Search

learning love songs

est. 2008

Month

November 2013

11/28/13

I have listened to this song for approximately 12 years and I did not understand the meaning until today. I watched this performance and heard not only the song, but the artist’s story, connecting to it and understanding the reasons for telling it.

Here is another performance of the same song from 20 years later. Once the orchestra intro subsides, the audience applauds at the familiar melody. She is singing from a different place now. The wounds that once bled out the song’s initial inspiration are no longer fresh. Yet they are memorialized here, justly and elegantly so. The words and tones are as precise as ever, supplemented with the lushness of strings, gallantry of horns and delicately placed ornamentation. Dynamics of this strength are mastered by a truly in-sync group of accomplished musicians, who are not only listening to each other but feeling the physical rise and fall of the song.

“Snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose
Get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter
I put my hand in my father’s glove
I run off
Where the drifts get deeper
Sleeping beauty trips me with a frown
I hear a voice
“Your must learn to stand up for yourself
Cause I can’t always be around”
He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I’ll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Boys get discovered as winter melts
Flowers competing for the sun
Years go by and I’m here still waiting 

Withering where some snowman was
Mirror mirror where’s the crystal palace
But I only can see myself
Skating around the truth who I am
But I know, dad, the ice is getting thin

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I’ll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Hair is grey
And the fires are burning
So many dreams
On the shelf

You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that I’ll always want you near
You say that things change
My dear

~Winter
Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes

11/26/13

I’ve been all over the place lately – from retro funk to poppy post-hardcore, bluegrass songwriters to rediscovered old favorites from mix CDs of days gone by. There’s a few newer releases I’m incredibly stoked on and replaying continuously while driving aimlessly, getting lost in a new city. Not to mention the stage full of banjos strumming standards I’ve caught live the last two Wednesdays.

But this night calls for something vaguely haunting and free of association, something to get lost in. The delicate harmonies of The Staves glide over suitability scenic lyrics like they’re on ice, the subtle dynamics are absolutely stunning. The studio version of this song, “Winter Trees,” has drums and strings and all sorts of build-up towards the end of song when it speeds up some – the kind very much in keeping with modern folk – but I love the tension in the live acoustic version. Sometimes all that studio stuff can take away from the songwriting, like a pretty girl dressed in so many scarves and jewels you don’t even notice her face.

“White winter trees
Covered in snow
I don’t mind
I don’t mind
I think of you now
Here in the cold
You won’t mind
You won’t know

But I never meant to say
Any of those things
Oh I never meant to tell you how
To be or how to think
Oh I was wrong

Heavy of heart
Weary of soul
You won’t mind
You won’t mind
I think of him now
Fathoms below
You won’t mind
You won’t know

But I never meant to say
Any of those things
Words can sound so cruel
When you speak before you think
Oh I was wrong

But you didn’t understand
That my heart was in your hands
You were so blind
Blind

I promised you that I’d never let you down
Oh but I couldn’t love you any less than now

And I promised you that I’d never let you down
Oh but I couldn’t love you any less than I do now

And I lost myself on that November night
White winter trees
Covered in snow
I don’t mind”
~Winter Trees
The Staves, Dead and Born and Gone

11/16/13

The prospect of new Brand New material getting release sometime in the relatively near future has me knee-deep in their discography. We’re talking front-to-back Deja listens, in-depth attention to Daisy’s themes, outright speaker-blasting of The Devil and God, and wistful rewinds with Your Favorite Weapon.

What a catalog. What a band.They never get old, no matter how many times I listen. Any time I think I *might* be growing out of the music of my past, that I might not need to re-hear these songs, they come by and interrupt, reset me back to where I was. I remember how clearly I first heard those parts, I remember hearing angst in Jesse Lacey’s voice unlike any singer I’d ever heard and feeling so drawn to it, so in sync.

Hard to believe it was 10 years ago I first heard this particular song, strange to understand how much I’ve grown since then, and a little disconcerting to recognize how much can feel the same after so much time.

Brand New For Life.

“Up the stairs, 

the station where 
the act becomes
the art of growing up.”
~Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fade
Brand New, Deja Entendu

11/5/13

Change is a wonderful thing. So are new experiences. And still the shadow of the past follows you around, creeps up around you, pops in front of you in a certain light. No reason to stop treading the path you’re on, but it elicits enough memory to give you perspective.

When the world looks new, it’s almost like living in a dream – every corner, every street, holds the unfamiliar and potentially life-changing. Living in the moment becomes easier than ever when there’s little common ground between you and your surroundings. So, your eyes see clear than ever, your perspective renewed.

What I love about Death Cab for Cutie, especially “Plans,” is the perspective, the way the narrative is a few steps removed from the present. This album has been with me for a long time – the band was an early high school favorite, and this album saw me through so many life transitions. Once again I find myself spinning Plans, playing and singing along, aging along with the album. It’s a wonderful accompaniment for the moments you want to spend living in your head, a safe harbor to find yourself when your surroundings are entirely brand new.

“Burn it down till the embers smoke on the ground
And start new when your heart is an empty room
With walls of the deepest blue

Home’s face: how it ages when you’re away
Spring blooms and you find the love that’s true
But you don’t know what now to do
Cause the chase is all you know
And she stopped running months ago

And all you see
Is where else you could be
When you’re at home
Out on the street
Are so many possibilities
To not be alone

The flames and smoke climbed out of every window
And disappeared with everything that you held dear
And you shed not a single tear for the things that you didn’t need
‘Cause you knew you were finally free

‘Cause all you see is where else you could be when you’re at home
Out on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone

And all you see is where else you could be
When you’re at home
There on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone”

~Your Heart is an Empty Room
Death Cab for Cutie, Plans

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑