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?

Music to Cry To

tumblr_nfmwr7rCvT1tf75mqo1_500It became apparent during a conversation over the water cooler (kettle) a few weeks back that my colleague Tom has never been moved to tears by a song. I wonder if it’s because men don’t seem to listen to ‘the lyrics’ (or so I gather from the few I’ve actually spoken to about it)?

Whatever it is, I was surprised (and perhaps a little disbelieving, I mean COME ON), and while it would be far easier and quicker for me to compose a post about the song(s) that haven’t made me cry, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some that have, and do, make me weep like a wee bairn on the regs.

Somehow the below tunes have also managed to heal me.

It’s a little like the bit where Emma Thompson is questioned by Alan Rickman (Always) as to why she loves Joni Mitchel so much in Love Actually (2003): “Because she taught your cold English wife how to feel”.

That’s exactly it – crying at sad stuff makes you feel and feeling stuff is GREAT – I thoroughly recommend it.

Have a selection of my most emotional songs:

I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You – Colin Hay

UGH. Put me out of my misery right now. I dare you to listen to lyrics such as “Don’t want you thinking I’m unhappy, What is closer to the truth, If I lived till I was a hundred and two, I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you”. GULP.

The loneliness and sorrow comes through in every word and yet it’s ridiculously beautiful and hopeful, like somehow just loving this person was enough. Makes you want every love you feel to be as deep.

Apparently it appeared on the Garden State (2004) soundtrack but don’t let that put you off!*

Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

Jill actually reminded me of this song recently (Monday) when we reviewed the heart-shattering Iris (2001). It appeared on the motion picture soundtrack for City of Angels (1998), a film that has also destroyed me in the past (Look, I’m a huge Nicolas Cage fan and I don’t care what anyone says about it).

It was also a song I listened to a whole lot while backpacking around Australia, falling in lust with my Aussie boyfriend (now a racist) and getting my first Official Heartbreak™ because he couldn’t keep his lovely dick in his pants. I cried a lot that year and quite a bit through the end of the nineties but this song helped me along nicely.

Jolene – Dolly Parton 

This song is the worst! I mean it’s a begging letter from a woman who knows her lover is in love with someone else FFS. And she’s sweetly asking this total sex bomb not to phunk with her heart, or his. BLUBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB.

Also, Dolly P is the Queen of all things, right?

At Last – Etta James

At a wedding last Summer this song played and I cried, for no good reason. The sentiment, the unfairness of loss, my feet hurting in heels – all that. What a voice and what a fucking tune.

Hometown Glory – Adele

Obviously Adele was going to make this list, it’s the way of things. This is my favourite of all her songs because it makes me think about wandering the streets alone, thinking about life.

I love the lyrics, “Is there anything I can do for you dear? Is there anyone I could call?” “No and thank you, please Madam. I ain’t lost, just wandering.” and I love the piano intro too.

Day Too Soon – Sia

Honestly, I could have chosen any one of Sia’s songs and my statement would be true, especially Breathe Me and Elastic Heart but I chose Day Too Soon because it’s happy and hopeful – and I love Sia. Is she an angel sent to Earth just to make my heart beat faster? Well, that’s how she makes me feel.

Don’t get me started on the two songs she did with Eminem about Survival (Beautiful Pain & Guts Over Fear), and the recent Alive). Killers.

~

I could go on and on but I’ll leave it at these 6 heart breakers.

What are your favourite songs to cry uglily to? (Has to be ugly crying or it doesn’t count).

*Semi-kidding.

Frank (Film) Review

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Never judge a film by its poster

I’m sick as a parrot, snotting and coughing all over the place and to top it all off, I royally fucked up my pancakes. It’s generally been a very mediocre Shrove Tuesday (and regular Tuesday) in the life of this Voluptuous Mind.

Except.

Except I think I might have just found my new favourite film of all time, on Netflix, just there for the plucking.

Frank (2014)

Synopsis: Jon is a wannabe musician, writing his own songs, with varying degrees of success, around his day job. By chance one day he finds himself playing keyboards with eccentric pop band, the Soronprfbs.

Verdict: Oh my gosh. I avoided this film at first because I didn’t know what to expect. I have to admit to not being that musical and although I do love music (90’s hip hop/The Smiths), I’m just not that into music biopics or the like.

This is something along those lines and in my mind I thought it would be boring and more than a little wank. I stand corrected as it’s neither of those things. In fact, it’s pretty close to perfect in terms of story (if a little flimsy), characterisation and dialogue. Mixing genuinely funny moments with poignant scenes, it gives you the feels where you don’t expect to have them.

The titular Frank, in particular, is an enigma far beyond his mask. Wearing a papier mâché head at all times (even to sleep), he carries a certificate that permits him to keep it on, even in the face of authority. He has a phenomenal singing voice while the rest of the band have varied and unique musical talent. Somehow it kind of sort of works.

Frank-Movie-PosterFrank is bolstered by his not very warm girlfriend, Clara, who takes an instant dislike to Jon, telling him early on to ‘go home’. The band have traveled to Ireland to record their first album and none of them seem that fussed about Jon, only Frank wants him around.

But Jon is convinced that he has the potential to access the far corners of his mind creatively. Will he be able to do that with a little help from his new friend? As the bond between the two of them grows, so too does Clara’s hatred for Jon.

Jon’s social networking skills, meanwhile, start to build up a small but strong following for the band, promising them an audience they never knew they wanted. Frank believes that Clara doesn’t want people to like them, but following a genuine tragedy within the group, she agrees to the band travelling to perform at the South by Southwest festival in Texas. This is not a sign that Clara is softening though, as she threatens to stab Jon if he ‘fucks up America’.

I’ll let you watch for yourself to learn the rest but I do highly recommend this film, which was inspired by the book, Frank by John Ronson (about 70’s Comedian and musician, Frank Sidebottom).

I will just sign off by saying that I love Maggie Gyllenhaal always and this performance is no exception. There’s a scene in which Jon calls Clara a really bad name (spoiler alert: it starts with a ‘C’ and ends in ‘unt’) and I thought to myself, yes that’s exactly what this character is (oh my but what a fabulous one).

Fassbender too plays his part well. Who knew that one man could elicit such genuine emotion whilst wearing an expressionless helmet/mask? He has an inimitable charisma that makes people follow him and somehow too, believe in his vision. There’s an element of something else there too that makes you want to protect him.

Finally, Domhnall Gleeson is just a little gem. His comic timing is wonderful and he puts me in mind of a young Murray Hewitt in Flight of the Conchords. I can’t wait to see him in more, especially Ex Machina.

Rating: I give this charming and genuinely heartwarming flick a not at all shabby 4.5 out of 5. And I’m tempted to pop the missing 0.5 on top anyway for taking my mind off just how shit I feel.

That’s me for tonight, I’m heading to bed now. Nighty Night.

Images via Google.

Proud Pleasures Part 1: In Praise of Miss Swift

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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!

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.