Tag Archives: music

My Top 10 Favorite Songs of All Time

27 Feb

Now that I live in Austin I spend a lot of my day stuck in its infamous traffic. It seriously starts at 3 in the afternoon and doesn’t let up until about 9 at night. Being that I spend a lot of time in my car, I have a lot of time to listen to music. I also have a lot of time to debate in my mind what my favorite songs are. There are a couple staples that have stayed with me for years and years and will never relinquish their spots on this list. Then there are others that are new to the game and could be interchangeable as the years go on and my music taste either matures or worsens.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite songs of all time.

10. “Right Here, Right Now” – Fatboy Slim

Reading these first few entries on the list you may realize that I really like a good instrumental score. The basis for if I truly like a song is if I can picture it set against some sort of film or television show – it’s me, go figure – and scores seem to have that impact on me. However, if you were to ask me to name any other Fatboy Slim song, I probs couldn’t do the deed. “Right Here, Right Now” was and has been the peak interest I’ve had with the 90’s band. This song is so incredibly campy, creepy, sexy, and intense that it’s no wonder Veronica Mars used it when she finally uncovered who the campus rapist was. And if a song is used to unmask the evil of rape, well, then it’s fine by me.

9. “Intro/Islands” – The xx

I’m still in a love affair with The xx. As I mentioned above, the mark of a good song for me is if I can picture it set to a moving picture. Add to the fact that I can listen to it at night before bed on a continuous repeat and you’ve got yourself the number 9 position on this list. It’s hard for me to choose just one song off of their debut album, that’s why they get two. Both “Intro” and “Islands” are perfectly cinematic in that they make you feel incredibly sexy and give you an I-could-own-the-world-right-now-if-I-wanted-to attitude every time you give it a listen.

8. “In The Hall of The Mountain King” – Edvard Grieg

It’s the greatest piece of symphony work in the history of symphony work if you ask me. Only one word can really describe it and give it justice: EPIC.

7. “White Winter Hymnal” – Fleet Foxes

It’s hard to not hear the beginning of this song and not automatically feel safe and warm. While Fleet Foxes have admitted that the lyrics in the song don’t mean too much and that the song was initially made to experiment with different vocal techniques, the feeling that I get after listening to this song is much like a little boy on Christmas morning. I feel like I’m on the plush carpet in my grandparents wood cabin up in the high mountains of Alaska with a nice fire cracklin’ next to 7 welsh corgi puppies sleeping soundly. That is to say, I feel at peace with everything in the world.

6. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash

For the longest time I used this song as the fantasy theme song to my fantasy television show that I dreamed about creating. There is so much raw emotion in Cash’s version, that he makes Nine Inch Nails’ ode to regret and the low’s of life all his own. I still get goosebumps whenever I listen to the song, and if I’m watching the music video whilst listening, then bring on the waterworks. My father gave me an interest in Johnny Cash, Walk The Line gave me respect for Johnny Cash, Cash himself gave me love for the man in black.

5. “Rolling In The Deep” – Adele

Much like celebrity deaths, there are certain songs that when you hear for the first time you can remember every aspect of what was going on during those few minutes. During the first time that my ears were honored to hear this 3 minutes and 48 seconds I was sitting in my apartment at my desk completely in shock and awe at the power that I was hearing. While a lot of people are sick of the song because of its constant radio play, I could hear this song everyday (and I did for a good year) and never tire of it. This is the one moment of my life that I will allow for cockiness and arrogance because upon hearing this song, I rushed to tell my good friend, Lion-Haired Girl, about it and swore that if she did not sweep the next years Grammy’s for the song then I knew nothing about nothing. Thank you Grammy committee for proving my prophecy correct.

4. “No Cars Go/ Neighborhoods #3 (Power Out) – Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire is my all time favorite band… for all time. When I talk about music sounding cinematic, this band is the standard to which I hold. It’s so incredibly hard for me to pick just one song of theirs to stick on this list, that is why they also get two. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the band perform 3 separate times, and all 3 times they completely blew me out of the water by inventing a completely new show. “No Cars Go” is my fantasy song that if I had any musical talent at all, I would perform in front of thousands of people and they would be oh so impressed. “Power Out” is my ringtone, running song, shower song, driving song, everything song. This is the song that I make people listen to first if they’ve never heard of the band. It’s powerful, playful, and like almost everything the band does – fun.

3. “Crazy In Love” – Beyoncé

This be my jam! Like Adele, Beyoncé’s tour de force of a first single will always and forever be the greatest female pop song. This is the song you crank at the beginning of a party to get everyone in the mood to keep going all night long. From the first note of those blaring horns to the final uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, oh no no, Bey and Jay keep the insane anthem to hot love thumping. My awkward junior high school moment memory comes courtesy of this song. Thanks to the radio playing it in my 7th grade art class, I came to realize, only by the time the song was over, that I was the only one belting out lyrics… in front of the whole class. That is what this song does for you, though. It takes you to the soul-funk world that Miss Knowles created and only lets up once the dust has settled after all those booty bounces.

2. “Walk Through The Fire” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The moment where you realize that you can no longer live in youth adolescence, but rather have to nut up and just deal with the problems that the world can throw at you has never been more clear than in this Joss Whedon penned song from “Once More With Feeling.” I love this song so much that I painted lyrics from it onto a canvas and pinned it up on my bathroom wall sophomore year of college. “I will walk through the fire cause where else can I turn. I will walk through the fire and let it burn” is what greeted me each morning. Many could have taken this as a sign of depression, but to me it was just a reminder that life isn’t all sunshine. The villains sometimes win, the good guys don’t always get their way, and that is okay. That is the way life is. The song has basically been my free therapist for the past few years. Now that I am in the transition of moving from adolescent boy into a, hopefully, strong man, I can’t think of a better song to guide me.

1. “Evil” – Interpol

For some strange reason, this labyrinth of a song about a two timing bro-dude was my introduction into what music could do. Up until my listening of this song, I had never really paid much attention to music. I listened to what was on the radio, whatever country CD my family played in the car (Gretchen Wilson for the win), and the NOW! compilation cassettes I owned. This song is the reason I have my “picture it set to film” rule. This song is how I learned I could be inspired by something. This song is the reason Interpol can do no wrong. This song is creepy, it’s confusing, it’s funny, it’s completely terrifying when you watch the music video (I have a thing about dolls and puppets), and yet, it captivated my young mind as to what music could do for a person. It’s still the most played song on my iTunes, and whenever it shuffles on I can’t help but press the repeat button and feel like that young lad once again.

Well there you have it, folks. You stuck with this list until the very end. I hope that you got more out of this list than just “geez, his music taste kinda sucks.” Now I’d like to hear from you. What are your favorite songs? What music moments make you stop every single time they’re played? Let me know in the comments below.

Scoring My Life

26 Jan

I will be the first person to tell you that my mind is a bit warped. Not like a crazy person warped, but rather my eyes are cameras and the inner workings of my mind is the production team at Bravo.

I’ve been told that I exaggerate stories more than what the actual reality of them was. What can I say, I love the drama and theatrics of life.

My first thought when I hear that a friend got a job at a hospital isn’t “Oh yay! You’re going to be saving people’s lives!” It’s “What type of indie music are they going to be playing throughout the hallways? How many attendees are you going to sleep with? Will the hospital have a bomb scare every Tuesday, or every other Tuesday?”

Yeah. Warped.

My mind is so tuned into the station of KLZW that I want every moment of my life scored and soundtracked.

If I had a genie granting me wishes left and right one of them would be to have Alex Patsavas select songs to play in the background of my daily trials and tribulations. You know, she would make it seem like me pouring that bowl of Kix Berries in the morning was the coolest thing ever. EVER. Yet, she is busy running a real career and scoring actual TV hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Mad Men. So since she’s busy, I’ve taken on the task myself.

While there are literally hundreds of songs that I already have planned for significant (hopefully!) moments in my life, my favorite daydream one has to be

Washed Out – “You’ll See It”

This song is totally my twenty-something-living-in-the-city-for-the-first-time jam. The beat is fun, the lyrics are almost incoherent, and you know what, SO IS THE CITY!

(JSYK hit play above and listen to the song whilst reading)

Picture it: the shot opens up with me jumping out of bed, the camera starts slowly panning out of my bedroom and into the bathroom. OH, I’M IN THE SHOWER! OH LOOK, THE CAMERA HAS PANNED FROM THE BATHROOM TO THE KITCHEN AND I’M FULLY DRESSED, READY TO TAKE ON THE CITY! WHAT?! I JUST WALKED OUT OF THE DOORWAY OF MY APARTMENT AND I’M ALREADY IN THE OFFICE’S OF MY HIPSTER/FAST-PACED/IMPORTANT JOB! THIS IS JUST CRAZY!!

(If you haven’t caught on by now, this is definitely a montage)

I’m walking through the offices West Wing style, drifting in and out of the hoards of people that surround me. The smile on my face only reflects the confidence and excitement in my heart. Oh, and my outfits keep changing because this is a montage of how exciting Washed Out is making my life feel, and what is a montage without different wardrobe changes anyways?

Oh, look! I’m home now. I’m kicking off my boots and answering the door because it’s the take-out dude with my Chinese food! I’m smiling at the thought of being on my own in the city. I’VE MADE IT. I barely plop down on the couch to eat before the montage camera has panned back to me in the office. I’m running around with a pile of mail in my arms, my face is starting to lose that confident smile it had at the beginning – uh oh, nerves. The camera is panning through the office as I begin to trip up and accidentally let the mail slip through my arms and fall to the ground. Oh jeez, I’m such a klutz. People are staring as I scramble around the floor grasping at loose paper like Velma for her glasses on Scooby Doo.

I’m home again! And what do you know, the takeout dude is back with more Chinese. I hand him my money with an apprehensive smile. He knows as well as I do that this is my third time in a week and a half to order from Yum Yum Flaming Dragon. The camera begins to slip out of the montage and settle on a close up of my face. The lights and colors of the TV only enhances and highlights both the dark circles under my eyes and the question in my head: Is this city life what I really wanted?

I blink right as the song hits the 2:41 mark. The audience is only left with silence as the camera stays on my face. Jump to black, and time for commercial.

See. Warped.

While none of this montage has come to pass, and hopefully the latter never will, music helps to enhance the crazy richness of my odd artistic side.

So to make me feel less like a freak, are there any moments in your life where you know things could just be plain awesome if you had some sort of song blaring in the background? Let me know yours and I will definitely keep letting you know about mine.

Coldplay: Now In Color!

18 Oct

It’s time to come clean, readers. I feel like we’ve formed a connection these past months which is why I’m finally comfortable with what I am about to utter…

I, Zack, am a Coldplay fan.

Wow. Like ripping off a band-aid, that one. Now this might not seem like the grandest of confessions to you, but to me, it’s a big one.

It’s an odd relationship that Coldplay and myself share. I own all of their albums, physical copies no less, I went to the Viva La Vida tour upon its Texas pit stop – yet, I never have categorized myself as a Coldplay fan. They’ve always been the band on my iTunes and iPhone that I have hit the next button when their song begins to play. I love them, but at the same time I’m never too interested in listening to them. All this said, I CANNOT stop listening to their new album, Mylo Xyloto.

It is pure bright-spray-painted-candy-coated-Chris Martin and co. at their best. Right from the get-go, Martin hauls you in with the instrumental title track seamlessly introducing – my favorite track – “Hurts Like Heaven.” This album is colorfully, deliciously, poptacular in that – for the first time – Coldplay seem, uhh, happy. The album has a glowing sense of positivity and youth that capture’s a Neverland of a world that seemed to be as lost as the lost boys Martin coos about in, the cheerfully upbeat, “Charlie Brown.” Music needs to make me visualize something in order for it to get my, oh so so so so so so coveted, stamp of approval. Coldplay does that in neon-lit colors with Xyloto. Martin has said that inspiration for this album came from New York street art and graffiti – you can tell. Coldplay manages to paint the ears with brighter colors than Lisa Frank did the eyes in the late 90s.

I urge you, millions upon millions of readers. Go out and pick up a copy of Mylo Xyloto when it hits stores on October 24. I would specifically urge you to go to Target to get your copy, because, honestly, who doesn’t love an excuse to go to Target.

5 Music Recommendations

14 Oct

There are always those days where it seems like you’ve exhausted the catalog of music your iPhone/Touch/Pod can hold.

Well here I am to give you a few new artists to download and cram into your 16GB musical device.

1) Benjamin Francis Leftwich

A gracious friend of mine turned me onto the soul-calming sounds of Mr. Leftwich the other day. Literally, yesterday was the first time I heard about this folksy man. If you’re in the mood for something mellow to study to, lie on your carpet and read magazines to, or something to soundtrack over you while you stare out of your window at the night sky while petting your cat, this is your man. His voice is like cotton to the ears – it’s sweet and soft. And if close your eyes long enough and get those olfactory senses working, you’d swear you were either in the middle of emerald forest or on the deserted shores of an English beach.

2) Agnes Obel

If you like the smooth sounds of Ben but want something a little more haunting, look no further than, Agnes Obel. I downloaded her album a week or so ago after hearing her, “Avenue,” on my new favorite show, Revenge. She has been a great alternative to my sorrowful-girl-with-problems go-to, Lykke Li. Like Leftwich, Obel gives off a beautifully subtle sound that lingers in your mind and makes you feel like you’re in Seattle watching the rain fall into the river while a doe grazes next to the rock you are sprawled on. Just me? Hope not.

3) Feist

She’s a staple in almost any alternative music listener’s library. And let me say, her new album does not disappoint. My favorite of “Metals” has to be the first track, “The Bad In Each Other.” It has Feist’s soft mumble mellowing over guitar riffs, trumpets, and male vocals. The wailing “Oooooooh’s” towards the end of the track only cement it as one of my fav Feist numbers.

4) St. Vincent

At times I think this girl has more fun than Regine from Arcade Fire. She gets to be as kooky and as subtly eccentric as she likes and people love it. I have yet to listen to the whole of “Strange Mercy,” but from what I’ve heard so far has made me kick myself for not seeing her in Austin this summer when I had the chance. “Cruel,” the lead single, is a creepy, fun take on creepy, fun families (I guess?). If this song is not on American Horror Story by the end of its freshmen run, then I’ll bury myself as deep as Annie Clark does in the video above.

5) Simon & Garfunkel

Yes, they are considered ancient in the world of Billboard-chart-toppers-NOW music, but, honestly, you can’t fight classic. I’ll blame it on the fact that I now have a record player and S&G’s vinyls are anywhere from upwards of .50 cents at Half-Price Books. Lately I have not been able to get enough of the, formerly perceived, creepily-in-sync duo. It’s hard for me to recommend just one masterpiece, but if I must – it has to be, “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her.” The song is flawless, and not just because it reminds me of my own UT nursing student Emily. Fast forward to the final, “I love you, giiiirrrlllll!!!” for the ultimate sound of beauty.

Two Girls, A Guitar, And I’m Not Complaining

3 Oct

So I live below two of the most musically talented women in San Marcos. This is a total blessing because whenever I’m in the mood for a Katy Perry cover or a hum-worthy original, I just walk up 12 very wobbly steps and knock on the door of none other than,

OLIVE & CHUCK

 

I cannot rave enough about these girls, and not just because I have known them upwards of 3 years and they are two of my best friends EVER! Talent drips off of them much like glitter drips off of a wet drag queen. Tegan and Sara they are not. Let me channel my inner Summer Roberts for a moment to tell you that you’re not going to get two girls with guitars and a whole lot of complaining when you pop them into your Walkman (this is still the 90’s, right?), you’re going to get, as they call it, a bittersweet balance of happiness vs. sadness. One of my favorite summary’s of a band’s mission statement has to be The Drums’. They say that they only write about two things – one is the first day of summer when you and all of your friends are standing on the edge of a cliff watching the sun set and being overcome with all of your hopes and dreams at once. The other is when you’re walking alone in the rain and realize you will be alone forever. Olive & Chuck aren’t this dark, but they’ll hit you hard. Masquerading harsh, fun, honest lyrics under one tiny ukulele and  two big heads of hair, the two give the YouTube Taylor Swifts of this generation a reason to stay in their Jonas-Brother-poster-lined bedrooms. Whether it be a sweet little tune about not being able to get a partner to commit, or an Adele-esque power stance of a hit worthy of playing out through The Hunger Games movie, O&C write a new definition to two girls with guitars. But don’t take my simple words and praises for it, give ’em a listen at their music MySpace (good, it still is the 90’s!), follow them on the Twitter, like ’em on the Facebook, or click play below! You’ll be oh so happy you did.

(photo credit: ME!)

Compelled By Chris

14 Jun

Let me preface by saying that The Vampire Diaries is one of the most underrated shows on television right now. This isn’t just Sheryl, my CW fangirl, crying out in a “leave Britney alone” type fashion. It really, really, really is great. Believe me.

BELIEVE ME!

It has everything one could ever want out of a TV show, fantastic pacing, fantastic storylines (Katherine in the tomb!), fantastic twists and shocks (Katherine’s NOT IN the tomb!), and surprisingly fantastic acting (Ian Somerhalder’s eyebrows were born to be Damon Salvatore). But what the show has that beats all these other beauts, is great music.

What the show does so perfectly is that it seamlessly incorporates the music into the show. The music becomes a character itself. Now, I could go on about all the great scenes, but I’ll let music supervisor Chris Mollere’s expertise guide your opinion instead.

Ex. 1)

 

Ex. 2)

 

Ex. 3)

 

May I work for you, Mr. Mollere? Please?

Oh, and simply because it is one of my favorite moments from any TV show ever, here is the surprise return of Katherine from season 1!

 

 

Lately I have…

12 Jun

Been listening to rap music.

This boy…

…is slowly transforming into this boy…

Alright, the change hasn’t been that drastic. The photo above is my representation of Flavor Flav for a costume party in high school. A perfect interpretation in my mind.

I have been listening to some rap lately. A hit of Drake here, slice of Kanye there, and a little Nicki Minaj craziness sprinkled on top.

I’ve never had the keenest ear for the whole hip-hop craze that seemed to explode in my late junior high, early high school years. But lately I’ve opened my iTunes library to more than just indie rock and top 40 hits.

Payoff so far has been pretty swell! (Never has rap been discussed with the word “swell” in the mix. 5 points to Gryffindor!)

(Photo credit: ME!)

Time to be pretentious!

10 Jun

I’ve been wanting to do a post about music in television ever since I thought up the idea of creating a blog.

Well, here we go! This is the first in (hopefully) a series of posts that deal with ma favorite muzic, in ma favorite TV shows!

If you know me, you know I love me some Mad Men. It’s the perfect white people problem show for white people dealing with white people problems. And guess what, I am that white people. I became interested in this show the week after Entertainment Weekly plastered Mr. Draper and Miss Hollaway on their Summer TV Preview issue in the summer of 2008.

Because of their recommendation, I went to Wal-Mart and paid the whopping $45 bucks for the complete first season. I watched the pilot that night and once seeing the final shot of Don caressing his sleeping kids while an angelic Betty looked on from the doorway, I was hooked.

I could go on and on for days about how genius every aspect of this show is, but you are reading this upon the knowledge that I am going to talk about a “music moment” from the show.

Well, take a look at this season 2 *SPOILER FREE* beauty….

Ugh, groan, moan. I love this for so many reasons! No, not because I’m a pervert and it is a scene with women in various states of dress (that has something to do with it though!). I love this so much because, it is a show set in the 1960’s, but they use a contemporary song by The Decemberists.

THEY USE A CONTEMPORARY SONG BY THE DECEMBERISTS!

Alex Patsavas, you are truly magical. Until this point, the show had stuck to the formula of using songs that were from the time period in the show. This moment totally blew the equation.

(SPOILER FREE): “Maidenform,” from which this scene is from, is one of my favorite episodes from the series. It’s one of the first times the characters look through smoke-filled eyes and start to analyze themselves in darker ways. Having the episode start off with the three main women getting dressed and looking into the mirror is a beautiful way to show how each woman “sees” herself. While looking in the mirror, Betty is pleased at what she sees (“As far as I’m concerned, as long as men look at me that way, I’m earning my keep”). Joan is too busy getting ready for work to look in the mirror and see what she already knows; she’s the HBIC. And poor, poor Peggy can’t even stand to look at herself in the mirror.

To have all of this action go on while simultaneously playing a song about how beautiful a woman is and how we will all praise her is a perfect foil to the pathos that Weiner and co. are trying to convey.

Stop me now if I sound too white and pretentious.

Ok, I’ll stop myself.

Seriously, I could play the role of white-boy-Mad-Men-cheerleader everyday and never tire of it.

So, that was my humble thought and interpretation on one of my favorite musical moments. Now it is my turn to ask you, dear readers. What is your favorite musical moment from a TV show? Maybe yours is the amazing moment in Veronica Mars where Fatboy Slim plays over a slow-mo hallway chase or  it could be the theme song to The View. No matter how grand or small, I wanna hear!

So, shut the door and have a seat and let me know what you think.

(Photo credit: EW)

Honor Thy Father, Honor Thy Tina

12 May

Why can’t life be a Tina Turner concert from the early 70’s?

SERIOUSLY!

Look at how amazing life would be if it were this –

I used to loathe listening to this woman. My father was, and still is, a huge supporter of this raven-haired D-I-V-A. He used to blare her on Sunday mornings to get my family up and ready for church, his version of biblical hymns I assumed. We would listen to her morning, noon, and night for a good while.

  • “Simply the Best,” cranked so high in a Chrysler Seabring with the top down that it broke the sound barrier while driving to Kemah Boardwalk? Check.
  • The hum of “Private Dancer,” echoing from my house, greeting me at the bus stop? Check.
  • His favorite, “Nutbush City Limits,” on constant repeat from the age of 14 until graduation day? Check.

The lyrics of Miss Turner were incepted into my mind from an early age and I hated it. “She isn’t 104 KRBE,” I would scream to him, “I hate this!” Once leaving for college I thought I had escaped the bejeweled grasp of Tina for the final time. Fast forward to last semester when I found the video above while cruising YouTube for videos of girls making fools of themselves on Next. Suddenly, it hit me – my dad had it right this whole time. Tina. Is. Awesome. So much passion and fun and glitter go into her performance that it’s a testament to my own self-control that I didn’t go to Buffalo Exchange and search for her dress in hopes that it would make my life as fantastic as her is in that video.

Tina, girl, I fought you for years, but because of that video I whole-heartedly give myself to you and your ferociousness from here on out. Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.

Dear Musical Gods,

12 May

There are times when I often wonder how much more awesome my life would be if I had a soundtrack added to it. I’m talking about a full on walking-through-the-halls-of-Seattle-Grace-Serena-van-der-Woodsen-I-killed-someone-strike-up-The-Kills soundtrack embracing me at all times. I’ve already had a couple of moments in my life where God graced me with the beautiful sounds of música while important events were unfolding:

Exhibit A) That time when Benny Benassi’s, “Satisfaction” was blaring while neon lights were blinding my eyes and a 30 ton carnival attraction nearly smashed me and some friends. I may have exaggerated the whole “smased” bit, but believe me when I say it was all very Final Destination 1,2,3, and “The.”

Exhibit B) That time when I was at the back of an Arcade Fire show and Win Butler yelled for people to rush the stage. I followed master’s rules and ran through the left side of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion to the near front of the stage – all the while “Rebellion (Lies)” was seducing my ears.

Exhibit C) That time when I broke down in my room about not having guidance in my life and iTunes shuffle started playing me “Eventually We Find Our Way” from the Social Network soundtrack.

Ok, maybe that last one was less movie-moment-soundtrack and more God-is-speaking-to-you-Zack-LISTEN!

Needless to say, my life would be more awesome if I could hire Alex Patsavas to just press play every time something remotely interesting happened in my day-to-day life. If she did I would definitely forgive her for the ridiculousness that was the all Kings of Leon episode of Gossip Girl.