I am a sponge longing to soak up something worthwhile. But while I wait, the world seems to crumble around me. We have narrowly escaped disaster after disaster. I understand the saying, “wait for the other shoe to drop” because it always seems to do so. There is always a new tragedy of hateful words, angry leaders, dangerous weather, or tricky political stunts and putdowns. The constant twisted news, feeds my frightened addiction and I am beginning to find myself at the brink of despair. Am I alone?
I have been unable to write. I have been unable to act. I just simply wade through the rising tides of discouragement barely keeping my head above water. I look for life rafts everywhere, I try to acknowledge my blessings, and let people know I care. But still….I find myself lost with no map. My worry is bubbling up and beginning to effect those around me.
Perhaps it is completely out of my hands, perhaps it is out of all of our hands. Maybe we can only do what is best in a single moment, by bonding friendships, supporting loved ones, and finding some small way to give back in thankfulness. Remaining focused on the good in our lives may be our only solace.
I refuse to stick my head in the sand, but I have to take a step back every once in a while to breathe. Because breathing is our lifeline, and the power behind our most basic need. It is a forgotten thing, until we make a point to focus clearly on it.
Breathing is a form of survival for me. I must breathe.
And just as I breathe, I listen to music. It feeds my soul.
Sometimes a DJ dance set with a pounding beat can change my gloomy mood, or a shouting rage of punk can successfully wring me out. In need of a cry, I turn to broken love songs and the blues, or when releasing rage, I listen to current hip hop/rap songs. Constantly seeking newness and creativity helps me see hope that everything evolves and changes. Music finds a place in me when I no longer feel whole. It fills me up.
I share my important finds with you all in the hope you might catch a tune or a band that speaks to you. Here are 6 essential songs that immediately became this week’s lifeline, helping me breathe and feel light in all of this darkness.
Wriggle is an unusual song. At first, I thought it was simply an instrumental, one you might hear in a Disney movie. Then it changes and the vocals come in, almost sounding like an Alt-J song. For a few years, I was obsessed with Alt-J, so I took notice. But this isn’t heavy and dark like their music. Cosmo Sheldrake has created a tune that is light and airy….hopeful. Swirling oboes, flowery flutes, snappy percussions, and funky lyrics create a childlike atmosphere and a musical celebration of life. It is simply lovely and exactly what my ears needed to hear right now. The artwork in the video is pretty impressive too. Maybe it will lift you up a bit, as it did me.
Have a listen and a look.
Cosmo Sheldrake-Wriggle (Mr. Jukes Edit)
“Hey ho, where did you go?
Did you wriggle or roll? Did you giggle or grumble through?
Tom Thumb, from where did you come?
Did you toddle or run? Did you skip, trip, or stumble through?
Go down, let’s go down
Let’s go down; don’t you want to go down
And wriggle on, have a sing-along
Put some pickles on, and play the Mellotron?…”
Destroyer is very different song, almost a polar opposite. It expresses despair, sadness, and loss. Although it is heartbreaking, there can be an important realization while seeking the source of the pain. I wonder if maybe it is a glimmer of healing? Lala Lala’s “Destroyer” is from Lillie West’s musical journey expressing her very personal life experiences on her most recent album, The Lamb. The album is oddly cathartic as well as powerful for me and reminds me, we all have wounds that need stitching up.
“…Write it down, what you are reading
It turns to text, it loses it’s meaning
I can feel myself beginning to shift
What should I hold I can’t resist
Does it make you sad, that it’s my fault
I’m sad myself
I ruined it all
What’s the science of which is true
I don’t know anyone else like you
Don’t tell, it’s not evil
I’m looking through a different view
You are the reason my heart broke behind my back…”
Sometimes the tone of a voice can just stop me in my tracks and beg me to listen. I can be immediately smitten by vocal tone and it’s delivery. Molly Burch does just that for me. Then, add clever lyrics and a purposeful pluck of a guitar, it all contributes to her appeal. Her tune “Candy” is everything. The hard reality is that trouble sometimes finds us in relationships and it is very difficult to stay away. Candy, can be oh so appealing. This brings me to another realization, the outside appearance and the rapid fire sound bytes really have nothing to do with substance and integrity. A much needed healthy reminder as I vote this November.
“Why do I care what you think?
You’re not my father
Don’t even bother, don’t bother me
Why do I like how you look?
You look like candy
You don’t understand me, don’t understand me
I’m not doing this again
No, no, no
This will really have to be the end
No, no, no
Promise me baby, promise me baby
Promise me baby, promise me baby
You’ll stay away, you’ll stay away
You’ll stay away, you’ll stay away…”
Earlier this fall, I attended a high school reunion. It wasn’t mine, but it sent me to a warm nostalgic place in my mind. I have so many friends from that time, college too, where we never really questioned sanity, politics, or values. For the most part, we laughed and played, and bonded over shared experiences. Looking back, it seemed to be easier and more laid back, very unlike the high school/college friends I have kept in touch with who share articles of divisiveness and argue on social media. What happened?
The song, “High School Kids”, by Lonas is just so timely for me. It speaks to the carefree period in our lives where we thought we could hang out forever and the only enemy we had was curfew.
Lonas-High School Kids
“…Can you imagine what would happen if we knew how it ends? Yeah, I know I’m getting older, all my heros are dead. Pick me up and take me, let’s waste another day of the weekend, we don’t give a sh*t if the sun comes up in the morning. So call up all your friends, and we can all pretend, that we’re high school kids…”
This next song, “Angel”, simply pleases my senses and my mind aesthetically. The lyrics, the vocals, and the way it slowly expands from a simple acoustic to something much more. Yowler’s gentle reminder that God is always present (my personal interpretation), eases my tangled woes.
“..Call me unto me my one
In times when you strive
If only in sight of your glowing light
I want you to know
That I am here
There’s a power we share
I am still here
Power we share…”
So, now and again, I enjoy a crazy dance beat. There is something freeing about not interpreting, or dissecting the point of a song. The song, “Catch My Breath” is a stellar case in point. Yes, it has moments where it changes and develops, but it also allows me to not think and just move. Maybe this song will give me permission to catch my breath. When in an emotional state, experts claim if you take a deep breath, clarity and calm can occur. All one can hope for, right?
DJ’s and the dancers who love them…this one is for you!
Confidence Man-Catch My Breath
I continue to add songs to my playlist I began at the end of August, hope you’ll check it out.
Fall Gems -Spotify Playlist