Monday, January 21, 2013

#nowplaying Halcyon

I had a dinner party last Friday night that saw half of my dinner guests in my living room, doing guitar solos from some Dire Straits LP, well passed midnight and well passed the age where it's cool to be doing guitar solos in public. It was a very 'we are infinite - kissing Emma Watson while we roll down the highway' kind of moment even though I barely even know who Dire Straits is. It was just watching everyone with their eyes shut, jamming so hard and with total abandon. It was that thing about music that's always taking you somewhere: back to a time or a place or even back to someone you used to be. Even in varsity when all I did was listen to music and watch series and party and listen to music and cry - books were still much better ways for me to escape and just jam. Words move me, not beats.

Even when I listen to a new band or a new song, the first thing I want to hear is that great line. I loved the Arctic Monkeys so much circa 2007 because every one of their songs was laced with these one liners than could break your heart. '505' remains a song that's words always do something a little different to me every time I listen to them:

But I crumble completely when you cry
It seems like once again you've had to greet me with goodbye
I'm always just about to go and spoil a surprise
Take my hands off of your eyes too soon

I loved discovered bridges like that. But the feeling is far in between these days. Every thing on the radio sounds the same, MTV doesn't even play music anymore and Lord knows I miss me some DC++ so I don't feel like I discover much new music anymore, let alone many lyricists who slay you with their poetry just before the beat kicks in.

Today was a little different. I stumbled on Elle Goulding's Halcyon album. There are so many heartbreakers on that album, so many lines that cut deep and you just keep bleeding. ARGH. Why is this woman not more famous? Why isn't she on repeat on every radio station?

Only You starts with this winner:

Only you can be the aching in my heart
My enemy, the only animal I couldn't fight
You hold me in the dark when storms arrive
Only you

Dead in the Water made me think of all the toxic relationships I've let wither and die in the last seven years:

If I was not myself
And you were someone else
I'd say so much to you
And I would tell the truth

But Explosions broke my heart. Because the worst break-ups are the ones with your friends. And the ones even worse than that are the ones where you're not in love but you stay together anyway:

And as the floods move in
And your body starts to sink
I was the last thing on your mind
I know you better than you think

I don't know much about music or about writing, as it turns out. And apparently, there are a lot of Ellie Goulding haters out there who would agree wholeheartedly with my previous statement. It's not all that surprising that there are also many music critics who totes disagree with my 'lyrics before everything' approach to musak. But, you know, in the words of Liz Colville:

I keep on obsessively listening to Halcyon, drowning out the nitpicky chatter of the critics. Music is armor that can be used to ward off scrutiny of all kinds, including that of the music itself.

Read the article that made me fall in love with EllieG (<-- that is totally going to be a thing now: I'm bringing it in)

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