Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Auld Lang Syne




Growing up, our family NYE tradition started with paper, crayons and markers.  We'd each receive a page for the ending year and a page for the new, on which to record our accomplishments, experiences, goals, and dreams.  We'd read over the last year's pages and reflect on the past, present, and future.  I have spent the last couple days reviewing the year's journals, and synthesis is starting to rinse over me.  Auld Lang Syne.

I've learned about communication, parenthood, special moments, patience, and intuition.  I've followed a pair of pink toms around, amazed at who this little girl is becoming.  Amazed that I get to go on the journey of life, with her.  I listen to her right now, yelling "Hi-ya!" in her crib, followed by "Ni-night."  She speaks.  Our little one is starting to engage with the world, and I'm just amazed at life through her eyes.

Jamily celebrated NYE on the town- river-walk, carousel, butterflies, salsa music, dancing, eats & laughs- with Josey and Margaret, plus a nice visit with more Boat Co. family.  A perfect way to say goodbye to a great year, and hello to the new one.  On our way out of the UC, a Classified project/art installation at First Night Missoula tonight reminded (as many things do) of the first work (of art) that I'm about to share with you- the album release was with a single classified ad.

I've been working on this post for awhile, my best-ofs.  Make sure to keep reading, because the best album is just many highlights of the year.

When we got home late last night, after Josey babbled the whole way, she said, "I lullyou, Mama."  Talk about a highlight!  With his music friends, James shares a "Year's Best" Album list every year.  I've been inspired by that idea, hence- this post!  Enjoy.


\\ Album of the Year \\ Modern Vampires of the City

When James left this Spring for Glacier, he was stopped by Rockin' Rudy's to get a new album.  I wrote Blue, Boatman, he descended back into Winter for awhile, getting the Boats ready and listening to Modern Vampires of the City.  

Photo via Motor City Blog
When Josey & I finally arrived to the wooded cabin mid-June, the cd was comfy in my pink cd player- the one that spun Autumn mixes in high school & college.  We'd listened to the previous Vampire Weekend albums on it, too.  You may be familiar with Holiday or Horchata, great examples why Rolling Stone describes their previous work as "a precocious mix of indie pop, African guitar grooves, and wry, boat-shoe-preppy lyrics."

On first listen, I was plain giddy.  The music was SO. GOOD.  So eclectic, melodic, interesting & expressive in it's instrumentation!  So much emotion, a passionate heartbeat over layed with hope & joy.  A heartbeat begins, and we're implored to...

Listen.  Don't Wait... 

The ten in our boat house rarely tired of this music, the cd usually played twice in a row.


{Diane Young on SNL- Video}


With this one, I imagine sitting by the radio, falling for the singer as the girls fell for Elvis or the Beatles just by their sound.  "Irish and proud baby naturally, but you got the luck of a Kennedy....Nobody knows what the future holds its bad enough just getting old."  This is modern rock and roll pulsing the way I want to feel it.

"Diane Young" segways perfectly with an epic organ intro for "Don't Lie" is another of many reasons why this is a well-crafted album.  I want these songs together!  Musical transitions that feel so real, they take you from one place to another like you're on a train.  The Beatles (George Martin) did this so well: stand-alone singles with incredible flow.

In "Don't Lie", the subject of time passing continues.  Ezra asks, "I wanna know, does it bother you, the low click of a ticking clock?  There's a headstone right in front of you, and everyone I know."  2013 held a look at death from a couple perspectives in our life.  A few individuals fell off mountains within eyesight of our boat house, and my Grandma was buried in December.  I think it's healthy to process aging, death, and music helps.  


Lead singer/songwiter Ezra Koenig said in this interview, "It seems like putting the cart before the horse to say this is my job.  We are musicians because we have something to say via our albums."  He goes on to talk about the strong emotional connection the band has with their music.  This connection is evident in their creation.

"Hannah Hunt" is an incredible love song I didn't notice until James brought it to my attention with his album review.  The line "though we live on the US dollar, you and me, we got our own sense of time" rings so true for us.  This piece travels right into "Everlasting Arms," which I included on my Mama Jams mix for it's sweet sentiment and strings.

This album, the band's third release, is a work of art.  I was happy to find it #1 on Rolling Stone's 2013 list, claiming it "added scope and sequence to their previous musical sophistication, sculpted and subtly bonkers, with orchestral sweeps balancing hymnlike beauty and dub-inflected grooves."  Yeah.

The album speaks to the masses, according to NPR's 2013 listener's poll.  NPR reported that no other album came close (Lorde was in line).  I know why.

In fact, I started a post about this album in July, but my relationship with it evolves over time.  For me, that's a sign of lasting music.  Les Miserables, Schumann, and Nina Simone, the Beatles- all have that effect on me, too.  Layers and layers of emotion, which hit me differently as months and years pass.

The questions & mantras of this album stick with me.  Ya-Hey remains my motto of 2013, and I'm working on a cover.  "I can't help but feel that I made some mistakes, but I let it go."  Basslines melodic, background choir, every time it feels like I wrote it...but better than that.

Congratulations to Vampire Weekend and Ezra Koenig for writing and recording the most critically-acclaimed album of 2013, one that we'll be listening to for years to come.  We'll wait, as you take your time, young lions, just keep bringing the music.


\\ New Artist \\ Lorde

We can't stop listening to Lorde either.  She had me (and the rest of my girlfriends) on our first listen of "Royals", upon which we emailed things like, "who is she?"  This chick is 17.  Her lyrics are incredibly impressive for her age, yet effective in expressing her position and experiences.  Plus, her music makes me really want a drum machine.  I hope she can continue her independent, New Zealand vibe and not get brought down by the pop industry.  Something tells me she'll be fine.

With themes of royalty, teeth, and change, I appreciate Lorde's unique takes on the world today. Hope she starts incorporating live accompaniment & singers to enhance her performances.  We'll be watching.

More on Lorde on the Huffington Post
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Lorde Music Tumblr
&
Rookie's Interview with Lorde!




\\ Female Icon \\ Beyonce

This queen dropped it big time (with this Instagram, to be precise)!  I wrote about the album for my Secret Santa Blog Post, comparing it to Lady Gaga's latest release (I joined a bunch of content strategists through twitter to gift posts).  I was disappointed, along with many, by ArtPop.  Come on, lady.  Telling people something is art will never make it art.  I still love Gaga though.  

Beyonce's big gift to her fans was met with sheer surprise, and it's obvious that she really cares.  I was super-excited about this being a visual album because I loved MTV in High School, and I love that she's pushing it as a unit.  An album expresses so much more than a 3-minute-song.  Go, girl.  

Roundtable Discussion (with Videos) & Feminists Everywhere React & Part 3 Reveals...

 I am inspired by Beyonce - continuing to create through the process of motherhood.  Yes, this new album is highly sexual, but the added element of her life experience makes it easier for me to handle.


Beyonce on recording "Self-Titled" with her baby  


"I wanted to show that you can have a child, and you can work hard, and you can get your body back... you can have your child, and you can still have fun, and still be sexy, and still have dreams, and still live for yourself.  I don't have any shame about being sexual, and I don't feel embarassed, or feel that I have to protect that side of me."
{Loving this dialogue she's putting out with her new music!}

\\ Single \\ "Can't Hold Us" Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Sometimes, you just need a song to pump you up, to belt out.  Inspire, put you on the good side, maybe make you dance.  This is it.  I have many memories on choir buses last year, hearing my students sing this and seeing that free abandon that only a good song like this can bring.


{Pentatonix Version: Video}


\\ Show \\ Nashville

Current Favorite Show.  We've watched Office, Parks & Rec, and of course LOST.  Nashville is produced by T. Bone Burnett, also known for his musical work on Coen Brothers films, The Hunger Games, and hundreds of artists.  The acting is spectacular.  It's modern day, country-opera.  Music isn't contrived, it happens naturally in the scenes, and the characters show layers and layers of experience and emotions.  We watch it on Hulu.




\\ Story \\ The Great Gatsby

Honestly, this is one of the only movies we watched this year.  I read Fitzgerald's novel a couple years ago and was so distraught by the ending, I couldn't bare to think of Gatsby again.  I loved that the movie highlighted his big realization- living inside a dream, and that you truly can't rewind time, and how selfish people can truly be.  When the soundtrack came out this Spring, I bought it immediately.  I was intrigued by the artists & covers (Beyonce on "Back to Black", etc.), the infiltration of hip-hop, and the Lana del Ray pieces.  After a couple weeks of listening, the mood was too dreary for me.  Still, "Young and Beautiful" was an anthem for this summer, and I appreciated the musical attempts at infiltrating 1920s style with hip hop and melancholy.  Having fallen in love with Leo in Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet, I enjoyed the interpretation, melding musical influences and settings to make a beautiful film.




\\ Impact \\ Mandela and the World


Nelson Mandela's death was the world's most shared event of 2013, his journey affected so many on different levels.  A couple posts to share:
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\\ For Me \\ Yoga at Home



I have been loving Beautiful Belly Yoga with Briohny Smyth for awhile, and now I'm activating my 10-day free trial to Gaiam TV!  Looks like an amazing library (yoga to documentaries on arts, culture, and even metaphysics).  First up, a class with the silver fox of yoga, Rodney Yee.
Gaiam TV - Try it FREE
(there is a Gaiam TV affiliate link in this post.  Look our for the "Affiliate" Tab in the next month for more about this.)

And hey, if you like what you read here, I would love you to share with a friend.

For me 2014, will be all about connection.  

{Namaste}



\\ Social Media \\ Instagram

Polaroid Picture
Instagram has been my favorite way to edit/share pictures and feel like a hipster-professional for awhile.  They took a couple awesome steps this year.  First, adding video, and now direct messaging, making it more like Vine & Snapchat. While it can be truly addicting due to the instant factor, I enjoy following my family and friends and friendly bloggers on their Instagram adventures, and sharing some of our favorite moments as well.


Which brings me to:

\\ Precious Memories \\ Our Highlight Reel





*My brother Nick moved to Seattle- so excited for his new adventure!  *We celebrated Christmas with the Hackethorn's in Polson.  Josey had a great time with her cousins!  *We witnessed the incredible love of my Grandparents as we said goodbye to Grandma Vicki.  We'll never stop looking for her inspiration.  I am thankful for the extended family time we all had during this, and have never been more grateful for my family. *My Dad was honored "Firefighter of the Year" for his work in Fire Prevention.  So proud of him! *I started working with the Very Special Arts Choir, a new journey for me full of love and lessons. *Another beautiful summer at Many Glacier with Josephine & the Boat Co. Family.  Josey learned how to walk this summer! *Jamily had some of our best jams this summer: at the Many Glacier house while Metta visited & we celebrated Becky's birthday, in Hootenanny's every Sunday. *A successful choir tour with my students to Washington.*James' excellent season coaching tennis at Hellgate! *Skiing with Josey  *I decided to try and blog weekly about a year ago.  I'm excited about where this blog is going, even more excited about where life is going.  



Auld Lang Syne, friends!  May all your hopes for 2014 come true.  


(Photos courtesy of Motor City Blog, Vampire Weekend, Pitchfork, What Culture, Gawker, NPR, Beyonce.com, Gaiam TV & ABC)


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