Archive for February, 2010

I made a mixtape for you

I was listening to a podcast yesterday featuring Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page’s iTunes playlist (they both had some awesome songs on there) and it made me realise how fortunate they are to be celebrities because they can do something like create a music playlist and share it with the world… and people will actually listen to them! Most of the time when I try to do something similar it’s like, “Yeah yeah Janice, we know. So anyway…” which is fair enough because I’m not a celebrity.

For me, sharing music is one of the great joys of life. I love hearing about new artists from friends and I love sharing what I’ve been listening too. It’s like passing on the baton. Or like education. Life enrichment and whatnot. In short, I really think that something important is happening here.

So without further ado.. I present to you my magnificent and brilliantly rad non-celebrity playlist! Now this is not an extensive list, but I chose some of the songs below because they make my heart do cartwheels of pure uninhibited joy. Others I chose because of their sheer beauty and simply because they inspire me. Still others I chose because they’re just really catchy and make me want to bust a move or rock out like a crazy maniac. And others I chose because if my heart had tear ducts then these songs would make it cry many many rivers.

Note: You’ll be happy to know that I did not just create a list of twenty Tegan and Sara songs. I’ll post that one tomorrow.

I’m kidding! Relax!

Lover’s Spit by Feist (listen)

First off, we have Feist’s cover of a Broken Social Scene song. This is just such an unbelievably beautiful song (despite the subject matter). And Leslie Feist, what an incredible voice. I absolutely love the build up which starts about one third through the song, and for some reason I just go completely nuts for that bass.

Coincidentally, this song was also on E Page’s playlist and to quote her:

Leslie Feist singing this Broken Social Scene song…need I say more? Let’s just make out.


I Found a Reason by Cat Power (listen)

I just recently discovered this song and I’ve gotta say that it is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Both Cat Power and Leslie Feist have amazingly beautiful voices. This song is so delicate and sweet and invokes images of.. well, let’s just say intimacy. Just too beautiful. Makes my heart warm.

Beautiful by Me’Shell Ndegeocello (listen)

Wow, another beautiful, delicate, amazing song. I first heard this song on So You Think You Can Dance season 4 in which Chelsie and Mark performed a Mia Michaels choreographed contemporary dance. What more can I say? It was love at first… sound. Just a stunning love song.

Videotape by Radiohead (listen)

A shoutout to Sarah for introducing me not only to this wonderful song but also to Radiohead in general. Thom Yorke’s voice singing the lines, “You are my centre when I spin away, out of control” and “No matter what happens next, shouldn’t be afraid because I know today has been the most perfect day I’ve ever seen” is just heavenly.

Camp Out by An Horse (listen)

I just realised that the songs I’ve shared so far are all the “my heart does cartwheels” kind (and there are more to come) so to mix it up a little we have this indie rock/pop song from Brissie duo An Horse. I heard about these guys from Tegan and Sara (they literally called me up and were like, “You have GOT to hear this band!”). No, that was a lie. They did NOT personally call me up.

I really could have chosen any song from their album Rearrange Beds because the entire thing is just fantastic, but this was the first track so. I love how catchy all their songs are and I just love Kate’s voice and Damon is such an extremely talented drummer. This is one of those, “I just want to rock out like a crazy maniac” kind of song.

Feel It In My Bones by Tiesto feat. Tegan and Sara (listen)

Speaking of Tegan and Sara (and I promise you this is one of the only two songs that I’ve chosen), I’m so glad that T+S collaborated with DJ Tiesto to produce this song. I had it playing in my head non-stop for weeks, to the point where I’d be sitting at a restaurant with friends bopping my head like a true idiot. Just so damn catchy I’m still dancing to it. The only way to listen to this song is LOUD so turn your speakers up! And I think the video clip is pretty freaking cool too so check it out here.

Your Arms Around Me by Jens Lekman (listen)

This song is featured in a beautiful underwater love scene (Drew Barrymore, amazing!) in the movie Whip It!. You’ll have to watch the movie to see that one (go rent it, now!). It’s a stunning sequence. Now every time I hear this song I have beautiful images of Landon Pigg and E Page swimming around in my head. Pun intended.

Accidental Babies by Damien Rice (listen)

Admittedly, Damien Rice has written several beautiful, heart and gut wrenching songs. This one sticks out for me. From the somber piano to the honest, raw, and intense emotional lyrics. This guy is afraid of nothing. I am completely awestruck by the sheer intensity of this song.

I know I make you cry. I know sometimes you wanna die. But do you really feel alive without me?

Lie in the Sound (Live Version) by Trespassers William (listen)

Anna-Lynne Williams from indie rock/pop band Trespassers William is another woman whose voice I am completely in love with. It’s just so heart-breaking and ethereal.

I love the lyric, “I love you more than I should. So much more than is good for me.” It reminds me of that fear that you get when you realise that you love someone so much that the thought of losing them pretty much sends you into a spiral of despair and makes you want to die. And the chorus, oh!

I am falling. Say my name and I’ll lie in the sound. What is love but whatever my heart needs around. And it needs you too much now.

High Times by Landon Pigg feat. Turbo Fruits (listen)

Also from the Whip It! Soundtrack (so fantastic).

Ahh, Landon Pigg… (note: brief spoiler ahead) you turned out to be a true a-hole in the movie but hot damn you are a good musician and songwriter in real life! I love love love this song. It’s 5 minutes of just pure catchy, irresistible indie pop genius. I could use more songs like this.

Pot Kettle Black by Tilly & the Wall (listen)

Another one from the Whip It! Soundtrack. Seriously, watch the movie and then go and buy the soundtrack, compiled and produced by Miss Barrymore herself.

This is such a great song to start the soundtrack off with. Drew Barrymore, I love you! Just a fun, rocking, indie-pop song. Love that guitar riff.

So Jealous by Tegan and Sara (listen)

At last, the only remaining Tegan and Sara song on this list. Boy, this was a hard choice. It’s hard choosing between the albums alone, not to mention individual songs. Jeepers! Sainthood is definitely one of my favourite albums but I pretty much love every single song on that record so it’s damn near impossible to choose just one (listen to some songs here). The Con, equally hard.

A few songs stick out for me on So Jealous however. Not to say that it’s not a fantastic album. It’s brilliant! I hold a very special place in my heart for it. Ever since I watched this video of the band performing the title track though, I have been totally and utterly head over heels madly in love with the title track. There’s just something so magical about this song. The synths, the punchy guitar, the vocals.. it’s definitely the musical embodiment of crazy lunatic jealousy. I think this is the most amazing, genius song that Sara has ever written. I can’t get my head around how she comes up with this stuff. Floors me every time.

Service Bell by Grizzly Bear & Feist (listen)

Oh golly, this song. So haunting and beautiful. It’s a shame it’s only two and a half minutes long. Needless to say I love the sound of Feist’s voice in that high register. If you do not own a copy of Dark Was the Night I strongly strongly urge you to get your hands on one! It features some of the best indie musicians around and the money goes to a good cause. Two discs of amazing, exquisite music.

Skinny Love by Bon Iver (listen)

Bon Iver is just transcendent. Justin Vernon’s vocals and guitar just cuts me every time. For Emma, Forever Ago is quite likely from start to finish one of the greatest albums you will ever hear. I will be terribly sad for you if you do not get the chance to appreciate this music. It was incredibly hard to pick only one song to share; I might as well have chosen one by random. Holed up in a cabin in the woods tending to a broken heart, Vernon has created one of the most emotionally driven, masterful pieces I have ever heard. This album is so good, it makes me want to cry like a hormonal pregnant woman on acid! It will definitely stay with me for a very very VERY long time.

Entertain by Sleater-Kinney (watch)

Now for the hard rockers. Sleater-Kinney are one of the most notable bands from the riot grrl music scene. Their music can be described as belonging to the punk rock/hardcore punk/indie rock genres. Needless to say, these ladies ROCK!

Featuring magnificent lyrics in true riot grrrl fashion:

Hey! Look around they are lying to you. Can’t you see it is just a silly ruse? They are lying, and I am lying too. All you want is entertainment. Rip me open it’s free.

In response to me saying that I love female-fronted rock bands, someone recently asked me if I was a feminist. I’m not sure that I’m a feminist, but I do appreciate strong women who are in the music and film industry. I love female-fronted rock because it’s so great to hear and see the juxtaposition between the beauty and softness of the female voice and the sheer raucousness of insane guitars and drums. There’s something very empowering about seeing these women do what was previously thought only men could/should do. If there was ever a doubt before, these ladies certainly prove that girls can definitely rock too! Download Entertain for free from S-K’s website.

Coincidentally this is also one of the songs on E Page’s playlist and to quote her once again:

This song makes me freak out, basically when I listen to it I can’t control myself. For intense purposes, their album Woods should never be playing if I am driving. I love these girls, but I am also totally jealous, because I will never be them.

Well said.


So there you have it. I dare to hope that this music opens up your world and gives you enriched eyes and hearts like it has mine.

To view this playlist (and more!) on iTunes, click here.


on knowing and believing

How do you know that something is true?

I’ve been thinking a lot about knowledge and belief lately. I think that belief and knowledge are two distinct acts. To believe is one thing; but to know is another thing entirely. For example, a person might believe that a divine being exists, but to know that a divine being exists is a completely different thing.

So how do you know if something is true? What do you base your knowledge on?

For me, I know something to be true when I have experienced it or when reason confirms it. For example, I know that when a person touches fire, they will get burnt; I know that all bachelors are single because they are single by definition.

Also, to know something to be true is to exclude all possibilities that it is false. For example, it is not always necessarily true to say that if a person who does not know how to swim jumps into deep water, they will certainly drown. It’s not necessarily true because someone who does know how to swim could jump in and save them from drowning.

Now, I have to pause for a moment and warn you that if you would like to preserve your picture of me as a conservative, religious, good-girl, who has a whole tonne of faith in God, then I would advise you to stop reading here. If you want to know me, however, the real me, and what the real me is thinking, then please keep reading.

For most of my life I believed that the God of the bible existed. I believed it. The reasons why I believed it are irrelevant. The point is, how can we know that the God of the bible exists?

Some might argue, “because you have experienced his love and divine power working in your life”. But then I might argue, how do I know that that was God and not just wishful thinking? If I cannot exclude the possibilities that those experiences weren’t really God working then how can I know that it was God? A person might believe that God is working in their life but to know it is another thing.

Others might argue, “we can know that God exists because he has revealed himself to us through the man Jesus and through the bible”. But how do we really know that Jesus was truly God? How do we know that he truly rose from the dead? How can we know that the bible is truly God speaking to us? The problem is, we can’t know it. We can choose to believe it; but we cannot know it for a fact.

Some people might think that to believe something with all your heart is as good as knowing something to be true. I’m not one of those people. Maybe I just don’t have enough “faith”. Or maybe I just think reason and experience to be more important than faith. Faith, after all, is what we turn to to explain what reason and experience cannot.

Maybe the way I view knowledge and belief is wrong. Maybe you disagree. But that simply adds to the argument that we cannot know if the God of the bible exists. You believe one thing to be true, I believe another. But neither of us knows the truth. Furthermore, neither of us can prove that what we know is true.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not denying the existence of God. Maybe God does exists. In fact, when I look out at the natural world, I am inclined to believe that there is a higher being responsible for it all. But the problem is, I cannot know it for certain.

I’m not saying that those who believe in God are stupid or that they should give up on their faith. It is your prerogative to believe what you will. I am only saying, and here is the clincher so pay close attention, that to believe that God exists is not enough for me if I cannot know it to be true.

If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, I found this entry to be very stimulating.

on reasons to get up in the morning

“If I’m gonna get up, I’ll just admit it, I only get up for you.”

Downtown by Tegan and Sara

You know how sometimes a single line in a song makes you fall in love with it? And it’s not particularly because you relate to it in some way. Who knows why? Maybe because it speaks to an inner yearning or desire. Maybe it makes you think of a certain person. Maybe it makes you feel a certain way.

This is one of those lines for me.

I love it because I simply cannot imagine what it would be like to live your whole life for another person. At least, that’s my interpretation of the lyric. But it makes me wonder what that would be like. To have someone in your life that is so significant, who means so much to you, that they become the reason that you get up in the morning. I mean, most days I don’t even know what I get up for.

I think that’d be nice though. To have someone like that in your life. But then that makes me think about the possibility that I’ll ever have that. When you think about it, it’s such a miracle that two people can actually meet and fall madly in love (not just in lust.. although physical attraction is obviously an important aspect of love) with one another. I mean, let’s be real for a moment.. what are the chances of that happening? How many times have you been in love with someone who didn’t love you back? Or vice versa?

I’m not saying I’m giving up or that I don’t believe that it could happen. Maybe I’ve just gotten more cynical. Or maybe I’m just resigned to the fact that I might never have that; that life is not a romantic comedy. And that that’s ok. I mean, God knows we love romantic comedies. But the reason we love them so much is probably because we know that life is not really like that; we watch it to escape from reality. And sometimes that’s exactly what we need.

But the problem with romantic comedies is that most of the time they send the subliminal message that the end all and be all of humankind is to be married or in a relationship. I’m not saying that marriage is bad; I’m not saying that relationships are bad. I’m just saying that they’re not everything.

That feeling of only wanting to live your life because of the person that you love is great and all, and I look forward and hope to someday experience it, but I also know that that feeling won’t last. And that’s not necessarily a reason not to pursue that kind of love. It’s just a call to be real about it. The reality is, there’s probably a lot of things to get up for in the morning. Love, or perhaps infatuation is the more appropriate word, is only one of them.

on writing and music

When I’m feeling something intense (usually love or sadness or angst) I like to try and get it out in writing. Not as in, “Dear diary…”, but something perhaps in the form of a poem or lyrical piece. I don’t do it to impress people or to show them up. I do it more as a catharsis.

The reason I like to write is because when you feel something so intensely, you don’t really know what it is you’re feeling. Is it sadness, is it love, is it joy? You don’t really know. And the intensity of it starts to overwhelm you. When you start to try and communicate it however and put it down onto paper, it stops being this big scary monster inside of you that you can’t control, and you can actually start to put a face to it or at least make out a vague outline. And it’s not so scary anymore.

At this point in time however, I don’t think I’ve written anything that I wouldn’t be mortally horrified to share with anyone else. But my hope is that by some point in my life, I’ll have written some words or music that communicate a feeling to another person and maybe is something even that that person can relate to and take away and connect to their own life.

I’ve always loved how music, or any art for that matter, connects people. We become connected by the words of a song or the way that a song makes us feel, by our sadness or our loneliness, and as a result we realise that we are not alone or without hope in this world; that something beautiful can come out of our ugliness.

It’s so beautiful sometimes to just sit and listen to a song; like really listen to it. To not just hear noise, but to actually listen to the words and to try to understand what an artist is thinking and feeling. To hear all the different vocal melodies and instrumental parts coming together to form a synthesised whole. To hear how each part supports one another and adds beauty to the entire piece. It’s truly amazing.