Retro Inspiration: Music

I love fashion.  I think we know this by now.  I find inspiration for my style of dress in many places.  The obvious ones are fashion magazines and blog sites.  I also find inspiration when I do my YouTube searches for live recordings of my favorite artists.  It just so happens that a lot of them were making music way before I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye.  Some were making music way before my mother was twinkle in anybody’s eye.  Either way, my greatest source of retro inspiration is the music itself and what the artists wore.

This video posted on YouTube showcases Tina Turner in a look that I love.  Enjoy!

Oh Jeff

I have had a few conversations about artists who have died “too soon” and I was sitting at my desk listening to Jeff Buckley and got in the mood to write.  I could switch out names.  But, who I was listening to definitely inspired me.

I have come to the conclusion that I do not need to listen to Jeff Buckley while I am at work.

Now, I have absolutely had no follow through with this.  First of all, most of the time I play iTunes on random, so I do not know if Jeff is going to come on or not.  Second, even the hopped up on caffeine version of myself cannot advance the song once I get into the first 8 seconds of “Everybody Here Wants You”…

Jeff Buckley’s music is beyond refreshing.  There is a level of honesty in his writing (and his choices of covers) that makes me less disenchanted with the world around me.  He makes the highs and lows of love seem natural and worth the often bumpy, roller coaster-like ride.  Jeff Buckley’s music is really like the grading curve of experiences, from romance, to family, to just life; he takes these extremes of life brings out the emotions, lets you know someone gets it (by putting his life out there), and puts a realist’s spin on it.  He punishes himself, he pushes himself, he cries, he pulls on his strength, he falls down, he gets up, he even stays down at times… The arrangement is like a perfect match to the stories he is walking you through.  The timber in his voice adjusts to inhabit the subject matter.  I don’t consider him to be the perfect recording artist.  I consider him to be a recording artist who knew that he was human, flesh and blood.  In his knowledge, he started a song out naked and clothed himself in the melodies and words and movements.  In essence revealing what makes him like every man and giving the listener a means to connect.

Sometimes, when I think of Jeff Buckley as an artist, then as someone who is no longer alive, I feel like there is something missing in a world in which there is no new Jeff Buckley to be heard.  There is no future anticipation of some new album reflecting some life changing course of experiences and the resulting growth.  However, sometimes is the operative word.

As his body of music stands, there is a sense that, as a body of work, it’s effective as it is.  “What Ifs” can easily kill what an artists body of work is.  There is an “in the present” effect that we overlook when we see an artist’s death as if it robs us of some experience that we would have had if that artist had lived longer.  I think what is for those of us who are fans and listeners is what I appreciate most about Jeff Buckley’s music  (and a reason that I admire many musicians), a connection.  A song written over ten years ago when I was a teenager contains the words that I struggle to find as a thirty something woman feeling some kind of way about something I am going through.  I have something to relate my life to and when I cannot articulate what’s on my mind and my heart, I can just press “play.”

I’m not partial, it’s good music

It’s been a while. No, really, like months.

I guess life happened enough to send the blog to the back burner. But blog I must about some things.

I have a thing for music. It’s more than a crush and just less than an undying love. Music is like men to me. I do not like all that out’s there. I hate some of it. Sometimes I want it to read my mind and sometimes it seems like it does. I daydream because of it. It has even made me cry. Some of it is fake and some of it is real. I have my guilty pleasures. And I have bought a lot of it because I thought it looked nice.

I could go on and on.

People ask me my favorite artists/songs all the time. Always and forever on the list are my two younger brothers and their work. Of course, big sis has to like her baby brothers’ music. No? No. I was not raised to like anything just because.

Hence the title of this post: I’m not partial, it’s good music.

I played french horn for a really long time. I learned to read music. I practiced my craft. I got bored and I put it down. I loved what I did, but very little of it came from a creative place. I was not the composer or the arranger. I don’t even consider myself to have been a good performer.

That is the beginning of real music for me. The creation. To take inspiration from the ether, bring it to a perceptive medium, shape and mold it, THEN expose it (and yourself) to an audience… Yes, I do consider music to be an artist’s medium.

But back to my brothers’ music and why I am not partial. I am proud of their ability to put energy into a craft in which they have not been formally trained. I am in awe of the raw and untainted talent that comes out of each of them. I am amazed at the bravery they have exhibited in their pursuits.

I also have VERY high standards as far as they are concerned. My older brother, younger brothers and I were raised to be accountable to each other at the highest degree which has often resulted in a mutual sentiment that one or the other is a severe biting pain in the ass. And in our house, we were raised to have a discriminating ear when it comes to music. This combination is quite the tough one. Technically, I am not allowed to like my brothers’ music because they are my brothers. Technically, I am supposed to chop to shreds if I see something wrong with it.

Technically, it’s good music.

I had been searching for something to break my writer’s block that resulted in my reclusive blogger behavior. I was listening to my youngest, brother, Jordan’s music and I got the effect that I like to get from music: the subconscious head bob, the movement in the music that connects to something you are going through, the feeling like the bass climbed into your chest and took over for your heartbeat…I can go on. I sit at a desk with an awesome view composed of white painted brick. Good music makes that bearable. Music brings life to the photos, artwork, origami, and sticky notes that I used to dress up the drab surroundings. Good music keeps my mind from being blocked in by the figurative and literal brick walls. Walls that absolutely do not inspire my scientific creativity.

The point is, I needed something to write about. I needed to expose some truth. I needed to take my mind off of other things. Listening to my brother’s music fulfilled those needs.

Both of my brothers’ are two of my favorite artists. A couple by the baby boy are posted below.

I’m not partial. It’s good music.