Jun. 5th, 2013

[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com

My Name Is Trouble
Keren Ann

I downloaded this album when it came out a few years ago--based on nothing more than liking the cover art.  At the time, I didn't have the patience to listen to the entire thing (or, much of any of it, actually), so it wasn't long before I deleted it from my iPod.

I missed the boat a bit on the start date of Nurse Jackie's fifth season and, in watching a string of new episodes the other day, I remembered why I like the show so much.  Its mix of caustic humour and subtle sentimentality consistently hook me.  "My Name Is Trouble" accompanied a beautiful scene at the end of one episode wherein both Jackie and her eldest daughter make separate but parallel choices.  The opening synthesizers and ensuing drum beat complemented the growing sense of panic played out in that final scene.  By the time I heard the first line, "My name is trouble, my first name's a mess" I was leaning forward, edging my way off of the couch.  I anxiously waited for the end credits so that I could Google that lovely bit of lyric; so that I could have that song in my possession; so that I could listen to it again and again.

I still haven't listened to all of 101--I like the sing-songyness of Keren Ann's voice within the context of "My Name Is Trouble", but I'm not sure what I think of it when it is paired with softer, slower music.  I do know that I like the fact that I found this album (again) under these circumstances; that it came "back to me, in pieces or a melody."   
[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com

Telegraph Road (Live Remix)
Dire Straits
Money for Nothing

: Alright -- here's another thing to add to the "I'm only 27!" list of musical nostalgia:
I miss discovering old bands as if they were new.

You know the feeling (you just had it, or something similar, with Roxy Music!) -- they've been on the periphery of your life probably forever. You even have a few favourite songs and can hum a couple tunes. You know the name to hear it, but you wouldn't like them on Facebook or pay to see them live. UNTIL
Something shifts. And you're not sure what, because who really knows what goes on in a human brain when art's involved, but it's something big. Maybe it's been building for a little while, but the stars align one day and boom. Dire Straits. Where've you been my whole life?

Now, of course, that's not quite fair. Like Jennifer Warnes and Lenny C, last week, Dire Straits was a music room staple. My father would play "Money for Nothing" (I want myyyyyy, I want myyy em-tee-veeeeeee) all the time, and often sing it without accompaniment (just...assume that all songs I mention in reference to my dad were also sung, loudly, without accompaniment, usually at 6am, sometimes with dogs). As I got older, I started rifling through his CDs on my own, and discovered the incomparable "Romeo and Juliet" (and doesn't it kill you to know that an inferior cover by the Killers gets all the attention? "Romeo and Juliet" was perfect as is). A little later, in a bit of directed lyrics-searching [for reasons I will not explain just now: "you had your head on my shoulder and your hand in my hair / now you're acting a little colder, like you don't seem to care"] and then downloading -- I stumbled upon this particular version of "Telegraph Road."

It keeps getting stuck in my head of late, for whatever reason. Call it high school nostalgia (which'd also explain my playing the Sims 2 till 2:30 am & SG-1 giddiness). Last weekend I dug out the mix it's on and as it blared on my old boombox, that something that pulls you towards music shifted -- Dire Straits! Where have you been my whole life?!

Cue downloading spree; my father would be thrilled ----- but I want to share this one, on the off-chance you don't know it...and because I've had it on repeat since Sunday.

This song is long (12 minutes, 2 minute intro), and there's no chorus (which separates it from almost all pop music -- though, like a symphony, there are little refrains. See, that How Music Works book was good after all!), and it goes and goes, like the eponymous road. Listening to it as a teenager is one thing -- you're picking out little familiarities (I remember just waiting waiting waiting 8 minutes until the aforementioned line showed up -- but, I also remember thinking the anticipation as it built was pretty fucking special), connecting it to other sources.

But here's where the nostalgia passionately combines with experience: listening as an adult is so much better. Suddenly it's a song in its own right. Now I pick up on the narrative, the imagery and visual quality, Mark Knopfler's voice, the brilliance of its structure and those all-too-poignant lyrics; my brain has been learning how to listen to complex music for years, and "Telegraph Road" is the beneficiary. It's not that the meaning has changed, though that's somewhat true too, but it actually sounds like a different song -- especially at moments like 1:24, when the key changes and the music explodes. A few years distance, and it's shifted into a rough, chugging masterpiece.

Little shards of hope, sometimes, are all you have. But in some inexplicable way & for some inexplicable reason -- this song is a full sheet of glass. Despite itself. And the past is gone, yeah (funny: if there's been an overarching theme in my posts here, it's probably me trying to reconnect with or bemoaning the absence of a time/person/emotional state that's already happened. Nostalgia will always be my vice.), but...not really. It's just become part of something synthetic.
So: time to focus on the next line of the song.

"But just believe in me baby, and I'll get you away
I'ma get you out of this darkness, and into the day."


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