Don’t forget the songs that made you cry, and the songs that saved your life….

It looks like procrastination is the name of the game today, and I’ve already watched two discs of The Office, a show on TLC about a woman with giant legs, and eaten most of the junk food in the apartment. I guess that means it’s time to blog?

Ten Songs I Really Like:

I could never make a top ten list. It would change too fast… Even while I was going through and trying to pick ten songs for this, I had a hard time. So, here are ten songs that I think you should probably check out.

Neighborhood #2 (Laika) – Arcade Fire

It’s no secret I’m a big Arcade Fire fan, and this is one of their best. I love the chanting, and the story it puts in my head. This is one of those songs I think could actually be made into a movie, as weird as that sounds. Not to mention it’s fun to sing along to.

Mimizan – Beirut

This song gets me every time. The way he sings “and I move for you” just breaks my heart. Also, I love the, what is it, an accordion? Fantastic.

Bridges and Balloons – Decemberists

This is a cover of a great Joanna Newsom song. Both versions give me chills and make me want to cry every time I hear them because they’re so beautiful. Joanna Newsom and Colin Meloy sing the song so differently, it’s really hard to compare them, but I usually prefer the Decemberists version, probably because I heard it first.

I Love How You Love Me – Jeff Mangum Live at Jittery Joes

I can’t remember who sang the original, but I heard it once and it does not compare even at all. Maybe it’s because Jeff Mangum is my favorite singer ever, but this song makes me sigh every time. Right now the line “and when I’m away from you, I love how you miss me” seems very fitting in my life.

100,000 Fireflies – Magnetic Fields

This was the first Magnetic Fields song I ever heard, and it is still my favorite. I love how the music sounds like fireflies. Okay, I guess fireflies don’t really have sounds, but listen to it and you’ll know what I mean. This is a haunting and beautiful song.

Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens

Oooh Sufjan. This is another song that makes me want to cry. It tells such a sad, sad story, but it is so, so beautiful. He makes it so real, and so sad. I once knew someone who didn’t like this album (Come On, Feel the Illinoise!) because it has a few songs that deal with God and religion, like this one. I’m not a religious person, and overly religious things tend to turn me off, but that isn’t the case at all with this song, so please don’t let that stand in your way of enjoying it!

Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel

This has been one of my favorite songs for a long time. It is a happy song, it is a sad song, but above all it is one of the best songs ever written and you should just go and buy the album right now. I could write pages about what this song has meant to me for the past five years, but I’ll spare you! The singing saw (I think that’s what it is, I might be wrong) is magical and strange, and just perfect for the mood of the song. It also ends with possibly my favorite line ever: “How strange it is to be anything at all.”

The Past is a Grotesque Animal – of Montreal

This is a long song. I don’t mean 6 or 7 minutes long, I’m talking about 12 minutes of awesomeness. Putting this song on is a big time commitment, but it is so worth it to hear the whole thing. There are all kinds of references to  literature and plays and such, so if you’re into that kind of thing it’s fun to figure out what he’s talking about.

Shakespeare’s Sister – The Smiths

This is the Smiths’ song that I most consistently listen to. I go through my phases with them, but this song is pretty much a constant favorite. There’s something about the frantic way Morrissey sings “Oooh mama let me go” that really gets across the craziness and sadness in the song. Plus, the line “I thought that if you had an acoustic guitar it meant that you were a protest singer” always makes me smile.

I Need All the Friends I Can Get – Camera Obscura

This song is just good clean fun. Clapping! I think it’s been well established that I adore clapping, and this song might be the reason why. There’s clapping, lots of pep, and the hint of a Scottish accent. What more could you ask for in a song? Camera Obscura is an adorable Scottish band, and if you don’t know them you should. They’re a lot of fun, and they always make me smile.

Looking at this list, most of the songs are ones that make me want to cry, so sorry about that! But they are good songs, and I really do think you should check them out.

The title of the post is from Rubber Ring, another great Smiths song. It seemed very fitting.

Later Edit:

I just wanted to add Oh Sister by Neutral Milk Hotel… I was just listening to it, and it struck me that it always reminds me of “The Sound and the Fury” by Faulkner. Anyone else think so, or am I just weird?

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Best. Day. Ever.

Some days I forget why I thought moving 12 hours away from Steve and my family and everything else I’ve ever known was a good idea. Today was not one of those days. Today was, in fact, one of my favorite days ever.

My Rare Books class had on campus day today. We met in the Rare Book Library, and it was the best thing ever. This is why I am here. The magic began right away. Today the Rare Book Library was hosting a Tea Party for some 4th graders in the area. The main room was decorated with Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll items. They had some of his letters on display, and pictures of Alice Liddell and her sisters. He invented lots of games, and so there were examples of how to play and his old chess/backgammon board. There were fun stamp holders, and a long long table covered in flowers and tea cups and tea pots. It was so exciting, and I imagine that being a kid in that room would be awesome.

After everyone got there we all filed into the reading room, where the staff had set up some books for us to look at.  All of the books we saw were beautiful and exciting and inspiring, but there were two that completely blew me away:  Shakespeare’s First Folio and the Book of Genesis from the Gutenberg Bible. There really is not way to describe how incredible it is to stand before pages from the Gutenberg Bible. I kept thinking about learning about it as kid, and just how important it is to our civilization, to my profession! Next to the leaves from the printed bible they had an example of a handwritten manuscript from earlier in the century. It was so neat to see the differences between them, and the similarities.

And the First Folio! It was beautiful. It was smaller than I thought it would be. For some reason when we talked about it last year in my undergrad Shakespeare class I imagined a huge book, not just in thickness but in length. The First Folio wasn’t too much bigger than my own copy of Shakespeare. We looked at the watermark, and we saw how rebinding and washing (oh God, the idea of someone WASHING a first folio hurts me!) had damaged it.

As if that wasn’t enough to make today unforgettable, Steve should get here in a few hours! I don’t know how other couples deal with in, and if I thought this might last for more than a year I don’t know if I could do it. It’s been a long, long two months, and I can’t wait to see him. A whole week together! A year ago that would have been normal, but now it is the most amazing of gifts.

I am the happiest person today 🙂

You know our hearts beat time out very slowly…

Look at this, I’m already updating! Today was a pretty typical day. I volunteered at the lovely Champaign Library, read some of Michael Crichton’s Timeline (which I’m actually really enjoying!) and did some homework….which I’m still doing, because really, it never ends! But on to the real point of this post!

There are some albums that just stick with you and remain a source of entertainment a comfort. I’m always a little surprised to discover which ones I still like and which ones have become a thing of the past. I’m over R.E.M (good Lord, who ever thought that would happen!?) and The Hold Steady. I still love them, but I not nearly as much. But then there are albums like Neutral Milk Hotel’s Aeroplane Over the Sea that I still love love love love even more than I did the first time I heard it. Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary is another one of those “sticky” albums for me.

I love unpolished sounding music. I love when the singers voice isn’t perfect. I love when there is more than one singer. Steve says that singers like Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug take time to get used to, and he hated Apologies for about a year before he came to the same conclusion that I did the first time I listened: It is a beautiful and moving album.

When I moved here I thought I would want to take the opportunity to listen to new music and find new albums to associate with these months here, but instead I find myself going to the old favorites. There is something comforting about Apologies. I first heard it about three and a half years ago and ever since it’s been in my top 10, currently in my top 5. It’s about light, ghosts, modern life, love and anger and sadness. Okay, most of that applies to pretty much everything I listen to, but it’s different with this one, I swear! When Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts fades into I’ll Believe In Anything it is one of those perfect musical moments when you realize how perfectly put together something is. It’s an album that gives you great images of ghosts, light, hunters and kings.

While writing this I’ve been listening to the album and trying to pick a song to call my favorite. Well, obviously that would be I’ll Believe In Anything, which is probably my favorite “love” song out there. Or there’s Fancy Claps, which believe it or not has clapping. I love clapping! But then I go back to Shine a Light, which is so satisfying to listen to when driving in the car at night and makes me go “YES!” in agreement every time I hear it. When he sings “I’m content, I’m content, I’m content to be quiet” I get chills.

Apologies to the Queen Mary may not be for everyone, I can understand that. Or, like Steve, it might take you a long time to hear it for what it really is (genius). Go find a copy of it and give it a try. Although I do love Wolf Parade’s second album At Mount Zoomer, I don’t think it compares to Apologies to the Queen Mary, so make sure you listen to Apologies first!


Starting a Blog…. oh, and Percy Jackson

Well, I guess it’s time I got a blog. I miss having somewhere to rant about books, movies, and music and Facebook just isn’t cuttin’ it anymore! So here I am, blogging.

I’ve been living here in Urbana for just over 6 weeks, so far so good. I have my good days and my bad days, but for the most part life here could be much worse. I’m ready for spring, I’m ready for skirts and warmth and taking walks without wearing 3 layers of clothes!

Since I’ve been here I’ve read about 13 books. I finally finished reading the Bean books by Orson Scott Card, A Charmed Life by Liza Campbell, a few Michael Crichton books and most notably the Percy Jackson series.

I really, really enjoyed reading these books. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something where I completely lose track of time, and that’s exactly what happened while I read reading Percy Jackson! I spent an entire weekend holed up in my room, hiding under the heating blanket, reading these books. They’re entertaining, exciting, the characters are likable, and it is now one of my favorite series! My favorite of the 5 is the 4th, The Battle of the Labyrinth. My least favorite was the 5th.

SPOILERS

I didn’t like how Riordan ended the series. It seemed too cheesy, perfect, and honestly, I wanted Percy to have to fight a little harder. I know it’s hard to end a series really well… certainly we can’t use Harry Potter or Twilight as a good example! But seriously, all five books we kept hearing about how this was a horrible evil that was impossible to beat, and Percy really didn’t have to try all that hard to win. We also spent all five books with Annabeth and Percy on the verge of a relationship, so when they FINALLY hook up it seems a little, I dunno, anticlimactic? Plus, Juniper annoyed me.

END SPOILERS

All in all, I would highly recommend the series. The movie wasn’t even half as good (although I didn’t think it was too bad). Check it out… perhaps at your local library? 😉