October 4, 2011

-image-“softly whispering i love you” ~ the english congregation

First, let me say, I command you to put a Post-It note over the video screen here so that you can’t actually see this totally retarded cliched YouTube video of this gorgeous song. I mean, Charlie Sheen from Two and a Half Men is involved at one point. Like, wha??

I listened to a few different versions of this hard-to-find song and thought this one had both the best sound quality and the absolute worst visuals — and that’s saying something. It was a Sophie’s Choice moment for me, I tell you.

So Post-It note. I command it.

Alternatively, in lieu of scrounging around for those Post-It notes we all have but can never find, I suppose I could allow you to do something like, oh, close your eyes and simply listen. Put on headphones and listen.

This song was a one-hit wonder back in 1972 from British pop band The English Congregation, featuring singer Brian Keith. (Not actor Brian Keith. Although that would be interesting, I gotta say.)

I’m in love with this song now. I can’t stop listening to it. I don’t know how I stumbled across it but I’m so glad I did. So much going on here. So much that’s unexpected. It starts off sounding like a choral piece from the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Literally, the entire first minute of the song sounds like a right proper churchy choir where everyone is singing with their hands clasped in front of their chests, breathing perfectly from their diaphragms, and making perfect O’s with their proper churchy mouths. But then ….. oh then, all hell breaks loose at the minute mark and nothing is the same. The single curl of an electric guitar slams into you and leaves you breathless. The flutes come in — yes, flutes, for God’s sake — in a piping adamant percussive. Which is weird if you really think about it. I play the flute. They’re generally not all that adamant.

And Brian Keith. Good Lord, Brian Keith. All I can say is that the minute …. no, the second …. he opens his mouth to sing, he has me, forever. I don’t want to give it away, but his entrance into the song makes me want to run up and do naughty things to random strangers. He doesn’t sing this song. He declares it. He declaims it. And while he declaims and the guitar curls and the flutes percuss, the perfect churchy choir sings perfectly behaved backup. The elements are kind of nuts, but the whole ….. the whole is brilliant.

And the lyrics …. I kind of love the lyrics …… I can feel your warm face ever close to my lips …..

Ahem. Indeed.

Here’s the weird thing: The first time I heard this song, I thought, “I know this voice. I know I’ve heard this voice before. Where??” I mean, he did not become a well-known singer, unfortunately. So where would I have heard him? Then it hit me: Jesus Christ Superstar. I researched it to see if I was hearing right. I was.

Brian Keith played Annas in the original 1970 concept album of Jesus Christ Superstar.

(Which, in my opinion — and I do intend to write about this — far outshines the movie soundtrack).

The fact that I recognized this not-well-known singer is proof of just how much of my publicly puritanical youth I spent dancing with the devil, blasting this album in secret whenever my parents weren’t home, wailing along at the top of my hellbound lungs. I recognized this man’s voice. Clearly, in some little naughty nook of my brain, I am permanently joined with Brian Keith.

And that’s just fine with me.

So, take a listen. The English Congregation, Softly Whispering I Love You.

(The song takes about 10 seconds to kick in. And, again, I would implore/command you to close your eyes.)

July 11, 2011

-image-“someone like you” ~ adele, again

Holy cow. This is almost unbearably brilliant. You know?

June 27, 2011

-image-“hey girl”

By George Benson.

This is to distract you from the lack of posts. I have house guests, you see. Although now that I’ve mentioned the lack of posts, that’s all you’ll think about so maybe I should mention something like peanut butter cup cheesecake to re-distract you from the lack of posting. Although I just mentioned it again so now this post is turning into a kind of verbal Escher drawing and we’re all trapped in it forever and I don’t even know how I did that.

So let’s move on, despite the impossibility of that ever really happening.

Now I hates me the cheesy YouTube videos, but I love this song. He is so damn smooth and the phrasing is gorgeous. MB and I saw him in concert several years ago at an outdoor venue and I tell you true: He sounds just as perfect in person. It was uncanny. He looks perfect and ageless and sounds perfect and ageless and he’s basically some kind of smooth-singing, guitar-strumming Dorian Gray which is the only conclusion a reasonable person can reach here.

Again, yes, moving on. Told you it was impossible.

Did you know this is Ray Charles’ favorite song? S’true.

Just listen. Smoooooth.

Like this post.

May 25, 2011

-image-“baby i love your way”

By Mig Ayesa

About 5 years ago, MB and I religiously watched a reality TV show called Rock Star INXS. Basically, a bunch of wanna-be rock stars auditioned to be the next lead singer for INXS because, apparently, something had happened to their previous lead singer, you see. So the singers would sing, the screaming scantily clad groupies would be screaming and scantily clad, and the members of INXS would sit in the back of the “chamber” — oh, along with a scantily clad Dave Navarro — and pass judgment on the singers. Some of the contestants were really good, like Mig Ayesa from Sydney, a favorite of mine. He had a genuine sweetness and humility that some of the others didn’t have. He talked openly about being in love with his wife. There was just a realness that radiated from him, not a posturing posing energy that some of the other contestants were desperately working. I loved Mig because he just seemed comfortable in his own skin. (And that’s some pretty nice skin, if you ask me.) Just … no striving. No “working it.” I am who I am.

That realness comes across in his version of “Baby I Love Your Way.” I think it rivals the original. I really do. There were some great performances on that show, but this one, in my opinion, is the best. It just really gets me.

(The performance starts about 46 seconds in.)

May 11, 2011

-image-“rolling in the deep”~ adele

Holy crap. She’s fabulous. A powerhouse.

Right now, I’m obsessed with this song — and this video. I love every image in it. Especially the dancer, looking like an otherworldly Mongol warrior swirling in the snow. When you first see him (her? I love that you can’t really tell) about 5 seconds in, so still, so dark, it’s so frightening that it’s thrilling. Don’t underestimate the things that I will do. Then the water begins to pound and the warrior begins to move, slowly through the white, and you know this woman whose heart has been ransacked is on the brink of her revenge. And you can’t wait. You can’t look away. I love the story behind every image, but an implied story, a story you write yourself. My story of it may be very different from yours and that’s the beauty here. Maybe that’s one of the benefits of being a nonlinear thinker in a linear world: things like this make total sense to me. I’ve watched it repeatedly now, playing a little game with myself and pausing at 3-second intervals, 5-second intervals, and there’s not a wasted shot in this entire thing.

Every freeze frame is a perfect shot. Something I’d frame on my wall.

I talked to someone about this video who said, “Well, she just sits there.” “Just sits there”? Oh, no, she doesn’t, peaches. (I hate those kinds of conversations, really. Some people just do not get it. They don’t have the sensitivity to see anything past the surfaces of life and I can barely keep from punching them.) She actually acts the snot outta this song, above and beyond the crackle and soar of that voice. But, really, it’s her stillness at certain moments that is the most ominous thing to me about it. Her stillness at the beginning which comes full circle to her stillness at the end. Grief, but resolve too. A kind of steel is settling in her heart. This is a woman you should not have messed with. Watch the curl of her lip on baby, I’ve got no story to be told. Look at her dismissive wave of her fingers on reap just what you sow and the sigh — the broken sigh — that comes the very next second. Oh, no. She is not just sitting there.

Far from it.

The one who broke her heart should be very afraid.

December 12, 2010

-image-my favorite christmas cd

Phil Driscoll’s Heaven and Nature Swing.

For those who don’t know him, which is probably many to most of you, Phil Driscoll is an amazing trumpet player. I mean, the guy is a virtuoso on that thing. It literally gives me shivers of joy how gifted he is. He also sings, with the raspy world-weary kind of voice that I have such a soft spot for. So put that all together, throw in some traditional Christmas songs, do a bit of a big band/jazzy twist on them, and you have Heaven and Nature Swing.

My favorite Christmas CD.

It’s a tradition now. On December 1st, I whip out the CD and play the first song, “Joy to the World.” I then dance around like a crazy spastic person and that way, the Christmas season is kicked off properly, you see.

Love the bass. Love the trumpet. Love his voice. The whole thing just makes me so happy.

I dare you to listen to this number — loud — and NOT find yourself about to burst from joy.

This is Driscoll’s version of “Winter Wonderland.” Every year, I make MB dance to it with me and every year, he has to put up a bit of a fight until I vanquish him at last. Haha. Such a fun version. I love his little laugh at the end. Gets me every time.

I even forgive him that he gets the lyrics wrong. It’s “love knows no season, love knows no clime,” not “crime.”

Ah, well. I can’t help but love him. He gives me so much Christmas joy year after year.

Thank you, Phil Driscoll!

December 11, 2010

-image-“diva” — aria from “la wally”

This aria from La Wally, “Ebben, ne andro lontana,” is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve listened to so many different divas sing it — Monserrat Caballe, Kiri Te Kanawa, Renee Fleming, Maria Callas — and I actually think this one is my favorite of them all, sung by Wilhelmina Wiggins Fernandez, the diva of the movie “Diva.” I was obsessed with that movie when it came out.

Everything about her in this scene just glows. The dress, her face, her voice. The simple gestures with her hands are pretty. There is just a sheen of perfection around her. She’s liquid to me. I don’t know how else to describe it. Everything about her is liquid, flowing, full, effortless. So so gorgeous.

I find her version of this aria to be the sweetest and the most effortless. It’s decidedly not effortless, but she makes it appear so.

She starts singing at about 1:14. From that point to about 1:47 brings tears to my eyes. There’s such a sweetness to it; it’s almost unbearable. The whole thing is perfect, but that opening is too much for me.

October 28, 2010

-image-“stuck like glue”

By Sugarland.

I’m sure I’m the last person in the world to discover this video, but I’ll post it nonetheless.

I’m not a huge country music person, but this song is catchy and the video is hilarious. The concept is clever and she just makes it work. She’s so over the top with the insanity. She has to be. I love that she’s totally committed to it. It wouldn’t work otherwise. So many things are funny to me in this: the station wagon, the whores workin’ it in the lineup, the ice cream cone bit, the unicorn painting, the insane unitard dance about halfway through, the photo wall, the fact that the guitar player is her benignly smiling accomplice.

Oh, and I love love love that red dress. It wouldn’t make the cut in The Modesty Survey, but whatevs. It’s gorgeous.

“Call me!”

July 23, 2010

-image-“tiny light”

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Like her. Like this song.

Think I might this acoustic version even better, though:

June 10, 2010

-image-so what? i like her

She’s Orianthi and, yes, I like her.

Plus, I think she rips that guitar UP. But I need Cullen to tell me if she does. If he says she doesn’t, then, clearly, I am done with her.

Although I will still continue to work out to these songs. But with contempt then, of course. Contempt will drip from every word I sing at the top of my lungs.

Ooh, at about 3:20 in the video below, I was on sheer tenterhooks as to how it would end! Nailbiting suspense, pippa!

In the one below, she has a purty sparkly guitar. I need Cullen to explain what’s going on with the guitar in the foreground because it doesn’t look to be what she’s playing, but maybe it is. I really don’t know. So … is that cool or just weird?

The red eye of Sauron is making me insecure. I need non red-eyed people to tell me what to think. As usual.

Oh, but check her out at about 2:12-2:27.

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