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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

My Mood Indigo

I listen to a wide variety of music, but my favorite band has always been the Indigo Girls. I’ve actually been listening to them on my iPod all week long, and reminiscing about many great memories of their concerts. They are one of the only bands that I think sounds as good (if not better) live.

Indigo Girls live

How can I sum up why they are so good? Three reasons – well-crafted harmonies, lyrics like poetry, and passionate guitar playing. If you’ve never heard them, it’s time to start.

To help you out, I’ve selected a playlist with 10 of my all-time favorite songs by the Inidgo Girls (a.k.a. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers). There are many more I could add, but I think this gives you a good sampling. In the age of iTunes, it’s easy to mix and match!

Below I’ve listed the names of the songs, along with the albums they originally appeared on. But as an added treat, I’d suggest checking out their amazing double-disc live album 1200 Curfews. At least half of these songs can be found on that album as well.

Rock & Roll Heaven’s Gate from Despite Our Differences – One of the great things about the Girls is they have some great friends who stop by for guest performances.  This one is a rockin’ anthem featuring Pink.

indigo girlsBlood and Fire from Indigo Girls – You can tell this song was written by Amy, because it’s gut-wrenching and loud.  This song is appropriate for belting in the car when you’ve had a lousy day and want to wallow in it.

Galileo from Rites of Passage – When you go to one of their concerts there are a couple songs that will get everyone on their feet to sing along.  This is one of them – just a lot of fun.

Indigo Girls Poseidon and the Bitter BugSecond Time Around from Poseidon and the Bitter Bug – One of life’s best experiences is sitting in a small bar listening to someone sing with a lot of soul while playing acoustic guitar.  I feel that vibe most strongly listening to this quiet but deliberate song.

Get Out the Map from Shaming of the Sun – Road tripping is always best when kicked off with a good song.  This is it.

Fugitive from Swamp Ophelia – When I sing along to this song, it makes me feel like I want to cry, but I always seem to just barely hold it together.  Full of passion.

My Mood IndigoChickenman from Rites of Passage – I admit this one is kind of bizarre, but it has a soft spot in my heart.  Amy wrote it after having a particularly vivid dream.  Listen to the lyrics and try to picture it.

Strange Fire from Strange Fire – This is one of their oldest songs, and will forever be one of the best.  It speaks poetically of the intolerance from some so-called people of faith.  I highly recommend listening to the live version of this!

World Falls from Nomads Indians Saints – The Girls have a lot of passion for certain issues, especially the rights of Native Americans and the preservation of our environment.  This song is their tribute to our green planet.

Closer to Fine from Indigo Girls – No concert would be complete without this, their most famous song, which was written by Emily.  It’s like the anthem of the struggling college student.

So there you go!  Now it’s time for you to go listen and enjoy.  Report back and tell me what you think.  And for those already die-hard fans out there, tell me which of your favorites I missed!

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RIP, PYT

Billie Jean Michael Jackson

Yes, there was controversy.  Yes, there was the ever-changing skin tone.  But ultimately there was the music.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was without question the most influential album in my childhood.  Many, many summer afternoons were spent in our negihbor’s basement, dancing like mad to songs like “Billie Jean,” “PYT” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”  It’s non-stop genius, and for that alone he will be missed.

I pondered various ways to do a tribute, but I think I’ll just let the King of Pop speak for himself.  Here it is – my favorite MJ song ever.  Take it away, Michael.

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Farewell to Blossom Dearie

It is with great sadness that I announce (incredibly before CNN or Entertainment Weekly!) that the great jazz singer Blossom Dearie has died at the age of 82.  (Thanks, Telegraph.)

photo courtesy Verve Records

photo courtesy Verve Records

Her gentle voice was admired in Europe and America as she was able to interpret jazz standards both upbeat – “I Won’t Dance” and downbeat – “Manhattan.”  She really made a name for herself in Paris, and you can hear her effortless French in some songs.

But she was first introduced to me as she was to many youngsters in the 70s – as the child-like voice of Schoolhouse Rock!  Dearie was unforgettable singing “Figure Eight” and “Unpack Your Adjectives.”

photo courtesy ABC Television

photo courtesy ABC Television

She shall be missed by me and other fans of the great jazz songwriters.

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Like so many bloggers out there, it’s time for me to post my 2008 year in review.  To keep it simple, I’ll list my best and worst picks in each category.

I have two little caveats.  First of all, I’m behind on my year-end movie viewing, so there’s a lot of awards fodder that I have yet to see – Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon…  So I’ll be focusing on what I’ve actually seen.  And for my worst on each list, I will sometimes be focusing not so much on the worst thing, but perhaps the most disappointing.  You’ll see what I mean.

Best and Worst of 2008Best movies of the yearWall•E and The Dark Knight

This one has to be a tie, as both films were just unbelievably good.  The former was a simple love story that tugs at the heart, with visuals so stunning you wonder, “What can they do next?”  The latter was a tightly wound action masterpiece, with a performance by Heath Ledger that deserves a posthumous Oscar.  Dual brilliance!

Worst movie of the yearVantage Point

I’m fairly certain that when the director was putting this action thriller together, his intention wasn’t to make the entire audience crack up.  And yet that’s what was happening all around me as we saw this stinker.

Best DVDs we rentedJohn Adams (TV) and Young @ Heart (movie)

John Adams was a real surprise.  I’d heard all the good reviews but was unprepared to be so enthralled with…history.  And for movies there was nothing more enchanting than a group of senior citizens breathing new life into classic rock in Young @ Heart.

Best and Worst of 2008 2

Worst DVD we rentedThe Advocate

Not even the naked tush of Colin Firth could save this horrendously bad and bizarre tale of people who put animals on trial for witchcraft.

Best and Worst of 2008 3

Photo courtesy ABC.com

Best TV show of the yearLost

I loved me some Battlestar Galactica, but with so few episodes actually airing in 2008, I have to give the edge to the full 4th season of Lost which took things in exciting new directions between flash-forwards and the revelations about the Oceanic 6.  “JIN!!!!”

Worst TV show of the yearHeroes

Yes, I know it can’t really be the worst when you think about horrible reality shows on E! and VH1, but this one was by far the biggest disappointment.  Poised for a huge comeback (or so we were told) it merely fizzled out with the same lame crap they did in season 2.  When a sophomore slump turns into junior junk, it’s time to throw in the towel.

Best album of the yearFunplex by The B-52’s

For a band that’s been around this long, it was a blast to see them come out with something so amazing and fun.  But I’ll give an honorable mention to Adele’s 19 which was a real find.

Best and Worst of 2008 4

Most annoying song of the year – “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

Yeah, I’m not going to be buying an album unless I know it’s pretty good (the wonder of the iTunes revolution).  So I’ll pick this song as the one that grates on my nerves every time I hear it.  An SNL parody didn’t help matters much.

Best and Worst of 2008 5Best book I read this yearAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

To call a book life-changing is high praise, but in this case it fits the bill.  In the last 6 months we have really changed our lives in small ways towards purchasing and eating local food and it’s been awesome.

Worst book I read this yearThen We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

This was not only totally opposite what I expected from reading the cover, it just was annoying.  Our book club managed to talk about it for about 20 minutes before we were ready to set it aside and gab about things in life that are actually interesting.

Favorite new game of the yearThurn und Taxis

I like the pace, style and myriad choices this game offers.  Relatively easy to learn and most satisfying.  Good times!

Worst game situation of the year – An opponent gets the “Heavenly Halo” card in Killer Bunnies

Argh!  It kind of makes you want to kill their bunny.  Except you can’t.  (I’ll explain this game further in an upcoming post.)

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That’s my list – how about yours?  Are there some real winners for the year I just haven’t seen/read/heard yet?

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