Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Inspiration: Music

I have so little mentioned it, one could conclude that music isn't that important to me. In truth, it is very important to me. I treasure music; I enjoy singing, though I'm not sure I'll ever put in the effort I'd need to perform. (Loving singing, and loving it enough to go over and over and over a song until it is performance-worthy, are two very different things. I had rather enjoy it than seek to perfect it; I don't wish to spend that much time on it.)

And I love to listen to music. My tastes run largely to pop-rock and folk-rock, but with diversions here and there. Among the artists I especially enjoy are Billy Joel and Suzanne Vega, both large enough names most people have heard of them (though how many reading this have heard Vega's songs "Rosemary" and "Gypsy"?). I also quite like Loreena McKennitt (the Book of Secrets album in particular, and The Visit), Great Big Sea, the Kingston Trio, Judy Collins...you get the idea. (Or, if you don't and you're intrigued, perhaps you'll check them out!)

Some songs I especially like:

  • Anna Nalick's "Breathe" (So cradle your head in your hands / and breathe, just breathe)
  • Billy Joel's "The Stranger" (Well we all have a face / that we hide away forever / and we take it out and show ourselves / when everyone has gone)
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash, "Southern Cross" (When you see the southern cross for the first time / you understand now why you came this way / 'cause the truth you might be running from is so small / but it's as big as the promise, the promise of the coming day....)
  • Dan Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band" (A lonely child alone and wild / a cabinet-maker's son / his hands were meant for different work / and his heart was known to none....) For that matter, most of the songs on The Innocent Age, a two-CD set that includes this lovely song (unfortunately on the same track with the Washington Post March, which is nice, but sometimes you just want one of the two).
  • Duran Duran, "Rio"
  • Eagles, "Hotel California"
  • Echo's Children, "Wings" and "They Spoke With Their Hands"
  • Electric Light Orchestra, the album Time, which is effectively a story of time travel told in music. "Twilight" for example. (The visions dancing in my mind / the early dawn, the shades of time / twilight crawling through my windowpane....)
  • Great Big Sea, "French Perfume" and "Boston and St. John's" (neither of which is easy to pull pieces out meaningfully).
  • Irene Cara, "Fame" (from the soundtrack for the show).
  • Jewel, "Enter From the East". Of course, classic would be "Hands" which is also lovely, but "Enter From the East" is a gem I seldom hear recognized. (A strange fruit fell / and struck me to the core / my heart became a single flame / it wanted nothing more.)
  • Jill Sobule, "Karen By Night" and "Good Person Inside"
  • Josh Groban, "You Raise Me Up"
  • Judy Collins' performance of any number of songs, including "Suzanne" and "The City of New Orleans". (I adore her album Forever. Yes, I'm a sucker for best-of collections. They exist for a reason, usually.)
  • SinĂ©ad Lohan, "No Mermaid" (I was dancing in the middle of the desert / you said we'll burn under the hot sun / I said I'd rather be the color of pleasure / than watch like you from under the thumb.)

Music is so very easy to follow, and the right music can lead to the right frame of mind so quickly and easily - it's a joy. The right music, of course, depends on the moment.

What are some artists and songs that you like?


In Otter Space said...

I love Suzanne Vega too. I esp. like to listen to her album when I'm a the beginning stages of my creative process. There is just something so raw and real in her CD. It oozes out of her voice and music and touches me.

In Otter Space said...

Solitude Standing by Suzanne Vega. This CD always jump starts my creativity. It is also the only Vega disc I own :(
Music is important to me too!
I like classical music, jazz, blues, acoustic, blue grass and good old fashioned rock n roll.
My favs are John Hiatt, Bonnie Riatt, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Indigo Girls, Poi Dog Pondering, Wilco (just to name a few).