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Stuff I Want Wednesday

17 Nov

In case you haven’t heard, The Beatles are now officially on iTunes. This just leaves AC/DC as the last major holdouts (which I’m also waiting patiently for). I would just put their entire catalog on this list, but I already own it. Of course. So, in honor of this big announcement, I’m featuring Beatles-related wishlist items today.

The Beatles Explosion DVD. I want this solely because there is a clip of them performing Pyramus and Thisbe on a British TV show. It’s adorable and hilarious.

Beatles Explosion

Pint Glasses. The perfect addition to any party. Or breakfast.

Beatles Pint Glasses

Playing Cards. Another great addition to the game room. I have a feeling it might be a little distracting to be holding these cards, though. At least for me it would be.

Beatles Playing Cards

Trivial Pursuit. Really, did you expect me to not say something about trivia? I would be so good at this.

Beatles Trivial Pursuit

 Concert Poster. I think one or two of these framed on a wall would be fun.

Beatles Concert Poster

Blue Meanie Clock. I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a Yellow Submarine-themed bathroom. I think it would be fun. Kitschy, but not too over-the-top.

Blue Meanie Clock

In The End print. Some of my favorite lyrics, and a sentiment I totally believe in. I’d love to have one of these for any room in my house.

In The End Print

Blackbird Print. Again, love this.

Blackbird Print

An Open Letter to Rob Sheffield

3 Nov

This probably should have been written a few weeks ago, immediately after finishing the book. But, as life goes, there weren’t any words until now. So, to Mr. Sheffield,

Why, oh why did it take me so long to buy your book? When I first stumbled upon it about a year ago on Amazon, it was because I was browsing through other things quite similar. Love is a Mix Tape popped up in my suggestions box, and, because I’m attracted to interesting titles and am a fan of mix tapes, I clicked on it out of curiosity. I knew after reading the summary that I would like it a lot. What I didn’t realize was that I really needed to buy it immediately, because I don’t just like it. I LOVE it.

But maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t meant to read it a year ago. I’m in a totally different mindset now, one that puts me right in sync with your memoir. It’s funny how right that line is in All You Need is Love – there’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be. You’re a music fan – you get it. You know how one piece of music can change your life forever, and how after that it will never be the same, and you found it at exactly the moment you most needed it. That’s how I feel about your book, completely. I wasn’t supposed to read it a year ago, when I had all the time in the world. I was supposed to read it now, when I fee rushed and practically devoured my way through it. Life’s funny like that – you go along living, minding your own business, and then something hits you like a ton of bricks, to wake you up and bring you back to reality. I think you captured that moment in your book. And your book had that same impact on me.

I’m sure you’ve heard this many times and it means absolutely nothing coming from me, someone who really doesn’t know anything about you, but knows just enough, but I am very sorry for your loss. I am so glad you have found a healthy, effective way to work through grief. It’s not easy, and most people don’t make it out on the other side in one piece. I’m thankful that you were willing to share your story with the world – to share your wife with us. She sounds like one of the coolest people to ever walk the earth, and I’m sorry she didn’t have more time. But she gets to live on forever, in your memories and your mix tapes, and on the pages of a book for those of us who didn’t know her.

Life’s funny, in the ways it brings us together and drives us apart. I’m glad I found your book, and that I read it. My mix tapes aren’t exactly put together on cassette, but I get it. I know just what you mean about the flexibility of choosing your life’s soundtrack, and how meaningful and nostalgic they become. Music brings us together in so many ways. We all have our mixes, our life’s soundtracks, playing along in the background while we write the next chapter. Thanks for sharing part of yours. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to hit shuffle again, in the hopes of making something brilliant.

Ten Things Tuesday – August 31

31 Aug

There is a special edition of Rolling Stone out now, featuring the top 100 Beatles songs. How they were able to rank them all, I’ll never know. It’s certainly not something I can easily do. However, I thought that, in honor of how awesome they are and how in love with them I am, I’d post the list that Rolling Stone  came up with, and then try my hardest to rank my top ten. It’s going to be very, very difficult. This could take a while…

The top ten Beatles songs, as compiled by Rolling Stone:

1. A Day in the Life. “In truth, the song was far too intense musically and emotionally for regular radio play. It wasn’t really until the 80’s. . . that ‘A Day in the Life’ became recognized as the band’s masterwork. In this song, as in so many other ways, the Beatles were way ahead of everyone else.”

2. I Want to Hold Your Hand. “This song ‘was the apex of Phase One of the Beatles’ development’. . . ‘I knew they were pointing in the direction of where music had to go. In my head, the Beatles were it.'”

3. Strawberry Fields Forever. “George Martin later regretted the decision to remove [Fields and Penny Lane] from Sgt. Pepper as the biggest mistake of his career.”

4. Yesterday. “The tune that would go on to become the most covered song in history began as something called ‘Scrambled Eggs.’ It also began in a dream.”

5. In My Life. “It represented Lennon’s evolution as an artist. ‘I started being me about the songs, not writing them objectively, but subjectively.'”

6. Something. “‘George’s material wasn’t really paid all that much attention to – to such an extent that he asked me to stay behind after [everyone else had gone]. He was terribly nice, as if he was imposing on me. And then he plays this song that just completely blows me away.”

7. Hey Jude. “The ending refrain goes on for a full four minutes, even longer than the verses, which clock in at just over three minutes. The band hadn’t planned it that way, but McCartney was having too much fun ad-libbing to quit. . . Martin objected to its length, claiming radio wouldn’t play the tune. ‘They will if it’s us,’ Lennon shot back.”

8. Let it Be. “McCartney channeled Aretha Franklin’s soul in ‘Let It Be,’ recorded during the peak of the Beatles’ troubled times. A month after its 1970 release, McCartney announced the band had broken up.”

9. Come Together. “[This song] showed the four disparate talents of the boys and the ways they combined to make a great sound. . . the four of them became much, much better than the individual components.”

10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps. “The lyrics for George Harrison’s first truly great Beatles song began with him choosing the phrase ‘gently weeps’ from a random book. It wasn’t until Harrison pulled Eric Clapton in to play guitar that the arrangement was finished.”

The top ten Beatles songs, as compiled by Laura:

1. Helter Skelter. I know it’s a big mess of noise, and rambling, gritty attempt to usher in metal. But there’s just something so undeniably hot about that sound. It’s simply about a carnival slide – a helter skelter – but I just can’t get past that wall of sound coming out at you. Paul’s wailing voice – oh man, hold me back. I think it was unintentionally the sexiest song they ever wrote.

2. I’ve Just Seen a Face. It hits you in the face like a ton of bricks, and never lets up until it comes rushing to the end. You can literally feel the urgency with which Paul is telling the world about the girl he just met. I think love should be like that – when you meet someone, and you just know, you can’t wait to tell everyone. You end up stumbling over your words because you can’t contain your emotion, and you can’t get it out fast enough. The rhyme scheme is also terribly complicated, when you really look at it. Everything about the Beatles seems simple (and sometimes it is), but is also quite complicated and in-depth.

3. Free as a Bird. Not released until the Anthology came out – perhaps I love this one so much because of the music video. If you get the chance, you should look it up – it’s the perfect compilation and summary of the Beatles’ career. Don’t we all want to feel that way – just free to fly away and do whatever? I think at some point, we all want to know what’s like to be that free – to fly, to escape, to just live. If only life were really that uncomplicated.

4. Real Love. Such a simple message: everything in my life has led me up to this moment, the moment that I’m here with you, and it’s real love. God, if only we could all be so lucky to have that.

5. Good Day Sunshine. A song that truly makes you happy to be alive, and loving life. You can’t help but feel like the world is right, and everything is as it should be.

6. The End. As the finale of the Abbey Road medley, this is my favorite song. Really, what better way to end the record than with a song by this title? It’s the only drum solo in the entire catalogue. It’s the simplest of lyrics – repeating “love you” throughout most of the song, ending with the iconic message, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Really, nothing else could be said to better summarize their entire career.

7. And Your Bird Can Sing. I don’t know what it is about this one that I love so much. Maybe it’s the dual guitar leads. Maybe it’s the nonsense lyrics. Maybe it’s the demo Anthology version where they’re giggling like mad. Whatever it is, I love this song, with no explanation.

8. A Day in the Life. Truly brilliant, in every way. Two unfinished songs that seemingly don’t fit together, yet they find a way to make it work. I think this song, because of the interesting juxtaposition, shows the main differences between Lennon and McCartney. Lennon was a brooding pessimist, McCartney a practical optimist. Nowhere else is this more evident, in their entire catalogue.

9. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away. Quite melancholy – Lennon at his best. I’ll never forget the image of the four of them in Help!, sitting around that house build for four, Lennon off in his own world, George unsuccessfully flirting with Eleanor Bron, Ringo banging his tambourine right on time. For me, it describes what heartache feels like – feeling two foot small, like you can’t go on, like the entire world is looking at you. You have to put that love aside, and go one with life, even though it seems impossible and feels like shit.

10. I Saw Her Standing There. This song announced that the Beatles were here, and they were taking over. It blasts out of Please Please Me with Paul’s energetic opening count, just like a live show, right from the start. It’s an unapologetic proclamation that this was how it was going to be – that rock and roll was about to change forever. The rest is history.

This was truly difficult to write. How could you possibly find the ten songs you love the most? There are so many that I had to leave off. And I’m sure that, if you asked me another day, the list would be different. It just depends on what mood you’re in, where you’re at in your life. And there’s nothing wrong with that; in fact I think that’s one of the greatest things about the Beatles – they appeal to everyone, everywhere, no matter what’s going on. There’s always a song appropriate for your life. They’re always there for you, and they always know just what to say.

What are your ten favorites?

Ten Things Tuesday – January 12

12 Jan

I’ve been kind of obsessed with my new phone lately, and for good reason. There are tons of great apps that will practically run my life for me. It’s kind of like the Swiss Army Knife of phones. I don’t know how I was organized without it. Here are ten of my favorite apps on the Droid: 

1. Pandora. The greatest personalized internet radio is now on my phone. Now I can discover new music no matter where I am.

2. Mobile Banking. I usually do all my banking online anyway, so having mobile access is really helpful. I have no excuse to not keep track of my finances when it’s all right there at my fingertips.

3. Calendar. It syncs right in with my Google Calendars account, which is great because it automatically updates itself no matter where I put in new appointments. It’s great for those times that I’m out but don’t have my planner with me (because as much as I love my phone, I still enjoy having that crisp new paper to write on).

4. Calorie Counter. I’ve been on a serious diet lately, and this app has been my best friend. There is both a food diary and an exercise diary to record daily calorie intake and workouts. One of the most useful features is the barcode scan, which scanes the barcode of anything you’re eating and automatically puts in the nutritional information. I’ve been using it for two or three weeks now, and have already lost about 10 pounds. Just from diligent calorie counting and exercise records.

5. Maps. And by maps, I mean Google maps, my trusted source for directions and overhead stalking. There’s a great navigation feature, as well as plenty of search options for your location (local banks, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.). There’s another app that I really love, and just have to mention, called Places, which is the ultimate search for anything you need while traveling. So once you’ve navigated yourself anywhere with Maps, you can find hotels, restaurants and bars, local attractions, gas stations, shopping, even medical help and taxi service. I have a great sense of direction naturally, but now, I’ll never be at a loss for something to do when out of town!

6. Fandango. I can search for local movies AND buy tickets right on my phone. Greatest invention ever? Probably.

7. LiveList. There are several different apps that help you to create to-do lists or shopping lists, but this one is my favorite. You can make lists of anything you need, from generic shopping to errands to emails to send out to specific party supplies. It’s really great for someone like me, who makes lists of everything. And I don’t always remember to bring my list with me, so now I’ll always have it with me. And it’s a lot less wasteful than paper!

8. Ringdroid. This app is amazing. You can save music on your phone, and use Ringdroid to create ringtones from it. It works by cutting the music into shorter clips, which you can customize, and then saving them as ringtones. I now have custom ringtones for practically everyone in my phone book. I love it. Sometimes I just play around with it without any intention of making a ringtone.

9. Shazam. Ever get frustrated at radio stations that don’t always tell you what song you’re listening to? I used to all the time, but not anymore, thanks to Shazam. This app listens to the music you’re playing and searches its database to find the song title and artist. It’s deadly accurate, too. Now anytime I hear a new song and want to know what it is, I can have my phone listen in and tell me.

10. ShopSavvy. An app that scans barcodes and automatically searches local store inventory and the internet to find the best price on your item. It really is savvy shopping!

Of course, this doesn’t even mention all the great games I have: Sudoku, Hangman, Connect 4, Solitaire, Magic 8-Ball. I even have a light saber. Yeah, my phone is so smart, it’s made me a Jedi.

Friends, Lovers or Nothing

3 Dec

Another masterpiece from the mind of John Mayer. Playing this one on repeat, because it so reminds me of my life and those of some people I’m close to. He just gets it.

Edge of Desire

2 Dec

John Mayer is brilliant. Once again he’s proven himself to be an amazing songwriter. This is probably my favorite song on the new album. I’m listening to it nonstop!

They’re Playing My Song

7 Oct

Miley Cyrus, I have a bone to pick with you. Everyone seems to like your song Party in the USA, and they sing it a lot and title their Facebook photo albums after it. I, however, do not like it at all, and find it rather annoying. I would like to live in a world where I don’t have to listen to your below-average writing skills. It gets stuck in my head a lot, which I don’t really appreciate. I don’t care to know if they’re playing your song, if your hands are up or down, if you’re wearing heels or flats, or how different going out in Nashville is compared to L.A. Let’s just use common sense here. It doesn’t matter.

Also, you are only 16, barely old enough to drive, and certainly not old enough to be in any clubs. How is it that you are singing about them? Also, in case you haven’t noticed, every little girl in this country knows who you are and looks up to you as the biggest thing ever. You’re not setting a very good example by encouraging underage partying.

But mostly, get your song out of my head!