Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Stages of Musical Taste

Don't worry, guys! No more playlist posts! At least, until I can't stand it any longer, and am forced to do it via uncontrollable genetic programming. (You should probably tell me if I should restrain myself)

But you know that moment when you're looking through old YouTube playlists, and you find one that you totally forgot about? Or an old station on Pandora? And so you listen to it, and you think it's going to be all fun and games and nostalgia, and IT IS NOT. Your magnificent forgotten music taste eats you up and sucks into the VOID OF SONGS YOU FORGOT EXISTED. AND ITS JUST A GREAT TIME. 

I had totally forgotten that I had listened to a song called Majesty of Decay by The Burns Unit FOUR HUNDRED TIMES. I had forgotten that the lyrics had been tattooed onto my ear drums. Or that band The Mountain Goats that no one had heard of before John Green made them mildly more popular, not really? I had forgotten how obsessed I had been about their song Love Love Love; the one where they describe Kurt Cobain killing himself so nicely, in such a way that I had wanted to make it my valedictorian speech? By God, I had even forgotten about the band Eddie From Ohio. 

I've been listening to these songs for two days straight, and let me tell you, this is the one time when I am not ashamed of my past self. 

I can even remember how I found out about all these great artists. I had watched the movie He's Just Not That Into You (you know, the one with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Afleck, Drew Barrymore, EVERY OTHER PERSON IN HOLLYWOOD, and ScarJo before she was Black Widow? You know the one), and I had loved the soundtrack so much. So, naturally, I went to the library and burned the CD to my iPod. The song Madly by Tristan Prettyman was my favourite, so I decided to make a station on Pandora to find songs similar to it without actually doing any work. 

I sculpted this beautiful playlist over months, and pretty soon, it knew me better than my own family. 

Then I just completely forgot about it. 


You know, I cannot even explain how many phases of music I have went through. When I was little, as in 2-9, I would only listen to Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar, and Disney Princess songs. Then, I went through this phase where I.....ok wait, that phase actually lasted a lot longer than I thought. But anyways, there was like a two year bit where I was only exposed to American Idol songs, so I still have those in my old MP3 player and cringe when I look at it. Then, the phase where I only listened to the Hairspray and HSM soundtracks. I'm still a bit in that phase, though, to be honest. But aren't we all??

Then my God-awful country phase. But at least I wasn't alone in that one. You know who you are, old friend. (This also includes the Taylor Swift phase, who we all now know as the Queen of internalized misogyny ^u^)

Then the Blurred Years, where I had no idea who I was. I don't even know, man. I don't even know. What even is Owl City.

And now, I have at LEAST 20+ genres in me. I like Lady Gaga and One Direction (I'm comfortable with who I am), but I also like Sleeping With Sirens and Awolnation, and also Mumford & Sons, and also bands no one knows about like Last Tuesday Weld and Port O'Brien, and of course Florence + the Machine, Owl City, and Lorde, and who can forget classical music and the punk songs from ballets like Swan Lake or FREAKING MUSICALS LIKE HAIRSPRAY AND ALSO HAIRSPRAY AND I GUESS PHANTOM OF THE OPERA OR PERHAPS LES MISÉRABLES and then there's P!nk or the trippy stuff like Foster the People or the downright psychedelic like St. Vincent, and Bastille is on my mind all the freaking time, and Disney songs are still my favourite, and you know, I will always have a Stevie Nicks poster from 1986 on my wall, and Love is a Battlefield is still the most metal song ever. 

But no country. 


Although, I would have to say, my favourite song ever? EVAR???!?!



Friday, December 6, 2013

Books. And Winter. But Mostly Winter Books.

Hello lovelies!

I have been really excited to post this, because, yes, I am one of those diabolical people that re-reads books every holiday season. I get tangled up in books because they make me all warm and fuzzy, and sometimes, there are special books that I read in the winter that I just can't stay away from no matter how many times I read it. I hope you get as much out of these books as I do; but if you don't, well then. It's okay to have your wrong opinion.

1. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This book came out in 2009 (???) and I've read it every year since. I've read it about seven times, though, because one year, I was snowed in and ended up reading it about three times because why not? It's about these two highschoolers in New York during Christmas, who have never met each other; the only thing they have in common is their favourite bookstore, the Strand. One day, Dash is browsing the bookshelf, and finds a red moleskin journal. In it, the first page simply reads: 
"I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

Lily is one of my FAVOURITE book characters OF ALL TIME. She loves Christmas, and wears really crazy socks, and wears really fabulous outfits, and gets too attached to animals. I feel her struggle on a spiritual level. They say that you get more attached to books where the characters are most like you, and let me tell you, I have actually never felt more like a character than Lily. Lily is everything. Dash, is, ah, an acquired taste. He's quite the hipster. And if you have read David's other works, you will find this atypical anti-society hipster hero in all of them (Him and Cohn also collabed in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist).They throw out words like "Bolshevik" and talk like a character in Macbeth, and think family is SO last season. Pretentious, this one definitely is. But he grows on you, I think. 

But what I really like about this book is its imagery, and the overall feelings it gives you as you read it. You want to snuggle up in a bookstore (though your living room will do) and sip hot chocolate from a wineglass or something. I don't know. You know what I mean? 

"I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. Cozy couples lazily meandered the streets and children trudged sleds and chased snowballs. No one seemed to be in a rush to experience anything other than the glory of the day, with each other, whenever and however it happened

2. Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauran Myracle.

A lot of people don't like collections of stories, but what I like about this one is how they all take place in the same town, on the same night, in the same blizzard. All the three tales are interconnected by a Waffle House, and the stories all weave together nicely. I like how these stories have that sweet, ABCFamily special feel, which I normally don't like, but quirker and funnier, as well as more genuine. I found the first story to be especially adorable which began the blizzard and trek to the Waffle House haven (written by Maureen Johnson). 

"Debbie had to get up and slice me a thick piece of cake before she could answer. And I do mean thick. Harry Potter volume seven thick. I could have knocked out a burglar with this piece of cake. Once I tasted it, though, it seemed just the right size.” 

3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

This is one of those books specially made for bibliophiles, and it's imagery is wonderful. It isn't Christmas-related, but it's filled with grand mansions and old books and fireplaces, set in the backdrop of a twisted English family. A woman, Margaret, who runs a bookstore with her father gets a letter from famous novelist, Vida Winter, who wants her to write down her life story before she dies. Vida is most famous for publishing a strange book of twelve dark tales, called "Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation". The whole world has been thirsting after the missing thirteenth tale ever since she published it decades ago, and over the course of the novel, she tells it to Margaret. She shares with Margaret the dark secrets her family had had for years, including the insane Charles, the feral twins Adeline and Emmaline, and a tragic fire. It recalls a lot of elements from Jane Eyre, so if you like the Brontë sisters, then do check out this book? This book is definitely haunting and probably one the most compelling mysteries I have ever read. Everytime I read it, I find something new that just makes the end make even more sense, and I want to just throw a pillow at how CLEVER IT IS. GOD.  

But silence is not a natural environment for stories. They need words. Without them they grow pale, sicken and die. And then they haunt you.” 

4. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis

Okay, I'm 99% sure all of you know the synopsis of this book, so I won't bother you with my horrible attempt to summarize this amazing book. (I feel really horrible at summarizing books I love; it's like, the better the book, the more I have to try to cram all these good things about it into a few sentences while also not spoiling anything. You know? YOU KNOW?!) Anyway, this is such a magical book to read, especially during the wintertime. It seems like this is the book people always reread this time of year, and it think it goes back to visiting that amazing other world on the other side of a wardrobe that you always searched for when getting your clothes ready in the morning. When I was really little and lived in another houses than I do now, I had this huge mahogany wardrobe that I had my little cute toddler clothes in, and I would always crawl inside and wait. Like, "COME ON ASLAN GET YOUR CRAP TOGETHER. I AM WAITING."

But anyway. Yes. Narnia. Love it. 

"I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis.”

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien 

I don't know about you guys, but this was literally my childhood. My dad is a HUGE J.R.R Tolkien fan, so I grew up wearing the VHS versions of The Lord of the Rings out. I was even a nazgul for Halloween when I was seven. Like. It was ridiculous. I loved Frodo and Sam, but my favourite character was Bilbo. I loved The Hobbit best out of all the books, because I identified with him. I would have totally resisted too, if this whole pod of stinky dwarves showed up and barged in and started singing in my living room without even asking me. Are you kidding? And I loved the scene when Bilbo first encounters Smaug; I loved that scene most, to be honest. It was right up there with the first chapter. I wanted to live in a hobbit hole soooo bad! Didn't you?? 

I love the whimsical way he words things, and everytime I read it, I feel like I'm part of Thorin's Company. I'm one with these great adventures and slaying dragons and tricking Gollum and going into the goblin kingdom. What's extra special is rereading it from the book my dad has owned for like thirty years. It's worn and faded and about to fall apart, and I lurv it.

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
"I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air, I am he that walks unseen.

I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number.

I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me.

I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.” 

And that's the end of the list! I probably should have opened the list to just "Books I Like", but I wanted it to be holiday-themed, and I thought the books I reread would be a much shorter list. I have a lot of homework to do, can you blame me?! 

Now, go read these books! I'll be doing the same ^^