Tuesday, January 3, 2012

music crushes, 2011

one time, my friend nick, a real music guru if there ever was one, said he'd marry eisley's voice if he could.  i've had a good handful of music loves this year...come to think of it, i probably hear their voices at least daily.  how often can you say that about a person--that you hear their voice daily?  good thing their voices are so loveable...

in chronological order, and for your listening pleasure, i'm coming clean--admitting all my [musical] crushes of the year.  dear men featured here, your voices are beautiful.  they've made the melodic fabric of my visions and of my imagination for the last 365 days.  i would marry each and every one of your blessed voices. 

the following song first debuted at music at ten, courtesy of jake who's always up on stuff like new songs available for free download.  totally enamored of fleet foxes' first album, i downloaded A-SAP, then proceeded, michael-style, to listen to nothing other than this one song, on repeat, for everyday.  late one night, after the fort days of february, i was sitting in the dark with friends (this sounds very hipster.  it wasn't.  just bored and enjoying music.  on the floor.  in the dark.  okay fine, it was totally hipster.).  i accidentally switched itunes to visualizer mode and thus opened a new world of wonder!  first, the colors of the visualizer are rainbow.  second, the explosions and vibrancy of said rainbow shapes are synced with the rhythm and intensity of the music!  there are some things words cannot explain.  not many, but some.  this is one of them.  try it.  download the song, switch to "jelly" mode in visualizer, turn off all the lights, turn up all the speakers.  mesmerizing, enchanting, captivating, hypnotizing, ensorcelling, bewitching.  not to mention the whole bit about orchards.

oh and then i saw fleet foxes specifically robin pecknold perform in london.  in a theatre with all the seats removed, with amazing acoustics.  and when that first riff of sun giant rippled acoustic through the crowd....silence and harmony and perfect music.  there aren't many moments of perfect music in your life.  that was one of them.

ohhh, marcus mumford.  where ever did you come from.  i don't even remember how i found you...  but oh your voice like honey from the alps, oh your stomping like a party underground!  this was what caught my eye:

this is what endeared me to you (specifically at "rage" (1:36) and at 4:10 when you may or may not be crying):

and this is why i keep listening:

when i listen to this, i am walking to portobello road, through kensington gardens.  i am ordering curry at the shop around the corner.  i am sitting next to preston and andrea at the gloucester tube stop, on our way through the evening to the national theatre stopping for galaxy bars and cadburys with hazelnuts.  i am walking the bridge to the globe.  i'm running back to my flat and bedroom after class, my bedroom that smells like humidity, grabbing two clif bars, and meeting everyone at the door for the day's gallavantings.  i am riding to the victoria stop singing, "squalor victoria."  i am on the train to scotland, i am at primark, i am walking to portobello road, through kensington gardens.  his voice is the sound of london--the rain, the busses, the rooftops over queen's gate terrace while i wait for my laundry to dry.

charlie was my other london lover.  he came across europe with me too, hiked up to murren with diana and i, made me rethink my loving.  other than that his lyrics are sheer and utter brilliance, i have nothing to say.

okay so this crush is no new revelation (or crispy realization, if you know what i'm saying), ever since that first night at dinner group, sooo many years ago, when amanda g. queen of the world and i listened to "for emma, forever ago" three times straight through while making enchiladas...that's how long this crush has been existent.  but i didn't truly recognize the depth to which my affections ran until i was sitting on a bed, overlooking a bay on the italian coast, listening to "towers" for the first time, not knowing who the artist was.  that song left me with mouth wide open, giggling and shaking my head, like a new dream that is so familiar in its perfection, but so captivating that every note is both a revelation and an ancient promise you've known all along.  this song is the naked waves blue and glistening.

i chose to post the version with only the album cover.  the others have too much to look at and it takes away from the unexpected delight of unexpected words like "onus" and "swampy", "towers" and  "honeycomb," and how they weave their way together into an impossibly tangled and impossibly delicate world, building itself around you with every line.

this romance started way back last summer 2010 with "postcards from italy."  it continued, obsessed and unashamed, to this fall, when i discovered this gem and couldn't stop singing it/thinking about it/whistling it/playing it/thinking about it more.

and then i read about zachary and how cool he is, and now i mostly want to marry his voice AND him, not to mention every one of his albums, and whoever the guy is who plays the horns (seriously awesome, guy).

if i had more time and it wasn't an hour and a half past my new-year's-resolution bedtime, i'd talk about all the words these men have written that i've punched out, letter by letter, so many times in the typewriter-that-is-my-brain that they're embedded deep, deep in what i believed this year.  words like

gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn.  if i had an orchard, i'd work till i'm sore.

so now i've grown older than my mother and father when they had their daughter.  now what does that say about me?

serve God, love me, and mend.
i could see for miles, miles, miles

if you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own.  don't break his heart.
when love comes a-calling, don't forget the tune.

love, it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free!  be more like the man you were made to be.

and still, the sweet london march, through side-streets new and unexplored:
stay out super late tonight, picking apples, making pies

this seemed to be the year of songs that break-down halfway through into their real selves.  "helplessness blues," "sigh no more," "postcards from italy," "fake empire," "towers."  they all do it.  and come to think of it, this seemed to be the year that broke me down halfway through into my real self.  broke down the "what i thought i wanted to be" so the "what i really want to be" could come out, foot-stomping, accordion-squeezing, orchard-picking and all.  broke down so that my real dreams (like maybe ditching academia for creating my own path) could be colorful and promising and adventurous.

...get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.


  1. You are my music twin, since the moment I met you. I loved this so much.

  2. oh hi soul mate.
    loved this and loved your description about listening to The National in london. that is the first place I heard them! and it has been a love affair ever since. also the first place I heard Mumford and Sons. I have so many songs like that attached to different little memories from our travels. it was just perfect.