Music Monday: Whitney Houston

There’s no question who is dominating my playlist this week – in light of the sad news of her passing, Whitney Houston’s infectious enthusiasm and stunning vocal power have been on repeat on my iPod today.

Like most girls my age,  I learned a lot about love and heartbreak from the music of Whitney Houston and in my patriotically-inclined household, her gorgeous rendition of the National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl was required listening.  The Internet is definitely full of beautifully written tributes and as the Grammys demonstrated last night, no one can quite capture the magic of her voice, but on this morning, as I find myself needing inspiration, I’m just cranking up Whitney and letting myself go.

Music Monday: Sia

Another Monday, another week to face.  After a relatively low-key weekend of organizing and cleaning and soul-searching, I’m ready to face a new week and (finally) the start of a new month.  January is always a bit of a low point for me each year – despite the promises of a fresh start, the bleak, gray skies of winter tend to fill me with nostalgic for bright, blissful spring days.  I’m ready to put January behind me and focus on moving 2012 forward.

For Music Monday, I tend to focus on indiepop faves or guilty pleasure dance tunes, but for this week, I’m going a slightly more mellow route with one of my favorite Sia tunes, Breathe Me.  This month has brought a lot of change in my life, both personally and professionally, and I tend to struggle with change.  Despite my deep desire to embody vita abundantior, I find comfort in routine and well-managed expectations.  When life knocks me off my axis, which happens more often than not, Sia’s haunting voice and the song’s melodic crescendo is always reassuring and cathartic.

Sia – Breathe Me

Music Monday: Holiday Tuneage

‘Tis the season to already be annoyed with holiday music before Christmas has even had a chance to get here.  I love holiday music but I tend to prefer to have it as a soundtrack for holiday activities (present shopping, decorating, baking, or trying on Christmas party outfits) rather than a 24/7 stream from Thanksgiving day on.  Luckily, as I am only two days away from being on a plane headed home for Christmas, I feel festive enough to listen with reckless abandon.

Everyone has their holiday favorites and The Waitress’ Christmas Wrapping is mine.  I love that it has a great narrative and a danceable beat and manages to not get old, even during daily listening sessions.

So, deck those halls and trim those trees and raise a cup of Christmas cheer and get ready to rock!

Music Monday: Lady Gaga

I have been so neglectful of this blog – my ongoing apologies for a lack of consistent posting.  I’m racking up my resistance to meaningful blog indulging to late summer frivolity, fervent job hunting (more on this to come, I’m sure), and a general feeling of malaise whenever I start to feel too introspective.

However, it is Monday and Monday calls for music, especially this Monday.  I feel as though this is the last official week of summer – I’ll be drafting my fantasy football league (official sign of fall sports beginning) and heading down to the Blue Ridge for an extended Labor Day weekend, likely to be the last trip of its kind until the holiday season.  Summer is my favorite season – I love the heat and humidity and grilled meats and everyday activities taking place outdoors and the enthusiasm that even one’s most stay-at-home friends will show for getting together that blooms from Memorial Day to Labor Day and I find myself deeply concerned that the coming months, with their cold air and even colder emotions, will prove to be problematic.

Thus, I shall continue to bask in the dog days of summer a bit longer by sharing one of my favorite songs of the summer – You and I by Lady Gaga.  Gaga gets a bad rap but the bottom line is, this song is catchy as anything and the references to whiskey-tinged kisses and guitar strumming reminds me of every terrific summer fling I’ve ever had.  Also, I dig the Ralph Macchio-inspired drag look that Ms. Germanotta is rocking with this tune.   Enjoy!

Music Monday – Steve Martin

As evidenced by my lack of posting, I had a bit of a rough week last week.  Between major shake-ups at work (which had me momentarily fearing for my job security), a tough review of my finances, tension amongst friends, and what felt like endless bad news from the other side of the world, I felt so weighed down by the trappings of my semi-adulthood.

Luckily, the weekend brought a reprieve.  Rifts were healed, plans were set into place, good friends were abundant, and Sunday was spent enjoying one of my favorite leisure activities – swimming and boating at Lake Anna.  I came away from the weekend with a slight sunburn (curse this Irish skin) but feeling refreshed, refocused, and more upbeat than I’ve felt in weeks.

Whenever I enjoy a great lake day, I always seem to instantly set my iPod to banjo music – something about being in the wilds of Virginia makes me yearn for the old-fashioned charm and foot thumping joy of the banjo.  And when I’m feeling particularly upbeat, there’s no one I enjoy more on the banjo than Steve Martin (and the Steep Canyon Rangers.)  Martin is not only one of my favorite actors, comedians, singers, and authors, but he’s also wicked on the banjo, combining lighting fast picking with lyrics that always bring a smile to my face.

For today’s Music Monday, in  hopes of sustaining this infectious good mood, I hope you’ll enjoy Steve Martin’s banjo-fied version of King Tut, a comedy classic.  I dare you to hear Martin intone that “he gave his life for tourism” and not chuckle.


King Tut – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Music Monday – The Creation

Whenever I’m going through a challenging or difficult time,  I always find myself playing the same music over and over again – its my musical equivalent of comfort food.  For me, British bands from the 1960s are my version of chicken soup – its music that I “discovered” during my formative early teens and I always seem to go back to it when I need to remember an easier time.  I know this is strange for someone who was born in the mid-80s, but there’s something so carefree about the music of that era – which is why The Creation has been finding its way in my music circulation a lot lately.

The Creation, one of my favorite bands, is often overshadowed by its more popular predecessors like The Kinks, The Who, and the Birds and are most commonly noted for their inclusion in the Max Fischer yearbook sequence in the fantastic film, Rushmore.  For me, their songs are like an Abstract Expressionist painting or a classic comedy – something that may seem slight or less than fulfilling upon first view but continue to burrow into your subconscious long after you’ve moved on to something else.  They make me feel rooted, both in the past and the present, in a way that’s deeply reassuring when things feel like they change every second.

While I love many of The Creation’s songs, it’s Biff Bang Pow that always seems to get my shoulders shaking and my hips swaying when I need to forget about the worries of the day.  Enjoy!