Easter Thoughts- A Spiritual Post

One of the reasons other people blog is to keep a journal online. This isn't really my purpose on here. I'm here to talk about music and hopefully connect with some cool people who want to talk with me about it. But there is something on my mind today. 

So, I made a playlist. 

It's Easter Sunday. My sweet Prince Genuine and I had our hands full with a few sugar-addled four-year-old's in Primary today. Although they ran slightly amok in class (I told them we could play duck-duck-goose on the condition we did it in slow motion; turns out nobody could agree on the rules) they were mostly quiet for Sharing Time. That may have been because the Presidency brought in some guest speakers with hand towels and robes on, and held a mock hearing with the speakers acting as witnesses of the Living Christ. We heard from Mary Magdalene (I would love to name a daughter "Magdalene"), Peter, "Abner A. Nephite" (SPOILER ALERT: I'm MORMON! ^_^), fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith Jr., and Thomas. 

I listened and for the first time in a long time it really really hit me: exactly what we mean when we celebrate Easter. 

There's been a lot of unrest in my social networks this last week. And it is really weird to find myself on what looks like the unpopular side of a fierce quasi-political argument. A debate of sorts broke out in the comment section of one of my posts on the subject. (A post I made, by the way, after deciding that representing my convictions was worth the risk of strangers arguing up my newsfeed. Bear with me here, I'm not going to talk about that subject. Just something else I noticed through it.) I realized how utterly uncomfortable I am actually debating. I realized I have a lot of friends whose intellects I respect, even if their perspectives and beliefs are quite different from mine, and I realized I am simply not equipped to "back it up" if I try to approach it from a logical standpoint. I may have studied logic and philosophy but I am truly humbled by the ability some people have to rationalize and debate. My thinking cap goes off to those people.

And so today, listening to our volunteer "witnesses" repeat over and over again that they had seen Him, I thought about that. I thought about how truly strange it is that I profess to believe that a person half a world away was killed, and three days later rose from the dead. Suspend for a moment everything else associated with Christ, and boil it down to that one statement and let it alone sink in: I believe that a man laid down his mortal body and raised it up again three days afterward. 

There, I said it. 

I am a thinking, sentient creature. I have no problem acknowledging a strong argument even if I disagree with the conclusion, just like I don't mind dismissing a weak argument even if I favor the conclusion. Intellectual integrity, I once heard this called, and there are not very many phrases that give me more satisfaction. I am not the smartest person I know, but the cogs between my ears grind and click just fine. And yes, I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. We are separated by just under two thousand years. Even most of His contemporaries didn't believe it. But I believe it.

MORE than that. I believe that He rose from the dead, and that He is the Son of God. I believe He is as real as I am, or as my husband across the room. I believe that He was born to a mortal mother to walk with us and show us how to serve, that He was perfect in His obedience. I believe that because perfect obedience is the only thing that could justify imperfection, He atoned for me, and you, and all of us, in a garden, knowing that some people would reject this freely-offered gift even as they rejected His messages or friendship in the flesh. And I believe those witnesses, both ancient and modern, who saw Him. I believe I owe Him my very best self, and I have promised to do my very best each day to be like Him, even though sometimes my best is no more than a couple of mites. 

Crazy? Sounds like it. Outdated? Sounds like it. Impossible? Not to me. And not to my Savior.

All that use of "belief"- suffer me now to say instead that I know. I know. I know He lives, and I know that without His tender mercies my life could have ended there, somewhere in the midnight years between adolescence and a year ago. And it brings me an indescribable peace to know that I don't have to defend this to myself. This is not opinion, to me. I do not need great powers of debate, rationalization, statistics, skepticism, cynicism to proclaim that this is what I believe. I could not defend it with such powers if I had them, and to do so would be a disservice to the art and act of faith. 

And so, it is to anyone else who opines that the human brain knows but little, and the heart perhaps knows even less, but what the heart knows is indubitably truer than what the brain knows... and to anyone who is celebrating Easter because it means He rose again and that He will come again someday... I dedicate the playlist Isaiah 54: 4-5

Conor Oberst Part II: A Concert & a Kiss

The short hipster guy in a button-down shirt seemed disappointed when I turned down his invitation to come back to the hotel where he and his friends were staying. I told him I had people I was with but it had been nice talking to him. If only he'd known what a real fan's after-party consists of. Me, I know the secret:

If the venue is small and the crowd is fervent, there is a possibility that after the show is over, the artist will come 'round the back or side to mingle for a few minutes. This trick I learned from the same ex-boyfriend who, incidentally, introduced me to this artist's music originally. (Our lives have diverged for good, now, but I will be grateful to him for several things, this among the more frivolous ones.)

I will admit, there was no way to be sure that Conor Oberst would do that. He has a reputation for being surly and detached from fans. He hates it when people sing along at shows, so to be contrary he alters the words a bit for live performances. He shuns the laud and hullabaloo of being an icon, so he only releases albums under the name "Bright Eyes". And he never smiles onstage.

Well, this was 2008, and he'd done the first thing, releasing a "solo" and eponymous album that I really really liked, earlier that year, so put one tally under "Never Say Never". This was a warm night in Tucson, AZ, at a pretty venue called The Joint, and he had not only smiled, he'd been so stumbling drunk, he looked like he was having fun. He didn't even seem to mind when those of us who didn't know better (like me) unfolded our arms to sing along with whatever songs we knew. So now all bets were off.

The show was rock-solid. Conor Oberst, who I'd never really cottoned to until I heard this album made with "The Mystic Valley Band", delivered. He passionately bellowed into the microphone and strummed away on his guitar like the chords could bring world peace if he just hit them hard enough. He tried a few times to stand up on an amplifier, alarming us a little with the way he wobbled and swayed in his alcohol-fueled exuberance. But what should have been a slightly disturbing spectacle starring an artist who sometimes gives too much fuel to his inner demons, was instead almost transcendent. It was beautiful. With his eyes closed and a hint of a blissful smile as he sang "Danny Callahan", he was beautiful, and it moved me deeply.

So I, the undeserving fan-initiate, stood pressed against the ropes under the watchful eye of a few security guards after the show, eyes trained on the back door of the venue with absolute precision. Sure enough, he came stumbling out and the crowd (mostly female) of superfans around me erupted in a cooing euphony like so many happy pigeons. "Connor, Connor, Connor" they murmured, and sure enough again, he moved toward us. Hands thrust in his direction and he took them and shook them and muttered generally good-natured responses. It was pretty clear he was still very disoriented. It may have been my idea but I pulled out my ticket stub (thank goodness I found a pen, after fishing around in my purse for a moment longer) and held it toward him.

He moved toward me, as if nothing would please him more than to sign my scrap of paper. The pen nearly didn't work but after a moment of confusion it did and he handed back the ticket. I touched his hand and leaned close over the rising swell of fangirl voices, and told him the only thing I really felt like I had of value. The only thing any of us, really, have the right to say to a stranger who has impressed us.

"Conor, you did really great tonight. I mean it, you were great. That was a wonderful show."

Our proximity turned into a hug at that moment. I felt his cheek, bizarrely soft and smooth, brush mine as he told me, "Thank you, thank you. You're a sweet, sweet lady." And then he kissed me on the cheek, as his bodyguards pulled him away from me.

I think for a moment I blacked out. But I was taking up space now that I'd had my turn, and I didn't want to get jumped and have my cheek torn from my face as the girls near me took up the incredulous cry of "He kissed her!" So I fled, to the car where my sister, mother, sister's then-boyfriend, etc, were waiting. I was dizzied with the impact of being starstruck. "He kissed me!" I said breathlessly, grinning, and flashing my signed ticket.

My sister's face broke like I'd dropped something made of porcelain and dreams. She'd been toward the back of the throng and hadn't even gotten close enough to look into his face. The triumphant feeling drained from me instantly, and I gave her my lasting prize, the ticket I didn't deserve to have signed. If I could have transferred the kiss from his lips to her face too, I would have done that, because no matter what, I love my sister more.

We saw Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band again in the spring, in Tempe, but things were different this time. He looked healthier, to his credit, (much more sober and characteristically grim) and performed a good set, but the magic was comparatively absent. I felt torn, glad for his sake that he was in better physical form and mental state, and favorably impressed with the new material performed that night, but sad that something had to be missing.

Conor Oberst, wherever you are, and in whatever incarnation you are right now (Bright Eyes, Mystic Valley Boy, Monster of Folk, or Desaparacido), hi. I hope you are well. You don't remember me but I remember you. I didn't deserve to be the one you kissed, like Arizona doesn't deserve to be a state you shun (most of the people who rabidly adore you are on your side about the whole immigration business- why are you punishing them?). But I'm really glad it happened, like I'm glad you brought the magic to the stage that night. I still listen to the Mystic Valley Albums when it's springtime and when it's autumn, especially, and my friend Rob called the MoF album the best one he'd heard in 2010. And with the sincerity of someone who you only managed to win over by being yourself, rather than Bright Eyes, I'll stand by what I said then: you do a great job doing what you do. "I don't wanna dream if it won't come true."

"Nikorette" by Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band

Guest Post: Allex shares Bright Eyes (AKA Conor Oberst Part I)

Welcome back, everybody. Or, shall I say, welcome me back, everybody. Last week got away from me so consider it my Spring Break (haha) or like those times when you were a kid, tuned into PBS only to see that they are running a telethon and disrupting regularly scheduled quality programming.

Fortunately, to make up for it, I have a treat for you. I give you now the gift of hearing from my own dear sister, the indefatigable Allex Adams. Our music collections, not unlike our earth-suits, share a lot of basic genetic material, but the results are still very different to the eye and to the ear (see this year's Valentine's Post). She's passionate about art and music, and that is why I asked her to post on the subject of Bright Eyes.

To be fair, it was I who brought the first pinch of it into the house. It was "Bowl of Oranges", and a recommendation from a high school boyfriend with impeccable music taste of his own. I liked the song but I didn't really take it and run. To this day, I prefer the solo work of Conor Oberst, the driving force behind the machine known as Bright Eyes. The exception is Cassadaga, and I will probably cover that by itself in a later post. But I wanted a fresh voice to help me ring in the artist, and there is nobody better qualified to talk about it than my sister. So, without further ado, I present...

Here is a list of criticisms about Bright Eyes that I won't hear, and won't respond to:

"I can't stand his voice!"

"It's way too depressing!"

"Conor Oberst writes girl music."


Now, I'm not ignoring the early Bright Eyes canon- rough, ratty, and reeking of horrors most prepubescent... but paddle past the year 2000, and here is the awakening spirit of discovery and disappointment, the kind that defines love itself. That's my message to the critics. Listen to Bright Eyes the way you fall in love, not the way you sense sound. For me, Bright Eyes adoration didn't really begin until I met a boy; soon, a thirst first whet by a song or two over the course of a year or so would be quenched.

One year- one year!- passed since first asking him- him, the tall dark handsome Rivers Cuomo-tribute type!!- for a Bright Eyes education. But finally Sean handed me that holey, holy plastic bag of CDs. He loaned me every single one he owned AT THE SAME TIME, under the assumption that I would upload them all to my digital library at home, return them to him at school the next day, and then I could pick at what I wanted, when I wanted. In retrospect, that would have been very considerate of me...

But that is not what I did!

Instead, I allowed the unexpected downpour of Sean's music to fill a baptismal font of Conor Oberst's grey matter, immersing myself deep into each album individually with the volume at 11 and the liner notes always open. I drowned, promptly. Bright Eyes was heaven's big church band conducted by the new president of the Lonely Hearts Club; the lyrics so true they hurt. I had inherited six Bright Eyes albums all at once, and I couldn't breathe until I knew every single word by heart. 

When I came up for air five months later, my hair had grown long, and my lender's opinion of my borrowing skills was irreparable. But the love between Bright Eyes and I is the kind you take a few losses for.

If I get to pick a few songs, it'd be these, and in this order: (Listen along at The Moon Forces Metal: Bright Eyes)

For Your Playlist: Side A
1. "An Attempt to Tip the Scales" from Fevers and Mirrors
2. "From a Balance Beam" from LIFTED: Or, The Story Is in the Soil; Keep Your Ear To The Ground
3. "First Day of My Life" from I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
4. "Theme from Pinata" from Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
5. "Happy Birthday To Me (Feb. 15)" from Noise Floor: Rarities

For Your Playlist: Side B (chosen by your humble hostess from a mix CD Allex made me in 2008)
1. "Method Acting" from LIFTED (warning: some strong language in this one)
2. "Landlocked Blues" from Motion Sickness: Live Recordings
3. "Down in a Rabbit Hole" from Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
4. "No One Would Riot for Less" from Cassadaga
5. Bonus Selection: "From A Balance Beam" by the Vitamin String Quartet's Tribute to Bright Eyes

A big vote of thanks to my talented sister, I think, is here due. You may pause the music to applaud... and now resume. Til next time, happy listening! Speaking of next time, get ready to hear my take on the talent behind Bright Eyes in the next post.

Sounds Like Spring 2013

I thought I'd do something a little different tonight and talk a little about life and what's happening, and then what I want it to sound like.

So, as of today, my wonderful Prince Genuine and I have been married 3 months. It's pretty amazing so far. I do believe I've never been so humbled to live with someone. Sometimes I think he shines so bright with kindness and goodness all my flaws are lit up like in the most brutal cosmetics mirror. And sometimes I think he got pretty lucky, too. (He tells me so regularly.)

He recently got a new job at a a prestigious financial advising institution, which was well deserved and hard-earned. I am 100% proud of him. It does require him to commute to north Scottsdale on the daily, though, which is sort of problematic. We will likely need to relocate ourselves when our lease here in Mesa is up. I for one am excited about this on several levels. I'm ready to try something new. He's ready to be done with school and moving on with his career.

We got called in our ward (local church unit) to teach the 4-year-olds. It is unlike anything either of us have done before but it's a great time. We have 5 kids: Sydney, Danielle, Kaylie, Rian (boy) and Rigby. I love them all equally but I love one Rigby more equally than the rest. The kid is a hoot. I hope I get one just like him, when it's my turn. He will be guest-blogging with me in a month or so, with his mama's permission.

The novel is hibernating. I was doing a little studying in a neat little book on character development (context: writing fiction) by the revered Orson Scott Card, and I realized my first draft had it only half right. So I've cracked a new notebook and there are a few hundred words. I think about it in my spare time but I concentrate a lot of energy here on this blog. Thank you for reading it.

Speaking of blogs, here is the point where I will pay my dues and respects to the Blogger Meetup I attended last month. It made me feel so legitimate on one hand, and so inexperienced on the other: out loud, "Look, I'm a blogger! I go to blogger things and network with other bloggers and talk about blog stuff!" versus inner "You've been blogging since 2002?! I've had mine since, um... mid-January? Should I even be here?" It was really fun, though, to hear from other people like myself who want to scrawl on their wall of cyberspace. Ladies, I admire and salute you all. This blog is not a "lifestyle" blog, we're just moonlighting as one tonight, so please forgive me for not listing each of you or putting up pictures. My time is running short and I have one more pressing thing to cover. But I am really looking forward to seeing you all again, and I have some ideas how to give you the shoutout you each deserve. Rock on.

Springtime has historically produced my best playlists. I'll post a few of the venerable ones next month, because it's April seems to spawn them prettiest, but here's one I've made for this new season, which has arrived in a very very sunny burst of heat.

You can find it on Spotify here: Sounds Like Spring 2013

For your playlist:
1. "Blue on Black" by Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Heard this song for the first time in 2007 and never could part with it.
2. "Desolation Row" by My Chemical Romance
The best part of The Watchmen was the end credits: a) because the movie was over, b) because of this song
3. "Guns and Horses" by Ellie Goulding
I don't know why I like Ellie Goulding so much. I think the vox here are really good. Don't love her new album, though.
4. "I Love To Boogie" by T. Rex
T. Rex is the only band in my arsenal allowed to say the word "boogie" besides David Bowie in "Starman".
5. "Born on the Bayou" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
CCR is the backbone of my subteen childhood. It's good for the soul.
6. "Velvet Goldmine" by David Bowie
This is a c-side from Ziggy Stardust. Not included in the release.
7. "Wildflowers" by Dolly Parton featuring Linda Ronstadt
Love the lyrics here. Not a huge Dolly fan but a spring playlist needs a feminine folk song.
8. "Beat the Devil's Tattoo" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
This is where it gets dark. Hey, it rains in the springtime too.
9. "Too Many Angels" by Jackson Browne
I subconsciously collected a large number of songs with lyrical motifs of heaven/hell/angels/devils.
10. "If You Could Hie To Kolob" by the Lower Lights
If you haven't heard of the Lower Lights, you should. Go find more.
11. "One Day" by Matisyahu
Springtime means positive thinking. So does Matisyahu. I don't know if this guy can write a dark song.
12. "Going to California" by the Vitamin String Quartet (in lieu of having any Led Zeppelin on Spotify)
One of my favorite Zep songs (some foreshadowing here). VSQ does a pretty nice job of it, though.

Next week: guest post by my sister, the lovely and cunning Miss Allex. Stay tuned!

The Next Day, circa today

So, it finally came. The official page on Facebook has been blowing up my newsfeed with updates (dare I call it "hype"?) about the album, and photos of covers across Europe being graced by Bowie in anticipation of a "comeback".

But I have to confess, after hearing that first song, "Where Are We Now?" I was a little nervous. It was a baffling choice for a lead single. Then came "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" and that one had a livelier pulse, but still seemed stiff. I was a little tiny bit nervous that this album would perhaps fall short of the breath of fresh air we have been waiting for.

David, David, what shall I do? I was a bit of teenage wildlife! You shouldn't mess with me. Do I need a friend? Well, we need one now. All the "heroes" of my age crumble, like kings of oblivion. They only could dream of the empire you built and then ahhh, you were gone- did you think we'd blow our minds? We counted the years, singing "Will you rock and roll with me?... It's time we should be going." (Number of song references just made: 10)

Well, I am sorry I doubted you.

It will take a few weeks for the dust to settle and then we will see what we really have here, but my initial impression is one of great positivity. The singles, which seemed odd and in some ways laughable on their own, are actually part of a coherent and fascinating whole.

I lay on my bed, perfectly still but for breathing, just listening, while my husband sat by, studying. We jumped into the car to go get a bite to eat afterward and I had to have him turn off the radio. I wanted to keep what I had been hearing in my head awhile longer. Some things, sometimes, will do that to you. Or at least to me. There is a lot to process on this record, though.

I held out to buy the vinyl album, which will arrive in a couple of weeks, at which time I will break it down more methodically and objectively. Until then, let's use but one standard by which to measure an album: if you are sorry when it's over and you can't wait to start it over again, there was some definite success there for the artist. I am eager to have another listen. You can join me in doing so on Spotify.

Welcome back, Mr. Jones.

I would ask what took you so long, but I think it's pretty obvious.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Fashion vs. the Devotee: Why I Still Rock the Band Shirt

So, I didn't mention it, but I turned 24 years old a couple of weeks ago. Twenty-four. That's older than I have ever been before, on the outside. And I look almost the same as I did when I was sixteen.

That isn't because I haven't grown in ten years. It isn't because I've cycled through all the hair colors from dark brown to blonde to lavender & peroxide to dark brown again, or even because I've gotten back into bangs like when I was a sophomore/junior in high school. It's because on my days off, in my natural habitat, I still dress like I did then. Or, less kindly, like a thirteen year old boy.

BAND SHIRTS! Despite my best efforts, they still dominate my wardrobe. And I'd like to take a moment to honor the fallen warriors, the ones I finally forced myself to get rid of, because the ratio of band shirts to grown up clothes. Gone but not forgotten are: my very first Bowie shirt, Shins shirt with the squid on it, the Morrissey shirt, the Dirty Diamonds tour shirt from the Alice Cooper concert of 2005, my Flogging Molly shirt from '07, the Snakes and Arrows tour shirt from the Rush concert of 2007 (I really regret getting rid of that one), the Hot Hot Heat shirt from the concert I never went to, two Jimmy Eat World shirts ('02 and '08), the Ozzy Osbourne shirt claimed in '11, and the Roger Waters tour shirt from 2006, although technically that one was simply returned to its rightful owner (my dad), and the purple-themed Apocalyptica shirt that I lovingly shredded and made into a hardcore swimsuit cover-up.

But these are the minority. For every one I got rid of, another remains. I get them at concerts, mostly. I used to joke that I only shop at merch stands. Dad taught me that if you don't get a shirt with dates on it, you might as well have just bought it in a store. If you want to prove you were there, you need the hard data, because they don't (usually) sell tour shirts in stores. I subscribe to this, as my wardrobe resolutely declares. Unfortunately for me, not much looks sloppier on my fun-sized frame than unisex T-shirts, and guess what? They pretty much don't make girly-fit tees with tour dates on them. I cringe at myself in the mirror sometimes.

Still, on my days off you'll still see me in my ragged, cozy, sometimes oversized band shirts. It's entirely silly on a 24-year old who has a job and a husband and a class of 4-year-olds to teach on Sunday. Sometimes I wish I liked the benign, expensive pretties at Anthropologie like my friend Caitlin. Sometimes I wish I could get into scarves like my friend Francesca, or wear tutus and bomber jackets like my eccentrically-clad cosmetolog(art)ist sister Allex. But I can't. I cling to my band shirts in a way most of them (the M's, L's, and XL's I had to buy because the XS/S were sold out already) never will cling to me in return. I'm not a celebrity so it's not cool, I'm just a twenty-something in a baggy Mago de Oz shirt, and eventually it will look like I never bothered to look around and see what responsible adults are wearing and follow suit. Sometimes this bugs me. And sometimes, I think:

Whatever. That's fine.

My husband thinks I'm cute, and I know when to reach for Ralph Lauren over Rolling Stones, or the Killers over Calvin Klein, so it's no-harm-no-foul til I get sick of wearing them when I'm pregnant. I love my band shirts because most of them have stories. I snagged the last one at a show held in a parking lot between a street and a train track, or I watched the mailbox for two weeks while it shipped from Finland. They mean something to me. I love my band shirts because I love the bands, and I'm okay with postponing looking like the style magazine with which I amused myself at work today. It may not be popular, it may not be stylish, but I can live with that, because my bands are in my heart and I'll wear them on my sleeve. Being a musician may mean you set trends in fashion, or at least rock them, but being a fan just means loving that musician enough to give them the space across your chest or back.

So, if you're too old for your band shirts, seize the day. Reach into the back of your closet, where you know you stashed that one you cannot bear to part with. Love what you see, and love what you heard. Find your tour date and smile. And Judas Priest, comrade, put it on!

"Friends, they may think it's a movement. And that's what it is."

The epitome of the band shirt. This is a shirt my dad bought when he saw the Rolling Stones in '81, when he was younger than I am now. Pretty well preserved, isn't it? I wore this shirt to Scottsdale Fashion Square and got kudos from someone in the Bulgari store. Boo-yah. 

"We never change our tune, we change ourselves": Poets of the Fall

It's possible that it's just the hipster in me, but I love having a band in my Top 10 that nobody else this side of the Atlantic knows about. It gives me ample opportunity to be the harbinger of good music. It helps a lot when the band you wrap up with a bow and present to people with that "I-have-something-you-will-like" kind of glee... is actually something wonderful. I have probably put Poets of the Fall on every single mix I've made since I discovered them in 2008. I've never found them to be a bitter pill for anyone so far.

Oddly enough, one of my favorite memories about Poets of the Fall includes none other than the German exchange student Christian, mentioned in my last post. It was I who infected him with Poets and it was he who suggested that we celebrate his first American Halloween by dressing as the characters from the (iconic, fabulous and really cool) music video for "Carnival of Rust". I hadn't really dressed up for Halloween in years, but I told him that if he was serious, I would make it happen. In retrospect, that project was the highlight of our acquaintance. Together we tracked down a sandy-colored sport coat for him, and a gas mask for me. He wore slacks and a hat he already owned. I borrowed a dress from my sister, and a large porcelain dolly from my grandma, and made myself an oversized pinwheel lollipop.

Christian expressed some concern that we would not be recognizable. I had already resigned myself to this and didn't mind, but one afternoon a few days before our party debut, I cut out of red and black felt, in Gothic lettering, the letters to spell "Carnival of Rust" and pinned them across the yoke of his jacket. And intimacy, thy name is applying makeup to another person! (Or otherwise using another person's earth-suit as your canvas.) It was with great tenderness and delight that I painted his face white with powder from Hot Topic and black with who-knows-what to crack the mask like porcelain.
And thanks to whoever took this picture. It's somehow the only one I have of that night.
At the themed milonga we walked before the judges for the costume contest, competing for best duo, and Christian now told me he was afraid we would be passed over: "They will think we are too creepy!" By this, I think, he may have meant "too obscure a reference", but lo, the first prize went to "Those two, whatever they are." Never a prouder moment that year. We took our spoils (a bottle of wine and a big bag of peanut M&M's) back to his house and consumed them according to our appetites (wine for one, candy for both) and talked about linguistics and philosophy and language barriers. Some of my favorite topics, apart from music.

This would have been a postlude to what I thought of as our friendship. What a way to make a last stand!

At another party we attended, Christian got so tired of being asked to explain his costume (which did seem to disturb the slightly buzzed state university students in their ironic half-costumes and skimpy princess outfits), that he took to simply saying "I'm a creep!" I think, this time, he may have meant "I'm an eerie living fortune-telling mannequin from a steampunk music video by an amazing Finnish rock band- you wouldn't understand." I myself never minded being an obscure reference for Halloween. The truth is, in those times of trying to fit into social circles where I didn't really belong, I wouldn't have been any more identifiable if I'd simply gone as myself.

Thank goodness for the lessons we learn from times like that. :)

I've shed a lot of who and what I thought I was during that period of my life, but the Poets of the Fall remain with me. They are my underdog band, the band with a devoted hometown crowd in their Scandinavian sector, the band with a handful of loving constituents here in on American soil. This is the band for whom I'm Jenny Appleseed, planting bits here and there, waiting for a legion of fans to grow (and a North American tour to be announced). If I had the cash I'd just go to them and hold the proverbial poster proclaiming my love in miles traveled. I listen to the Poets of the Fall because they are unique and uplifting, and I listen to them often.

The Spotify list is called "We Never Change Our Tune".

For Your Playlist: Side A
1. "Lift" from Signs of Life
2. "Carnival of Rust" from Carnival of Rust
3. "Dreaming Wide Awake" from Twilight Theatre
4. "Sorry Go 'Round" from Carnival of Rust

For Your Playlist: Side B
1. "Cradled in Love" from Temple of Thought
2. "The Ultimate Fling (The Director's Cut)" from Revolution Roulette
3. "Don't Mess With Me" (live) from the Carnival of Rust EP
4. "The Beautiful Ones" from the Lift EP

You can't listen to much of them on Spotify. As such, only half of these songs were in my original Poets of the Fall sampler list, but the ones filling the gaps are still pretty good, especially the live version of "Don't Mess With Me". PotF have 5 albums to date and they're each worth every cent, in my opinion. It's really hard to pick a favorite. They are all clearly the same band but each has kind of its own nuance, like a set of siblings that strongly resemble each other but are not quite twins:
Photo by Tami Webb
By the way, one of these is my wonderful Prince Genuine, and yes, I introduced him to Poets of the Fall too, and yes, he also likes them a lot. His favorite song is "Lift" which was kind of what I was hoping. :)