Sorrows End – Sonnet 30

The most popular post on my blog is a collection of quotes from a movie that were originally stated elsewhere. The movie is The History Boys, and it contains a delightful assortment of snippets—songs, poetry, quotes from other movies, literature, you name it. I decided to compile all of these allusions, complete with accurate citations, nearly four years ago, and it turned out that others appreciated my sleuthing enough to make that my top-visited post of all time… even if it is simply an assortment of completely unoriginal material.

Ego bruising aside, I’m glad I investigated the original quotes. I developed an appreciation for A.E. Housman and—most importantly—I enjoyed Continue reading “Sorrows End – Sonnet 30”

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Sorrows End – Sonnet 30

I will not be buying the new Bob Dylan album

Don’t get me wrong– one day I might acquire the new Bob Dylan album, but I won’t be buying it. Maybe my hipster parents will deign to pick up a copy at some point. Then maybe I can copy theirs. Not that I do that sort of thing. But, you know. Just in case the mood strikes. But I doubt it will.

Here’s the thing: Bob Dylan is the shit. Not shit. The shit. He will always be. But it’s like… remember when everyone thought Keith Richards snorted his father’s ashes? And we were all, like, “holy fuck, Keith Richards, why are you such a heartless… wow, like, whyyyy?” Continue reading “I will not be buying the new Bob Dylan album”

I will not be buying the new Bob Dylan album

You can write, but you can’t edit

It’s taken me a long time to warm up to Regina Spektor. I’m not sure I knew who she was or had heard her music until I got to college. When I first heard her, my reaction was strong and negative. Her music was almost intolerable to me. I hated the inconsistency of her voice. Some of her vocal acrobatics made me really uncomfortable, and I remember squirming at the brashness of the lyrics.

Continue reading “You can write, but you can’t edit”

You can write, but you can’t edit

Sugar Town

The Beatles have a song about everything. They even have a song about not letting the weather get you down.

Before I go into my spiel about being a huge proponent of not being affected by a few raindrops, let me first say that I have many, many friends and relative who get serious Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I know it’s real and I know that it’s a problem for tons of people. I know it’s clinical and there are medical treatments.

Now, barring that, I just gotta say…

Being in a bad mood because it’s rainy or cloudy or snowy, or sunny, is perfectly ridiculous.

Want to know what you’re really “SAD” about?! You’re depressed because you are realizing something over which you have absolutely no control. You have no say in whether it will be a cloudy day or a sunny one, and yet sometimes you plan your life around it. Planning your life around something over which you have no control? Really?! How does that not sound ridiculous and… even psychopathic?

Ok, ok. Some people are farmers or weathermen or… I dunno, hot air ballooners. But (and maybe it’s a generalization) I don’t think people in those professions base their hopes, fears, and emotions on the sky. “Who ever heard of a fatalistic farmer?” (attributed to Bob Dylan, from the movie “I’m Not There”).

Relax. The weather should be like the stock market. Your life doesn’t have to be determined by what happens there and you don’t need to let it get you down. Eventually it will rain on your parade, but even when it does, there are WAY more important things in life. And keeping a level head and an open heart will help you recognize all those things that are way more important.

And guess what? I have song lyrics to back myself up! Enjoy.

“You can’t keep letting it get you down, and you can’t keep dragging a dead weight around. Is it really all that much to lug around?Better run like hell when you hit the ground, when the morning comes. Let it go, this too shall pass.” – “This Too Shall Pass,” OK GO

“When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads, they might as well be dead, if the rain comes. When the sun comes, they slip into the shade, and they sip their lemonade, when the sun shines. Rain, I don’t mind. Shine, the weather’s fine. I can show you that when it starts to rain, everything’s the same. I can show you. When it rains and shines, it’s just a state of mind. Can you hear me?” – “Rain,” The Beatles

“Yesterday it rained in Tennessee, I heard it also rained in Tallahassee, but not a drop fell on little old me, ’cause I was in Sugar Town.” – “Sugar Town,” Nancy Sinatra

“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.” – “My Girl,” The Temptations

“Everyone might find me foolish to not be counting on the sun.” – “Forecast,” Jason Mraz

Sugar Town

If I Could Be Anywhere…

I brought it to my attention today (since there’s no one else out there to do it) that I haven’t been writing about music enough. Well, that’s because I haven’t been listening to very substantial amounts of new music. New singles from people I’ve never heard before every now and then, but not full albums.

However, I have been doing some YouTube touring, and call it cheesy… but I found something worth reviewing:

A channel belonging to Tom Felton (who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, of course). It’s titled “FeltBeats” for his band, or just his production name, or something like that. He only has 4 videos, but he has an EP that is available on Amazon. And get this… he’s actually quite amazing. Not just saying that because he’s the most well-dressed character in the latest “Harry Potter.” He’s actually quite a good singer, as well as an adequate guitar player (not that I know how to judge guitar playing, but); I thought his playing accompanied his voice and lyrics very nicely. His words were heartfelt and charming; from the 4 songs on YouTube, I didn’t think they were particularly clever, but for debut work? It’s something special.

It’s even more fantastic that he’s seriously considering pursuing a career in/an education in music. It’s not hard to tell that he could easily have a following and new life as a musician, and I think he would also have a good presence as a performer and entertainer. He definitely has the acting background for it, and he has shown comfortability with a camera and in front of audiences, on YouTube and in press conferences and the like.

In case you haven’t checked out the link of Felton performing yet, I’ll debrief you:

The videos begin like many amateurs’ do; you see someone’s arm retreating from the webcam button. The first thing I noticed was the sepia coloring, which I think is a unique touch. Then, the scene [probably Felton’s bedroom (ooh)] is revealed, and we see he’s lucky enough to actually have some pretty good equipment… microphones, a couple guitars in the background in addition to the one in his hands… He wears his signature polo or striped shirt/sweatshirt and a smile.

Yes, the sound and picture are a little mismatched in a couple of the videos, but one hardly notices because Felton’s confident-yet-bashful grin would tell anyone that he just.doesn’t.care. He knows when he makes mistakes, but he doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s a testament to his character that he puts these videos up, daring fans to disown him for a few chord errors or the times he almost forgets to sing. Of course, his fans would never do such a thing. If anything, they grow more and more in love with Tom with each amused “oops” smile on his lips.

If you could be anywhere” would definitely be his single, if he ever released one. he has edited the video and overdubbed himself, so he’s strumming in one layer, picking in one layer, and singing melody in a couple layers (I don’t think he harmonizes with himself). Toward the end, he even adds in a harmonica riff, which he plays passionately well. If I had any misgivings, it would be that this song (or the portion in the YouTube video) is extremely short.

As he fingerpicks his way through the feel-good melodies on all these songs, we think, “Draco who?” The nasty Potter arch-rival is nowhere to be seen–there’s not even much angst in the lyrics, just clear-headed optimism.

Actually, the Feltbeats videos are rather difficult to critique. If it seemed like he were putting himself out there for a reason, as if saying “look, I can do more than act in family movies,” then we might be able to tell whether he was doing a good job. When Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) did “Equus,” the play in London, he explicitly told the media something like, “I want people to know that I can act in different genres, and that I have a future as a different kind of actor.” Admittedly, Radcliffe got excellent reviews for “Equus” (maybe partially just because everyone who went saw him naked, so he may have been mainly praised for sheer confidence in himself… which also goes a long way, but I digress…), but he set out to prove something.

Nowhere have I read anything from Tom Felton that implied that he was making music for any reason other than his own pure enjoyment. And no one can be faulted for that.

If I could be anywhere, I would be on the Feltbeats YouTube channel. : )

[@feltbeats and @TomFelton are both excellent follows on Twitter; look them up!]

If I Could Be Anywhere…