Good Enough for Valentine’s Day

Artist: Evanescence
Song: Good Enough
Album: The Open Door
Mood: Lovey dovey

Last Valentine’s Day I wrote an anti-holiday post, mainly because I was single and somewhat jaded by the dating scene–having been single for a year and a half at the time. Although still not 100% convinced the holiday is needed, I find myself in a much better place this year than last year. So to celebrate my enjoyment of bliss–and guaranteed “romp” time later–here is the one and only happy Evanescence song, unless of course you count a few demos from their early days.

“Good Enough” isn’t exactly the picture-perfect love song. Instead, it’s about finally finding real love but at the back of Lee’s mind, there will always be the slight lingering feelings of worry. Not doubt as in the relationship won’t work or that she doesn’t love her partner, but that she hopes she is good enough for him. “And I’m still waiting for the rain to fall/Pour real life down on me/’Cause I can’t hold on to anything this good enough/Am I good enough for you to love me too?” Despite her insecurities, she’s accepting of love and willing to do anything to keep him close. She just can’t say no to him, and not in the “I’m desperate” way.

After more than a decade on the dating scene, I’m hoping this is the one that sticks because I feel good enough damn it. I’m secure in both who I am as a person and as a partner.  “It’s been such a long time coming, but I feel good.” Happy Valentine’s Day and may our readers find true love.

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Unlock the Heavens in My Mind

Artist: Evanescence
Song: Secret Door
Album: Evanescence
Mood: Dreamy, love

Lead singer Amy Lee is always at her most vulnerable during stripped down songs–”My Immortal,” “Hello,” “Good Enough.” I’m not sure about my readers, but I’ve always been a sucker for a slow piano song, and “Secret Door” tugs even more at the heart thanks to its mostly harp and violin melodies. Lee claims inspiration in those moments where we unwillingly wake up from a dream but try so desperately to enter that dream state once again.

My interpretation of the song is a comparison between finding the door back into a dream and searching for love. Opening the door into your mind is no different than opening up your heart to someone, “And I, I will remember how to fly/Unlock the heavens in my mind/Follow my love back through the same secret door.” Sometimes being in love feels like too good a dream. As much as we enjoy the dream, at the back of our minds, we hope we’re not pulled out of it. It seems almost impossible to find the way back in.

So in my dreamy state of love bliss, I enjoy the sweet sounds of Lee’s new found, delicate harp skills paired with subtle piano and soothing strings. “Secret Door” is a song that keeps pulling me in. If only I could drift off to sleep right now with my love.

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Feeling the Change Consume Me

Artist: Tool
Song: Forty-six & 2
Album: Aenima
Mood: Positive change and happiness

It has been a good two+ months since I have written a post on this blog. And it is not for lack of inspiration, plenty of emotions have been passing through this heart and brain of mine. Instead, it was a lack of time at work. Honestly, I technically don’t even have time to write today’s post, but you know what, I don’t care. I meant to literally write this post back in September, but the feelings still apply, so here goes!

There is a reason Tool has always been one of my favorite bands and has inspired multiple posts here at this blog: Maynard Keenan has the uncanny ability to express my deepest emotions, not just the ones that cloud the surface. If you read any of my posts over the summer, you know they weren’t the happiest, and I desperately wished for change in the fall. Whether it was pure luck or my own mind telling me to shut up and make the changes myself, the fall did, and has, ushered in the positive changes I longed for.

While I still do not comprehend the meaning behind the title “Forty-six & 2,” I do understand and relate to the meaning behind the lyrics. Keenan compares personal reflection and internal change to the shedding of skin, “Change is coming through my shadow/My shadow’s shedding skin.” Beforehand, Keenan admits to giving into self pity, “I’ve been wallowing in my own confused/And insecure delusions.” If there is anything humans know how to do well, it’s giving into our insecurities.

But I do believe a little bit of wallowing is a good thing. I needed the time to be sad so that I could work through my emotions. But once August hit, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was ready to move on. As Keenan so beautifully puts in this dark, chugging song, “I choose to live and to/Grow, take and give and to/Move, learn and love …/To do what it takes to move through.”

Although this won’t be my last “metamorphosis,” I hope the next changes in my life will continue to be positive ones.

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You Anchor Me Back Down

Artist: Mindy Gledhill
Song: Anchor
Album: Anchor
Mood: Accepted and Loved

I first  discovered Mindy through the work she did with Kaskade, providing vocals for a few of his great electronica songs. Her work as a solo artist is stunning and whimsical and right now, the song “Anchor” is everything I’m feeling at the moment.

Recently, I had a conversation with my significant other about some serious experiences from my past, things he had yet to know. I didn’t think I was ready to tell him and I didn’t expect the discussion to happen yet, but it did. And while all I did was fear his reaction, I got the exact opposite of what I expected: acceptance. And that’s not the only thing he’s accepted about me. He’s accepted that I’m a big geek, that I tend to like things most girls do not, that I can be silly and ridiculous, often and always.

“Anchor” is a beautiful ballad about a girl who finds that sometimes, she’s a little different. She sometimes floats off in her own world, but she has a person who accepts and anchors her, despite all of it. The music is a classic waltz with beautiful echoed background vocals, adding to its whimsy.

The song starts and ends with the same lyrics, setting the tone, “When all the world is spinning ’round/Like a red balloon way up in the clouds/And my feet will not stay on the ground/You anchor me back down.” It is a sentiment I think a lot of people can relate to.

My favorite lines that really mean the most to me are, “There are those who think that I’m strange/They would box me up and tell me to change/But you hold me close and softly say/That you wouldn’t have me any other way.” To me, that’s the epitome of truly caring for someone. Not only accepting someone for who they are, but not wanting to see it change, knowing  it is part of the package deal.

On top of that, the video is just neatly fantastical, bringing it all together.

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At Least I’m Moving Forward

Artist: Hoobastank
Song: Moving Forward
Album: Every Man For Himself
Mood: Moving on…and through

We all have things in our life that we fear. It’s no mystery what mine has been lately, judging by my last musical post here. And it’s not just me; I’m seeing a lot of my friends dealing with a variety of issues stopping them from moving along. But sooner or later, whether it’s getting past fear or coping with emotions, or just finding some sort of motivation, you’ve got to start moving forward.

It’s time to get over it. That’s what I’ve told myself this week. My fears have done nothing but create a negative bubble that I’ve been trapped inside. So instead, I’ve decided to push the anxieties away.

The reason I’ve always been a fan of Hoobastank (despite the flack they sometimes get) is that a lot of their music can be really inspirational, as far as being about pushing away from the negative and embracing the positive. Right now their song “Moving Forward” has been exactly the push I need to keep me moving in the right direction. The first verse talks about the fear of taking a certain path; “I stand before/A road that will lead/Into the unknown/At least unknown to me.” He goes on to explain his fear stifling him, but the second verse is more of an affirmation of pushing past the fear; “I’ve made up my mind/I’m through feeling scared/I’m leaving that behind/So/Now it’s time to go.”

The song builds up from a slower ballad style to powerful chords as it goes on, upbeat and uplifting. It’s the like musical equivalent of the lyrics, starting off with the fear but then building up to confidence and empowerment.

“And I take the first step of a million more/And I’ll make mistakes I’ve never made before/But at least I’m moving forward…” Damn straight!

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The Fear of Love

Artist: Morcheeba
Song: Fear And Love
Album: Big Calm
Mood: Fear, doubting

I’m in a new place in my life I have never been before; I’m scared of falling in love. I’ve always been a person who was very open in new relationships, who never curbed my emotions or let thoughts plague a happy experience. But things have been different lately. After several bad experiences in a short amount of time, I’m scared. I keep questioning silly little things,  and I keep asking myself if I’m even capable of falling in love again.

If ever there was a perfect song for how I’m feeling, it’s Morcheeba’s “Fear and Love.”  It both expresses exactly my emotions at the moment (“I’d love to give my self away/But I find it hard to trust/I’ve got no map to find my way/Amongst these clouds of dust”), but also illuminates the truth of the situation (“Fear can stop you loving/Love can stop your fear/Fear can stop you loving/But it’s not always that clear”).

I think I’m at the point where I’m understanding that if I do fall in love, that could be the cure for the fear of it. And if I keep fearing it, I’ll never let myself love again, with him or anyone else. Letting things go and letting the feelings happen, though, is another story. Like the lead singer says, “We can live in fear/Or extend our selves to love/We can fall below/Or lift our selves above.” I really, really want to go back to the emotionally open person I once was. I’m hoping I can do that, for his sake and for mine.


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Learning to Say Goodbye

Artist: Madonna
Song: The Power of Good-Bye
Album: Ray of Light
Mood: Sad to say goodbye

Just an hour ago I was bopping along to my “starred” songs on Spotify, enjoying the wub wubs of dubstep, the chugging metal of a random Slipknot song, and of course random classical scores thrown in between. I was not expecting Madonna. More specifically, I was not expecting a song I’ve always loved but hated when it related to my life. To say I was caught off-guard would be an understatement. I was almost tempted to skip the track, for my heart’s sake, but thought it better to let it play out. I’m not the type to exclude a song from my playlist when it becomes too painful to listen to.

Madonna’s “The Power of Good-Bye” is the mature, clear-headed person’s breakup song. In other words, it’s not the song you listen to after the initial severing of ties, to put it mildly. Instead, it is the song you listen to after the stages of grief I spoke of weeks ago. “The Power of Good-Bye” fits snugly into the acceptance stage: “There’s nothing left to try/There’s no place left to hide/There’s no greater power/Than the power of good-bye.” The gut-wrenching moment when the smoke has cleared and there is nothing left to do or to say. All you can do is move on with your life, knowing the other person will not be there to share it with you. Even with the closure I so longingly desired, taking the step forward still pains the heart, more so than the initial shock. Madonna’s voice reflects her heartbreak well, in what I believe, is an underrated song.

After everything, walking away is the most difficult part; it’s finite; it’s terrifying, at least for now, “Learn to say good-bye/I yearn to say good-bye.”

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I Wanna Be Sedated

Artist: Alabama Shakes
Song: Hang Loose
Album: Boys & Girls
Mood: Crippling anxiety mixed with quixotic hope

Alabama Shakes are a riotous, joyful, roaring tornado of a band. Though their newly released, excellent debut album catches a good amount of that fire, it can’t compare with the group’s onstage presence: frontwoman and rhythm guitarist Brittany Howard, with shaking curls and vocals that alternate between rafter-reaching howls and full-throated, near-gospel resonance, is nothing short of a force of nature.

When they’re not dousing listeners in tidal waves of heat, though, Alabama Shakes are pealing out the supportive messages like they’re a personal cheerleading squad. It’s a theme that pervades their record; in their first single, “Hold On,” Howard repeats the mantra that “you gotta hold on!” until it’s impossible to shake. In “You Ain’t Alone,” meanwhile, she tells us “You ain’t alone / Just let me be your ticket home.” It’s hard not to believe her.

This song, “Hang Loose,” is a particular tonic for the fragile-nerved and despondent. Though this week has left me feeling burdened with an Atlas globe of fear and romance-induced anxiety, Brittany reminds me to hang loose, learn to love myself, and forget about being my own worst enemy (a terrible predilection to be sure), no matter how things go. Hell, she’s even bought us both tickets to Waikiki! If turquoise waters don’t sooth these frayed nerves, her unerring support is sure to set me right again.

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A Prescription for the Blues

Artist: Hugh Laurie
Song: You Don’t Know My Mind
Album: Let Them Talk
Mood: The good ol’ blues

Fans of the television show House already know Hugh Laurie has a passion for music and we loved when he was given the opportunity to play. Fans received their wish last year when Laurie released his first solo album Let Them Talk. Is it ironic that an Englishman sings the blues so well? Is it the best blues album ever written? Certainly not, but there are some real treasures. “You Don’t Know My Mind” is one of them.

Like any classic blues song, “You Don’t Know My Mind” is about a woman, a woman giving him a bit of grief. While I can’t say I relate to the entirety of the woeful song, there are bits and pieces that stick out: “You made me get mad and you made me get sad/The going gets tougher than you ain’t never had/Baby you don’t know, you don’t know my mind/When you see me laughing, I’m laughing just to keep from crying.”

The current state of my mind has been quite the whirlwind lately and as much as people like to think they understand what I’m going through, they never truly can. You can only let others in so much, which is frustrating for both parties. But today I’ll sing of the blues with Hugh and force myself to laugh just to keep from crying.

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Trusting My Sensible Heart

Artist: City & Colour
Song: Sensible Heart
Album: Bring Me Your Love
Mood: Self-Reflection

Sometimes, there are songs that so greatly remind us of ourselves and the internal emotions we have, that it is almost scary. Today’s post is a reflection on continuous moods of insecurity or uncertainty that have come to the surface again.

I know that I often don’t trust myself in a lot of things. I worry too much about what people think of me and let myself get walked over and I’m indecisive because I’m afraid of making the wrong decision. Even more so, I don’t trust my own heart in things, which is an issue I’m dealing with as of late. And often, it is telling me the right answer.

“Sensible Heart” by City & Colour really puts these feelings into words for me:  “I get so distracted/By some people’s reactions/That I don’t see my own faults/For what they are…./At times so self destructive/With no intent or motive/But behind this emotion/My sensible heart.”

Sometimes we get so caught up in not feeling sure of ourselves, that we stop ourselves from growing, or loving, or standing out as we should. If we can’t have confidence in what we choose to do and who we are, how will anyone else get to know the real us? I know how hard it can be to balance all of it. And I’m thinking that maybe, if I just embrace me, I’ll be able to better trust how I’m feeling in my given situation.

The last lines of the song are ones I want to always keep close, to inspire me: “I  hope to learn as time goes by/That I should trust what’s deep inside/Burning bright, oh burning bright/My sensible heart.”

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