Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Mix Tapes: The Ambiguity of It All (Maybe, Perhaps?)

Some songs I've been listening to, and loving. Maybe they have a common theme (in my mind)? Maybe?

In this first video, Sharon Van Etten talks about her song, "It's Not Like," saying it's about "being happy, and being sad; cliché human emotions that everybody feels about love; frustration and excitement, the ambiguity of it all" and I really love it. I listened to all of her albums at work today for the first time before I listened to her new album that's streaming on NPR. Her new album is called "Tramp," and I love that, too. The title and the content.

Without further ado, here she is talking about, and singing, "It's Not Like":

I also recently spent a day listening to a lot of Leonard Cohen after listening to his newest album, "Old Ideas," on (surprise!) NPR. It's fantastic, and I listened to it three times in a row.

But you might know this track a little better. I just love every damn lyric in this song, from "I used to think I was some kind of gypsy boy" to "You held on to me like I was a crucifix" to "I'm cold as a new razor blade/you left when I told you I was curious/I never said that I was brave" ... but that's kind of just Leonard Cohen for you, isn't it? Okay, I'll shut up now.

Just listen:

When I was home a couple weeks ago, I snagged a copy of my dad's 92.3 WTTS Collector's Edition, which happened to include a live recording of Ray LaMontagne singing "For the Summer" at The Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis—the same performance I saw with my family this summer. When I listen to it, I remember exactly how I felt that night at the show. And how I felt moving back home for the summer (well, a little longer than just the summer) as an adult two years ago.

Here's Ray singing "For the Summer":

"The ambiguity of it all," right? Maybe it's not always good, but it doesn't have to be bad, either, I don't think. After all, like Ray sings, 
Through the years I have learned / Some things worth the tellin' / And you'd be right in guessin'/ that each and every lesson they were hard won
Now, so long. "It's time that we began to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again."

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