Thursday, February 21, 2008

...and I want to kiss all the boys.

We all have those dark secrets we hide within our music library; those little indulgences that we keep between God, ourselves, and lonely Friday nights. You know exactly what I mean, so don’t, for even a second, try to pretend you’re too cool to listen to shitty music. I for example own almost the entire Sarah MacLachlan discography. So what, you wanna fight about it? ‘Cause, I don’t really, since I’ve been listening to a lot of Sarah lately, and I feel pretty mellow and just want us to be friends.

For a rock and roll guy like me, I’m not ashamed to say I listen to hip hop. Without a doubt, my rock is going to cross over into the heavier worlds of metal, hardcore, and the likes. There is even some more intricate pop that I’ll admit to enjoying. However, the guilt I must hide, if only to protect my beautiful white rock shoes from embarrassment, is the softer shit. I don’t know why; there is a lot of amazing lighter music and yet we ‘rock guys’ feel that knowledge of our more heartfelt indulgences will somehow detract from our black clothing, army caps, and energetic-live-show-head-nodding. Well fuck it.

"I just wanted to let everyone know...that I suck...and that I'm a girl...and I like ribbons in my hair...and I want to kiss all the boys" –Griff

Now that we have that out of the way, I’d first like to you watch this video. Ben Harper was introduced to me at a young age, while I was a camp councilor at my old summer camp. I won’t lie; I didn’t know much about smoking weed, black oppression, or religion, but God DAMN did the man’s music strike the soul. This video in specific I stumbled across about 5 months ago. Shall not Walk Alone was made popular by Harper, however was actually written by the Blind Boys of Alabama. Harper did a joint album with the boys, and while this song never made the final cut of the album, this video was leaked. All I can say is that I shed a tear the first time I watched this, and if you don’t, you are some sort of bastard fish-android with blocked tear ducts and a hand grenade made of feces for a heart.

Now that I’m done insulting fish, I want to dig even deeper into my childhood. Growing up, my father was a huge Simon & Garfunkel fan. Undoubtedly, any child that grows up in a house of music, is bound to have their tastes influenced by those of their parents. S&G was always associated with light hearted happiness for me (thank Christ I never understood their lyrics, eh?). As such, when I stumbled upon Joshua Radin, I almost wet my adult diaper with youthful delight. Everything about S&G that had made me happy when I was a child (the simple fingerpicked guitar, the basic yet gorgeous vocal thirds) was there with Radin. Specifically, if you can track down the song Star Mile you’ll note the unmistakable connection.

The last thing I want to talk about today is a little less light, but still definitely falls into the closet category. Our Lady Peace was once a cool band (that time was called Naveed). Since then, the band has chased a progressive downward spiral into the realm of suckdom and destroyed all love I used to have of screaming “I can’t live here anymore”. This adventure into the depths of Satan’s ovaries is what made me particularly surprised when I listened to Raine Maida’s solo album. It was fresh, original, catchy, modern, diverse, witty, and impeccably well put together. Maida finds a way to blend traditional folk with slam poetry and as strange as it sounds: hip hop beats. It was almost as though he had been trapped into a formula which was OLP, and once he was given free range on his music (he wrote all parts, and played 90% of the instrumentation) he found a way to revive his doomed soul. The title The Hunter’s Lullaby is a tribute to an old Cohen song, and does the name justice. No shitting, this is one of the most original albums I’ve heard since Refused’s Shape of Punk to Come.

That wraps things up for my little adventure. If at this point, you think I’m some testicle-less pansy, well fuck you, I still worship this man first and foremost.