Song lists, Uncategorized

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: top 10 songs of 2016…

 

 

 

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… for the Triple J Hottest 100. Don’t forget to vote!

 

Howdy, music lovers!

I haven’t written anything for quite some time, and for that I apologise. I was deeply involved in #nanowrimo, which devoured my entire November. Add onto that a hectic Christmas / trying to get my shit together before launching into 2017, and here we are!

2016 was a rough one, on many levels. But, I’m determined to not dwell on the past and instead look to the future and fully embrace the present. I encourage you all to do the same.

Moving on, to the reason I’m writing today: I’ve cast my votes for the Triple J Hottest 100! Woohoo, so excited.

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Me, January 26th, 2011

Hottest 100 Day is, quite honestly, my Christmas. I have listened to the countdown for the past 19 years running, and immensely enjoy every second of it.

Of course, not all songs in the countdown will be top notch. In fact, there have been numerous cases where I’ve seriously questioned the sobriety of the voters based on some of their choices! 😛

Regardless, I have a ball every year. House parties, comfort of home, beers, barbecues, sun, music, water, air con, friends, laughs, comradery… combinations of these features have been a constant theme over my almost-two decade listening history, and is my idea of a perfect day.

Anyway, enough with the schoolgirl excitement spiel! I will now list the ten songs I voted for, and exactly why & how they’re outstanding.

01) The XX – On Hold

This, right here, is my number one song of the year. Emotive, sexy, heart-wrenching, with a little mystery. Full of hope and possibility. It stays with me days later, every time I hear it. The infectious drumming machine, Romy Madley Croft’s innocent, pure, beautiful voice, contrasting Oliver Sim’s sultry, lulling vocals makes for a potent combination.

I float, whenever I listen to this. I simply float.

Where it takes me: a void, in the middle of the universe, allowing me all the time and space I need to reflect on the people – and the loves – that have entered and subsequently left my life. A vacuum where time and space do not exist, and I have enough clear-headedness to deal with the typhoon of emotions inside myself.

Favourite lyric: “The stars and the charts and the cards make sense, only when we want them to. When I lie awake staring into space, I see a different view.”

  

02) Hellions – Quality Of Life

I wasn’t taken much by this one, at first, but every word is a huge motivational kick in the arse. When you cut through all that screaming, it’s a tune about not succumbing to be society’s puppet, to fight against being a cog in the machine, and to do whatever the fuck you want with your life, and stop listening to the people who keep telling you something is pointless or impossible.

Where it takes me: I’m at a motivational speaker’s convention, like Tony Robbins, for example, but instead of him standing on stage speaking into a microphone, he’s doing multiple backflips, is putting on a huge pyrotechnics cirque de soleil style of theatrics, all while shooting endless fireworks into the air. Every word of this song does it. Every. Single. Word.

Favourite lyric: [Right. I couldn’t choose just one. So, I’m going against the rules and putting all lyrics right here, because it’s too amazing to let slide. You need to read this. In full. Trust me.]

[Verse 1]
So if I’ve got your contempt, then know you’ve got mine
Covet a home of trinkets, living supine
So tell me what is real and all that constitutes that
A collared man breathes on your neck, they’re on your back
In fact, fuck that: I pity you

[Chorus]
Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
But you know that you don’t

[Verse 2]
Don’t you pay no heed to those who take no liberties
The way of the sheep is not for me
(Behind your walls, you cannot see)
I’m glad you met the standard
So pleased you met your quota
It’s myopic
Hand in your pocket
Mind on your wallet
Fuck that I pity you
Live for you

[Chorus]
Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
But you know that you don’t

[Verse 3]
(Back) So bring it back to me
(True) So tell me honestly
(When) My friend, don’t lie to me
Did you ever really love everything that you did
And everywhere that you’ve been?
Are you just scared to live?
So don’t accuse me of living a life I’ll regret
I’m not a hypocrite – another marionette
So hold your hands high
You abide by your strings in the sky
Dancing to a preordained lie
You’re a marionette

[Chorus]
Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be

 

03) Amy Shark – Adore

So youthful, filled with tension and excitement, Amy Shark is a vocal powerhouse. This track is about having a gigantic crush on someone and doing whatever you can to spend time with this person. Shark sings of putting herself in uncomfortable situations and setting up ‘coincidences’ to be with this person.

I, pardon the pun, ADORE this song. You can’t help but smile lightly the entire way through.

Where it takes me: I’m walking along a darkened street, alone, in the middle of the night, wondering if an unrequited crush is worth all the heartache and physical exhaustion it’s causing. I’m fluctuating between uncertainty, letting it all go, and brainstorming how – and if – I’m going to handle things differently next time.

Favourite lyric: “I want the entire street out of town, just so I can be alone with you.”

 

04) Ayla – Like The Other Kids

This was a bit of an underdog and an unexpected late finisher for me. 

Funny story: I heard this and tagged it using Shazam several times throughout the year, then seemed to forget about it. Right before I compiled my top ten list, I looked back on my tagged songs in Shazam, and discovered I tagged this four times.

Even though I couldn’t remember it by name, I knew there was something special about it. So, I tracked it down and lo and behold, I’m obsessed with it.

It’s a story of woe, and growing up too fast, and trying to find your place in the world when you feel like an outcast. The chorus is hooky, the atmosphere is dreamy, and the drumming is second to none. I really can’t say enough about this sadly underrated masterpiece.

Where it takes me: sitting on a blanket, for an adult story time reading. Everyone is stretching out and listening to the story being told through the lyrics. I’m getting very sleepy, and hoping to drift off to some amazing dreams. I have an overwhelming sense of joy, and like the weight of the world has just been lifted from my shoulders.

Favourite lyric: “You got no heart, just a black mark, right where they took it out. But you found you did better without.”

  

05) The Temper Trap – Fall Together

Dougy Mandagi’s falsetto makes me weak, every time. This was definitely ‘love at first listen.’ Packed with fiery heartfelt passion, it’s about making a pact that no matter how hairy a situation gets, you’re in it together, come hell or high water.

It seems a little toxic, to be honest, and almost like the blind leading the blind, and yet: it instils a sense of courage in us, and the reassurance that Mandagi has a higher level of knowledge than anyone else about the situation in which he finds himself.

Where it takes me: the earth has just exploded into a million pieces, people are falling towards a massive black hole at an alarming rate, but then, I see that one person: everyone else disappears from my mind’s eye view. I work my way over to that person with a bit of rigorous mid air swimming, I then cling to that person and hold on for dear life as I plummet into the unknown.

Favourite lyric: “It’s the final call, it’s now or never.”

 

06) The Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra

After an impossibly long hiatus — 16 years, to be exact — The Avalanches exploded back onto the music scene with their album Wildflower. I must admit, I was a bit sceptical, but since ‘Frankie Sinatra’ was released, I haven’t been able to go past it.

The guest rap vocals by Danny Brown and MF Doom are a touch Rastafarian, and it’s a catchy head bopping beat. The song itself is about indulging in loads of drugs and alcohol, and towards the end is a little instrumental snippet from My Favourite Things, but those aren’t the only reasons I like it 😉

There are no profound moments, no messages, and no exercises in self discovery. It’s just a little bit of silliness and a little bit of shaking off the humdrum of the day to day, during what was an otherwise miserable, chaotic year.

Where it takes me: I’m on a nondescript dirt road, I can feel the heatstroke setting in, I can’t remember what happened the night before, and I’ve been trying to hitch a ride home but no one’s stopping. I feel like I haven’t got a friend in the world, though that’s not true. All I want in that moment is a gigantic drink of water and to sleep it off, for an entire week.

Favourite lyric: “Come with that headbanger boogie for that ass, Villain give a bully ten noogies for the cash.” [Disclaimer: no clue what this means; it’s just the catchiest part of the song] 😉

 

07) Peking Duk (Feat Elliphant) – Stranger

Fresh, summery, carefree, full of possibilities. When I first heard this, I became obsessed. But I was cursed. I could never remember the name of the song, and each time I tried to catch it, I missed it. But once I found it, there was no letting go. Added bonus: I’m a huge Elliphant fan.

Where it takes me: I’m on a grassy knoll, it’s a perfect evening, I’m surrounded by friends, we are waiting for a music festival to start. The grog is flowing, and we are all soaking up the amazing vibes from the evening, right through to the relief of arriving home safely and putting your head on your own pillow, exhausted but ecstatic. This song takes me through the entire evening from start to finish.

Favourite lyric: “Can you pull us through, to the other side of another world with you, where the night is key and the rebels sing, our battle cry: we never die, we win.”

 

08) Luca Brasi – Anything Near Conviction

I fell in love with these Tasmanian guys the second I heard this song. Hearing an interview they gave confirmed everything that shone through: they are good-natured and down to earth with fantastic senses of humour, and absolutely adore making music.

This is a song about trying to bring out the best in himself, and the one he loves. They sound so insecure and so vulnerable, which is how we’ve all felt at some stage.

I think that’s why I love it so much: it feels like they are speaking directly to my heart.

Where it takes me: I’m sitting alone in a busy pub, after some huge life event, trying to forget my troubles. This song is part of a live performance, and makes me think about all the times I’ve taken people, and myself, for granted. I exit the pub with a sense of excitement for the future, gratitude to be alive, and a steely resolve to start treating myself better. “You can’t pour from an empty cup” comes to mind.

Favourite lyric: “This isn’t the best that I’ll ever give to you.” [chokes me up, each time.]

 

09) Cub Sport – Come On, Mess Me Up

I’m in falsetto heaven, again. And these guys are so damn gorgeous. When I say ‘gorgeous,’ I mean in an “I want to ruffle your hair and pinch your cheeks!” kind of way. They can do no wrong, in my eyes.

This one had a hold of my attention right from the first listen. There’s a purity and naivety that’s plain addictive, as Tim Nelson sings about desperately wanting something even though he knows it’s toxic.

I just want to hug him and tell him everything will be okay.

Where it takes me: I’m riding a Ferris wheel, and I’m stuck at the top for hours. I’m taking in landscapes and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. Then, all of a sudden, I’m no longer on a Ferris wheel, but am now plunging towards earth in the front seat of an impossibly fast rollercoaster. All the while, I feel both unsettled and completely safe.

Favourite lyric: “I fell in love with avoiding problems, and that was the problem.”

 

10) Gang Of Youths – Native Tongue

I’ve always been a huge Gang Of Youths fan. David Le’aupepe’s melodies can make the world right again, and this particular song is loaded with passion and energy.

It’s a song about clashing with someone in a relationship, and neither is making any headway because they’re both too stubborn.

He puts his full heart and soul into everything he sings. Admittedly, this particular song was a grower for me. I wasn’t taken with it straight away, but the belting choruses and clever lyrics attached themselves to me, and now I can’t imagine life without this song.

Where it takes me: Despite the frustrating subject matter, I feel like I’m running and jumping into several different pools where I’m unsure of the depth but I’m so pumped, I feel invincible. The sun is burning my skin, and the pool water is a blessed temporary relief, before exiting and trying a new pool a few metres away.

Favourite lyric: “You are defiant, and I’m caustic for no credible reason.”

 

There you have it!

I still stand by what I say each year: music continues to evolve, new genres and collaborations are created every day. The Hottest 100 is the perfect example of the changing face of music, and I for one, can’t wait to see what the next 12 months hold!

Happy Hottest 100 Day!

Until next time…

 

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My friends, Hottest 100 Day, 2014

 

 

 

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The Butterfly Effect – how one small action can alter the entire fabric of your life

We’ve all seen the movies, all read the anecdotes.. The butterfly flapping its wings, the ‘Sliding Doors’ that can determine the outcome of the rest of your life…

But how often do we really, really think about the truth behind it?
I thought about it a few hours ago, when I was doing one of the most mundane, necessary acts known to mankind: buying groceries.

I was approaching an aisle in slow motion, and there was an elderly couple chatting about which gravy mix to buy, but everything slowed down — the din of the piped in music, the screaming kids begging their parents to buy them a lollipop or chocolate bar — it all faded away, and my trolley involuntarily started veering to the right.

Something higher than me was telling me to choose a different aisle.

But of course, I ignored it and headed straight down the soup & spice aisle.

Why? Because I just wanted to get home, and away from all of the people as soon as possible.

In short: I shunned my gut instinct and chose the easy way out.

Right this second, I’m thinking about what might have happened if I’d chosen a different aisle: would I have run into a friend I hadn’t seen in years? Would I have been in a position to help a mother or father at their wit’s end? Would I have overhead a conversation that reminded me to follow up on something very important I keep pushing on the back burner??

I guess I’ll never know.

But that’s the thing: those moments happen so frequently and within mere milliseconds, we often don’t realise what just played out right in front of our eyes.

Then, the questions flood your brain:

Do I change lanes to get past this heavy traffic flow?

Do I run to catch the train in time?

Do I call out to that person who looks so familiar in my mind’s eye?

Do I apply for that job?

Do I show up to that soccer tryout?

Do I buy that book / shirt / painted sea shell?

The list is endless, really.

But, the alternative to all of those scenarios is exactly the same:

OR: do I just keep doing what I’m currently doing, go with the flow and see what happens?

There are always pros and cons with both. But the big question you’ve gotta ask yourself is:

How much worse off will you be, if you take that chance? 

Playing it safe, and not going against what’s already deeply ingrained in you, won’t make you any worse off… But it certainly won’t move you forward in any way, shape or form.

Sometimes, the moments are a 50 / 50 split and you have absolutely no idea how it will turn out. Well, I believe intuition is a muscle unto itself — it needs repetition, and love, and care.

Like any other muscle, learn to test it, learn to push it to its limits, learn to develop it.

Go against the grain, because the grain is tired and boring. No matter how small and unimportant the factor may be, occasionally lean towards that which goes against the norm. You never know where that may lead you.

I’m not suggesting you sell up and start backpacking through Borneo right the fuck now: I’m just saying to start having some fun with the universe.

If you’ve got niggling thoughts, if the universe is showing you random little paths that make absolutely no sense to you right now, TRY IT!!! Plonk your toe in the water. At least you will have tested it, and if it still doesn’t feel right, remove it! Dry it off, and test it somewhere else!

Don’t stay on dehydrated, arid land; that’s not where the magic lies.

My challenge to you all:

In the next seven days, do one thing that pokes at the corners of your subconscious. Follow it, and see where it takes you.

You shan’t be disappointed, because the alternative is the norm! And, as I’ve already said: the norm blows! 

I think you know that, too 😉

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite binge shows. Ted Mosby sums it up right here.

Til next time, A-crew!!!

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It’s not all about the cubicle! – a quick message about finding your bliss in life

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A few words of wisdom, summing up the preceding paragraphs

It’s hard to switch off after a day of feeling like just another cog in a monstrous machine.

The numbers are crunched, the emails are sent, the spreadsheets are made, the food is served, and the tills repeatedly open and close.

It feels like Groundhog Day, and that’s on a good day!

Do you ever wish for more? Do you ever wonder how you can change your [spiritual] fortune and escape the daily mediocrity, where you don’t feel as though you are making any kind of difference, except to keep the cogs moving?

Before I proceed, you must know: I have full respect for anyone who gets up, shows up, and stays at work each day. Being a contributing member of society is admirable, and somewhere, somehow, you are making a difference for someone.

But, don’t you deserve more? Don’t you want to do something, anything, that gives you ‘soul goosebumps’?

You absolutely do, and should!!!

A few months ago, I decided that my magic word for 2016 is “PLAY”. Meaning, I still work part time — reducing my work hours was not an easy decision, but I’ll go into that journey another time — but I also want to be PLAYFUL with the universe.

I want to read, I want to write, I want to start mountain biking again! Wow, I haven’t done that for decades.

In short, I’m going to be doing the things that make me feel alive, the things that make me giddy with pleasure.

I encourage you, dear readers, to do the same.

Even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day, to start out. TRY NEW THINGS! RETRY OLD THINGS THAT USED TO IGNITE THE SPARK!

You know the spark I mean: the one that reminds you you deserve to live life to the fullest.

So, what is it for you?

Gardening?
Macramé?
The harp?
The harmonica?
Baking scones?
Mosaics?
Fan fiction?
Hockey?
Roller blading / skating?
Blacksmithing?

Whether it’s something you have always been curious about, or it’s something you used to be into but haven’t gone near for years; give it a try!

PLAY! Experiment!

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Be a mover! Be a shaker!

I’m not suggesting to quit your job tomorrow and throw yourself right into a new pursuit… Unless of course, you are in a position to do so! If you are, congratulations, and I am insanely jealous 😉

No; I’m talking about NOT idling away the valuable downtime you could spend finding what makes you tick.

Go outside.
Go to a café with a notepad and / or laptop.
Go to an empty field with a ball or Frisbee.
Take that cooking class you’ve always wanted to take.
Plant some aloe vera and coriander.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to find ‘your thing.’ Half the fun is in the journey, the discovery, the pursuit.

You never know where these things will lead, or what you will find along the way. But you certainly won’t be any worse off than you are now!

In fact, I’d wager the exact opposite to be true. You will feel enriched, you will feel stimulated, and you will learn many lessons about yourself and what you are destined to do.

Now, go! PLAY! til next time 🙂

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A beautiful quote from a very inspirational mentor.
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“Stay patient, but don’t hesitate!” — Five underrated songs that encourage and inspire you to get the job done

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Don’t you just hate staring at a blank page? Or a blank canvas? Or a blank Microsoft Word document, that tiny blinking cursor mocking you the entire time? [Sometimes, I swear the computer is rapidly telling me “YOU SUCK YOU SUCK YOU SUCK” to the beat of that pesky cursor]

Maddening, isn’t it?

Whatever your creative pursuit — photography, funk dancing, equestrian jumping, screenplay writing, anime illustrating, mushroom farming — the message is exactly the same: if you don’t get started, the metaphorical / literal cursor will keep blinking.

My love of music has come in handy many times over the years, and I have accumulated a small collection of songs whose rhythm and lyrics set off the fireworks of my creativity.

I shall share them with you now, but bear in mind: these are obscure. They are not current well known Top 40 songs, and they come from a host of differing genres.

If you want to listen to any of the five songs, just click on their name: it’ll take you straight to the YouTube clip!

Let’s dive in! In no particular order…

1) Illy – “The Chase”

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Why it’s so important:
The first time I heard this was 2010. I was working a 40 hour week in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. I was doing data entry for a major health insurance company, and I hadn’t written a thing for nearly 12 months.

When I heard this, my spark for writing returned.

I was still a bit of a newbie at that stage, so was working on building my portfolio. I bit the bullet and did some of those “GAIN EXPOSURE!!!” gigs, ignoring the awful taste in my mouth and instead replacing that taste with humble pie. All the while, I had stars in my eyes as I dreamt of being a paid contributor for Rolling Stone magazine.

I have not had a 12 month dry spell since.

Key lyrics:
🎵Don’t view it as failure if I miss it
I just figure I proved that that way gets turfed
In the process of elimination gotta keep proving wrongs til the right one works
So we’re persevering, polishing the tracks til it hurts to hear em
’bout to embark on the journey of an era🎵

🎵Do the hard yards, step by footstep’
cause with opportunity comes effort🎵

🎵for those who didn’t know how close they were when they gave in
Stay patient, but don’t hesitate
’cause everything comes to those who hustle while they wait🎵

🎵and I aint gonna wake when im old
and regret that i woke out of a dream, just to chase the gold🎵

2) Bliss N Eso – “Never Give Up”

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Why it’s so important:
Mid-2012, I went into another funk with my writing. I had recently moved interstate after my life as I knew it imploded.

I had had this song in my collection for quite a while but had never gotten around to listening to it. After several initial listens, I began churning out at least one article a week.

Not bad, considering I was previously on zero articles a week!

I was still redefining my long term goals and dreaming of a better life, but this song, once again, reignited my creativity.

Key Lyrics:
🎵They won’t clip my wings I will not conform🎵

🎵Never give up for your day will come🎵

🎵ride a magic carpet weaved out off positive thoughts🎵

🎵With the fight of a gladiator I write on my pad and paper

I trot through time canter where the path’s leading,
Work hard and use my head to hammer through the glass ceiling🎵

3) Husky – “History’s Door”

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Why it’s so important:
This is a deeply personal song for me. I cannot pinpoint a precise moment where everything clicked into place after hearing this, but let’s just say it inspired me to make some very tough decisions, way outside my comfort zone.

Since I first heard it in 2011, it stays with me. We would be here all day if I listed the multiple ways this song has nurtured me over the years.

I still listen to it ad nauseum. It still guides me to my true purpose as a writer. It helps me soldier on, even when it feels impossible to rise from the ashes.

Hopefully, it can do the same for you!

Key lyrics:
🎵Find your hope forget your home
Heed that feeling in your bones🎵

🎵Don’t look back
There is no use in wondering
Just how or why
If you leave now
You might just make it home
Before the morning light
Tired and poor
You kneel at history’s door tonight🎵

🎵*folk guitars and “ooooohweoohhh” chanting, to really set the wistful mood of adventure, while conversely making you feel as though you’re sitting on your front porch, sipping hot cocoa, and looking out at the amazing lush green views. Both unsettling, and settling, at the same time🎵

4) Death Cab For Cutie – “You Are A Tourist”

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Why it’s so important:
Oh my, yet another song where I don’t even know where to begin.

My journey with this tune is quite strange. I heard it in 2011 — wow, big life changing year, that was!!! — and I didn’t really take to it. I knew it existed, and I didn’t hate it, but that was the extent of my involvement.

However, in the last three or four months, I have decided to begin writing my fiction series. At one stage, I was feeling sooooooo creatively restless, and this song popped into my head.

I reacquired it, and now it is on regular rotation on my playlists, receiving countless plays. Because of the wisdom within the lyrics, I know now, for sure, I’m on the right path.

The #rhythmofword speaks for itself. Observe.

Key lyrics:

🎵When there’s a burning in your heart
An endless yearning in your heart
Build it bigger than the sun
Let it grow, let it grow
When there’s a burning in your heart
Don’t be alarmed🎵

🎵When there’s a doubt within your mind
Because you’re thinking all the time
Framing rights into wrongs
Move along, move along🎵

🎵And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born
Then it’s time to go
And define your destination
There’s so many different places to call home🎵

*goosebumps, just writing these!!!*
If there’s only ONE song you check out on this list, please: make it this one!!!

5) Switchfoot – “Stars”

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Why it’s so important:
This was an eight year long, incredibly slow burner for me.

Now, I can’t get enough of it.

I still listen to this little gem, looking up at the stars in the night sky, and finding complete and utter peace in my entire being.

My anxiety regularly gets the better of me, and stops me from writing anything…. That damned blinking cursor returns!

But THIS, right here, soothes my soul. It brings my head, heart and spirit back into line, allowing me to refocus my efforts on my goals, and to stop worrying about that which I cannot change.

This song taught me to trust my instincts, and trust the universe, and to be content within myself.

Key lyrics:
🎵when I look at the stars I see someone else

When I look at the stars,
the stars, I feel like myself🎵

🎵I’ve been thinking bout the meaning of resistance, of a hope beyond my own
And suddenly the infinite and penitent begin to look like home🎵

🎵maybe start to wonder how the chaos in our lives could pass as sane🎵

🎵*special mention: that ripping guitar riff right at the start!*🎵

Rightyo! There it is. My top 5 “get shit done, get refocussed, step outside your comfort zone” songs, each belonging to my specialised playlist, each representing a different point in time and a different realisation about myself.

I hope some of my suggestions work for you. Test them out! They either grab you, or they don’t.

If they don’t, may you successfully find what works for you, and use the power of music to make the big changes and forever press on through this confusing maze of funhouse mirrors. AKA, life.

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All he could do was offer us the world; and he did — Prince dead at age 57

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Prince, from his 1988 hit 'Alphabet Street'

As I write this, I am once again numbed and stunned by yet another crushing blow to the world of music in 2016.

The strange sensation in my throat is a lump I can’t fight down. I feel physically ill and only now have the tears stopped cascading.

Now that the hands have stopped shaking, I can proceed.

Prince Rogers Nelson — AKA ‘Prince’ — tragically passed away today, leaving behind years of as yet unrealised musical possibilities.

I’m not going to give you a Wikipedia cut and paste biography: what an utter waste of time, and an insult to his legacy.

Instead, I’m going to give you a little back story on how I came to adore this multi-talent machine as an artist and an inspiration.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: I’ve heard numerous snippets of gossip on what a prick he was off stage. But I’m not talking about his personal life here: I’m talking about his prodigious level of genius.

My first memory of Prince was my mum telling me he was a weirdo, but that only intrigued me more. Then, slowly but surely, I’d catch tunes like ‘Raspberry Beret’ and ‘Little Red Corvette’ which both — as well as many more — became anthems for the 80s generation I grew up in.

He was a pint sized performer, full of pent up frenetic energy, redefining the word eccentric with his ostentatious clothing and androgynous look & demeanor.

But once again, I’ve always been drawn to that which is weird. Above average. Not of the norm. For they are the people who make the world sparkle. And, god damn it, Prince was an entire galaxy unto himself.

His ripping electro riffs, his haunting piano solos, his lyrics that fluctuate from heart-wrenching to cutesy shucksydoodles to sexually charged soundtracks of seduction, vocals that fluctuate from sexy tenor to piercing soprano… I could sit here and write about him all day, but still wouldn’t do the man justice.

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Performing 'Little Red Corvette' - 1982

I veered off track. Apologies. Now, leaping back to my early teen years: the more songs I heard, the more I wanted to learn about this enigma named ‘Prince.’

I once read in a Smash Hits magazine that he taught himself how to play piano at age 9! What the??? He added more instruments to his arsenal, until eventually he could flawlessly play 27 different instruments.

When I turned 14, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to own his music for myself. For Christmas that year, I got his ‘The Hits’ collection on cassette tape. It was the greatest moment of my life, because I finally had a piece of him I could hold in the palm of my hand.

Yes, I buried myself in his music. I listened obsessively and repeatedly, snagged myself on every single hook and sung along to every single syllable.

This man is the reason I love music so much, and closely following the rest of his catalogue slowly steered me away from the mainstream pop music that girls my age were supposed to enjoy.

Fuck being put into a category, and fuck doing what society expects of you.  Prince taught me that, too. Not in a rebellious, law-breaking way. More in a: ‘yes, I listen to Prince and play with Tonka Trucks, NO I will not sit with my legs crossed, NO I don’t care if it’s not ladylike, YES I’ll wear jeans and T-shirts instead of dresses if I want to!” kind of way.

He helped me discover my true self, sns encouraged me to pursue my passions instead of doing what was always expected of me.

That, right there, is why I love him so.
That, right there, is why I will continue to celebrate his entire catalogue til the end of my days.

Oh and PS: he writes about 99% of his own songs, too. Oh AND, he has written songs for other performers, launching some of them from obscurity!
* Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U (personally, I prefer his version)
* Tom Jones – Kiss (same again)
* Martika – Love, Thy Will Be Done

Yep, they were all Prince’s.

Please, if you aren’t too familiar with his music, do the world of music a favour and check out his stuff. I bet you find yourself saying: “ahhhhh! I didn’t know this was him!” more than once.

Later, I will be listening to all my favourites and having another silent weep for him.

This is a void that simply cannot be filled, no matter how hard the music industry will try.

Prince was an international treasure, incomparable and unmatched, and so shall he always be.

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Album review! Tacocat – Lost Time (oh and some other catch-you-up tidbits)

Just a reminder because the blog has been a little cold and inactive of late: one of my biggest loves is music. More to the point, one of my biggest loves is to show new music to people and for them to respond with enthusiasm and a thirst for more music.

Like I said: my bloggy endeavours have been on pause since the start of the year but I am aiming to revive the movement.

On that note, here’s my latest review. They’re Tacocat; a riotgrrrl band from Seattle, USA. Lost Time took me back to late 90s female pop punk like Skulker and L7.

The link takes you through to my article on the Cultured Vultures website, and there are YouTube clips for a couple of their tracks.
Have a click!

I plan to post more reviews and more musings about music, as well as life in general and how to unstick yourself when you find your feet rooted to the ground while the minutes turn into decades.

Oh, and I’ll talk about my journey into writing and publishing my first book series! This is another huge bucket list item I need — and want — to tackle this year, and hopefully I can impart something resembling wisdom along the way.

Welcome back to HB Perspectives 🙂

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As The World Falls Down – how many more musicians are we going to lose?

First, there was the inadvertent trend-setting Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.

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Then, Motorhead metal icon Lemmy Kilmister.

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Soul queen Natalie Cole was the next shock passing.

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This is all too much already. But now, there’s been yet another crushing blow to the world of music. Such a gaping hole in our hearts and eardrums now that David Bowie has left this earth.

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That unmistakable face, and unmistakable sound. This man was true class, and was in a class all his own.

Hell, he was the freaking headmaster.

Sorry for the ramble; I’m still very much in shock. He is really gone, and right now it still doesn’t feel real.

I’ll backtrack to the start. Scott Weiland was the frontman for the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, as well as some other projects. His charged, gravelly voice and passionate stage presence always made for one heck of a show.

“Plush” and “Fall to Pieces” respectively are my own personal standouts, but his impressive catalogue is one incredible legacy.

Right. Lemmy. Motorhead. Hard and fast. Head-bashing, insane moshing beats and a steady stream of drawling lyrics were the signature style for this stalwart.

I’m not ashamed to admit: the first time I heard Motorhead was while playing Tony Hawk Underground when “Ace Of Spades” started up. That opening riff, though. You can practically DRINK it!
RIP, Lemmy.

Ah, the “Unforgettable” — yep, that was deliberate. Nope, I make no apologies — Natalie Cole. The iconic moment when she performed that duet with her departed father Nat King Cole was a sheer four minutes of joy. Despite your musical leanings, I think it’s almost physically impossible to not smile on the inside when you hear it.

Come to think of it, my earliest Natalie Cole memory was in 1990, one year prior to the timeless duet release, when she performed the jaunty uplifting “Wild Women Do.” Her smile is so warm, so familiar and welcoming.
What a lady she was. Such an awesome, beautiful in a dozen different ways, lady.

Geez, what a rollercoaster! Listening to these classics is bringing a lump to my throat, I don’t mind admitting.

I’ll do my best to maintain composure, but no promises 😉

Where do I even begin with David Bowie?

Labyrinth. Perfect place to start. Want some goosebumps? You’re welcome. Hey, look! It’s mid-80s Jennifer Connelly! Wow, those masks used to scare the shit out of me when I watched the movie as a kid.

I tried, really I tried, but still, I just cried. There isn’t enough space in this blogosphere to describe how incredible this gentleman was.

An activist, a humanitarian, a huge inspiration to so many people afraid to be themselves, and really just a whole lot of heart as well as boundless class all the way.

He was heavily involved in causes such as Save The Children and Every Mother Counts. (source) He didn’t fake it, either.

You know how some people pretend to give a crap about something to increase their publicity, and nothing more?

Not sir Bowie. You could tell he was passionate and strong in his beliefs and convictions.

And no, I never met the man but I’ve had plenty of experience dealing with phonies. He never gave off that vibe, in my humble opinion.

Needless to say, he also spearheaded the 70s glam rock movement with his Ziggy Stardust alter ego.

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Glitter, eyeliner and bright colours were no longer taboo in the world of rock, thanks to this man, along with acts like T-Rex and Roxy Music.

Here’s a bit of “Rebel Rebel” for you, at the height of his glam rock phase.

Not only that; he was so full of energy! He had a break from album releases from 2003 to 2013, but apart from this, he did. not. stop. making music! In fact, Black Star was released on his birthday, a mere two days before his death.

His first album was the self-titled David Bowie and came out in 1967.

That’s nearly 50 years of churning out the tunes. Think about that for a minute…

There is no end to what I could tell you about this stellar human being, but right now I’m a bit of an emotional wreck thinking about how many artists we have lost in the past five weeks.

Right now, I’m going to enjoy cranking the Bowie and drowning in his voice. (one more here, “Ashes To Ashes,” yet another personal favourite)

Here are my final thoughts:

1) Disclaimer: we may not all share the same opinion of the artists I’ve discussed, but let’s keep it respectable.

2) While the musicians have passed, their legacy lives on in the hearts of those who loved them. Play their music, reminisce on the good times and moments in history when you first heard them, and rejoice in the fact they were generous enough to leave such an awesome gift behind.

3) These are some mighty big musical shoes to fill, so it’s time for the industry to lift their game and continue to fill our lives with heart and soul, just like those before them.

4) Don’t be afraid to grieve. Music is a constant, it pumps blood through our veins and puts a spring in our step. Any loss of those feelings is surely going to take a while to process. Keep loving what you love, and keep being touched by the #rhythmofword !!!

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I still can't believe you're gone.