I have loved and I have lost, I have worked and been rewarded. I have been blue, oh so blue but now I’m in such a better place.
I wanted to reflect upon this year where so much (but also so little) has happened.
I started and then deferred my Masters of Clinical Nurse Education
I have just enrolled instead in my Post Graduate Honours (Acute Care Nursing) degree (2018 here we come!)
I had a wonderful relationship with a wonderful person that was just not at the right time.
I travelled to Spain and Portugal with my Dad, a kind of goodbye to solo family holidays and a celebration of the best man I know turning 60.
A job as a staffing co-ordinator which I hated and dreamt of being back on the wards again (which I ended up going back to my beloved general medicine) – it gave me a whole new perspective of the hospital
A first wedding anniversary for my beloved brother and his beautiful wife
making new friends, saying goodbye toxic friends
losing my appendix and then gaining weight
dealing with new found body image issues (scars on my abdomen)
flings with flirty physiotherapists
tinder dates that would tire your eyes
reality of my darling dog, Millie growing old (I got her when I was 15)
becoming more of the person I hope to be
being a better friend
not losing touch with those who just need some space, then finally reconnecting with them
finding so much musical bliss
accepting that I am who I am
acknowledging my anxiety triggers
freaking out about my ticking biological clock
crushing on ridiculous people
being proud to be Australian and a part of making the “YES” vote count
being a daughter, sister, and friend who is loved unconditionally
Thank you, 2017. You have taught me so much about myself and those I adore. It has certainly not been easy but I’m still here and we’re still here and we’ve GOT this!
Here are some songs that remind me of times long gone… where it be driving around in the car with my dad, or a song that reminds me of school days or uni days, here are my top picks of songs and their meanings to me:
THE TEMPTATIONS – MY GIRL
This song will forever remind me of driving with my Dad. He’d sing this song to me and I’d groove. Without a doubt I was his girl. If I ever get married (hahaha) this will be my father-daughter dance – I’ve always promised this to him since I was a wee babe. It reminds me of our love and our remarkably unbreakable bond (even if I am a messy pain in the arse).
MEN AT WORK – DOWN UNDER
When I went to university, I met one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, my friend Stephanie. I remember the day I met her, I asked her if she wanted to look at my textbook. Many step brothers quotes later we became best friends. We were fortunate (and smart enough) to win scholarships to study at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Those days I will NEVER forget. If I didn’t have my best friend with me, I would have been an utter mess. This song reminds me of times at our beloved Tombs where we’d start the dance floor off by requesting this song – we were the beloved Aussies who weren’t so reliable paying the tab… or so we thought (we worked out in the end that we were more than reliable). I also remember when we were feeling awfully homesick blasting this in Steph’s dorm room. Even during Hurricane Sandy. Great times. I can’t believe it was 5 years ago.
DARYL BRAITHWAITE – THE HORSES
This song was released when I was 4 or 5 and I was OBSESSED with it. I remember riding around in the car and whenever the horse song came on I’d demand it be played and be played LOUD. Thanks MUM! Every Australian kid should remember this song fondly.
CULTURE CLUB – KARMA CHAMELEON
This song is on this list more for the fact that it drove my brother INSANE. When I was younger, my brother would stand at the bottom of the stairs and yell, “SHOW ME YOUR FACE” before I went to school. I FUCKING HATED IT! so in retaliation, I’d play this. His least favourite song. It’s a great song but he loathed it and that made it about 500000x funnier when he would almost howl when I’d play it to prove that yes, I was awake, and yes, I heard you the freaking first time you tried to wake me up. Thanks heaps, bud.
FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASons – DECEMBER, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)
When I was in year 8 (2002), my mum bought me tickets to see a musical, Oh, What a Night! for my birthday. It was then that I fell even more in love with 70s music that she adored so much. I remember hearing this banger and my head, spun around and the took the party under. Another one to chalk up to Mum. Thanks babe!
JIMMY EAT WORLD – THE MIDDLE
This is another tune I can chalk up to the genius that is my brother. This tune should be the lifeblood of any of my fellow generation y’ers. It is pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to be jazzed up by this bloody banger of a tune.
RÖYKSOPP – WHAT ELSE IS THERE?
This reminds me of my beloved high school friend, Kate. Through thick and thin, we’ve remained the best of friends. I remember hearing this in the common room in year 12. The remix, that is. Ridiculous. We used to dance to this tune in an extremely unforgiving and embarrassing manner. I know Kate will read this, I also know she’ll cringe the same way I do when thinking about how awesome we thought we were in year 12. Remember Maths, Kate?
LEN – STEAL MY SUNSHINE
Hey, you talked to Marc lately?
Uh, haven’t really talked to him but he looks pretty, uh, down
“He looks pretty, uh, down?”
Yeah, well maybe we should cheer him up then
What do you, uh, suppose we should do?
Well, does he like butter tarts?
WHO DOESN’T REMEMBER THIS SONG? I couldn’t for the life of me understand why some pregnant chick was riding around on a fucking scooter. Where is her kid these days? is it famous? I NEED TO KNOW.
Please share some golden oldies, I know I have a million more but these are a few absolute favourites…
*Warning – Expletives used in this post (to emphasise the emotion)*
There has been a lot of hate in this world lately, I’ve been inspired by One Love Manchester to create a list of songs that give you goosebumps – those that make you feel… The joy of music is that it makes you feel.
U2 – With or Without You
So everybody probably knows this song. I associate it with my teenage angst and the novel turned movie, Looking For Alibrandi. A tale of searching for who you are – who are you?
“If I could be anything but what I am, I would be tomorrow. If I could be what my father wants me to be, then maybe I could stay for that, too. If I could be what you want me to be, I’d want to stay. But I am what I am, and all I want is freedom.”
This takes me back to my English HSC exam in 2006. This was my chosen related text for “journeys”, you know – the journey you take to find yourself or whatever it is you need to find. I will never forget writing this quote in my essay about journeys – in the end, you find yourself with or without whoever it is you think they may be… I digress… This song shaped so many generations. I’m the last one to laud U2 but this fucking song is everything. It means hope, it means despair, it means ultimate sadness and ultimate happiness… I don’t know – it just makes me feel.
Bon Iver – Calgary
This FUCKING song. I just don’t even know where to begin. I know I’ve waxed lyrical about this bloody song so many times. I cannot emphasise how important this song is to me – it got me through my first ever university exams. I passed with flying colours and won a Scholarship to Georgetown University thanks to this song (and fucking hard work) This song is about a place you’ve never been, or somebody from a place you’ve never been. I don’t know. It just KILLS me every single time. A musical masterpiece from one of my favourite bands ever to exist, Bon Iver, I often fall back on its dulcet tones in my hours of despair. What can I say? it makes me feel.
Coldplay – Fix You
I’m the first to admit that I haven’t been a massive fan of Coldplay since their first album, but FUCK, this song could elicit tears from a stone.
“lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you”
If you can honestly tell me this song doesn’t give you the feels then I really don’t know what’s wrong with you – are you a robot? this song is the With or Without You of the 00’s (don’t quote me on that).
Fleetwood Mac – Landslide
“well, I’ve been afraid of changin’ ’cause I’ve built my life around you but time makes you bolder even children get older and I’m getting older, too”
There’s those themes again – growth and change. Two of the most terrifying concepts for adults… I’ve always had a soft spot for Stevie and the rest of Fleetwood Mac but this song encapsulates what it is to grow older, feel the burden of caring (almost too much) and realising that hey – it happens to those of us who are lucky enough to keep our lives.
Again, it’s a song that reminds me of my dad – through thick and thin, we’re the original duo.
Bon Iver – I Can’t Make You Love Me/Nick of Time (Bonnie Raitt cover)
Yes this is a cover but fuck me, what a ridiculously incredible cover. Last year at Vivid Sydney, I was lucky to see Bon Iver for the 3rd time… To my utter delight and my heart’s demise, Justin played this song with Sean Carey… A tale about not being able to win the heart of someone you can’t live without… but with a twist at the end and you find something in the nick of time… If this song doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re a cold hearted son of a gun. Who can go past Justin’s voice in the first place?
“cos I can’t make you love me if you don’t. you can’t make your heart feel something it won’t. here in the dark in these final hours, I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power; but you won’t. no, you won’t. I can’t make you love me if you don’t.”
The Temptations – My Girl
This song will forever remind me of driving around in the back of my father’s Merc when I was a little girl – singing and enjoying our time together.
I have always sworn that the father-daughter dance at my wedding (if that ever happens) will be this song- Dad used to sing this to me – I was (and still am) HIS girl. There’s a bond that will never break between us. My father is serious, intelligent, forgiving, supportive and above all loving.
Band of Horses – No One’s Gonna Love You
“and anything to make you smile it is a better side of you to admire but they should never take so long just to be over then back to another one
and no one is ever gonna love you more than I do no one’s gonna love you more than I do”
This song reminds me of my sister (in-law) and the love my brother has for her. At their wedding, I remarked, “I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather be the wife of my beloved Nicky” Kate is literally the glue that holds everything together when shit gets real, but Nick is the person who would do anything to make her smile. I get tears in my eyes thinking about them and their love for each other – it’s remarkable, humbling, enviable and pure.
Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over
This is one of the songs most Australian kids were brought up listening to – indeed much of Crowded House’s backlog. This is a quintessential Aussie/Kiwi song musing the disheveled place our world has become. No truer words sung when this was first written than sung now. It’s multi-faceted, about love, the world and you. I guess the message from the lyrics just speaks for themselves,
“Hey now, hey now Don’t dream it’s over Hey now, hey now When the world comes in They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won’t win
Now I’m walking again to the beat of a drum And I’m counting the steps to the door of your heart Only shadows ahead barely clearing the roof Get to know the feeling of liberation and release”
I could write for days about songs and their way of making me feel such raw emotion. I could hardly encapsulate all of those songs and their vivid beauty in one post. For now, my heart is full and I am content.
6 years on, this is still one of my favourite albums ever produced. Never has there been an artist that has made such an impact on me. I could say that Bon Iver the band and Justin Vernon, the mastermind has shaped so much of what I am and what I love. I’m in the mood for reminiscing on one of the most masterful and spectacularly beautiful albums I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to. I’ve seen Bon Iver 3 times now, twice at Sydney Opera House and once at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Each time I was moved to tears.
I could write an essay about the lessons and experiences I associate with this album – this album got me through my first exams as a 1st year nursing student; it comforted me when I was 9763 miles away from home when I studied at Georgetown University in 2012; it has made me cry; it has forged firm friendships and most of all it has made me feel.
So here we go – a (slightly) edited version of one of my first forays into writing about the music I love.
Way back in May 2011, when I first wrote about the building anticipation that I had for the release of Justin Vernon’s band, Bon Iver’s self-titled second album, I wondered whether it could ever surpass all of my wildest expectations…
Sometimes when a singer or band comes along that you have never heard anything like before and you listen to them… and you feel something so raw, sweet, haunting and brilliant that makes something click for you like For Emma, Forever Ago, and you wonder whether anything could ever match or even better the work of art that is that masterpiece of an album, you wonder whether the long awaited follow-up will be “all that” and you’re pleasantly surprised that yes, 3 years wait does pay off and that yes, Justin Vernon is without a doubt a talented artist.
Let’s preface this, Vernon states, “Every song sort of drifted towards that theme, [of] tying themselves to places and trying to explain what places are and what places aren’t.”… take the journey and find out yourself…
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
2. Minnesota, Wi
6. Hinnom, Tx
9. Lisbon, Oh
“The process wasn’t that unlike the first album… it’s just that we decided to make it sound a little denser and sort-of a little less achy and empty…we wanted it to be full”
Purposely stepping away from where For Emma, Forever Ago left off, Vernon shows off his versatility as a musician whilst still utilising his ability to weave beautiful stories around his melodies. Vernon has been heralded as a brilliant lyricist however some can argue that his lyrics are vague and don’t mean much
“I don’t know what the songs are about really… the songs sort-of reveal themselves I guess… they just kind of meld together as we go along… on this record you don’t need to hear them or understand them (the lyrics) to get the feeling”
The idea is to weave a meaning for yourself.
still alive who you love
The album starts with “Perth” named after Western Australia’s capital city.
Vernon states that,
“the song and the way it sounds and where Perth is, it’s like the world’s most isolated capital city, I think that spoke to me… the whole record starts in Perth. Perth can be the beginning of stuff, and for me Perth is like birth in this record – the whole chaotic aspect of being born and how messy it is, I guess.”
With it’s haunting and eerie drum beats and searing hook “still alive who you love”, Perth is an unforgettable and brilliant introduction to the luscious journey that lies ahead.
never gonna break
never gonna break
Arguably one of the most famous songs from the album, Vernon suggests, “the title is a metaphor for when you’re not doing well. But it’s also a song about redemption and realising that you’re worth something; that you’re special and not special at the same time.”
…and at once I knew I was not magnificent… I could see for miles, miles, miles
“Towers” is a true tribute to the Native American-preserved land in Washington state where the video was shot.
for the love, I’d fallen on in the swampy August dawn what a mischief you would bring young darling! when the onus is not all your own when you’re up for it before you’re grown
Vernon states, “It’s about the things you can’t do any more. So if you do you’ll be sent to West Michigan for ever.” (In other words – Hell).
love can hardly leave the room with your heart
No, it’s not a real town in Texas, but…
well it swirls and it sweeps
you just set it
I… I’m telling darkness from lines on you
don’t you cherish me to sleep
never keep your eyelids clipped hold me for the pops and clicks I was only for the father’s crib
hair, old long along your neck on to your shoulder blades always keep that message taped cross your breasts you won’t erase I was only for your very space
hip, under nothing
propped up by your other one, face ‘way from the sun just have to keep a dialogue teach our bodies: haunt the cause I was only trying to spell a loss
so it’s storming on the lake
little waves our bodies break
there’s a fire going on,
but there’s really nothing to the south
swollen orange and light let through your one piece swimmer stuck to you
sold, I’m ever open ears and open eyes wake up to your starboard bride who goes in and then stays inside oh the demons come, they can subside
“Calgary is more about longing for a place you’ve never been or someone from a place that you’ve never been…” The first single released off the album was a delicious teaser as to what lay ahead for eager listeners. An instantly likeable track with the familiar achy and urgent strains of Justin’s voice guiding us through a story with infinite possibilities in regards to interpretation of the lyrics.
The juxtaposition of sound that Vernon has created from the Birth (Perth) to the Rest (Beth/Rest) is extremely brave and interesting, the 80s vibe is one that takes a few listens to get used to but is a destination well worth the journey which the album takes you on to get to. It is the letting go of things he attributes to being able to write this song – one unlike anything he had ever written before and he states that,
“just like Perth is the beginning of things, Beth/Rest is a place where you rest… it comes to a place and you just sort-of let go…”
Because of the crickets, I thought I should make a little playlist.
Lately I’ve found myself head over heels in love with the most incredible person I’ve ever met. I wasn’t looking for anyone, then again, nor was he. It happened, we clicked and he almost hasn’t left my side since. Oh the romance of love. It makes me giddy, it makes me silly, it makes me say ridiculous things but most of all it makes me feel. Here are some tunes that make me feel…
Apologies for the crickets around these parts. I’ve just wrapped up my ward nursing career (for the foreseeable future) and started my job as a staffing co-ordinator which I’m loving. I have also started my masters in clinical nurse education which I’m sure you could imagine is pretty time consuming.
Been listening to some pretty great tunes in the meantime but I just wanted to do a little exposé on one of my favourite people of the moment… J. Tillman (AKA Father John Misty)
Anyone who knows me and my writing knows how much of a die-hard fan of Fleet Foxes I am and as J. Tillman was their former drummer, it’s almost a given that I would adore him just as much. He is an ultimate beardy mountain man even if I have one myself.
I don’t know what it is – maybe the extreme romanticism in his lyrics, or maybe it’s the way his voice sounds with those more-often-than-not sexy lyrics. Whatever the case, you gotta listen to some of his tunes.
Here are my top 5:
1. (My favourite) Chateau Lobby #4
You left a note in your perfect script,
“stay as long as you want,” and I haven’t left your bed yet
(The actual letter Emma left him)
2. Real Love Baby
Our hearts are free So tell me what’s wrong with the feeling I’m a flower, you’re my bee It’s much older than you and me I’m in love, I’m alive I belong to the stars and sky Let’s forget who we are for one night We’re not animals baby It’s the people who lie
3. I Love You, Honeybear
Don’t ever doubt this, my steadfast conviction
You’re the one I wanna watch the ship go down with
4.When You’re Smiling and Astride Me (quite possibly one of the most deliciously sexy songs I’ve ever heard)
There’s no need to fear me
Darling, I love you as you are when you’re alone
I’ll never try to change you
As if I could, and if I were to, what’s the part that I’d miss most?
When you’re smiling and astride me
I can hardly believe I’ve found you and I’m terrified by that
5. Nancy From Now On
Oh pour me another drink And punch me in the face You can call me Nancy Every man wears a symbol And I know I have mine I’ve got my right hand stamped In the concentration camp where my organs scream “slow down, man!”
There are so many great tunes to choose from and I’m dying to see his live show (by the looks of things, they’re pretty amazing – maybe I should take a coat with me next time?). Let me know your thoughts below…
As I am working on a few stories that aren’t *quite* there yet, I thought I’d share a few jams that have been on high rotation on my spotify at the moment.
I am going back several years with some of the tunes, RIP the Middle East and Snakadaktal (don’t even get me started) and a lot of these bands are from our talented shores but you know what? That’s one of the greatest charms – so much talent in our big backyard! Some of these film clips are on youtube. Check ’em out if you have time.
I have dabbled in the musical journalism (FYI: I don’t think that’s the appropriate word for it) scene since my late teens. Sydneysiders of my age will remember dedicating Friday nights to getting drunk at the Clare Hotel on Broadway before rolling down the hill to the Abercrombie Hotel (RIP) to dance the night away to indie tunes at Purple Sneakers with that Purple Drank (WHAT DID THEY PUT IN IT?)
I have even had a previous blog that I used to write my musical musings, likes and dislikes, raves and rants in.
I’ve been thinking for a long time that I wanted to get back into writing about things I love. Two major impacts on my life (as others would identify with) are music and travel. It seems all too cliché to be writing about travel and music when so many have done so before me, but I wanted to get back to writing.
This year is already shaping up to be incredibly exciting, scary and lucky for me. I start my Masters degree in Nursing Education in February, I also start my new role at work as a staffing co-ordinator which gets me off the ward for several months (a welcome reprieve from months of no light at the end of the tunnel syndrome), and most importantly I’m feeling the need to get back out there, throw caution to the wind, see bands by myself, write what I want to write and hopefully that interests other people.
I have some very exciting ideas for this website and have spent many a drive to work thinking about different posts I wanted to make.
I’m so excited for this project and I hope it acts as a distraction for when I’m tearing my hair out wondering why the fuck I thought it was a good idea to do my Masters degree.