Feb. 27th, 2013

[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com

Mother of Pearl
Roxy Music


Today is the day I discovered Roxy Music.

This is the week I discovered How I Met Your Mother.

I mention the latter because it is what led me to the former.

Both came at a time when I thought that nothing could get to me.  That I was detached, somehow.  That nothing could provoke or stir; bring me outside myself--and inside myself, all at once.

I have these periods (they are shorter and shorter; I don't wallow in them as much) where it feels like I can't really reach out to anything and that nothing reaches into me.  But, today, I heard a snippet of "Mother of Pearl" on the the season one finale of How I Met Your Mother and it was like being jostled awake.  Just hearing, "Oh, mother of pearl/I wouldn't change you for another girl" made me reach for the computer so that I could find the song that made me feel something (bless the internet...like, remember the time before?  Where you could hear a song in a TV show or a movie and never hope to find it?).

I just...

I've listened to this song a dozen times consecutively since finding it and it continues to tickle my intestines.  It makes me want to cry and dance; smile and throw my arms wide.

And it's not that Roxy Music is some entirely mysterious, unheard of band...the album art of Country Life is very familiar (ahem, haha).  It's just that this is the time I "found" them.  The moment I let them in.  The moment I needed to hear this song (not to be overly dramatic or anything).  I want to somersault or cartwheel.  And, the thing is, I haven't even listened to that much of their music.  It's like, I just know.  That this one is special.  This one is a life-changer.  

"Mother of Pearl" starts off as a semi-creepy (really, though), straightforward rock song.  I love the Rocky Horror-esque tone Bryan Ferry adopts.  It's fast, upbeat, complete with guitar solo and pounding drums.  But, the speaker asks questions...his tone and those questions are what make the first part something different, off-kilter.  Then, the music shifts--it is a sudden shift, but, funnily, doesn't seem sudden.  This part of the song makes me feel...it's indescribable.  The pace of the lyrics, the subtle organ, the thump of that drum, even the sound effects, make me swoon.  The lyrics burrow into my bloodstream, make me want to fill myself up with art and words.  By the time we get to that David Byrne-esque xylophone (it makes me think of "Glass, Concrete, and Stone"), I am a puddle.  Or, rather, a puddle with a fallen power line running through it; charged, but still.

"And a place in your heart dear/Makes me feel more real"
[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com

Drinking Coffee
Renée Yoxon & Mark Ferguson
Here We Go Again

: While my friends and family are, as a rule, a fairly artistic lot -- I don't know many musicians. A few, but none who have really made it their career. So my excitement at this song must be tempered by the experience: I was sitting at the band table.

Oh yeah.
It was last Friday, at Upstairs -- the jazz bar downtown. My cousin and one-of-very-few-people-for-whom-I'd-take-a-bullet, Chelsea, was in town for the weekend, and she, V, and I were out for dinner. "Oh by the way -- " she mentioned over a fishbowl of some alcoholic concoction named after Kool-Aid, "my uncle's Montreal CD launch is tonight, if you guys want to go." If we want to go?

We walked in, and sitting at the prime table was Chelsea's uncle -- Mark Ferguson, the pianist/trombonist/brilliant co-composer on this album -- with his wife, both of whom I've met a few times. They were excited; Upstairs was full and their niece had made it. Renée Yoxon joined us, as painfully chic in real life as she looks in any press photo -- though, as with any 20-something, clicking her phone around to promote herself on various social media outlets; and slightly hesitant, voicing her nervousness, despite her beautiful voice and presence. I had never experienced that before -- the pre-show jitters, from the perspective of the performer; what a strange, intimate feeling. And watching her and Mark interact pre-show was a profoundly inimitable experience. Their age difference is pretty sizeable, but the chemistry and understanding of each other's material and musical passion exceeds it -- they get each other. When they excused themselves to start setting up the stage, I asked Monica (Mark's wife) how they met; she looked genuinely confused and replied, "Well, the Ottawa jazz scene is pretty small, everyone knows each other...but you know, I don't remember? I'll have to ask him!" Though I wonder if he'd remember, or if Renée would -- it's almost incidental, like trying to describe when you first tasted chocolate.

They were excellent, and the whole album (which I received gratis -- another perk of knowing the band, clearly) is lovely. But it was this song that took my breath away. My heart was literally racing; I made Chelsea feel my pulse when they finished and her eyes widened. It is beautiful. It is a gorgeous testament to a sad moment, almost a mid-life crisis -- written and sung, so honestly despite clearly not having quite the life experience, by a young, young woman. It is a song to be heard live, but it works on the Sennheisers, too -- and it's a lyrical gem. And it's amazing to see this young talent in the beginning stages, coupled with the oft-proved talent of a man who's been on the periphery of my life for as long as I can remember. I felt privileged to be there. I feel privileged. And I hope this song can give you a spark, a flicker -- not necessarily of the privilege of being there, of knowing the artist -- but of the power music, art, has regardless of whether you know who's onstage -- a spark of something intimate. Because "Drinking Coffee" is music done right: a sliver of life, a sliver of honesty, created by people who love what they do and want nothing more than to share that love.


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