Life of Tunes

Posts Tagged ‘mellow

Occasionally when I am listening to music I become seriously addicted to a particular song and hit the repeat1 button on my iPod. Ok, let’s be honest it’s often; at least once a week. If you read my Do Your Best To Destroy Me post yesterday then you know I had a not so great day. Today was a step in the right direction which was fantastic. Early in the day I decided I was going to treat myself to an hour of pure music bliss and literally put my feet up, totally chill out and listen to some great tunes.  Mid afternoon I did just that. I grabbed my iPod and did a swan dive onto my bed. Those of you who know me, might be wondering how the bed fared in that dive but this blog is about great tunes not carpentry. I fluffed up the pillows just right and plugged in my little Skullcandy Smokin-Buds.  I often use my iPod with phones for two reasons; one is that I can tune out from everything from the phone to construction as well as sirens and the like. The other is about loud music plain and simple. I could do loud on the stereo system as well but then I can’t bitch out the neighbours for incessantly slamming their doors can I? That would be a double standard. I digress.

reminder

True to form I hit shuffle and see what pops up and today the first thing I hear is “The Park” by Feist. My hour is nearly up before I decide to listen to something else so I let it play another song and the shuffle gods decided it was a Feist day. I finally move on and I get Honey Honey off The Reminder as well, another great track. Those crazy shuffle gods. We’ve all dealt with their “control freak” attitudes on our musical journey. You know when you deposit 5 CD’s in your changer and for the first hour you hear songs off of only two of the albums. Bastards. To hear the original longer studio version which is best click below. The video has been shortened.

LISTEN HERE

The short of it is I must have listened to “The Park” ten times before I moved on. What a fantastic song.  I am pretty sure I didn’t really hear one lyric in that entire time. I was singing, but no words were really registering. Perhaps it was the ambient park noises that brought me to the park in my mind. Eyes closed, I swear I could feel the breeze on my face. In the end, I was disappointed to see it was only the fan but whatever works right?

The Park by Feist is a Life of Tunes keeper and a great little escape.

Artist: Feist
Album: The Reminder
Track: The Park
Website: http://www.listentofeist.com

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What a bloody day. Not literally but my day could not have been worse. I woke up and got kicked in the balls twice within the hour. No not literally. I’ll type slower so you can keep up.  Anyway it was not a happy Monday morning and I was feeling like crap about it for the better part of the day. I am dealing with a few issues that are just getting old if you know what I mean; feeling like I am just going round and round in circles. I am sure there is a song in those words but not the song that really gave me what I needed in dealing with the insanity that was my day.

till theThis was serious business and serious for me often has me thinking of Ray Lamontagne. “Empty” of off Till The Sun Turns Black was spot on for how I was feeling today.  As if on cue Ray sings “And of these cut-throat busted sunsets, these cold and damp white mornings, I have grown weary” , putting beautifully into words just exactly I was feeling to be dealing with BS again.

The course of the song seems to take on the course of my day or perhaps the opposite is true. By mid day I am feeling more grounded and ready for battle when I recall some lines at the end of this fitting song, Empty. “Well I looked my demons in the eyes laid bare my chest, said “Do your best, destroy me. You see, I’ve been to hell and back so many times I must admit you kind of bore me.

Now sitting and reflecting on my day reading the lyrics from start to finish they have a totally different meaning for me. The song I am listening to now is about love and loss, the same song. Odd, isn’t how a great song can do that.

Below is a live version of Ray singing Empty from BBC Four Session.  Listen to the studio version of this awesome track here:

LISTEN HERE

Empty by Ray Lamontagne is a Life of Tunes keeper and just what I needed today.

Artist: Ray Lamontagne
Album: Till The Sun Turns Black (2006)
Track: Empty
Website: www.raylamontagne.com

What is it with some people and their love or hate of music? I mean, in a way I get it; everyone has their likes and dislikes that’s the way it has always been and that’s the way it will always be. Some people are completely over the top with their “hate” of certain bands. I was in Chapters today and I overheard two “Thirtysomethings” talking about Coldplay. From what I heard the conversation seemed to go something like this.

“Are you kidding me? – they FRACKING suck!”

“In what way do they FRACKING suck?”

“Their FRACKING music moron!” And Chris Martin is such a FRACKING (insert expletive here)!”

“What specifically do you not like about their music?”

“It’s so unoriginal, a FRACKING rip-off”

“A rip-off from what?”

“FRACK OFF! Who cares, Coldplay sucks.”

The depth at which the songwriting and musical arrangement was broken down in this argument was astounding. Of course because I am passionately love music and am sensitive about the music that I like I wanted to jump in and begin a verbal assault but I thought better of initiating my 10 year old into the theater of musical combat at that moment.

rush of bloodIn reality I really could care less if anyone likes a specific band or not. When I love something I want to share it, and it feels great if the person I am sharing it with relates to it in some way as well. People don’t understand why they are so popular, or disagree with some politics, or feel they are too similar sounding to a band that they prefer. Who the FRACK cares! When I listen to music I do exactly that. How does this song make me feel right now? Is the sound pleasing to my ear? Can I relate in some way to what is being sung. The rest is really all a bunch of BS. When I put on Coldplay, 9 times out of 10 I love what I hear and I feel great. If you are worried about what the industry critics say or dude at the CD shop or anyone else for that matter, you have lost the point.

If Coldplay hater at Chapters is reading, here is what I want you to do sir. I want you to shut the FRACK up and just listen to this song without all of your preconceived notions. If after listening to this song you find that you were not moved then state that fact to the musical gods of the universe but do it for the right reasons, not because you heard some other FRACKER mention that they are a sellout one time. If you would prefer to listen to the original studio version of the song you can listen here.

LISTEN HERE

The Scientist by Coldplay is a Life of Tunes keeper, and a song that moves me every time I hear it.

Artist: Coldplay
Album: A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
Track: The Scientist
Website: www.coldplay.com

simple timesToday has the beginnings of a crappy day plain and simple. There’s too much going on, not enough time to get it all done and no way to see through all the twists and turns of the day coming out the other side unscathed. Like everyone, I get this way once and a while. Sometimes it takes some luck or a friend to change the direction of my day. Some days I am sure the universe intervenes and sends me down a different path. Today it was a more tangible action on my part that gave me the shot in the arm I needed. I actually went looking for my happy music playlist. Yes I have a happy music playlist. You can stop laughing now. No – I’m not embarrassed. Let’s get back on track here, 4 clicks of the mouse changed the whole direction of my day. One click on iTunes, one click on “Happy Music”, one more on shuffle and last on play. Song number one pops on and it’s Brand New Day by Joshua Radin.

It’s a simple song and depending on the mood I am in a sappy song. Today it’s exactly what I needed. As I listen, my friend Josh reminds me that today is not yesterday and I don’t need to take yesterday’s crap into today with me. “For the first time in such a long long time I know I’ll be ok” is exactly what I needed to hear.

Joshua Radin is a great songwriter and a talented singer to boot. If you haven’t experienced his music I highly recommend that you check him out right away. There is something very calming about hearing this man sing.

LISTEN HERE

Brand New Day off of Simple Times is a Life of Tunes keeper and for today a mantra so to speak as well.

Artist: Joshua Radin
Album: Simple Times (2008)
Track: Brand New Day
Website: www.joshuaradin.com

It’s Monday and I feel the need to ease into the week. Nothing like a mellow-ish, driving tune to take the edge off on a Monday morning. With Sia, I can honestly say that this is the only song that I have heard of hers that I really have any interest in. That said, in fairness I have not spent a lot of time exploring her music as well. This specific tune though was a great exclamation point to the end of the critically acclaimed and Life of Tunes recommended HBO series Six Feet Under. In the final scene of the final episode as Claire Fisher was hitting the highway and driving away Breathe Me by Sia was playing.

sia

I immediately loved this track. Perhaps it was because it was associated with the show I so dearly loved. When I look at it objectively now I can see why I was attracted to the music. It has many of the musical elements that I enjoy but I also see that it’s a good thing that I didn’t associate with the lyrics first as they kind of annoy me. Sometimes I feel like telling her to shut up and stop whining and get a life, but I can see how others might relate to these needy lyrics in some way. In the end I have learned to appreciate Breathe Me as a great track in the Life of Tunes catalogue that I just listen to for the vibe of the tune itself.

The video has reasonable quality is pretty cool and is directed by Sia herself but you can listen to the track here without video if you prefer. It is also missing about a minute of instrumental near the end of the song which is some of the best part if you ask me so check it out for sure even if you watch the video. Check it out and see if it’s for you. It’s a Life of Tunes keeper all by its little lonesome self, but a keeper nonetheless.

Enjoy!

WATCH VIDEO HERE

I definitely wasn’t “Racing In The Streets” or driving  “Thunder Road” but these tunes were in my head all evening. There was something about being in the car tonight that brought a flood of memories back from my childhood. The windows were open, it was just a tad cool out and the wind felt refreshing and moist.  I had a flashback of being in the back seat of my Dad’s car on one of our many road trips, feeling that exact same feeling. Happy to be alive, in no real hurry to be anywhere and carefree – man if I could jimmy myself some of that up everyday I’d be set for life. Ironically I was in a hurry to get home and get my daughter to bed, already late on a school night. For some reason I was able to put that aside for the duration of the ride and just chill. I caught myself hoping and wondering if my daughter beside me was creating her own memories and that she would look back fondly on them 25 years from now.

bruceFor some reason when these images of summer nights, cars and just hanging out flash in my head I often think of Bruce Springsteen. I’m not sure where that comes from, it’s not like I’m a car buff, but it is a constant for me. He is a musician and songwriter that has really grown on me over the years as a direct result of buying the “Live 1975-85” box set. Prior to that I hadn’t really given Springsteen the credit he deserved for his amazing talent, specifically his songwriting ability. I have grown very fond of it in recent years. In Thunder Road he sings “hey what else can we do now? Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair. Well the night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere”…and I am immediately transported to a place where summer nights are long and full of friends and simple pleasures like sitting on the porch with a cold beer. It reads cheesy but I don’t give a crap. If I can’t find that place in my reality it’s great to be able to holiday there for a few minutes on a ride home. If you get a chance, listen to “The River” off of this CD set as well. You can listen to it here. It’s the first song on the third disc and as a prelude to the tune Springsteen tells a personal story about the draft that is a great listen.

If it’s possible for you to close your eyes when you listen to “Thunder Road” give it a go. If it’s possible for you to head out on a warm evening this summer, roll down the windows and just cruise with this song blasting go for it. I would suggest however that those remain separate tasks. There are so many video’s and versions I could have posted but you really have to hear the exact version of this tune that I am talking about so no flashy pictures today. It’ll do you mind good.  Listen now, and if you can’t send the link home to yourself so you can later, or do both.

LISTEN HERE

Thunder Road off “Bruce Springsteen Live 1975-85” is a Life of Tunes keeper and a great little escape as well.

Those of you who know me well know that I never shut up about Harry Manx. There are several reasons for that first and foremost being the music. I found Harry’s music during the Wise And Otherwise tour at a folk festival in Ottawa, Canada. It was an amazing day, a warm and breezy summer evening in August 2002.  I was walking into the stage area from the parking lot and there was this hush over the crowd. There had to be at least three or four thousand people there but I swear I could hear a pin drop. As I stepped into the opening of the gate Harry Manx was playing “Crazy Love” just at the intro. I was indeed speechless. I’m not saying the guys Bach or anything – it’s just one of those things. His music was speaking to me. I sat down and listened there in awe of the music, the evening and one of life’s little moment’s.

wiseThere is no way I can recreate that experience for you here today. I can suggest that if you ever get a chance to see Harry Manx that you don’t miss it.  You can listen to Crazy Love below. I have also included a little video that will give you some further insight into Harry Manx as well as some more music.

LISTEN HERE

Harry plays an instrument called a Mohan Veena which is a 20 string modified guitar invented by Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. I have also seen him play an assortment of other guitars and banjoes all exceptionally well.

Crazy Love is a Life of Tunes keeper that holds a special place in my musical journey.


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