Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blog #10 - Top Ten of 2010

I have never top a top ten albums of the year blog before. I didn't plan on doing one for 2010 either, but after all of the Grammy controversy, I decided to give it a try. Now remember, this is my list. I know most of you will not agree with it, so feel free to do your own list or leave your opinions below.

10. Murder By Death - Good Morning, Magpie - 4/6/10

I had heard of this band a while ago. Their name is the same as one of my favorite movies of all time, but that's another blog for another time. One of my best friends is a major Murder By Death fan, and we decided to go see the band together.

The are one of the best live bands I have ever seen. The band was so into it, so energetic, so alive in the moment. The crowd never stopped moving. I love the new album and am slowly starting to get into their other albums.

9. Hot Chip - One Life Stand - 2/9/10

I think I was the last person in the world to discover this band. Chatting on Facebook about music one night, a friend suggested I listen to this band. It was right before this album came out. Now I love their stuff. My childhood music roots are in synth-pop so this band clicks with me.

They played at Lollapalooza 2010, and we had a blast dancing and singing along with friends outside on a hot summer afternoon.

8. The Black Keys - Brothers - 5/18/10

I started getting into this band maybe two years ago. This album rocks. There is no other way to describe it. I got to see them live twice last year, at their Lollapalooza after show and their New Year's Eve show. Blog #9 has more about that show. I can't wait to see what they do next.

7. The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards - 5/11/10

I didn't know anything about them until I saw them at the Austin City Limits Festival in October 2009. Talk about energy on stage. Damn. I became a fan at that moment. I got to see them again in 2010. This album is perfect for just about any mood I am in, happy, angry, hyper, etc. I really hope we get another album out of them before they quit for their other bands.

6. M.I.A. - 7/13/10

I have never seen a more complicated, multi-layered artist. There is so much to her background, lifestyle, influences, talents, interests, everything. She is just fantastic and there is no other word for her. The new album slapped me in the face in a good way. I didn't listen to anything else the first two weeks it was out.

We saw her on this past tour. It was like a concert meets a dance club. She climbed the speakers and brought some of the crowd up on stage at the end of the show. It was so much fun. Drinking, dancing, people watching, all with a great soundtrack. I would very much like to see her again.

5. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs - 8/3/10

Arcade Fire was one of my husband's favorite bands before he passed away. He introduced me to their music when their second album came out in 2007. This makes the new album mean that much more to me, knowing that he would have loved it. One of my good friends lost a friend a few years ago that also loved Arcade Fire. After their Grammy win last weekend, she told me that both guys are smiling about that in heaven right now.

Now, I know I didn't name The Suburbs as my favorite album of the year. But that doesn't mean I didn't agree with The Grammy's naming it album of the year. If you look at the list of nominees, Lady Gaga couldn't be on my top 10 of 2010 because The Fame Monster was released in late 2009. As for the the other Grammy nominees, clearly Arcade Fire wins.

They headlined Lollapalooza 2010, but we didn't watch their entire set. The sound system was not set up right for them or something. I need to see them again inside a venue, rather than outside where you lose some control over the sound quality.

4. Bruno Mars - Doo Wops & Hooligans - 10/5/2010

I can't get enough of this man's voice. He has a heart and a passion that I don't see in male singers very often. A voice that literally touches my soul. He can play just about any instrument and write lyrics that truly come from within. And his music is fun.

Two songs from the album stand out for me. The first is "Grenade." I think we have all had feelings for someone that didn't return them. It could have been puppy love or actually falling in love with someone who doesn't love you back, but we all know what that pain is like on some level.

The other song is "Marry You." It is just fun and romantic and sappy sweet. What woman wouldn't want this song dedicated to them at some point? And yeah, the Glee cover was amazing. That helps too. I see a Glee blog in my future when this season ends.

3. Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid - 5/18/10

My boyfriend bought her EP after hearing a story about her on NPR, and he was uber excited for her full length album to be released. The second I heard it, I was hooked. There is talent just oozing out of this woman.

I can't hold still when I listen to her. You have to dance or sing along. It's a great album to get me moving and make anything more fun. It's great for the gym, road trips, running errands. Yeah, that doesn't sound like the best thing to say about an album, but let's be honest. We don't sit around in front of our radio only listening to music. Music is part of our busy multi-tasking world.

I hope she has a long successful career. Later this year, we get to see her with Bruno Mars. I already know it will be one of my highlight concerts of the year.

2. Interpol - Interpol - 9/7/10

Almost any band inspired by Joy Division is a favorite of mine. But seriously, Interpol is amazing. They have been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Seeing them is almost a religious experience. There is a lot of emotion tied up in the music for me. Maybe I will elaborate on that sometime. I saw them on the first leg of the current tour, maybe a week before the album came out. It was an amazing show, but we didn't know the new songs. I saw them again a week ago, and it was a much better experience, knowing all of the new tracks.

1. Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown - 10/18/10

I have always loved this band. It's not just their Oklahoma roots, it's their beautiful musical talent. But, there is nothing like seeing them live in Oklahoma. The last time I saw them was at the Ford Center (now OKC Arena) in 2009 with my brother and some of my closest friends. You could feel the energy in the air. The band thanked their friends and family, shared Oklahoma memories, talked about their love for the OU Sooners, and reminded everyone that OSU sucks. Ha.

I can't make it to the next show (Band Of Horses is the opening act) and it saddens me.

The day the new album was released, I purchased it on my phone (Thanks Amazon mp3) and headed downtown to have lunch with my boyfriend. The rest of my afternoon was free, so I put in my headphones and wandered around the city. I think I listened to the album three times in a row before I headed home. The mood of the album fit perfectly for walking around on a cloudy fall day. But it isn't depressing. While at times it sounds chillingly haunting, it maintains an undertone of positivity to me. I don't know if others see it that way, but again, this is my list.

The sixth track really stands out for me. It is "The Immortals." To me, it's about moving forward no matter what, and not forgetting what's most important: LOVE.

"Spill out on the streets of stars
And ride away
Find out what you are
Face to face
Once you've had enough
Carry on
Don't forget to love
'Fore you're gone"

Especially that last line. Don't forget to love before you're gone.

Honorable mention goes to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Between the How to Destroy Angels EP and The Social Network score, they did some mighty fine work this year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blog #9 – Goodbye 2010

New Year’s Eve always comes with a ton of pressure. It’s one of those nights that everyone expects to be perfect. Perfect outfit, perfect date, perfect plans, perfect midnight kiss.

You are supposed to be in a hotel ballroom dressed for a red carpet with Cary Grant.

Way too much pressure if you ask me, but I still love New Year’s Eve. I love the feeling of hope I get at midnight, the feeling of having a clean slate and knowing the next year will be better than the one before.

I hadn’t done anything big in three years. It was time to do it up right again. A band that I adore, The Black Keys, was playing three nights in a row at The Aragon Ballroom, which happens to be in our neighborhood. My man & I purchased tickets for New Year’s Eve.

A ton of our friends did too, so one of the girls organized a dinner before the show. We had two big tables at a noodle house close to the venue. After a delicious dinner and a bottle of wine, we moved to one of my favorite bars for another drink or two before on our way to the show.

The venue was packed and it was too difficult to keep the entire group together. So my man & I hung out with another couple towards the back. It turned out to be the perfect spot, as we got amazing pictures of the silver ball that rose up from the sound area at midnight.

And yes, I got that midnight kiss.

After the show, everyone came back to our apartment for a champagne toast and order some pizza. It was a delicious first meal of 2011.

All in all, it was a damn near perfect New Year’s Eve. I didn’t think about the perfect night pressure while we were out. Maybe the pressure was internal, having seen too many old black and white movies with that perfect date night. We were in color and wore jeans and snow boots, but it was fabulous.

Someday I will be in a sequin dress and my man in a tuxedo, and we get those silly party hats and sip champagne all night and the high heels will magically not hurt my feet.

And he will have a Cary Grant accent.

But just until midnight.

Then we will have a midnight kiss and make the next year better than the one before.

Blog #8 – A Widow’s Playlist (part 2)

My 2nd “sadiversary” has come and gone. And needless to say, I survived that dreaded day. I survived because I have a wonderful support system, and of course, music.

I started the day by listening to music. After one or two of the songs off of my previous blog post, I switched to happier music that had been released more recently. This is a good way to use music to pick my mood up off the floor. I guess I don’t really have a playlist for part 2 of my life, not yet anyway.

Next on my agenda for the day was having breakfast with a girlfriend of mine. She’s a newer friend, so naturally she wanted to know a bit more about my back story, since she knew the significance of the day. When she started to tear up, my eyes began to water too. You can imagine how awesome we looked with tears in our eyes over our breakfast and coffee. But it felt good to talk about him that day, spreading his story to my new friends.

Our next stop was a comedy improv show raising money for charity. We hung out there for a bit waiting on another girlfriend. This one and I left the first one to enjoy the comedy while we went shopping. Nothing clears the mind like looking for the perfect bargain.

That evening I had dinner and relaxed at home with my boyfriend. It was completely different then the year before. It showed me that each anniversary will get better, will get easier, be a little less painful. This widow is healing.