Friday, March 8, 2013

All Around Sound is Turning Three! - Day 5: We Listen For You

If you've been following All Around Sound with any sort of regular consistency or even just tuned in for last year's blog birthday celebration you might be a little confused. Didn't I already feature We Listen For You as a part of last year's selection? Yes. That much is true. The fact remains that We Listen For You has undergone a rather admirable set of changes and remains so absolutely inspiring and influential to me that it only seemed apt to feature them yet again. Also: I can do whatever the hell I want.

Turning their backs on the first-to-post mentality that governs many a blog and instead focusing on properly taking the time to not only ingest what is coming out but formulate some sort of worthwhile opinion of it, that alone should be enough to earn pretty much everlasting love for We Listen For You. That is, besides the ardent passion by which the two co-founders demonstrate on a fairly daily basis but they also tapped some rather exceptional writers to join their team that's resulted in a far greater scope than the two achieved on their own. Don't get me wrong, I still appreciate and prefer Hank & Zach's contributions to the blogosphere and thoughts on music in general but their embrace of change as a means to better serve the conversation about music they hold so dear is damn endearing. It's also pretty galvanizing. We could all hope to be as engaging, as sincere, as consumed with passion.

So this year, I once again asked Zach to step up to the plate to represent We Listen For You:

In 1963, Lesley Gore broke out with the infectious song, “It’s My Party”, a happy sounding song that if the listener is really paying attention is a dark tune filled with themes of humiliation, seclusion, and the feeling of being an outsider.  With All Around Sound’s birthday I thought the best gift I could give is to stip myself down emotionally and for the first time admit to the ten songs that have or still make me cry.  What’s funny is that while these songs are dark or depressing, the to this date also remain as some of my favorites.  It’s in this the power of music is revealed, good or bad, happy or sad, music can make us feel emotions that are only rivaled by the up and down events of life itself.

Sparklehorse – “Gold Day”

While walking through a bad snow, coming at me in all directions, this song began to play on my iPod.  I stood, frozen, while snow hit my face in all directions.  For some reason I was no longer cold.  All that mattered was this song.

Nick Drake – “Things Behind The Sun”

My favorite song of all time and I get water in the eyes every time it plays without fail.

Sufjan Stevens – “The Predatory Wasp…”

This emotional song was a soundtrack over and over when I had a friend who had recently been diagnosed with cancer.  It became a song that would forever be attached to tragedy and holds more weight because of its powerful emotion/sensitive timing.

Elliott Smith – “2:45”
The last Elliott Smith song I played hours before I learned of Smith’s death.  It is the song I try to avoid more than any other.  Every time I go back to learning of a hero gone forever.

Gene McDaniels – “Another Tear Falls”
Because of this:

Of Montreal – “Montreal”

I would argue that “Montreal” is one of the bleakest and most emotional breakup songs ever written.  Whenever I lose love, this is the song I turn to.

Glen Campbell – “Ghost On A Canvas”

Glen Campbell’s final bow and life summed up in a single song written by Paul Westerberg.  As Campbell is being overtaken by Alzheimer’s, “Ghost On A Canvas” is a heartbreaking yet optimistic song that contemplates the immortality of an artist.

The Fiery Furnaces – “Evergreen”

One of my favorite songs of all time and the only song played live that made my eyes water.  The Fiery Furnaces are my favorite contemporary band and I had seen them around twenty times before attending their New Years Eve 2010 concert.  Even seeing them that many times, they had never played my favorite song “Evergreen”.  With about four mintues left in 2009, The Fiery Furnaces launched into “Evergreen” and I couldn’t believe the serendipity of it all.  The last song of the decade that made me fall in love with music was wrapped up with the one song I desperately wanted to hear live.

Vashti Bunyan – “If I Were”

I really can’t explain why this one touches me.  The song seems to wobble between happy and sad…it’s that shifting emotion that I believe captures how I feel about life and thus wrecks me every time.

Johnny Cash – “Hurt”
It’s tragic and powerful.  I cry almost every time the old footage montage plays in this video:

It’s a reminder that even the biggest of legends fall eventually and more importantly artists can live on through the immortality of what they leave behind.

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