we will wade in the shine of the ever

I remember staying up all night sometimes listening to the radio in the summer between 8th and 9th grade. When I finally got my driver’s license, I didn’t know how to drive unless I had the radio turned all the way up. And there were many evenings during that first semester of college when I would put on some headphones and take my discman for a walk around campus. Usually I’d end up sitting on a bench or some steps somewhere listening to a few choice songs and staring at the stars.

Somehow, though, over the last four or five years, I stopped listening to music. I turned the radio dial to NPR in the car and Morning Edition and All Things Considered became the soundtrack of my commute. I discovered the joy of a really great audiobook and the hundreds of podcasts where charming people talked about my favorite topics. I stopped going to shows because thy were too late and I had to work in the morning or because I didn’t want to spend the money or I didn’t have anyone to go with or all those hipsters would judge me. I used to listen to music while writing my college and grad school papers (the Cocteau Twins, M. Ward, His Name Is Alive were all excellent paper-writing companions). Now when I work on the computer, I have an episode of something or other playing on Netflix.

I still listened to music sometimes. I would get tired of hearing so much chatter throughout the day and just wanted something different, but more often than not, I chose the spoken word over music.

But I miss it. So I decided to make a conscious effort to incorporate it back into my life. At first, I thought that maybe I’d only watch tv one night a week and then listen to music or read or whatever all the other nights. But I never got started with that plan because there was always something that I wanted to watch. Then my older and very wise brother suggested that I reverse it. Instead of excluding television 6 nights out of the week (which, let’s face it, wasn’t going to happen), I just take one day out of the week where I only listen to music. Brilliant idea!

I decided to rededicate Monday as my all-music day. So I pulled out the old ipod on my way home from work and started scrolling around in there for something to listen to. I landed on the Pixies and they just totally hit the spot. I’m going to post one of my favorite songs (though it was so hard to decide which). You can listen to it on your computer if you want, but I would encourage you to download it, put it on your phone or your ipod or on a CD or whatever, and play it in your car with the sound turned up and the windows rolled down. That’s my favorite way to listen to the Pixies.

Pixies: Velouria

So now I have a several years’ worth of music to catch up on. Anyone have any suggestions?


you used to be a stranger

Last week at the dinner table, we started talking about U2 and how I don’t like them. I will fully admit that I often don’t like things because everyone else does, but I truly believe my dislike for U2 transcends that. I really just don’t like them, other than a few songs. This led to a discussion of Pet Shop Boys and how I like their version of Where the Streets Have No Name better and Mike laughed at me because the only Pet Shop Boys song that he knows is Go West. And that’s a pretty lame song. So then I started defending Pet Shop Boys, which led into a discussion of the music I listened to in high school, and the night ended with me determined to make a CD chalk full of the stuff that I listened to for Mike. Then I spent the rest of the night going down memory lane in the form of my external hard drive. Man, so much good music! I thought I would share one of my favorites from back in the day.

New Order: Regret

The playlist also includes: bjork, blur, cocteau twins, cranes, depeche mode, echo & the bunnymen, erasure, frazier chorus, his name is alive, james, lightning seeds, luna, mazzy star, morrissey, OMD, shelleyan orphan, siouxsie, slowdive, the smiths, spiritualized, the sundays, this mortal coil, trash can sinatras, and xymox. Kylie, what am I missing? (I decided against This Ascension because it was just too weird… even though I loved it so much. Oh my stars.)

I Don’t Want to Fade Away

I’ve decided to do a little weekly feature here on Sharp & Keen alliteratively (but not too cleverly) titled Music Monday. Each Monday, I’m going to post a song. It might be something I listened to a lot that week, maybe a new song, or maybe a throwback to an earlier decade.

I’m starting off with something not in my normal library of tunes. I’ve never been an Eric Claption fan. Probably because I don’t like Layla or Stairway to Heaven and those were the only two songs of his that I knew, but Mike put this on in the car on our way to Florida, and I loved it. So here you go:

Eric Clapton: Bell Bottom Blues