Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Songs That Help Me Breathe - Songs for Z

Whenever I’m going through a hard time, I shut people out. I don’t return phone calls, I curl up with my puppy at home, I take care of myself. As soon as I got to Knoxville Friday, I turned my phone off. Anyone I needed to talk to was right there in Knoxville. And I just don’t want to talk to people about being sad. Who wants to hear that? They can’t do anything about any of this so why make them feel helpless and sad too? There are a few reasons I usually don’t talk to people when I’m feeling blue, but at the end of the day, I like to work through things on my own, in my own way and time. All that said, it always make you feel better when your friends let you know they care. Even if I take longer than usual to return calls or emails - it helps and I appreciate it.

One of my good friends, Z, understands all that about me. I was upset once, and she asked if I wanted a hug and then added that she knew some people don’t like to be touched when they’re upset. I thanked her and said, “Yeah. That’s usually me.” But when I said I really wanted to take a shot of tequila and dance in the kitchen to Madonna, she hopped up, got the tequila and told me to play whichever song I felt like dancing to first. And when she learned I was grieving, she mailed me a package. So when she sent me an email today asking me to recommend new music, I decided to take the time to write this little blog. Music is my therapy. And red wine. :)

A couple weeks ago, when I learned I’d be driving straight from DC to my grandfather’s house, I decided to make myself a good playlist for the ride. Songs that mean something to me because of the lyrics (I’m a words girl!) and songs with a peaceful, calming effect on me. I called it “Breathe.” I think I’ll be listening to it a lot in the next few months. Here are some of my favorite songs from that mix.

1. Alexi Murdoch – All My Days

I have another song by Alexi Murdoch on the list too, which is also beautiful. It’s called “Orange Sky.” But “All My Days” is my favorite at the moment. Here are some lyrics:

And I’ve been trying to find
What’s been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night

2. Amos Lee – Better Days

I love Amos Lee. He’s a chill dude. I love just about all his songs. “Southern Girl” is a fav for obvious reasons. “Arms of a Woman,” “Bottom of the Barrel” and “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight” are other goodies.

When all the faith's been gone,
Still we found a reason to carry on,
Through the worrry, worry, worry,
Caught in an endless maze
Oh when the lights go out,
All i can think about,
Is how, we've seen better days...

3. Blu Sanders – Hold On

I quoted from one of his songs in a blog I wrote this summer. It’s a sweet way of thinking about freckles, I think. He says, “Your freckled chest, my wishing stars.” Aw. This is my favorite by him, though. It's about a spouse dying.

Hold on to things you can’t explain
Hold on to dancing in the rain
Hold on to kisses on the lips
Savor every sweet moment
Baby, this is it

4. Bob Schneider – A Long Way to Get Back Home

This guy is awesome live. He’s got so much energy, he’s so into it, and he’s kind of a wild man honestly. Like a coke someone shook up and then opened. One song that’s pretty hilarious is about how much he likes big butts and blowjobs. You won’t find that one on iTunes, honey. Others I really like are “God is My Friend,” “I’m Good Now” and “Best Laid Plans.”

I've got a mountain to climb before I get over this hill
I've got a world to unwind before I ever sit still
I've got a hard row to hoe before my seed is sown
I've got a long way to get before I get back home

5. Foo Fighters – Razor

This song is probably one of my top five favorite songs of all-time. It means something different to me just about every time I hear it, which means it’s good poetry I believe, and it always calms me down and makes me feel peaceful. And they’re just a great band.

Sweet and divine
Razor of mine

6. Rosie Thomas – It Don’t Matter to the Sun

This is a sad but beautiful song, and it’s the one I was listening to when I cried for the first time about losing PaMa. Other great songs by her are “Wedding Day,” “Farewell” and “Since You’ve Been Around,” which to me is a close to perfect song about falling in love. This particular song makes me think about how the world just keeps going – people’s daily lives don’t change when we lose someone even though our world changes forever.

It don't matter to the sun if you go or if you stay.
No, the sun is gonna rise, gonna rise.
Shine down on another day.
There will be tomorrow even if you choose to leave.
Cause it don't matter to the sun, no, no.
It matters to me.

7. Ray LaMontagne – Shelter

His voice is full of emotion and soul. I also like “Forever My Friend,” “Hold You In My Arms” and “Three More Days.”

Listen when
All of this around us'll fall over
I tell you what we're gonna do
You will shelter me my love
And I will shelter you

8. Ben Lee – Catch My Disease

I had a hard time picking a Ben Lee song for this because so many of his songs are light and positive. “Whatever It Is,” “Begin” and “Dirty Mind” were all close. But “Catch My Disease” is the most peppy and happy so it won out. This one's a bit overplayed, I think, but so cute and fun! Another lyric in it I like says, “She told me she loved me like fireworks.” I really love fireworks.

Your body's a dream that turns violent
and that's the way I like it
and that's the way I like it
The winter is long in the city
and that's the way I like it

9. Jem – Just a Ride

Jem is also super positive and fun.

It's too much to take
Don't like to feel out of control
So we make our plans
Ten times a day
And when they don't go
Our way we
It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride…
Don’t forget to enjoy the ride

10. John Mayer – Heart of Life

I’m sorry. I know he’s cheesy and poppy and whaa whaa, but dammit he is talented. He’s a great songwriter and an amazing guitarist. And you know what? My body is a wonderland. Ok, now that I’ve had my rant, let me say that while I like John Mayer, my most favorite thing about him is his love for the blues. So check out John Mayer Trio and John Mayer Live in Los Angeles before you write him off as just another Top 40 pop star.

For brevity’s sake, I’ll just share with you the best lyric in the song – Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood. So true, so true.

11. Will Hoge – Washed by the Water

You know I love me some Will Hoge. But I think I love that old boy for his sound more than anything so it was hard to pick a song of his for the lyrics. Since I’ve blogged about this one, though, I thought I’d share it with you. It’s about Katrina.

Down here we're washed by the water,
The water can't wash us away.

We'll put it back together,
With our own two hands.
Ain't nobody gonna turn us around.
It's oddly a little empty,
And it all seems broken down.
Oh Lord we sure could use you now.

12. Josh Kelley – Cain and Able

Truthfully, I’m not a huge Josh Kelley fan. I mean, I enjoy him, but I’d never list him as a favorite. This song, on the other hand, is definitely in my top five all-time favs list. And I just don’t think it’s right to give it to you in part so here are all the lyrics, my lovelies. My favorite is the second verse. Please do me a favor, and take a listen to this one because the music is what’s especially calming and adds to the interpretation of the song, I think.

I’m sick of chasing after things, I’d rather them chase after me
Keeping up is bound to wear me down
There’s a million ways to skin a cat, I’ve put my choices in a hat
Picked a few and threw the bad ones out

I know now…

So if you want me you’d better knock me down
Cause I ain’t easy and this ain’t hallowed ground

I’ve been thinking about ol’ Cain and Able, sitting at a breakfast table
Talking about the way things used to be
Well Able looked at Cain and said all that shit was in your head
I’d like to think that Cain was hard to please

I know now…

So if you want me you’d better knock me down
Cause I ain’t easy and this ain’t hallowed ground

She said no one loves you more than me
I looked at her, she looked at me
I think she’s waiting for me to believe

I wish that love was all it took
I’d fall into you if I could
Hoping for a graceful recovery

But I know now…

So if you want me, you’d better knock me down
Cause I ain’t easy oh, and this ain’t hallowed ground

** Ok...P.S. I have two honorable mentions I had to add to the list.

13. Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You Into the Dark

The 16-year-olds holding cell phones in the air and singing all the words (loudly!) at concerts has almost ruined this song for me. But it's just a sweet and beautiful song. And it makes me think of Heaven and that I'll see loved ones there.

My favorite lyric says Fear is the heart of love. Because it is. When you love someone so much, you're afraid you might lose them, you're afraid they don't love you back, or they don't love you enough. You're afraid they might die. You're afraid they might be in pain. You're afraid you can't help them. You're afraid something bad is going to happen to them. You're afraid of ever not having that person in your life. At its core, if these fears are there - that is love.

I think that even when you care about someone so much it scares you into not being with them, that's "fear is the heart of love" too. That's happened to me. And it happened for someone I dated too. He loved me so much, it was overwhelming, and he didn't think he could handle a big love at the time. Even though I know that feeling and have been guilty of such weakness, it seems so silly and futile right now with what I'm going through. It seems so selfish and wasteful that I ever felt that way.

But who am I to talk? Fear itself is selfish, and love is selfish. I'm afraid of losing my grandfather, and that is a little selfish of me. Love only cares about itself.

14. Chris Rice - Hallelujahs

Take three and a half minutes to listen to this song. I think it's breathtaking. If I ever get married, someone will sing this song on that day. It always calms me and speaks to me and is especially poignant now. It's hard not to smile when I hear it.

The pulse of life within my wrist
A fallen snow, a rising mist
There is no higher praise than this
And my soul wells up
Oh my soul wells up
Yes my soul wells up with hallelujahs


Diva Z said...

Thanks for the playlist. I can't wait to make it and listen to it.

Lyla Lou said...

Oooh I like the new look! I also plan on downloading those songs! I need new music for my new long commute!

Carolina Girl said...

I'm the SAME way...I shut people out big time when I'm down sometimes. I'm also obsessed with my playlist...might if I "borrow" some of your songs?? I'm always looking for good ones to add :)

Penny Lane said...

Yay! I'm glad you like the songs. Download away!

Carolina Girl said...

Ok i'm officially in love with Will Hoge now!

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