sound bites

I was first introduced to Muse some years back by the ex I believe. One of the really great things about being in that relationship was the vast musical genres that I was exposed to because he’s quite into music in some ways, and often made me sample many of those songs that he liked. Good and bad in a way, but this isn’t about discussing relationships, so we shall move on.

I liked their Time is running out from the Absolution album that was released in 2003. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, the band that hailed from Devon, England, has been around since 1994, but yes yours truly isn’t that advanced when it comes to discovering new music, so it was only 10 years and 3 albums on that I came to know about them, and how infectious their music can be. Their brand of music is labelled alternative rock, and rightly so, in ways that I actually can’t describe. Haha. The lead vocalist has a haunting quality to his voice that reminded me of Brett Andersen from Suede, although it doesn’t have that whiney melancholic twang to it as compared to the latter, but nevertheless mesmerising and extremely captivating. The way he lends his voice to the song made it sound so hopeless and sad, and yes I know it sounds odd but I am really into such depressing music, regardless of the lyrical content because I seldom read into lyrics.

I don’t think I have their Absolution album, although I might have it on my iPod, but I haven’t followed-up on their music since. In 2006, they released the 4th album, which I totally wasn’t aware of, and then in 2009, Resistance was launched. It was at Wala last Saturday that I got to know of this track on their 5th album, Uprising, and oh.my.god. it was amazing. It’s made to be a rock anthem, the way the drum beats form the background for Matthew Bellamy’s deliverance of the song, it is just perfect. And I am so crushing on his voice right now, I am wondering if I should head out to the stores to get my hands on the album. I have never heard them in concert before, though I believe they were on our shores to perform previously, and if it’s something recent, it would be such a great pity…

saturday night

One of my favourite Suede songs would have to be Saturday Night, from their Coming Up album. They were a band whom I only got acquainted with when I was in JC, thanks to one of my buddies back then who liked them and sort of introduced me to them, or maybe I have remembered wrongly. Anyway, Coming Up was their most popular and mainstream album I think. To me at least. Their earlier albums had great songs too, especially The Wild Ones (that was on… Dog Man Star, I think), but the ones after that were a bit lacklustre, although Sci Fi Lullabies was quite a winner for me with its dark tunes.

Well this isn’t a post about the band because after that I really don’t know what happened to them or if they are still in existence. They will still be one of my favourite bands though, and are one of the rare English bands that I’ve actually caught in concert live in Singapore.

Last Saturday was actually quite tiring. Started the day pretty early because I had wanted to check out  a cafe recommended by a friend, I shall talk about the cafe in a different post, so I headed out before 10am! I woke up fairly late for a Saturday and took the MRT on the North-South line, changed to the Circle line, and then onto the North-East line! Gosh, there weren’t many stops but the walking time between the lines was pretty long.

It was movie after a very fulfilling and sinful lunch, after which we went downtown to catch an early movie, and headed off to Resorts World Sentosa. I’ve been there twice, once for some company event and another time to visit USS, also courtesy of the company, so I thought I’d go there to check out the shops this weekend. There weren’t many shops, lesser than MBS, so most of the time when I was there I was sitting at Coffee Bean trying to cool off in the humid afternoon.

After we got back to the mainland we wanted to be away from the crowd, at least I did, so we took a bus to Holland Village and got there whilst there was still lots of light. It was kind of weird to be there that early because most times when I am in the vicinity it’s usually Wednesday nights after work, but it felt really relaxing with everyone in chill-out mode. When we got to Wala-wala it was still quite empty with the upstairs occupied by 2 patrons and a handful of service staff. We got a pretty good seat and started our Saturday night of boozing and eating. It wasn’t until about 2.5 or more hours later that the band, Shirlyn & The Unexpected, started their set and by the end of the first set I was so ready to call it a night and head on home to sleep, feeling the toll from the day’s commuting I presume.

Chilling out to band music in a dimly-lit bar really fits the kind of mood that the song Saturday Night gives me, even if the lyrics mean a totally different thing (I forgot what they were singing about). I just wished I was able to stay longer because I think the band is good and Shirlyn’s voice is amazing. Oh, and Walas is one of the places that serves shoe-string fries that I really like, the other being Paulaner. Most other bars serve thicker-cut fries that I don’t really fancy as much. And with Kronenbourg going at 1-for-1 during happy hours even on Saturdays, what more can we ask for?

tori amos

For the longest time, I have had quite a number of Tori Amos’ albums stored in my iPod, courtesy of the ex who adored her songs, but which I had never once chosen for my playlist, except for the track used in Mona Lisa Smile (You Belong To/With Me). Recently, out of sheer boredom, as I was scrolling through the endless albums in the iPod, I stopped at Tori Amos and selected it, and I was glad I did, because one of the albums which I gathered was a Greatest Hits/compilation sort of album, To Venus and Back, was great. There were some tracks contained within that were simply fabulous I wished I had listened to her earlier. So I had that accompanying me for the whole of yesterday when I was feeling pensive.

The feeling has sort of spilled over to today, a tad depressive and melancholy, even as the sun has broken through the cloud cover to provide a dash of sunshine. Is it a thing with cancerians to feel all pensive towards the end of the year, or is it just the weather and all other things working in tandem to bring about this general heavy air? Perhaps things that I am seeing around me have made me feel more negative than I should, knowing that sometimes the choices we make in life may turn out to be major mistakes that alter the course of our lives irrevocably, and having to resign ourselves to a fate unwillingly because we can do nothing to make amends that would soften the impact of these decisions.

Listening to Tori Amos hasn’t helped, because although I don’t take note of the lyrics to delve into the meaning of the song, the tune has a note of sadness to it. These are the type of sounds that draw me in so much, as are those on the New Moon soundtrack, that do nothing to lighten the mood. Yet I am still clinging on to them, perhaps in a twisted masochistic way. Rachael Yamagata is good too. I just heard one track from her, Duet, and I think her vocals are amazing; reminds me of the singer from Lamb, and imo, also in a similar category with Thom Yorke and Brett Andersen.

Bring me the lightness that I desire, I don’t want to keep feeling this way because it is tiring to be down.

Major Tom

I was sitting chugging a beer and listening to a guy strumming the guitar chords and belting out song after song that I found no cognisance of. That is strange, because most of the times when I sit in at a live act, there are bound to be some songs that have made their rounds, such as the popular ones by Jason Mraz, Coldplay and so on.

So it was with surprise, and lots of nostalgia, that the first, of only two, tracks that I remembered, was this by David Bowie – Ground Control to Major Tom. I cannot really for the life of me, recall how it was that I stumbled on this song, but it has been a number of years, yet that song just floods back to me like a wave of memory that hits me. Only thing is, I don’t know what that memory is, the only thing that caught me was that, Hey I know this song! It has a poignant feel to it somewhat, and whilst I was trying valiantly to google for something that might trigger my memory, nothing turned up but I saw the wikipedia entry for it, and it does appear to be quite a depressing song. At least the idea for the song wasn’t all that zippy and happy.

The next one was How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. The version I recalled was the one done by Al Green for the soundtrack of Notting Hill that I own. It was only up till seconds ago that I knew that it was penned by the BeeGees; figures, I can imagine the brothers singing that. Another song laced with melancholia and sadness that seemed kind of overwhelming for weekend night perhaps? Perhaps there is just some kind of synchrony between the tunes filling the space of the pub and the emotions that charge the people within. Maybe not, there were quite a lot of happy people there, but I suppose the conversation was not headed in the general direction of the doldrums. Now, I am just reminiscing a lot of past trips I’ve made, and hopefully more to come in the future.

lethargy and fatigue

I think the lack of rest is finally taking its toll on me. It’s not like I haven’t felt lethargic all along, but when I thought I should have enough sleep but am still finding it a giant endeavour to keep my eyes open, I suppose that tells something. Or perhaps it is just the thick afternoon humidity hanging in the atmosphere that is making it worse, especially when the air feels so warm and heavy that I can barely attempt a deep breath. Gosh, I hate this part of the weather that is becoming more and more characteristic of our climate, that I wonder if I will be able to survive another of it the next time it happens, for a longer period of time…

I bought Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends sometime back, and have only properly sat down to listen to it today. Well, I am doing it currently, and although I don’t think this was their best album yet (frankly, I did not listen to their past albums in their entirety either, oops), I pretty much liked and enjoyed it. I am not a music connoisseur of sorts or even anywhere close, but I know when I listen to something that I like, that which brings a wistful smile to my lips, and make the lousy day feel that slightly much better. The first track that of course enticed me to buy the album was the title track Viva La Vida, which was a very anthem-y kind of song, something that I would imagine if it played in the opening or a closing of concert, would get the stadium to erupt into a high. That was the only song I listened to for a while, that is until today. There are other tracks that I like, such as Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love – it sounded vaguely familiar to something that I had heard of before in the past, maybe U2? There’s this surreal/psychedelic quality to it that is distinctly UK, which I don’t know if there is such a thing that defines UK bands, but I do not remember ever coming across American bands with such sounds, and it makes the song perfect for a road trip in my opinion. With a pair of sunnies perched on the nose bridge and wind blowing in your face, this song will accompany a great drive cross-country.

Talking about songs, I tried to think of a band whose album I had enjoyed thoroughly, in the sense that every single song was what I enjoyed. Searching through my hazy memory for all the albums that I had ever listened to in my lifetime till now, both English and Mandarin or otherwise, the only one that came close would be Suede’s Coming Up. I was first introduced to them when I was in JC, if I remembered correctly, by a close friend then. I liked their songs, especially made so with lead Brett Andersen’s haunting vocals. I missed their Coming Up tour back then, which was something that I had regretted since then, but I went for my one and only Suede concert about a year or 2 after that, which was a tour for Head Music; the concert was really laid back and all about music and I enjoyed it but I guessed Coming Up would have been better, even though they played their old songs as well.

On a different note, something totally away from music, I wish I could be more independent sometimes. Sigh. Why is it that no one can exist as an island in this world, in this society? Why do we have to rely on another person and subject ourselves to a certain extent, some sort of torture in the midst of this reliance and dependency?

I wish time could pass faster, but it isn’t like there is something to look forward to other than negativity and dread.

afterthoughts part 1

Can you feel my world

你只喜欢我微笑
你决定我的需要
我要怎么说才好
我不是为你制造
关心像是泥沼
拉住我往下掉
爱是漂亮口号
透过你的视角
你把我的喜好
随便删掉
变成你要的调调
你为我好我知道
我都知道
我的烦恼我的骄傲
你却不明了
怎样爱你才好
毕竟黑豹需要自由奔跑
不能满足拥抱
can you feel my world
真实的我没办法伪造
can you take my hands
真诚你会感觉到
can you feel my world
真实的我没办法伪造
并不想讨好
你才觉得我重要
你只要我有礼貌
其他假装看不到
我要怎么说才好
当我的情绪低潮
关心像是泥沼
拉住我往下掉
爱是漂亮口号
透过你的视角
你把我的喜好
随便删掉
变成你要的调调
你为我好我知道
我都知道
我的烦恼我的骄傲
你却不明了
怎样爱你才好
毕竟黑白需要自由奔跑
rap:i keep on comin’ back for more yo
日日夜夜我闭着双眼祈祷
为什么只有我的音乐能够让我依靠
我知道我的世界已经变的越来越小
跑不掉逃不了
怎么面带着微笑
怎么面对着你才好
怎么眼泪都在掉
怎么嘴嘟着好严肃
这不是哭着就好
怎么旋律在我脑袋
一直转一直绕
一直率一直撑着我再一次祷告
帮助我
can you feel my world
真实的我没办法伪造
can you take my hands
真诚你会感觉到
can you feel my world
真实的我没办法伪造
并不想讨好你才觉得我重要

new beginnings

I’ll admit I am not gifted where music is concerned. Yet that has never stopped me from appreciating and indulging in music, although I am more a fan of melancholic sounds, which made me make a rather conclusive statement that artistes tend to be emotional and melancholic souls because that is the side of them portrayed to us in their works. Perhaps it is a great avenue to channel all that angst, or perhaps life experiences, good or bad, are what add flavour to an otherwise bland piece of art.

Attended a SSO concert last night. Ok, quoting my friend (cos I really am not versed with regards to classical music, or rather music of any variant), it was supposed to be a violin concerto (Brahms) last night with violinist Augustin Dumay, but there was a last minute change when he was taken ill, so the program was changed to a cello concerto (Dvorak) with cellist Qin Li-wei. I don’t know nuts about classical music or the cello for what it is, but I just enjoy them, particularly strings and the piano so I hoped it would be good (and half of me hoping I won’t fall asleep as it was a 2-hour long concert).

The cellist didn’t disappoint. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the cello concerto. There is a quality to strings instruments that are able to bring out the sadness of music, and that is what makes me so intrigued with them. It was a tad amusing for me though, as seated in the fourth row in the stalls, the animated expressiveness of the cellist was totally visible to me and my friend. Perhaps, that is what they call, 陶醉. After the intermission, the orchestra played Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93 (again I quote my friend). It was an hour-long piece with 4 movements, and the 1st was the longest. I think I only started to enjoy it from the 2nd movement onwards, with loud fanfare, finally ending with a more peaceful sound. I’d say that it really helps to read the program before/whilst attending the concert, because it explains the piece being played, and probably aided to a large extent, my appreciation of what was being performed.

It was an enjoyable concert, and I’m looking forward to more!

On a side note, I totally can’t believe that I had a salad for dinner last night. Tofu and avocado. I think the dressing made it more palatable than it actually was, but anyhow, I decided to succumb to a slice of blackforest cake after the concert, accompanied with rose petal tea. I think the tea made me sleepy thereafter, because I was having trouble keeping my eyes open, as if I had been imbibed with a sleeping drug.