Who’s been loving you? Another awesome song by George Watsky (My favorite, in fact) and this is the last Watsky video for November. There’s a little swearing. I hope you’ve enjoyed them! (p.s. there’s a reference to Draco Malfoy in this song.) Another fun fact: when I’m having a bad day at work I tend to pop this song on my iPod and have a mini-dance party at my desk. Rock on!
Today’s Word Count Goal: 45,009
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Sign up on the linky so that I (and others) can come cheer you on throughout the month!
Have I ever told you guys about Tyler Ward? I don’t think I have, which is just wrong of me because I shouldn’t be keeping awesome to myself. That’s just rude. We’re friends right? Friends don’t let friends listen to crappy music.
Tyler Ward is a musician who has made a stomping-hot-splash on YouTube for doing covers of songs that are only kind of ok by their original artist but become ridiculously melt-your-ears-and-heart amazing in Tyler’s talented hands. (Also, he’s hot. Like smokin’ hot. *fans self*)
I discovered him forever ago when he did a cover to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” which is a terrible song and video when done by Katy (sorry Katy) but became the anthem for all great YA romances when Tyler redid it. Needless to say, I have a lot of Tyler Ward songs on my iPod, and this is one I’ve listened to the most often.
It just about makes you melt in the knees, which is the antithesis of my high school romance experience which had very little knee melting and a lot of awkwardness and gum chewing, but what’s great fiction if we can’t make it dreamy like it should be instead of embarrassing like it is?
Several months ago he did a cover of Katy Perry’s “E.T.” I listened to it while I was cleaning and only sort of noticed it then (I may have also been vacuuming, a bad chore to do when listening to new music) so I didn’t really pay it any attention until the next day in the car on the way to work. My husband was driving and my eyes were closed and WHOOSH, there I went, swallowed up in images and characters and ideas built on the foundation of a single song. I listened to it at least five times on the way to work that day and I kept it on repeat on my iPod while I worked all morning. By 6pm that night I’d written the first rough outline for the as of yet Untitled Superhero YA Novel. True story.
Tyler’s voice is smooth like buttah and sweet like chocolate and yet he’s silly and clever and goofy and talented and it is hard not to be both inspired and completely in awe of that. He does covers of a lot of songs I wouldn’t have given a second chance to, from pop to hip hop to country and I love them all. He has dragged me hypnotized into new music possibilities I had been far too biased and music snobby to ever consider on my own. I am enamored and grateful to him. I am sure I am not his only biggest fan.
He doesn’t just do covers either. He has some originals he performs with his crew, all of whom are equally talented and lovely.
The Rescue – This song is great, but it’s the video that kills me inside. The video is about our own deepest fears and worries – the things we feel we need rescued from. The messages all these strangers, the YouTubers, are sending during this video are heartbreaking and heartwarming and makes you really think about your own biggest fears in a way we often can’t – we aren’t the only one with their burden. There are lots of people out there who need solace and relief from the hardest days of our lives. It makes me think about the WSJ article and how so many readers came out to say “We need these dark themes because life is sometimes too hard to withstand alone.” Sharing the burden and coping together is a magical and powerful solution. I think this song is one of the most beautiful I’ve had the pleasure of finding.
Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, and Damian Kulash released a short album called 8in8 at the end of April and I’ve been listening to it not-stop since I discovered it. The songs are awesome and fun and crazy, as you might expect when you stick these people in one room together. I’m particularly partial to the Nikola Tesla song but I think my favorite is I’ll Be My Mirror.
You can buy the album here. Starting price is $1, you set the price though. You can listen to all the songs below first. I’ve posted the “I’ll be my mirror” lyrics below, but if you click on the link above you can get lyrics to all the songs.
“I’ll Be My Mirror”
Vocals & Piano: Amanda Palmer
Omnichord & Guitar: Damian Kulash
Drums: Ben Folds
(There was a)
tiny asian woman screaming in the street today
And she was screaming at a person that she obviously hates
(She was so)
Loud we heard the screaming with our windows all rolled up
And we all looked down the street to see who she was
(but there was)
no one on the sidewalk so we all looked back at her
(and we saw)
in her homeless hands she held a 1960s mirror
a pretty plastic girly one framed in a purple case
and she was screaming at herself and she was spitting in her
And we were scared and we were shaken waiting at the intersection Looking at each other’s faces, and each one a shocked reflection And we laugh with nervous laughter at the crazies in the street But it’s only cos we know its how we kind of want to be And there’s a fraction of a brain cell chain that makes us what we are One false move you’re in the mirror, someone’s laughing from the car
Casey said she’d seen that woman half a dozen times
And that she has a bunch of mirrors, she has lots of
And I wondered what she’d shouted and I wondered what she’d
The light turned green, and someone said we ought to put her
in a song
sorry for that woman as she stormed off in the day
With a bitter frozen enemy who will never go away
And so many of us hate ourselves but never shout in rage
We never get to hold a mirror, we never turn the page
And I’m lucky I’ve got people who will hold me in the night
And I’m lucky that you love me, and I’m glad we never fight
And I’m lucky that I like myself, but late at night I doubt,
So I’m scared to look at mirrors, just in case I start to
There are, of course, a lot of people I admire. From bloggers to writers to people I have known across the years. I can’t list them all here, but I wanted to share a couple with you. I don’t think this list could ever be complete ever because there is so much I admire about everyone I know. These are just people who have recently touched me in some way and because of the nature of a public blog, these are not people I know in real life.
1. John Green
While I have always known I wanted to write, it was actually John Green who convinced me I wanted to write YA. Before I discovered the Vlogbrothers and Nerdfighters, I would never have considered writing YA because I still thought YA was like it was when I was a kid. (It’s so not.) When I saw John Green writing these amazing stories (Looking for Alaska was my first) and empowering young adults and young-adults-at-heart to change their world, I was floored. THIS was what I wanted to do. It was through John Green that I fell in love with social media and knew that I too wanted to help change the world, but more than that, I wanted to help empower young people to change their world too. Thanks John Green, for everything.
I cried a little in the car after I met John Green. I’m so not cool, but I did manage to hold it together when I was talking to him. I am kind of proud of that. If Lydia hadn’t been with me though I would have made a giant fool of myself. He was charming and nervous and very funny The kids in the audience were all fully star-eyed. It was the neatest signing I’ve ever been to.
2. Courtney Summers, Elizabeth Scott, Melina Marchetta, and Margaret Atwood
You would think that these three amazing women wouldn’t have much in common, aside from being authors that is. Maybe you could draw some similarities between Elizabeth and Courtney and maybe Melina, but Margaret Atwood? Well, the thing they have in common is that they write powerful books about powerful women. They, themselves, are inspiring, powerful women. I love picking up books by these four women because they don’t have it in them to write two dimensional characters. They don’t have it in them to not change the color of the world when they write. I am moved and won over and damaged and put back together every time I read one of their books. They are so special in different ways, and yet these four women are my role models in the writing world. I’d give my left arm, and maybe my right one too, to be even a quarter as wonderful as these women. If they joined forces with John Green I think the world would explode.
Margaret Atwood is my favorite writer of all time. I’ve read a lot of her books (but not all, I’m working on it! She’s written like 13 novels and 30 books of short fiction, non-fiction, and poetry!) and none of them sucked. NONE. And truth is, she is 72 years old and she put out her latest book in 2009, The Year of the Flood, a crazy companion novel to Oryx and Crake. It’s dystopian but it is also so much more than that. I don’t know how to describe it. World changing? Absolutely game changing. And she went on tour. How many authors do you know who are 72 and still kicking everyone else’s ass at game changing fiction?
God, she just blows me away. I want to be on a book tour in my 70s, writing dystopians that scare the shit out of everyone.
“Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” – Margaret Atwood
My English teacher from 1955, run to ground by some documentary crew trying to explain my life, said that in her class I had showed no particular promise. This was true. Until the descent of the giant thumb, I showed no particular promise. I also showed no particular promise for some time afterwards, but I did not know this. A lot of being a poet consists of willed ignorance. If you woke up from your trance and realized the nature of the life-threatening and dignity-destroying precipice you were walking along, you would switch into actuarial sciences immediately. If I had not been ignorant in this particular way, I would not have announced to an assortment of my high school female friends, in the cafeteria one brown-bag lunchtime, that I was going to be a writer. I said “writer,” not “poet;” I did have some common sense. But my announcement was certainly a conversation-stopper. Sticks of celery were suspended in mid-crunch, peanut-butter sandwiches paused halfway between table and mouth; nobody said a word. One of those present reminded me of this incident recently — I had repressed it — and said she had been simply astounded. “Why?,” I said. “Because I wanted to be a writer?” “No,” she said. “Because you had the guts to say it out loud.” _Margaret Atwood
I am a recreational mathemusician currently living on Long Island, NY.I love music that is fun, and I love music that is interesting, but above all I love music that is beautiful. I prefer writing for real, classical instruments, because of the added emotion and interpretation a performer adds to each unique performance.
I like most creative activities that involve making a lot of noise, mess, or both. Aside from composing, I love improvising on various instruments, drawing, sculpting, and other methods of making things. My main hobby is mathematics, with special interests in symmetry, polyhedra, and surreal complexity. This usually manifests as collaborative research in computational geometry and other areas of theoretical computer science, or as mathematical art. I think the human brain is incredible and strange, so I have developed a great interest in dreaming and consciousness. As a result, I am a trained hypnotist and a lucid dreamer. The human body is pretty neat as well, so I enjoy dancing and judo. I always love to learn new things—variety is the food of creativity!
Vi Hart has such an amazing way of looking at life. I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t do math. I can’t! I don’t understand it and have never been able to do more than add and subtract, anything more that than requires an excel spreadsheet where I know how to build formulas and organize ideas.
But I love numbers and the magical properties of math. I like math theories. So when I discovered Vi I was kind of in love, not just with the way she could take math and throw in some snakes on a plane and viola! I’m counting in whole new ways, but because she has this wonderful three-dimensional way of looking at the world, rearranging it, and handing it out in pieces for the rest of us to marvel at. Every time I watch one of her videos I end up saying things like, “I had no idea this was the world I live in.”
I only discovered ADELE less than 24 hours ago, and already I can’t stop thinking about her. My friend Lydia IMed me last night and told me she’d found my British doppelganger. It’s true, ADELE and I look similar, except that she is glamorous and has a voice so passionate it will rip right through you and leave you bore through and emptied out. Wherever you see people talking about her, especially on YouTube, you will find a near constant raging battle about her weight. She’s gorgeous, and yet she’s very different from your typical pop star body type. There are a lot of comments like, “She’s got a beautiful voice even though she’s fat!” And these are supposed to be compliments. And yet there are so many people coming to the conversation who set things straight – body size has nothing to do with it. She’s beautiful, her voice is beautiful. No autotuning here.
via Rolling Stone: Adele on her weight: “My life is full of drama and I won’t have time to worry about something as petty as what I look like,” she tells Rolling Stone contributing editor Touré. “I don’t like going to the gym. I like eating fine foods and drinking nice wine. Even if I had a really good figure, I don’t think I’d get my tits and ass out for no one.”
But Adele has no beef with other female recording artists who choose to flaunt their bodies. “I love seeing Lady Gaga’s boobs and bum,” she says. “I love seeing Katy Perry’s boobs and bum. Love it. But that’s not what my music is about. I don’t make music for eyes. I make music for ears.”
She also has an alter ego she uses to pump herself up, called Sasha Carter – a composite of Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce and June Carter. “I was about to meet Beyoncé,” she says, “and I had a full-blown anxiety attack. Then she popped in looking gorgeous, and said, ‘You’re amazing! When I listen to you I feel like I’m listening to God.’ Can you believe she said that?” Later, “I went out on the balcony crying hysterically, and I said, ‘What would Sasha Fierce do?’ That’s when Sasha Carter was born.”
When I watch this first performance, my arms break out in goosebumps. The way I physically react to her songs is astonishing. I have never been so moved by a performer before.
Quite by accident, I assure you, as I was trying my hardest to do as little as possible with this week’s blog posts (*guilty look*) I ended up compiling a bunch of posts that had a common theme – they dealt in storytelling that pushed the boundaries of traditional as we understand it these modern days, and they are doing it with such talent. It kind of makes me want to try my hand in the wild, uncharted territories known only as, “That space outside the box.”
Most people have probably at least heard of the band Sigur Rós, a rock band from Iceland, but that’s usually about all people know, if that. They sing in a language Americans can’t understand, and as unfortunate as it is we Americans aren’t all that embracing of things we can’t understand. (Which, by the way, is the reason why so many great Japanese horror movies end up remade by Hollywood. *Sad face*)
Anyway, so maybe you’ve heard a little of Sigur Rós before, and the music is nice enough, but since you don’t know what they are saying, it is hard to follow along, right?
Wrong! I don’t mean to do a little dance around the word, but Sigur Rós is special because they have created a new brand of storytelling, and it’s going to blow your mind. Ready?
The language they sing their songs in? It’s made up. Gibberish. The words don’t mean anything.
Because sound, music, tell universal tales filled with emotion and experience and you don’t need words to understand what is happening within the swell and dive of the notes. Play one of their songs, turn the music up, close your eyes, and by the end of the song you’ll swear you can understand the lyrics, even if they are written in an ancient magic language that only our dreaming subconsciousness can translate.
Music and story are eternally twined together. It is why when I hear certain songs on the radio, moments of my manuscript suddenly start playing like an old fashioned film reel because the emotion of the song and the emotion of the scene are one and the same. It is why we get goosebumps when we hear theme music to our favorite television shows. A show of hands, how many of you immediately start playing Supernatural scenes through your head when you hear Kansas’s “Carry On Wayward Son”? And it’s not even the theme song. Or think about Charmed when you hear The Smiths’ s “How Soon is Now?”
Here are two of my favorite Sigur Rós songs. They sweep me off into fantastical stories with such force I come back from them believing I could and should start writing something brand new right now, right this minute, based on the visions these songs brought me.
Edit: I cannot find embeddable versions of the videos, so you’ll have to click. I know, extra step, I am very sorry. It is worth your time though.
Alex J. Cavanaugh’s TOP TEN COUNTDOWN – MUSIC BLOGFEST!
I’ve been meaning to participate in this all day but didn’t get a chance to sit down and think about it until right now. I only have an hour of today left, but hey, better late than never! Check out my stylish entrance.