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On music: Graveyard (The Devil Makes Three)

July 14, 2014 Leave a comment

The first time I heard this song by the genre defying, three person band Devil Makes Three, the first thing that caught my attention was the very cool acoustic guitar picking. After that, it was the lyrics. Why? Well, they’re creepy, that’s why. Perfect for someone who loves dark fiction and horror, right? Aside from that, it’s a very catchy tune. Check out the lyrics below, or watch/listen to the video (hey, Eric, are you impressed? A song on Monday that’s not melancholy. Creepy? Yes. Melancholy? No 🙂

My favorite lines:

Just a’leanin’ on my shovel
In this graveyard of dreams

Nice.

Graveyard of Dreams
I wanna tell you a story
Ain’t got no characters in it but me
I wanna sing you a sad song
Most of it I don’t expect you to believe
It starts off just the Whiskey and Wine
Miles of travel and some real good times
But it ends in a dark corridor
Where there ain’t no windows
And there ain’t no doors

I wanna take you to a shipwreck
A thousand miles underneath the black sea
It looks like everybody’s sleeping
But look close they are dead indeed
I wanna lead you to an armchair
Deep black in the files of my mind
I wanna sit you in the candle’s light
Where I’ve been spendin’ all of my time

Well that’s me
Just a’drinkin’ off this bottle
Is it drinkin’ off of me
Now that’s me
Just a’sittin’ here starin’
And a’shakin’ like a leaf
Well that’s me
Just a’leanin’ on my shovel
In this graveyard of dreams


 
-dp

Mike Masse, The Pie Pizzeria, and amazing acoustic covers

April 5, 2014 15 comments

In February, while visiting with my son in Wisconsin, he mentioned a man by the name of Mike Masse. He asked if I’d ever heard of him. When I said no, he smiled and told me I just had to watch one of his videos. He told me I wouldn’t believe what I was going to see and hear, and you know what? He was right. Click on the link below to watch Mike Masse’s cover of the song, Africa.

Mike Masse’s acoustic cover of “Africa”

As I watched I couldn’t believe that two regular guys (both attorneys and friends since college) in a pizza joint called The Pie Pizzeria, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, could pull off what I just heard. It was nothing short of amazing. And every time I’ve watched this video since then, or watched one of their other covers (and they’ve done a lot of them … check them out here), I am still in awe at how good these two guys really are, especially Mike.

However, simply letting you know about these two isn’t the only reason I posted this. What I learned about one of these men (Mike Masse, the guitar player), was that his young song, Noah, was diagnosed with cancer back in 2012. At that time, knowing he had lots of followers on YouTube, he decided to try to help his son in a way he thought might make a difference. He created a touching video, where he talks about Noah and his diagnosis, and asks for donations (by purchasing a special song he’d recorded) to help with Noah’s treatment. If you’ve ever wondered what despair, sorrow, and feelings of utter helplessness and desperation look like, it’s all right there in Mike’s eyes. It is, as the article notes, heartbreaking. You can find the article and video here.

Fortunately, there is good news. Here’s what Mike posted on YouTube with the original song video:

Update (March 22, 2014): Noah is doing really great these days. He’s had clean MRI’s for a year, and is catching up on his walking and talking. He’s very loving, very happy, very cute, and very funny. We’re grateful for all of the support and prayers we’ve received. We love every day with him and look forward to every tomorrow. Love, Mike

What a wonderful way for this part of the story to end.

So, go check out Mike Masse on youtube and enjoy the great songs these two are playing. You’ll be glad you did. I’m following him on Facebook and right now, and in honor of March Madness, he’s doing brackets pitting various songs against each other, where the song with the most “likes” keeps advancing until there’s a final “winner” that he’ll cover. Should be fun, because there are some great songs to choose from.

–dp

Melancholy Monday: sad songs (Mad World)

February 17, 2014 26 comments

The first time I heard this song was when it was sung by a young man by the name of Adam Lambert on American Idol. He modeled his performance, which was mesmerizing, on a version of the song as done by Gary Jules for the movie Donnie Darko. Both Lambert’s and Jules’ versions of the song, though, differ dramatically from the original, which was written and performed by Tears For Fears. Personally, I dislike the original version because of what I feel is a disconnect between the mood evoked by the lyrics, which is somber, versus how the tune itself was sung and played, the latter being upbeat. I think the jarring nature of that difference was probably intentional, but to me it didn’t work.

Lambert’s (like Jules) version of the song is slow, dark, and moody, and in my opinion the lyrics and the music blend perfectly to create an overwhelming sense of despair and loneliness. How could this not be the case with lyrics such as this:

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had

You can listen to the song here:

To watch the original performance on American Idol, you can watch this video. A testament to how good it was, you’ll see Simon Cowell (my favorite judge) give one of only a few standing ovations he ever felt were deserved. Skip forward 45 seconds to see just the performance.

And finally, if you find yourself with time on your hands and an interest in seeing where this song really came from, here’s the original video as performed by Tears for Fears

Anyone prefer the original version over the new one? If so, why?

–dp

Melancholy Monday: sad songs

February 10, 2014 16 comments

When I first heard this song, I wept. Even today as I sat in my office and listened to it once more before pressing “Publish”, my eyes welled up and I found myself holding back the tears.

Why?

Ben Folds’ pensive tune, Still Fighting It, is all about a man recognizing what it means and how it feels to be the father of a young boy who will, all too quickly, grow up. As it happens, Ben did, in fact, write this wonderfully reflective song for his son, so the emotions you hear and feel are all real. And though he did write it for his son, I think it applies universally to anyone who is a parent. My favorite line, and the most poignant, is this all to true observation:

And you’re so much like me I’m sorry

–dp

Meloncholy Monday: sad songs

January 27, 2014 18 comments

I love music … all kinds of music. I listen to it every day while I work, always sing along to it playing on the car radio or CD player, and usually have something playing while I write. While I’m working I like upbeat songs that keep me energized and focused. Same thing while I’m driving. At night while I’m writing, though, I typically listen to ambient music to help set my mood for what I’m trying to get down on paper. But there’s another time I listen to music, a special time when I listen for moments of reflection and emotional catharsis.

For reasons I don’t understand, some of my favorite songs are those which, through melody, lyrics, or a perfect blend of the two, bypass the conscious mind, the logical part of who I am, and reach deep into my soul, the place where emotions are stirred and tears are drawn to the surface. It’s a place so sad that all I can do is sit and listen and feel … heartbreak, loss, grief, and sometimes even a sense of hopelessness. For a few minutes I’m transported to another world where all that seems trapped inside from day to day and month to month is allowed to flow freely, with no worry about keeping things bottled up, or having to feel strong, to keep up appearances, to feign strength when all you really want to do is let go.

Here’s a song I’ve been listening to recently that I first heard during the last season of The Voice. It’s a duet sung by one of the writers (who at the time the song was written was going through a breakup of his own, which makes it that much more poignant) and Christina Aguilera. It’s an absolutely beautiful collaboration. While the song by itself is amazing, watching the video brings meanings to the lyrics that might not have been obvious from just listening.

Anyone else like sad, sometimes depressing songs? Anyone have their own favorite(s)? Or am I alone in enjoying the emotions these songs evoke?

–dp

Bizzare version of a Christmas song

December 23, 2013 15 comments

And now, a short post on a Christmas related topic.

I’ll admit I’m a big fan of Christmas music. I usually fire it up in early November and play it right through Christmas day. Over the years I’ve listened to music from almost every genre, and my personal collection of Christmas tunes would be considered eclectic. So, imagine my surprise when just this year my wife introduced me to what I must, in the end, classify as probably the strangest version of a familiar Christmas song.

“Which song, Dave?” someone out there has surely asked by now. Why, Jingle Bells, as recorded by Amy Grant. Funny thing is, I like Amy Grant and have enjoyed some of her music over the years, but I just couldn’t handle this arrangement. Sorry, Amy.

Now, take a deep breath, then press play and see how long you can last before the urge to bang your head against the wall overcomes your natural instincts for survival.

So, anyone else have examples of awful Christmas songs, or versions of good songs that completely missed the mark? Or better yet, anyone like this version of Jingle Bells? Maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough to appreciate it.

–dp