SotW: Closer by Tegan and Sara Sunday, Feb 10 2013 

Since it will be Valentine’s Day later this week, I thought I should return to my songs of the week and find something appropriate for the “holiday,” or whatever it is.

I first heard “Closer” on the radio, and I’ve been meaning to listen to the album ever since. Our wireless has been somewhat intermittent over the past couple of days, but I finally had a chance to download and start listening to Tegan and Sara‘s new album, Heartthrob.

Tegan and Sara are twins from Canada who also happen to be lesbians. They’re generally labelled indie-rock, but they seem more mainstream than that to me (in a good way). They may now be my second favorite lesbian band after Lovers! So far, I’m enjoying the album, the first one I’ve bought this year, and I love this lyric:

All you think of lately is getting underneath me
All I dream of lately is how to get you underneath me

Sexy and fun! You can see the song’s full lyrics after the break.

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Favorite Albums of 2012 Friday, Feb 8 2013 

Continuing my week of favorite music from last year, today’s post is about my favorite albums of 2012. Making this list was particularly difficult, since there were several albums that I really liked almost equally. So, the rankings below feel almost completely arbitrary — there’s little to distinguish one album from another on my list. But here goes anyway!

My favorite album of 2012 was Put Your Back N 2 It by Perfume Genius. This is PG’s sophomore album. His first CD, Learning, was my favorite album of 2010, so it’s safe to say that I love his music. In particular, I like that his albums feel like artistic wholes rather than just a bunch of disconnected singles. Two of his tracks appeared on my favorites songs and videos lists, so I thought I would add a different sample here: “Take Me Home.”

His music feels raw and real — he’s writing about real life and the struggles people go through, the feelings we all feel sometimes but are afraid to acknowledge out loud. It’s very powerful music. But I also like that he’s clearly grown as an artist since his first album. As much as I loved that one, this one is broader in its musicality and feels like a big step forward in conveying PG’s messages. It’s a great album.

Second on my list is Iris Dement’s Sing the Delta. I was a little ambivalent when I first started listening to it, but after hearing her sing many of the songs from this album in person, I fell in love with it. Her music is so much slower and more thoughtful than anything we hear on the radio today that I think it takes getting in the right frame of mind to really appreciate it. One of my favorite tracks off the album is “Morning Glory,” which I think is emblematic of Dement’s brand of music:

I really hope that Dement is inspired to put out another album soon — the world needs her music.

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Favorite Music Videos of 2012 Tuesday, Feb 5 2013 

On Sunday I posted my annual list of favorite songs/tracks of the previous year. Today I’ll list my favorite music videos of 2012. Be warned: my taste in videos tends towards the really, really gay!

1. At the top of my list is Father Tiger’s Christmas themed video, “On Christmas Day”:

I love the hipster, bearish Santa Claus, the good will message, and the modern take on Christmas. And the song is great — I would have listed it among my top ten songs of the year but I somewhat arbitrarily decided I didn’t want to include a Christmas song in that list. I’m really looking forward to this duo’s releases this year.

2. Number 2 on my list is Pink’s “Try,” a video that beautifully uses dance as a metaphor for the ups and downs of a relationship:

This video reportedly made Pink’s mother uncomfortable, but I think it’s a beautiful video as long as one takes it as metaphor rather than as a romanticizing of domestic violence. This is another song that could easily have been on my top 25 list but just didn’t quite make it. And Colt Prattes is hot!

3. Next up is Mika’s video for “Origin of Love,” one of my favorites songs of the year:

I love how ambitious this video is. It’s like a mini-movie rather than just a music video — as one reviewer put it, it’s cinematic. And Jorge Arecheta is hot — male hotness is a frequent theme in my favorite videos!

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Favorite Songs of 2012 Sunday, Feb 3 2013 

Every year, I compile a list of my favorite songs/tracks of the previous year. I’ve been meaning to blog this year’s list for the past two months; today I’m going to finally do it. Unlike last year’s list, this year’s is arranged roughly in order of preference, starting at the top:

My favorite song of 2012 is M Ward’s “Crawl after You”:

Ward’s 2009 album Hold Time was my favorite album that year, but this is the first time that one of his songs is my favorite. I love everything about this song, especially the thought that one feels compelled to crawl after the one you love and tell them who you are. It seems like an apt metaphor for life (or maybe just relationships). I also love the violin solo.

2. Mika’s “Origin of Love” is a close second on my favorites list this year:

It’s catchy and, like M Ward’s “Crawl after You,” a great love song. I guess maybe 2012 was a year of love for me! I  love the sentiment of pushing aside the crap that comes from what religion tells us about love and its origins. And the video is great — reminds me of  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

3. Number three on my list is Perfume Genius’s “Normal Song.” Here’s a live version from YouTube:

I love this song’s lullaby-like quality. It’s a tender and beautiful song.

4. Of Monsters and Men’s “Love Love Love” is number four on my list. This is also a live version YouTube:

I love this song’s treatment of forbidden love and desire. I haven’t really been in this situation, but I feel like this song would describe exactly what I felt if I were in this situation.

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New Year’s Resolution: Blogging Friday, Feb 1 2013 

My New Year’s Resolution this year was to start blogging again. I guess it hasn’t gone too well so far! The main inhibitor to blogging has been my day job. Being an honors administrator and teacher generally takes up all of my time, and when I’m home in the evenings I’m usually exhausted from the day’s work. But in the past I’ve used my blog as my memory, recording my thoughts and impressions on the plays, art, movies, etc. I see. It’s been so long since I’ve blogged regularly that I’ve lost a year or more of those memories.

So, I want to get back to blogging. I’ll start by catching up on some of my favorite things from 2012. I’ll also probably fill in some movie reviews and other odds and ends just to catch up generally. Hopefully, starting today I’ll make my resolution come true!