July has been a strange month. A strange month, indeed. Long and full of waiting, a lesson in patience and grace. I suppose that is what I’m meant to learn. It would have been a year today at my previous job, had I not been laid off in June. Bitter is how that makes me feel. Bitter, a feeling I’m not fond of, but I am keen on recognizing all that I feel, even if I don’t quite like every feeling that comes around. Guess that’s a lesson, too. Or part of that grace thing.
Now let’s play some songs and feel all the feelings that come our way today.
GIVE ME FIVE…JULY 25, 2022
SONG 1: “LIFT” BY SKULLCRUSHER
“The smell of air conditioning.
The fish are belly up.
Empty all your pockets,
because it’s time to come home.”
Dreamy, this song is so dreamy. The lyrics are intriguing to me. The presence of the sea juxtaposed with images of home. “The fish are belly up” gives me pause. I wonder what it means exactly. That there’s nothing left out at sea to find, so come home? Something about it feels like a lost love returning, or a child whose now grown-up and is back with a sea’s worth of perspective. I’m not sure how it makes me feel yet. This is a new discovery song, and artist. I keep hitting repeat, and keep swimming around the music, and the words, trying to land on what it’s bringing to me.
Skullcrusher, Helen Ballantine music-stage name, was a music/art student studying piano in New York, transplanted and making music in Los Angeles. “Lift” is a Radiohead b-side cover, one I was not familiar with until hearing her version this morning.
Want to hear more of Skullcrusher, and discover her music along with me? If so, dive in HERE.
SONG 2: “DUSTY TRAILS” BY LUCIUS
“We been gone for such a long time that I’m almost afraid to go home.
A long road is a long, dragged-out imagination where things can go wrong.
But we keep rolling on.”
It’s been ages since I’ve listened to this song. I forgot how much I love it, how much it reaches deep inside me and pulls at the soft bits, unlocking memories and emotions that I swirl around in. The harmonies in this song. Oh my stars, they are incredible. Just their voices together make me teary eyed, and then the words, the lyrics, they unleash the flood.
I am trying to keep rolling on.
To hear more of Lucius, swirl with me over HERE.
Also, as a bonus, a live version of “Dusty Trails”, with Brandi Carlile…
SONG 3: “BOYS ON THE RADIO” BY HOLE
“When you’re beautiful and dying,
all the world that you’ve denied.
When the water is too deep,
you can close your eyes and really sleep tonight.
I tend to forget about this song when I lean in to listen to Celebrity Skin era Hole, and then I happen on it and remember how poppy and summery, with a bit of edginess, “Boys On the Radio” gifts.
Lyrically, I’ve taken this song in as a reflection of relationships and the challenges they can be. But, the more I listen to it, the more I hear something else. A commentary on being a woman in music in contrast to men in music (or the boys on the radio). I remember hearing an interview with Courtney Love where she mentioned something about hearing boys on the radio that she had a past with, personally, musically, otherwise.
They lyric “when you’re beautiful and dying” always hit a pain point with me, itching at my past struggles (and forever struggles) with body image and disordered eating, and all the mess trauma adds to it all. There was a time in my life where I longed to be “beautiful and dying”.
SONG 4: “GARDEN SONG” BY PHOEBE BRIDGERS
“I don’t know how,
but I’m taller.
It must be something in the water.
Everything’s growing in our garden.
You don’t have to know that it’s haunted.”
Phoebe was one of the voices that got me through that first pandemic year. Her music has been helping me get through so many things ever since. Today, this is the song that’s helping me along.
To hear more of Phoebe Bridgers music, click HERE and listen.
SONG 5: “IT AIN’T ME BABE” BY JOAN BAEZ
“Go away from my window.
Go at your own chosen speed.
I’m not the one you want, babe.
I’m not the one you need.”
My mom played Joan Baez in our house when I was young. She didn’t like Bob Dylan’s voice, so I actually heard Joan’s versions of Dylan songs before I heard Dylan sing them. This is one of my favorite Dylan songs, and I am loving Joan’s version of it today. A lot.