The Fray found me

The Fray's new albumAfter a false start or two with my iTunes (which was quickly resolved by Terry, a kind-hearted and professional Apple support team member!), I finally have The Fray’s new album! I went through the whole “to download or not to download” quandry for a day, then decided that it’s 2009, I usually throw jewel cases out anyway and I really, really wanted the album right now — I’m big on instant gratification! So I paid my $9.99 and let that puppy magically appear on my laptop.

This morning I bounced around in my car on my way to work, excited and happy and exhilirated! I love the Fray. I’ve seen them in concert twice, and each time was a borderline religious experience for me! Music can do that, and be that for people. It’s like that for me.

I’ve only quickly skimmed through all the tracks to get a “lay of the land,” if you will, but so far my favorite is still their single, “You Found Me.” It’s haunting and catchy, if that’s possible, and proves to me all over again how genius they are! I read a review on iTunes saying that this sophomore album is basically “How To Save a Life, Part II,” but I’m more than all right with that — and the reviewer was, too. They have a sound, a following, a message and have had success with all of that — I wouldn’t want to mess up a good thing, either!

“You Found Me”
The Fray

I found God
On the corner of First and Amistad
Where the west
Was all but won
All alone
Smoking his last cigarette
I said, “Where you been?”
He said, “Ask anything.”

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An ode to my favorite fall music

Now that it’s officially cold outside (I’m in a hoodie every moment I’m not in “fancy” dress clothes!) and I’m running in and out of my heated car and office building, it’s time for some excellent cold weather tunes!

Everyone has music that reminds them of special things in their life — summer, winter, senior year, college, first love . . . music is what connects all of us and brings us back to those really incredible points in life like nothing else can. Between music and getting a random sample of cologne while out innocently marching through a department store or grabbing groceries, I can find myself nineteen again — or five, or twelve, or twenty-two.

And musically, the fall for me is all about . . . thinking, reflecting, becoming all nostalgic and crazy. I guess it’s the whole cyclical nature of things — getting ready to usher in another holiday season, looking back at all the time that has already passed, putting away the sandals and replacing them with boots and jackets. It’s another transition. And these are the folks that always come along for the ride with me . . .

Ingrid Michaelson

I adore her whimsical, light and pitch-perfect voice. I don’t think life gets much better than hunkering down in your Toyota, waiting for the heat to kick on and defrost your windshield while humming along to “The Way I Am” (the sweater song from the Old Navy commercial — yeah, you know it), “The Hat” or one of her newest ones, “The Chain.”

“The sky looks pissed. The wind talks back . . . my bones are shifting in my skin. And you, my love, are gone. My room seems wrong. The bed won’t fit. I cannot seem to operate. And you, my love, are gone. So glide away on soapy heels and promise not to promise anymore . . . and if you come around again, then I will take the chain from off the door.”

I bought Ingrid’s album Girls and Boys last fall and listened to nonstop through Christmas . . . it’s one of my favorite albums to listen to while writing. In fact, my NaNo novel last year was built in part after listening to “The Hat” for the hundredth time! Such an awesome song.

“I knitted you a hat all blue and gold to keep your ears warm from the Binghamton cold. It was my first one and it was too small; it didn’t fit you at all, but you wore it just the same. I remember the first time we danced. I remember tunneling through the snow like ants . . . What I don’t recall is why I said, ‘I simply can’t sleep in this tiny bed with you — anymore.’ I should tell you that you were my first love.”

Her lyrics sort of punch you in the gut with their simplicity — when you say “I should tell you that you were my first love,” there’s no real hiding from that — or misinterpreting it. It just is.

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I will let go if you will let go

I picked up Ben Folds’ new album Way to Normal earlier in the week — after I’d earned my Borders Bucks! I really became a Ben fan after meeting my boyfriend two years ago, though I’ve loved the Ben Folds Five song “Brick” since I first saw the disorienting video for it sometime in 1997. There’s something beautiful and haunting about his music — something real. I know I’ve blogged about it before, but it always bears repeating.

I’m loving “Cologne” — it’s such a beautiful, simple song. And, as always, it’s like one swift kick to the heart. I can’t get enough of those moments where you’re listening to something innocently — maybe driving along in your car, maybe on your iPod at work — and a tiny bubble of realization hits you: this is a song that could very well change your life. I know other people feel like that, too. This song will change the way you see yourself, the way you see others — this song will change the way you view relationships past and relationships yet to unfold.

Ben Folds has a lot of songs like that.

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Burn up in your atmosphere

I love listening to John Mayer albums — but I adore going to John Mayer concerts. Everything I love about John’s music is absolutely amplified by the live experience — the piercing guitar solos, the smooth voice, the emotional outbursts, the random ad-libbing. And the snippets and random verses he adds to classic songs.

A case in point would be a live version of “Home Life” from an import album I have — which is really random, I know. But it’s those seemingly strange, patchwork verses placed almost in addendum to the actual songs that I really love the most, I think.

“In Your Atmosphere” is another classic example of this — these emotional, thought-provoking bits and pieces he adds into his songs when playing live, usually at the very beginning or the very end. The final piece of this song is enough to fillet my tender little heart! And I mean that sincerely. I don’t know how to phrase it in a way that isn’t ridiculously cliche, other than to say that I really feel like I “get him.”

“Wherever I go, whatever I do, I wonder where I am in my relationship to you . . .”

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Love just leaves you bruised

I’d like to take a moment to dwell on the greatness that is Ben Folds. Because, you know, I don’t think people are able to dwell quite enough on the amazingness of Ben Folds! When my boyfriend and I first started dating, we realized that good ol’ Ben was one of the first things we really had in common. I remember hearing “Brick” on the radio when I was 12 or so and remember, even more distinctly, watching the unique video on MTV in the summers at my grandmother’s house.

Ben and his keyboard, D.C. in July 2007

Ben and his keyboard, July 2007 in D.C.

So I grow up, I later buy “Whatever and Ever Amen,” my boyfriend burns me several more of Ben’s CDs (naughty, I know). I fall totally in love with his music. Some of his songs are silly; some cutting. Some hit you like a swift punch to the stomach. He’s awesome. So imagine my sheer, exuberant JOY when I found that he was touring with John Mayer last summer! Yes! We went; we saw; we danced; we loved life. It was awesome, although my pictures (see right) were less than awesome.

Seriously, if you’ve never listened to Ben (apparently we’re on a first-name-only basis now), I highly recommend checking him out. I’m particularly fond of Supersunnyspeedgraphic.

I have two all-time favorite Ben Folds songs and, since this is my blog for posting whatever it is that tickles my fancy, I shall post the lyrics! I’m typing them out based on what I’m hearing, so it should be interesting to see how off base I am. If anyone is inclined enough to do so. I just think it’s sort of fun to see how we all interpret the lyrics to our favorite songs . . . and I rarely look up the “real” words to the music. I like having it mean whatever I want it to mean. That’s what’s great about art.

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