Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Songs of the Moment 9/30/09 - A Softer Side of Me

This is what I think sets me apart as a fan of music: I can go from the hard hitting, empowering beats of Muse, the Silversun Pickups, and other bands to the soft vocals of young solo artists with a much more comtemporary feel and honestly say I like them both equally. Other people can say they like all kinds of music, but most still find something in my collection that isn't appealing to them in the slightest, but I love it all. This week I thought I would bring in some of the more fragile songs I love so much, all by female artists. Where the heavier bands are great for listening to during the day, it is music more like this that I fall asleep to and enjoy when I'm in a relaxed mood. On a fun side note: I've shared 23 of the songs I have on iTunes, that's almost exactly 1% of the music I have. That means if these posts continue just as they have been going so far, I can write 220 more "Songs of the Moment" posts and have songs to spare, so don't expect me to stop anytime soon!

"I was feeling lonely, feeling blue, feeling like I needed you"
1. First is A&E by Goldfrapp. I found this song while looking through some music videos online. This one caught my attention, and it turns out my dad had bought the cd a few days before. What luck! This song really shows off Goldfrapp's (yes, that is her real last name) amazing vocals and is surprisingly energizing for me with its optimistic mood and message. Check out the video for this one, it allows for an interesting view of the song, plus its pretty quirky.

"I never want to see you unhappy. I thought you'd want the same for me"
2. This song is close to my heart. Fortunately I can't relate to it, because it describes a tragic failure, a lost hope. Still, the powerful emotion in Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy is something truly special, and it's hard not to be touched by these words. Be careful when approaching this one, because the connection I have with it is delicate and I'd hate for it to be threatened. I hope you can find a similar feeling for this wonderful piece of art.

"I'll be a moment closer to the brightest hour, here with you"
3. The Submarines sure are a sight to behold. They were simple musicians, introduced to each other through mutual friends. They have become romantically involved and write amazing music that they are both incredibly passionate about. Both are very talented singers, and Brightest Hour is only one of the many unique songs in their only released album, Honeysuckle Weeks. The atmosphere this song creates is really cool. I personally imagine a walk through a meadow in the dark of the night, an escape from the world and everything in it.

"All of the things that I thought were so easy just got harder and harder each day"
4. Next is Calendar Girl by Stars. This is the only song I know from Stars, but just knowing this song allows me to assume they are equally fabulous in all of their musical endeavors. The message is simple, yet complicated. In my eyes, it's all one long way of telling us to enjoy life, whatever comes. Take the days as they come and make something out of each one of them. Give me your interpretation.

"If somebody's got soul, you gotta make the move"
5. Metric is a awesome band. Their stuff is generally full of energy and a bit raw and unpredictable as far as the lyrics go. Watching their performances and even their music videos, you can tell these guys love to just have fun with their music. Knowing about these guys before hearing Collect Call, I was surprised by the feel this song has. The electronic sounds are a great addition in the background, but this song also proves that Emily Haines can sing amazingly. I'm sure you'll agree.

"Let your dreams run free"
6. Here's Imogen Heap returning with an earlier song of hers, from her debut album as a solo artist, actually. Come Here Boy is one of the most straightforward, honest, and sincere songs that I know. The lyrics aren't too fanciful, but they are filled with powerful words. There aren't any exaggerated metaphors or drawn out expressions. Imogen Heap is just telling us what she wants, plain and simple. If only we could all be this honest and open.

"I can fly, but I want his wings"
7. Every once in a while, I write up a list of my most favorite songs, ranked by how much I like them, because I think it is interesting to see how much my musical preferences switch around over the years. Out of my now 2,234 songs, only three have ever claimed the highest position as my most favorite song. Gabriel is one of them. Whether you see it as a song of love, hope, or grace, this song is a masterpiece. Too bad Lamb has stopped with their fabulous music, because I don't know any group that sounds anything like them. They know how to create good music.

"A calm heart will break when given a shake"
8. How My Heart Behaves is another important piece of music for me, and has been since the very first time I heard it. The cool thing about this song for me is that I remember the exact moment when I first heard this song, and I had an emotional attachment to it right from the start. Usually it takes me much longer to get much feeling out of a song like this, but because I became close to this song so quickly, I have a special connection with it now. Try not to miss out on this one.

"Be my friend"
9. Sia is an amazing singer if I've ever heard one. She can play around with her voice like no other, doing things I didn't know were possible. She can seem extremely crazy at times, but I think she's just being expressive. Breathe Me took a while to appeal to me. The music video honestly helped me to realize how amazing this song is. There's another simple, yet powerful message to be found here. Once again, I highly recommend you watch the official music video for this one.

"Forgetting the things that could have been"
10. Sia and Tina Dico are artists who sang for a group I love called Zero 7. I'm glad to see them pursuing solo careers because they definitely deserve to be known as individual musicians. Warm Sand came up when I had my iPod on shuffle while we were boating one Saturday. The relevance was an amazing coincidence, and I have loved this song ever since. Check it out.

So there it is, a softer side of me, but don't think it ends here. When thinking through the song that have been the most important in my life, I find that most of them are more toward the mellow, even deeply emotional side. I guess you could say I'm a sensitive guy, especially when it comes to music. Now you know a little more about me...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Songs of the Moment 9/8/09 - 4 New Albums

This last week has been really tough for my family, especially my younger sisters. The reasons are incredibly personal to us, so I'll leave it at that. Luckily I was able to get a whooping four new CD's days just days before the issue started. This music has really helped me get through the week, and still does, as this problem still continues to affect me every day. Basically, this music has all become incredible personal and emotional for me, so if you're going to look at it, please be respectful or sincere or however I should say it. Now with that out of the way, I hope you can take this music and make something of it. My purpose in having these music update posts is that you might find that you enjoy something I have here. These songs are especially wonderful, and I hope that one or two become more than a one-time listen for you. Enjoy!

So two of these albums I purchased myself. They are from bands that are new to me, those chancy purchases that you can't help but worry about. The other two are CD's my dad got. They are from artists we have both enjoyed for some time now. Fortunately, none of the four dissapointed, they actually all really raised the bar for me. I would put up the entire albums, they are that fantastic, but I'll share three songs from each album so as to not bore you.

"Our love is gorgeous"
1. Dear and the Headlights is one of the new bands I've found. I included Sweet Talk from them a few weeks ago, which, as I said then, was in Rock Band and introduced me to Dear and the Headlights. This first song, Hallelujah, is more on the soft side and is a good example of the rest of DotH's songs. I love the freedom in their lyrics, they aren't structured and their incredibly honest, depicting the life of any average person. This allows for easy connecting with the messages of these songs. Hallelujah is just like this, a story of a young couple just going through daily life together. I honestly can't wait for the day I can share tunes like these with that special someone.

"Perfect, but no feeling left, happy in love"
2. Happy in Love fits really well with Hallelujah, it's just another song of love. It's so simple, yet so full of purpose and meaning, just like this statement will be: Enjoy.

"C'mon now, now it's not so bad. I'm sorry that you feel that way no, you're not useless. You don't even have to think about it. Things will work out just fine."
3. ^These words^ have single handedly not only helped me get through this weeks, they have single-handedly changed my life, as has this whole song. I've had it up on this blog for some time now, so you have no excuse for missing out on it. Run in the Front is a musical masterpiece if I've ever heard one. It's one of those songs that was meant for everyone to hear, so please give it at least one listen.

"You know you'll never be lonely, no you'll always be loved, and maybe you never need more than that"
4. These next few songs are from Imogen Heap, the Finlandic vocal prodigy. You might have heard "Hide and Seek" from her previous album. Her brand new album, Ellipse, is just as good, if not better. This one doesn't have as many loud sounds going on as the last album, which, although it created a cool atmosphere, is equally matched in this one. This album is more about the pure vocals, Imogen's words, and has a unique outer space feel to it. This song, Half Life is really something spectacular. It's the other song that has really gotten to me over these past fews days, and is a little bit more on the emotional side for me than Run in the Front. If I listened to this song over and over for two hours straight, I would still want to listen to it more. It's indescribable, so just listen for yourself. Thank you so much Imogen Heap.

"While we're here, let's see what happens. What we got to lose?...It'd be a sure shame not to."
5. Alright this one is just cool with the flute and video game sounds and everything. Tidal just has a cool mood, plain and simple. It also has a fantastic message: go for it. Check this one out here:

"Where do we go from here? How do we carry on? I can't get beyond these questions..."
"The one life that we've got"
6. Wait it Out proposes another cool concept. What is this life about anyway? Maybe we should just wait it out, see what happens next. The little cello bits in this song are really nifty, and adds even more variety to the already diverse sound that is Imogen Heap. Don't wait it out with this one, listen now.

"Close my eyes and be screamin "freedom""
7. Matisyahu is my man. He's a rappin' reggae former Jewish rabbi, how can you get better than that? If anyone knows about peace and freedom, its Matisyahu. His words are so much more powerful just because he is the one singing them. Matisyahu is a treasure to behold, you won't find anything like this anywhere else. On Nature is a bit religious, but in a universally acceptable way. See what you think.

"So when negativity surrounds, I know someday it will all turn around"
8. This one is One Day, which, as you can clearly hear, is the song I've chosen to welcome you to my blog. This song can only be viewed as inspiring, unless you're heartless. If we're ever going to achieve world peace, I think Matisyahu is doing a much better job than any president or religious authority I've ever heard of. This is a song for the whole, a song to celebrate, a song to remember. Most of all, its a song that just ought to be listened to, do it now.

"Dream awake, make no mistake, strive to be alive most every day"
9. I'll be honest here. This song is only here because of how purely awesome, and it has an awesome message to boost. Smash Lies is just for fun, perfect for cheering you up and getting you pumped up for any situation. This is the only rough rap song I like at all, and it's kind of become my guilty pleasure because this song is far from any impression I would want someone to have of me. It's too cool to pass by though, so don't pass it by yourself.

"Love, crash, heal. Less I feel."
10. The last artist is Soular, a cool band from Albuquerque :). This group is fairly obscure, in fact, I can't find their official lyrics anywhere so I am taking a guess with my quotations here. You should be glad I'm taking the time to share them with you, because their amazing. They've got the pump-up factor, they've got the mellow stuff, and lots in between. This first, Love Crash Heal, has a great blend of instruments. I particularly like the feel the bass guitar gives the whole song. Let me know if you like it.

"Self inflictions: this is how you fall."
11. This one actually has an official music video! So, This Is The Way It Feels is genius, you'll soon agree as soon as you hear the bass part right at the beginning, it's epic. I'm running short on time here and it's getting late, so I'll let your mind do the rest of the thinking.

"All I've got is what I am. It's in my heart, in my head. It's in my blood, makes me turn to you."
12. I was going to share "Once in a While" with you, but I can't find any samples on the internet to share with you. Talk to me in person if you want to check that one out. Instead, here's Take Me Away, quite a strong song. If you need a song for you're special someone, do yourself and them a favor by sending this one their way. But first, take a listen.

I really do feel the effort of doing all of this writing just to share songs is worth it. These songs give me unique perspectives I couldn't acquire in any other way. At least spend a few minutes of you're plentiful life to give some of these songs a shot. I would really appreciate. Thanks -Kyle

My Ideas - Part 1

You've probably seen me deep in thought, oblivious to the world, if you've seen me at all. I'm always thinking, often about things completely unrelated to anything that is going on at the time. What I am thinking of? Well, if you know me well, you know that I plan to be a fiction author when I am older. I guess that because I am currently writing a book, I already am a fiction author. Anyway, I have many story ideas that I constantly play around with in my mind, ranging from fantasy, science fiction, and real world plots to anything in between. I get many ideas through music, and strengthen previous thoughts through music as well. Other sparks of imagination, however, come simply through everyday occurrences. For instance, last night at the dinner table at a restaurant, my sister was looking at me funny. She said that the lighting somehow made it look like I was crying. That got me thinking: what if I was crying and didn't know it? What could make that happen? What if we couldn't control our emotions? What would life be without emotions? Long story short, its strange, random ideas like this that connect to old and new ones, eventually becoming something big enough I feel inspired to write a book about. I'd like to share with you several ideas I have for books or series and maybe a few explanations of my standing on actually engaging in writing one of these novels. Please please please tell me what you think about them specifically, I could use some peer insight. Oh and I trust you won't steal these ideas. After all, they are under (un)official copyright.

1. The Dreamers
The book I'm writing now, which only a few people know about, is about dreaming. A seventeen-year-old girl named Amethyst (Amy, for short) is nearing the end of her junior year at school. Despite the enjoyable life she shares with her four incredibly close friends, Amy yearns for something more. Planning to be a fiction author (much like myself), Amy turns to her imagination (dreaming, in particular) in hope of making her routine life seem more exciting. She begins to have dreams that are increasingly lucid, and in one dream a figure pulls her into the dream. From this point on, she actually enters her dreams as if they were reality and can control everything around her. The figure that pulled her into the dream turns out to be an actual person, one of an in-dream community of 24 dream-controllers from across the world. Interacting with this diverse population helps Amy acquire new perspectives about the world and its cultures. The group, spending every sleeping moment together, becomes very close, learning to trust and even love each other. When a problem erupts back in reality, the dreamers join together to save the world in a way only they can.

This story means a lot to me, and I know it can mean a lot to potential readers as well. It is the ultimate story of world peace/unity and it connects teenage life/desires to international issues to music. In a more aesthetic view, this plot allows me to include a lot of emotion, while this dreamworld setting allows me to explore endlessly, possibly involving a lot of action and other assorted moments of quirky randomness.

2. The Angels
While Amy is caught up with her dreams, actually becoming trapped inside the dreamworld for a long period of time, the real world is caught up with a severe problem. A strange disease has taken the entire population of the world at once. This disease, originating from an unknown source, isn't fatal, but rather drains the mind of all emotion, leaving only a feeling of importance when it comes to daily routine and bodily necessities. The population continues to work, to go to school, to sleep, to eat, and carry out all of their other usual tasks, but there is no conversation, no affection, no passion, not even courtesy. Habit rules life. Amy's friend Tristan, unknowingly overtaken by the ailment, finds through his habit of listening to music before bed that music temporarily reverses the effects of this blight, bringing emotions back to the mind. The next day, he brings his guitar to school and sings in the school's halls, bringing his schoolmates out of oblivion. With a group of his friends, Tristan begins to travel from city to city, uniting the populations through music, and leaving each community with advice to keep listening to the music to stay free from the disease. Tristan and his band grow to be nationally acclaimed, starting a chain reaction by encouraging other musicians to share their talent with those taken by the disease. Though things begin to turn for the worse for Tristan and his friends, they go down in history as "The Angels", their band name.

This story is probably my most realistic idea. Sure, there is an impossible blight that takes over the whole world simultaneously, but the characters don't have any special powers or abilities. They suffer through tough times much like the average person would in such a situation, and see as much, if not more failure their success in their endeavors. I plan to write this series in journal format, from the view of the characters. This might put restrictions on my ability to effectively explain what's going on, but it will allow for a deeper connection between the reader and the characters/content of the story, one that is greatly strengthened by music (as always with me).

3. The Harbingers
Several aliens arrive on Earth, camouflaging themselves to easily stay hidden among us, while they learn about our ways. They are on a mission to discover who we are as humans, each focusing on one individual person. What is our purpose? What do we care about? Why do we live like we do? They plan to meet together after they have had enough time to explore Earth. At this meeting, they will decide our fate. Either their race will perceive humans as worthy allies and friends, or they will infect us with an instantly fatal disease and take Earth for themselves. Though they lean toward destruction after witnessing our wars with each other, both on a large scale and on a small scale, they are fascinated by something we have, something they have never seen before: emotion. When these beings discover the influence of love, the power of happiness, and the strength of anger, they see these emotions as gifts to be treasured. The focus of this story is on a young woman named Grace, whom is the chosen point of interest for one of the aliens. This being not only learns everything about Grace, but Grace learns everything about it, because it is fully honest and open to her. Though she knows her every action and word represents all of humanity, she lives no differently than before. She impresses the being simply by being herself, and eventually becomes romantically involved with the humanlike being.

I'm crossing a lot of boundaries with this one, but if it counts: I think a young woman falling in love with a strangely attractive, friendly, sensitive, humanlike alien is far more reasonable and interesting than a young woman falling in love with a cheesy, awkward vampire that sparkles and devours harmless woodland creatures regularly (*wink wink*). This idea is still early in development and to prove it: I decided the character's name would be Grace a few hours ago.

I was going to continue, but my time for the night is wearing thin and this post is getting quite lengthy. I still have six stories to go that I can count now, so check back for a part 2 and probably a part 3 to see a little more of what goes on in my head. Thanks for reading, and please let me know your honest thoughts!