At first I'll be recycling some of what I've written here (lame I know, but it's a new audience.)
I just prefer the format better...and I'm there anyway.
Hopefully I'll see some of you over there!
Thanks so much for reading!
Your ghost is a light show at night...The river is watching you, at the drive in tonight...
1: Miss Teen Wordpower – The New Pornographers: During my freshman year of high school, I began to write poetry. During my sophomore, I began to write very VERY bad fan fiction stories and some mediocre poetry. By the end of my junior year, I had filled 4 notebooks with very bad fanfic, some mediocre poetry, and 3 screenplays, as well as a computer folder filled with said screenplays, a couple short stories, a couple one acts and some of the best poetry I’ve written thus far. As of where I am now, I have a couple books worth of decent poetry, 9 screenplays and an endless supply of short stories (ok, so some of them are still that old fanfic, but there’s no need to judge.) Needless to say, 2004 was when I found my way as a writer. My friends started calling me Miss Teen Wordpower, and whenever a song needs to be picked for me/dedicated to me, it’s always that one. However, with the all of the impressive amounts of hard drive space I’ve taken up on my computer, my writing is still a form of torture. If I do it, I’m disgusted by what I write (whether it be the quality or the content.) If I don’t do it, my head fills with ideas and I begin to twitch and am unable to concentrate on anything else. “Nobody knows the wreck of the soul the way you do…Miss Teen Wordpower…”
2: Flat Chested Girl From Maynardville – Bobby Bare Jr.: Well, you all read my first entry about this song, I assume, so, I don’t need to go into detail about the content of the song itself. There were times when I felt like the Flat Chested Girl… “No one pays attention to me, no one knows nothing about me.” Oh, I felt so alone for a while…like there was no one who truly cared about me or understood me. “Does anyone think that I’m pretty? ‘Cause no one will tell me, ‘Cause no one is looking at me.” So many of my friends had boyfriends and I didn’t. I didn’t think that anyone would tell me I was pretty because I wasn’t. I mean, my mother said I was but, really whose mother doesn’t? Needless to say, this song made me feel better (and by better, I mean much worse.)
3: Broken Angel – Hanson: First off…yes, I’ll admit it, I like Hanson. No, I don’t feel guilty about it. If you want to tell me I should then you should talk to Sue Miller. She’s promised me she’d make anyone who made me feel bad about it feel MUCH worse. Anyway, as you may have figured out by this point, 2004 was my year of angst, but bear with me…the music is good, and things will get better in the future. Buying Underneath, Hanson’s latest album, was a total spur of the moment thing for me. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it, I just did it. I don’t regret it, though. It was one of my favorite albums of last year, filled with really solid pop tunes, and a much more mature sound than their original, Middle of Nowhere, which I was quite into junior high. “Broken Angel” really seemed to resonate with me in my summer of loneliness. “Broken angel, you gotta learn to fly, get up and earn your wings tonight.” I listened to this every night while I was in
4: I Wish I Was the Moon – Neko Case: “God bless me, I’m a free man with no place free to go.” Summer of 2004, I celebrated the 4th of July on a beautiful beach in
1: Pretty Girls – Neko Case: This one is special. In October I got to see the amazing Miss Neko Case. She had, within the span of a year, become almost like an idol to me and I was thrilled at the idea that I’d be seeing her live and in concert. It was at Schuba’s, one of my favorite venues. It’s small enough to be intimate, but big enough to get a good crowd once sold out. That night, Neko had decided that she didn’t feel like writing up a set list, so she took requests. Now, it must be stated that “Deep Red Bells” is my favorite song written by her, but I knew she’d play that one. So, I called out for “Pretty Girls! Pretty Girls!” in between the songs, my other favorite. It struck me as being about everything that’s wrong with the media and
2: I Feel Fine – The Beatles: “I’m so glad that she’s my little girl. She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world.” That summer, I learned that I was a very lucky girl. I was loved by people who would get to be very important to me within the year. Also, things at VC had gotten to be quite good. I was the little baby girl and I had people all over the world looking out for me. Little did I know that the people I admired so much, Jeff Tweedy and Sue Miller, had come to think of me as their “Little Baby Girl.” As soon as I found this out, I went around telling everyone. It was all far too exciting to keep to myself.
3: Favorite – Neko Case: I was the Favorite, and I knew it. I had a fan club, VC, an extended family, the Tweedy-Millers, the affections of my favorite rock stars, Kelly Hogan, Neko Case & Wilco, and an internship at Bloodshot Records. “But I know that I was your favorite, and I said ‘Amen’”. Within months of meeting Wilco, I had been brought into the family by none other than Ms. Susan Miller. She decided that I was her little baby girl, and I knew I was her Favorite. Kelly Hogan had noticed me singing with all of her songs the first time I saw her, and she had told me I was in the band, I knew I was her Favorite. Neko had played a song for me, and taken pictures with me, and told me I was to monitor her fansite (make sure the boys didn’t post any bad pictures of her), yes, I knew I was her Favorite. With Bloodshot…well, it was sort of the same, and sort of different. I met Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw while volunteering at Por Vida, a benefit for Alejandro Escovedo, who was in the hospital at the time. My dad had signed himself and me up to work the auction on the second day of the event. I was 16, but I could name a dozen of the artists on their label already.
4: Andy – Neko Case: “Andy, summer’s over. We’re one year older. Did you really think it’d be so fast?...It helped me through the spring just to dream of what it might become. Woke up to find it’d been here and gone.” Oh my…Andy… I had the biggest crush on him for most of high school. He was supposed to come with me to see Wilco at Summerfest. I thought for sure we’d have something together, but we never did. Or else, it came and left faster than either of us could have seen. Maybe I’ll get into that another time, but, although he was a big part of my life for the longest time, it doesn’t seem necessary to write about him right now. I guess the song really says it all.
6: Sweet Little 16 – Chuck Berry: I’m sure you’ve all heard this song before. If not, it’s a familiar story: Sweet Little 16 wants to dance and have fun. She collects autographs from her favorite teen idols. She calls her parents “Mommy” and “Daddy” but thinks she’s old enough to wear lipstick and high heels. In the end, poor Sweet Little 16 has to give up her fun and get down to work. In other words: her party’s over when school starts up again. This was me in a nutshell. I have posters and CD’s signed by my favorite stars. I danced like crazy during the summer. I was caught in the world between childhood and innocence and being the sweet one and being a part of a social group that consisted of people at least 5-10 years older than me, if not twice my age. School was the last thing I wanted to think about. And, to be honest, at the time, I thought I’d be like this forever.
I’ve noticed that the last few summers have been defined by one or two albums in particular. ( 2004: Rubber Soul (The Beatles), Underneath (Hanson), Break Every Rule (Tina Turner), 2003: Electric Version (The New Pornographers), 2002: Down By The Old Mainstream (The Golden Smog) ) This summer, however, I was blessed to have several defining albums brought to my attention. Three absolutely delightful and artfully recorded records accompanied me on the El to work, in the car on road trips, on the planes I took to visit my friends and family. These three were constantly in my CD player and I just couldn’t get enough of them.
The first was The Milk-Eyed Mender by the amazing young talent that is Joanna Newsom. Her romantically written lyrics, mystical harp playing and otherworldly voice really brought the songs together. For me, it started with seeing her at the
The second album that was the soundtrack to my summer was Blue Notes by Paul Burch & The WPA Ballclub. There is a not a weak song on this album. The instrumental parts of the songs are well crafted and catchy. Burch’s voice melts on your ears and his words get you laughing and crying along with the characters in his songs. There are tales of lost love and women done wrong, like “Willpower” and “Tonight, Tonight.” Even songs that seem happy on the outside, like “Forever Yours” and “Head Over Heels”, still contain strains of Even songs that seem happy on the outside, like “Forever Yours” and “Head Over Heels”, still contain strains of obsession and inevitable heartbreak. The one truly positive song on the album is “How Do I Know?”, a traditional call and response song which contains lyrics from the traditional “Little Birdie”. Burch’s story-telling abilities are very strong and he can pull you in, making the listener empathize with the narrator. “Isolda”, arguably the most beautiful song on the album, tells the story of the girl that got away, the one that the narrator wants but doesn’t need and can’t have. Occasionally, his narrative style is very blunt and honest. “Long Distance Call”, which tells of a truck driver who is VERY eager to get home to his girlfriend/wife, is so straightforward in its description that it still makes me blush. This album went with me on the plane to
The final album that shaped my summer is Arabella by Laurie & John Stirratt. I have seen them perform four times, and each time I loved the songs. It was surprising that I hadn’t gotten the album before my birthday this June, considering that I was at the record release party last November. As soon as I put it in my CD player, I began dancing around the room. I was trying on new skirts that I had gotten that day, the kind that flared out and had flounce to them. They fit the music perfectly, and I danced around my room. The Stirratts had been working on this album for a while, and it was exciting that it was finally released. It’s a really classy collection of songs. They are mostly tales of reflection on the self, events that happen in one’s life and life changes and growing up (whatever your definition of that may be.) John’s voice is reminiscent of Neil Young at times and the harmonies between the two siblings are very pure yet imperfect and vulnerable. The sound is very smooth and folkie and easy on the ears. The imagery of the songs is beautiful in those such as “Canadian Noon”, “Golden Fence” and “Mistral”. Occasionally, they rock out a little bit, such as in “We’ll Meet Again” (which is, perhaps, my favorite song by them.) I accidentally left this disc in my boombox when I went to