Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

If you didn't know, I write music reviews for inyourspeakers. Thought I'd start sharing them here for anyone who likes to be in the know, now.

Turn it on. Turn on the dance moves. Turn on the techo beat. Turn on the sound of a reinvented Franz Ferdinand. In the third album from the Glasgow-based band, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand makes a new statement for the world of pop (but wait, you were expecting indie-rock, weren't you? So was I). The question for the listener then becomes, did Franz need to be reinvented in the first place? No? No. And yet, despite the deviation from my expectations, there was still a little somethin' somethin' that I liked about this album.

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand marks a departure from the Post-Punk sounds that gave the band their first taste for fame and embraces an eclectic conglomeration of sounds and inspirations. The entire album, excluding the final track, is full of an electronic streak as well as beats and sounds echoing Jamaican reggae and other influences. All of this works together to create the perfect atmosphere for a club. Thankfully, what remains consistent with all three of Franz Ferdinand's albums is the groups talent for finding that danceable rhythm we crave. This album just takes the dance beat and puts it in the spotlight while the lyrics take a bit of a back seat.

While the album is very danceable, it also grows slightly stale by song five. The lyrics vacillate from witty to irreverent to their characteristic deadpan humor, but the first five songs of the album feel so much alike the they could have been made into one long dance party song. This might be the biggest complaint from FF fans. Without paying attention to the lyrics and the subtle differences of the album, it would be easy to say that one song is hard to distinguish from the next. Drummer, Paul Thomson, keeps a steady and yet similar beat throughout the album. This might not necessarily be a bad thing as the beat is strong, the sound is clear, the feeling is intense, and the album itself plays nicely through as a whole. And yet, by the end of it, you feel slightly less than satisfied because it was like they were trying a little too hard to impress and didn't quite succeed. I wanted to be surprised and I wasn't, and yet, I wanted to dance and I did.

The albums first release was "Lucid Dreams" and remains one of the albums highlights. The song is a journey in and of itself, lasting almost eight minutes, with the last three being devoted completely to an electronic symphony that many will find as pure bliss to the ears (I personally didn't, but I'm different that way). The lyrics echo an idea of finding truth and love and meaning when the definition of all three are just out of reach, or might only be able to come to fruition in your dreams. As Alex starts out with his singular sound posing the idea of "I'm gonna give my aimless love, my angry heart, my desire. I woke with wings from lucid dreams, I knew the reason I felt hollow was that I may never know if there is some great truth or not." What is the truth of the album? Much of it revolves around real love, first love, fake love, pick up lines and cigarettes.

One of the most danceable and sexy songs on the album is "No You Girls." Alex starts out with the words "Kiss Me"...not really a request as much as it is a command (one that I would HAPPILY oblige, by the way). It poses the same scenario as "Katherine Kissed Me" which is the final track and the only song on the album not injected with a techo beat. It's a revisit of a typical ballad, but better because it's by Franz Ferdinand. Both songs address men who fall in love with girls who show little, if any, interest. Both songs pose the question of getting a girl to think of the situation of wanting a first kiss from a man's perspective. It's all very sensitive, very sweet, and yes, you do start to wonder "how the boy feels." Yet again, you wonder what the fascination is with all these women smoking their cigarettes and looking to the men with a sense of boredom instead of urgency.

"Ulysses", the title track on the album is synth-heavy and clever. Much of the song is dependent on Alex Kapranos's whispery and sexy vocals, he just sounds good. He just sounds original, and he just has a sound that I want to obey. For that reason alone the album is worth a listen or two.

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is full on dance club material. People will gather. People will grind. People will forget the woes of a long work week by listening, and yet, when they listen closely, they'll find that nothing really caught them off guard about the whole event.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On Repeat...

I love finding new love on a quiet, foggy, soggy Saturday morning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Word forms the Sentence

We have overcome.

Except those of us now in Gaza. Except those of us whom police kill. Except those of us who are suspects. Except those of us whom the church hate. Except those of us damned to taste good. Except those of us held by fate. We are meeting in the capitol. Word is, freedom will not wait.

All that once was never shall be.
All they could do won’t be done.
All we sang of is now happening.

~Words by Saul Williams

I've been in New York this weekend. Taking a break from the city found me up in Hamilton (think Star's Hallow from Gilmore Girls) where Colgate University is located. My friend, Landon, is a professor there. He took me to a Def Poetry reading on MLK Day. Featured at the reading were Joe Hernandez-Kolski, Beau Sia, and Saul Williams. After the reading ended, all of us (including Landon's brother Geoffrey, and his roommate Ernest--and YES, it was lovely to be that outnumbered by amazing men) sat around the lobby of the tiny Colgate Inn and talked.

the passion,

the voices,

the drive,

the talent,

the intelligence,

the being,

the presence,

the awareness,

the fight,

the power

within each of the men I spent that evening with made it one of the most remarkable evenings of my life.

I hope you have time to give a look at some of what these men of words do with their voices.

Have you realized the power of your voice recently? How?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I just realized that the Golden Globes were on tonight. Yeah, you see what time I am posting this? I MISSED THEM?!? How did that happen?!!!??? 

Did anyone I know, in this vicinity, DVR it or TiVo or any of those other rad items that I don't have? I'll make it worth your while. I really will. Seriously, I will. I know people. I have connections. 

A cliche is, in and of itself, cliche

Have you ever found yourself caught in the middle of a cliche?  

As a girl who values originality, authenticity, differences, variety, and the unknown, it came as quite a shock to realize that sometimes situations laden with cliche circumstances just float into your life when least expected (and you realize that you have become one of those annoying people you used to scowl at. ugh.) And yet, you've never felt anything less cliche in your life?

Have you ever experienced the old cliche of knowing someone for a week and feeling like it's been forever? Have you ever talked to someone for the first time and it was like it has been a regular part of your routine? How does that happen? What creates those connections? What makes it happen? Have you ever found yourself thinking a new thought, one you NEVER thought before, and yet it just sits right with your bones? These thoughts, these peoples, these deja vu moments...where do they reside within you before you actually know them? What's the germination period? When is the inception? Are we pregnant with these moments and then at uneventful times they are just born?

Is there an inner voice of knowledge that speaks to us of things we may have never known out loud? But when we finally hear its voice, we recognize it as being a deep part of ourselves? 

What is the best way to write your life story? For me, the best lives begin and continue and end with love, all types of love, because, when you think about it, love comes directly from our deepest integrity. When you love,  you honor and respect life.  When you live your life with love, honor, and respect, the story you create for your life is an ongoing romance. Is it true that "all you need is love?"  To love life is to enjoy every manifestation of life, and it might be more effortless than I ever thought. I had this belief that things worth fighting for, certain relationships, certain jobs, certain experiences were just going to be hard. That was the deal. That was what I was taught to believe. Play games. Work it. Make rules. Play by the rules. Do things this way for these results. Strategize.

And then, something good comes along and it is as effortless as inhaling and exhaling....and you get blown away by the simplicity of just breathing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Katherine's Bridals

The bridals of the most beautiful Katherine are now up at the photo blog. Take a look. She is marrying one of my FAVORITE people in March, and I just can't be happier for the two of them. They are amazing individuals and as a couple, they are out of this world.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Story and Yours

New Years Eve has come and gone. I went to a swanky party and decided to wear this little number on my head. I got it at Urban Outfitters back in the Summer and I have NEVER worn it because I get self conscious to be that fashionable out in ole Salt Lake City. But I threw caution to the wind and decided to just wear it because I think it's pretty, even if everyone else would mock (which they didn't, and they all probably secretly wished they had one too!)


Life in this physical body is VERY short, even if we live to be 100. When I think about this, I have to conclude that I want to waste NO time creating conflict with people I love. I want to REALLY love people for who they are on a day to day basis. I want to enjoy them, and I have learned (in a VERY REAL way this year) that I do this by loving them for who they ARE....not what they BELIEVE. The stories that each of you create for your lives is not what is most important to me. YOU are important to me. 

Let me explain.

I don't care if my mother's story doesn't agree with mine (which it doesn't at all, we are VERY different, and she would like me to be her perfect little mormon girl again, in a big way). I love my mother, I enjoy her. I have learned not to impose my story upon her (ie, I think she needs to do this and that and be liberated in this way and explore these thoughts). I don't want to impose my story on anybody. I respect my mother. I respect her path. I listen to her story, and I don't make it wrong.

I have also learned (IN A VERY BIG WAY) that if other people try to write your story, it means they don't respect you. They don't respect you because they don't consider that you are in tune with yourself to know what your story should be, even if it goes against everything in their story. But listen up, I was born to write my own story, and so were you and you know what WE ARE BOTH RIGHT. 

I now respect myself so much that I am NOT going to allow anybody else (or my desire to please them or feel accepted by them) to write my story. My story is my responsibility. It's my creation. I am the artist. I respect my own art. I can compare my art with other people's art, but I make my own choices, and I take responsibility for my creation.

I'll be doing a series of posts in the coming days about Creating our stayed tuned.

Christmas Eve: April and I dressed up in legwarmers, fingerless gloves (I'm wearing those), popped open a can of tab, put blue eye shadow on our eyes and made one awesome music video (which I will NEVER post here and will NEVER show anyone!) But the memories that night created are priceless. We get most of our moves from the ending scene of Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
The above photo is why April is my best friend in the ENTIRE world. This girl plays along with whatever I create, and vice versa.

We bought these hats three years ago on a random late night shopping spree to Target. It was during our "Jackie Kennedy Phase" as we called it. However, even though these are hats not usually worn in public, we both vowed to wear them EVERY Christmas day, no matter where we are going, who we are seeing, or what we are doing. And we do so without apology or explanation, though she usually gets all the Jackie Kennedy references and people ask me what part of Russia I am from.
One more time in black and white, cause it's just classy....(and Shoog, this counts as my self portrait, yes?)