If memory serves, I'm addicted to words.

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Fast Car

             Until yesterday, I drove a lemon. A 5-speed, 1997 Volkswagen Jetta I referred to fondly as “Finn.”

            Now, I could deal with Finn’s abundance of imperfections. Broken air conditioner? I could deal. Burnt-out cruise control? Whatever.  Faulty windshield wipers and a missing exhaust pipe stitched together with peace sign duct tape? Shit happens.

            I really didn’t mind his flaws. In fact, I thought they gave him character.

            Then, the stereo system broke.                                                                                     My walls came falling down in a rampant rain.

            I cannot survive a drive without music. My bi-weekly work commutes to Keuka Lake last more than an hour. In fact, sometimes I just drive around town for the sake of listening to music. The domino effect caused by the broken stereo was a struggle that was almost too much for me to handle.

Granted, the 16-year-old steed was equipped with not much more than a radio scan button and a cassette tape deck compatible with a phone auxiliary, but that was really its only redeeming quality.

I had no summer music to drive along the shore of Durand Beach to. No Dave Matthews Band, no Dispatch or O.A.R. I had nothing to keep me awake and occupied on my long drives to and from the lake.

            The stereo was the last step in turning my car into a total shit-show. Since my stereo was broken, I had to use my phone’s weak built-in speaker. Since the A/C was broken, I had to have the windows cranked down.  Since the windows were cranked (yes, literally cranked) down, I couldn’t hear the music coming from my phone.

            Eventually I started supplying my own musical entertainment.

            Come winter, I grew tired of driving in silence, and coming up with useless MacGyver solutions in order to get music. I took my fist to the face of my sound system. Literally.

            It worked.

            For the remainder of Finn’s life I had a (barely) functional stereo system. I could once again drive at ease, and enjoy the ride.

            Now God rest his soul, Finn has departed. But my new ride has a killer sound system; and for that, I am eternally grateful.

            Long, pointless story short, driving could be a pain, or it could be fun. I like to look at it as an opportunity to chill out, and soak in some tunes. So, whether your sound system sucks, or you’ve got booming subs, take the time to take a drive. Turn your volume up, and your thoughts down.

            Life is a highway.

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I Hate How Much I Love You

     Roll up your windows, lock your bedroom door, and crank down your headphone volume to avoid overflow noise. Do everything you can to be inconspicuous. No one needs to know.

     You hate to admit it, and may even deny it until the day you die. But you, a (insert age and gender) LOVE that new One Direction song (or whomever you may choose to be embarrassed about.)

     Now, as a 20-year-old girl, I guess you could expect my eyes to widen, if by some long-shot chance that Hoku’s 1999 hit “Dumb Blonde” came up on my radio. But according to my calculations, guys have some pretty impressive guilty pleasure songs.

     On my list of feedback, I ended up with dudes in their 20’s giving me artists like Abba, S Club 7, Backstreet Boys, and even Miley Cyrus.                                                 Let’s pause for a moment and imagine a party full of bro’s singing “Party in the U.S.A.”

    That had to have brightened your day at least a little.

     Any songs or bands that tween girls love, or once loved are primetime for embarrassing sing-a-longs and obnoxious highway jam sessions.

     To be honest, teen queens and boy band bros from present and years past have not produced the deepest lyrics, or the most musically sound melodies. But shit, I’m just fine with that.

     I’ll admit that I can be a pretentious little thing when it comes to music and lyrics; but once in a while, I’ll blast some delightfully mindless jams. Sometimes, rather than pondering every deep set of lyrics and relating them to every strand of my existence (see previous post), I’d rather dance around my room screaming along with the trials and tribulations of a certain Jr. High student/ Rock star.

     Contrary to my normal beliefs in music, it doesn’t always have to be a deep and existential experience that should force you into deep thought (though most of the time I prefer it to be.) Sometimes, you just need to say ‘screw it’ and indulge in your guilty pleasures. So go ahead, break out that awful Hannah Montana movie soundtrack. Jam to ‘I Saw the Sign.’ Follow your heart.

     We’re all right there with you. (Secretly, of course.)     

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Addicted to Words

 ad·dic·tion [uh-dik-shuhn]

noun

The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

                         

            My vice won’t cause me to lose teeth, rob banks, or be like one of those “this is your brain … this is your brain on drugs” ads. But it’s an addiction nonetheless.

            I love words. I’ll take them where I can get them, but I prefer the good stuff. Song lyrics.

            They plaster my bedroom wall on squares of stretched canvas in elementary handwriting and bright colors reading ‘Go your own way’ and ‘You’re my good feeling.’ They are under my skin for good. They suck up my attention and effort during class time and all of the room in my notebooks. Sometimes they give me the chills, and sometimes they make me cry. They run rampant through my veins. I need them.

            I listen to music to feed the lyric-hungry section of my brain that’s slowly but surely choking out the sections that tell me to study, go to sleep on time or do anything else of  “importance.”

            There’s a point in song where a combination of words turns the notes, rhythms and vocals into white noise. When a particular phrase jumps out at you, it’s like an epiphany.

            Sometimes, it’s because the words are so relatable, you wonder if the artist is in your head. It’s the lyrics that explain our thoughts better than we can ourselves that send synapses firing into overdrive, opening your mind to everything around you.

            Clearly I’ve gone off the deep end with my love for words. Reactions to words may vary, but very seldom do people go unaffected.

            They say that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. I don’t see it as a problem, so I will never admit to that.

            I could quit any time I want. I just don’t want to.           

 

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It’s Electric

            It was late last February, and I had taken an entire night to sit on the couch and do nothing but listen to FUN’s sophomore album ‘’Some Nights’’ all the way through.                                                                                                                                    I hated it.

            The once hipster-esque indie band I loved so dearly had clearly dove headfirst with conviction into the world of robotic beats, and T-pain effects.

            Sounded to me like a broken neck.  

            The band’s natural instrumentation and brilliant lyrical abilities had drawn me to their first album “Aim and Ignite,” back in 2009.

            Compared to what I knew and loved, “Some Nights” was foreign.

            With the rise in dubstep and house music urging throngs of young people into super-charged music festivals, a number of musicians and bands have channeled their inner lemming, following the likes of Skrillex and Steve Aoki off of the electro cliff.  

            Back from a 4-year-long hiatus, the dudes of Fall Out Boy have released their new album, “Save Rock and Roll’’ for preview on Soundcloud. Let me tell you, I’m obsessed.

            Likewise, Andrew McMahon’s latest single, (Synesthesia) and previews from his upcoming EP ‘The Pop Underground,” have followed suit. Once again, I’m obsessed.

            I’ll admit to my fury with FUN’s attempt to dabble in electronics. I even refused to buy the album. However, a year older and wiser, I’ve been put in my place.

            Fall Out Boy’s new stuff proves to be a magnificent culmination of their classic sound, infused with electro elements, and an eclectic cast of contributors including Courtney Love, Big Sean, Foxes and Elton John.

            Such an incongruous combination of things came together into a cohesive album. That’s impressive.

            Andrew McMahon’s hand in the electro revolution takes more of an old-school approach, reminiscent of a John Hughes film soundtrack, (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, anyone?)

            With each project he’s been involved in, McMahon’s vocal and piano skills have evolved into something completely new. He’s a musical chameleon; A master at reinvention. Morphing from punk, to new-age Californian rock, the piano man seems to have traded hammers and strings for keys with wires. Synthesized melodies make ‘The Pop Underground’ unlike anything he has ever done before.

            The resurgence of electronic music is back and strong. Its influence on other genres of music is nothing to fear, but something to embrace.

            My name is Alex. I am a convert.

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They Vinyl Countdown

            In my short 20 years of life, I have become quite the connoisseur of music. I had cassette tapes, and CD’s in my younger years, and transitioned swimmingly into the age of the iPod. I never, however, had records. A little bit before my time, vinyl’s seemed like ancient mythological artifacts to me.

            Now, I’d seen my parents’ record collection once in Jr. High which included Jackson Browne, R.E.M. and Tom Petty to name a few… I wasn’t intrigued in the least, (I was young and stupid.) A few years went by, and my music taste shaped up for the better.

            A few years later I was strolling through FYE in the mall when I saw it. Owl City’s  ‘Ocean Eyes’ album on vinyl, and that’s when it hit me. Vinyl isn’t just for old people. Vinyl’s are not extinct!

            I mean, these days they tend to be more of a novelty sold in pre-sale bundles with signed posters and things, but they work, and they work well, so why not use them?

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Filed under records Music technology blog class

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Whether it’s in theaters and concert venues around the world, in the privacy of our own homes or the constantly shifting landscape of social media, we are a scrappy tribe and we stand for something: Music that is found, shared and cared for despite access to traditional outlets; music that lives virally and through word of mouth; music that tells a story that people want to retell.
Andrew McMahon

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Keep Rising- Jack’s Mannequin ( Lyrics you’ll want to digest)

 Putting my incredibly strong bias for everything Andrew McMahon aside, ‘Keep Rising,’ an unreleased song from the band’s final album People and Things, has some powerful lyrics worth pondering. 

 

 

 

I could feel the pressure drop

And hope was just a broken bridge

And when the clouds refuse to stop

They said you’d find the plan for this

 

And there was no place I could run

Just days without the sun

I was a ghost in waiting

Sleep to dream and hear you saying

 

Don’t be afraid

The rain’ll make us what we are

And I will keep you sane

Just wait here with me in the dark

Cause this feels a whole lot like living

 

If it’s just this song

To keep us in the universe

While the wars are waging?

I will be strong

There’s no chance we could lose this fight

 

With the love that I’m facing

With the night so long

When the morning comes we’ll know the truth

The sun will forever keep rising

 

So they plugged my wires in

And told me I was born to fight

Maybe I was born maybe I was born to fight

Sometimes the best machines don’t win

Could you stay and get me through the night?

Cause I’m so afraid.

 

The rain’ll make us what we are

Don’t let me fade just waited with me in the dark

Cause this feels a whole lot like living 

 

It’s just this song to keep us in the universe

While the wars are waging?

I will be strong

There’s no chance we could lose this fight

With the love that I’m facing?

With the night so long?

When the morning comes we’ll know the truth

The sun will forever keep rising

 

And we sing

Till we watch the streetlights all fall fast asleep

Yeah we sing till the sun rains down on everything

It’s just this song to keep us in the universe

While the wars are waging

I will be strong

There’s no chance we could lose this fight

With the love that I’m facing

With a night so long

 

When the morning comes we’ll know the truth

This song will forever keep rising

Keep rising

Keep rising, yeah

The sun will forever keep rising

Keep rising

Keep rising, yeah

The sun will forever keep rising

 

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Filed under andrew mcmahon people and things blog class lyrics

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So, You Had a Bad Day.

It’s been one of those weeks. Every day has been a drag. It’s late March and still snowing. I refuse to wear jeans or makeup. Despite my insatiable longing to bury myself in my bed until the sun decides to aid in my attitude adjustment, I shuffle out of the house and on to campus. Headphones fixed in place. Don’t speak to me.

Now, most optimistic beings will argue that the remedy for such a dismal spell would be upbeat, happy tunes. Something that will counteract the metaphorical blinds that have been pulled shut in the mind’s eye.

Me?

I go with Coldplay, Something Corporate, or Death Cab.

Not exactly upbeat. Not quite. Not at all, really.

Everyone handles a shitty day in his or her own way. Personally, I like to take a day to tell the world to sit on it while I mope around and listen to depressing music.

The world puts so much pressure on people to keep their chin up and be happy when things suck. If stuff sucks, it sucks. We are entitled to think that it sucks, even when in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really suck that much at all.

My solution for a bad day may be unorthodox, but it doesn’t include going into a prolonged depression. After one day of allotted bitching, sighing, snoozing, and eating, pick your self up, and do something to feel better! Get out of bed, and put on that work out playlist. Work out your frustrations at the gym to whatever gets you pumped (read previous post). Put on a playlist of throwback pop jams and ride around in the car with your friends. Get back into the swing of things, and choose a playlist to lift your spirits.

            Having a rough patch is perfectly okay. Wallowing in a shallow pool of tears, tea and self-pity is also okay. For a little while, at least.

            So listen to that emo kid playlist that you’ve hidden from the world since your “phase” back in Jr. High. I won’t judge you for it.

Filed under music happy sad blog class advice

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This is the ’90s

     The toys. The fashion. The music. The ‘90s! They were legendary. At least, many of us born at the end of the 20th century think so.                                                                         As ‘90s kids, we lived though a lot stuff that we didn’t understand (he did NOT have sexual relations with that woman…), while our parents didn’t understand half of what we did (Tomagotchis were in fact, pets.)

       Music however, proved to be one glimmering thread that patched the gaping hole of familiarity between parents and kids in the ‘90s.

       As little kids in a defining decade, afternoon car rides, and sunny days by grandpa’s pool allowed for musical runoff from our parents’ stereos to pass swimmingly through our permeable minds.                                                                                      These songs that we have grown attached to have survived our rambunctious childhood years, our painfully long awkward phases and our transitions to life on our own. Somehow, we all still manage to get super pumped whenever someone puts on “ ‘90s Summer Jams” on Pandora Radio.

       While pop princesses reigned over the late years of the decade, our younger years were dominated by chill jam music and girl-power indie.

       True to fashion, I posted one of my mass interview Facebook statuses.

      The results proved to be just as expected (awesome).

      Laid-back summer favorites music like Dave Matthews Band, Third Eye Blind, and Red Hot Chili Peppers topped the list.

     “I like the Chili Peppers a lot,” said 20-year-old Kaleb Barton. “I have memories of road trips with my hockey team, jamming with our CD players because nobody had iPods yet.”

      As we got a little older, we discovered the bubblegum boys and sweet-pea girls that claimed the millennium as their own. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera fought for the throne as top pop queen, while boy bands had throngs of pre-teen girls sobbing tears of pure, unadulterated love.

      “In 2nd grade we used to spend our recess hour pushing back all the desks, and making up dances to Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears in the middle of the classroom,” said Katie Elkins, 20 ( my best friend).

       Granted, years have gone by and things have changed. Britney shaved her head, Shaggy insisted that it “wasn’t him,” and some of our old school favorites began to fall away. But fear not, ‘90s babies, our favorite jams from back in the day will forever hold a special place in our hearts, and a special, uninhibited sing-along in our cars. 

Filed under music blog 90s oldschool throwback