music

Music for the Resistance

I have been coming across some amazing music lately that has been emerging out of the bullshit that is the news lately. In need of some revolutionary protest songs? I’ve got you covered.

Sara Bareilles wrote this amazing song for This American Life, when they asked her to write about how she thinks Obama has felt during this election. It is so beautifully performed, and the whole vibe is just beautiful and quiet and strong – I’m pretty obsessed.

Pussy Riot came out with a new song with one of the best hooks of all time:

Let other people in/ Listen to your women/ Stop killing black children/ Make America Great Again.

donald-trump-pussy-riot-make-america-great-again1

image via

The video is pretty intense, so get ready for some hard core no bullshit punk girl power stuff – and for a world imagined where Trump rules. *shudder*

I also just heard a beautiful song by Alicia Keys, one of my favorites as well – she has recently talked a lot with the media about how she is revisiting the idea of wearing makeup, and exploring how wearing her hair and skin in their natural state is a form of empowerment and resistance. This song has a great message and is just another beautiful ballad by one of the best:

If you haven’t listened to anything by Kendrick Lamar or Beyonce’s Lemonade, get on that, too.

If you’re looking for ways outside of music to challenge injustice, I recommend checking in to the Standing Rock Reservation on Facebook – a small thing you can do to stand with the protectors from afar. If you do, follow these instructions:

10-31-2016-10-45-05-am2

10-31-2016-10-45-05-am2

 

What are your favorite acts of protest lately?

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Inspiration

lesbians-839875_1920

I’m going to admit this right now – I have never been a huge Valentine’s Day person. It seems a little forced to me, I guess? Like, can we all acknowledge that every day is basically a day when the world is obsessed with love and relationships?

Myself included.

Anyway, Anthony and I usually celebrate our birthdays and anniversaries, and save our money the rest of the holidays. But, I have been super into seeing a bunch of pink and cute things on other people’s blogs and I thought – I would love to contribute to someone else’s Valentine’s Day fun. So I have some stuff that I think you’ll like.

unsplash_5244808e6b835_1 Here are my favorite love songs right now, to get you in the romantic mood:

I want to love you – Lenachka – I am super into this song right now and would play it on repeat if I wasn’t too cheap to buy the premium version of Spotify. So romantic and sweet.

Say you love me – Jessie Ware – This has been one of my faves for over a year now probably – Ed Sheeran wrote it I think. It’s bomb.

Comrade – Volcano Choir – Honestly, I have no idea what these lyrics are about or what he’s saying half the time – but the song is beautiful and dreamy so I decided it falls in the love song category.

Love myself – Hailee Steinfeld – For when you’re like, “You know who my favorite person is? ME!” (P.S. I am aware of what the song is actually about, but it also works for an innocent “go me” song…)

photo-1451444635319-e5e247fbb88d

I ran across some adorable ideas from Advice from a 20something for what to do with your honey this vday – it includes making a fort, which is just awesome.

photo-1417962798089-0c93ceaed88a

Are you like awesomely single and dating up a storm? Thinking about online dating? Check out my post on my OkCupid experience (don’t forget parts 2 and 3!).

photo-1-2-749x1024

Thinking about wedding bells and expensive dresses? I still love my best friend’s wedding photos – they planned it all themselves, so there’s a lot of inspiration in there if you are close to tying the knot (or just expanding that wedding board on Pinterest for when the day comes).

RZ7A5785-682x1024

I also listened to this awesome podcast about rethinking single life the other day and loved it.

photo-1430329429612-babb42f88673

 

Anthony and I actually do have plans – we are going to go to an event on campus which is like a grown up prom, and all inclusive – very queer friendly with the idea of dressing and doing what you wish you could have done when you went to your high school prom. Cute, huh? I’m pretty excited to dress up and dance to live music with friends!

 

What are your plans for this Valentine’s Day?

 

 

The ultimate work out playlist

FullSizeRender (3)

How do you get your heart pumping during a work out? I recently realized that calm podcasts like Dear Sugar or Serial weren’t really motivating me to sweat my butt off.

But Ariana Grande? She works like a charm. We are BFFs now, in case you were wondering.

I thought I would share my work out playlist with ya’ll, in case yours needs some beefing up. Mine definitely does – I could use some more variety – so please share your favorites in the comments!

Let’s start with the maybe-normal-person-with-a-pop-bias playlist:

  • Flawless Remix ~ Beyonce, Nicki Minaj
  • Dark Horse ~ Katy Perry
  • Hypnotik – Original Mix ~ Keys N Krates
  • Yeah 3x ~ Chris Brown
  • Carried Away ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Applause ~ Lady Gaga
  • Don’t Worry ~ Madcon, Ray Dalton
  • Domino ~ Jessie J
  • Just Fine ~ Mary J. Blige
  • I Need Your Love ~ Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding
  • Feel so Close – Radio Edit ~ Calvin Harris
  • Wild Ones (feat Sia) ~ Flo Rida
  • Trust a Try ~ Janet Jackson
  • Coming Down ~ Buchanan
  • Break Free ~ Ariana Grande, Zedd
  • Habits (Stay High) – The Chainsmokers Extended Mix [umm, okay…] ~ Tove Lo
  • Want To Want Me ~ Jason Derulo
  • Forever (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix) ~ HAIM, Prins Thomas, Lindstrom
  • Hey Mama (feat Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack) ~ David Guetta
  • Latch ~ Disclosure, Sam Smith
  • Dancing On My Own ~ Robyn
  • Part Of Me ~ Katy Perry
  • Too Much to Handle ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Sweet Nothing ~ Calvin Harris, Florence Welch
  • Work B**ch ~ Britney Spears
  • Love Myself ~ Hailee Steinfeld
  • Worth It ~ Fifth Harmony, Kid Ink

Then there’s some cool down tracks in there:

  • Replay ~ Zendaya
  • You’re The One For Me ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Where are U Now (with Justin Bieber) ~ Jack U, Skrillex, Diplo
  • Crooked Smile ~ J.Cole, TLC

…and finally, the I’m-a-14-year-old-girl songs added in for flavor (sorry not sorry):

  • Problem ~ Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea
  • Beauty And A Beat ~ Justin Beiber, Nicki Minaj
  • Don’t Hold Your Breath ~ Nicole Scherzinger
  • Miss Movin’ On ~ Fifth Harmony
  • You’ve Got The Love ~ Jessica Sanchez
  • C’Mon ~ Ke$ha
  • One Last Time ~ Ariana Grande

I use Spotify to create my playlists – what do you use? Do you gym it up or do something else to werk it out? What’s your favorite method for cardio?

FullSizeRender (4)

P.S. I also just started using the Under Armour’s MapMyFitness app through a discount at work – it’s mostly fun just to pat myself on the back for what I’ve done this week. I feel like I have proof of things now – like, “LOOK! I worked out THREE TIMES this week. THREE. Plus I ate a salad once. HERE’S THE DATA!” …Yunno, just in case someone stops me in the street and accuses me of not taking care of myself or something. Totally prepared.

 

 

 

Mr. Mélange: Unexpected Sources

My handsome and talented boyfriend, Anthony, is an amazing writer. Many might not know this about him, since he is a PhD student at UC Santa Barbara for Composition in music. He also has an ensemble that he plays with, where he performs percussion and electronics.

But his mother is an English professor and he has such a talent with words also. I wanted to share a piece he wrote years ago, about coming to Santa Barbara and balancing his art with his academic career. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Unexpected Sources

IMG_5637

impossible fossils

Gods you aren’t.

And it’s from a place of relief

I write

Likely temporary- like most things- but you are too.

It’s me, really, it’s me. But for me, it’s you even though it is in fact me. You with your rigid box of westernization and eras of acquired mass and weight. I’ve spent a lot of time bearing that load, we all have.

Those shadows, your shadows, so long. So long and so dramatically inescapable that we mortals can’t even make out where they end. But, ironically, it is that final shadow- the last dusk- that curves the light around the arcs of your darkened scalps.

The crushing rules and the counterpoint and the pressure of originality and modernity and the checklists of classes which hook creative flesh to increasingly massive boulders and slow already exhausted limbs until you just can’t go and you’re afraid of the very thing that severed the previous cargo. You can’t even bear to look at it- let alone think it- without some insane brain pop.

And it’s from a place of relief that I write. And it’s me, really, it’s me.

In any case, I choose to wriggle free of those hooks, even if the resulting rips in my skin scar over and forever become a reminder of you, even though I never realized my own hands helped you pierce my spine with them. Because you are not evil. I made you evil and I resented you for what you did. In reality all of our shadows were the same height.

Terrifying, humbling, freeing.

It’s been a tough road. I have to admit, it’s been a very tough road. I came to Santa Barbara with expectations and hope but something wore all of that down. I’ve never been a great student and I often I wonder why I came here. I wonder why I would once again volunteer to be in an environment where I feel inadequate, constantly compare myself, always come up short, and inevitably become more afraid.

They’re feelings I’m all too familiar with. They’re feelings that rule me and inhibit virtually everything I do. After so long it’s so easy to give in and let that be who you are.

And that’s who I was yesterday. I was inhibition and fear.

I fell asleep, as I usually do, to some movie that looked vaguely interesting; something that would put noise in my head. I chose Kevin Smith’s Burn in Hell. If you don’t know, Kevin Smith is the director of Clerks and Chasing Amy fame. I really liked him years ago, but haven’t been much in to him lately. I remember seeing other Q & A sessions with him and finding him to be a pretty interesting guy to listen to, so I put it on. I almost immediately fell asleep. But I did wake up just in time to hear the words “You want to feel about your art like the way you feel about that chick in high school or that dude in college” It starts right about the 1:00 mark in this clip.

I’m an artist. As much as saying that makes me gag, I’m finding it harder to just call myself a composer lately. Something I’ve come to realize about art is that its effectiveness is reliant on just a little bit of craft but almost entirely on context. The context in which I happened upon this clip was beautiful. The words were unexpected, poignant, and I needed them. If I’d seen this in a different situation, who knows how I’d have felt. Maybe I would have found it contrived, maybe not. It doesn’t matter. It matters that it did something for me.

I used to have that fire and that raw passion for my art. It was driven out of me, extinguished. It would be easy to blame that on people who told me I wasn’t good enough or situations that made that notion crystal clear, but it really comes down to me and my willingness to accept that. It’s the weight of years of self-deprecation compressing and pushing all of the oxygen out. It’s a direct result of my increasing shame about my art and my self-expression. It’s weak and it’s bullshit.

My passion was borne of exploration and love. It was not informed by years of schooling, it did not know rules, and it was pure. It listened and was not afraid. I approached everything I did with joy and a fervency I havent felt in a while.

One of the first times I can remember feeling that total, elevating bliss about music was hearing John Adams’ Harmonium.  I must’ve been about 17 at the time and it was 6:00 AM, my dad was driving me to marching band practice. There was story on NPR about Adams and the clip from Harmonium they chose to play was the third movement: Wild Nights. I heard it and I was in love. When I came home that day, dad had sent me the link to the stream of that broadcast. I fast-forwarded ahead to the music and closed my eyes. The darkness behind my eyelids began to shimmer and explode with color. It was electric and unrelenting in its pulse and it was fucking magic in its orchestration. I had never experienced anything like it. There’s a section in which the horns are hocketing upward pitch bends, like un-yielding, impulsive cries of new love and adventure. I smiled and I rewound that part. I listened again and I rewound. I must’ve done this at least fifteen times. I loved what it did to me- that it made my chest feel like it would burst, that it made me hot and excited, that it made my eyes fill with tears.

I deserve to feel that way again, and I’m going to. Instead of viewing my environment as oppressive and constrictive it’s time to accept things with that old joy, stop comparing myself, and start loving what I do and create.

As artists, we have very little control of that context within which our art is received. We cannot control the time in which we exist or the places that we are heard. There is only the hope that something we say might be unexpected, that maybe someone in our audience might, by some exceedingly small chance, need exactly what we offer. And we owe it to them to speak with unapologetic truth and genuine tone.

Like the video clip, the poem at the beginning of this entry presented itself without warning yesterday. It’s my own, and I had forgotten I had written it. I needed to remember though. I also needed to remember a part of a letter I wrote to my students at Casa Grande High School just before I left to come to Santa Barbra:

I know I have told you this before but I have recently strengthened my resolve in this belief so I feel compelled to say it again: talent is non-existent. Do not ever doubt your own abilities because of a mislead belief that you are unable. This is a mistake I am perpetually making and I know it has only held me back.

Also, no matter what you do always make music a part of your life. Continue playing if you can, but always continue to find and question new music- even if you think it sucks, figure out why it sucks and learn from the experience. Never limit yourself, give all music at least one full and focused listen.

I mean, it can’t get any more direct than that.

 

~

If you want to hear me gush more about this dude, check out this post.

 

1 2

%d bloggers like this: