I try to find shade amongst the hot light of frustration, and this usually involves me downloading music…both because the kind of music I listen to can give me a hint of where I am emotionally (Frustrated? Sad?) and because a song has 3 minutes (give or take) to get a story across, and because song writers have the kind of metaphorical genius that makes me want to buy them endless cups of coffee if they’ll teach me how they think. Plus, I like the gestalt of music–how lyrics and melody combine with sound and voice. The rise and fall of the song & the singer can give me some great places to go (for example, when I did True Grime, a lot of Pepper’s personality was in trying to translate the sounds (instruments/voice/lyrics) of One Republic’s Secrets into words–specifically, the tempo/music/voice of the lyric, “I’m going to give all my secrets away.”)

A quick recap of some of the songs I’m listening to, what I like, and the lyric(s) that’s twisting my brain:

Melissa Etheridge – Fearless LoveI’m a sucker for her raspy voice and the mix of pain and resiliance in her music. Total sucker. She can sing to me any day. I’m so in love with her vulnerability in her work, and the almost frantic desperate in the song coupled with the inherent strength? Straight genius.  She allows her lyrics to speak, doesn’t rely on accessories (very much like Shinedown’s Simple Man).

Called me angel and set me free
You gave me life in the cold cold dark
But you ran away in the mornings spark
Made me think that reality
Is not where I want to be

I am what I am and
I am what I am afraid of
What am I afraid of?

(Lyrics made all the more intriguing as the song was released right around the time of her divorce & news of her chronic adultery).

Awolnation – Sail  Hard edge voice, dark song, awesome distortion in the bass (I think. I’m a bit rubbish when it comes to naming the instruments in songs). I love the mix of slow rhythm and anger/despair–it shouldn’t mesh, but it does. And it’s twisting my brain to figure out why…I mean, the guy’s contemplating suicide at one point but the song isn’t a resignation. It’s more rebellion (plus, I haven’t a clue what the subject of the song is) and that’s got me thinking…

This is how an angel dies
I blame it on my own sick pride

…Maybe I’m a different breed
Maybe I’m not listening
So blame it on my A.D.D. baby

Lupe Fiasco & Guy Sebastian – Battle Scars – I found Guy Sebastian last year (Who’s That Girl) and am totally in love with his voice. True love. Anything he does, I try to listen to. His voice is high but masculine, clear but breaks…it’s an amazing intertwining that’s an oral representation of what writing should be…and I LOVE this song–you’ve got the juxtaposition of intense lyrics that Fiasco’s raps understated, low key whateverness that setting my synapses firing.


A lover not a fighter
On the front line with a poem
Trying to write yourself a rifle
Maybe sharpen up a stone
To fight the tanks and drones of you being alone…

These battle scars don’t look like they’re fading
Don’t look like they’re ever going away
They ain’t never gonna change
These battle…

Never let a wound ruin me
But I feel like ruin’s wooing me

 Train’s Mermaid. I’m always impressed by folks who are self-effacing (mostly because it’s a thin line between self-effacing & self-flagellation, & it takes skill to walk the line), and Train never disappoints. I am a huge fan of their 50 Ways to Say Goodbye (not the least of which is because I’m primed to enjoy anything with the Hoff in it), and I really like the mix of music/lyrics with Mermaid, not to mention the endearing mix of Brash Boy & Geek that’s in the video (and the idea of him constantly pursuing something that he only gets when he stops moving (then loses because he’s unaware she’s there)).


Beauty in the water,
Angel on the beach.
Ocean’s daughter.
I thought love was out of reach
‘Til I got her.
Had I known it could come true?
I would have wished in ’92
For a mermaid just like you, whoa,
Just like you, whoa.