Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Verizon Became an Occupier for One Night

This was projected onto the Verizon building from an apartment across the street. Easily visible from the Brooklyn Bridge as occupiers crossed over. Video here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 9: Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake

Day 9: A Song That You Can Dance To

I’m going to slightly modify this one since it’s too broad as it is. There are pretty much infinity songs that I can dance to depending on what you mean by ‘dance.’ Slowdancing or slamdancing? Skanking or bootyshaking? Break? Interpretive? (OK, I can't do those last two.)

In the name of fun I’m going to assume this means bootyshaking. And not just a song that you CAN dance to. A song that you HAVE to dance to. A song whose beats conjure an irresistible urge to break-it-down. A song that, as if by magic, instantly forces feet to step and hips to shake, resulting in the inevitable busting of moves.

Now, before I get into the song I picked please feel free to peruse this Grooveshark playlist of songs that didn’t quite make the cut.

And now the main attraction:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 8: Sing With Me, Sing for the Year

Day 8: A Song to Which You Know All the Words

Searching my head for a song that fit today’s prompt was a fun exercise if only to remind me of the songs I used to have memorize. These are the songs, after all, they were played incessantly out of tape-decks, CD players, car stereos, computers and portable MP3 players at various stages of my life. Going through these tunes was like flipping through a musical biography.

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 7: Do You Remember When We Used to Sing?

Day 7: A Song That Reminds You of a Certain Event

The redundancy of these prompts is making these posts a lot less interesting. Most of the instances I noted from the last two days have not only involved a someone/somewhere, but a particular event involving that person or place. Now I’m stuck trying to find a song/moment I haven’t already addressed and then trying to find something new and interesting to say about how music works with memory. Let’s see how this goes.

Way back two days ago I mentioned a certain wedding involving a certain song about heights and a certain lifting into the air of a certain fri3nd. Well, since I was responsible for the playlist at this reception there were clearly several awesome songs played that night leading to multiple memorable moments. Not least of which (actually, most of which) being this song:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 6: Somewhere Out There, Out Where Dreams Come True

Day 6: A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere

Initially this was kind of a difficult one for me in light of yesterday's challenge. Songs that remind me of people usually remind of specific times with those people which are also rooted in specific places. As such most songs that remind me of a somewhere also remind me of a someone. As I combed my memory/song library only two instances came up that brought to mind a place that wasn't also strongly attached to a person.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 5: Remember, Remember on the 5th of November

Day 5: A Song That Reminds You of Someone

Easiest prompt yet. As soon as I saw this one I knew which song I'd pick. Of course, just diving right into that piece from the get-go wouldn't be fun, would it? No, first I need to blather on about a bunch of other songs in addition to today's selection.

Music can be a pretty powerful trigger for memory, but it can also be a pretty random one. Some associations come through significant personal events and some seem to just inexplicably happen. Whenever I encounter any song by Broken Social Scene I immediately think of a friend of mine who once randomly asked me on Facebook if I'd ever heard of them, and the only time I remember ever hearing Franz Ferdinand's "Do You Want To?" was when I was dancing with a girl I'd just met at Thursday's in Akron. I've danced with plenty of girls, so the reason I'd remember this so vividly escapes me. The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights", however, is a song I've heard countless times but now whenever I hear it I instantly think of a particular fri3nd and his wedding when we lifted him up into the air when this song came on. Whenever I hear "Baby Love by the Supremes I always think of my aunt who apparently used to sing it to me when I was a baby and who told me about this when I was a teenager by singing it to me again.

So which song has a connection so vivid for me that it immediately sprang to mind the instant I read "Song That Reminds You of Someone"? Well, let me start off by telling you a story.

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 4: Sad Songs Say So Much

Day 4: A Song That Makes You Sad

After lamenting yesterday that I had too many sad songs in my music library you'd think today's prompt would be easy for me, but actually it's probably even harder. See, it's actually really rare for a song to bring down my mood. A really well done sad song tends to have either a tragic soulfulness (think anything Solomon Burke has ever done) or a raw, visceral power (see: Rites of Spring) and I tend to get caught up in its purity of declaration; lost in the poetry of the lyrics. I love being moved by music and when an artist or group makes me feel something through song I can't help but fall in love with the beauty of their expression. In these cases I feel inspiration more than anything else.

When my mood is down to begin with I'll even use sad songs to bring me up as hearing someone else deal with pain brings a sense of comforting camaraderie. Perhaps this really is the reason it's so hard for me to find music that makes me sad - I use so often use my favorite sad songs therapeutically. Sometimes, in the throws of anxiety and heartache, the only proper medication is pouring two fingers of whiskey while Morrissey pleads for something he wants.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 3 - Happy Happy Joy Joy

Day 3: A song that makes you happy

Today’s prompt is a bit serendipitous since last weekend I began picking through my mp3 collection to make a playlist of upbeat songs – much like Barney’s get psyched mix.

That project taught me one thing about my happy songs: they are incredibly outnumbered by sad/angry songs. I have days upon days of music at this point and out of all that I’ll probably come up with a handful of hours of happy tunes. Though I’d wager that sort of distribution is the norm among music in general. Those negative emotions always seem to be the easiest to credibly relate to other people. Positive emotions are harder to channel without being cliché.

So, how do the happy songs do it? How are they able to elevate/change a mood?

Some do it by being deep and soulful. A warm blanket you can just wrap around your shoulders and lose yourself inside. Some do it by being cute and sweet, channeling sunshine and rainbows and puppy dogs and whatnot. Other songs bring the smile with a few anthemic, major power chords and sweet solos while others just make you want to dance forever.

Though they work in different ways these songs share the ability to make those bad times seem good and good times seem great.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 2: A Bad Idea Wrapped in a Bad Song

Day 2: Your Least Favorite Song

Ugh, another category based on picking one song out of many equally deserving candidates. There are a few difficulties particular to choosing a song for least favorite song. First and foremost it’s a choice that, by definition, should be hard to think of. Most songs that I find to be truly bad are songs that I won’t listen to enough times to stick in my memory. And what does “bad” mean, anyway? Terrible execution? Horrible song writing? Overuse of cliché? General douchitude?

When I was regularly reviewing music I believed that it was better to be spectacularly incompetent than forgettably boring. Practice can make you a better player, but true creativity can’t be learned. By this definition all of the worst songs I’ve ever heard are buried in the waste bin of music history, forgotten and unrecoverable.

But we’re not necessarily talking about “bad” songs when we talk about least favorite, are we? Something can be a least favorite without necessarily being the worst. Like a completely mediocre song that becomes mystifyingly popular to the point where it’s overplayed everywhere. Such force-feeding of an otherwise inoffensive song could certainly drive it into the realm of least-favoritism.

But what about a song that's boring, cliche, overplayed, douchey AND sports a general ideology that's completely irresponsible bordering on dangerous? What about a song that epitomizes a mindset that's as poisonous as it is cathartic and has led to ten years of disastrous decisions? Is that worth least-favorite status?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge Day 1 - One Song to Rule Them All

So it’s November, and that means National Novel Writing Month. Instead of writing a novel I’ve decided to blog the 30-Day Song Challenge. I’ll not likely approach 50,000 words, so it’s not a direct replacement, but this is a little more interesting to me, and is more along the lines of the kind of writing I want to practice right now.

So, without further ado…

Day 1: Your Favorite Song