Archive | February, 2021

Indigo Girls: The MEHs

27 Feb

You know when you’re listening to your playlist and you just kinda tune out?  And like 10 min later you’re like, what songs just played, I don’t even know.  The funny thing is that it’s not an anomaly (usually, unless you had to focus hard on work, or actually got distracted doing something) these songs are just meh.  Even in trying to re-listen several times to rank these, my mind would wander.  I listened to this set the very most bc of tuning out.  You know what you don’t like pretty readily, you know what you love, and even the songs that aren’t quite love, but really good.  But the neutral to meh are the most difficult to decipher.  So here are the below neutral/OK and above skip songs:

Meh (in order)

-Strange Fire (1200):  C, I, L, P

-Come On Home (AtWLI):  C, L

It’s a nice little song, and fits perfectly with the vibe of the All That We Let In album.  But as a stand alone song–It’s just meh.

-Dead Man’s Hill (1200):  N, P

-Able to Sing (BQS):  C, N

-Mystery (LwtUoCSO): I, N

-Neuvose Senorita (BY):  L, P

-Cordova (AtWLI):  C, L, N, P

I like the Latin-X (is this the proper term now?) flair in these two, but I guess I’d like a little more going on.  Maybe live, or with the orchestra or something would be better.

-Mistletoe (HHD):  C, L

-John (BQS):  L, N, P

I like the sentiment, and it tells a detailed story, but *yawn*

-Peace Child (HHD):  C, L, N

-There’s Still My Joy (HHD):  L, N

-Cedar Tree (RoP):  I, N, U (bag pipe sounding)

-Power of Two (LwtUoCSO):  I, L, N

-Power of Two (1200):  L, N

I know, this is a travesty–this is a fan-favorite.  But yup, I think it’s over-rated.  I just can’t get into it.

-Andy (CoNS):  L, N

-When We Were Writers (LL):  N

P.S. Spotify ranked this my very top listened to song in 2020.  Which is…  I just tuned out EVERY damn time I tried to rank it.  This song is pretty much the ultimate definition of meh.

-Mystery (1200):  L, N

Taylor Swift Skips

26 Feb

Let’s be real:  Taylor Swifts skips are still OK songs.  Nothing she does is bad.  OK, maybe that lazy, repetitive voting song, but she had good intentions with it, like maybe some people voted when they heard her encouraging it.  But the following songs would be OK to other artists.  It’s just that Taylor has set the bar so high that these are the couple weaker ones.  PS–I normally don’t care for Christmas music, as it’s nothing but stale covers, so I did not bother listening to that early cookie-cutter Christmas album.  Maybe if she does an original holiday album, I’ll add it to the rankings later.

Epiphany (8)

As you’ve heard me say before, I think this song was thrown on the album at the last minute to speak to current events.  And I think it’s bad writing, from a normally genius-level song-writer.  It especially bothers me that Taylor didn’t delve into one topic, or cover three subjects more superficially.  There is a rule of threes for a reason.  So it doesn’t make it on to my playlists.

Soon You’ll Get Better (7)

This song is a totally different story.  It’s a good, good song, and has backing from one of my favorite groups-The Chicks!  The lyrics are relatable, and personal, and universal.  What a brave topic to cover, than can resonate with every single person at some point.  But it’s a bummer.  A FUCKING bummer to listen to.  I don’t wanna be bee-bopping around to Shake it Off then have this mood-killer come up.  So it’s a skip.  Until I need it, that is…

Superman (3)

I never look at song credits, but did Taylor even write this one?  It’s not on-brand at all.  It’s too light and superficial, and meh.  I think it’s really weak, and it seems like it was curated to be radio-friendly more than written to evoke feelings, or convey a story, or symbolize anything.  Not my fave.

Indigo Girls: SKIPS

25 Feb

I’m ranking the entire catalogue, which is a big project.  But I thought I would start releasing the rankings in pieces.  Here are the few songs from the Indigo Girls I don’t care for.

Skip

-Sister (CoNS):  C, L

This version is after the Faye Tucker track as a short interlude before the secret song, Philosophy of Loss.  I usually like the song, but this one is too short and too quiet.  Note–don’t have secret songs anymore.  And now that there’s streaming, release the secret songs as their own track.  It’s been hell trying to rank Philosophy… when it’s tied to another song.  I think it’s the only track in their entire catalog that was never re-released on another album, put on a live album, or it’s own song.  This needs to change.

Skip-Boring

-Feed & Water the Horses (BQS):

-Birthday (BQS):  N

Emily was too happy and content when she was writing for Beauty Queen Sister, and as a result her songs are bland vanilla.

Skip-dislike

-Left Me a Fool (SF):  L

-History of Us (ST):  L, N

-Fare Thee Well (SO):

There are very few IG songs I genuinely dislike (pretty much these 3) and it’s mostly bc of the singing style. It may be the proper way to sing, but it isn’t my thing.

Taylor Swift Album Ranking Based On Song Ranking

24 Feb

1989

50% Awesome; 31.3% Good; 18.8% OK; Meh; Skip out of 16

Speak Now

40% Awesome; 35% Good; 20% OK; Meh; 5% Skip out of 20

Evermore

35.3% Awesome; 35.3% Good; 17.6% OK; 11.8% Meh; Skip out of 17

Reputation

33.3% Awesome; 40% Good; 20% OK; 6.7% Meh; Skip out of 15

folklore

29.4% Awesome; 29.4% Good; 29.4% OK; 5.9% Meh; 5.9% Skip out of 17

Lover

27.8% Awesome; 27.8% Good; 27.8% OK; 11.1% Meh; 5.6% Skip out of 18

Red

20.8% Awesome; 58.3% Good; 8.3% OK; 4.2% Meh; Skip out of 24

self-titled

20% Awesome; 46.7% Good; 20% OK; 13.3% Meh; Skip out of 15

Fearless

16.7% Awesome; 33.3% Good; 50% OK; Meh; Skip out of 18

Hitting the Wall: Tips for Finishing the Running Distance

24 Feb

You set out to run a mile. Not 3 laps, not 6 min. ONE mile. But your body (or is it your mind?) is fighting with your goal. You feel tired. You are breathing ragged, and starting to collapse. Every second is horrible. You want to quit.

DON’T!

I mean, unless you have a medical situation (check with your Dr. before engaging in physical activity).

Aside from that–you can do it. You’d be surprised at what your body can handle if you’re mind would just get on board. I mean, watch this survival show, “I Shouldn’t be Alive” at some point. You’ll see what humans can tolerate. You can handle this, and you should train your brain that pushing your limits isn’t quitting time.

But how to go about it?

In the long term, remember why you started running in the first place. You had your reasons. Now think about them. Quitting early gives you a fraction of the benefits too. One of my favorite quotes is “If you’re not going to go hard, why go at all?” which hits on the point I’m trying to make. You set a goal–now do the whole thing. Why bother if you’re not going to do it right?

Have your poster with all your motivational quotes that we talked about making before and hang it where you run (or look at it right before you leave). Refer to it often.

Now to the tricky stuff. Train. Your. Brain. Teach your mind to get comfortable with a little discomfort. Again, I’m not talking torn ACL and asthma attacks here. Regular tiredness and fatigue should be something you can work through.

Don’t fixate on the distance that’s left or your speed or other metrics if you wanna stop. It just turns tortuous and slow. Instead, think of your mantra, turn on your most hyped up power song, sing in your head. Distract!

Then, do some physical adjustments. Because when you get tired your form suffers and ironically, bad form takes MORE energy. You want to be as efficient as possible. Also, you know how you have to concentrate on having good form, so you hardly do it bc it’s so effortful? Now is the perfect time. We need to distract the mind from complaining and make our body more efficient. Go through a checklist and do it over and over. This also has the bonus of helping your running form in the long term!

Think about relaxing the cheecks on your face. They should be bouncing with every step.

Is your neck tight? Concentrate on relaxing it.

Relax your shoulders too.

Look up (more than you think you need to). It should feel exaggerated. When you get tired you start to hunch and crunch downward–very inefficient of a posture.

Your shoulders should be back so your lungs can be open. I attempt to push my lower back forward in order to open my lungs more. Your face feels up to the sky, now think about pointing your heart to the sky as well. Carebear stare, anyone?! This will also feel exaggerated, but it’s just normal form. I promise, your body feels crazy, but it’s actually just upright again.

Hardly anyone has good arms when running. It takes loads of concentration to get it right–perfect for this situation! Relax the hands. Stiff, tight fists make for stiff tight everything–not what you’re going for. Position of the hands doesn’t matter as much as relaxation. Seriously, you don’t want to be tight and stiff anywhere when you run. Next, make sure it’s your upper arm that’s creating the swing (not like a drumming motion of your forearms). Next, actually USE those arms to propel you. The energy between your arms and legs should be more equally divided. Most people are just forcing their lower body to do ALL the work. I think about my hand/arm going from my “holster” near the back of my waist to my shoulder-level in front. It’s a pretty big swing. And the elbows should be in, toward the body. Honestly, look up something online about good arms and follow it. Things get very technical, and everyone could use improvement.

Do your shoulders and pelvis line up? No twisting. Make sure they’re squared and facing forward. Knees too. Line everything up. When you’re tired, your legs might start doing wonky stuff, and this isn’t great for speed/endurance–but it can really cause long term damage.

Lengthen your stride. I think about letting my back foot trail more. Your steps should be long so you take less of them.

Play with stride length. I read somewhere that if short quick steps have you tired, that switching to long strides uses a different set of (less fatigued) muscles. I don’t know if it’s perfectly true, but at the very least it’s an additional thing to distract you from being tired. Try tiny, fast steps or alternate to long, slow strides.

Lastly, consider running faster. It sounds crazy when you’re tired and want to stop, but if you go faster you’ll finish the distance sooner! And often if you speed up you’re thinking so much about just staying upright, that you don’t have time to agonize.

Basically, distract your mind and focus on your form. You can do it-if I can do it, so can you!

Evermore (December 2020) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

23 Feb

35.3% Awesome; 35.3% Good; 17.6% OK; 11.8% Meh; Skip out of 17

6 Awesome

No Body No Crime

Ivy

Long Story Short

Marjorie

Closure

Evermore

I like this album because TS is showing a lot of gay here. The writing is better than the music for the most part, but it does encourage multiple listens to dig in to the content. Double-meanings are becoming Taylor’s specialty, and I love trying to decode the songs.

6 Good

Willow (ambiguous)

Champagne Problems

Gold Rush

Tis the Damn Season

Tolerate It

Cowboy Like Me

3 OK

Happiness

Dorthea

It’s Time to Go

2 Meh

Coney Island (The National Ruins It)

Right Where You Left Me

Skip

folklore (July 2020) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

22 Feb

29.4% Awesome; 29.4% Good; 29.4% OK; 5.9% Meh; 5.9% Skip out of 17

5 Awesome

The 1

Exile

Tears Riccochet

Invisible String

Madwoman

Full disclosure–Dream Pop is not the genre for me. And don’t you dare call this “alternative” as it is absolutely not that. Alternative is my favorite genre, and this does not match the characteristics. Nor is it Indie, as the music still has a lot of production. Also, I don’t care for the era with the snaggle-hair, and weird un-matching clothes. I get that it’s quarentine–but even in lock-down is it asking to much to match?! What I can appreciate is the lyrical content. I like the coding, the complexity, the “plausible deniability” that makes up each twisted track. Even though I DO NOT like the vibe, the music does inspire me to analyze and write, which I find really cool.

5 Good

cardigan

The Last Great American Dynasty

Mirrorball

This is Me Trying

Betty

5 OK

August

Seven

Illicit Affairs (depressing)

Peace

Hoax

1 Meh

The Lakes (too pretentious)

1 Skip

Epiphany

Lover (2019) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

21 Feb

27.8% Awesome; 27.8% Good; 27.8% OK; 11.1% Meh; 5.6% Skip out of 18

5 Awesome

I Forgot that You Existed

Lover

The Man

Paper Rings

You Need to Calm Down

The first half of the ERA is so Me! The latter half, with the dark colors and over-sized men’s wear stuff is decidedly NOT my aesthetic. Also, the era felt interrupted and incomplete with the masters, a possible Kaylor break-up, and Covid-19. This album? Overall, my gripe is that it’s over-produced. Too much is going on and it’s as if someone is playing with all the new sounds, trying everything available. I think it would be better if the production was designed around the song. But there’s a lot of catchy hooks here, and lyrics working double-duty.

5 Good

Cruel Summer

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Me (originally a skip, but grew on me & high notes)

Afterglow

Daylight

5 OK

I Think He Knows

Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince

London Boy

False God

Cornelia Street (who’s story is this?)

2 Meh

The Archer

It’s Nice to Have a Friend

1 Skip

Soon You’ll Get Better (nice, but too depressing)

Reputation (2017) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

20 Feb

33.3% Awesome; 40% Good; 20% OK; 6.7% Meh; Skip out of 15

5 Awesome

…Ready for It?

I Did Something Bad

Don’t Blame Me

Look What You Made Me Do

Dancing with Our Hands Tied

If you asked me I would say Reputation is my favorite album. I like how gay it is. How unapologetic. That moag! Most of the songs are fast and energetic. I can dance through pretty much the whole concert video. But numbers don’t lie. When the songs are ranked, Reputation does not top the list. It’s a surprise to me, but there’s still a lot to like here. Oh, and P.S. Taylor absolutely needs to stop doing duets or featuring men in her songs. And not because I’m anti-men or anything. I have a lot of favorite male singers. Just EVERY time she does = song ruined.

6 Good

So It Goes

Getaway Car

Dress (sexy)

Delicate

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

New Years Day

3 OK

Gorgeous (b/c it’s ambiguous)

King of My Heart

Call It What You WAnt

1 Meh

End Game (don’t like featured)

Skip

1989 (2014) by Taylor Swift Song Ranking

19 Feb

50% Awesome; 31.3% Good; 18.8% OK; Meh; Skip out of 16

8 Awesome

Blank Space

Style

Out of the Woods

Shake It Off

I Know Places

Stay

Bad Blood

Wonderland

These songs are amped up and theatrical. You can ‘picture’ each one as a movie, and the music videos are practically block-buster films. Also, I hear a lot of Kaylor vibes, and it’s fun to translate the obscure lyrics and figure out signs and hints. I wish I had been engaged during this era!

5 Good

Wildest Dreams

Welcome to New York

How You Get the Girl

Clean

You are in Love

3 OK

I Wish You Would

New Romantics

This Love

Meh

Skip