Alex in Transit(ion)

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Broken Social Scene. Feist. Arcade Fire.

I happened to stumble upon this picture. With the exception of Metric- Fantasies, after looking at this picture, I realized that I found out about these bands by happenstance.

I didn’t know that Broken Social Scene existed until I watched the episode of Queer as Folk when Brian and Justin got back together and made love to Lover’s Spit. After the show was over, I revved up the dial up modem and searched for the song. At first I thought it sounded like Sigur Ros, but then I found out that it was Broken Social Scene. Of course, I kept with the times, and like any teenager in 2003 I went to Kazaa and downloaded You Forgot It In People. A love affair with this band soon followed. When I visited Ithaca College, I asked my tour guide what kind of music she liked and we ended up bonding over Broken Social Scene because not many people had heard of them. Not going to lie, that conversation almost sold me on Ithaca- however, Hartwick decided to give me one hell of a scholarship and I couldn’t say no to that. But that girl taught me how to be an awesome tour guide. You just have to find ways to relate to people. This year, I received Forgiveness Rock Record as a birthday present. The funny thing was, although I appreciated my friends buying my drinks and my food that night, it was the only present I received that night that wasn’t edible…or drinkable.

Feist used to be in Broken Social Scene and then left the band to go solo. It was Fall 2007 and I just transferred to Oneonta. I ended up meeting this kid in my psychology class who would end up becoming one of my best friends there. Aaron, if you’re reading this, I’m talking about you. I just got a new computer and lost all of my music on my old laptop. Aaron was nice enough to burn me his whole collection of music and give it to me. That collection included The Reminder. After burning those CDs onto my computer, I thought “wow, I really might just belong here.”

In 2005, my friend had posted the lyrics “the power is out in the heart of man” to her blog. Although I never heard Neighborhood #3: Power Out, I truly related to that lyric. I’d rather not go into specifics of why it spoke to me so much- that part of my life is something I rarely talk about anymore. I asked her about the song and she told me it was from Arcade Fire. I bought the CD and they quickly became one of my favorite bands.

As for The Suburbs, I don’t know what I would have done if I never bought that CD. I didn’t even mean to buy it. I just came back from canvassing Canton and I needed new headphones. During my lunch break, I went into Strawberry Fields Music in Potsdam to see if they had any SkullCandy headphones. It turned out that they didn’t carry SkullCandy, but the owner offered me a discount and who was I to say no to that. As I was checking out, I looked at the wall and I saw that he had The Suburbs on vinyl. I asked if he had it on CD and he gave me the last copy of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive a discount on the CD but I could care less about that- whenever I missed home, whenever I missed Albany, I’d go outside, smoke a cigarette, and listen to the album while I looked at the sky. It made things better.

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2010 Playlist (guilty pleasure Thursday)

Who doesn’t love a playlist? These songs are listed in no particular order because for some reason- I can’t rank songs. 

1. Band of Horses- Laredo

This song makes me think of driving down Central Avenue in Albany for some odd, odd reason. A kind soul and I agreed that this song makes you think of summer.

2. Mumford and Sons- Little Lion Man

This is the debut single to end all debut singles. I know exactly where I was when I first listened to this song. I was driving on Dove Street, hoping that I wouldn’t be late for work, when the banjo caught my ears’ attention. It sounded so desperate. It sounded so yearning. And how could it not with lyrics such as “it was not your fault but mine. and it was your heart on the line. I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I my dear?”

3. Mumford and Sons- The Cave

I remember the first time I heard this song as well. It was my last night in the Capital Region, I was driving back from my cousin’s house in Saratoga and I was crying tears of joy and fear because I was getting ready to ship off to Potsdam for 3 and a half months and leaving my life in Albany behind, hoping that everything would be the same when I came back in November. Then I heard the lyrics that would define the next few months for me: “so make your siren’s call and sing all you want, I will not hear what you have to say: because I need freedom now and I need to know how to live my life the way it’s meant to be. I will hold on hope and I won’t let you choke on the noose around your neck and I’ll find strength in pain and I’ll change my ways. I’ll know my name as it’s called again.”

4. Phoenix- Lisztomania

Alright, alright- I realize that Phoenix’s album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix really came out in 2009, but I didn’t hear this song until I came to Albany in January and this was a constant companion every time I drove to work thanks to WEQX. Although I will admit, for so long I thought that they lyrics were “like a rhi, like a rhinoooooo!” They are really “like a riot, riot ohhhh.”

5. Spoon- Written in Reverse

This song is raw. It makes you unleash your wildest inhibitions. And may just be the best song to drive to.

6. Robert Francis- Junebug

This song literally takes your heart and makes you feel really sorry for the protagonist. You can perfectly imagine each scene that Francis sings about. “And that was when I loved you best. We were kids then. We shouldn’t think about the rest….you were beautiful then. You’re just a cokejaw now.”

7. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros- Home

Seriously, how can you not fall in love with this song? As soon as Jade says “Alabama, Arkansas, I sure love my ma and pa, but not the way that I do love you,” you’re automatically hooked. After all, this is what love should be- being absolutely uninhibited by the presence of your lover and feeling almost as if the world is your playground and that nothing could ever stop you. I have no idea when I’m going to get married, and I’m not a girl who had grandiose dreams of that big day, but I do know one thing: this song is playing. and there will be a giant dance party because of it.

8. Arcade Fire- The Suburbs (Continued)

This is the simplest song on the list. It barely plays for a minute. Yet I feel that it is packed with more emotion than any other song on the album. We’ve all been there. “If I could have it back, all of the hours we wasted, I’d only waste them again. You know I’d love to waste them again, and again, and again.” When this song plays, all I think about is laying down in the grass, cuddling up to someone really special, looking at the stars, and hoping that the night will last forever. 

9. Guilty About Girls- Candy Candy

Chances are, if you don’t live in Canada or close enough to it that you will have the pleasure of listening to Live 88.5, you may not know this song. On a side note- if it wasn’t for Live 88.5, the only alternative rock radio station in the North Country, I don’t think I would have lasted a day in St. Lawrence County. I found this fun little gem and it has the catchiest little hook: “Follow me, I know where I’m going, I’m not messed up like all those hos, stay with me and all will be golden, run away and be broken hearted.”

10. Tokyo Police Club- Boots of Danger (Wait Up!)

This is another song that makes me think of the campaign because I first heard of this song thanks to Live 88.5. It’s just a wonderfully catchy song. 

11. The Black Keys- Tighten Up

Just like Spoon’s Written in Reverse, this is another song that also unleashes your inhibitions. Again, this was another song that makes me think of the campaign because it was always on Live 88.5. Or it would magically appear on my iPod. I never minded one bit though =D

12. Brandon Flowers- Crossfire

My jaw dropped when I first heard this. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Killers but I did not know that Brandon Flowers was coming out with a new album! I was listening to Slacker Radio and I was on my way to the Good Leaf to get one of my last Matcha Lattes. I lit my cigarette as I walked down Jay Street and then I heard a strange, new song come through my head phones. That day, I made sure that I took my time to get to the Good Leaf. I thought that this was a damn, fine effort from Brandon Flowers. “I promise tonight not to do no harm, I promise you babe, I won’t do you no harm.”

13. Pearl Jam- Just Breathe

Yes, this is another album that came out in 2009, but I didn’t get a chance to hear it until I moved to Albany in 2010. So it’s still new-ish to me. This is such a tender love song and it’s very haunting. “Didn’t I say that I need you? Didn’t I say that I want you? What if I did and I’m a fool, you see? No one knows this more than me as I come clean.” Oh Eddie Vedder.

14. Passion Pit- Dreams

I rarely ever say that cover songs are better than the original. This song is an exception. In March, Passion Pit re-released their amazing 2009 album Manners and they included their cover of Dreams, originally recorded by The Cranberries. WOW, is all I can say. This song makes me feel that there really is hope in this world, they do that good of a job covering it. I just really want to spin in circles in Washington Park whenever I hear this or run down Lark Street with a smile on my face. 

15. The National- Blood Buzz Ohio

Yep, I remember when I first listened to this song. I was at the Hudson/Willett traffic light and all of a sudden it felt as if I was being transported to such a raw and desperate world. I found that I listed to this A LOT in Potsdam because the instrumental to this is so beautiful- the piano made me feel that even though the lyrics in this song are depressing, there’s always a diamond in the rough. “Stand up straight at the foot of your love, I lift my shirt up. Stand up straight at the foot of your love, I lift my shirt up. I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees. I never married but Ohio don’t remember me…I’m on a blood buzz, yes I am, I’m on a blood buzz.”

16. We Are Scientists- After Hours

Yes, I know, this song was released in 2008 and I’m embarrassed to say that I had no idea that it existed until 2010. I wish I knew of it earlier. I did get to see We Are Scientists when they came to Albany this July and they were AWESOME! This is, yet again, another song that got me through Potsdam, so it deserves a place on this list haha. 

17. OkGO- This Too Shall Pass

This song is so hypnotic. I got to see them in Albany during TulipFest this year. Just remember to “let it go, this too shall pass because you can’t keep letting it get you down!” It just came to me- I never listened to this song in Potsdam. I probably should have.

18. The Temper Trap- Sweet Disposition

This song was released in 2009 and I didn’t find out about it until January 2010 when I, yes you guessed it! …moved to Albany. This song is just so liberating and is another song that makes me wish I could run around singing “Stay there! Cause I’ll be coming over while our blood is young! So young it runs! We won’t stop til it’s over! Won’t stop to surrender!”

19. The Temper Trap- Fader

Yep, I remember when I first heard this song too. It was July and I was driving to work on Central Avenue. Along with Sweet Disposition, this is another liberating song. 

20. The Heavy- How Do You Like Me Now?

Two words come to my mind when I hear this song: James Brown. Damn son, this song has soul. Actually, you may of heard it on the Kia Soul commercials, you know the one with Muno from Yo Gabba Gabba? Trust me- if you haven’t heard of this song (or any of these songs on the list)- just go onto GrooveShark or YouTube right now and LISTEN.

21. LCD Soundsystem- I Can Change

I remember hearing this song for the first time too. I was driving to my cousin’s house in Saratoga to see her and her husband before I left for Potsdam. I’m convinced that they can’t do any wrong.

22. Locksley- The Whip

If you don’t have a good time to this song, I have no idea what’s wrong with you. I also got to see them in Albany in July along with We Are Scientists. 

23. Cee-Lo Green- Fuck You

This song was GENIUS. Best line ever: “I guess he’s X-Box, and I’m more Atari.”

24. The xx- Crystalised

There is one word to describe this song: chill. I could listen to this song in a variety of scenarios.

I think that’s it. If I missed anything…well, I’m sure next time I listen to the radio, I will just think “I should have added that in.” 

(just a little disclaimer- I have nothing against Potsdam, it was just really hard being away from my friends and family for so long and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But I still persevered and helped my team bring it home.)

(But you can probably see how much I adore Albany haha)