Tag Archives: Brandi Carlile

Keeping Score is Losing (even if you’re morally superior)

27 Jan

Letter to the Past-

I think this song pairs well with the story in the first song. The narrator [Brandi?] says it’s [love? life?] is a game. And admits the partner is right. BUT even so, nobody is winning when everyone is negative and holding grudges.

In this song, our troubled main character puts it all out there. Brandi sings she is usually losing, but wins sometimes. Our narrator asks her lover to look at the bigger picture, open up their mind and also be more authentic instead of always trying to show a tough face. Because loving someone while keeping score is still kind of losing, even if you’re morally right. We all die one day, and nobody looks at the score. So the narrator asks the partner to stop trying to keep score, as it’s actually hurting themself in the end, they are becoming fatigued and sore.

This song is beautiful, with soulful singing and lots of emotion.

The chorus really bothers me though! The following comparison, in my opinion, is bad writing: The narrator is saying the partner is like a Stone wall (intentional call-back to start of gay-movement location? but stable, grounded, always there, strong). But it’s not a good comparison to rubber-bands (flexible? Stretched too thin?). It’s just two random objects being compared. I think the writing could have been better.

Anyway, the last line, “you’re built to last” I’m almost certain that’s the slogan of a car manufacturer-Ford? I cannot take the song seriously when it ends in a commercial jingle!

This song is not my favorite, but continues to peek into this couple’s psyche to see what is wrong, why they got there, and if there is a desire on both parts to repair it.

Brandi Carlile’s Broken Horses-My Take

25 Jan

Broken Horses-

Is the best singing on the album. Brandi told Rolling Stone podcast that she didn’t want to look like she was just singing so strongly like this to show off. I say, there should be MORE belting the eff out. And less apologizing for showcasing talent. Show. the fuck. off, Brandi! Jesus the scream-note. Because I love the singing so much and think this is the best song (vocally) on this album, and towards the top in her catalogue, I honestly didn’t attend to the lyrics for the first 100 listens.

Wearing something inside your skin is quite the imagery. Brandi is telling us that leather (tough, of-nature, yet soft, versatile) was passed down from her father to her. And it’s not just something she can take off–the leather inside the skin is deeply ingrained. I don’t know who “you” is in this song. I don’t think it’s the partner referenced in the prior songs. Brandi insinuates this person somehow attacks her. I think the Sunday best means someone in a church, or someone really phony who uses their dress and manner to hide their sinister intentions. Telling that person they had better call their priest shows me maybe it’s someone in the congregation (from her denied-Baptism story?) telling Brandi she doesn’t belong?

Brandi says she has also worn the jester’s bells (funny, silly, clownish, naïve?). And she worshiped at the alter of a puppet-master. I think this means a religious leader had an expectation their congregation would be mindless and under his(?) total control without thought or push-back. Then, Brandi compares religion to a play or show. She says, being a puppet for an authoritarian minister was not fulfilling. Brandi blames this minister for a more superficial, experience. When under this preacher’s guidance, she held back her true words, and the result of that was her children are in the cheap seats (far back, more distractions, not as good, worse) and got a worse big event (religious understanding or experience, going back to reality).

I feel like the book would enlighten me to the meaning of the chorus. [Right now Cool is reading it, while I finish a book I had already started. I’ll read Brandi’s when she’s done]. But Cool did tell me Brandi said she’s not talking about “breaking” a horse to ride here. Tethered in open spaces is feeling tied down, being restrained but seeing huge possibility. If you’re spiritually restrained or holding back your true self in a big, wide world would feel smothering. The horse and the subdued person would both want to escape, run free, be more authentic to their nature.

Right into the barrel of a gun. I’m not sure where the gun comes from . Is someone aggressing? Is it suicide ideology? This could mean, when the person holds back so much that they are missing out that they don’t want to continue on that way. Because life lived in a closed way, isn’t even worth living? Or they’re so frustrated, yet trapped and they don’t know how to gain freedom? Or it could be the cowboy (or captor, person making them feel so trapped) that holds the gun to keep the horse/person within their control. If they escape, run, open up–they will be punished.

Mending up YOUR fences with MY horses runnin’ wild seems like some sort of compromise. Brandi says her inner self is running wild (the horses are untied and galloping through the field) but she’s careful too. She’s fixing the break in the fence that allowed that momentary freedom. She is reigning it back in, checking herself. Brandi helps keep herself tethered by fixing the fence that traps her and makes her so unhappy. Now, it’s not just the person with the gun keeping her (emotions) tied up and hidden, it’s Brandi (the horses) herself capitulating.

The 3rd verse reinforces this. Brandi says she treaded softly (walked on eggshells, tried to “behave”) to get this other person’s praise. This other person doesn’t like Brandi as she is, they want her to be less wild. As such Brandi doesn’t shout loudly or stomp or act out–she whispers through tears and begs sweetly. At the end, Brandi says, enough with this shit, it’s not me. I’m not going to reign it in and be tethered to please you any longer. She says she allowed this for a long time, but it’s not what she wants for her children. She tells this “you” enough.

Like I said, not having read the book, I think I’m at a bit of a disadvantage to analyze the song. But I get the impression “you” isn’t the same you as the romantic partner in the prior songs on the album. I think this may relate to the story I’ve heard Brandi tell in concert, and in many interviews about the pastor who wouldn’t baptize her. That traumatized her and she’s saying she played along and acted “good” for long enough. She wants to be more her authentic self, despite criticism from the church.

Best Moments of 2022

1 Jan

I was really grasping at straws for the most part to make this a list. I had to dig deep to think of the good times.

#21 Best thing:

Pride Parade was neutral. It Rained hard for a long time. We were soaked and chilly.

The police were good sports when the gays decorated them–they didn’t hate it. They DID refuse glitter though 😛

Despite the rain (and Cool’s event anxiety) we looked awesome.

#20 Best thing:

ScarecrowFest was neat. The entire town had sponsered scarecrows, and they were everywhere! We got to vote for our favorite on the website. Though as of yesterday (12/31) they still had not posting the result of the vote…

#19 Best thing:

I was in a totally different market at work:  (Jan-July/Aug) as extra help and that took me away from Jogre and KDouche-Finally! My interim supervisor was the best!!! He was communicative, friendly, and helpful. Good help was available, training was more frequent. They treated me nice, and so did everyone in that market (until I was actually transferred to their team permanently). I had really high confidence and hope that my work problems were over. [I didn’t know at the time it was a bait and switch…]. I was happy at work for half the year. 

#18 Best thing:

Zoo for Cool’s bday was fun.

This is not a zoom lens. You actually get this close to the penguins and the puffins!

It’s not higher because we got lost on the way back to the car, and walked (unplanned) 8 miles around sketchy areas in the heat and humidity.

#17 Best thing:

You-pick farm was low-key and fun. Flowers were beautiful. 

#16 Best thing:

Went permanent for the new market after the Sup said she doesn’t regulate OT. I was relieved and hopeful. 

At the time this was extremely good news. I would be away from Jogre and KDouche forever! Little did I know this sup was an even more aggressive narcissist. But for the time, it was really, really good news and a relief.

#15 Best thing:

Narwahls

They have alcohol slushies, and they do a flight. And also… Adorable!

Don’t I look miserable and tired, P.S.? This was after the moving ambush, packing frenzy, driving across 4 states, and sleeping on concrete. But the slushy was really good.

#14 Best thing:

Got a shamrock shake in the town of Shamrock TX when we were on our moving road trip. The milkshake machine worked!!!

#13 Best thing:

Randalls

#12 Best thing:

Music was pretty good again this year and I was on top of my ranking which felt good. 

Thanks to Taylor Swift for forcing me to finish it by Oct. It actually really helped (though I STILL have to do Weezer’s winter installment.

#11 Best thing:

Loft Landlord offered to let us sign a lease early to lock in same price for the next 19mo. We signed longer in order to move in better weather. 

We started asking about the price for renewal early, not wanting to be taken by surprise again. And I knew I needed to start packing and making reservations for storage and moving trucks by November. . . Having moving PTSD, I was very stressed and unprepared to pack all of our stuff again. And we had not recovered from 500 Move (Glendale, AZ) or our work CoL paycut. So even though there’s been car break-ins, burglary, fights that escalated to brandishing, a car on fire, rapes, and a full-on 12 person gun fight–I was relieved. I couldn’t pack and do all the moving logistics, make all the change of address calls, find a place, etc… so soon. And the money wouldn’t allow it-not in ideal way anyway. So it feels good to be locked into this rental price and to have some stability for the next year and a half.

#10 Best thing:

Halloween movie marathon! 

#9 Best thing:

Cool got her music on Spotify and Apple Music and other platforms!!!

This has been a long term goal and she made it happen this year. I am so PROUD of her. Take a listen to ManiK Fox. Follow on social media, as she is always making music and art. She has two albums up right now with more to come. I got to help name a couple songs on the first album, so that’s pretty neat too. And the second album has a song with the characteristics of each astrological sign, so January is the perfect time to check it out.

#8 Best thing:

After 13 years we ordered rings.

Wedding rings, commitment rings, whatever you want to call it. Cool and I don’t need papers, of licenses, or rings to legitimize what we have together. We could never afford it before, but made it a priority this year.

The rings are made of dinosaur bones/fossils! Cool’s will have stegosaurus and mine has T-rex. And they have actual meteor (is everything else second best after that meteor strike??!) in them. Mine (my planet in the moon) will have lunar meteor in it. And they’ll have beveled edges so they don’t look like a Claire’s ring.

It’s so low on the list because they won’t come for 10 weeks (in late March 2023).

#7 Best thing:

Double pained windows 

It’s toward the top of the list because it allows temperature control. We’ve always had drafty, single pane windows and a sliding glass door which do nothing for the cold or heat. So the double panes allow us to be more comfortable, and also lower the utility, which is a top priority for me. We always wanted double-pane windows, but could never afford that type of rental before! So Yay(?) random (gun) violence for making this loft affordable.

Except for the one drafty one (yup, that’s snow/ice/frost on the INSIDE):

And of course one of the items stolen from our storage was a window plastic kit…

#6 Best thing:

song analysis

well, you’ve seen.

At some points, analyzing songs was the ONLY thing that would stop my ruminations. It was one time I was relatively calm, and thinking about something else. Writing was a bright spot, and I wish I could get some type of income from writing from home.

#5 Best thing:

Finally found Goose a good vet

We have gone through FOUR (5 if you count my last vet job where the vet didn’t GAF) where the vets were too busy to care. Exams were done in the back, blood pressures half-assed or not done at all. Goose was treated like a checklist and I was treated as a nuisance.

But Dr. Ervin LISTENED. He took TIME to do things properly. He was professional and kind. Goose and I love him!

#4 Best thing:

Got $2800 from renters insurance for 500 Move (out of literally $10k paid directly to 500 move, and probably $5000 of damage/lost/stolen items) But it was something! 

It was very easy to complete the claim too (unlike 500 Move). You just select your items from an amazon-like link.

#3 A,B,C Best things:

Brandi in KC-close enough to walk and next door to the zoo!

And at the zoo, you got to go right in with the kangaroos! No fences between us at all. And no staff was even in there watching. It was amazing! This pic is actually how close we got (don’t worry, we stayed on the path, as advised by the signs).

The AirBnB was within walking to the venue. No lateness phobia! No parking! No paying to park! No having to wait to leave or messing around with drunk drivers trying to get out of the venue! We just ate at home, walked through the neighborhood, and walked right up. As a result we were first in our line (which is not usually my luck).

#2 Best thing:

The 4 cats were perfect angels on the car ride and in hotels during the move.

They were almost entirely quiet during the car ride. And we had charcoal liners in their carriers, so when baby Angus had to go at a very inopportune time on the road it wasn’t a big deal. He tried very hard to hold it, then harder to tell us he was about to have an accident. When we coaxed him to just pee nobody smelled it and no one was wet!

And it was the best they’ve ever done in a hotel. Goose gets angsty and stressed out in hotels and won’t sleep-or let us sleep. Once, he was so unhappy about a car ride that he peed on my hotel pillow! And he NEVER inappropriately urinates. And in the past, C.L. yowled the whole car ride and was wandery and unsettled in the hotel.

I was ready for the worst. If two cats made for a bad trip, 4 were going to be miserable! But more cats actually helped. It was like they calmed each other. The sat in pairs in the car and like I said, everyone was just cozy. And they SLEPT in both hotels. It was more than I could expect from 4 babies, and I was so PROUD of them. And relieved to listen to podcasts instead of meows in the car. And very pleased to sleep at night, instead of trying to calm stressed out cats. Oh, and NO meds, ZERO substances. Just more cats than before.

#1 Best thing:

It was bad: I felt hopeless, depressed, anxious, uncertain, and constant dread. I knew there was no way out without upsetting my whole life, probably getting less money, and likely having to go to an office, and I didn’t want that. So I remained in the company, just on edge and paranoid and unhappy. BUT out of nowhere the corporation moved me away from my narcissist supervisor back to the other side of the company! And NOT to Jogre’s team. I did not have to do anything or say anything. Everyone (including, and especially MNarc) was upset about the yanking, and lack of communication, and the timeline (NOW, NOW, NOW!), but it solved all my problems in one swift action! I automatically felt a million times better. I am able to think about things other than work. I don’t have required overtime every weekday, or holiday hours to work. And I don’t have to put up with being abused anymore. It feels good, and I want 2023 to be calm and peaceful!

2022 Albums of the Year Countdown: Seriously Saying Something [Songs Ranked 9-1]

7 Dec

The Logistics (skip if you don’t care about math or the quantitative stuff):

I only judged good and up ranked songs this year.  I threw out OK, meh, and skip bc with streaming those will no longer get listened to.  Also, I did a percent of good and up songs per number on the album.  Because just stacking an album with garbage songs shouldn’t rank higher either.  You have to have good, great awesome songs, no matter the number of tracks.  I added the % of tracks that were good and above on the album to the score of the level (elite, A, Gr, G) for the final scores.  Highest is best.

Elite 6; awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

For the two bands that put their albums out in installments (Weezer and Young the Giant, Imagine Dragon doesn’t count because I already ranked their entire 1st installment last year) I am going to judge them separately, but also as one unit.  So I’ll place each installment in their ranked position, but then I’ll also do a fifth entry for each band judging it as one album.

One last note: I went back and fourth on Brandi. She released some obvious Grammy reminder music this year. They are different versions of her 2021 album, but it’s still the same album pretty much. Other artists like the Indigo Girls have released a double album with rock on one disc and acoustic on the other. And the price point might have been a bit more expensive than just a single disc. But Brandi released her separately–to get more albums sold, acquire more streams, and remind everybody that last year’s album is Grammy nominated. But I think the acoustic version was even more expensive than my signed copy of the original album, and that plus the cheatee numbers game left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had not been one of my top-tier favorite artists of all time, I would have thrown the copycat album away and not bothered ranking it. But it’s Brandi, so I included it. And she’s amazing so of course it ranked high. But I counted it as a half number so as not to throw off the totally legit albums in the ranking. So there’s that, Brandi is making me messy. Again.
Ok, Weezer is really messing up my ranking because they aren’t releasing their fourth installment of this concept album until December 21.  I told me I would only rank my A+ favorites after October 21st.  I had to finish the countdown by the time Midnights dropped so I could focus on that.  And I like to post this prior to Christmas on the first week of December, while anybody is still paying attention to things aside from the holiday.  BUT I have ranked ¾ of Weezer’s material.  I might stop if it had been mediocre and toward the bottom since it wouldn’t make that much of a difference if they were 35th place rather than 39th, for example.  But they are nudging the top spot without 7 more songs!  So what I’m going to do is post this with them in their mathematical position, but then edit to include Winter in late December, which may change up the whole top of the list…

From Lowest to Highest:

9.

Lissie: 83.33% + 32.5 = 115.83 Final

10 of 12 total songs = 83.33%

2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

8+3.5+21 = 32.5

Sad- angsty. Bitter song! Catchy. Gr

Lonesome Wine- personal. G 

Night Moves- catchy. Sounds like Stevie Nicks. G

Flowers- self permission for emotion after a breakup. G.

Carving Canyons- deep! Descriptive. G.

I Hate This- autopsy of relationship. Regret. Breakup feels. Feeling. G 

Unlock the Chains- Inspired by Fleetwood Mac but original and not a copycat. Lyrics. Catchy. Gr.

Heart’s on Fire- Adult contemporary soft rock sound.  G.

Yellow Rose- backing sounds like Lord Huron, a little cowboy. G.

Midnight- good ending song for emotion after a breakup and for the album. Cohesive album. Tells full story. Notes. Brass. G-Gr

8.

Avril Lavigne: 75% + 41 = 116 Final

9 of 12 total songs = 75%

1 Elite awesome 6; 3 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Good 3

6+15+9+8+3 = 41

This was such an exciting album!  I really, really thought it would take album of the year, because I liked it so much, all throughout 2022.  It dropped very early, and I listened so many times and never tired of it. For treadmilling, it’s perfect. It reminds me of her first album, still edgy, but an adult. Nothing seemed forced or disengenuine and it’s so great to hear pop-punk rock again! I hope Avril stays right in this very genre and does more of this. I LOVED this album. But also, numbers don’t lie, it’s fair and square eigth.

Cannonball- Such a high energy opener! Always gets stuck in my head. Good beat. Great example of pop-punk. Elite-A.

Bite Me- Tough girl. Talking shit to ex-loser. Catchy. Gr-A.

Love Sux- bitter song. I love that she holds HIM accountable but still acknowledges her hurt. More edgy version of Avril is back and I’m happy to hear it. A.

Avalanche- more of a vulnerable song. Touches on mental illness. Always stuck in my head. A.

Deja vu- Relatable song about someone doing the same garbage over and over and the girlfriend getting tired of it. Bitter song! A.

FU- Frustration of talking to someone you can’t get through to no matter what. Realizing you can’t change someone. Gr.

All I Wanted – They sound perfect together. Just a touch of that late 90s CA pop-punk. Gr-A

Dare to Love Me- Quiet song. Strong singing. G.

Break of a Heartache- ends album on an upbeat note. Says she’s tired of hurting.  Gr.

7.

Michelle Branch: 90%+30.5 = 120.5 Final

9 of 10 total songs = 90%

1 Elite awesome 6; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 7 Good 3

6+3.5+21 = 30.5

Who knew?! I liked her (overplayed) stuff in my younger years, and really, really liked her side project the Wreckers. I didn’t know where she went, but Michelle is back. And she’s speaking up. I love how she addresses real issues, yet keeps the songs themselves light and catchy.

Beating on the Outside- jarring opening line. Sex and marriage. Snippets of guitar sound good. G.

Closest thing to heaven- swirling guitar. G.

You got me where you want me- cello. Beautiful. Descriptive. G-Gr.

I’m a Man- I like how straightforward and blatant. Abortion rights. Why men are problematic. First notes get me pumped up! Elite awesome.

I’m sorry- the backing music increases intensity. Instrumental bridge. G.

Not My Lover- sounds like band Garbage. G.

When that somebody is you- quiet. Introspective. G.

You get me- adult contemporary. G

Zut! Alors- G.

6.5

Brandi Carlile:  90.91%+36 = 126.91 Final

10 of 11 total songs = 90.91%

1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 3 Good 3

4.5+12+10.5+9 = 36

Doesn’t count?

You already saw my disclaimer at the start of every ranking. I am not here for the money grab. Same songs but acoustic. IG just gave both same time same price. Don’t like $18 for the same stuff. I need to have a talk to the Grammys about album sales. She’s not the only one, but it $ucks all the same. But yet.. that VOICE. Brandi has the chops and knows how to use them. And I appreciate that the twins are featured more prominently in the acoustics. Brandi should know that the band can rock and harmonize since she was basically the third Indigo Girl for years. But alas, this is good, just not fair to fans.

Right on Time- stripped down. Focus on harmonies. More twin involvement is good. They took out everything that made the song excellent. Touch of western on the instrumental brought it up a notch. G-Gr.

You and me on the Rock- pretty harmonies. Quiet. Nobody can compare to Brandi’s singing I would just have had Catherine sing with her bc her voice is thin by itself. G.

This time tomorrow- I don’t like when they change key or whatever for a song I’m familiar with. It always sounds off to me. Nice piano and harmony though. Instruments bring a fullness that wasn’t in the original. G-Gr.

Broken Horses- not as punchy. Not as impactful. Not THE scream-note. Doesn’t make the cut.

Letter to the Past- nice harmonies. Good that the twins are heavily featured. Like the different instruments on short interlude. More western. G-Gr 

Mama Werewolf- love the bridge – angelic. Harmony sounds good. Piano brings a seriousness to it.  She took out high notes unnecessarily, making the vocals a little worse. G

When you’re wrong- wish that the rocking versions also featured more twin harmonies. Piano is nice. Cello is star. Singing is haunting. Gr-A.

Stay gentle- swelling strings. Should have been in the original version. Gr.

Sinners Saints and Fools- dropped from elite awesome to excellent. Still great, but the other version is whoa. Lyrics more easily heard here. Gr.

Throwing good after Bad- nice harmonies. G.

Space Oddity- God. She has such a voice. She can make anything sound good. Gr.

6.

Miranda Lambert: 80% + 47.5 = 127.5 Final

12 of 15 total songs = 80%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

6+10+9+10.5+12 = 47.5

I thought this album might win. I love how cheeky and feisty Miranda always is in her songs. She really brought in with this album and it was a fun, yet sincere set of cohesive songs. The cowgirl vibe and outlaw mentality add a lot and seem totally apt for the singer. Miranda always does her best to shake up the boys’ club that is the country music industry, and I appreciate her always putting herself out there. More. Like. This. Please!

Actin Up- I like a cheeky song. Also liked the state call-outs . G

Scenes- catchy. Gritty sound puts you in the gritty travel that is living on the road. G-Gr.

Carousel- emotional. G.

I’ll be lovn you – catchy. Piano. Gr-A 

If I was a cowboy- gender bender. Feisty. G-Gr 

Country money- fun. Sassy. Is that Gwen Stefani’s voice at the end? G.

Geraldine – Lambert’s take on Jolene is one of my favorite songs of the year! Elite awesome

Music City Queen- probably the best featured artist of the year. The B52s fit the vibe of the song and make their presence known without overwhelming the song. Catchy. A.

Pursuit of happiness- empowering. Hopeful. G-Gr.

Strange- catchy . She is not specific about the problems that cause these strange feelings , but in this year 2022 we can guess the COVID/quarantine &/ politics. I like how she gives suggestions for letting loose and being easy on yourself during these odd times. A.

Wandering spirit -. The begging is low- and quiet then the backing instruments and choir come in on the wandering spirit part. Sounds full and conveys cowgirl to match the cover art. Gr-A.

Waxahatchee- G.

5.

Weezer-Summer: 100% + 28.5 = 128.5 Final

7 out of 7 total tracks = 100%

1 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 2 Great 4; 1 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 1 Good 3

5+9+8+3.5+3 = 28.5

Lawn Chair- strings sound orchestral and lovely. Adds a beat. Lyrics are jarring compared to instruments. Gr.

Records- electric guitar is great. Like the beat. G-Gr.

Blue like jazz- I like the harder rock. Instruments are edgy. Swirling backing. Rounds/harmony. Gr-A

Opposite of me- piano swirling! Do do do are catchy. Gr-A 

What’s the good of being good- a march. Best friend stole his gal and talked $hit so he’s contemplating why not to go low. G.

Cuomoville- rock is nice to hear. Hopeful, positive lyrics. Feed em to the lions sounds really cool. Love the beat. Gr.

Thank you and good night- perfect to end the show. Electric guitar is awesome. Hard rock howl is cool. End is awesome! A.

4.

Taylor Swift:  75%+57.5 = 132.5 Final

15 out of 20 (I didn’t buy the Target album, so there’s one song I don’t have) = 75%

2 awesome 5; 2 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 4 Great 4; 3 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3; 1 Awesome-skip cusp -0.5; G-N cusp 1; 1 Neutral -1; 1 elite-meh cusp 2; N-M cusp -2; 2 Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6

10+9+16+10.5+12 = 57.5

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t love it. The rollout for the era was very retro 1970s so I think my expectations ruined my perception. I have no idea why there was a random 70s theme, because the songs do not convey that to me–it’s a very Man of the Woods moment. If Taylor had not had some rando promo, I think I would have enjoyed the album more. Also, the tricky, cheatee way of dropping a 100 different colored albums, different pictures, having 4 make a clock, recording a million versions of one song to amp up streams doesn’t set well with me. I wish the charts and the Grammys would modify the rules and records so that fans were not exploited. Buying the green album only to find out the purple album with an extra song was rolled out a week later is $hitty. I don’t like it, but it shows the power of curating a loyal fan base. Taylor’s sales and records may be inflated, but the number and buying power of her fans is not–she has a legitimate, obsessed following.

I will say the songs grew on me over many listens. What the album did do was inspire me to research and analyze and think. So I love that! Engaging with the work is my favorite part of being a music fan, and Taylor gave me a lot of fodder this year.

That said, if I was ranking Midnights against Taylor’s own catalog, it would not fare well. Every song had some element that I didn’t like: A beat, a phrase, the lyrics, etc… I think the entire thing would have benefitted from another draft and another edit. It shows that some of these lyrics, some of the songs were drafts, or vault, or half-worked. I think Taylor hustled to finish them up to feed the audience while the legalities of the Re-records get worked out. Taylor had to keep attention and her Eras tour substantiates that this album is to keep people listening and waiting for each old album to drop. She needs the “Taylor’s Versions” to be successful to complete her plan.

At any rate, I wish I liked the songs better, but I do like trying to decode the subtext.

Sidenote, I did not calculate anything below Good in my ranking to stay consistent with the whole list. I did include my opinions on those lower songs just for funsies. They are marked XXX to show I didn’t count them.

Lavender haze- Catchy. Good message. Calling out heteronormative milestones and pressure to hit them quickly/at all. Didn’t like the little ah ah stuff at first but it really grew on me. Like the faster go viral. One note. Good heartbeat noise in parts. Gr

Maroon- The song itself is just good. But the fact Taylor inspires me to research and analyze the meaning brings it up to great. So G-Gr 

Question…- Catchy. Tells a story. I like the sexy noises. Pronoun game is on pointe. Kissgate and it’s aftermath. Brave of Taylor to be so direct. The slowed down mean-girl /tone statement. Gr.

Anti-hero- This might be the most Catchy on Midnights. Self aware. Really putting herself out there more than usual. HATE sexy baby. It just makes my brain go to pedophile. DIL is confusing. The video didn’t count toward this ranking, but it was cheeky-Taylor (my favorite Taylor) I liked the quirky humor and wink wink aspects. Adorable! Gr-A

XXX Snow on the beach- Boring. Not really a duet. Not that catchy. Janet reference is jarring. M.

You’re on Your Own Now Kid- Explains why Taylor feels so lonely and isolated. G

XXX Midnight rain- I absolutely hate the distorted voice. Tells a story. Nothing really going on with backing. No notes. OK

Vigilante Shit- A bitter song! Calling people out. Superhero imagry- consistent throughout. Moag! The production is perfect – understated Reputation. A

Bejeweled- Kind of a throway song. Lyrics kind of superficial. I like the nice! Who is she talking to? The bridge brings something interesting to the song. G.

XXX Labyrinth- The backing has some nice touches but it’s not enough to redeem the blah. It’s too dreamy and half asleep. Lyrics repeat too much. M.

Karma- To everyone who closeted her, started her bearding, and foiled her coming out. With the masters heist. Subtle moag. Very detailed. Visual.  Gr.

Sweet nothings- Sweet song. I listen to it through the lens that it’s about her mom. The only person who loves Taylor unconditionally. Very subdued but it fits well the story perfectly. Tranquility and calm. G-Gr.

XXX Mastermind- This song makes her seem sociopathic. I think it addressed how she is an active participant in bearding and furthering her career with meticulous planning. I think she meant it cheeky but to me it comes across as creepy. That said this might be my favorite production on Midnights. Love moag and videogame noises. It would be looking at awesome territory if not for the psychopathic words.S-A

The great war- The story of Kaylor! Catchy. I like the snare to go along with war. Lyrics invoke war symbolism. Gr.

Bigger than the whole sky- Jarring transition between songs. This song so beautifully encapsulates grief.  This is where dream pop really shines. Conveys agony. I think a lot of people will find solace in this song after any ending  A 

Paris- Snarky. Someone gossiping about kissgate and the 1975 guy being a hookup. Pictures = kissgate. The fictional Paris is when Kaylor boarded up the windos and went private.  Cleaver change of characters. Her fantasy world. Not the kind that’s thrown is clunky. Meant to say it’s Tree, her publicist doing PR damage control. Brainwash Karly to pick her over josh. Go to the lakes or tower in actual paris. But it’s all imaginary  The song is flat and one dimensional in my opinion (which all of this is). G.

XXX High infidelity- Compelling. Makes me want to dig into the analysis. Multiple story threads weaved together masterfully. The oooo ooos are reminiscent of the train so many songs talk about. Lots of callback. Sort of boring musically but lyrics are elite. M-elite

Glitch- Catchy. Is this about Kaylor being a deviation from bearding. Or her dalliance with Kelsea? G.

Could’ve would’ve should’ve- Finally not boring at all. Good backing. Telling a few stories covertly. Extra points for motivating me to untangle who and why. Finally some actual skillful singing in the bridge. I wish the album had more of this. I like the different sounds of the song throughout. The fast part at the end makes me FEEL. Gr-A

Dear reader- I didn’t like it at first. Found the title like the start of a 3rd graders essay. But after a couple of listens I realized Taylor wrote a letter directly to the Gaylors- which is very special. I like the echoing sound. The vulnerability is really likeable. G-Gr 

3.

Kelsea Ballerini:  86.67% + 49 = 135.67 Final

13 of 15 total songs = 86.67%

1 Elite awesome 6; 2 awesome 5; 1 Great 4; 4 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 5 Good 3

6+10+4+14+ 15 = 49

Oh my goodness! This album inspired me to analyze so much. I love the multiple layers and hidden meanings throughout every song. I think Kelsea is one to watch, and I also hope she will fully come out one day. This album is just brimming with Sapphic feelings and I would love for a successful country singer to be open AND remain famous.

I can’t help myself- fun! Inspired by Shania. The repeated words make it cute. Gr.

If you go down I’m going down to- very much could be a (Dixie) chicks song. Strings sound good with it. A.

Love is a Cowboy- good imagry- being with you is like ropin the wind. Hints of fiddle. G.

Muscle Memory- catchy. G.

I guess they call it Fallin- love the faster lyrics. G-Gr 

Weather- upbeat. Catchy though lyrics are kinda sad. G-Gr.

Universe- slow. Pretty. Love song. G. 

Walk in the park- love despite being difficult sometimes. G-Gr.

Heartfirst- following your heart. G 

You’re drunk go home- fun! Love talking shit. Love the features. Notes! Like Shania, chicks, any country that’s cheeky. Elite awesome.

Doin my best- relatable. Talks about insider info. Snaps/claps. G.

Marilyn- thoughtful sounds. Double subject. G-Gr.

What I have- appreciate what you have. Introspective. A.

2.

Weezer:

16/21= 76.19% ¾ year + 60.5 yr = 136.69 Semi-Final

16.5 + 28.5 + 15.5 = 60.5

1.

Amy Ray: 100%+37.5 = 137.5 Final

10 out of 10 total songs = 100%

2 awesome 5; 1 A-Gr cusp 4.5; 1 Great 4; 2 Gr-G cusp 3.5; 4 Good 3

10+4.5+4+7+12 = 37.5

Amy Ray has always been political. She continuously makes her work mean something, it’s not just words on a page to her. She also puts her beliefs into action with her advocacy. I have always loved the Indigo Girls duo (They are my top of the top all-time favorite music/artists/band) and have grown to love Amy’s solo efforts as well. The transition between the two musical entities is sometimes jarring, but still on-brand.

I like how this album tells a story rarely (never?) heard. Amy Ray is Southern and loves her rural roots. She is also part of the LGBTQQAA community and I think based on interviews I’ve heard, that her identity has shifted over time, and with society’s level of acceptance. Amy Ray started out just being herself, and not really acknowledging her queerness, or taking an identity, let alone projecting it out to the masses. She pinged anyway and her band became pegged “lesbian music” by the mainstream. As part of the Indigo Girls, Amy was portrayed in a stereotypical, non-flattering light on sketch shows, sometimes derided, always in the center of her close-knit fan’s hearts. She learned to embrace her differences and used that to help others. I think now she leans NB or even trans, but in the podcast I heard Amy Ray indicated that it wasn’t a visible option for her when she was younger. Now she may feel too old (her sentiment, not mine) to totally change her trajectory.

All that is to say that this album of a southern queer is an important contribution to the landscape, and as with the Indigo Girls, I hope it opens doors for other artists to embrace their queer/rural roots simultaneously.

Joy Train- Reminds me of Bonnie Raitt. Great banjo!  Vocals are intentionally discordant but it’s not that pleasing to the ear. G.

Chuck will’s widow- Strings are the star. Very folksy. G-Gr.

They won’t have me- Recycled song. String interlude great. More powerful, emotive singing. Heavier bass gives it more urgency. Gr-A

From the room- slow. Harmony. G.

Tear it down- slow. Harmony. G

A mighty thing- after slow/bleak a welcome faster, brighter instrumentation. About homophobia. A.

Subway- could be an IG song. Love string interlude. Singing is powerful & longing. Gay rights. A 

Cowboys and pirates- catchy.  tells a story. Folksy/Americana. String! Gr.

Muscadine- slow. G.

North Star- a bit more triumphant sounding. Hint of choral/gospel. Hymn-like. G-Gr.

Brandi Carlile: 240% More Likable

8 Jul

Covid slowed down enough that I got to go to a concert for the first time in quite awhile. The variants are still around, and N95 masks are more expensive so nobody is really wearing effective masks any more. I’m just hoping that my vaccine and booster do their job, and I’m relying on the fact the show is outside in open air so my risk will be reduced. We had tickets to the Indigo Girls with the Symphony in May, and I was really worried about being indoors with a lot of (singing) strangers. I haven’t gotten Covid, and don’t want to, but also–it’s my top fave of all time, the Indigo Girls. If there’s anyone to take a risk for–it’s them! But unfortunately, that show was cancelled… Because someone came down with Covid. So I had been disappointed, but also relieved. Because that is a pretty high risk situation, and I would never go to a movie theater or the dentist yet because being in enclosed spaces with strangers is still really gross and a high risk. I really hope I don’t get sick! But hopefully that won’t be a factor for this outdoor show.

The venue: Starlight Theater is probably the easiest venue I have ever dealt with (maybe Deer Valley with all its free ski parking, actually, now that I think of it). But it was pretty easy for us because we got an AirBnB shack (this is not an exaggeration) in the run-down neighborhood across the street from the venue, so we were able to walk 1.5 miles and have no logistical car issues! Though I was legitimately afraid the entire time that my car’s catalytic converter would be stolen. I parked it in between our shack’s porch with visible Ring camera and the (literally) condemned house next door, so it was sort of tucked in. Two nights cost $307.42!!! Wrong address given in the confirmations *eye roll* Landlords are on my ultimate bad list right now, as you know [see Emergency Move post from January 2022].

But walking was EVERYTHING!

The sound at the venue was effing amazing too. Someone on Reddit said it was better than Red Rocks, which may or may not be a bridge too far, but I will say it was better than the Gorge. But only because it is smaller and less open than the Gorge. There was no bad seat either. We could afford the 3rd row from the very back, but it still felt like row 8. I could see perfectly!

Katie Pruitt is one to watch! She came out feisty and with big energy and rocked out most of her setlist. The pipes are unreal and I have to put some of the songs on my “Pipes” playlist along with Whitney and other legends, because it was that amazing. No wonder Brandi picked her. I played Pruitt’s stuff on the treadmill later and Spotify made them sound substantially lower key and slower, so I’m excited for her next tracks. I hope she brings that energy to the studio. New fan for sure.

Tanya went next and I don’t really know her, but a lot of people in the crowd did so it was a fun set as well.

It was my eighth Brandi show and it was a good one, though I think because of guests it was spaced out a bit weird. When the show ended I was incredulous how early it was! But the encore ended up being a full third of the concert so it ended up better than expected. If I were the band, I might have done something like DMB did with Acoustic vs Electric sets and have an intermission between the actual band and the guesting people. But since the encore was SIX songs long, I didn’t feel shorted or anything. Everyone was full of energy from 1st note to last and the feedback loop between the performers and the crowd was strongly positive and amped up.

To open the show, the twins came out and jammed out. An instrumental version of 2 song choruses were played, but I should have written them down. It was energetic though.

Setlist:

  • Broken Horses
  • The Things I Regret
  • The Story (dedicated to a fan who donated to Looking Out Foundation)
  • The Eye
  • The Mother
  • Mama Werewolf
  • Woodstock (Joni Mitchell cover)
  • Rocket Man (Elton John cover)
  • Right on Time
  • Cannonball
  • Sinners Saints and Fools
  • Happy Birthday to Josh the celloist? I think–I took it for me
  • The Joke

Encore:

  • Mainstream Kid (w/Katie Pruitt)
  • That Wasn’t Me (w/Tanya Tucker)
  • Bring My Flowers Now (Tanya Tucker cover w/Tanya Tucker)
  • Hold Out Your Hand
  • Stay Gentle
  • Over the Rainbow (July Garland cover)

I thought the slow stuff when on a bit long–we were sitting for at least songs 5-8, and 4 low-key songs in a row is two songs too many probably. I didn’t really like the Joni Mitchell song itself, but I could tell it was very technical and difficult to sing and play, so it was fun to take in even if I wouldn’t buy the CD.

Brandi’s outfit and aesthetic really fell into place during the Elton John cover! I was doing the ugly sweat the entire day in moisture-wicking tank and skort so I KNOW she was effing dying of heat. You couldn’t tell though.

I had been particularly excited to hear Sinners Saints and Fools live because there is SO MUCH potential for cool instrumentation and rocking out. I won’t say I was disappointed with the song (though I did miss the motorcycle-sounds at the end like it is on the track) but I will still say its potential is unfulfilled–there’s still the next show, right?

I went to the show for my birthday, so it was absolutely perfect that happy birthday was sung to a band-mate. I imagined it was for my own b-day.

The encore Mainstream Kid was the best version of this song so far, and I sang and danced my a$$ off the whole time!

Tanya Tucker was decidedly post-60 and her talking points, mutterings, and costume changes provided me with a lot of humor. I never really knew any of her music before so I wasn’t familiar with any of it–but the crowd loved her. It seemed like some people came to see her, rather than Brandi, because she had quite a following and cheering section. I will say–kids, don’t smoke.

I’m happy to say she did the encore in a t-shirt because it was HOT out.

Hold Out Your Hand was a great choice to end the “encore” which I am regarding as the guest section of the concert, as it is probably Brandi Carlile’s most fun song in the catalog. It was fun to see her try to do the stanzas as fast as she did on the album (I think she made one–no shade, bc it’s FAST). I don’t know all the words, but I wish I did because she makes it look really fun to sing.

Then what I am considering the true encore was slow, which is nice for an encore. And the tribute to Pride brought tears literally to my eyes.

It was a really nice time, as always. And per the usual, I came out of the venue liking Brandi 30% more than I did before. I think that’s 240% more than my initial impressions (which were great!) if my math is correct. It’s happened like that every concert. She just seems so nice, and genuine, and she has such a talent! She is one of my favorites. Can’t wait to see her again, and I will most definitely go back to the Starlight. Though it would be really nice if she could make it to Saint Louis some time.

Ranking of Brandi Carlile’s Catalog

4 Jul

I’m about to go to a Brandi concert for my birthday, so I thought I would rank her songs. I used the same judging format that I did for the Indigo Girls and Taylor Swift, so check out those entries for the logistics and math (yes this is a quantitatively judged ranking).  Here is Brandi Carlile’s studio album (not lives or reworked. Yet.) songs from skip to best.  The later in this list, the better the song:

Skip:

82. Keep Your Heart Young-

This one is a skip for several reasons (and none of them are that it’s a bad or un-entertaining song).  It’s wildly loved by the fandom, and they play it at many a concert–so it’s just overheard by me.  More than that, this song in particular signaled a genre change that I didn’t want, as a fan of the original iteration of the band.  It’s good, it’s fine.  But prior to this, Brandi was too cool for school.  She was hipster and edgy and an alternative-something mid-20 (Me.  And Cool.) would really aspire to.  This song was the first homey, country, down-home, ‘mom’ folksy song.  I’m still mad at it.  But I am glad now that Brandi got a Grammy she’s returning more to the 2015-ish sound.  I hope she’ll do more rock in the future.  Or at least sneak it in.

Meh:

81. Heroes and Songs

80. Oh Dear

79. Just Kids-

The best of the meh category. It’s a great album ending, but not as good as a stand alone song.  The ambient noise is really cool.  It’s just too long and slow of a track when not used as a closer.

Neutrals:

78. Beginning to Feel the Years-

Slow. Brighter singing tone and a chorus. It doesn’t sound like Brandi very much.

77. If there was No You

76. Sixty Years On-

Voice cracks in this version. Symphony version is better, but I decided not to do any extra albums this go-around.  I might add them in later because I think I skipped at least 2, and maybe a third.

75. Murder in the City

It’s too much a copycat of a different band. Don’t like the talking through the song style. What a waste of Brandi’s pipes. The backing harmonies and strings sound good though.

74. You and Me on the Rock-

73. I Belong to You

72. Save a Part of Yourself-

Catchiness to the song. claps but harmonies and Italian snippets too.

71. Every Time I Hear that Song

70. By the way I forgive you.

69. Happy

Amber-lee. Writing is good for break-up song.

68. Someday Never Comes

Goods:

67. . Hearts Content

66. Stay Gentle

I like when Brandi is at least a little edgy. This is too sweet and leaves me Wanting another component in the song.

65. Wilder

Maybe it’s the way the band is mic-ed up to catch the harmonies but Brandi sounds echoy in a low quality way. Harmonies are nice, but nobody wants this one slowing down every concert as they are doing.

64. Blood Muscle Skin and Bone-

That first sound is so different and interesting! It doesn’t sound like Brandi singing for a lot of it. The claps and wailing 1950s harmony come off as a little cheesy. I do like the snare fast beat.

63. Fulton County Jane

There just a touch of yodal and it’s excellent.

62. 100

This one has an instrumental bridge with slight tension. At the Gorge, they played this with the tympani and it was the best version of this song!  If that was the album version, it would easily be an awesome.

61. Throwing Good After bad-

😞 Detailed.  Some lyrical complexity but slow and depressing. (Gr)

60. Letter to the Past

Passionate singing. Note. Built to last totally takes me out of the song and into a car commercial. It’s the last impression of the song and always makes me drop the rank a few spots bc it’s so jarring.

59. Gone

Waltz backing. Simple song. Nice bridge with twin harmony.

58. In the Morrow-

Low key. High notes just at end. Some kind of bango/subtle bluegrass really makes this song! There is a rise in the music & singing.

57. Cannonball (G-Gr)

56. The Eye

Too copycat of Fleetwood Mac. It seems like the band was lost during Firewatchers Daughter. They wanted that Grammy and more mainstream success but didn’t know how to go about it. This is one that I dislike it not for the song as much as what it indicated the direction the band was taking. Still, beautiful harmonies.

55. This Time Tomorrow

Nice and prominent harmonies but in a more authentic way to the band. Not as much of a copycat song.

54. Most of All

Talks about her parents. I like the sentiment and the growth. Notes. Harmony. Sentimental without being saccharine.

53. A Promise to Keep

More catchy, stronger writing than blood .. Backing Cello gives lots of resonance.

52. When You’re Wrong

Prelude to in these Silent Days. Haunting.  Tells a full story. Scream-wail is emotive and a good end.

51. Tragedy-

Notes put it over cannonball. (G-Gr)

We’re getting into the top 50 songs in the catalog:

50. Until I Die (G-Gr)

Over tragedy bc the jam and beat is more. Prominent twin harmonies.

49. Turpentine-

Low register. Catchy. This is another one that’s an awesome when done with the symphony. The symphony version is definitely over The Joke, but this one is pretty short.

48. The Joke-

I’m a bit mad at this song too. I see it as pure Grammy pandering. And as you can see, I ranked it at one point, then forgot to put it in the writing somehow-oops. Major infraction is this is the song the led most people to discover the band. I’m in the camp that it’s overrated. It was a moment in time, and Brandi hyped it up big-time. It is a good song with a good meaning and singing moments. I just don’t think it’s even close to the best song (as you can see by the half-number–this might bother me a lot later and I’ll have to re-do the whole damn thing. But it’s July 4th so I’m going to leave it for now.

unpopular opinion- I think this song is overrated. It also bothers me that “I have seen how it ends” doesn’t quite fit in the alloted space. I think there’s 5 beats in the music but 6 syllables in the words and she extends “how” for 2 beats. She shoves 7 in a 5 so “it” gets lost. She could have fixed it so easily by saying “I’ve seen how it end” Also that concept is cliche.

47. I Will

More catchy than the Joke. Cello snippets are nice. Falsetto. Lyrics.

46. Wasted

Instrumental bridge. Lyrics.

45. Whatever You Do

Soft Cello. I love the line, “never said I’m sorry but I meant it.” Orchestral. scream note ending

44. Late Morning Lullaby

Call back to Dreams. More twin harmony. Exciting bridge. Singing and lyrics.

The fact there are 43 songs ranked great and higher speaks to the quality of Brandi Carlile’s work. The numbers sound pretty high, but these are all, solidly great to perfect songs:

Greats:

43. In My own Eyes-

Bridge different from the song. Captures a yearning sound in the singing. (Gr)

42. My Song-

Strong guitar. Angsty. Emotive singing. Visual lyrics. “My mind is full of razors” is such a good line.

41. The Mother-

I like that this is real, not saccharine. This one is always a crowd favorite.  I had this lower in the rank only because Brandi had played it at so many live shows I was at, and I got oversaturated with it.  Also, I’m not a mother.  But after seeing the YouTube video where Brandi plays it to the female inmates, I just…  Go watch it!  (G-Gr)

40. Shadow on the Wall-

Strong harmonies-more twins involvement is nice.

39. Caroline-

Upbeat.  unique tempo to the catalog. Elton John.

38. That Year-

I had ranked it quite a bit lower because it’s a slow song that is super-depressing.  Deals with suicide without stigmatizing the person. Detailed. But I had to move it up because it’s such a powerful story and heartfelt message.

37. Touching the Ground-

Lyrics. Catchy. (G-Gr)

36. Hiding My Heart-

Call back to the story.

35. Sugartooth

Tells an entire story. Heavy subject matter of addiction and suicide packaged in a surprisingly upbeat tune.

34. Follow-

Notes. More of an instrumental break down.  (G-Gr)

33. Throw It All Away-

Notes. Great visual lyrics. Deep. (G-Gr)

32. Losing Heart-

Catchy chorus. More beat. Interesting beat. (G-Gr)

31. Josephine-

Falsetto harmony. Catchy chorus. (Gr)

30. I’ll Still be There-

If it all- note. The song builds. Then it all gets even stronger at the end. Kind of melting the middle.  (G-Gr)

29. Downpour-

Can hear Cello well.  Low register. (G-Gr)

28. Fall Apart Again-

One of my fave lyrics in her whole catalog: “And I think the world of myself but the world doesn’t think much of me.” (Gr)

27. Have You Ever-

Really fun tempo and a beat like footsteps. Inclusive of twin harmonies. (Gr)

26. Looking Out-

More complex backing than Fall Apart. Suitcase on my chest. Afraid of… List. Someone loves you high note & rock out.  (G-Gr)

On to the top 25 songs in the catalog:

25. Again Today-

Low register. Speeds up and jams at the end. Twins are more involved than pride. More of a tone change than Pride & Joy. (Gr)

24. Pride and Joy-

Wow-singing is strong throughout the entire song. Very orchestral. Instrumental from soft to intense.  (Gr)

23. What Can I Say-

So catchy. Conveys longing and religion human failure without being OTT. (G-Gr)

Awesome:

22. Alibi-

Unique sound to her catalog. Softly alt-punk is a fun experiment without changing the whole genre. Good harmony and beat. A bit repetitive. The sticks at the end and syncopation make it interesting.

21. What Did I Ever Come Here for? 

I really identify with these lyrics of putting yourself out there, going back to someone comfortable. Wanting them to look at your intentions, then being rejected. Catchy also.

20. Party of One-

More complex. Lyrically based. Instrumental swell. Depressing. Once, Brandi actually responded to my tweet regarding this song! Screen-grab is going in the scrapbook.

19. Before it breaks-

Lyrics. Instrumental jam.

18. Harder to Forgive-

Good writing. I like how it calls out someone who traumatized her without being mean or over dramatic. Like a march. I think the echo effect is put to good use here.  kazoo. Breakdown. Scream note.

17. Mama Werewolf-

Concept & lyrics. I know this is going to be a major-favorite at the concert [P.S. I had originally used ‘mega’-favorite, as in the shark.  Big, large, upsize.  And fuck Trump for (among many, many, many other things) ruining that word.]

16. The Stranger at my Door

I love all the cowboy sounds embedded in this one. It’s western folksy in the best way. best ending!

The top 15 songs of the catalog:

15. Dying Day-

Prelude to all the ‘home is your heart’ series of songs. Low-register AND high notes-very strong singing.The ‘dum. Da da dun dum’ end of phrases are good.

14. Right on Time-

Notes! Base. I like the acknowledgement and accountability for hurting another.

13. Hold Out Your Hand-

I like how fast she sings. Then also how it slows on the chorus. It’s surprisingly high difficulty to get the verses out that fast. Notes. Is this the most FUN song in the catalog?!

12. Rise Again-

Faster. Notes! Beat. Twin harmony. Rocks out at the end.

11. The Things I regret-

The most awesome of the awesome songs.  Trying to convince herself to let herself be happy. High energy. more lyrical. Hand claps.

Elites:

10. That Wasn’t Me- 

It was the lead single for Bear Creek, but totally different from every other song on the album. The piano along with the harmonies sound nice. A good rehab song. Earnest.

9. Broken Horses- 

The singing is A+! Not only the notes but playing with voice. Lyrics are meaningful and full of symbolism. I like ending a relationship and also having no guilt about that. Standing up for yourself is important. I like the tempo changes. Maybe too many repetitive choruses. Broken Horses doesn’t mean breaking a horse, which bothers me.

8. Closer to You

More catchy than Broken Horses even if the notes don’t compare.

7. Sinners, Saints, and Fools-

Instrumentals sound full and great. The story is a fun concept and not too OTT churchy. Scream note! The strings squeaky. Piano is chaotic. Motorcycle end.

6. Wherever is Your Heart-

I like the sentiment. I like the underlying fast tempo. This song makes me excited. The notes in the chorus sound so good. Twin harmony. The Falsetto back there adds a lot. Beats. The slower refrain is an interesting change and conveys an inner dialogue and strife. This song is particularly good bc the instrumentals and singing style are very upbeat but the words are pretty sad and depressing. A tiny bit over Closer to You bc it starts slow and changes speed and has a notable bridge is generally more complex

5. Mainstream Kid-

It’s really fun to hear Brandi be more edgy. The social commentary of the lyrics is awesome.  I ranked this higher than the prior 2 sings (even though I love them both a lot) bc the singing is so powerful throughout. And also some extra points for taking a risk. Scream singing is fun and powerful. The guitar repeats, beat, and even handclaps are all good elements of the song that jazz me up. The pulsing and lower register prior to a growl note is such a good end!

4. Hard Way Home-

Harmony that sounds like sirens is a great opener. Love the pace it’s just like walking. I can really get behind the message of doing things the hard way. It speaks to me a bit more than Wherever is Your Heart’s subject matter. Love the “I’ll tell you how I wanna live… Lyric. The syncopation at the end makes me amped up!

Top 3 elites:

3. Dreams-

I like the beat and the more rock sound. The strong singing and harmonies are present but packaged in a harder, more rhythmic backing. Also, I’ll never forget seeing this one live at Spokane’s knitting factory. Brandi was so cute and cool and I wanted to meet her so bad!

2. Raise Hell-

This song never fails to make me hyped! I love the message and the yells during the sock. That beat and even the handclaps. Her singing! I love to sing this anytime especially at a concert. When Brandi opened for Dave at the Gorge, the poster we made said, “Raise Hell.”

#1 song of the whole catalog:

1. The Story-

I listened to each track 2-3 times with an open mind and based my ranking solely on each song’s merits. And it’s no surprise that the band’s originally most well known track landed on top of the list. It builds from slower to rock. And the notes! It’s always exciting to hear it, and now I like to watch the indoctrinated take it in for the first time. It captures the essence of the band.

My Notes and Deliberations:

BRANDI CARLILE CATALOGUE RANKINGS

Elite 10, Awesome 6, Great 3, Good 1, Neutral 0, Meh -3, Skip -6

Brandi Carlile 2005

  1. Follow” (Brandi Carlile, Tim Hanseroth) – 4:13 G-Gr 2
  2. “What Can I Say” (Tim Hanseroth) – 2:50 G-Gr 2.6
  3. “Closer to You” (Carlile, Tim Hanseroth) – 2:54 E 10
  4. “Throw It All Away” (Carlile, Tim Hanseroth) – 3:43 G-Gr 2.7
  5. “Happy” (Carlile) – 2:32 M-N -1 (3 listen kept spacing out)
  6. “Someday Never Comes” (Carlile, Tim Hanseroth) – 2:47 M -3
  7. “Fall Apart Again” (Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth) – 3:37 Gr 3.1
  8. “In My Own Eyes” (Carlile) – 3:31 Gr 3
  9. “Gone” (Carlile, Paul Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth) – 3:05 G 1
  10. “Tragedy” (Carlile) – 3:45 G-Gr 2.5

The Story 2007

  1. “Late Morning Lullaby” (Brandi Carlile) – 3:27 G 1
  2. The Story” (Phil Hanseroth) – 3:58 E 10 #1
  3. “Turpentine” (Carlile) – 2:58 G-Gr 2
  4. “My Song” (Carlile) – 4:28 G-Gr 2.4
  5. “Wasted” (Carlile) – 3:47 G 1.2
  6. “Have You Ever” (Phil Hanseroth) – 2:32  Gr 3.1
  7. “Josephine” (Carlile, Tim Hanseroth) – 3:02 Gr 2.9
  8. “Losing Heart” (Carlile, Tim Hanseroth, Phil Hanseroth) – 3:35 Gr 3
  9. “Cannonball” (Carlile) – 3:52 G-Gr 1.2
  10. “Until I Die” (Carlile) – 4:06 G-Gr 1.5
  11. “Downpour” (Carlile) – 3:14 G-Gr 1.9
  12. “Shadow on the Wall” (Carlile, Tim Hanseroth) – 3:15 G-Gr 
  13. “Again Today” (Carlile) – 10:38 Gr 3.3 (after slow part really good )
    • Contains a hidden track, “Hiding My Heart” (Tim Hanseroth) G 1.1

Live at Easy Street 2007

  1. “Closer to You”
  2. The Story
  3. “Have You Ever”
  4. “Turpentine”
  5. “Fall Apart Again”
  6. “Downpour”
  7. “Josephine”

Give Up the Ghost 2009

  1. Looking Out” – 4:18 G-Gr 5
  2. “Dying Day” (Tim Hanseroth) – 3:33 Gr-A 4 (Brandi’s singing conveys longing perfectly. Ending note!)
  3. “Pride and Joy” – 4:20 Gr 3.1 (Starts slow & quiet and builds speed & intensity through the song. Instrumental break.)
  4. “Dreams” (Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth) – 3:31 E 10 #3
  5. “That Year” – 3:35 Gr 3 (Lyrically dense and meaningful but also slow and depressing)
  6. “Caroline” (Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth) – 3:36 Gr 3.3 (Fun song and Elton John)
  7. “Before It Breaks” (Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth) – 3:57 Gr-A 4.1 (The lyrics touch me. The instrumental break is strong.)
  8. “I Will” – 4:09 G
  9. “If There Was No You” (Carlile, Phil Hanseroth) – 2:39 N
  10. “Touching the Ground” (Tim Hanseroth) – 3:17 G-Gr 4
  11. “Oh Dear” (Carlile, Phil Hanseroth) – 2:50 N-M

Live

Bear Creek 2012

Hard Way Home”Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth3:21 E 10.1
2.“Raise Hell”Brandi Carlile, Tim Hanseroth E 10.2 #24:08
3.“Save Part of Yourself”Brandi Carlile, Tim Hanseroth N-G .53:22
4.That Wasn’t MeBrandi Carlile A-E3:42
5.“Keep Your Heart Young”Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth S3:20
6.“100”Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth G 13:21
7.“A Promise to Keep”Tim Hanseroth G-Gr 2.54:02
8.“I’ll Still Be There”Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth G-Gr 2.8 (high note)3:26
9.“What Did I Ever Come Here For”Phil Hanseroth A3:40
10.“Heart’s Content”Brandi Carlile G 0.9 (Cello. Sounds like Doris Day.)3:34
11.“Rise Again”Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth A4:11
12.“In the Morrow”Brandi Carlile, Tim Hanseroth Gr4:02
13.“Just Kids”Brandi Carlile, Jared Faw. M-N (Very slow. Like the cycling piano. Good to close the album. 6:47
Total length:50:56

Firewatchers Daughter 2015

TitleWriter(s)Length
1.“Wherever Is Your Heart”Brandi Carlile, Tim Hanseroth3:50 A-E
2.“The Eye”Carlile, Tim Hanseroth3:35 G 0.9
3.“The Things I Regret”Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth3:26 Gr-A
4.“Mainstream Kid”Carlile, Tim Hanseroth4:19 E
5.“Beginning to Feel the Years”Phil Hanseroth3:08 G-Gr 1.5
6.“Wilder (We’re Chained)”Tim Hanseroth3:32 G 1.1
7.“Blood Muscle Skin & Bone”Phil Hanseroth4:16 G-Gr 2.0
8.“I Belong to You”Carlile4:30 N-G (end speeds up)
9.“Alibi”Tim Hanseroth3:00 A
10.“The Stranger at My Door”Carlile3:42 E (Cowboy gallop, twin’s backing. That sample at the end!)
11.“Heroes and Songs”Carlile2:47 M
12.“Murder in the City”Scott Yancey Avett, Timothy Seth Avett2:53 G 1.0

By the Way I Forgive You 2018

Every Time I Hear That Song”4:01N
2.The Joke4:39 G 1.1
3.“Hold Out Your Hand”4:22 A (The fast syncopation. Style of storytelling country like Jonny Cash)
4.“The Mother”3:17 G-Gr 1.3
5.“Whatever You Do”4:07 N-G
6.“Fulton County Jane Doe”4:43 G 0.9
7.“Sugartooth”4:28 Gr
8.“Most of All”3:51 G 1.2zs
9.“Harder to Forgive”4:06 A-Gr 4(When it slows down. And Brandi’s singing. Kazoo backing.)
10.“Party of One”5:47 A-Gr 3.5 (Depressing. I like how each piece of the song is like an entirely different song.)
Total length:43:25

In These Silent Days 2021


Length
1.Right on Time3:05 A 6.25
2.“You and Me on the Rock” (featuring Lucius)3:50 N (This song bothers me the same as when TS says, “talk real SLOW so your mama don’t e.” Like, what? I just start thinking- where does Brandi live and how did they dig the foundation if it’s on rock?  Steals the enjoyment.
3.“This Time Tomorrow”3:26 G 1.1
4.“Broken Horses”5:03 E
5.“Letter to the Past”3:40 G 1.4 (stonewall rubber band bothers me also)
6.“Mama Werewolf”3:41 A 6
7.“When You’re Wrong”4:26 N-G
8.“Stay Gentle”2:28 G 1
9.“Sinners, Saints and Fools”4:32 E #4
10.“Throwing Good After Bad”4:07 Gr
Total length:38:16

This Time Tomorrow [Brandi Carlile In These Silent Days]

20 Jan

The third track is This Time Tomorrow.

This song compares well with a few other songs in Brandi Carlile’s catalogue [see my post about these songs, Travelin’ Man: https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=11954&action=edit%5D. It’s a song from the perspective of a person that travels a lot, and is very busy. But in all of those songs, the narrator says their heart is always with the other person. And that narrator looks forward to physically being with their lover again. But this iteration is more downtrodden and hopeless, with lyrics like:

begins to grow faded/hard to see the ground on which you stand/feel like a stranger/carve a faith/broken spirit /hope that you hold tightly to has all but vanished/no words of comfort/lost and without love/fight to kill that deafening sound/holy dreams of yesterday aren’t gone/haunt us like the ghosts of Babylon

The light has gone out of the partner’s eyes. Not only can this partner not be counted on anymore to ground our troubled narrator, the main character is indicating that the other person is so unstable, the ground cannot even be seen. The lover isn’t grounded at all anymore.

Thus, instead of feeling comfort when physically home with the partner, the narrator feels lost, like a stranger. There is no familiarity anymore. Carving a faith is laborious and doesn’t come easily. Spirits were once hopeful, but now the partner left home is broken. The narrator holds their lover tightly, though every positive emotion has already vanished. Instead of coming home to comfort and love, the narrator only finds a stranger they have lost track of, and who gives them silence.

Through all theses signs of being over, the narrator insists their previous dreams (hopes) haven’t disappeared. Haunt us like ghosts of Babylon is saying their tangible love, which had the couple feeling so hopeful despite constant distance (and a damaged traveler) haunts them now. The love and hope and support are only ghosts of Babylon. Babylon was the club in Queer as Folk. Queers like to use it because it’s this supposed wonder of the world. It’s supposed to be a comforting, accepting place of beauty. But it might not have even existed. It’s a good stand-in for something hidden, ephemeral, or elusive. Which also describes these past positive feelings in this relationship.

Brandi Carlile: Right on Time

17 Jan

First of all, I don’t understand Brandi’s new look.

It’s like David Bowe & wild-days Elton John mashed up. I get that those were her heroes/idols, but the look is definitely a “show look” not street wear. So I figured it must be like an era (al la Taylor Swift) and probably fit the theme of the new album. But it was confusing that the twins didn’t change their look at all. They looked the same as they ever did. But I waited for the album, hoping it would fall into place once I heard it.

Nope.

I don’t know what’s happening. The album is not a funsy-disco, or campy gay theme, nor is it thematic like outer space, or anything that warrants a costumy look. So I chalk it up to midlife crises. And the album might support that view…

It opens with Right On Time– With the words, “It’s not too late” this song sets the album’s tone. The piano-driven, lyrically-centered tune reminds me of “That Wasn’t Me.” That latter song was the single off of Bear Creek which is apt, because I think that album was the beginning of the story arc discussed in this current album. I feel like Bear Creek was all excitement and hope for what was to come, all getting together and family-building. While In These Silent Days is the impending ending/inevitable divorce, maybe staying together unhappily in co-dependence

There are nice bits of electric guitar w/the piano, to show both regret and a bit of edginess. And oh, the singing! Brandi’s voice shines through this song, as well as every song on the entire album. She is always a stunner on vocals, but in each track she makes sure to showcase it, not in just one or two outstanding singles. In this album-opener, Brandi hits that high note. Twice. Then it’s an even higher note!

Brandi/the narrator of the song acknowledges bad behavior, which does warrant anger/hurt in the other person, but makes clear it’s not too late, and she(?) wants to try again. So this album starts at big relationship problems, and indicates things are about to fall apart. But the main character is grasping tightly, not wanting to give up and let go.

Travelin’ Man: A Trilogy of Related Brandi Carlile Songs

2 Nov

The song, “This Time Tomorrow” on the new album, ‘In These Silent Days’ is quiet and a bit inconspicuous. But I noticed a theme running through Brandi’s catalogue: This song compares well with “Closer to You” and also to “Wherever is Your Heart” off Firewatcher’s Daughter. It’s (all 3, really are) a song from the perspective of a person that travels a lot, and is very busy. But in all three songs, the narrator says their heart is always with their love back at home (GF? wife? the subject may change over time). And that narrator looks forward to physically being with their partner again. I’m going to awkwardly refer to whoever the primary perspective in the song as “narrator” because I’m not certain who this story belongs to. All 3 seem to write a lot of the music, and maybe it’s the combined experience of Brandi, Phil, and Tim. I haven’t seen interviews or other info that tells which one might be talking for sure.

Closer to You (the first written of these 3 similar sentiments):

I’m staring out at endless rows of green
There are miles of hay like I have never seen
Just when you think you’ve had enough and
your dreams come true
I just want to be closer to you

My mind wanders through all that I’ve been hiding from
I tried not to let you down
Now I wonder if I’ve been doin’ something wrong
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Tomorrow I’ll be lying under you
With a heart of gold and arms to fall into
I know that there might come a day
where my life is through
But I just want to be closer to you

My mind wanders through all that I’ve been hiding from
I tried not to let you down
Now I wonder if I’ve been doin’ something wrong
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Someday we might learn to tell the truth
We might even find the fountains of our youth
We all needed something real we all need proof
I just want to be closer to you
I only want to be closer to you

The tone of this song is excited, almost wonderous at these novel sights. And when the narrator gets fatigued of all the travel–all their dreams (of adventure? money? fame? musical growth?) come true. They will press on with the travel over the long term. The writer of this song thinks maybe they’re going about the relationship, career, and/or life wrong, The final verse conveys a searching for something higher-and alludes to a spiritual crises. Even so, the narrator has the tangible in their mate. And knows their loved one will be there to ground them when they get back home. It is indicated that the narrator KNOWS this person with golden heart will be there. There’s no doubt.



In Wherever is Your Heart, written early on in relationships, it’s decidedly upbeat and hopeful:

I think it’s time we found a way back home
You lose so many things you love as you grow
I missed the days when I was just a kid
My fear became my shadow, I swear it did

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

You made me feel like I was always falling
Always falling down without a place to land
Somewhere in the distance I heard you calling
Oh it hurts so bad to let go of your hand

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Even when you’re high, you can get low
Even with your friends you love, you’re still alone
We always find the darkest place to go
God forgive our minds, we were born to roam

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home
Oh God forgive my mind
There’s a road that’s long and winding, it hollers home
I’m calling home

Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home
Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home



Or, might I say, the song of the song is upbeat and gives an optimistic vibe, and the chorus is true to that sentiment. This 2nd song says no matter how far apart geographically the two partners are, they both take solace in the fact that their hearts are together. They don’t need to be physically together to feel and know the love they share. BUT the verses betray a darkness in the narrator. They lost things/people as they aged, and reminisce about a simpler time of when they were a child. Now, they feel fear nearly always. The falling verse that’s next directly ties back to the plane metaphor in “You and Me on the Rock” and tells of that broken foundation that comprises this person. The narrator tells that even with this beautiful sentiment of loving and spiritually being with your lover, even when separate, their mind still fights. The mind is still lonesome amongst friends, sad during happy times, aberrant from the happy chorus.

Which brings us back to this current song, You and Me on the Rock:

When the fire inside that burns
So bright begins to grow faded
It can be hard to see the ground on which you stand
Though you may not be afraid of walkin’ in the darkness
You will feel like a stranger in this land

You can try to carve a faith out of your own
But a broken spirit may dry out the bone
And the edges of the night may cause you sorrow
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow
But I’ll always be with you
Yeah, I’ll always be with you

When the hope that you hold tightly to has all but vanished
And there are no words of comfort to be found
You will know what it means to be lost and without love
May you fight to kill that deafening sound

But our holy dreams of yesterday aren’t gone
They still haunt us like the ghosts of Babylon
And the breakin’ of the day might bring you sorrow
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow
But I’ll always be with you
I’ll always be with you

Ooh
Ooh
Ooh

repeats

Now the person at home doesn’t have a golden heart, but that bright fire faded. They can’t even find the ground, and aren’t the stable force they were in “Closer to You” anymore. Instead of coming home to comfort, the narrator feels like a stranger. Carving faith is more laborious than how easily it came in the first 2 songs… What is the exact same in all the songs, is the narrator will always be with this other person in spirit when they travel, just as before. The next verse gets at the heart of this entire album again. The lyrics reiterate that love has all but vanished, yet the narrator grasps tightly to whatever is left of it. The person left at home, no longer has words of comfort as mentioned in the prior songs, which makes the narrator feel even more lost than they already felt.

I like the new album, but it’s a bleak story. And this trilogy of songs shows the trajectory of a traveling person with a broken foundation who found, and then lost, love and now lives in a codependent state. ‘In These Silent Days’ tells the same story of the catalogue, just in a more condensed form.

PS- I think I’m going to do a few of these similar song postings, as I heard a lot of pairs and triplet songs while going through the album.

Labor Dave Weekend 2014

7 Sep

We went 2 of the 3 days. We spent the big bucks on seats. We made a sign for the opener (Brandi CArlile!) and for DMB. Which we worked really hard on and it turned out adorable. We chalked the car. Planned the hair, makeup, and clothes to look extra cute. It should have been the best year!

But it wan’t. Actually, I cried crocodile tears. Lesson learned: More money spend doesn’t automatically translate to better time, more fun. Maybe it translates to better pictures? Or just experience did.

We had previously gone to the show on Sunday only. And that’s what I would advise fans to do (unless you are a binge-drinker and love obnoxious crowds). By Sunday, everyone is tired, sunburned, hung-over–and it makes them more subdued. That’s my crowd–a little less amped up, at least to the point of politeness.

Friday everyone is full of energy. They have not been cooked in the sun yet. And they’re not hung-over and low key. Friday it’s all frat boys and pushing, and so so so much smoking. Like, yuck, it’s after 1950-who is still smoking?!! We’re in WAshington state, and WA is environmentally conscious, educated, and healthy. Don’t go on Friday.

The beautiful sign ruined everything. I was excited to hold it. We worked so hard, and it was super-cute. But the first time we held it up (between songs) some frat boy fussed. I wanted to say, fuck you, you’re too busy bing-drinking, yelling, pushing, and smoking to notice anyway. But Cool got very anxious, and refused to hold the sign at all after that. Which made me severely disappointed. I tried to get her to hold it, b/c we had spent a lot of time and planning on it–but she listened to the 1 frat boy and refused. It was a huge fight!

The weekend could not be salvaged after that.

We had seats for Friday and Sunday, and of COURSE Brandi performed Sat–the day we didn’t have tickets. It was windy. The friend we were staying with was sick with a migraine. It wasn’t the good time we had planned, hoped for, anticipated, or paid for.

So just know that you don’t have to spends loads of money to have fun. Our most fun year was our cheapest and our most expensive year went the worst.

YOU make your fun time!