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Crazy Beautiful Life

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Sep. 10th, 2012 | 09:18 pm

I know a lot of musicians. Good ones. Folkies on the renaissance festival circuit, indies playing big bars and small theatres, a couple of people who were big and aren’t anymore, or who were medium and can still sell a few hundred seats. They each play several instruments, they write their own songs, making music that is true and original and says something real.

I hope they don’t read this.

What I love—what I really love, what I want to pump while I cruise through the city with the volume up and the windows down, is crappy pop music.

Whatever’s playing on the most teen-oriented radio station in town right now.

I love big thumpy bass and overdramatic electro-strings. I am down to get down tonight, I found love in a hopeless place, brushed my teeth with a bottle of Jack. I know every word to “Call Me Maybe.” I can do the Gangnam Style dance, even the tricky bit where you gallop sideways in a circle with one dead leg. I love finding a new song, playing it in a workshop, hearing the first bars kick in and the kids scream with joy and recognition.

Arkansas back roads, 2002, P!nk comes on—

Never win first place, I don't support the team
I can't take direction, and my socks are never clean
Teachers dated me, my parents hated me

I pull over and turn it up, this is my soundtrack, reverberating in the cavity of my chest.

2001, Florida, I sit in my mother’s driveway until Wyclef Jean is done.

We goin’ to the disco
We gonna elope to Mexico
Called up my mama said I’m in love with a stripper, yo

He punctuates the song with club names, clubs I know. In the song, Maxine pulls her red shoes on, maybe the same shoes David Bowie told me to put in high school, to dance the blues.

This is it. This is the do-over. Writing YA and about actual young adults, coming into schools as a guest artist who doesn’t know who’s already a “good kid”. This is being pretty and popular and driving a car with a sun roof, bought with my own money. This is being a good student instead of a fuck-up, instead of fighting a war against the mirror.

I hit the scan button until something selling for 1.29 comes on, Virgin Radio of course, DJ’s talking over songs from a central location, marketing whatever is marketable right now. Crank up the volume and open the sun roof while the sun goes down, the beginning of a five-hour drive, the end of a long day of looking pretty and changing costumes while suits graze tapas tables and nibble salmon and duck breast, tarted-up shrimp and gnocchi poutine. A new song slides in, something that Wham! would be synthesizing if they were still together. Cruise through central Kitchener-Waterloo, home of insurance agencies and kids who will move somewhere else. There is an illuminated fountain. There is a girl staring into it, hands shoved in her pockets, hoodie bunching around her wrists. I want to make a big u-turn and go back, give her a two-dollar coin and say,

Go ahead. Make a big wish.



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What's the soundtrack to your life?

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Comments {7}

blahblahblah, whatever

(no subject)

from: kathrynrose
date: Sep. 11th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
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I love the feeling this invokes. Your writing really puts me in the place where you are.

Sunny day, wind blowing, radio blasting in the car. I can totally go there, even if I don't know the songs.

I love this: "the end of a long day of looking pretty and changing costumes while suits graze tapas tables and nibble salmon and duck breast, tarted-up shrimp and gnocchi poutine."

This piece is very "alive" and "life is good."

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Sep. 11th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
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Thanks :) And you remind me, too, that I used to go for a drive when I didn't know what to write!

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Ellakite

My life doesn't have a soundtrack...

from: ellakite
date: Sep. 11th, 2012 01:49 am (UTC)
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... but my stories do.

*LONG* before there were music videos, I used to listen to my favorite tunes, close my eyes and see my tales unfold in my mind, in perfect harmony with the music.

I wish I could describe to you what I see whenever I listen to Peter Gabriel's THE RHYTHM OF THE HEAT... but words fail me. Perhaps, someday, I will learn how to do computer animation, and reproduce the visions in my head to share with the world. But until that day, you'll just have to believe me when I say it is a thing of wondrous beauty...

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whipchick

Re: My life doesn't have a soundtrack...

from: whipchick
date: Sep. 11th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC)
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That's incredible - I love that song, and it's amazing that you have a whole other dimension to it!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Sep. 11th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC)
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I love Tori Amos, so I'll have to look up the other two - thank you!

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One Phil to Rule Them All

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from: dslartoo
date: Sep. 11th, 2012 12:26 pm (UTC)
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Sadly, I have found myself strangely susceptible to crappy pop as well -- in particular of late, P!nk's "Raise Your Glass", Nickelback's "Burn it to the Ground" and, God save and protect me, Ke$ha's "TiK ToK", horrid Auto-Tuned vocals and all.

The soundtrack to my life is generally a lot higher quality than that, though, most of it endlessly varying. Rock, metal, pop, classical, prog-rock and prog-metal, opera, R&B, soul, rap/hip-hop, thrash, dance, electro, trance, world, reggae, drum & bass, dubstep, game soundtrack, Christmas music -- the list goes on. And on....

If you're really curious, I keep a record of what I listen to at Last.fm. http://www.last.fm/user/dslartoo

So of course, I loved this piece. :)

cheers,
Phil

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Sep. 11th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
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I love that!

You know what I love about Ke$ha? She has this great line in Crazy Beautiful Life, "Just stop all the shit talk, I know I'm the new bitch on the block" that for me shows she knows her place in the music industry. I may be extrapolating :) But I heard her hosting a Top-40 type show one night, and she sounded thankful and like she knew it was fleeting, and that made me like her more, too!

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