The Soundtrack To life

Brandi Carlile - "The Eye"

01/09/15 12:26, by Mark, 291 words | , Categories: Music  

My friend Laura posted this song to her wall a few weeks back; I watched it, gave it a comment and moved on to surfing the rest of the interwebs. "The Eye" tagged along and stuck with me; I ended up downloading it a few days later.

As if the song weren't powerful enough, the video is a beautiful live performance. Covered in a sepia tone, Brandi and her bandmates, the twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, make an arresting visual and musical composition. The song starts with a sparse, lilting acoustic guitar and then comes the vocals.

That will be the last sentence I write that makes sense because THE HARMONIES. OH, THE HARMONIES. Listen to that, no really listen. Strong, yet gentle they blend together knowing that each one's part is vital to the whole of the song. I would listen to them sing me the McDonald's Dollar Menu and I would probably be weeping before they even get to the McDouble.

It helps to have some great lyrics to belt:

I am a sturdy soul
And there ain't no shame
In lying down in the bed you've made
Can you fight the urge to run for another day?

And if that wasn't enough, the turnaround in the chorus pulls it all together with:

You can dance in a hurricane
But only if you're standing in the eye

SIGH. I may end up listening to this song too much. Hopefully my hyperbole hasn't tossed your expectations off of a cliff, but if you're looking for a thoughtful and gentle tune to start your weekend, here it is.

This is the mini-soundtrack to: Watching the snowfall with coffee and whiskey, boxing up the past, and coming back to center.

Andrew Belle - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"

12/24/14 11:00, by Mark, 140 words | , Categories: Music  

I find most Christmas/holiday season music to be repetitive and uninspiring (I will also be visiting Whoville later this evening). Maybe it's because the songs are beaten into our minds throughout the various structures of commerce we visit as we search for presents, gift cards, and such. BUT like all the other genres, there are gems hiding out there and Andrew Belle's take on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" continues to be a favorite of mine. His compositional reduction, the shuffling beat, and the piano lead makes this beautiful tune intimate once more. It's a song that makes me shut up and let the season wash over me.

The Soundtrack to Life hopes you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday.

This is the mini-soundtrack to: Having a merry little Christmas, curating a chill holiday play list.

A Wilhelm Scream - "Boat Builders"

12/18/14 08:30, by Mark, 250 words | , Categories: Music  

Tell me why'd I wait so long?

Today's song is brought to you by my friend who grew up a Long Island and New England punk/hardcore fan. We spent several years working together and sharing music. He loves him some A Wilhelm Scream and he finally found a song to smack me right in the face. Several months ago I was sitting on the edge of a life change; I found myself listening to "Boat Builders" over and over again as I kept putting off my future. I'd be playing it almost daily as I drove home from work with the rollicking guitars leading the band as they ripped through the tune at an efficient punk pace, repeating "Why'd I wait so long," to rattle at my soul.

With my hands at 10 and 2 ('cause we should all be safe drivers), I'd eventually find the back of my mind squirming in discomfort as they laid down:

I've been guilty; I know that, believe me
I admit, I've been bored, I've been lazy

While the song didn't force me into a decision, it was the sonic mantra that helped focus my brain into the deliberation it needed to get me to the finish line. It is also a rocking song and can easily be listened without any decision baggage. So charge head first into the end of your week with sonic blast of punk goodness.

This is the mini-soundtrack to: Dealing with inertia, head banging your fears into a temporary submission.

Wrabel - "Sideways"

12/12/14 10:30, by Mark, 130 words | , Categories: Music  

This was an iTunes free single several weeks back and it's still running strong in my "Songs I Want To Hear Today" playlist. It's a pretty piano-based tune with a beat that launches it into an uptempo piece. There's an organic feel to Wrabel's voice that someone was smart enough not to overproduce and let this turn into just another dance tune. This year has been about relationships of all types for me and the lyrical content resonates ("Built this house on fault lines / Outta the things that we never say"); it's also fun to try to belt out his falsetto in the car.

This is the mini-soundtrack to: Trying to move through the inertia of any relationship that's stuck.

BONUS ROUND: This is the stripped down live version.

Ryn Weaver - "OctaHate"

12/06/14 10:02, by Mark, 146 words | , Categories: Music  

I think I was looking up info on VÉRITÉ and I ended up on a link to the HillyDilly Top 30 for 2015. That's a rabbit hole unto itself, focusing mostly on pop and indie electronic sounds. Number #13 on their list was Ryn Weaver and two sample tracks. "OctaHate" grabbed me by my pop sensibilities and shook me silly with its xylophone-esque melody and her Beyoncé-like song vocals (the soft/loud contrast, Beyoncé is still Beyoncé). Two sounds I have not heard smashed together before.

The video is, well it makes sense in that it doesn't. It's some amalgamation of A Clockwork Orange, childhood metaphors, and a community theater group with a surplus budget. It's colorful, poppy, and she's selling the drama well, so enjoy.

This is the mini-soundtrack to: Just having to dance. DON'T LOOK AT ME THAT WAY. It's my swerve and I'm getting it on.

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