Category Archives: Some of that rock and roll music

Song of the day: Valentine’s Day edition

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Here’s a love song that isn’t too sappy and bound to please both google-eyed lovers and hardened cynics alike.

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Memoirs and music

It’s hard to start reading Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids without dwelling on her status as punk rock godmother, poet, legend. But it is really satisfying to see her talk about her humble beginning matter-of-factly, without glorification. She is just like us, but with the passion to keep making art no matter the circumstances.

This book is about passion. Partly about Smith’s desire to be a poet, partly a love letter to Robert Mapplethorpe, a beaded necklace-maker turned sculptor turned photographer. They found each other in New York in the 60s, and drove each other to create and create and create. That each understood the other’s artistic temperament is the glue behind their relationship.

The book dwells mainly on the years before Smith and Mapplethorpe “made it,” when they were living at the Chelsea Hotel, five dollars meant wealth and the social and art world revolved around Andy Warhol and his Factory. At times the story is terrifying – Mapplethorpe’s drug trips, living on barely any food but endless cups of coffee, sleeping in a room with no heat and no plumbing. But it’s hard not to admire Smith’s acceptance of these awful conditions, because she is so sure that one day things would change. Her work, her art, would change her circumstances. Eventually it did, but the turning point is glossed over. One day, Smith is working at a bookstore, the next, she is releasing her first album. More detail about that progression would be interesting and deeply satisfying. But Smith treats the acceleration of her career as routine, focusing instead on Mapplethorpe (and occasionally Janis Joplin, Lou Reed and Edie Sedgewick).

Above all, the focus is on art for art’s sake, on writing and drawing and just creating. Smith’s first book of poetry earns more words than her first recording session. Mapplethorpe’s life, and death, has more text than Smith’s marriage to Fred Smith. The book is powerful and moving, and I both couldn’t put it down and forced myself to put it down because I didn’t want it to end. Hopefully Smith comes out with another book about her journey in the music industry. Highly recommended.

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Song of the day, snow day edition

The snow is beautiful right now, big fat flakes falling outside my window and adding to the eight inches of snow that fell a few days ago. Driving’s a pain, but I think I’ll have to take a walk later. I’ll just wear enough layers so I resemble a marshmallow – a warm, multicolored marshmallow with legs and a hat.

Today’s song of the day is lazy snow day-inspired. Listen with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket.

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Song of the day, Hanukkah edition

Happy Hanukkah, everyone! It certainly is early this year (though it’s an unofficial tradition to exclaim how early Hanukkah is every year if it doesn’t overlap with Christmas). But, though Hanukkah has snuck up on me, I am definitely ready for latkes, homemade applesauce and gelt (chocolate coins). Seems I’ve recovered from that Thanksgiving food coma after all.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Hanukkah without a little Adam Sandler. This song has become a classic; it wouldn’t be Hanukkah without it. Enjoy!

 

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Song of the day

Apologies for the lack of posts – I’ve been in transit, setting myself up to start a new (but temporary) job, and gearing up for Thanksgiving. Lots to do, but actual posts to come, cross my liver.

But though Thanksgiving is just two days away, I’ve been hearing Christmas music and seeing Christmas decorations since Halloween ended. Insert short exclamation about acting seasonally appropriate here. Since I can’t beat them, and I can’t join them because I don’t celebrate Christmas, I’m just going to add to the too-early Christmas music deluge with my favorite Christmas song. The bad acting and 80s hair is a bonus. Enjoy!

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Song of the day

It’s gorgeous here, 70ish and sunny, so here is a sunny song to suit the day:

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Song of the day

Apologies for the lack of regular posts lately – life has been moving at a hectic clip, and I’ve barely had a chance to wrap my mind around anything long enough to come up with something coherent to say here. I’m working on it.

Here’s a song that’s a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. If the “shoop, shoop” harmonies don’t make you smile, the 80s animation definitely will.

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