learning love songs

est. 2008


January 2012


Sometimes I take this song off my iPod because it is just too damn sad.

This is a feeling I have flirted with, the “I-don’t-want-to-have-you-but-neither-can-anyone-else.” It is simple human envy. It is not a feeling that you want to have, and generally it induces another layer of guilt because you don’t want to be “that person.”

“good arms, versus bad arms, will win hands down
they are built to hold and fit
look how far they go around

you don’t need these now that you’ve found another pair
and the difference astounding, i should expect

leave the rest at arm’s length
keep your naked flesh under your favorite dress
and leave the rest at arm’s length
when they reach out, don’t touch them, don’t touch them

i decided this decision some six months ago
so i’ll stick to my guns, but from now on it’s war
i am armed with the past, and the will, and a brick
i might not want you back, but i want to kill him

and leave the rest at arm’s length
keep your naked flesh under your favorite dress
and leave the rest at arm’s length
when they reach out, don’t touch them, don’t touch them”

-Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
Frightened Rabbit, The Midnight Organ Fight

It’s a brilliantly written song, because you can hear the denial in his voice. You see through the lyrical lies. It’s an honest perspective, because I would think the average person lies to themselves, privately, about their feelings, at least several times a day. “I’m not stressed,” “I need him,” “I’m depressed,”…the list goes on and on. We think these lies to ourselves are harmless, and for the time being, maybe, sure, they are. But in the long run, they are the bricks of a fortress constructed around the heart, one that is difficult for the winged birds of honest love and emotion to exit.

Somehow this song captures this feeling for me. Sure, in this song the singer’s saying he doesn’t need, or want, this love anymore, but you know he does. He wouldn’t be writing the song if he didn’t.


Fairly into this song lately, as well as the band.

Dawes has a Tom Petty, The Byrds like vibe that jives very well with having no idea what’s going on in your life and the days are long and rainy.

I can’t pinpoint what’s groundbreaking about them, except they sound completely familiar and brand new all at once. Paced and measured verses, rhyme schemes and hooks that are satisfying to the core (see “Fire Away”) and songs seem to wrap up with long guitar solos that are probably bangin’ live.

“Maybe cause I come from such an empty-hearted town
or maybe cause some love of mine had really let me down
but the only time I am lonely is when others are around
I just never end up knowing what to say

if I wanted someone to clean me up, I’d find myself a maid
if I wanted someone to spend my money, I wouldn’t need to get paid
if I wanted someone to understand me, I’d have so much more to say
I want you to make the days move easy”

~If I Wanted Someone
Dawes, Nothing is Wrong

“There’s an old voice in my head that’s holding me back
I tell her that I miss our little talks
Soon it will all be over, buried with our past
You used to play outside when you were young,
Full of life and full of love

Some days I feel like I am wrong and I am right
Your mind is playing tricks on you my dear

‘Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry
Our bodies safe to shore

Don’t listen to a word I say
The screams all sound the same”

~Little Talks
Of Monsters and Men

Fun song, fun band I’ve recently gotten into. They definitely have trendy elements – a Mumford and Sons like phrasing, female vocalist sings real high, songs are cutesy-but-sad. I like it very much. “Little Talks” was just released as a free single on iTunes.

They kind of remind me of Stars, but they have a little more playful vibe whereas Stars pulls dramatic stops. Also, they’re Icelandic, not Canadian.

This other song – “King and Lionheart” is triumphant to say the least, I’m feeling very me and against the world and lonely lately, so I just might stay inside and listen to this band all day.


When you walk into the bar, it’s sparsely populated, but you see who you’re supposed to saving a chair for you. Ordering a brewed-on-site sampler leads to conversation about craft beers, fathers, drinking, arrests, and more.

The bartender puts on one of your favorite records, so it probably means you were supposed to be there. It has to mean something. Right?

“Everybody leaves and I’d expect as much from you”
~Great Expectations
The Gaslight Anthem, The ’59 Sound


This cover KICKS ASS.

I read somewhere that Hugo is on Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation after writing “Disappear” for Beyonce, or something like that. Anyway, how awesome that an English dude with a banjo can take a hip-hop classic and turn it on its head but retain the original bad-assness. Lovelovelove.


Heard a snippet of this song in the credits for the movie “Timer” (which I highly recommend) and remembered how much I loved it. I think it’s about the marks you make on people, and the desperate hope we all sometimes have that love transcends loss, that memories are enough to keep the fluttering hearts and wide eyes alive.

“Please, remember me happily
By the rosebush laughing
With bruises on my chin, the time when
We counted every black car passing
Your house beneath the hill
And up until someone caught us in the kitchen
With maps, a mountain range, a piggy bank
A vision too removed to mention

But please, remember me fondly
I heard from someone you’re still pretty
And then they went on to say
That the pearly gates
Had some eloquent graffiti
Like “We’ll meet again” and “Fuck the man”
And “Tell my mother not to worry”
And angels with their great handshakes
Were always done in such a hurry

And please, remember me that Halloween
Making fools of all the neighbors
Our faces painted white
By midnight, we’d forgotten one another
And when the morning came I was ashamed
Only now it seems so silly
That season left the world and then returned
And now you’re lit up by the city

So please, remember me mistakenly
In the window of the tallest tower
Calling passers-by but much too high
To see the empty road at happy hour
Gleam and resonate, just like the gates
Around the holy kingdom
With words like “Lost and found” and “Don’t look down”
And “Someone save temptation”

And please, remember me as in the dream
We had as rug-burned babies
Among the fallen trees and fast asleep
Aside the lions and the ladies
That called you what you like and even might
Give a gift for your behavior
A fleeting chance to see a trapeze
Swinger high as any savior

But please, remember me, my misery
And how it lost me all I wanted
Those dogs that love the rain and chasing trains
The colored birds above their running
In circles around the well and where it spells
On the wall behind St. Peter
So bright, on cinder gray, in spray paint
“Who the hell can see forever?”

And please, remember me seldomly
In the car behind the carnival
My hand between your knees, you turned from me
And said, “The trapeze act was wonderful
But never meant to last”, the clown that passed
Saw me just come up with anger
When it filled with circus dogs, the parking lot
Had an element of danger

So please, remember me finally
And all my uphill clawing
My dear, but if I make the pearly gates
I’ll do my best to make a drawing
Of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl
An angel kissing on a sinner
A monkey and a man, a marching band
All around a frightened trapeze swinger”

~The Trapeze Swinger
Iron and Wine, Around the Well


Pretty sure my sweet, pathetic little blog would be pinned under SOPA/PIPA legislation, since who knows where these YouTube videos come from?

fuck that noise!


The Gaslight Anthem’s frontman Brian Fallon recently spoke with Evan Schlansky of American Songwriter to talk about his influences.

As I would hope/expect, they are varied and multi-media, music to movies to literature. As I would also expect, there’s a lot of childhood memories that were seeds of his career. Also, he loves Tori! Fallon remains in my top five of “artists-I-want-a-guitar-lesson-with.” Others include: Michael or Jeremy from Lovedrug, Nick Torres of Northstar/Cassino, Dave Grohl, and Taylor Swift (obviously).

I should really read the American Songwriter website more. Very good perspective.


I can’t listen to this song without becoming completely centered. Capturing that feeling of “small-and-all-alone-in-the-world” the series of seemingly innocuous, insignificant sights woven with harsh realities come together to form raw, virtuous meaning. You should probably listen to it.

“I was walking far from home
Where the names were not burned along the wall
Saw a building high as heaven
But the door was so small, door was so small
I saw rainclouds, little babies
And a bridge that had tumbled to the ground
I saw sinners making music
I’ve dreamt of that sound, dreamt of that sound

I was walking far from home
But I carried your letters all the while
I saw lovers in a window
Whisper, “Want me like time, want me like time”
I saw sickness, blooming fruit trees
I saw blood and a bit of it was mine
I saw children in a river
But their lips were still dry, lips were still dry

I was walking far from home
And I found your face mingled in the crowd
Saw a boatful of believers sail off
Talking too loud, talking too loud
I saw sunlight on the water
Saw a bird fall like a hammer from the sky
Saw an old woman on the speed train
She was closing her eyes, closing her eyes
I saw flowers on the hillside
And a millionaire pissing on the lawn
Saw a prisoner take a pistol
And say, “Join me in song, join me in song”

Saw a car crash in the country
Where the prayers run like weeds along the road
I saw strangers stealing kisses
Giving only their clothes, only their clothes

Saw a white dog chase its tail
And a pair of hearts carved into a stone
I saw kindness and an angel
Crying, “Take me back home, take me back home”
Saw a highway, saw an ocean
I saw widows in the temple to the law
Naked dancers in the city
How they spoke for us all, spoke for us all

Saw loaded linen tables
And a motherless colt, then it was gone
I saw hungry brothers waiting
With a radio on, radio on
I was walking far from home
Where the names were not burned along the wall
Saw a wet road form a circle
And it came like a call, came like a call
From the Lord

~Walking Far From Home,
Iron and Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean

Some of these words remind me clearly of sights my own eyes have witnessed, and forgotten. Like strangers on trains who I couldn’t help but be drawn to – like the violin player leaning on the wall when I took my first NYC subway ride in junior high. And when I took pictures of the trash on a country road after a garbage truck careened off a pothole. Or when I drive through the bad parts of the city instead of taking 490 home, just because. These are not significant moments in my life, or probably anyone else’s, but they teach us something about the world.

If you open your eyes, the questions you have about the world will be answered. You may not have the words to say it, but you’ll have that understanding in your gut that rises smoke-like to the mind, and you feel like the world makes sense and maybe you’ll be OK in it after all.

This song makes me feel that way.

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