Category Archives: Music

Why I’m Mad at Kanye West: February 2015 edition

I don’t pay a lot of attention to celebrities. I have met my fair share, especially in the last four years, and what I realized is that most of them – MOST – want to be treated like regular ol’ people. I’m very good at treating people like regular ol’ people, BTW. I find it much easier, as my simple brain can’t discern between night and day, much less “who’s famous-est” and “who’s cool right now because of some dumb YouTube video.”

Beck lists Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa as his favorite venue to play -- I've seen him three times there. (It's my favorite place too!)

Beck lists Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa as his favorite venue to play — I’ve seen him three times there. (It’s my favorite place too!) He clearly has the best taste.

But Kanye can kiss my, in the words of Della Reese, ENTIRE ASS.

Kanye, once again, shot his mouth off when it wasn’t necessary, angry that Beck won Album of the Year at the Grammys over Beyonce (who, honestly, doesn’t need him to speak for her, but that’s a whole other sidebar.) Hey Kanye – you know how sometimes your team doesn’t win in sports? Sometimes, your team endures a painful loss – because the other team was better at that moment. THAT’s what’s going on here – Beck created a masterpiece that Grammy voters agreed was the best of the year. Kanye, who just like his wife is seeking for everything to either be handed to him or placed IN HIM via surgery, can’t take the time to listen to Beck and realize that, maybe, just maybe, the voters were onto something.

The whole things smacks of some sense of entitlement that Kanye has. And it smacks a bit of some sort of weird belief that the voters were racist in some way.

Well, Kanye, let me help you a bit with this homework – BECK LOVES BLACK PEOPLE AND BLACK MUSIC. On his second album, “Stereopathic Soulmanure,” Beck included the line “Better not let my good gal catch you here,” which I didn’t recognize in 1994 when the album was new. Years later, when I was getting into roots rock and the Delta Blues (from which we all owe a huge debt of gratitude for CREATING MUSIC AS WE KNOW IT!) I was listening to “Ain’t No Tellin’” by Mississippi John Hurt and realized Beck was quoting that song, which is as old as the hills. And that’s just ONE song that illustrates that Beck cherishes and embodies all music styles and folds them into his style. That’s called Respect, Yeezy. Something you lack.

Quit looking for racism when it’s not there, K-West. It’s in plenty of other places – perhaps you should freedom-fight outside the music business, you know, where it might ACTUALLY AFFECT CHANGE. Do something that matters to real people and maybe you won’t be such a joke.

I realize I’m a weirdo music historian. And I do music homework for fun in my spare time. But a little bit of homework, Kanye, never hurt anyone. And it might make you sound just a touch less ignorant.

I want everyone who hasn’t heard of Beck to stop what they’re doing right this minute and listen to these songs, in no particular order:

  1. “Loser.” Because if you’ve never heard of Beck, you should start here.
  2. “New Pollution.” It’s fun, funky, beautiful and approachable. Just like Beck.
  3. “Nobody’s Fault.” Sad, raw, completely heart-wrenching. Perfect for heartbreakers and those who feel they’ve wronged someone: “Treated you like a rusty blade/A throwaway from an open grave/Cut you loose from a chain gang/And let you go.” One of my dearest friends cried every time she heard this song – she said it’s how she felt when she killed a houseplant.
  4. “Get Real Paid.” OK, you like synthetic beats and fast, funky, proud-shit songs about money and chicks and stuff? This is for you.
  5. “Girl.” Ever been so in love you’re sad about it? This song came out when I was going through that exact thing. Beck’s conflicted masterpiece about someone you shouldn’t be with!

That’s a good start, though I’d say give every album, including “Morning Phase” a try – despite what that idiot Kanye said. It’s gorgeous. And completely different from Beyonce.

But guess what? Beyonce and her ilk have dominated the charts and awards shows for the last decade. So maybe a bit of a “Sea Change” (see what I did there?) is occurring in music?

I don’t have anything against Beyonce’s brand of music. It’s not my cup of tea, though I do like a few songs. To me, it just lacks reality. Singing about money, fame and fortune just doesn’t do it for me. Mostly because I don’t really want any of that in my life. To me, Kanye wants to perpetuate a really artificial type of music that doesn’t connect with real people anymore. He’s creating more shallow people who are materialistic because they want to be like him. How can you connect with real people when you live in fame and money and don’t ever get out of your own shadow? How can they not see that you’re just a selfish prick?

I am all about women being famous. And I love that Beyonce has done a lot of good for girls with her fearless attitude. But there’s room for others, Kanye, in your little world. Quit talking until you realize that. And Bey, please stop being seen with this A-hole.

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Filed under Fun!, General Nonsense, Music, Women

Today’s Song: “Dancing in the Dark,” Bruce Springsteen

Lemme tell ya’ll little story ‘bout a girl who is me… a poor journalist, she was broke to a T. But then one day, she was pissed off, to say the least, so she applied for jobs and she moved to the big east… Connecticut that is, ESPN… lots of insurance… She is: The Connecticut Hillbilly! (cue the banjoes.)

Yes, that’s how it felt to move to (cue “Immigrant’s Song”) the Land of the Ice and Snow, but before I got to that place, I had to realized my life need changing.

So back up. And cue the Bruce Springsteen.

When I was growing up, I HATED Bruce. I mean, I thought his style was the most corporate, jingoistic crap you could imagine. I thought he was all-pro Reagan, anti-progression, etc. – even at 10, I had this streak in me, I remember. But later, I realized Bruce was 100 percent Sympatico with my beliefs of the power of the working man, the beauty of compassion and the wonder and mystery of small-town life. He’s exactly who I wanted to be when I grew up – but I didn’t know it then.

I didn’t know that until a few years after my mom’s death, when I found myself surrounded by people who weren’t good to themselves, or who had gone on with their lives, settled down and started raising families. I was broke – I mean, BROKE, emotionally and financially — and was living in a house I should never have bought, with friends who had other ideas about life’s meaning. I didn’t know who I was anymore, really. I just knew that I’d worked too hard, and felt like I was entitled, to more. And that I couldn’t relate to people I’d related to before… partying wasn’t as fun anymore, I’d had my heart broken by death, love and everything else, and I was just tired of everything.

Getting over that entitlement was a good first step, but acknowledging that I needed MORE from life was a better one.

So it was maybe 2008 or 2009, and I had started to understand the whole Bruce Springsteen appeal, but I hadn’t had my “I LOVE THIS MAN” moment yet—but was about to. I was in my bathroom, getting ready to go out. I had the music player on Shuffle. “Dancing in the Dark” came on, ushering in memories of Courteney Cox dancing with The Boss on stage in the 80s video. I’d picked up along the way that “Born in the USA” was about the least-patriotic song ever, and that Bruce was about as far from corporate jingoism as I was. So I let it play, thinking, “wow, maybe I like this song more than I remember.” As I applied mascara, leaning over to look in the mirror, I really listened:

“Message keeps getting clearer

Radio’s on and I’m moving ’round the place

I check my look in the mirror

I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face

Man I ain’t getting nowhere

I’m just living in a dump like this

There’s something happening somewhere

baby I just know that there is

You can’t start a fire

you can’t start a fire without a spark

This gun’s for hire

even if we’re just dancing in the dark”

And it was like it was a whole new song. I was old enough, wizened enough, experienced and enlightened enough to GET Bruce. I also got really into Bob Dylan at that time, but that’s a blog for another time. Working, living, heartbreak, love, desire, loss – those are all anthems in both of those troubadors’ life’s works. And I’d finally lived enough to understand. And the message WAS getting clearer. By the second – and I always dance around my house, which I found a little coincidental. I wasn’t aging, really, but I didn’t know who I was anymore when I looked in the mirror, so CHECK. I wanted to change everything, but didn’t know how.

But then came the guitar solo, and with it, a call to action:

“You sit around getting older

there’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me

I’ll shake this world off my shoulders

come on baby this laugh’s on me

Stay on the streets of this town

and they’ll be carving you up alright

They say you gotta stay hungry

hey baby I’m just about starving tonight

I’m dying for some action

I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book

I need a love reaction, come on now baby gimme just one look”

If I’d stayed on the streets of Tulsa, they would’ve carved me up alright. The last straw was when a woman I was working for (doing way too much for a part-time PR person, let me tell you) treated me like a dog, calling all my hard work into question. I let her make herself better by tearing me down. So I needed a love reaction — and that reaction was self-love and self-confidence. I’ll show you, I thought — and I meant it.

Then I went home that night and applied for every job I could. And now I live in Connecticut and work for the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

I didn’t leave right away, but the night I heard that song while getting ready to go out and probably drink too much, Bruce Springsteen broke through. And he was the spark that started the fire for me, the one that told me to get my shit together, to forgive those who hurt me and forget those who refuse to admit they’d hurt me, to shake the world off my shoulders.

My life changed that day, a little. Through the next few years, I lost friends, some forever. But for the first time in my life, I’d found ME – and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I was willing to let go of the reins long enough to look around, and gave myself enough credit to believe a dream might come true.

Working at ESPN has been a dream – and a nightmare sometimes, but just a short one that’s worth it. I’m not sure I would’ve realized the dream if A) my mom hadn’t died and changed everything and B) I hadn’t lost so much in the way of love, money, friends, etc., C) I hadn’t embraced my faith and D) If I’d elected to hit skip when that song came on.

“Dancing in the Dark” was at least 30 years old when it changed my life. And I seriously doubt it’ll be the last time a Bruce lyric has that profound effect on me. I’ll never doubt him again.

 

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Filed under Connecticut, ESPN, Music, Oklahoma

Today’s song: “America,” Simon and Garfunkel

I’d love to know why this song hits me the way it does. Perhaps it’s my unbridled patriotism – you know, the stuff that conservative types say we  free-thinking progressives don’t have. Well, I have it in spades. Acres and acres of spades. I don’t think I’ve ever made it through a National Anthem dry-eyed. In Concert Choir in high school, we performed the U.S. songs of military service as a huge flag fell behind us. I was probably the only kid on those risers looking down, tears dropping quickly onto the stage.

I’m a sap, yes, but a proud sad.

The intricate, fine-filigree beauty of Paul Simon’s lyrics here just slays me. And now, in this climate, with bombs blowing up elsewhere and cops shooting kids nearby, we should all go look for America.

The America we dream of. The America that just says, “Hey, you know what? Your way isn’t my way, but that’s OK.” The America that sees black, brown and white as merely an abundance or absence of melanin, which makes pigment. An America that doesn’t split hairs on its original amendments, and does what’s right to protect the many, not the few. The America that doesn’t shoot people first and ask questions later – even if that person is doing something illegal.

I am a moderate politically. I believe in working hard and earning your pay. I believe in caps on Welfare, Disability and other funding. I believe in my brother’s plan – if you’re on unemployment after two years, you’re put to work in the military – not on active duty, necessarily, but in civilian roles. Something. Anything. That small job might lead to a career in something. I know my career has saved my life — maybe it would work for others. Put repeat drug offenders to work in the fields. Something useful that didn’t cost taxpayers as much and might result in a well-adjusted person coming out, looking for that freedom that we all crave.

But I also believe in helping people who have nothing and working within communities to spread positive messages about ALL walks of life. I believe in ultimate civil rights and freedoms. Love is love, and love yields love. And what it yields – a child who is gay, or a child who isn’t what you thought they would be – deserves all the freedoms of the others.

So before I go off on yet another tangent, back to “America.” Something about these two broke wanderers, traversing America in the back of a bus with a belly full of cheap food, brings out the Kerouac in me, my inner rambler (a persona I have seldom lived out, due to my fear of my inner civilization breaking down). Two people in love (or something) head out on their own, making jokes along other passengers… romantic, in an odd, wistful way. It encapsulates the “lost” feeling of youth, the place you are at when you realize you have no roots, and aren’t sure where you want to put them down. The place when you realize so many others are lost too –

 “Cathy I’m lost I said though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America.”
 

 David Bowie sang this song for “The Concert for America,” after 9/11. It was so poignant to me then, and I didn’t know why. I now know that its timing was perfect — we were lost then, and have become lost again. We need to find our common ground, our peace, before we become a nation torn asunder. We need to realize that zealotry in any way– saying your way is the only way — is akin to the Taliban or Isis or whatever the hell else is out there. We have to work together, and we’re not.

I may never know all the mysteries of why this song evokes all these feels. But I love it, and won’t question it too long. I’ll just listen, and wish for peace, justice and prosperity for all.

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Filed under Music, Politics?

Some are mathematicians, some are carpenters’ wives…

I’d like to point out that this is one of those blogs that I thought of the title of first, and I spelled “Mathematicians” correctly the first time through. THAT is PROGRESS.

I’m having one of those “Every song ever written is great” sort of days. Where I could do nothing but sit in a room and listen to music nonstop — I do this at least once a week. Usually it’s happy stuff, or something that’s sparked by a memory, whatever. Today, it’s been maudlin and a bit dreamy-sappy. And I’ve just let it happen. Maybe it’s because my music player is shuffling with the best of them tonight  — I’ve heard a lot of great songs on this holiday Thursday — it’s the Fourth of July, I’m in the ESPN newsroom, and the only thing going on is the rent. And a few baseball games. But meanwhile, I’ve been in a weird place the last few days. Not sure why, perhaps it’s the summertime blues, for which we all know there is no cure.

Regardless, the only thing that has really helped break my malaise has been the occasional moment alone with the headphones on.

Which brings me back to the title. “Tangled Up in Blue” is one of those songs that I always like, but on days like these, I truly, deeply FEEL. Near tears all day long, I’ve tried to figure out why. It’s probably due more to the fact that it’s really hot out and I hate heat, and I’m really tired after the NBA draft, and I’m just kinda whiny with all kinds of first-world problems. Oh, I can add this in too — my favorite baseball team, the Brewers, is playing really badly and my favorite player on said team, Ryan Braun, who I’d like to think will be my betrothed someday, has been on the DL for weeks. Like I said, first-world problems.

Anyway, through my veil of tears, faux, reasonable or otherwise, on my way to work today, I heard “Mother of Pearl” by Roxy Music, which wins the Favorite Song of the Last Two Years award, if that were a real thing. Damn  — if you don’t know that song, listen to it. Research it.  It’s not particularly sad, but it reminds me of leaving Oklahoma… I listened to this about 100 times a day my last few months in Oklahoma.

I got to work, where the sports news was slow, so I went to get a Diet Coke. On my way, I realized it’s been 10 years to the day since I saw my mother. She died on July 11, but July 4 was the last time we saw her at the hospital still alive, though she was barely that then. The week after, we shut off her machines. July 4 was when we had the meeting to decide her fate. And that made me cry in the elevator. I stepped off, stopped by the ladies room, cried some more, came out of the stall, tried to look like I wasn’t crying, and went back to the newsroom. Fortunately there was hardly anyone there.

A good cry in the bathroom at work kind of did the trick for a few hours. I didn’t really feel like talking, so I put on my headphones and immersed myself in my little world of melancholia and subversion. I was not let down– “Monkey Man” by the Rolling Stones, “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who, “Stand Beside Me” by Hothouse Flowers, ” “California” by Liz Phair, even “Unsung” by Helmet… all special to me in some silly way or other.

Then the hammer fell: “Southern Cross, ” Crosby, Stills and Nash. My mom’s favorite and also in my top three favorite songs.

I had to turn it off before I created a scene in the newsroom. I got up and talked to some co-workers and now my inner stage play seems to have taken a somewhat happier turn.

I’m not sure what causes these weird moods in me. I like to think it’s something simple, like a vitamin deficiency or hormones. But chances are, I’m just, like I said, tired, cranky and possibly irritated that I’m working on the Fourth of July. But it could be worse… I could be unemployed and not working at a place I’m very happy to work.

In a few days, that’ll make me happy again. For today, apparently I’m wallowing. So bring it on. I’m armed with 25,000-plus songs, a few of which will surely keep me going.

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Filed under Baseball, Brain Disorders, Brewers, Connecticut, ESPN, General Nonsense, Music, Ryan Braun, Sports

Part 4: Hart Songs, The Revolutionary and The Sexy

Yeah, so the next part took some time to post. But I hope it’s worth the wait. I’d like to tell you I was out on adventures and that why I didn’t just post all this, but truthfully, I was just watching  lot of sports. And subsequently being very sad about sports. Still, Thunder Up, etc., Enjoy The Social Commentary and The Sexy, the final chapter of my emo blog series.

THE SOCIAL COMMENTARY

“Romeo Had Juliette,” Lou Reed

In what is a sort of love sonnet and social criticism of New York, Lou Reed’s album – aptly named “New York” – is a snapshot of a seedy side of the city, one that gets all the glamour headlines but whose dark side is ultimately more interesting and celebrated… there are several songs on this album that reflect the pre-9/11 New York, pre-Guiliani, pre-cleanup phase. It’s gorgeous… so much dirt and grime, shots and crime, all wrapped in a hairnet and spat out by one of the coolest people on the planet, Lou Reed. This song is revolutionary to me in a lot of ways because it’s a big Fuck You to The Man, but at its roots it’s  a love song… but just one that makes you want to fight.

I can’t pick out just one verse, so here they all are:

Caught between the twisted stars
the plotted lines the faulty map
that brought Columbus to New York
Betwixt between the East and West
he calls on her wearing a leather vest
the earth squeals and shudders to a halt
A diamond crucifix in his ear
is used to help ward off the fear
that he has left his soul in someone’s rented car
Inside his pants he hides a mop
to clean the mess that he has dropped
into the life of lithesome Juliette Bell
 
And Romeo wanted Juliette
and Juliette wanted Romeo
And Romeo wanted Juliette
and Juliette wanted Romeo
 
Romeo Rodriguez squares
his shoulders and curses Jesus
runs a comb through his black pony-tail
He’s thinking of his lonely room
the sink that by his bed gives off a stink
then smells her perfume in his eyes
And her voice was like a bell
 
Outside the street were steaming the crack
dealers were dreaming
of an Uzi someone had just scored
I betcha I could hit that light
with my one good arm behind my back
says little Joey Diaz
Brother give me another tote
those downtown hoods are no damn good
those Italians need a lesson to be taught
This cop who died in Harlem
you think they’d get the warnin’
I was dancing when his brains run out on the street
 
And Romeo had Juliette
and Juliette had her Romeo
And Romeo had Juliette
and Juliette had her Romeo
 
I’ll take Manhattan in a garbage bag
with Latin written on it that says
“it’s hard to give a shit these days”
Manhattan’s sinking like a rock
into the filthy Hudson what a shock
they wrote a book about it
they said it was like ancient Rome
 
The perfume burned his eyes
holding tightly to her thighs
And something flickered for a minute
and then it vanished and was gone
 

Black Gold,” Soul Asylum

This is not one of Soul Asylum’s hits, though they did have a video for it. And believe it or not, SA had a lot of good song before that horrible “Runaway Train” song that played relentlessly throughout most of the early 90s. For Pete’s sake – Dave Pirner is mentioned in a Liz Phair song, so you know they have to have some sort of coolness about them. “Black Gold” is a song that has a lot of meanings depending on who’s listening. Pirner said it was anti-war, Black Gold in this case meaning oil, but I take it differently. I love when a song can transcend it original meaning. The lyrics remind me of Muskogee, Oklahoma, where I grew up and experienced first-hand what racial violence can do to a town. So much hatred, so many fights and riots, so much stupid fear. I left Muskogee because of that shit.

Two boys on a playground
Tryin’ to push each other down
See the crowd gather ’round
Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowdBlack gold in a white plight
Won’t you fill up the tank, let’s go for a ride
I don’t care ’bout no wheelchair
I’ve got so much left to do with my life

Moving backwards through time
Never learn, never mind
That side’s yours, this side’s mine
Brother you ain’t my kind

You’re a black soldier, white fight
Won’t you fill up the tank, let’s go for a ride
Sure like to feel some pride
But this place just makes me feel sad inside

Mother, do you know where your kids are tonight?

Keeps the kids off the streets
Gives ’em something to do, something to eat
This spot was a playground
This flat land used to be a town

Black gold in a white plight
Won’t you fill up the tank, let’s go for a ride
Sure like to feel some pride
But this place just makes me feel sad inside

Black gold in a white plight
Won’t you fill up the tank, let’s go for a ride
I don’t care ’bout no wheelchair
I’ve got so much left to do with my life.”

 

Gets me every time – sadness for my hometown, revolutionary “We can make this world better” feelings, my civil rights gene… all activated and on high alert.

THE SEXY

To remain somewhat modest, I won’t go into a lot of detail here. These are the … ummm… loin-stirrers? Now I’m embarrassed. But you get it.

“Slow and Easy,” Whitesnake

There is not a sexier sound in the world than David Coverdale saying “To the Bone.”

“Nasty Girl,” Vanity

Before she went uber-Christian, Vanity wrote a dirty lil’ ditty that is just … good n’ sexy.

“Naughty Girl,” Beyonce

… And Beyonce, uber-sexy just singing “Happy Birthday,” countered Vanity with a modern version.

Love Interruption,” Jack White

Jack White, he of the tortured sexiness, nails it (wow) in this one. He makes the list with a lot of other songs (“Ball and a Biscuit,” “Sugar Never Tasted So Good” ) but this one is just pure sexiness. And I’m not sure why I find him so attractive. I think it’s his talent.

“All Night Thing,” Temple of the Dog

I had some impure thoughts about Chris Cornell. Then someone told me I looked like him. That kinda broke my mind.

“Say Goodbye,” Dave Matthews

Listen to the lyrics of this song. And if you haven’t lived this moment, you don’t get it. If you have, you want to call up that person and demand a repeat performance. Sheesh.

“Love Trilogy,” Red Hot Chili Peppers

I loathe new RHCP. LOATHE it. But their first three-ish albums were just great, and this little sexy gem is off “Uplift Mofo Party Plan.” The meter of the song is why it’s sexy – and the lyrics, of course – but the – ahem – climax – of the song really explain its meaning.

“The Right Thing,” Simply Red

I had no idea this song was so perverse until I read the lyrics. I’ve always loved it, but wow – it’s kinda dirty. In a good way.

OK, that’s it, until I have another day of emo or crazy emotion. Thanks for reading, and share what y0ur emotional songs are with me and why. That shit fascinates me.

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Filed under Music, Relationships

Hart Songs: Part 3, Soul-Stirring

I vowed yesterday — no more sadness. So here we go, no sad tears, only thoughtful reflections (I don’t mean to sound like a crazy new-age hippie. I eat meat and go to Target and love shopping and technology, so you know that ain’t me.) But because I’m a writer first, I’m always extrapolating concepts from songs, TV, movies, everyday conversation, looking for meaning, even when it’s not there. OK, a lot of when it’s not there. It’s a strange kind of narcissism, I guess, to try to insert yourself into everything. But alas, I can’t do anything about it but accept it. And say thanks for the songs that really GRAB me. There are many — a lot of which I can’t explain, like the entire Tripping Daisy album “I Am An Elastic Firecracker.” But here are three that come to mind…

Oh, and to recap, this is part 3 of a blog series about songs that elicit emotion. Blah blah blah.

THE SOUL-STIRRING

 “This Is It (Your Soul), Hothouse Flowers

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xjw5x2_this-is-it-your-soul_music

I don’t think the auto-play thing on here is gonna work. Click it. It’s worth it.

This is one of those songs I missed in the 90s, and probably wouldn’t have appreciated either way, because the message is more mature, more for the world-weary life traveler. I, like all of y’all, have had a tough time here or there, and that’s what’s made me who I am now. I’m finally – FINALLY – understanding what the hell life is about, and it’s not about worry, fear and strife, not about making yourself anything it’s not meant to be. One night a few months ago I was downloading music – Echo and the Bunnymen, I think – and Hothouse Flowers was suggested. I remembered hearing about them back in the day, so I sampled one of the songs, and somehow found this one. From the first verse, I was inspired. This song is pure magic, and it’s pure genius too. And not to go all softy-Sarah-Feelgood on you, but it’s good for your soul to listen to this kind of stuff every now and then. It’s not cheesy. It’s just … happy.

 You’ve been disturbed from your sleep
You’ve been laid down on the floor
You’ve been looking around for your family
Now your body’s tired and sore
Well there’s rest that’s in the water
And there’s an answer on the streets
And if you take the time to listen
There’s a chance you will meet
Your soul
This is it… This is your soul”
 “And they’re talking at you not with you
And you’re bored with what’s around
And you’ve tried all the quacks, all the doctors and all you really need
And all you really need is a healing sound
 But just listen to the waters
Find the answer on the street
Because now it’s time to listen, now it’s time to meet
Your soul, now this is it
It’s time to meet your soul
Your crying soul
This is your soul
Set free your soul”
 

 Southern Cross,” Crosby, Still and Nash

Not only does this have the dubious honor of making my emotional list, it’s my all-time favorite song – I think. It’s about sailing. It’s about love. It’s about breakups. It’s about love of music. It’s about ME. Every lyric of this song is beautiful, and I got back and forth as to what my favorite is. I think the perennial favorite is this:

 “So we cheated and we lied
And we tested
And we never failed to fail
It was the easiest thing to do.
You will survive being bested.
Somebody fine
Will come along
Make me forget about loving you.
At the Southern Cross.”

 So much majesty. Damn I love this song. It was among  my mother’s favorites too. Back in the day when I still had a clock radio, this song would often be on the station I set the radio to, 103.3 in Tulsa. Those mornings, I would roll over in bed and just absorb the song. It probably doesn’t hurt that I have a romantic notion of living on a boat someday…

 

 Rain King,” Counting Crows

While a great deal of CC’s songs could end up on the Sad Song List (“High Life” and “Sullivan Street” come to mind), this song is just downright uplifting. It makes me want to run really fast down a hill, flailing my arms. To me, it’s a reminder to, you know, live your life to the fullest and shit.

 “When I think of heaven (Deliver me in a black-winged bird)
I think of dying Lay me down in a field of flame and heather
Render up my body into the burning heart of God in the belly of a black-winged bird
Don’t try to bleed me
I’ve been here before and I deserve a little more
 I belong in the service of the Queen
I belong anywhere but in between
She’s been dying
I been drinking and I am the Rain King.”
 

 OK, tomorrow we’ll deal with social commentary songs — the revolution-starters…

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Hart Songs: Part 2, The Sad

As I said, the sad songs say so much… Here’s part 2, and I promise the next parts won’t be gut-wrenching like this one (0r maybe that’s just me.) To recap, I had an emo day the other day that prompted me to think about all the songs that always elicit an emotional response. So here goes, Part 2.

THE SAD

To Make You Feel My Love,”
written by Bob Dylan, but Garth Brooks’ version

One weekend in Weleetka, Oklahoma, when my mom was still alive and had just bought Garth’s complete collection on CD, she forced me to stand with her in the laundry room and listen to the words to this song. “This is how I feel about you and Nick (my brother)” she told me. I’m crying just thinking about this… It’s a love song, but the fact that my mom thought of her children when she heard it makes it so much more special to me, and since her death, sad. My mom always told me she’d die young. She was right. But she left me with a lifetime of memories, and I never doubted her love.

 “I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I’ve known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong.
 I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue
I’d go crawlin’ down the avenue
No, there’s nothin’ that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love.
 There ain’t nothing that I wouldn’t do.
Go to the ends of the earth for you.
Make you happy; make your dreams come true.
To make you feel my love.”

 Garth’s version is the one I like best, because of that moment. Doesn’t take away the fact that the greatest songwriter in history wrote it. Thanks, Bob, once again for the lyrics, and thanks, Garth, for the moment.

 “You’re the Reason God Make Oklahoma,”
David Frizzell and Shelly West

It’s pretty obvious why this song would make me sad, if you know me just a little bit. It made me love Oklahoma and tear up even when I lived there. Alas, I had to leave to stake out my fortunes elsewhere. But it’s where my home and heart remains, where my people are buried, and where I will probably be buried too. I heard this song during an hourlong stint in Dallas traffic when I was in my mid-20s and living in the DFW area. I was back in Oklahoma within a month.

The fact that the song centers on the best part of Oklahoma is probably not on purpose, but Northeastern Oklahoma gets all the love — with good reason. From the opening guitar, I’m a puddle.

This Woman’s Work,” Kate Bush

This is the song that I heard the morning after my emo night, prompting this blog series. It is a relatively new entry in the Make Sarah Cry files. Geez that woman can sing. When you know that the song was written for the movie “She’s Having a Baby,” and is used in the scene where Kevin Bacon is learning that his wife and child are in danger during childbirth, it pulls those ol’ heartstrings but good. Maxwell also did a version, but Kate’s sweet, innocent voice adds the drama.

 “Pray God you can cope.
I stand outside this woman’s work,
This woman’s world.
Ooh, it’s hard on the man,
Now his part is over.
Now starts the craft of the father.
 
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet.
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left.
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet.
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left.
 I should be crying, but I just can’t let it go.
I should be hoping, but I can’t stop thinking
 Of all the things I should’ve said,
That I never said.
All the things we should’ve done,
Though we never did.
All the things I should’ve given,
But I didn’t.
 Oh, darling, make it go,
Make it go away.”

 Waaaaah.

And let’s go for a happier subject, shall we?

 

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