Fall Anthems

I’m a lazy toad at the best of times but there is one physical activity that is totally my jam and that’s walking in the Autumn.

It harks back to my time living alone in Vancouver, a very introspective period of my life. While I was doing my ‘single life’ navel gazing, there were a couple of tunes that just kept popping up as I stomped about getting shit done.

I’m a creature of habit really, so if a song makes my rotation, it very rarely gets booted off again. So I’m basically listening to these songs still, my Fall anthems. In no particular order:

  • Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks
  • Everywhere – Bran Van 3000
  • Army of Me – Bjork
  • Be The One – The Ting Tings
  • Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Cheap & Cheerful – The Kills
  • Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry
  • Rhiannon – Stevie Nicks
  • Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry

I don’t think these songs need any introduction, I just love them, and feel strong and motivated when I listen them. I actually might go out for a little wander around the park in a bit, those fallen leaves aren’t going to crunch themselves underfoot.

You can have a cheeky listen to my Autumn Jams here:

What are your favourites?

Cue the Violins

If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album? Via The Daily Post (21st November 2014)

tumblr_naa2ac3rpn1r2x63jo1_500If my life had a soundtrack, I hope it would be make me feel exactly like Pitch Perfect‘s does. You know, good.

I’m all about feeling good and being stirred. I love an anthem. I like to listen to songs that make me imagine myself in certain scenarios. A dance off in the aisle of the night bus with twenty strangers, for example.

Showing an old (and beautiful) ex-boyfriend how amazing life has been without him. The high school reunion I couldn’t bear to attend in real life. Am the only person who does this?

Don’t expect anything too high brow from the Soundtrack of my Life. You would get some Shaggy, ‘Superfreak‘ by Rick James, a bit of Prince (because who can stay still when Prince is up?). You’d get Alanis Morissette because ‘Jagged Little Pill‘ was amazing.

You’d get the very best of The Cure, epecially ‘Close to You‘. Depeche Mode’s ‘Strange Love (Blind Mix)‘ would swing by and hold hands with The Smiths.

There is a Light That Never Goes Out‘ is my favourite and would therefore play whenever I gazed upon my true love. ‘Milkshake‘ would be my personal theme tune whenever I entered the frame. Or maybe I would prefer ‘Edge of Seventeen‘?

A bit of ‘Faith‘. A lot of Spice Girls. ‘Express Yourself‘ by Madonna. ‘What It Feels Like For a Girl‘ too.

How is it even possible to choose what 12 songs? My life would have to be a trilogy, at least, just to fit it all in.

What about you?

In other news, it’s the weekend before my birthday and I’m heading back ‘home’ tonight. It’ll be very family heavy and that’s exactly what I want and need this year.

Call me a sentimental old fool if you like, but I want good company and quality time rather than drunken debauchery or, more likely, self-loathing because I’m no longer young.

Happy Friday all!

Proud Pleasures Part 1: In Praise of Miss Swift

image-1989

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I believe in Proud Pleasures.

If I like something, even if it’s just a Shaggy record from 1998, why not admit it? I don’t care what the cool kids think. When all is said and done, I know who I am and who I am has horrific taste in music and LOVES pop.

Candy striped, sickly sweet pop music that gives you toothache.

Which leads me effortlessly into my love for Taylor Swift. I know she’s in the press a lot, that everyone loves her for her autobiographical songs and her full skirts. I like these things about her too but if I’m honest, I’m mainly in it for the Muzak. That girl can make a damn good tune.

Music is not my first love (film is) and although I do of course listen to and enjoy it, I’ve never really got into the Indie albums my friends love. I don’t know the latest bands or who’s the best performer at a live gig. I’ve never been a festival goer and I don’t spend my money on concerts.

Maybe I am musically stunted, I know there is a whole aural universe out there just kicking it’s heels waiting for me, yet I’m stuck here on Planet Pop – and I’m okay with that.

So Taylor, I like you. I really like you. Red was fantastic with strong songs in I Knew You Were Trouble and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and 1989 – 1989 is a perfect slice of steaming hot pop pie! Not a foot wrong as far as I’m concerned.

(Vintage looking Polaroids included with the physical CD? Genius!)

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I love you more than PSLs

I’m in love with Welcome to New York, Blank Space, All You Had to Do Was Stay, Bad Blood and Shake It Off, it’s hard to pick favourites on an album, as my friend Lightle says, full of tens.

As for my personal feelings about Tay, she seems okay. Nice enough. I assume the saccharine girl persona is just that, and that there is probably more to her than we know but she’s obviously self-aware and I like that. Anyone who can poke fun at themselves is A-OK by me.

So, in closing, I want to hark back to my favourite T. Swift era: the Dawn of the Woolly Hat and Jake Gyllenhaal in Coffee Shops Swifty. I wish he had never pissed her off and that they had stayed together. Sure, we wouldn’t have WANEGBT but we would have Jaylor Swyllenhaal!

I’ll get my coat now.

Incidentally, this is the first in a series of regular posts I am going to call Proud Pleasures.

Update: AND How You Get The Girl and New Romantics. So good. So so good!

Pretty Eccentric

The Queen of Kooks
The Queen of Kooks

“My name Isobel,
Married to myself.
My love Isobel,
Living by herself”
~ Isobel by Bjork

There’s nothing I find more appealing that genuine eccentricity. The elderly woman who used to ride around my hometown on a shiny yellow bicycle, for instance. Or the Madam who used to bowl down St James Street in a fur hat and then got her own column in a local publication.

My mother. My fabulously theatrical mother. Who would probably wave me away with a “Oh, Darling, not me!” if I said that to her.

That’s the thing with eccentrics; they rarely know that they are. Sure, there will be a little awareness but the true kook doesn’t stop to consider other people’s perception of them and their behaviours. And that is where the wannabe falls down.

One cannot simply decide one day to become an eccentric. One is; or isn’t. It’s a rare gift, a bundle of idiosyncrasies and then some. An aura. And you can spot the genuine article a mile off. Trust me, you can.

There are different levels of eccentric, of course. Eccentricity is in some respects subjective. One man’s kooky could very well be another man’s ‘unique’ X Factor contestant but the real and true, I’m pretty sure just are, and nobody can argue with it.

Nothing but love for this dress
Nothing but love for this dress

Look at Bjork. You cannot forge a person like that from nothing, it is born. It is so delightfully nuts, so original, so poetic – it just is or, as we have established, isn’t.

When I was growing up I one day read a story, true or not, about young Bjork being told off for not getting ready for school. After much cajoling, legend has it that she got up, dragging her duvet behind her, cut a hole in the top, placed it over her head like a giant poncho and went to school as normal.

Hero. I think of that often and don’t care if it’s true or not. It’s just typical Bjork.

What I love about this woman is that everything she does has a ‘fuck it’ edge. Have you ever really read her lyrics? Bonkers. Seen her on a red carpet at a ‘serious’ conventional event? Swan dress. (I implore you to have a look at this for yet more evidence. It’s my happy place).

She may be a serious and fiercely talented individual but she makes it all look like fun and that is why I will always love her.

Incidentally, did anyone recently read the article about the woman who married herself after hearing the lyric (above) in Bjork’s Isobel? How I love that idea and what it represents.

An eccentric move if ever there was one!

NB: Sometimes it’s a shame my OBF and I aren’t talking anymore. She’d so totally get this.

The Only (Riot) Grrrl In The World

robyn2Ever notice how the best songs are the heartbreak anthems? Sometimes not even anthems, some are weepy little poems that still have the power to cut you like a switch blade (hey there Joni).

Even though I hung up my angst a long time ago (does one ever?) and am not currently nursing a sore heart, I still love the fist pumping, imagine myself standing on tables, shouting at all the pigs that ever let me down psalms the best.

As I shuffle reluctantly to work every morning, my iPod bruising my ear canal ever so slightly, I always have to make the final push with a great song in my head, that extra protection against the day ahead.

Now I write all this with the best of intentions but my musical catalog contains an awful lot of Janet Jackson so it’s usually something like What Have You Done For Me Lately? off Control that gets me fighting.

JJ notwithstanding, it’s funny how some lyrics just jump out and elbow you in the ribs, isn’t it? They have the ability to drag you back through time to the exact moment you found yourself standing hesitantly outside a coffee shop after a blazing row with a boy you’d only been seeing for a few Summer months.

You remember your carefully chosen words, and how carelessly he batted them away like fruit flies. You remember how black his eyes became in rage, the chocolate-brown evaporating from them completely, making him look demonic. How you had known right there that this was it, that no matter how lovely his skin felt or how pumped you were that he chose to spent these hazy twilight hours walking around the city with you, it was done.

You recall the tears that you thought would never end, your best friend’s hand on your back and the thought, even in that moment, that you were crying not for this, but for everything bad that had ever happened to every person in the world.

Most of all you remember that it was over because you decided it was; that you weren’t going to take shit any more.

That’s what a heart-break tune will do and it doesn’t matter if you’ve moved on, if you’re happy now. It doesn’t matter if you rarely think of them; those fuckers built you up to be the fabulous person you are today and tribute must be paid, even if it’s angry.

Especially if it’s angry.

So what’s my go to angry anthem? You’ll not be surprised to learn there’s some utter toot in here: Since You’ve Been Gone, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Dancing On My Own, Raspberry Swirl. Sinead O’Connor’s You Cause As Much Sorrow. Mr Brightside. Harpoon.

Army of Me.

All my loves.

Special mention to Joni’s Case of You which saw me through a wonderful break up (I loved it). Less punch facey sure but just as powerful. (I’m listened to Joni as I tie up the ribbon on this post with a flourish, because she’s the one).

It is true that every girl has a fighter inside, a riot grrrl or a punk, whoever she wants it to be. She may be a soft touch like me, most of the time, but given the right theme tune, that fighter will awaken to stomp the shit out of her memories, free to fight another day.

So what’s your angsty/angry/fighter theme?

Musical Marker

We all have songs that remind us of specific periods and events in our lives. Twenty years from now, which song will remind you of the summer of 2014? Via The Daily Post (24th July 2014)

This is quite easy really. My jam of the summer is Clean Bandit’s Rather Be (featuring Jess Glynne).

Not only does it remind me of my newest friend (Frannie Dee of Double Gym & Tonic), it just makes me happy. This is the year I started to take care of my body and this song has remained firmly on my workout playlist.

FACT: It’s impossible to listen to Rather Be without belting it out loud. Try it. You can’t.

But since this is such a fun topic, here’s the perfect summertime playlist in my opinion.

Mint Royale with Lauren Laverne – Don’t Falter

Tuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuune! No bad moods with this on the wireless.

Paramore – Ain’t It Fun

This is relatively new but I love it. It’s so perky. Much like Hayley Williams herself.

*LOVE*

The Ting Tings – Be The One

Reminds me of pounding the streets of Vancouver during my Summer of Freedom. Yes yes yes.

Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up

This song is a classic and I feel like it was written about me! Do you think Marvin Gaye had an awkward chubby redhead in mind when he wrote this? Probs.

Stevie Nicks – Edge of Seventeen

One does not simply leave Stevie Nicks off a heady Summertime jam list.

So there you have it. For more Summer Jams of a decidedly cheesy nature, go here. You’re welcome.