First of all – Happy Friday everyone! Second of all – I apologize for the lack of frequent posts recently. Things have been a little crazy over here, but I have a few things in mind I’d like to share with you. One of them being Kesha’s “Praying.” The whole Rainbow album is hands down – fantastic. But there is something extremely special about this song in particular. “Praying” was released in July, and I’ve been meaning to blog about it for a bit. The first time I heard it, I got chills and started crying. I’ve yet to listen to it, without tears coming to my eyes.My top adjective to describe this song? Powerful. Kesha is a powerful force, as a human, with her art, with her strength. I keep thinking about the metaphor of a Phoenix rising from the ashes. But really…Here we have this woman who has been through the ringer, and a lot of it in the public eye. I read an interview the other day where she talked about her time in in-patient rehab for her eating disorder, and how her time with the piano when she worked on Rainbow, she kept singing it to herself to get her through. I know music has an entertainment value, but it’s also an extremely influential tool in spreading your message. It’s amazing that someone who could’ve let her first single in years be fueled with rage and hate – yet…I think this is a song of grace. This woman has found peace. Can you hear the honesty in her voice? Do you hear the vulnerability? Because I think it’s all there. But I also think this is someone who has been through hell (as the lyrics referenced,) and has come out on the other side…though all of our experiences shape us as people, she seems to have evolved and come out on top despite the ultimate attempts to drag her to to the bottom. “We both know all the truth I could tell” Kesha sings. Light has been shed on parts of her battle, but I’m sure there are countless details we will never know. I just really believe in the raw authenticity of this song. It’s like an anthem – an anthem for those who have struggled with all kinds of traumatic experiences. Abusive relationships, mental illness, assault, the crappy cards we get dealt in life sometimes. I just think the message here can really resonate with listeners, and I have so much respect for Kesha for using her voice, her unmistakable talent to create this. In a time when others create “revenge” songs. Here we have this woman speaking her truth, and she’s doing it with poise. This song in itself shows such an evolution from the artist who brought us “Tik Tok.” When I think of Kesha, and I think of her art, her strength, her courage, her ability to be so real I just feel so proud of her. That probably sounds weird coming from someone who doesn’t personally know her, but she’s shared enough of her story with us to know that she’s come out on the other side of a very dark time, and she is glowing.
In case you wanna wash your hair”
John Mayer’s latest (long awaited) album, The Search for Everything is out and available in its entirety now. (It was first released in “waves.”) Of course, I was curious. He experiments, he broadens his musical horizons, he tests the limits of his talents. Most people have an opinion abut John Mayer one way or the other, but I admire his work. I think he’s learned and grown as most of us do with age. I think these songs are a heart cracked wide open, and sharing, and relating and just being, whatever it means in any given moment.
The whole album is brilliant, it’s dated using “Emoji” in a song title, but it’s real and it’s right now. I won’t say this one song is my favorite, but they’re all so good. If you haven’t yet – give it a listen!
So more about what Extraordinary Means is actually about. Seventeen year old Lane has been sent to special school, kind of like a boarding school, kind of like a summer camp – except here there is one link that bonds all the students together, and it’s not s’mores and kumbaya. All the kids at Latham have TB, albeit different strains so different levels of the way this diagnosis takes its toll on their bodies. On their good days the students might seem like normal teenagers, but whether it’s a fitful night of coughing that results in bloody pillowcases, or just the lack of energy and dark circles around their eyes – these kids are no longer able to lead something similar to their pre-TB lives. Away from their family and friends, sports and activities with no cure in sight their futures are uncertain.
Although what they considered “normal” lives are disrupted, and they can’t even continue a regular study path of school work – Lane and his new found friends have found a way to make the most of their time, and add some fun to their days. Who would have thought he’d find a familiar face at Latham? But why does this person seem to be so cold towards him? Even with a rocky start Lane will soon have new relationships develop, friendships evolve, and a spark of romance. The scary thing is no one ever knows how much time they have left – but Lane and his friends are cramming a lot of life in their days. Extraordinary Means is a heartwarming story that’s a reminder of the frailty of life, and the power of friendships in any circumstance in life. Schneider has shown us once again what a gift she has to leave such an impressionable story on the hearts of her readers.
(Image from Goodreads.)
If you ask me, Mindy Kaling is one of the most awesome women in the entertainment industry. I love her candid, raw, honest and hilarious personality that not only comes through in her characters on TV, but also in her writing. That “oh my gosh me too!” feeling you might get when you scroll through her Instagram, translates just as well in her books. Now I have to say, Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? is one of my favorites, so it’d be kind of hard to beat that one. With that being said, Why Not Me? came pretty close. Mindy’s writing has a way of making you feel like you’re at happy hour with your girlfriends (or let’s be honest – half the time you’re actually in yoga pants drinking wine on the couch) swapping all the juicy details of life, over analyzing dates, paranoia about work projects, and you know drunk eating McDonald’s and binge watching Netflix. She has such relatable anecdotes, and her down to earth quirkiness shines through the details of her experiences – whether she’s being honest about the knee jerk reaction to rejection, or pinpointing the delicious taste of something you’ve worked hard for being successful. It doesn’t hurt that she made me have a little less hair envy for all my favorite actresses when I realized most of that hair isn’t real. (Game of Thrones, I’m looking at your braids.) Mindy’s description of her long time friendships (such as BJ Novak, or childhood BFF Jaclyn) and all the ridiculous sides of her they’re well accustomed to, or the honest reactions they give her when she asks for input really made me reflect on all the genuine relationships I’m lucky to have in my own life. There’s a great little story about a rendezvous she had with a man she met, when she was meeting President Obama, which was a really interesting story to read unfurl. (Like first of all the President of the United States requested to meet YOU, AND you met a cool guy in the process?) She talks about the pitfalls and anxiety and all of the long nights and hard work that go into making her career as successful as it is (or how all of that hardwork doesn’t necessarily make for a successful outcome each time). Kaling has a great way of putting all the different aspects of life in perspective – growing up, work life, relationships, friendships – and the importance of being yourself and figuring out your own priorities along the way. If you’re looking for something that’s introspective and real without being so heavy that it breaks your heart (because really sometimes you just might get tears in your eyes from laughing so hard) then I recommend reading Why Not Me?
(Image borrowed from GoodReads.)
Whenever my friend Kaylynn and I get together, a lot of our time is spent hanging out laughing, drinking, getting ready, and singing a long to a random assortment of music in her living room. When I was visiting her over the summer in Athens she introduced me to Tim McMorris’s “Overwhelmed.” The moment the song started, I was hooked. Not only is the video undeniably real, but the song is just so…honest, pure, and full of love. It’s like I can feel my heart swelling in my chest as I listen to the words. It kind of sort of maybe makes me want to cry, but the good kind. It reminds me just how sappy I can be at times. Whatever part of me the hopeless romantic dwells in, just soaks up every single bit of this song. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to share it, (probably because I normally listen to it in Athens, and don’t associate it with Tallahassee when I’m typing my blog,) but I was on YouTube and I was like hello! This needs to be my Turn It Up Tuesday song for sure. So, get ready for some sweetness and listen to this: