Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Exit Music (For A Film)"
Radiohead--Kid A
Written by Thom Yorke                                                                       
Transcribed by ihearttomorrow

Wake.. from your sleep
The drying of your tears
Today we escape, we escape

Pack.. and get dressed
Before your father hears us
Before all hell breaks loose

Breathe, keep breathing
Don't lose your nerve
Breathe, keep breathing
I can't do this alone

Sing.. us a song
A song to keep us warm
There's such a chill, such a chill

You can laugh
A spineless laugh
We hope your rules and wisdom choke you
Now we are one in everlasting peace

We hope that you choke, that you choke
We hope that you choke, that you choke
We hope that you choke, that you choke


I ask you, reader, to perish the thought that all the great musical storytellers are dead and buried or retired to their French Villa's or hidden compounds enjoying the fruits of their brilliant labor. I implore you to consider the characteristics of a great story and ponder the traits that make the teller a person of talent rather than a boring rambler with an over abundance of imagination. I'll venture to tell you what makes a good story, because I write them everyday without even trying (astute use of bravado). I create a mood. I'll put you in the moment that I've crafted from nothing and you'll forget where your body ends and the world I have spread before you begins. Since I do in fact tell stories that achieve that effect, I am therefore a storyteller of the highest talent, wait and see, but I am not too smug to share my glory...

Radiohead are storytellers of the highest ilk as proven by their song "Exit Music (For a Film)". As it plays, a song that is all moody melody slithering along seamlessly beside the haunting voice Thom Yorke has made a standard of perfection, I am taken to a place where the mind and body merge and exist henceforth in complete sync.

With the first words of the song a scene opens, a man and a woman, any color, any age, any socio-economic background lying together in the aftermath of some tumultuous event that allows the sadness to linger beyond the dark hours of a restless night. They are primed to escape the patriarchal affront to their union at any cost, and together they set off with wishes of death presumably aimed at the woman's father for daring to challenge their love. (Keep in mind however, that this song was originally written for the end credits of 1996's Romeo + Juliet so the lyrics could be considered a tad on the nose, but it's beautiful nonetheless--also, the song, at Yorke's request, was not used for the movie.)

The lyrics in this song are simple but they more than sufficiently convey the emotion and the connection shared by the protagonists. Words are used sparingly to create quality storytelling through adept manipulation of the tone, mood and rhythm of the instruments used as well as through the haunting voice relaying the scenes for consideration by the mind.

Experience the song for what it is--a pensive orchestration of sound that incites emotion as only a great song can. Though the subject matter of the song could be deemed archytypical especially since it was inspired by one of the greatest archetypes, Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers, we must remember that archtypes gain that title because they are so well received and revered, well modeled and able to incite emotion over and over again in all their varying interpretations and presentations. The song is good, the lyrics are perfect, and the tone is absolutely magical.

Listen to it and be changed. Exit Music (For a Film).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ahhh....Radiohead, what can be said about you that has not already been uttered from the lips of any music critic worth his or her are absolutely amazing. You can do no wrong and today I pay homage to your ultimate perfection, your astute production values, Thom Yorke's ethereal voice laced with heavy lyricism that the average poet could only dream of printing on a page....

I do not often come upon a band that manages to hold my ears hostage from song to song, and before Radiohead I'd never before pressed play on my Zune and let it run untouched through an entire artist's discography. My love for them started around 1997--though I must say I didn't reach my current height of fan-dom until about three years ago--but I remember the first time I heard of them just like it was yesterday, sitting in my best friend's bedroom watching the video for "Paranoid Android", battling between feeling creeped-out by the crazy animation and completely enticed by the music itself--I was let's do the math...about 12 at the time and still embroiled in being a sheep who found anything alternative off-putting so I did not fully appreciate the experience, but I definitely remember it.

My sophomore year of high school I became obsessed with "Pyramid Song" and asked my friend who was a pioneer of the mix CD to bury that song on a disc amidst  a bevy of pop music and hip-hop hot list picks. I played "Pyramid Song" again and again and over time my love affair with Radiohead grew into the absolute adoration I hold for them today. 

While I'm writing this review I am listening to a shuffle of their music, and at this point "Exit Music (For A Film)" is playing and as is usually the case with their music, it has incited a wave of creative energy in me that makes me want to strive for the perfection this band has, in my eyes,  already acquired. I am no musician, but Radiohead is the single reason I ever even considered picking up a guitar, I want to create something that beautiful for people and inspire them with it musically or otherwise. Radiohead has the power to execute a song so perfectly that it hits every note at just the right time as the band weaves its way through the manipulation of a myriad of instruments and effects all accompanied by a voice that rides over the rhythm with emotion that is as relatable as it is untouchable. That was a long one. Radiohead makes me want to be a genius, urges me to tap into the part of me that is waiting to be something, as they have, and I want to touch millions of people because of a talent that is so well honed--a craft so thoroughly mastered that it is worthy to be shared with the world at large. 

Okay, so now I'll stop gushing, and get to the conventional review. Radiohead was formed in 1985 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and consists of Thom Yorke who does vocals, piano and guitar, Jonny Greenwood on guitar, keyboards and more, Colin Greenwood who handles the synthesizers and bass, Ed O'Brien on guitars and backing vocals and Phil Selway on drums and percussion. The first single they released was "Creep" which became a runaway hit several months after its initial release. While catchy and enjoyable, "Creep" is in no way my favorite and dare I caution any new Radiohead fan to take the song as anything but the tip of the iceberg as far as who this band is musically, what it is capable of. Radiohead's more recent releases are smarter and the production values sharper and achingly unique. Catagorization of this band's sound is difficult--they are a little electronic, rock for sure, somber and jazzy, upbeat but understated--but rest assured that whatever the style they present it meshes well into their entire body of music and is unbelievably polished. Over time their sound has morphed, as do the styles of any growing musician and so there's a journey one takes through each album, and for me each journey has reminded me of how much I enjoy just sitting and listening to their music or using it while I write to create a mood and state of mind for myself as well as the characters I create on the page before me, or in the poetry I write.

I would like to list a favorite song of theirs, and I have to say that was a hard task for me. I like almost EVERY song on EVERY one of their albums--but that's a cop-out response some might say, so I will take the leap and say that my top five (I couldn't cut it down any lower, I wanted to do a top 10 honestly) are:

1. Exit Music (For a Film) from OK Computer
2. A Punchup At A Wedding from Hail to the Thief
3. Talk Show Host from Street Spirit 3 track maxi-single and Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack
4. Everything In Its Right Place from Kid A
5. All I Need from In Rainbows

There is no way I can list my favorite album because I love every one, but honestly, it doesn't matter what my favorite is because you will find your own favorite songs, favorite albums, and maybe they'll match mine, maybe not. Maybe you'll wonder why I like them so much and  throw your MP3 player against the wall in disgust after listening to them for ten minutes (which means you have NO taste in music) but either way, your mind has been controlled--by my T-shirt! If you haven't bought into the well-deserved Radiohead hype yet, you better get to it now. Our society is inundated with musicians daily-some deserving of our adulation, most who are not. I assure you Radiohead is something special, and I hope this disjointed gush-fest of a review encourages you to treat yourself to some magnificent music.

Here's a discography and a couple links to get you started:
    Pablo Honey (1993)
    The Bends (1995)
    OK Computer (1997)
    Kid A (2000)
    Amnesiac (2001)
    Hail to the Thief (2003)
    In Rainbows (2007)
    Radiohead-Official Site

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Day Stretches Before Me, and You

A day rife with endless opportunities and prospects--said prospects hover somewhere outside our corporeal world, they bang around out there in the abstract where our senses alone are unable to reach them, senses, you fragile things. Our minds pull them into existence however, an existence that we can consider if not touch see or smell. We conjure up ways to grasp those opportunities and prospects after we manage to tap into our goals and wishes, dreams and desires, and then we are able to put those into action through the avenues in the world that fit them.

This is a skill that eludes many of us, the ability to snatch from the abstract those things that will make our many dreams and desires a reality. It is all too easy to merely lounge around and wish, as we all know. Desires are as prevalent in all of us as plasma and nerve endings and so one who desires is not special or any closer to fulfillment. The challenge is to bend the world to our will so that it creates satisfaction in us when our goals are met, our dreams made a reality.

 Mastery of this skill is crucial but it will not by any means be mastered by all. Make no mistake however, anyone can make their dreams come true. The question is, do they have the drive, the will, and the imagination to do it?  

Friday, January 7, 2011

TRON: Legacy-- A Late Review--I just recovered from the shocking visual effects!!!

I don't know about you, dear reader, but on a cold winter morning in Toledo, Ohio the first thing I'm thinking about is the movie I saw a week ago and how I need to write the review for it before my mind--which although comparable to a well oiled steel trap--begins to forget the details of the wonderful light show that is TRON: Legacy.

Die hard fans of the first Tron which was released in 1982 will scramble to navigate away from this review when I reveal that I have seen but do not remember the details of the first Tron film, which was panned by the critics when it was first released for its convoluted storyline and its over-abundance of shocking visual effects. The film went over audiences heads back then--the special effects were too jarring and revolutionary which is most-likely why it failed to even be nominated for a Visual-Effects Oscar--we all know people fear what they do not understand, which is why I fear Steven Seagal films but that's another blog post altogether.

At any rate,  the many merits and ambitious production values of 1982's Tron allowed it to redeem itself and it's earned itself a bevy of cult followers like this guy and spawned the sequel of which we speak today, Tron: Legacy.

Ah Tron:Legacy, doomed to repeat the sins of your father...your plot and storyline is horrible-laughable really  and weak as a cup of coffee purchased from a greasy spoon at 1 a.m. though decidedly more delicious going down. I always told myself that when the actors in the movie are saddled with the task of explaining what the heck is going on, the writer did not do what a writer is supposed to do: show, not tell. The plot focuses on Jeff Bridges' character Kevin Flynn's son Sam Flynn as he engages in a battle of economic moral ideals< (my words lol) with the money hungry board that runs his estranged/presumed dead father's company ENCOM.

One fateful night, his father's old business partner Alan Bradley--who also served as a sort of father figure for Sam after Kevin's disappearance--tells Sam that he got a call from his father's office at Flynn's Arcade, which has been closed since1982 I presume--though the power still works when Sam goes to investigate the place and the games are all in top form--but that's a movie for you.

You can probably guess what happens next if you know even a little bit about the film. Sam hacks into the alternate universe his father created within the computer world on The Grid, and then the fun really starts--and by fun I mean the most shocking and mesmerizing special effects I've seen in a while! This is when the plot holes, implausibilities and scratch your head moments cease to matter and you watch the light show before you with an expression of shock and awe hidden behind your stylish RealD 3D glasses! Lasers and clunky transportation vehicles move through a technological wasteland like neon signs with anthropomorphic capabilities!

Tron City is gritty, cold and impersonal and populated with inhabitants called "Programs" because that's what they are in this world within the computer, and human beings are therefore coined "Users"--a name not uttered by any Program sans disdain. Sam is arrested and labeled a criminal because he is un-scannable by the law men's instruments. He is then sentenced to fight on The Grid, a fate that is apparently so horrible that a fellow detainee kills himself rather than be subjected to it. I felt like the suicide was a little dramatic being that The Grid didn't seem that hardcore to me; the prisoners simply had to fight for their lives against a disc wielding neon clad ninja man in a transparent box that shatters under the slightest strike from the discs being thrown wantonly through the electric air before being forced to engage in a high speed motorcycle fight on The Grid--I'd do that in no time rather than jump into an air duct like the aforementioned prisoner, might as well go out having fun, right? 

What follows is a feast for the eyes, especially when the audience is introduced to the Jeff Bridges of yesteryear as the character Clu--walking around, talking, and generally being a badass born entirely of the shocking advancements of visual technology. The storyline became mere background noise to me in an experience that like its predecessor, was created for the sole purpose of showing what the men behind the computers that create most of our films in this age of 3D mind control are capable of, and it's amazing stuff.

I won't continue to summarize the plot because honestly it was too convoluted and loose for me to waste much more time on it, but know that there's a semi happy ending, the film is interspersed with beautiful women like Olivia Wilde who plays Quorra, Kevin Flynn's precocious apprentice. Michael Sheen makes an animated if not a little underwhelming appearance as the flashy and eccentric night life connoisseur Castor--and Jeff Bridges, whom I love, did the best with the frothy material he was given. I'm sure they paid him well for his efforts.

Do I recommend this movie? Yes I do, especially since some may see no problems with the plot because most people aren't a self-important movie snob like me, you know the type--I watch slow moving foreign films with subtitles and immerse myself in moody character studies that put my significant others, friends and families into comas. Yet with that said, the visuals in the movies are top notch and not to be missed, a glorious use of the overused 3D features--and Sam played by the piping hot Garrett Hedlund is shirtless at least once ladies. Go and enjoy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My eyes!!!

So I've been absent for a long while, getting tossed around by life and trying not to sink into a vortex of depression from which I may never return--which wouldn't happen but that sentence is beautiful don't you think? I love words. Anyway, I've been back home in Ohio for a little over two months now and have been sick the entire time. I think switching climates (Hawaii to Ohio) took a lot out of me--that and realizing I forwent the amazing blue skies, verdant mountains and cerulean waves of the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii for the gray monochromatic drone that is Toledo, Ohio in the winter. I love this city but the winter needs to enroll itself in some therapy to get over that perpetual sadness!!

Tonight, I'm awake with a severe episode of what I've diagnosed my eyes with, The worst pain an eye could ever experience and I decided to blog about it while I avoid sleep because for the last couple nights sleep has exacerbated the problem.

A week or so ago I was bedridden with the throat ailment that shall not be named Strep, something I've never had in my life, and now along with the severe bout of Fire Eye I'm suffering from a dry cough and a runny nose. I'm a mess, needless to say.

Hopefully someone who's reading this has suffered from Recurrent Corneal Erosion, and if you have feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you did to keep from offing yourself to escape the pain and annoyance of acute eye pain!!!

Be back soon!