Sunday, January 30, 2011

Deconstructing Conor's lyrics

music: Bright Eyes - Jejune Stars

(or trying to)

A few days ago, Saddle Creek offered another Bright Eyes mp3 as a free download, via Spinner.




Meanwhile, the album has leaked (thank you for the tip, MB). (To be honest, I don't feel that guilty about listening to the leaked version as I know that at some point I'll buy the record. on vinyl, hopefully.)

And now, the research on Conor's lyrics is in progress *grin*. When you're at my level of ignorance, you can learn quite a lot by dissecting Conor's lyrics. Take Haile Selassie: before listening to this song I had no idea who Haile Selassie was. And now that I know I'm def interested in learning more about the Rastafari culture.

Then: Jejune Stars. I looove this song. Not knowing what "jejune" means I've looked it up, but I'm still not sure what meaning Conor uses it with: lacking knowledge or experience, maybe? Anyways, you can come across some pretty weird stuff while trying to find the source of his lyrics - like this Jejune Institute. It's funny how the mission of this institute can sound both like a cult and like sth I might actually be interested in. Doesn't it resemble the Dharma Initiative from Lost? hehe Plus: there's already a Wordpress blog called Jejune Stars, and pretty much all the posts are titled after Bright Eyes lyrics. I find it quite comforting to know that there are ppl even more obsessed with Conor than me. Oh, and this blogger is interested in burlesque, and I wrote a text about burlesque just a couple of days ago, or so. How weird is that?! Obviously, a more rational person would tell me that the chances of that happening are quite high but, even so, please allow me to call it a coincidence.

Bright Eyes - Jejune Stars


Like Conor's already said it in interviews, The People's Key revolves mainly around sci-fi lit, space and all that. There was a time when I was interested in space and, later, in conspiracy theories (of any kind), but back then I didn't exactly have the necessary resources to learn more about that. And I guess this album is a good incentive for taking an interest in those things again. Plus, I really hope I'll manage to read some sci-fi lit this year (last year I abandoned a Philip K. Dick novel for a second time (T_T).

Well, there's a lot more to say about The People's Key, but for now this is enough. I'll probably post some more stuff about this album as my research advances *grin* (even at the risk of turning this blog into a Conor Oberst fan page).

P.S. My favorite source for lyrics is Song Meanings. Conor's songs always have many comments; just check out the speculations around the meaning of Shell Games. :)


Later edit (Jan. 31): You can now stream The People's Key at NPR Music till its release on Feb. 15.
I won't mince words: This is the best record Bright Eyes has ever made. In fact, it's the best record the band's frontman, Conor Oberst, has ever been a part of. Publicists like to say as much any time an artist releases a new album, but in this case, it's actually true. The People's Key is a career-defining work of art. (Robin Hilton)
Yep, yep! I totally agree :)

Update (Jan. 31): oh. my. gosh. How cool is this?!

'The People's Key' Full Album Stream


(Conor is there, too. yay!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Afternoon

music: Rachael Yamagata - Elephants




It's a choice to stay.


I love how you can take that out of context and apply it to whatever suits you. Sunday Afternoon is one of my favorites from Elephants... Teeth Sinking Into Heart (and I lurv that lo-fi video). I've been listening to this album quite a lot lately. It's sort of a re:discovery, a very lovely one. I listened to it once or twice when it came out, and I haven't revisited it until recently. Not that I didn't like at first, but because there are so many new music releases these days that I can't keep up anymore, and then I end up listening to a bunch of new albums, one after another, without actually listening to any of them.

Before Elephants... Teeth Sinking Into Heart came out I listened to this concert, which you can still stream at NPR. It sounds like such an intimate concert, even though it was broadcast on national public radio. After performing Elephants she says [an approx. quote]:
I never thought I'd get to the point where I was actually relating animals to my life or situation, much less animals you usually find in Africa, but it worked out one day. I was running down this mountain and it just kinda started to come to me. I was pretty depressed about something, and sorta had that emotion of wanting to off myself and thinking nothing is worth it anymore. And at the same time I was so inspired by nature and life and in awe that all I wanted to do was live forever.

I love Rachael Yamagata's smoky voice (even though that smoky voice and her face too remind me, to a certain extent, of sm from my childhood, sm who hurt me a lot). And of course, I love the fact that I can find her on Bright Eyes' Cassadaga and Four Winds. :)

(How many times have I used the word "love"? yikes)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dinu Lipatti: ultimul recital (prin ochii lui Andrew)

music: The Decemberists - Rise To Me

(În timp ce pe TVR Cultural se difuza un recital in memoriam Dinu Lipatti, am luat de pe un raft cartea lui Paul Bailey, Unchiul Rudolf, și am căutat pasajul despre acel ultim recital al lui Lipatti.)

Source: lipatti-haskil-foundation.com

Aveam să aflăm, după recital, că Lipatti se târâse în Salle du Parlement din Franche-Comté. În dimineața aceea, după repetiții, avusese un atac de febră atât de puternic încât doctorul lui s-a văzut obligat să-i spună că nu va putea concerta în seara respectivă. Organizatorii festivalului au fost anunțați telefonic. Apoi, când a aflat că absolut toate locurile din salle erau ocupate, Lipatti a încălcat recomandarea medicului său. I-a luat o veșnicie să se îmbrace; și încă o veșnicie să meargă până la mașina care îl aștepta să-l ducă la sala unde se ținea recitalul. Audiența era îngrijorată, dar unimitor de răbdătoare, deși trecuse mai mult de o oră de când ar fi trebuit să înceapă concertul. Îmi amintesc intensitatea sentimentului care părea să-i stăpânească pe toți cei prezenți. Nu știam, atunci, calvarul prin care trecuse Lipatti urcând scările Casei Parlamentului, nici că se așezase la marginea scenei ca să-și încălzească mâinile înghețate lipindu-le de o sticlă cu apă fierbinte.

Într-un costum negru, mai mult o fantomă decât un om viu, Lipatti a apărut în fața noastră. L-am aplaudat în timp ce avansa încet spre pian. L-am auzit pe unchiul Rudolf oftând.

Dar cel care a început să cânte Prima Partită a lui Bach n-a fost deloc un spectru. Fantoma s-a animat într-o secundă, cu un aer radios. Eram oare conștienți de perseverența, de forța supraumană care îl însuflețeau în acea după-amiază de septembrie? Dacă eram, nu putea fi vorba decât despre o iluzie sentimentală, fiindcă indubitabila lui tenacitate era ascunsă de pianist în spatele unei necesare măști de civilitate. Abia mai apoi, după ce ascultaserăm într-o liniște adâncă Sonata în la minor a lui Mozart, două improvizații schubertiene și o serie fascinantă de valsuri ale lui Chopin, abia atunci am înțeles că avuseserăm privilegiul să asistăm la un eveniment olimpian. Nu văzuserăm un artist etalându-și talentele, nimic atât de previzibil sau banal. Lipatti era dincolo de etalarea ostentativă sau de inteligența superficială. Ne cântase exact ceea ce intenționaseră compozitorii să auzim.

Unchiul Rudolf era prea mișcat ca să vorbească, la fel eram și eu. În anii următori, avea să se refere adesea la miracolul întâmplat la Besançon, deoarece Lipatti nu a mai cântat niciodată în public și a murit pe 2 decembrie în același an.

- Paul Bailey, Unchiul Rudolf (trad. Marius Chivu, Humanitas, 2009)


+ a previous post: The Exile of Rudolf, Andrew and Dinu

Monday, January 3, 2011

True Grit (x2)

music: Abigail Washburn - Bright Morning Stars

True Grit (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2010)

True Grit (Henry Hathaway, 1969)