
“Running just as fast as we can,
holding on to one another hands.
Trying to get away,
into the night,
and then you put your arms around me,
and we tumble to the ground and then you say –
I think we’re alone now.”
Today’s cover, for today’s Give Me Five, is from this delightful trio, and their take on “I Think We’re Alone Now”. This track is so much fun.
I read about this cover at Tower Records website (love to see Tower still around. Still my favorite job of all-time, my Tower era in my twenties).
The Wild Reeds are from Los Angeles, and they had this to say about their musical identity, and about the EP that this cover is on – called Covers:
“The Wild Reeds are a band led by women, and that matters. Not a sister band, not a girl group, but a band fronted by three women, all talented singers, songwriters, and multi-instrumentalists in their own right: Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe, and Sharon Silva, with drummer Nick Jones and bass player Nick Phakpiseth providing the Los Angeles-based band’s rhythmic foundation. Like a harmony at its euphoric best, the leads’ powerful – and powerfully distinct – voices merge to form a sound that can only be The Wild Reeds. On their third LP, Cheers, the band comes together to create an ode to the joys and pains of camaraderie.” (source: Tower Records)
Other covers on their Covers EP include “Pure Imagination” and “The Way I Feel Inside”. Definitely worth checking out.
To hear more about The Wild Reeds, and to help support their music, you don’t have to alone (but you can be) to go here.
Song 5: “New Song” by Alice Phoebe Lou
“I wanna live like I mean it.
I’m gonna take it,
not leave it.”
Finishing up today’s Five with all women artists (it is Friday, which is Female Friday at lyriquediscorde, after all). Alice Phoebe Lou is another new discovery of mine. I stumbled onto her song, “New Song”, from a playlist on Spotify – though I can’t remember which one. I was driving through Silverlake when it came on and I got lost in the song, and almost got lost on my way through the city. Music can do that to me sometimes. Completely distract me and take me kind of away from my body/from my reality.
Alice Phoebe Lou is a South African singer-songwriter. She had a song featured in the film Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story which garnered her some attention, as well as her song being included on the Oscar’s Hot List for Best Original Song. (source: Wikipedia) The song from the film is called “She”.
Alice also has a musical side-project called Strongboi.
If you want to hear more of Alice Phoebe Lou, and if you want to help support her music, head on over here to discover more of something “new”.
What music is spinning around your first Friday of June? Any songs that you’d care to share?