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Music Tidbits

I’m pretty busy this week, so today you get a Music Tidbits post! Instead of a hodge-podge of things, as I did before, however, this one actually will have a sort of theme to it. The theme here being relaxing music. Appropriate with how busy (and a tad stressful) things have been for me lately! So lay back and enjoy some random chillout-esque music (that isn’t really chillout)…

First up, I’d like to go with some perhaps odd choices: Video game music! When I was in high school, the Spyro the Dragon series was my absolute favorite video game series, particularly Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! I had an obsession with dragons, but it helped that it was incredibly fun too. And the music (composed by drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police), was fantastic. I still get nostalgic when I hear it. But there are also some tracks that are a great source of stress relief, and I love to play them from time to time when I’m feeling nervous, anxious, or upset. These would be the realm themes:

Summer Forest

Autumn Plains

Winter Tundra

Sometimes, when playing this game, I would just leave the TV on and let the music play on loop while I did something else. It’s pretty much just ambient music. But it’s great ambient music. Put on some headphones (or just play it through your speakers), put one of these tracks on repeat, lay back, close your eyes, and you’ll feel all your stress melt away in no time. That sounds so corny, but it’s true and I swear by it.

Next up, well, this isn’t really music at all, even though it’s on an album. It’s the track “Marais La Nuit” (French for “Marsh at Night”) off of Middle Cyclone by Neko Case. Really, all she did was record the noises around her farm at night (it has to do with the nature themes of the album). I guess you could get it from an ambient noise machine, though I don’t think I’ve heard one with cricket and frog noises. But say you don’t have one of those (or a laptop handy to find the sounds). In that, case you’d pop in your headphones and play this!

It came in quite handy when I spent the night in a hotel room with my parents last summer and forgot that my dad snored (LOUDLY). I put this on loop, set the sleep timer, and I was out by the second loop.

Don’t run away before I’ve had a chance to explain this next one, because it’s Justin Bieber singing “U Smile.” Or more specifically, it’s Justin Bieber singing “U Smile” 800% slower.

This may be the closest you come to having an out of body experience. My favorite description of this song was something like “It’s like the ocean…but, like, in SPACE…” That’s…actually a pretty accurate description. Put this one on if you ever need to Zen out. Drugs not necessary.

The last song I want to share, I discovered in college. It’s from this kind of oddball Japanese movie called Ping Pong, which is about just that, basically. I’ve tried to find the soundtrack version on YouTube, but I can only find the album version. Which is unfortunate, because it’s so pretty throughout until you get to the last 30 seconds of the album version and it goes all wonky and loud. Just stop it around 6:30 at the first fade out and you’ll do fine.

Ahhhh…Hope you all enjoyed this mini-chillout-esque playlist! Go do some yoga or look at the stars or something, man…


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Music Tidbits

I’ve decided I’m starting a new feature-type thing called “Music Tidbits” where I’ll just write about a hodgepodge of music-related things. This isn’t necessarily because I’ve procrastinated and couldn’t think of anything (ahem, not really anyway), but more because there’s a lot of recent music-related things I want to share.

For example. I was kind of holding off on posting, yet again, due to expectations of a new iamamiwhoami release, yet again. I should preface this by saying that I’ve been taking a month-long sabbatical from major social media, so I have no way of knowing what’s going on with my favorite artists unless they send something out on through their email lists or I Google it. So I woke up on Saturday morning and was checking to see if iamamiwhoami had released anything. I found this staring back at me. You guys, you should have seen me. I leapt out of bed and danced a mad, silent jig out of the room (because my fiancée was still sleeping) and all the way over to the office. Well, I opened my laptop and immediately pulled up their YouTube page to find…nothing new. They’re just teasing us. So cruel! And here I thought I’d missed it! Well, it didn’t drop today either, so maybe tomorrow? Or next week? Ugh, we’ll see.

I decided yesterday that I’d give listening to the radio a try again. It’s been awhile since I listened to it regularly. I do want to make it a regular thing again, though maybe just once or twice a week. I’m crotchety and prefer my own music, but I really want to hear what the latest noise out there is. KIIS FM is the big station for that out here in LA (I mean, we’ve got Ryan Seacrest on the radio for goodness’ sake), so I gave it a go. After several minutes of commercials and inane celebrity-related news (apparently more brunettes than blondes are making it onto the “sexiest women” lists), they finally played something…And it was OutKast’s “Hey Ya.” Which I love, don’t get me wrong! (Shake it like a Polaroid picture!) But I was expecting something more…recent? Anyway, they just played more commercials after that and I was beginning to remember why I stopped listening to the radio. So I changed the station, paused on Heidi and Frank for a bit before I remembered I was supposed to be listening to music, and kept going till I came across Lorde’s “Royals” (another song I love). I went back to KIIS when that was over and caught this song called “Turn Down For What” by Lil Jon or Lil Pete or Lil Wayne or some Lil. I don’t remember and I’m too lazy/don’t care enough to look it up. Anyway, the best part was that it was the last song I heard when I got to work, and when I was done, it was the first song I heard when I got back in my car after work and turned the radio on. I forgot KIIS has such a tight rotation, haha!

Anyway, I gave the radio another try on the commute home and was pleased that I’d come across a 90 minute music block (except for the announcer to periodically hawk tickets to Wango Tango). It didn’t last long though because I found myself just getting annoyed at all these songs I didn’t know that had really awful lyrics and boring melodies. So I changed it around again and got some Tears for Fears, Oasis (“Wonderwall” of course!), Imagine Dragons, the tail end of “Happy,” and maybe some Arcade Fire? I wasn’t sure about that last one. Not too successful a venture back into radio, but we’ll see. I need to program my radio buttons to the good stations and figure out their schedules.

Last but not least, I remembered this morning that I’m still signed up for the Lady Gaga mailing list and that they’d announced they’d be selling ARTPOP for $6.99. That’s a pretty good deal, so I went for it. I might do a full review another time, but so far I’m not blown away. I’m glad I only spent just shy of $7. It’s better than Born This Way, I’ll say that. Honestly, that album was a whimper compared to the roar that was The Fame Monster. I told myself forever that I liked it as much, but that was a lie. I just feel like Lady Gaga has a severe case of what I call Trying Too Hard, and that’s what was going on on that album. She’s still Trying Too Hard (yes, it deserves all those capital letters). I mean, SXSW, anybody? What the hell was that about. We get it. You’re “EDGY.” I will say after giving ARTPOP one listen-through so far, it actually feels more…natural. It’s got more of a club/discoteque sound to it. So it’s nice that she’s trying something newish.

Even though I don’t follow her as closely anymore, and my 25 year-old self would punch me in the face for saying this, it still feels like Lady Gaga has become a parody of herself. She’s become Ladonna from Regular Show (who IS a parody of Lady Gaga).

Every time she talks, all I hear is “It’s infused with the laughter of babies.” Man, I miss the Fame Monster days. I’m not saying she should do the same thing over and over again (though apparently that’s what Avril Lavigne does, and my fiancée likes her for that reason, which I guess I can see. It’s nice to have something constant to go back to while still getting something disguised as “new”). But Lady Gaga…Please stop Trying Too Hard. Not everybody loves you and that’s okay. Please stop randomly crying over it and having people throw up on you. Please. I’m getting Fremdscham over it. (This is a thing and you should Google it because you will understand when you do.)

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