The greatest love songs cover all kinds of love, and that, I think, is this song’s triumph. It’s not just about romantic love — you can sing it to your lover, but it would be just as true if you sang it to your child, your best friend, your mother. Furthermore, it’s not about sweeping statements and dramatic declarations. It’s a jolly, rollicking little tune which takes as its message the one thing we have all sighed to our loved ones at some point in our lives when they have come through for us when we needed them the most: “God only knows what I’d do without you”. It’s a song of simple but glorious gratitude. And it makes me terribly happy.
I see songs in colour and line. This might sound strange but that is one of the many ways I experience music: I visualize it involuntarily. As soon as it fills my ears, it fills my head with tinted pulses and waves and I revel in the sensory experience no matter where I am – whether on a train, walking on the street or at my desk at work pretending to be very busy and important. Sometimes, when a song is just that good, I have to stop what I’m doing altogether – distracted beyond all pretense – and just sit there with a glazed look in my eyes, simply appreciating.
This song, by the Cardigans, is all dark blues fading into black, like a night sky. It is definitely a night song – I can’t listen to it during the day, it wouldn’t feel right. It’s coy, but bold, but also understated. I love the well-placed echoes; the pureness of the vocals against the slightly grungy music. Here’s my take on it.
Whenever I hear this song I think of the sea. I’m not sure why, but there’s a sea-like quality in the songs and lyrics; the way he talks about lust and love and dreaming. Perhaps it’s simply the word ‘crash’. I don’t know. Either way, I love it, and thought I’d give it a shot. Dave Matthews, thanks for the music.
There’s just something about Maroon 5 – I’ve always loved their sound and admire how they manage to be one of the few ‘pop’ bands out there with real soul. Their melodies and lyrics are usually extremely vivid: when I listen to their songs I always see something in my mind – certain situations or moments that the lyrics coax into my mind, no matter how occupied I am. It’s almost as if I am watching a music video that was never made.
Cool these engines, calm these jets, I ask you how hot can it get,
And as you wipe of beads of sweat slowly you say, “I’m not there yet”.
This song in particular has always held a fascination for me. That lazy guitar at the start instantly makes me think of sunset on a hot, sultry, summer day. I tried to echo that same lazy sultriness in the main melody of the song as well as in the backing vocals, which were probably my favourite part of the song to sing.
Everyone who knows me knows I love music and singing. I grew up watching Michael Jackson concerts with starry-eyes, believing till an embarrassingly old age that all you needed was passion and talent in order to make it big in showbiz. While other kids were talking about becoming doctors, I had my sights set on a Grammy. I was so convinced that this was what I was born to do that my parents often had to take me aside after a particularly lazy report card and tell me to get real and apply myself to what was in front of me so that on the off chance that I didn’t get famous, I’d have an education to fall back on.
With all the stubbornness of a typical adolescent, I would pep-talk myself into not believing them and turn up the music louder as I sang into the night each night. This has been my usual practice from before I can remember. I sing all the time — in the car, in the shower, in my room each night — anywhere I feel comfortable and at ease. Most of the time, it’s an unconscious compulsion – I barely notice that I do it. In public, I usually have to rein it in, keeping it to a barely audible hum that only my ears can pick up.
Not so in my room. When I’m alone I’m in my element – I don’t have to worry about being shy so I belt out my favourite songs with gusto. I love songs that push and stress my voice and really give my vocal chords a stretch. I’m not afraid to take chances when it’s just me in my room and usually that confidence translates into the fact that I can sing most anything without having to worry about whether I can or not. When I’m performing though, it’s a whole other story. I have major stage fright. This wasn’t always the case – when I was little, my sisters and I would jump at the chance to perform for relatives or anyone who’d listen to us. As we grew older though, performing became embarrassing and we’d grumble stormily whenever our parents would ask us to sing for them or whoever was in present company. I’ve done a spot of performing here and there but am always plagued by these annoying nerves: I shake like a leaf and my voice shakes unattractively along with me and I just want it all to be over so I can run into the seclusion of my room and convince myself that I really can sing after all.
This is why everyone who knows me knows me I love singing – but very few have actually heard me sing to the best of my ability. So when I discovered Garageband on my Mac, it was a massive thrill to be able to actually get my voice out there. My voice with all the confidence of being alone in my room behind it, but using a medium to get the sound out into the void. Honestly, I do it mostly for me. There’s nothing I love more than a good song and this is a means for me to create and get to know my voice even better. The process usually takes a whole evening but the hours fly by and before I know it I’ve spent four hours in front of my computer and forgotten to eat my dinner. Can’t think of a better way to spend my time these days really :)
Over the next few days I’ll be posting a bunch of tracks I’ve recorded thus far. Just for the heck of it :)
This is probably my favourite Adele song although it’s easily one of her lesser known tracks. Different lines remind me of different people close to me, so it always makes me smile. I like how simple it is, but also how sweet.
My sometime imaginary lover, he rocks me on the violin. He calls me baby for hours, drawing out the word endlessly; playing on a libido already aching for lazy summertime lovemaking. And he makes poetry of chocolate, of little sisters, of circus magic and cigarettes while I only half-listen, and smile.
* Written while listening to Baby by Rufus Wainwright
The office is suddenly hotter and stuffier and I don’t have to look out the window to know that I’ll have to race the rain home today.
Hurriedly throwing things into my bag, I whip out my trusty iPod and within minutes, I’m on my way.
Humidity follows me out the door, past the security guards and onto my customary route back home. I untangle the earphone wires twisted messily around my fingers and pause while I turn the dial, looking for the perfect tune.
Slightly superstitious, I try to please the Gods and stave off the rain with something fabulous and the choice falls on Led Zeppelin. I press play, the moody strains of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You fill my ears and I start walking again, a little faster now.
The song fits the weather perfectly. Stormy clouds seemed to have tinged the whole world different shades of grey and the very air around me is thick, pregnant with the promise of rain. Not just a timid shower, but a full on downpour.
God this weather. Tropical, capricious, infuriating. I can’t believe I actually spend so much time writing about the weather on my blog. But it’s really much more interesting that one gives it credit for. In this country anyway.
I said baby, you know I’m gonna leave you.
I’ll leave you when the summertime,
Leave you when the summertime comes arollin… Continue reading Racing the weather, to music.