Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #1399999
My primary Writing.com blog.
Logocentric (adj). Regarding words and language as a fundamental expression of an external reality (especially applied as a negative term to traditional Western thought by postmodernist critics).|
Sometimes I just write whatever I feel like. Other times I respond to prompts, many taken from the following places:
"The Soundtrackers Group"
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
"Take up Your Cross"
Thanks for stopping by!
Even though I used a song from The 1975 from a previous year ("It's Not Living If It's Not With You" way back in 2019), I had somehow completely forgotten about this band until this song popped up in my Spotify recommendations again this year. In reading through that earlier entry, apparently I made the exact same mistakes as back then, assuming they were an older band (their sound is very 80s). I also made a comment about how great their album titles are and that streak continues... since that blog post in 2019, they did release Notes on a Conditional Form and this song is from their 2022 album called Being Funny in a Foreign Language.
The lead singer Matty Healy has apparently found himself in hot water recently for an appearance on The Adam Friedland Show podcast where he apparently made several disparaging comments about multiple racial/ethnic groups, and implying that Harry Styles is queerbaiting his fans. This probably shouldn't come as a surprise from someone who has inciting strong responses to his antics in the past... he's also known for kissing audience members during his concerts, once sucked on a fan's thumb, and often makes weird statements and commentary between the songs of a set. So there might very well come a day where he's just too weird or controversial to keep seriously following... but in the meantime I really enjoy his band's unique throwback sound. Every time they put out a new album there's at least one or two songs on it that make me feel like I'm reliving my childhood in the 80s and early 90s.
I have a handful of artists who were featured on my playlist last year and just happen to be making another appearance this year because I found another song that I really enjoy from them. Rozzi's song "66 Days" was the one I listened to last year, and this year it's "Visions." The first song was more about discovering a new artist with a unique sound... I featured "66 Days" because it was kind of old school funky, with a good beat and something that I could listen to pretty much anytime I wanted a pick-me-up.
"Visions" is from the same album (Bad Together, her only full album), but there's something a little deeper and more sophisticated to it. I found myself listening to this song a lot when I was feeling a little melancholy last year; I find myself gravitating to songs like these more and more over the years, where I can really appreciate a song that blends a little hopefulness and hopelessness together. Someone who understands how to make music that reflects the often bittersweet nature of the world.
I've been listening to Rozzi's full album an awful lot, and I'm really excited to see what she comes up with next. I think she has a really unique sound and what I hope is a bright future in music.
Every year, I tend to find a couple worship songs that I find myself listening to a lot throughout the year. This was the song this year, by far. There will be a couple of other that might show up in this "The Soundtrack of Your Life" challenge this year, but none of them even come close to the number of listens this track has. The Phil Wickham original is really good, but I found this cover on YouTube and have been listening to it on repeat for months.
The worship songs I find each year tend to reflect the "current mood" of my spirituality. In 2021, I listened to "What I See" from Elevation Worship the most because I was in a more joyous and celebratory frame of mind about my faith. God is good, things are good, etc. This year I tried to go a little deeper with my faith, beneath my generally optimistic worldview. I studied the Bible a little closer, spent more time examining my feelings about my mom's passing, and general just had a more contemplative year than the year before. And I found a great deal of comfort in this song... there's something about the lyrics and the melody of the song that really hits home for me, and I found myself listening to it in both the good times and the bad last year, a reminder that things are always in God's hands, no matter what season of life I'm in.
I picked this version of the song becase, while the Phil Wickham original is a really, really compelling song, there's something about Josh Baldwin's deeper, more rustic, country-sounding voice that makes the song hit much harder, especially compared against the electric instruments of the band.
I had briefly heard of Lizzo in late 2020 and early 2021 when her album Cuz I Love You released a "deluxe" and then "super deluxe" version with the songs "Truth Hurts" and "Good As Hell" respectively. The former was the first song I heard from her and I kind of liked it but didn't really think anything of it, but then the latter became a huge self-empowerment anthem and I've been a fan of hers ever since. She just radiates confidence and a sense of humor in her work, and I really enjoy her whole persona and abilities as an artist.
"About Damn Time" caught everyone's attention in a major way when it became the song behind a TikTok dance trend shortly after it was released in April of last year. You can find literally hundreds of compilations of different people on social media dancing to the chorus of this song. And if you watch the music video for this song, you'll see her play the flute at around the three-minute mark, which is one of my other favorite things about Lizzo this past year... when she played President James Madison's crystal flute (made in 1813 for his second inauguration) at a concert and some people absolutely lost their minds. Most of those people didn't realize that Lizzo is actually a classically trained flutist and the offer to let her play was made by the head of the Library of Congress herself after previously inviting Lizzo to tour the Library's 1,700-instrument collection of flutes a few days earlier.
Although not all of Lizzo's songs appeal to me, I do love her message and I'm always excited to see the music she comes up with next.
While we're on the topic of music documentaries (originally mentioned in "When You're Gone" ), I discovered this song when I was watching the Selena Gomez documentary Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me released on Apple TV+ in November 2022.
I'll admit that I've never really been a Selena Gomez fan. For years, she was just "another one of the Disney Channel kids" that were trying to break into more mature roles in film and television while also pursuing a career as a recording artist. I'd be hard-pressed to name more than a couple of her songs prior to 2018, and other than voicing the character of Mavis in the Hotel Transylvania franchise, the same was true of her film and television roles. She just wasn't really on my radar at all... until 2021.
In 2021, she was one of the three leads of Only Murders in the Building, a really delightful murder mystery dramedy series on Hulu, where she was part of a trio with Steve Martin and Martin Short. And, honestly, anyone who can hold their own against those two playing off each other has my attention. She was really great in the show (and has proven it's not a one-off by her equally great performance in the second season), and then I watched her documentary at the end of last year.
Unlike most music documentaries which follow the artist through a couple of tour dates or recording sessions on their current project, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me follows her for six years as she navigates her fame, her struggles with both physical aliments (lupus) and mental health issues (bipolar disorder). The video for the song she wrote for the documentary is actually a great snapshot at the whole process:
The documentary is really great. It's received a lot of praise for its transparency around mental health, and does an incredible job of showing someone who has genuine interests and thoughts and feelings trying to reconcile all that with a job that wants her to just be entertainment for the world. There's a part in the documentary where, after showing her taking a trip to Africa and really becoming passionate about humanitarian work, she's asked a serious of vapid questions about her music and her life... until one interviewer asks her a question about her other interests. You can see Selena visibly brighten and talk about her passion for philanthropy and humanitarian work... and the interviewer abruptly cuts her off after the first sentence and you see her absolutely devastated when she realizes they just wanted a soundbite and didn't actually care about anything she had to say.
This song played during the documentary and, more than "My Mind & Me," there's something about thing song that really resonates with me and the message of the film about just struggling to get through your life and find meaning in it. I have a whole newfound respect for Selena Gomez and her journey now, and I'm really excited to see what she does next.
This is the latest single by Shawn Mendes, released in March 2022. I've really enjoyed a lot of Mendes' work over the years, since his debut album Handwritten in 2015. I think he's a really talented songwriter, and has found a great mix of pop, rock, and folk sounds that really complement his voice. More that that, though, I really like the fact that he's not afraid to tackle really difficult topics in his songs, including his own battles with depression and anxiety.
Around the time of his last album release (Wonder, in 2020), a documentary filmmaker followed Shawn around and depicted his everyday life both onstage and offstage, eventually turning the footage into the documentary Shawn Mendes: In Wonder which was released by Netflix in November 2020. I'll admit I'm a sucker for musician documentaries (I've also watched the ones from Taylor Swift, P!nk, and Selena Gomez... and I really want to watch the ones from Lizzo and Shania Twain), and his came off as pretty honest and down-to-earth. Which is kind of the point of putting them out, but hey, hey succeeded.
It'll be interesting to see where he goes from here; he clearly finds music therapeutic and loves to perform, but he canceled Wonder: The World Tour early in 2022 (around the time this song was released) after only playing seven of 64 total dates, citing mental health issues. It's unclear where his career will go from here, but I do hope he puts out another album at some point because I really like his music and I think the messages in it are important to his fans, many of whom are fans because his music speaks to their own battles with anxiety and depression.
This is one of the songs I found on Spotify where, after checking out some more songs by the artist, I think there's a lot of potential. I really like this song and some of her other stuff is entertaining but hasn't quite put it all together yet. Either I like the melody and not the lyrics, or the lyrics and not the melody. For example, "Bare Feet" is fun (especially the music video , but the lyrics seem kind of silly. For example, this song is notable for me because it includes what I consider both excellent and terrible lyrics. Her opening verse is great:
I've never given anyone a chance at my heart
Momma always said it was a treasure to guard
And the man whose worthy of given it to will
Stick around long enough to prove it to you
And "I want his hands everywhere his eyes have been" is a legitimately great line. But the song also includes the lines: "And he says, it don't matter how long he has to wait / He'll sleep outside my bedroom door in the pouring rain" and I just can't figure it out... she has an external door to her bedroom? Does she live in a motel, or a one-room cabin?
The video for this song is absolutely gorgeous (shot in Zion National Park and Big Sur, California), and it's a continuation of the story from her previously music video for "The Difference (Goshdamn) ," where she's being pursued by some kind of Paul Walker lookalike. Overall, I really love this song in particular and I think Caroline Jones is a talented musician who just needs something to click into place to take it to the next level. And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that because, after a number of concerts together where she was an opening act or guest appearance alongside the Zac Brown Band, she officially joined their group in 2022.
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This song will be familiar to anyone who watches Queer Eye, since they use it for the theme song of that show. After watching one of the latest seasons, I added it to my playlist because it's such an affirming, positive song that really inspires me to embrace who I am, faults and all.
It also reminds me of what a great show Queer Eye is. It's one of the few instances where a hit show is rebooted and turned into an even better version than the original. I always found the initial Queer Eye for the Straight Guy kind of bland because it always fixated on making guys "datable" and teaching them skills to be a better partner in a relationship, but the new Queer Eye is about people (anybody) improving themselves, often for themselves. Loved ones nominate them, but in addition to spouses and significant others, they are nominated by people's parents, kids, neighbors, coworkers, friends, etc. and rather than just focusing on some new clothes, styling, etc. they also take a look at the person's home environment, relationships, view of themselves, etc. and tackle the whole thing. Rather than it being about making someone more "dateable" it's about making someone seeing themselves and embracing themselves for who they truly are and want to be.
I do think this music video leaves a little bit to be desired. There are so many incredible moments from the show, if they were going to go with a montage of what the show is about I think there were a lot of stronger options with more engaging moments from the series to choose from. Given how much of the video focused on the five hosts and not the subjects themselves, I wonder if it was a situation where they couldn't (or didn't want to) clear the subjects of each episode. Still, I love this song (and the show) and I found myself listening to it a lot this past year when I needed something affirming and confidence-building.
Another year of "The Soundtrack of Your Life" is off and running!
It's only fair that I start this year's Soundtrackers with the song I listened to the most last year, at least according to Spotify. It's also emblematic of a lot of the songs I'm going to use for this year's activity, which are songs from artists that I hadn't really heard of before, and who I mostly don't follow or listen to beyond this one song. The reason for that is because I listened to Spotify a lot last year, and used their "Discover Weekly" playlist, which takes everything you've been listening to and finds new recommendations each week. For most of the weeks of the year, I tried to listen to all thirty songs Spotify would recommend (or at least most of them) and add the ones I liked to my playlist to revisit throughout the year. My 2022 playlist is composed mostly of those songs, with others added in as I found them elsewhere (usually as part of film and television soundtracks).
I don't really know anything about the artist Heart of Gold; there's very little biography information on Spotify and since the artist chose a fairly generic name, most of my quick Google research either points to the much more famous song of the same name by Neil Young, or The Heart of Gold Band which was formed by the husband and wife team of Keith and Donna Jena Godchaux after they left The Grateful Dead. So not a lot of biographical information or fun facts to be had with this one.
The reason why I listened to this song so much in 2022 is work related. Not because we used the song for any of my projects at work but because I spent a lot of nights working late this year, and I tend to listen to the same songs over and over when I want to get into a state of flow. So for more than a couple nights, I'd put the kids to bed, my wife would go to bed, and then I'd go downstairs to the office to put in a more couple hours of work. When I needed to buckle down and focus on a task like putting together a draft of the credits for a film, I'd put this song on repeat and let it play in the background while I worked. It's upbeat and energetic enough that it kept me awake while I was reviewing contracts or typing away at the keyboard late into the night.
I tried listening to some of Heart of Gold's other stuff on Spotify because I liked this song so much, but nothing really sparked my interest. This might end up being just a one-hit wonder that I really dig listening to.
|To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
DC League of Super-Pets
Bluey (Seasons 1-3)
New Amsterdam (Season 1)
Stranger Things (Season 4)
Wednesday (Season 1)
I was really happy with all the television I watched this month, and less enthusiastic about the movies.
With the exception of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA, which I do think Marvel fans will really enjoy, the other three movies I watched this month were pretty blah. I had high hopes for BLONDE but found it to be pretty tedious (2 hours, 46 minutes!) and aside from Ana de Armas' performance it seemed more spectacle than substance. DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS was an okay animated kids' movie, and STRANGE WORLD wasn't exactly as bad as its box office performance suggests, but it wasn't great either.
After a third season that I liked but didn't love, the fourth season of STRANGER THINGS made me fall in love with the show all over again. It's just so good, and it built on the mythology built by previous seasons. I'm really excited for the fifth season coming up. On the less sci-fi side of things, NEW AMSTERDAM is a medical drama which are shows that my wife loves and I found this to be a pretty good one. The characters are great, and the stories are really touching. I love the Addams Family and at first I was a little wary that WEDNESDAY wasn't going to live up to the incredibly high standards that the Addams Family movies from the 1990s set, but it ended up being a really good show. Jenna Ortega was amazing in the role and I can't wait for the next season.
The real revelation this month, though, was BLUEY. It's an Australian children's program with a family of dogs. Each episode is only six or seven minutes long and it teaches a lesson, but it's written in a way that makes it enjoyable for both kids and parents. Our entire family will sit and watch episode after episode of the show, my wife and I laughing alongside our kids. It's truly delightful, and I love it when we find an "all ages" program that's actually enjoyable for all ages.
TOP PICK: Bluey