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
The first of June’s Top 5 Music Obsessions is a mix of old and new, featuring two new tracks released this week that I can’t get enough of, a song by one of my favorite women of the ’90s (on theme), one of my favorites from my teenage years in the ’80s, and a sad and beautiful song that breaks my heart as much as it soothes it. Those are the best kinds sometimes, don’t you think?
I’m having a really hard time right now. So many people are struggling right now. I feel selfish complaining, and I find it hard to ask for help, or to speak on how I’m feeling at all. I’m grateful for those people in my life who are there for me, who remind me that I matter, and who don’t turn away or get upset if I’m not doing well. I don’t know what I’d do without them. It’s hard though, I feel alone and lonely, and I feel myself retreating inward, putting up walls and shuttering up my feelings. My writing has suffered for it, I’ve suffered for it, too. I need to make some big changes that will take a lot out of me, but something has to give. I can’t be this unhappy all the time. It isn’t good for anyone. It isn’t good for me.
Small changes first though. I am giving myself the time to breathe and plan and sort it all so I minimize regrets and curb my flight/run away fast knee-jerk reactions. Spontaneity and rashness are not always the right choice. So those small choices. Re-connecting with my writing, here and with my novel. Re-connecting with friends and mending things where they need mending, forgiving where forgiveness is needed, apologizing where apologies are needed, and that goes for me, too. I need to find her. The me in me again.
Enough of all that sad. Let’s turn up the music and celebrate a “first” day. A new beginning. The start of June.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Saturday, June 1, 2019
1. “Hurry On Home” by Sleater-Kinney
Single release – 2019
“You know I’m unfuckable.
But just hurry on home to me.
I’ve made more space for you.”
Produced by Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent. Danceable and all those things above that say un. No, this track is all of those things. I’d fuck it, love it, listen to it, dance with it, and then do it all over again. Wouldn’t you?
I can’t wait to hear the full album.
2. “Some Jingle Jangle Morning” by Mary Lou Lord
from the album, Lights Are Changing (1998)
“Somewhere it all got crazy,
and now it’s like a dream,
and I knew that I blew it from the start.
I was too freaked out to deal with it all.
And too fucked up to care.
I stood right there and watched it fall apart.”
One of my favorites from the ’90s. I felt every word of that.
Of all the things I seem to do right, relationships aren’t one of them.
3. “Calm Down” by Pete Yorn
Single Release – 2019
“I wish I knew then what I know now.”
It’s always a better day when a new Pete Yorn song comes into my life. His music has always got me, and gotten to me, soothing the parts of me that feel broken, gifting me hope and inspiration.
“Calm Down” is no exception. I’m feeling so lost and so full of regrets, beating myself up for mistakes and for being me. But, I don’t have a time machine. I didn’t know then what I know now. All I can do is breathe, and yeah, “Calm Down”. As always, thanks, Pete.
4. “Medicine” by Daughter
from the album, Wild Youth (2012)
“You’ve got a warm heart.
You’ve got a beautiful brain.
But, it’s disintegrating.”
Such a heartbreaking song. Such a beautiful song. It feels so relevant right now that it hurts to listen to, but I keep listening. It makes me feel less alone.
5. “So In Love” by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
from the album, Crush (1985)
“Talk to me,
don’t lie to me,
save your breath.
Don’t look at me,
don’t smile at me,
just close your eyes.”
My favorite OMD song. This one takes me back to 1985 with the very first notes. I’m transported. A slide show of memories. A school dance in a church basement. The backseat of a friend’s car. The beach on a late Summer afternoon. The light blue walls (mostly covered in posters). Taping songs off the radio. My best friends.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – June 2019
Music discovery and obsession come to me from all kinds of places. Sometimes I wake up with a song stuck in my head, sometimes I’ll happen on a song that stirs a memory up, or elicits a feeling, sometimes I’ll be watching a film, or series, and a song will hit hard in connection with a scene, and sometimes I’ll get introduced to a track, via a streaming recommendation, or from a friend, or family members playlist, or song play in my car, or in my house. There are other ways that I’m sure I’m forgetting just now, but no matter the way a song hits my radar, becoming a press play priority, music is the one art form that moves and inspires me daily, since forever. I don’t see that ever changing. Like the voyager tendencies I wrote about in my last post, my sense of adventure and discovery is with music, too. My gypsy soul has an ever-growing soundtrack, and she is always hungry for something new.
I never grow tired of new, and new-to-me music. I always want more.
Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions come from various music discovery and obsession moments. Two came from recent binge-watches of BBC’s Killing Eve and Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, one came from a “song I woke up with”, one came via a Spotify suggestion, and one just came to mind while I was compiling the five, a song that has so many memories attached to it.
Shall we begin?
Top 5 Music Obsessions – May 27, 2019
1. “When a Woman Is Around” by Unloved
from the album, Guilty of Love (2016)
“An eye for an eye,
is a blind man’s rule.
I wasn’t born to follow.
I’m nobody’s fool.”
Unloved is a new discovery of mine, one I heard in my current TV binge-obsession, Killing Eve. The music is almost as good as Jodie Comer’s acting is. I am team Villanelle, without a doubt, and also a fangirl for the music in this show (as well as the locations and clothes, and the writing, oh my stars).
The show makes me want to get back to writing. It also nudges (hard) at my restless, gypsy soul. I’m craving travel so fiercely I can hardly contain it. For now, though, music, books, film, tv, and my own writing will have to suffice until I can sort out life and money stuff.
2. “Blood In the Cut” by K. Flay
from the album, Every Where is Some Where (2017)
“Guess I’m contagious,
it’d be safest if you ran.
Fuck, that’s what they all just end up doing in the end.
Take my car and paint it black.
Take my arm,
break it in half.
do it soon –
it’s too quiet in this room.”
Another show I’m obsessing and binging is Netflix’s take on the Archie comics character, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Sabrina and Josie (and the Pussycats) were my Archie-jams, back in my childhood days, so I was interested and excited to see this darker, new take on Sabrina.
It took me a while to clear some time and space for the show, but I’m so glad I (finally) made it. I am digging it, so far – the story, the look and feel, the writing, the casting, and the music.
I’m glad it led me to this track, and to K. Flay’s 2017 album, Every Where Is Some Where. I foresee many listens (and song obsessions) in the near future, as well as a spot in some upcoming playlists.
Do you have a favorite song from the series?
3. “Atomic” by Blondie
from the album, Eat to the Beat (1979)
“Ah, oh your hair is beautiful.
Blondie was the first music (45’s) that I bought with my own money (second would be the Xanadu soundtrack). I’d walk the 9 blocks to this tiny record store in the Alpha Beta parking lot and use my saved up allowance to buy 45’s.
“Atomic” wasn’t one of those first 45’s, but it would become my favorite Blondie song of all-time after years of loving the band, and Debbie Harry herself, and having so many music-moments and memories that would attach to this 1979 track.
I remember dancing (so much dancing) to “Atomic”, kissing (and other things) to “Atomic”, driving in Hollywood in my first car to “Atomic”, and so many other memories.
It is forever a song in my life-soundtrack. One of my favorites in the ever-growing, my-life playlist.
4. “(The Girl With the) Raven Hair” by Jody Reynolds
from the album, Endless Sleep – Rockabilly Best (2010)
“Alone in my sorrow,
with no one to care,
dreaming of someone,
but no one was there.
A big flash of light,
broke through the mist,
revealing the angel I could not resist.”
Whilst making this Top 5 playlist Spotify dropped this track into the suggested for this playlist spot.
I have a deep love of 50’s and rockabilly music, borne of a 12-year-old girl who fell for a rockabilly boy and befriended a 50’s obsessed girl, who led me into the abyss of throwback tunes and tracks.
Sometimes I forget how much I dig this era of sound and style until I hear it again.
I never heard Jody Reynolds though, at least not to my knowledge – though I fancy I’ve heard a track or two in a movie, or tv series – at least once.
This track is so good. Thank you, Spotify.
I think I may go on a 50’s era, Rockabilly-style binge listen soon. Keep an eye on the Top 5 lists this week, you may see/hear more in this vein.
5. “Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Donovan
from the album, The Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968)
“Thrown like a star in my vast sleep.
I opened my eyes to take a peek.
To find that I was by the sea,
gazing with tranquility.
‘Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man,
came singing songs of love.”
I woke up with “Hurdy Gurdy Man” in my head, with Donovan’s voice singing to my subconscious, a leftover sound-track from my dreams, I think.
I’ve been having nightmares lately. The kind that I fight to wake from. The kind that I can feel myself conscious of, lucidly trying to scream and kick and wrestle my way out of. This is the consequence of increased anxiety and unhappiness that I’m having so much trouble conquering. I put on a happy face, and wear my best dress of optimism, but inside I’m hurting so much.
I’m hoping that writing more will help. That more music will help. That time and change will help.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of May 27, 2019
Let’s hear it for a new month and for a new set of Top 5 Music Obsessions that includes 3 out of 5 new to me bands. Following suit with a musical obsessive friend of mine (who shares my first name), I’m trying to incorporate more new music into my May. She’s doing all new music to her all month. I’m not going that far. But, I am challenging myself to more new music all month. Starting off with 3 out of 5 for today is a pretty good start, I’d say.
Track 1 I heard on an NPR Podcast this morning (“All Songs Considered“). They are also responsible for introducing me to Track 3. Track 2 came from a story that the bassist from Patio told about writing Track 1. The band Washer is was a costar in a dream she had that led to the song, and they are also name-checked in the song itself (“Boy Scout”, today’s first track). The last two songs for today are from two favorite bands of mine that I fell for in the ’90s. Since the three new-to-me tracks remind me a bit of the ’90s it seemed fitting to add in some favorite ’90s bands of mine.
It’s always a good time to listen to The Lemonheads and The Breeders, I think.
Today feels like its rushing by a bit too fast. I’d like a few more moments to breathe. I’m grateful though that I took time for mediation this morning, that the sky is a beautiful blue, and that I’m going to the movies tonight with my boyfriend. Mid-week date night is a nice way to start the month.
I’d love to know what you are listening to, and obsessing over, on this first day of May. Please share in the comments, if you are so inclined. I will give every song a listen, and may even obsess over them myself.
Bonus points if you introduce me to something new (or new-to-me) so I can keep on with my May new music goal.
1. “Boy Scout” by Patio
from the album, Essentials (2019)
“I went shopping the other day.
I can afford to feel better.
I still wear all the same clothes.
Maybe by Friday,
I’ll feel better.
Maybe I’m just under the weather.
Maybe, I’m just.”
Discovered Patio, and their latest album, Essentials, this morning. I’m at once reminded of the late 70’s/early 80’s New Wave/Punk and 90’s female fronted bands, as well as both alt (think Breeders, Throwing Muses) and riot grrrl ’90s sounds/sensibilities.
“Boy Scout” is my first listen favorite, and the track that was featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered. During the NPR segment, they featured a short interview with Loren DiBlasi (vocalist and bassist) who said the song came to her in a dream.
She went on to describe the dream. That in it she dropped her guitar pick down a hole and when she reached down it to grab it and pulled it out, it had the words BOY SCOUT scrawled on it, in all caps. Also, in her dream, she and the band were playing with Washer, a band who is name-checked in the song with the lyric “I think I’m gonna go home and listen to Washer/ Instead of spending any more time with you.”
2. “Elbow” by Washer
from the album, All Aboard (2017)
“When you get angry,
scream into this bag and bury it.
From its place will grow,
a tree of everything you fear,
that you hold dear “
Talk about ’90s reminiscent, and of post-punk/punk. Something about Washer reminds me of Hüsker Dü, Dinosaur Jr., and Sebadoh. They also remind me of Patio, the band that led me to them (see above).
I can picture these two bands playing together, like in Loren DiBlasi’s dream. Can’t you?
The lyrics to “Elbow” really resonate with me. They remind me of some of the mindfulness practices I’m doing. They also remind me of how I would bury artwork I made that I filled in with wishes, dreams, and fears when I was a kid – decorated with glued on leaves and flower petals and sprinkled with glitter. I used to think they were magic spells. That I was magic.
Maybe I was.
Maybe I still am.
3. “Drunk II” by Mannequin Pussy
from the upcoming album, Patience (2019)
“And everyone says to me,
“Missy, you’re so strong”.
But what if I don’t want to be?”
Those lyrics above hit right in the gut, and the heart, all at once.
I’ve been told by so many people in my life – all my life – “you’re so strong”. But, yeah, not only “what if I don’t want to be?” but what if I’m not? What if I need help? What if I fall from all that strength once in a while?
I sometimes think its a cop-out for people to say that. It’s justification for them to not help me, to not be strong for me, to lean too hard on me, to not be strong themselves. She’s strong. You’re so strong. That way no one has to show up for me. Not really. Not completely. Sometimes not at all.
Maybe that’s not what it is. Maybe that’s not what it is, at least not all the time. But, a lot of the time it really feels like that.
The strongest of us need things and help and people. And, we need a good post-punk song like this, too.
4. ” Hannah and Gabi” by The Lemonheads
from the album, It’s a Shame About Ray (Expanded Edition) (1992)
“I’m out wandering around.
You’re but one thing I’ve found.
I don’t mean to bring you down.
I’m out wandering around.”
There are certain bands and artists that I will forever associate with my twenties and the ’90s. Evan Dando and The Lemonheads are part of that associated twenties/’90s list, for sure.
I’ve been revisiting The Lemonheads lately, digging into some of the deep cuts that I’d forgotten about, or at least haven’t heard since I first owned the albums. It’s been a fun audio-ride filled with memories and nostalgia. That said, I’m also finding myself relating differently to some of the songs, making them more a part of my life now, and not just part of “thinking about the past” recollections.
“Hannah and Gabi” has been one of those seeing, and hearing, in a new light kind of songs which has led to a music obsession with the track (and inclusion into today’s Top 5).
5. “Divine Hammer” by The Breeders
from the album, Last Splash (1993)
“You’re the rod,
I’m just looking for the divine hammer.”
Maybe its because I saw Avengers Endgame a few days ago, but the first thing I think of with this song today is Thor and Thor’s hammer (along with a few other spoiler-things that I won’t mention here).
Beyond that, though, I’m reminded of dancing around my apartment to this song, my baby daughter in my arms, dancing with me. Or playing this song, and the album Last Splash, on many drives to-and-from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Do we ever find our “Divine Hammer“?
Do you ever not want to dance to this song?
TOP 5 MUSIC OBSESSIONS – WEEK OF APRIL 29, 2019
Today’s the last day of April. Last days lead to first days. Last days are not goodbyes, but more like see you later’s. Last days are doors closing so others can open. Last days are wiping slates clean, writing out lists and wishes, and letting go so you can let new things in. And, last days are just like any other day sometimes, too. It’s all about perspective.
I’m feeling positive this week. I’m feeling good about things in my life. Most of them, at least. I’m feeling both motivated and accomplished. A month ago there were things I wanted to change, and they are changing. I’m changing them. I have a lot more work to do, and there are things that are not working in my life, but I see the progress. I feel it. I feel good. Even with the ebb and flow of anxiety, I am feeling (mostly) good.
Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions feel it, too, I think. They feel good, or they make me feel good, at least. I played them all, off and on, all morning and afternoon. Turn them up loud and I hope you enjoy all 5 of them, too. You can stream on Spotify and YouTube – or just press play below.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 30, 2019
1. “There is an Everlasting Song” by Belle and Sebastian
from the album, How to Solve Our Human Problems (Parts 1-3) (2018)
Not on YouTube
“There is an everlasting morning near the sun.
It burns a hole in my heart,
makes me want to run.
And, I would run all day if they give me the choice.
I hear your voice,
I hear your voice,
I hear your voice.”
A 100% feel good song. Even melancholic tracks by B&S make me feel good. They always have, ever since I discovered the album If You’re Feeling Sinister, back in the mid-90s.
This is recent. Last year recent. Though I’m just discovering it now, the album(s), and the song. This is my first listen favorite.
It reminds me of falling in love. That first falling feeling. And, it reminds me of feeling that love long after the first fall. The way that it can be still big and bold and beautiful, if you let it. If you let your heart love like that.
For a long, long time I believed it to be fleeting. Never as good as in the beginning. But, I think differently now. I believe it doesn’t have to be that way. Though I fear, often it is just that – especially when the other person believes in the fleeting, and first rush love-spiracy.
You can’t love big for both people. You can try. But, it only works when both people show up, and believe.
2. “Sodajerk” by Buffalo Tom
from the album, Big Red Letter Day (1993)
“But if my patience,
were a spaceship,
high up in orbit.
Then I would rise here.
Risen from where I sit.”
There isn’t a time when this song doesn’t remind me of two things: My So-Called Life, and working at Tower Records.
This song, and the band are synonymous with both – and with who I was in my life back then. Its like sonic ’90s time travel.
3. “Time is the Killer” by Rain Phoenix and Michael Stipe
from the EP, “Time Gone” (2019)
“Time is the killer.
Time is the killer.
Time is the mirror.
Time is the healer.
Time is the teacher.
Time is the killer.”
This is beautiful, heartbreaking, poignant, relevant, and everything I obsess over in a song.
I’ve always loved the duets that Michael Stipe does. Like with Kristin Hersh, Natalie Merchant, Syd Straw, Dashboard Confessional, this one, etc.
The rest of this EP is wonderful, too. Though this is definitely my favorite track. It says/sings a lot of the things I am feeling lately. It speaks/sings to mindfulness, to me.
4. “I’m On Fire” by Electrelane
from the album, Singles, B-Sides, and Live (2006)
“At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet,
and a freight train running through the middle of my head.
Only you can cool my desire.”
How many people have covered Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”? I feel like I could build a playlist with just covers of this song.
No matter how many I hear though, I never seem to get tired of it. I’m always crushing on every new version I find.
I love how this one feels/sounds like a ’90s riot grrrl clash with an ’80s new wave band…in the best way.
5. “Midnight” by Altered Images
from the album, Happy Birthday (1981)
“Somebody left their blood on my door.
Serial numbers 024.”
Speaking of new wave. One of my favorite new wave bands is Altered Images, and I’ve always enjoyed this track without actually digging in deep to the lyrics. They are actually very disturbing.
Part of me wants to go back to when this song was just something I danced to at clubs in the late ’80s, and earlier, in my teenage bedroom.
TOP 5 MUSIC OBSESSIONS – WEEK OF APRIL 29, 2019
The last few days of April. Rain still coming and going in LA. “April showers” is a thing, but rain in Southern California, not so much. I’m getting accustomed to it though and will miss it when the rain is gone. Today is a day of change. New office in a new part of Los Angeles. We are in a space with more space, with exposed ceilings, and giant windows everywhere. I can stand up and see the ocean. This gifts me a sense of peace. An unexpected blessing. I should have known it would, to be honest. The sea and me, we go way back. The ocean has always been something magical to me, calming and hopeful, and full of peace and possibility.
Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions are songs that have been bubbling up over the last few days. Songs I keep hitting repeat on. Songs that make me feel good, which is important right now. I’ve struggled a lot lately, more than I have since I was so much younger. I didn’t expect to ever be reacquainted with my twenties-anxiety, but it came back to me over the last year. I’m always one to find the good in things, but it’s been quite a struggle to find the good in all this anxiety. Today, as I was driving one thing, did occur to me…all this anxiety inspired my investigations into mindfulness, into meditation, healthy eating, walking, and breathing. Writing and music have always been tools, but these others are new to me – and they are helping my anxiety, along with some other internal, and external things.
It’s slow going. Any change is. But it’s been a gift to my life. So, I suppose, that is the good in the anxiety. It has led me to live more healthily, with more vulnerability and mindfulness. It is helping me be more awake, and alive.
The first track in today’s Top 5 is from Minnie Riperton. It’s a tune that recalls my childhood, reminding me of riding in my family’s light blue station wagon or lying on the floor in our living room listening to the music coming out of the bigger-than-me-at-the-time speakers. Next up is the perfect end-of-April song by the incredible Patti Smith. I feel like I’m always uncovering music of hers, and I’m grateful for that. Jennie Lawless is a new discovery singer that I recently added to a walking mix of mine. I can’t seem to get enough of this track of hers. Today’s 4th song is another one of Juliana Hatfield’s Olivia Newton-John covers. I really don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing ONJ’s songs, by her, or by Juliana. Bedouine is this week’s newest discovery – discovered today on my way into work. It reminds me of 60’s music my mom used to play back in that car, and living room, I mentioned before.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 29, 2019
1. “Les Fleurs” by Minnie Riperton
from the album, Come To My Garden (1970)
“Ring all the bells,
sing and tell the people that be everywhere,
that the flower has come.
Light up the sky with your prayers of gladness,
for the darkness is gone.
Throw off your fears,
let your heart beat freely at the sign,
that a new time is born.”
This song seems perfect for a day of change, like today for me. It has a feeling of joy and hope to it. That said, after its recent use in the closing credits of Jordan Peele’s film, Us, there is something foreboding about it, as well. And relevant to the movie’s story (“…for the darkness is gone.”)
I first knew of Minnie’s music through her 70’s hit “Lovin’ You”, a track my late husband used to love for reasons he never truly explained (but that I credited to his own childhood). I also remember hearing “Les Fleurs”, and the album Come To My Garden growing up. I’m pretty certain it was among my mom’s large record collection.
Minnie is the mother of Maya Rudolph, a favorite actor/writer/comedian of mine. She died tragically from breast cancer, in 1979. At diagnosis, which was unfortunately late, her prognosis was dire. Nonetheless, Minnie continued touring and spoke out with the American Cancer Society.
2. “April Fool” by Patti Smith
from the album, Banga (2012)
be my April Fool.
you’re the only one.
Come on your rusted bike.
we’ll break all the rules.”
“April Fool” reminds me of my young adulthood. Being in my very late teens and early twenties. My first car. The freedom that came with it. The hope I tied to everything and everyone I met, even though my life should have shadowed me with jadedness and doubt.
It also reminds me of my younger life. My first bike. The freedom that came with that, too. Riding around the neighborhood. My clip on radio playing. Feeling the Summer breeze whip my hair back. Feeling like I could be anyone I wanted to. Feeling like I could be anyone but me.
3. “I Want To Believe” by Jennie Lawless
from the EP, Two Songs (2018)
“I shut out the part of my doubtful heart.
Shudder at the thought of it spreading out.
Impressionable me cannot let it spread –
I wanna keep my head.”
I stumbled on this song when I was putting together a walking playlist for myself, and it stuck out to me, feeling very relevant to how I am lately. Seeking my optimistic self that has been dimming lately. Resurrecting her. Breathing new life in my hopeful side.
“I Want To Believe”. I want to keep believing. I want to get back into seeing this world as a beautiful thing, and my life as something so very good. I’m tired of feeling so doubtful and negative. I need the light that’s always been so vital to me and my life.
4. “Have You Never Been Mellow” by Juliana Hatfield
from the album, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John (2018)
“Have you never been mellow?
Have you never tried to find a comfort from inside you?”
I’ve written a lot about Olivia Newton-John’s music, and what it meant to me as a young girl. She was one of my favorite things, and her songs are part of the DNA of me. I was beyond excited (understatement) when Juliana Hatfield (one of my favorites from my twenties) released a cover album of Olivia’s songs.
No matter how many times I play the album, I never get tired of the songs. Never. I just love them more. This morning, “Have You Never Been Mellow” came on and it felt so perfect for how I’m feeling today, and lately. My need for mellowness, for mindfulness, for calm, and for happy. I feel like I’m surrounded by so much negativity, in all aspects of my life, and its been very hard on me.
But, I’m taking back happy. It is a choice, even when the choice is hard and feels insurmountable. Maybe we can’t be happy all the time. I know we can’t. But, I do believe we can choose to see the good in things, repeat to ourselves what we are grateful for (or write them out), and realize that in so many ways we are lucky to be here, to be alive, to love, and be loved.
Optimism, mellowness, and love do not fix everything. Money seems to beat out all of those things, even love, as does worries about money. But, somewhere in each day, we should appreciate love. I try to appreciate it. Love. As well as music, movies, books, the weather and blue sky, and all the random things that make up a day. I try to appreciate that I’m still breathing, too. Life is short and fleeting. Shorter than any of us think. We don’t get today back. We don’t get any of these moments back. Not ever.
5. “Come Down In Time” by Bedouine
from the single, “Come Down In Time” (2018)
“Come down in time I still hear her say,
so clear in my ear like it was today.
Come down in time was the message she gave.
Come down in time,
and I’ll meet you half way.”
What a gorgeous Elton John cover.
I came across this today via the Discover Weekly Playlist from Spotify. Bedouine’s cover of “Come Down In Time” was an insta-obsession. I kept hitting play, over and over again.
Bedouine is the name of Azniv Korkejian’s musical project. It is a take on the word Bedouin, meaning a nomad, or wanderer. Azniv is a bit of a Bedouin herself. She was born in Aleppo, Syria, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and then moved to the US when her family won a Green Card Lottery. Since then she’s lived in Boston, Houston, and now LA.
If you could go wandering today, where would you go?
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of April 29, 2019
Today’s music (so far) has included a lot of Pete Yorn songs, including a playlist of lyriquediscorde’s alphabetized favorites of his. That’s what happens, I suppose, when you wake up with a song and artist singing in your head. This PY day includes a Top 5 Music Obsessions track, one that was the first Pete Yorn songs I ever heard.
From there the Top 5 play-list goes to Dramarama’s ode to Earth Day. Though it says April 21st in the song, today is the official Earth Day (April 22). I remember when there used to be Earth Day festivities in Fullerton, back in the ’90s. It was at one of these that I heard Dramamrama perform this song live.
Next up is a track off of Ride’s 1992 album, Going Blank Again. I’ve been digging into Ride’s music lately, and this one is my current obsessive favorite song of theirs.
I stumbled on this LA-themed song (I love songs about Los Angeles) from The Church on one of this week’s Spotify Daily Mixes. This track was immediately filed in my ever-evolving collection of LA and California song. This track, I had to play about 5 or 6 times already this morning – a good indicator of a Top 5 Music Obsession Song!
Last, but definitely not least, is a favorite-music-obsessed song of mine from the early ’80s. Yaz and Alison Moyet’s voice just slay me and this track always pulls at my heart and emotions, every single time I press play – whether back in 1982, or today.
So, let’s press play now, shall we? And give all 5 of Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions a listen. Be sure to turn the volume up.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 22, 2019
1. “Life On a Chain” by Pete Yorn
from the album, musicforthemorningafter (2001)
“I was alone.
You were just around the corner from me.”
“Take a listen to this, you’ll love this guy,” was the words of my late husband back in 2001. We’d been married a year and had made a crazy move to a state we’d only stay in for nine months. We were unpacking boxes and exchanging nervous looks back-and-forth, the anticipation mixing itself up with a hefty dose of anxiety, the stuff that big changes tend to bring.
He’d went to run an errand and stumbled upon a record store (always a find when in a new town) and picked up this album. He’d played it in the car on the way home and run in, excited, to share it with me. I can still remember that first moment, that first listen, and the first crackling sound of “Life on a Chain”.
That was the first time I heard the song. And yes, he was right, I fell hard for the album, and the song, right then and there. This track will always be one of my all-time favorite songs, from one of my all-time favorite albums.
2. “What Are We Gonna Do?” by Dramarama
from the album, Vinyl (1991)
“It’s April 21st,
and everybody knows today is Earth Day,
Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday to whoever’s being born.
And now I’m trying hard,
to think of something meaningful and worthy,
kind of earthy,
to make everybody ask themselves just
what are we doing here?
And what are we doing to her?
I don’t know.”
It was Earth Day. 1993 or 1994, I believe. We sat in the corner with our arms draped around each other as the singer (John Easdale) walked by. He stopped to talk to us, said he wished us well, and we did the same. When he sang this he said, “to the couple in the corner who still believe.”
Dramarama was one of our first shared loves. One of the biggest ones. It’s hard to separate our memories with the songs. I don’t think I will ever be able to.
I don’t listen often. But, I had to play “What Are We Gonna Do?” today. Earth Day memories. Its a great track.
Turn this one up to LOUD.
3. “Leave Them All Behind” by Ride
from the album, Going Blank Again (1992)
“Just to see,
we’ve got so far to go,
until we get there –
just let it flow.”
Back in the 90’s I somehow missed the ride with Ride. I knew who they were, had friends who were big fans, and yes, I knew the song “Vapour Trail”, but for some reason, I’d never dug in and listened to them.
They’ve been on my back burner, listen t this, get to it someday list for a long time. Years really. I’m finally on the Ride-ride, and I’m loving it. This song, “Leave Them All Behind”, the first track on Going Blank Again is my big Ride-obsession right now.
Do you have a favorite Ride track?
4. “Laurel Canyon” by The Church
from the album, Further/Deeper (2014)
“All those times we parted,
all those times we saw it through.
Couldn’t finish what I started.
I was diminished without you.”
The Church was one of my favorite bands in the ’80s. So many songs of theirs from that era I love so much. To be honest, though, I’d not followed the band past that.
I stumbled on “Laurel Canyon” through a Spotify Playlist, and became immediately obsessed with it. Not only is it a song about California/Los Angeles (an obsession of mine – music collecting wise), but it has all the aspects, sounds, and sensibilities that I always loved about The Church.
Now its time to play catch-up with the music of theirs I’ve missed.
5. “Only You” by Yaz
from the album, Upstairs at Eric’s (1982)
“All I needed was the love you gave.
All I needed for another day.
And all I ever knew,
Speaking of the ’80s, Yaz and “Only You” are definitely on my favorite ’80s forever song list. This song, sad and beautiful, heartbreaking and love-song-ish, always makes me feel so many things. Sometimes the song makes me cry. Sometimes it spreads surges of warmth through my veins. And, sometimes it just has me singing-loudly-a-long.
I love Alison Moyet’s voice. So much.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of April 22, 2019
As I mentioned in today’s Song of the Day, I need a “big loan from the girl zone” today, so the Top 5 Music Obsessions for this Wednesday is all women in music all the time.
It starts off with the goth-gorgeousness of Siouxsie and the Banshees, with one of my favorite tracks of theirs, “Hong Kong Garden”. This one always makes me want to dance.
Next up is St. Vincent, and the song “Prince Johnny”. I’m often reminded of Siouxsie, Tori, and Kate Bush when I hear Annie Clark (St. Vincent), so this one really fits in well today.
Then we have “Caught a Lite Sneeze” by Tori Amos. I had to include it, don’t you think? Since I’ve been quoting it all day, here, and in this post, too.
Polly Jean Harvey comes at it for Obsessive Song #4, with “Rid of Me”, which leads in perfectly to today’s “last but not least” track, “Army of Me”, by the irreplaceable and ever-unusual Björk.
Cheers to today’s Music Obsessed “Girl Zone” for helping me get up and get through it. I hope these 5 help you, too.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 10, 2019
1. “Hong Kong Garden” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
from the album, The Scream (1978)
“Tourists swarm to see your face.
Confucius has a puzzling grace.
Disoriented you enter in.
Unleashing scent of wild jasmine.
Slanted eyes meet a new sunrise.
A race of bodies small in size.
Chicken Chow Mein and Chop Suey.
Hong Kong Garden takeaway.”
Always makes me want to dance, this track. It also now reminds me of the Sofia Coppola film, Marie Antoinette, which featured the track in a key scene.
All that said, and despite the fact that this is one of my favorite Siouxsie songs, there is something that seems racially/ethnically incorrect now. Reading the lyrics above, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable with them. It’s a long ways away from 1978, that’s for sure, and the lyrics definitely show it.
What do you think?
2. “Prince Johnny” by St. Vincent
from the album, self-titled (2015)
“I’ll mean more than I mean to you.
I’ll mean more than I meant to him.
So I pray to, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, to make me a real girl.
So I pray to, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, to make me a real girl.”
There is something other-worldly and magical to St. Vincent.
Sometimes I forget how much I get from her music. There is still so much of it I need to dig into and learn. This track is off what is probably my favorite of St. Vincent’s. This one, and 2017’s MASSEDUCATION.
“Prince Johnny” reminds me of Pinnochio (the real boy/real girl lines), and of the movie Ruby Sparks, for those lines, too. There’s a darkness in this song, a dreaminess, something speculative and as I said before, other-worldly and magical. And very St. Vincent.
3. “Caught a Lite Sneeze” by Tori Amos
from the album, Boys For Pele (1996)
“Caught a lite sneeze,
dreamed a little dream,
made my own pretty hate machine.
Boys on my left side,
boys on my right side,
boys in the middle,
and you’re not here.
Boys in their dresses,
and you’re not here.
I need a big loan from the girl zone.”
This song and this album cut to the core of me. I’d say they are odes to break-ups and heartbreak, but “ode” doesn’t seem to be the right word. They are reactionary, emotional, cathartic songs full of pain and loss and stages of grief and hopelessness and hopefulness and all of it. These songs can feel like train wrecks and cracks internal, but they can also feel like lifelines and understanding.
I so need that girl zone today. Maybe you do, too.
4. “Rid Of Me” by Polly Jean Harvey
from the album, Rid Of Me (1993)
“I’ll tie your legs,
keep you against my chest.
Oh, you’re not rid of me.
Yea, you’re not rid of me.
I’ll make you lick my injuries.
I’m gonna twist your head off, see.
‘Til you say don’t you wish you never never met her.”
The pain and the pathos, and all that glorious anger. Damn.
There are times when I could conjure up all that – all the feeling in THIS SONG – and keep it for days. All the pain of swallowed, all the hurt feelings, the neglect, the abandonment, the heartbreaks, and the disappointments, I wish I could fill myself up with them and then spit them out with this kind of melodic vitriol.
Also, my FAVORITE version EVER of this song is the live version below. I’m pretty sure it was THIS live video that had me following for PJ hard.
“Rid of Me” (live) by Polly Jean Harvey
5. “Army of Me” by Björk
from the album, Post (1995)
“And, if you complain,
you’ll meet an army of me.”
Badass women unite and join this army of me. That’s how I feel when I hear this song.
I also feel motivated, inspired, and strong enough to be my own army.
“Army of Me” was the lead single released off of Post, Björk’s 3rd studio album. It was written and produced by Björk and Graham Massey, who helped her in producing and writing the majority of Post.
The song reminds me of the film Tank Girl, which featured “Army of Me”. I remember seeing Tank Girl with a bunch of friends I worked with at Tower Records, together in 1995.
Tank Girl (1995)
TOP 5 MUSIC OBSESSIONS – WEEK OF APRIL 8, 2019
This week has been rougher than the last, which I didn’t think would be possible. I woke up Monday morning with this hopefulness and peace, but it was quickly cut up into pieces as unforeseen stresses hit me. Then the fallout. I’m not handling stress and emotions well, and there have been consequences. I feel very alone.
Music is helpful. It’s not doing enough, but its something. It’s helping me hold it together, though I’m not doing that well either. All I can seem to do is go numb. But at least I stopped crying, and the panic has subsided. Sometimes you have to shut down for a while.
Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions start out with a new musical discovery. I found Donna Missal via a friend’s Instagram story, where she was playing an album of hers. This track hurts but also feels relevant and comforting right now.
Next up is another new single off the upcoming Big Thief album. This one is so lovely. I can’t wait to hear the whole album.
Brendan Perry’s “The Captive Heart” came on after I was listening to today’s Song of the Day (Peter Murphy’s “A Strange Kind of Love”). I don’t think I ever delved into his 1999 album, Eye of the Hunter, but I’m doing just that today. Better late than never.
Yoko Ono, along with The Apples In Stereo (remember them? I’d almost forgot) have this keen collaboration that I’d never heard before. Thank you, Spotify Discovery for the introduction. This is a wonderful love song. Honest, realistic, and pure.
Last, but not least, is an epic number by Rufus Wainwright. Its been too long since Rufus and I shared audio space. I think it may be time to get reacquainted and do a Rufus-album-refresh.
Let’s give them a listen, shall we? While I try to breathe and wrap a blanket of numb (and music) around me.
Turn these 5 up loud. You won’t regret it.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 9, 2019
1. “Get Well” by Donna Missal
Pre-new-album single (2019)
“And maybe if we take some time,
to understand the weight we’ve felt,
if we could both apologise,
maybe we would both get well.”
This one stings but feels familiar, too. I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of pain between us, instant defensiveness, swallowed resentments, and bad days every three days. Something has to change.
I know I can’t control anyone else but me, so change has to be with me, at least for me. For them. And for us. Someone has to take steps to change. Right now, it’s going to be me. I don’t want to hurt like this anymore.
If we are what we’ve claimed to be, we will make it to the other side. If not, then we were never meant to be. But this kind of pain, it isn’t meant to be. So we need to leave it behind. I’m going to leave it behind.
2. “Cattails” by Big Thief
Pre-new-album single (2019)
“And you don’t need to know why when you cry.
You don’t need to know why.”
I like this one even more than the first pre-album-single that came out.
I’m enthralled with Big Thief, and this upcoming new album is sure to be one of my favorites of 2019. I can already feel it.
I remember cattails from when I lived in Michigan, and when we drove cross-country to move there. I miss it. I’d love to take another trip across the country, but this time for adventure, and for writing inspiration.
3.”The Captive Heart” by Brendan Perry
from the album, Eye of the Hunter (1999)
“But then if I close my eyes,
I can see you standing there.
Your face in permanence smiles,
your lips a chalice.”
Full of gothy, esoteric, dreamy dark goodness. I forgot how much I enjoy Brendan Perry’s voice. I need to dig in deeper to this album, and maybe do a Dead Can Dance revisit.
It’s been far too long.
I need to do a Lisa Gerard revisit, too. Her voice always “slayed” me, in the best way.
Do you have a favorite Dead Can Dance, Brendan Perry, or Lisa Gerard song? Album?
4. “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do” by Yoko Ono, featuring Apples In Stereo
from the album, Yes, I’m a Witch (2007)
“I see your face with a trace of life,
being a wife and a woman.
If I ever hurt you, please, remember,
I wanted you to be happy.
Is there anything I want more,
More than your trust and understanding?”
Blame it on being raised in a big Beatles household, and then having my first marriage be with a John Lennon/anti-Yoko/blame Yoko man, but I never let myself know Yoko until recently.
Her poetry, songs like this, and the album it comes from, are all reason enough to have made the effort. I’m embarrassed that it took this long.
This is near perfect love song, especially because it doesn’t dance away from imperfection.
Its relatable and real, with a dash of melancholy, just the way I like my love songs, and love stories.
5. “Go Or Go Ahead” by Rufus Wainwright
from the album, Want One (2003)
“Forget about the ones that are crying.
Look in her eyes,
look in her eyes.
Forget about the ones that are crying.
Go or go ahead.”
This is an epic song. The stuff of stadiums, and big rock albums. The stuff of Freddie Mercury and Queen.
It makes me want to hear Rufus cover Queen (maybe he has already. If you know of it, share please).
I love the build. The slow start, the stirring middle, the emotional climax. Powerful, full of feeling, epic and BIG.
TOP 5 MUSIC OBSESSIONS – WEEK OF APRIL 8, 2019
Today’s Top 5 Music Obsessions feature 5 songs that
spoke sang to me at the start of today and have been speaking singing to me ever since. The first song is from Anna Calvi. I’ve been digging Anna’s 2018 album, Hunter, since it came out – mostly turning up and singing-a-long to “Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy” and “Alpha”, but today I’ve been swaying to the melancholic dream-pop sound of the title track.
Next is another pre-album single release from The National. This one got to me. Deeply. I listened as I drove through Silverlake this morning, the sky was hazy, the air warm. It reminded me of a not-so-past pain and brought unexpected tears. Some pain that I believe to be gone forever sneaks up on me some days. Today was one of those days. This new album is going to be something else.
The mood swayed to the other side, lightening up in an “I should be on the beach on vacation” kind of way, with Phosphorescent’s effervescent sounding track, “New Birth in New England”. Today has been pretty stressful, so this airy, dreamy, indie-pop tune has definitely been an aural help.
George Harrison (a.k.a. my favorite Beatle) has one of those voices that almost always soothes me. “If Not For You” is one of my all-time favorite solo songs of his, and was just what I needed today.
Last, but not least, is a track off of T Bone Burnett’s new solo album (the first in 12 years). It is part of a trilogy and based on a long poem. This is gorgeous. A little bit discordant, a little bit ambient, a little bit cinematic, and a little bit “throwback”. I can’t wait to listen to the rest.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – April 8, 2019
1. “Hunter” by Anna Calvi
from the album, Hunter (2018)
“The bodies and the rhythm,
and flowers in my hair.
The red light on the leather;
nothing will compare.”
The title track from Anna Calvi’s fantastic 2018 album. I was going back to it this morning, doing some re-discovery listening, and got caught up with this track. I can’t get enough of it today.
The video is all-out sexy, but definitely not safe for work. Gorgeously sensual though. It makes the song less melancholic, and more seductive.
Anna is a fascinating artist. I’d love to see her play live.
The music and the visuals feel a bit like performance art and cabaret. Something about it reminds me of Dresden Dolls, back when they first came around.
2. “Light Years” by The National
from their upcoming album, I Am Easy To Find (coming in 2019)
“You were waiting outside for me,
in the sun,
laying down to soak it all in,
before we had to run.
I was always ten feet behind you,
from the start.
Didn’t know you were gone,
’til we were in the car.”
I’m a sucker for piano. Sad piano especially gets to me, tears me open, rips me apart. From the start of this song, before Matt Berninger vocals started, I could feel the prickle of tears in my eyes.
And then the lyrics, and the ache in Matt’s voice.
It reminds me of the last day. That Friday. The sun starting to go down. The ocean was so close. It was all so unexpected. So cold. So shock-sudden. Like ripping off a band-aid. In a moment everything changed.
It was for the best. That I know for sure. But it hurt nonetheless. It felt like being erased. It felt like all of it was just erased. I never felt comfortable. I always did feel ten feet behind. But there were moments, and I thought that they mattered. That I mattered.
Sometimes we don’t matter at all.
3. “New Birth in New England” by Phosphorescent
from the album, C’est La Vie (2018)
“She said, “‘Don’t I know you?
Honey, don’t I know you?
Honey, don’t I know you?'”
A feel-good song for certain. Thank you, Phosphorescent. Some of your songs make me cry, but this one…well, this one makes me sway, smile, and sing-a-long.
Reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel, if Paul and Art went a little indie-pop with “Cecilia”, driving her down to Echo Park to ride the paddle boats and drink over-priced lattes.
It could happen.
4. “If Not For You” by George Harrison
from the album, All Things Must Pass (1970)
“If not for you my sky would fall,
rain would gather, too.
Without your love,
I’d be nowhere at all.
I’d be lost if not for you.”
One of my favorite love songs from my favorite Beatle.
I used to love Olivia Newton John’s version of this song when I was a young girl, too. I still do really, but not as much as I love George singing it.
Though I was a very wee thing in 1970, I still feel like this song, and this album, was around me a lot.
It feels part of my DNA. Part of my musical muscle memory.
And, I’m so glad for it.
I love the album All Things Must Pass – it is definitely one of my all-time favorites.
5. “Anti Cyclone” by T Bone Burnett, Jay Bellerose, and Keefus Ciancia
from the album, The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space (2019)
“If you tell people what they already believe,
they will believe you.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean a word you say.
And, it doesn’t matter if what they believe is true,
or have extreme view.
To the thieves who can speak from both sides of their mouth,
this is child’s play.”
Chilling lyrically, musically stunning. A fusion of trance, electronic, ambient, folk, tribal, global, and something very old-time cinematic. Close your eyes and I see an old, oversized organ, a carnival in the background, and a black-and-white silent film aesthetic.
I’m looking forward to hearing this entire piece of work, and the other two parts of the trilogy coming in the future.
Ride a swan with Phosphorescent