Meg Says Listen to This: Misunderstood

I have been listening to the Better than Ezra Greatest Hits album non-stop for the past two weeks. My obsession with them is nothing new, but when I was in Macon a few weekends back they came on in this craft beer bar, and I’d been wanting to listen to them ever since. I remember the first time I heard “Misunderstood” playing faintly over the speakers during lunch at Applebees in Inverness. The lyrics caught my attention immediately, as is the case most of the time when I hear a new song, and it’s been one of my personal anthems ever since. Obviously, fourteen year old me wasn’t working as a waitress and auditioning for Hollywood movies on the side, but I was walking around my neighborhood at all hours. Plus, what teenager ever feels understood? Heck at this rate, what human feels understood? It’s a rare thing. I’m writing this with an intense twitch in my left eye, and a stress level dangerously close to Randall from this week’s episode of This is Us (if you didn’t watch it let’s just say um, high.) In light of all that, music mellows me out. Especially music I can belt out along with. So, it might not be Throwback Thursday but it’s a good a day as any to share this song with you. Happy  listening!

Meg Says Listen to This: “Feb. 20, 2000”

I don’t normally post “Listen to This” back to back, but if there’s anything I’ve been reminded of lately you can never have too much music in your life. (I guess or books for that matter, but if they’re on your floor that can be a problem. Plus, I can listen to more songs than books I can read in a week, so there will always be a little bit more to share.) Music is such a powerful force. It has healing powers, can be a source of inspiration or motivation, the only tie to some buried memory, the foundation for new memories…it’s all there. Lady Gaga’s Superbowl halftime performance, and last night’s Grammy Awards were just a larger reminder of all the emotional connections we can have through music, and the messages it’s artists carry. I try and space out repeats from artists in my posts  generally too, but even though I shared an Avett Brothers song last weekend, I’m going to share one again today. I was about to type that this doesn’t relate to the Grammy’s in any way, but they actually were nominated for two. Anyway, this past weekend there was an event in Mexico, a little tropical getaway of concerts for days (including other artists like Band of Horses and Brandi Carlile, but I digress. Someone posted a video from the show in Mexico last night, and it was Seth Avett alone on stage with just his guitar and a microphone. He played “Feb. 20, 2000” which is a song off their self-titled debut album. As far as I know, it’s been several years since he played this song. Someone mentioned in the Facebook group that it could’ve been prompted by someone mentioning it in a Q&A session over the weekend. Whatever the reason, it happened and my word…it was something else. Of course I say this living vicariously through a Youtube video, but it felt like someone was squeezing my heart as I listened. It’s just a beautiful song, and I was already crying after watching John Legend perform “God Only Knows” (one of my favorite songs of all time.) But even if you aren’t as emotional as me, I still think there’s something special to see here. I can’t believe the silence of the crowd. What a beautiful, raw moment.

Here are the lyrics (from AZ) if you’re curious:

The whipping of the flag above
It sung me to sleep
And I awoke to feel her hair
Dancing on my cheek

I awoke with the crazy feeling
That I was where I belong
And the sun warmed a remembered love
In my head I heard this song

Don’t leave, you’ve finally made it home
Ain’t this the girl that you wanted all along
I know it hurts to think about everything that went wrong
But I think its over now

And I cant believe how her hands
Still fit perfectly in mine
If I don’t take my chances now
I’ll be searching all my life

Trying to find the feelings that I knew
With this lovely country girl
If those plans are just a young man’s mistake
Then why am I still so set on her

Don’t leave, you’ve finally made it home
Ain’t this the girl that you wanted all along
I know it hurts to think about everything that went wrong
But I think its over now

And more than ever, now I hear
That sweet old voice inside my ear
It says

Don’t leave, you’ve finally made it home
Ain’t this the girl that you wanted all along
I know it hurts to think about everything that went wrong
But I think its over now

Her hair is still soft and sweet
Her eyes still green, her heart still beats
For you and for the lord above
Be done with the pain
And get on with the love

Meg Says Listen to This: “Hang Me in the Tulsa County Stars”

It’s not very often that I post on a weekend, but this morning I was listening to the “Discover Weekly” playlist on Spotify, and I was all excited because there were a few songs I heard that I wanted to share with you all. Then it got to John Moreland’s “Hang Me in the Tulsa County Stars.” I kid you not, tears sprung to my eyes. I know that seems like it happens a lot and probably isn’t something special, but I’ve never heard this song before. It didn’t strike me because there was some nostalgic moment buried in my memory that it had uncovered. It made those waves of emotion crash over me because of the pure beauty of this song. I immediately listened to it again. I searched on YouTube and there’s a version from a performance at SXSW in 2015. While it may be a little uncommon for me to post on a Sunday, I couldn’t wait to share this one with you all. I can’t believe it’s never graced my ears, and so hopefully someone else will hear that painstaking beauty when they listen too. If I try to break this down and tell you why exactly the song speaks to me so loudly, it’s hard. It’s something about his gentle voice, and I mean just listen to that picking…these three minutes and forty-seven seconds are dripping with talent. Then of course because I will always be a lyric girl…the lyrics. All of them. But especially:

Babe, I know this life will make you cold and leave you mad
Make you homesick for a home you never had
Burning out the good with all the bad

and

If I could make you feel the way you make me feel
I’d set ablaze the secrets we conceal
Babe, I know this world will have the wolves outside your door
Make you leave all that you love to fight a war

 

I was reading the comments on this video, and apparently he was on Colbert a year ago, so I’ve just been missing out. And my gosh…how about the lucky audience who saw him open for Jason Isbell in London? Talk about one night of amazing. Anyway, it’s barely 9:30 in the morning on a Sunday and I already feel like my heart is cracked wide open, but if it’s possible to imagine, I mean that in a good way. Hopefully you’ll check it out, and maybe love it too. (If you do, check out the version on Spotify too.) Enjoy the rest of your weekend lovelies!

Meg Says Watch This: Superstore

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but NBC’s Superstore is so worth mentioning again. Remember my post about the importance of finding things that make us laugh? The value of comic relief? Superstore hits the nail on the head. I can’t even tell you how many times I laugh until there are tears in my eyes during one episode. On multiple occasions I’ve realized I’m still laughing when it’s segued into commercial. The comedy show is brought to you by the geniuses behind The Office. Last night’s Valentine’s episode was just the amount of laughter my week had been missing. It’s actually available on NBC’s website, now. If you’re not already a fan of this show and you could use some laughter in your life (who can’t?) I highly recommend checking it out!  The show features an eclectic group of people working at a major chain store. Hilarity ensues whether it’s an HR meeting, making a playground out of the inventory room, off-limits romantic sparks between coworkers, a little bit of everything. Sometimes, it might seem so off the wall that it’s unbelievable, but that’s just it – at the bottom of everything it’s insanely realistic. Here’s a trailer I found on YouTube because even if you don’t have time to watch a whole episode right now, this might make you giggle.

 

 

 

Meg Says Listen to This: February Seven

Today is February 7th, so I just had to share this song with you. It’s called “February 7” by The Avett Brothers. I love when songs correlate to specific dates, and I feel like there’s this unwritten rule to listen to them on those days as some sort of celebration. (Like Jimmy Eat World’s 12.23.95 or Death Cab for Cutie’s Summer Skin.) I love all their songs, but this one is especially great. Lately I’ve had strange sleeping patterns and I find myself routinely awake from 3-5 am. Every time as I count backwards, or try to think happy thoughts, or anything to lull myself back to sleep I find myself thinking of this line “There’s no falling back to sleep once you’ve wakened from the dream.” Ain’t that the truth though? Another favorite is “I went on the search for something real, traded what I know for how I feel.”  As a person completely ruled by my emotions, that line speaks to me every time. I know this song means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, which is great because isn’t that the beauty of music? Anyway, check it out.

Meg Says Read This: All the Light We Cannot See

18143977 There’s a reason All the Light We Cannot See won a Pulitzer Prize. It took me a few weeks to work my way through this one. In early January, one afternoon it was a surprise waiting for me in the mailbox from one of my favorite teachers. Over the weekend I was bound and determined to find out how this story wrapped up. Sometimes while reading, I had to take breaks because my stomach was in knots and my thoughts would wander (not out of boredom, quite the opposite – this book gave me so much to think about.) The story alternates view points, and points in time throughout the novel, later adding on to the character’s perspectives you’re seeing through, and eventually (as may have been expected), intertwining these character’s lives. There is so much to digest here, so much to take away. We have Marie-Laure a young blind girl living in occupied France during WWII. Marie-Laure’s father Daniel LeBlanc is a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. You have orphan Werner Pfennig living in a children’s home in Germany with his sister Jutta, with their kind care taker Frau Elena. As you can imagine in war-time, all of these character’s locations change and their stories expand and they encounter more people who become essential to their stories. I’m intentionally being vague because I would hate to ruin the beautiful way this story unravels. I think some of the key points I was reminded of is the way art, music, books, and imagination can be threads of hope in the darkest of times. I was reminded that although we know what’s right and wrong, people who do bad things, are still capable of doing good things. Recently, I saw a tweet that said “Historically, ‘I was only following orders’ has not been a solid defense.” How true this is, and some people only come to the realization after so much damage is done. Friendship can sprout from curious places. Fear makes people do evil things. It’s never wrong to do the right thing, even if it means you’re going against the current. Doing the right thing takes a tremendous amount of courage sometimes. People can be very impressionable, it’s important to remember to think for yourself and not be a follower. We have a responsibility to maintain a knowledge of the past, so we don’t repeat history’s mistakes. This story tugged on my heart strings, and these characters will stay with me for years to come. If you haven’t read this novel yet, I highly recommend you do so immediately.

Meg Says Watch This: Aziz Ansari

I don’t know about my readers, but personally – I am profoundly disturbed by current events over here in America. On so many levels. Every day feels like I wake up with baited breath to see what new disgusting news report there is to read about what happened while a lot of us were sleeping. Unfortunately, some of the time I’m awake in the middle of the night and I see it. (I decided to do something (that felt) productive with those insomniac hours and signed petitions, and called survey lines, and sent my words of displeasure to our senators. Stay informed.) Anyway, I think we have an obligation and duty as citizens to pay attention to what’s happening right now, to speak out when something is wrong (there’s a difference in disagreeing with someone about something, and lies, hate, and an attempt to silence people and stop the spread of fact-based information.) Who knew that in 2017 we would be waking up to “alternative facts” – we cannot let this become the “new normal” in this strange, bizarre alternate reality we’ve found ourselves in – which is unfortunately the only reality we have. Let’s call alternative facts what they really are by the way: LIES.

Okay, enough of my rant – my point of today’s post is that while we need to stay informed, and not turn our heads because the absurdity is overwhelming, I wholeheartedly believe we also need to give ourselves breaks from this as well. (Would we not lose our minds if we didn’t?) For me the main outlets that comes from, other than conversation, and getting together with friends when I can? Reading, music, movies, and finding material that makes me laugh. I fell asleep listening to the Arctic Monkeys the other night, after I watched a few episodes of re-runs of The Office and Parks and Rec. Both of these shows make me laugh until my eyes tear up. They’re witty, they’re well-written, the acting is fantastic, and they’re real. The laughter is a temporary escape, but a healthy one.

You know who else makes me laugh? Aziz Ansari. Whether it’s in his own show, Master of None or on Parks and Rec, or watching his standup comedy, or reading Modern Romance, or listening to a podcast he’s featured on he always makes me laugh. Not only is Ansari hilarious, but he’s brilliant. I think some people underestimate him, but read a chapter of his book and tell me otherwise.

Last weekend Aziz Ansari hosted SNL for the first time. The opening dialogue was insightful, but humorous. I think we can agree that sometimes, you have to laugh so you don’t cry. Like always, Ansari had me in stitches. See the clip below, and if not that – at least check out his book, or other work- I hope his brings you as much enjoyment as it’s brought me.

Meg Says Listen to This:”Love Is All Around”

mtm

(Image from Huffington Post.)

Mary Tyler Moore died yesterday at the age of 80, suffering cardiac arrest which had followed a case of pneumonia. She was an actress, an activist, wife, mother who inspired so many people. Maybe you remember watching her on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Think about how big that was back then – a single young woman living in a city, with big career goals – doing it all on her own. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Ordinary People. I remember my 11th grade psychology teacher (Mr.Delucia) showing us this film. It has stuck with me ever since. Moore wrote memoirs in which she didn’t shy away from describing her own personal demons. If anything, her struggles made her more relatable. Anyway, I’ve had the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show “Love Is All Around” stuck in my head since I read the news yesterday. It never fails to put a smile on my face. See the lyrics, and hear the song below:

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it
all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you
show it
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all
How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you’re all alone
But it’s time you started living
It’s time you let someone else do some giving
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all

Meg Says, Listen to This: “Brave For You”

The XX recently released a new album, I See You. It’s their first since Coexist in 2012. I love them. I’ve always been obsessed with the “xx” album, and getting to see them live at a late night set at Bonnaroo in 2013 just made me love them more. This album feels like a gift, given to us at just the right time. Yesterday morning I was listening while I was getting ready, and the song “Brave For You” really struck me. I was a bundle of nerves for a multitude of reasons. This has been a roller coaster of a week, (health, heart, mind,) as I’m sure it has been for so many others. We all have our own fears and anxieties, I know I’ve got mine. When you’re staring them in the face (particularly, all of them at once) it can be overwhelming. Anticipation and uncertainty are sometimes worse than things coming to fruition. I don’t know, we’ve all got our days. When they get to this line:

And when I’m scared
I imagine you’re there
Telling me to be brave

I just feel that wave of emotion special songs can bring. One of those songs that brings comfort through the speakers. We all need one of those sometimes. Art is powerful. Anyway, the whole album is awesome so I can almost guarantee this won’t be the only “Listen to This” post I have plugging a song from I See You. In the meantime, check it out. And if you needed a little bit of a hug through the airways maybe this will be it.

Meg Says Watch This: “Hold You Back”

This song is wonderful, but the video is devastatingly beautiful. It’s all in the details. From the “We Will Miss You” balloon, that’s floated up to the corner of the room, to the stray bobby pins that were left on the night stand. The glaring emptiness of absence. How difficult it is to erase the trail someone leaves on our heart and in our lives. The essence of their presence heavy in a room, even when their body isn’t there. I mean yeah, essentially it’s a break  up song, but don’t all songs mean something different to their listeners? No matter what the subject matter, this one still strikes a chord.

And it’s right now that I start to see it
All of the weight of the way that it is
Caught between what it means to start over
And what happens over and over again

I know I mentioned Ryan Hurd in my post about my favorite musical discoveries of 2016. “Hold You Back” was the last song he released on Spotify last year, but he just debuted the video this week. I just love the way he has show cased such diversity in his songwriting with each track – some sting you with how emotional they are, some are fun the kind you turn up loud and blast, but there’s so much heart in each of them. I can’t wait for more music from him this year!