Tag Archives: music

Kelsea Ballerini Tells Taylor She’s Being as Fickle as the Weather as Long as She’s Not Over Kaylor

29 Sep

OK this is going to be all about Taylor because I’m trying to convey the connections I noticed. And maybe some of it is a “reach” as the more mean-girl Gaylors and the homophobes accuse anything that’s outside the well-established narrative.  I heard many things, that alone, didn’t mean much, but compiled all together made me think, hmmmmm.  So this is me looking at Kelsea’s work through a frame of trying to find proof she is into women and also that her and Taylor had a fling/are together/are WLW besties–something is there!  But please know that I like Kelsea Ballerini as an artist, on her own terms.

[ellipses indicate lines I omitted.  Highlighted text is her lyrics, plain text is my commentary]:

Weather

I’ve been thinkin’ you’ve been thinkin’ ’bout something else (Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm)

I suspect at least 10 songs on Taylor’s last (true vs re-recordings) album Evermore contain Karlie references.

The, I Bet You Think About Me music video dropped 11/15/21 was practically overt in it’s Karlie images and symbolism.

On the left, music video groom on the right, Jo$h Ku$hner, Karlie’s husband:

Taylor knocks the groom over on the wedding cake:

I think she’s going for some symbolism here:

And Taylor eats a cherry: 

Whatever the red scarf represents (many Swifties say it’s Taylor’s virginity)…  Taylor gave it to the bride:

At the first dance, the groom (Jo$h) pulls the bride in, and to me, it looked like a “you’re mine” gesture.  As in Jo$h made known he owns Karlie, or there is a contract, or he will keep her:

When Taylor/bride walks away from the dance, she shows us red sneakers under the wedding dress.  I’m sure you can guess who else wore sneakers under her wedding gown?  It’s Karlie.

And in the lyrics of this same vault track I think Taylor snuck in a more modern reference to some shoes that Karlie was recently marketing:

Aside from this video, as well as a preponderance of lyrics from folklore, Evermore, and some vault tracks, and the general sadness on Taylor’s face and in her voice for every event/performance she’s attended since 2020–the new album about to drop is called Midnights.

Karlie is a spokeswoman for this Midnight perfume released July of 2022:

And Taylor, wearing silver (right picture), said TS10 will be called Midnights.  A month later:

And during this Midnights Era, Taylor wore gold, which is similar in aesthetic to the gold in Karlie’s Midnight perfume ad.

This was not an exhaustive list of the times Taylor has referenced Karlie in recent times.  So you can see why Kelsea would feel the person she’s talking to in the song (Taylor?) is thinking about something else–breakup with Karlie.

Yeah, we felt perfect, now I’m nervous, can you even tell? (Oh,oh)

This headline says, “. . . perfect for a date. . .”  when Taylor and Kelsea were photographed shopping together.  It just might fit with the perfect lyric if Kelsea is trying to contrast the current unsettled times in a relationship, where someone is not over their ex, and maybe a flight risk, with the good times they had.

Did I wake you up on the wrong side of the bed?

Kelsea just might be alluding to Taylor sleeping with Karlie, and the image that Taylor snuck into her video while dressed in drag.  In The Man music video Taylor, as the man, gets out of bed with a slender woman.  And when the man gets out of the bed, this sun-looking item on the wall is obscured, bringing “my loaded gun, my eclipsed sun” lyrics from Hoax (a song probably about the Kaylor break-up) to mind.  Make of that what you will.  

Is there someone’s body that you’d rather be laying with instead?

The line in this song might be intended to conjure the mental image of that video clip and its wink to Kaylor.  Also, the expression ‘wrong side of the bed’ means grumpy, bad day, etc…  Kelsea (if my theory pans out about her and Taylor being together in some manner) may be telling Taylor that she’s acting moody, and negative, and grumpy, because she is missing a different person in the bed (Karlie).  Or missing the person that used to be on that side of the bed (Karlie).  Without more info it’s hard to say for sure, but if all these references across Kelsea’s new album are about Taylor, I can see how anyone would have had enough of their fling/new relationship/GF being hung up on an ex.

I’m so tired of your weather/Stormy when we’re together/Yeah, we used to be sunny and seventy-five/We wеre dancing, baby, rain or shine

Kelsea met Taylor June of 2015.  And they danced at that first party:

…Now somehow, I need a sweater

Kelsea is possibly talking about the cardigans Taylor sent her close friends for the folklore rollout (for the song/single, Cardigan):

Aside from this lyric possibly talking about the cardigan gift, a deeper meaning could be Taylor’s album/era.  During folklore, it was clear in a lot of lyrics that Kaylor were breaking up or broken up, and Taylor didn’t want that.  It’s full of regret and longing, and Taylor seems very preoccupied with Karlie in this time frame.  If Taylor had seen, was currently seeing Kelsea, or even if Kelsea wished Taylor would see her as a love interest–Taylor’s heartbreak over Karlie would get in the way.  It would not be happy, sunny times, it would be gloomy, sad times that made Kelsea feel chilly and left out. 

How’d we go from summer to cold as ice?

The romance with this person went from steamy and hot and comfortable to distant and chilly.  If Taylor was unable to move on from an ex, or held out hope of getting back with Karlie, it would put a relationship with Kelsea on the back burner.  

In Taylor’s The Lakes, she says she can’t move on.  And Taylor wishes Karlie would come back to where they had been (in the closet together) in total privacy.  The red rose is a Kaylor reference we talked about earlier, and the ice frozen ground is all the depression and loneliness and heartache and chilliness toward one another.  In Taylor’s wishful thinking Karlie and her could be together and that difficult, calamitous love, is causing her a grief she can’t overcome.

Right Where You Left Me is another of Taylor’s songs that uses frozen imagery to show she is not moving on from the Kaylor breakup:

Because Taylor can’t move on from the Kaylor breakup, any relationship between Kelsea and Taylor cannot move forward either.  If Taylor is frozen in place to where she had been with Karlie, it would be distant and chilly inside any relationship between Kelsea and Taylor.  Kelsea is left out in the cold, feeling the aloofness of a Taylor stuck in the past, or in a fantasy in her head.

Are we really lovers if you’re changing your mind/Like the weather? (Weather)

Taylor can’t decide if she wants to pine and be heartbroken about Karlie, or if she wants to move forward with someone new.  She is not committed, and Kelsea can feel how this person she’s trying to be in a relationship with is fickle, running hot, then cold as her moods change.

Uh-huh, oh/Get in or get out

Kelsea tells Taylor to either be present in the relationship with her or be alone wishing that Kaylor would have worked out.

But honestly, right now, you’re killin’ my vibe/(Killin’ it, killin’ it, killin’ it)/(Killin’ it, killin’ it, killin’ it)/So, if you wanna stay stuck in the clouds/Keep ’em around but not in my sky (Mm-hmm)

Taylor doesn’t own clouds.  Put clouds and sky were constant themes in the Lover era.  

Me! video:

Taylor didn’t want to date the man, nor did she want this man’s hand in marriage.  She accepted a kitten.  She’s saying no to men here.

Many Gaylors think Kaylor broke up or were on and off before 2019, and the Lover era was Taylor trying to get Karlie back. Evidence for the beginning of the Lover era wooing Karlie back are the lyrics around New York and the butterfly mural commission:

I think the commissioned mural looks a lot like Karlie’s Victoria’s Secret wings!

Here is a well-worded comment from a Gaylor on Reddit that explains the many reasons the Lover album isn’t a romantic love story, it’s a plea to Karlie; begging her to get back together:

Kelsea using “stuck in the clouds” in this song is not accidental.  A lot of the Lover album, imagery, videos and roll-out focused on the sky.

When Kelsea says you can stay stuck in the clouds, I think she means the mindset of trying to get Karlie back.  Just like in the Lover era.  And Kelsea tells Taylor, it’s fine if Taylor stays stuck in the Lover-era clouds, pining for Karlie, but not in her sky.  Kelsea doesn’t need anyone who is moody and hung up on their ex.

When it hits the fan, I don’t know who you’re gonna be/I’m not asking for much, just a little reliability

Kelsea is emphasizing the point that Taylor’s heartbreak about Kaylor is making her a flake in their relationship.

I’m so tired of your weather/Stormy when we’re together/Yeah, we used to be sunny and seventy-five

The number/temperature 75 is very specific.  Kelsea is saying her and Taylor(?) used to be happy, but are now gloomy.  And I found this tweet from Kelsea:

It is exactly the same temperature in the lyric!  If we can find out who Kelsea saw in L.A. on July 1, 2022 (or the few days before) we will know who this song is about!

I tried to figure out where Taylor was late June to July 1 of this year, 2022, and had a very difficult time (since I don’t know anything about Jet tracking).  If anyone can get the jet data, or other sources showing if Taylor Swift was at her L.A. house June-July, we’d be one step closer to knowing if this song is about her.

This was as close as I could get to narrowing down where Taylor was:

June 11, 2022 (Tribeca Film Festival, NY)

July 4, 2022

…[Bridge]

Baby, talk to me/Tell me what you need/Don’t leave me hanging anymore

Taylor’s song, Cowboy Like Me has a lyric about hanging.

Skeletons in the closet means a dirty secret.  Something bad in your past you hide from others.

It’s funny Taylor mentions closets in this context.  I’d say part of the point of this song is having gay-dar and being able to identify other gays (because you’re one too, so you know the signs).  And gay people hide in the closet before they’re out.  A secret and hiding in the closet??!

Here’s an excerpt about the Gardens of Babylon:

As a sidenote: The central club in America’s Queer as Folk series, about mostly gay men and a pair of lesbians, was called Babylon.

The fact that another track on Kelsea’s same album called, Love is a Cowboy really puts it over the top!

…  Are we really lovers if you’re changing your mind/Like the weather? (Weather)

And the word, “Lovers” to end the song???  OMG.  I think I’m on to something here.

Kelsea Ballerini Promises Not to Out Someone (Taylor Swift?) Because it Would Out Her Too

25 Sep

Disclaimer:

OK this is going to be all about Taylor because I’m trying to convey the connections I noticed. And maybe some of it is a “reach” (can we retire that word?!) as the more mean-girl Gaylors and the homophobes accuse of anything that’s outside the well-established narrative.  I heard many things, that alone, didn’t mean much, but compiled all together made me think, hmmmmm.  So this is me looking at Kelsea’s work through a frame of trying to find proof she is into women and also that her and Taylor had a fling/are together/are WLW besties–something is there!  But please know that I like Kelsea Ballerini as an artist, on her own terms.  

IF YOU GO DOWN (I’M GOIN’ DOWN TOO)

I’ve known you since Brad and Angelina

Brad and Angelina got together on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in 2005.  They collected children, and then got engaged in April of 2012.  The wedding took place in August 2014.  Angelina filed for divorce August 2016.  So that puts the timeline anywhere between 2005 and 2016, with the actual marriage between 2014-2016.  Kelsie and Taylor met in 2015.

Taylor’s Tweet:

Taylor invites Kelsea to her friend, Abigail’s birthday party:

…If I got an aisle with a mess I gotta clean up

A double entendre–clean up a mess on aisle 7, and also walking down an aisle to marry, cleaning up that mistake with divorce.

Kelsie learning about herself and realizing she had been forced into a straight marriage?  She had to use a lot of introspection and therapy to realize she was in a comp-het situation, and un-learn her heteronormative training.  And when she was finished with that she realized the man had to go.

I know you’ll be showin’ up with bleach, hmm

This reminds me of Taylor’s song, No Body No Crime:

Taylor was going to clean up a mess of a different marriage that ended in that song.

This line could also be a reference to hair bleach.

The Met Gala of Getaway Car fame.

Depending on the narrative you believe, this is the night Taylor left Calvin Harris for Tom Hiddleston.  It has also been said Taylor met Joe Alwyn at the 2016 Met Gala.  If you’re a Kaylor, you know it’s the night Taylor ditched 2 beards (Calvin and Tom), arranged a long term beard (Joe), and ran away from Jo$h Ku$hner (Karlie’s long term BF/beard) with Karlie.  A lot was happening that night!  Been in each of those scenarios Taylor, with her bleachella hair, was leaving a relationship.  And Kelsea is talking about leaving her marriage.

All those names that we don’t ever speak of

Kelsie and Taylor both have had their share of feuds and exes:

Got a couple nights that have slipped my mind/Proof and photographs have been deleted

I found this headline by Googling their names:

https://country925.iheart.com/alternate/amp/2018-05-09-kelsea-ballerini-and-taylor-swift-in-towels/

I included the link so you can see I didn’t do any fancy cutting and pasting–the image that used to be on that provocatively headline was removed… Just like Kelsea said in the song…

If you ever needed an alibi/’Cause dirt on you is dirt on me/And we both know our hands ain’t clean/If it all blows up and we end up on the news

Here’s another headline with a deleted picture that I came across:

Taylor’s song, Delicate is about the nervousness of getting closer to someone when you’re first seeing each other.  There’s an added layer of precariousness in the song because this date is between two gals.  There’s an anxiety about going for this relationship, but also a lot of sexual chemistry.  It’s pretty steamy, really:

Kelsie doing a cover of that particular song is very loud to me.

If you go down, I’m going down too/It’s a good thing we’re each other’s kinda crazy/Ain’t no judgment or keepin’ score

Kelsie might be referencing Taylor’s song, hoax, where Taylor references her painful breakup with Karlie:

In, False God Taylor told us she’s New York City:

And Karlie Kloss was the West Village:

So part of me back in New York is saying Taylor had her heart in NY, but had to leave because she can’t bear to be reminded of Karlie everywhere she goes.  The keeping score bitter line in Taylor’s heartbreak song is what Kelsea brings up in this song–she won’t do that to Taylor like Karlie did.

If you rob a bank, I’m your getaway Mercedes

God knows that’s what friends are for/’Cause dirt on you is dirt on me/And we both know our hands ain’t clean/If it all blows up and we end up on the news/If you go down, I’m going down too/If you go down, I’m going down too, yeah/I keep all your secrets by the dozen

These lines have to be about closeting and outing.  If these two had a fling or shared their secrets that gives each one of them ammunition and leverage over the other.  One cannot out the other without outing themselves. 

I think rather than a threat, this is meant to calm Taylor.  She does not want to be outed and is always fearful that she will get recognized by everyone as WLW before she’s ready, so Kelsea is saying, don’t worry, I can’t out you because I would be outing myself.  And since they’re both singers they both understand what they would be losing by being outed. It’s a sort of consolation that the gayness of it all will remain secret.

You know where my skeletons sleep

Kelsie may be talking about Taylor’s song, Cowboy Like Me here:

In the song Taylor is saying she does stuff purely for money.  Bandits, tricks up my sleeve, takes one to know one all indicate she has met someone just like her–pretending to like rich people or date men so rich people approve in order to get the money/fame.

Forever is the sweetest con is a line that I think speaks to lavender marriage.

Hypothetically, if you ever kill your husband

Kelsie is using this as an exaggeration of something terrible that she would still keep a secret.  It does double-duty here being a call-back to Taylor’s No Body No Crime:

And also could be speaking about “killing” the bearding contract.  Killing the idea of being married to a man.  Killing the charade.  And if Taylor decides to ditch Joe and other beards, Kelsea says she will still never tell that Taylor is WLW or that they had/have? a thing.

Hand on the Bible, I’d be lyin’ through my teeth/’Cause dirt on you is dirt on me/And we both know our hands ain’t clean/If it all blows up and we end up on the news/If you go down, I’m going down too/Our bodies are buried and they’re in the same ditch/So even if I wanted to, I can’t snitch/30 to life would go quicker with you, yeah/So, if you go down, I’m going down too/If you go down, I’m going down too/If you go down, I’m going down too

This song to me, is an acknowledgement that Kelsea knows a secret about Taylor, and has that same secret.  I don’t know if they were just honest with each other, or had a fling, or are dating, but this song is LOUDLY about closeting and being outed.

One Taylor Reference Might be a Coincidence, But a Dozen? That’s a KELincidence

25 Sep

OK this is going to be all about Taylor because I’m trying to convey the connections I noticed. And maybe some of it is a “reach” as the more mean-girl Gaylors and the homophobes accuse anything that’s outside the well-established narrative.  I heard many things, that alone, didn’t mean much, but compiled all together made me think, hmmmmm.  So this is me looking at Kelsea’s work through a frame of trying to find proof she is into women and also that her and Taylor had a fling/are together/are WLW besties–something is there!  But please know that I like Kelsea Ballerini as an artist, on her own terms.  For more Kelsea-centric content, see my album review from 12/8/20:

And my Top 12 songs from 1/6/17:

Now on to the clues in Kelsea’s new album!

THE LITTLE THINGS

Save your money on the roses, baby/Just leave a daisy on the dashboard

The first few lines are Kelsea rejecting romantic gestures like roses and idealized prince on a white horse rescuing a’la heteronormative tropes.  Kelsea is saying she’s OK with breaking all the straight-dating-rituals and norms for this relationship.  

Also, these lines tie directly to Taylor, and pretty blatantly.  On first listen to the album, these were the lines that clued me into the fact Kelsea might like women–and specifically, Taylor. 

At one point Taylor was using so much rose imagery that fans speculated her next album might be called Roses.  

At another point, fans speculated that Kelsea’s new track, ROSES was a collaboration with Taylor:

Interesting…

Remember Taylor’s song Gold Rush? This product is called Rose Blush:

Walk past, quick brush/I don’t like slow motion double vision in rose blush

Here are other examples of roses/gardens in Taylor’s work:

  • Love Story: So I sneak out to the garden to see you
  • Blank Space: Rose garden filled with thorns
  • Cruel Summer: And I snuck in through the garden gate every night that summer just to seal my fate
  • Betty: Would you tell me to go fuck myself or lead me to the garden?
  • Betty: In the garden would you trust me if I told you it was just a summer thing?
  • Cowboy Like Me: Now you hang from my lips like the Gardens of Babylon

Here’s some more interesting rose/flower/garden incidents in Kaylor:

Taylor is twinning with Karlie’s cover from 5/21/18 when she collects are folklore Grammy on 3/15/21.

And again here Taylor is undeniably twinning with Karlie’s 9/13/21 Met dress for her I Know You Think About Me video announcement/promo on 11/14/21:

And daisies.  Let’s not forget how important daisies are in the story of Kaylor.

The Big Sur road trip was epic in the start of Taylor and Karlie’s love story.  With many lyrics referencing it, the daisy on the DASHBOARD, daisy tag on Karlie’s social media, and the same daisy in Taylor’s liner notes–it’s one of the biggest proofs for Kaylor.

In other words those 2 lines of Kelsea’s song are telling her new romance to leave Karlie behind and stop with all the roses/daisies/gardens to focus on the little things with her.

Don’t gotta ride in on a white horse

That is a literal title of one of Taylor’s first hit songs.  And that song also fits the theme of this song about rejecting heteronormative indoctrination:

Kelsea is saying she doesn’t want a Prince Charming on the white horse to rescue her. She wants a non-stereotypical love that means more to her because of little things rather than grand gestures of Disney movies and rom-coms.

When you’re younger they say it’s a kiss in the rain

Again, I’m not saying Taylor has a copyright on “rain” the word, imagery, metaphor, symbolism–it’s pretty common in writing.  But there is a preponderance of rain songs, especially kissing in rain songs in Taylor’s work, so if you were trying to reference her this might be a subtle way to do it:

Throwing rocks at a window

Taken alone, this line is just a common writing theme.  As the fourth very close association to Taylor things in one song, in a row–it seems intentional on Kelsea’s part that she wants the listener to be reminded of Swift.  The next line of Kelsea’s song could also be a reference to another early Taylor Swift song, Ours:

 And Ours just happens to have one of the same messages contained within Kelsea’s track 1:  Subject to Change.  That society may judge LGBT love, but the happiness of the individual must be prioritized so the relationship is pursued even so.  

But it’s when we’re in a crowded room, put your hand on my back

This line reminds me of the themes in at least 3 Taylor Swift songs:  Ours that we just talked about.  Taylor’s line, 

They’ll judge it like they know about me and you/And the verdict comes from those with nothing else to do

When people see a same sex couple, they’re not sure if they’re just friends, or if the two people are in a relationship, especially straight people!  Heteronormativity works hard.  When Taylor says they know about me and you, she’s saying people are speculating that she and the person she’s talking about in the song are not just friends, but gay together.  Furthermore, those gossiping people disapprove and stigmatize anything that is not straight.  So Kelsea’s line makes me think of a covert couple in a public space.  They can appear as friends to safely avoid further scrutiny or judgment.  Because when it’s a woman’s hand on another gal’s back, heteronormativity says they’re just friends!  

The second song of Taylor’s that this line makes me think about is, I Know Places:

Pretty much that whole song is an expansion of the line we talked about in Ours.  Same theme.  “Friends” out in a public space, and someone inside that secret relationship daringly depends on heteronormativity to make their gesture of love to appear as just friendly.  It’s both daring and safe for a female couple to touch out in front of the public.  People usually chalk it up to friendship.  But there are the gossips that want to call it out as WLW and disparage it.  So for the couple there is always that fear of being exposed.  And in Taylor’s case, she says she hides the relationship away from prying eyes so they can love safely. 

The third of Taylor’s songs that Kelsea’s line reminds me of is, So It Goes… 

I think Kelsea is talking about the same phenomenon Taylor speaks of with “magician” and “illusionist” in public spaces.  When this couple is out on the town, they appear straight.  Maybe they’re flirting with guys, or “dating” a guy.  They can do small coupley things that the naysayers will interpret as female friendship, but this couple is on high alert not to get caught.  But Taylor’s song is saying when they’re alone, it’s “wear you like a necklace” time.  

And waiting on me in the morning with my coffee black…

It’s wine and vinyl, my head on your shoulder…

Reminder, I know Taylor doesn’t have the only references to drinking in any song.  But also, if you were talking about Taylor Swift, it might be apt to mention alcohol.  Taylor’s discography has at least 11 lines that talk about wine, not counting all the champagne/beer/whiskey/cocktails/drunk references.  And it wouldn’t be surprising that two artists might hang out listening to vinyls, signing vinyls, or otherwise listening to music and doing merch.

Used to think it would be a backseat sex scene/Drawing hearts on the window…

A clear callback to the song, Heartfirst where she met a man at a party and went to the car with him. But the line here says, USED to think.  So Kelsea has changed her mind about what love is to her.  Which she clearly tells us on the first track.

Just pull me in and kiss me slow/Ooh, it ain’t just for show (it ain’t just for show)

And this line reminds me of Taylor’s Peace:

Peace describes half of the couple being blue and depressed.  The other person says they will be there for them, warm their heart, die for them.  But only privately.  Outsiders think the love is PR or just friends, but they don’t know the real story.  Their love is a hidden secret and it’s true and deep, but also the person asks is this secret relationship going to be enough for you?    

(Ah) let’s not go big, let’s just go home

I know, I know the concept of “home” is not owned by Taylor.  But also lyrics of Taylor’s that contain the word…

home {also in Exile and Peace and Tears Ricochet}

~[Cornelia Street from Lover = “leading us home” “I took the long way home“]

~[Cruel Summer from Lover = “…I cried like a baby coming home from the bar”]

~[Delicate from Reputation = “do the girls back home touch you like I do?”]

~[Gorgeous from Reputation = “guess I’ll just stumble on home to my cats”]

~[I Think He Knows from Lover = “I’ll make myself at home“]

~[Lover from Lover = “take me out and take me home (forever and ever)”]

~[Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince from Lover = “I think you should come back home“]

~[New Year’s Day from Reputation = “or if you strike out and you’re crawling home“]

~[Paper Rings from Lover = “went home and tried to stalk you on the internet”]

~[Style from 1989 = “takes me home” “just take me home“]

So here, Kelsea is offering to be the one to take Taylor home.  She’ll provide peace and stability, just the little things.

Kelsea Ballerini Just (softly) Came Out, and is possibly with Taylor Swift

25 Sep

OK this is going to be all about Taylor because I’m trying to convey the connections I noticed. And maybe some of it is a “reach” (can we retire that word?!) as the more mean-girl Gaylors and the homophobes accuse of anything that’s outside the well-established narrative.  I heard many things, that alone, didn’t mean much, but compiled all together made me think, hmmmmm.  So this is me looking at Kelsea’s work through a frame of trying to find proof she is into women and also that her and Taylor had a fling/are together/are WLW besties–something is there!  But please know that I like Kelsea Ballerini as an artist, on her own terms.  For more Kelsea-centric content, see my album review from 12/8/20:

And my Top 12 songs from 1/6/17:

Which, by the way has some lines that pop out to me

[ellipses indicate lines I omitted.  Highlighted text is her lyrics, plain text is my commentary]:

And I’m unapologetically in love… /No matter where it takes me/Even if it breaks me…

A love that breaks you because it breaks social norms?

And it don’t even phase me/When they call me crazy

Why would people call this cute blonde country singer crazy for being in love with a man?  Maybe it’s a woman and homophobes not understanding same sex love?

I’m unapologetically in love…/So I could care less if I’m being careless/Might wreck me to be reckless

Why would a straight relationship be unpalatable to people?  Why does Kelsea feel like she has to justify this relationship in the song?  What is careless or reckless about a cis, white, upper-class, woman dating a man?  Maybe it’s reckless because it’s a same sex pairing?

But I’d rather fall apart than/Love half-hearted

Love half-hearted sounds like comp-het to me.  Loving a man doesn’t fulfill her even if it’s more socially acceptable, so she is taking the chance to fall apart (risk her career/fame/money/social status) to be with a woman.  Because being with a woman is loving with her whole heart.

Yeah, maybe it’s true that you know when you know…

We are all raised in a heteronormative society.  From the time we are little, people are pairing up boys with girls.  There’s nothing to know when straight is considered the default.  But this you know when you know could be talking about finding the one, sure.  But also it could mean she realized she likes women.

…keeps my eyes starry so

I heard starry eyed references a lot in the new album.  And I have this theory that I want to publish and time-stamp:  Taylor Swift has an album coming out Oct 21 (a month after Kelsea’s album just came out referencing starry eyes a lot) and it’s called Midnight.  I predict Taylor is going to indicate love went from burning red to golden and Sun to more fake gold veneer to blue sadness to maybe starry?  

Slow motion double vision in ROSE BLUSH

From TS Daylight:

Stars in eyes.  Not one sun, but all the stars in the (night) sky?  We’ll see if this comes to fruition. 

I’m so sorry for not being sorry

On to the new stuff on this brand new album! 

Song titles written in all caps (contrasting to the all lowercase of folklore).

SUBJECT TO CHANGE- There is the surface meaning of this song.  And I’m not talking about that, I’m reading into it.  

Seasons do it

I know, Taylor doesn’t own seasons, or the concept of seasons indicating changes.  But also, she conveys things in terms of seasons a LOT:

also somebody compiled all of Taylor’s lyrics mentioning a season:  

And it happens when the night goes day

Like the evolution of dark, moody Reputation to the butterflies and sunshine Lover, Kelsea is mentioning a night to day transition. 

Going through it, I knew it/The right and the hard thing are sometimes the same…

Thank God, I got a strong gut feeling/Leading me to somewhere new

To me this sounds like Kelsea discovered she liked women, and now is “new” to dating them.

This sounds like internalized homophobia with all the talk of fear and uncertainty.  Therapy may have caused the growth and metamorphosis (like caterpillar to BUTTERFLY).  And “unravel the architecture” sounds like dismantling, un-learning.  Built by youth = indoctrination, social-learning/norms, COMP-HET, anyone?!

But if one thing’s the same/It’s that I’m subject to change, yeah…/A little unpredictable, I confess

This is foreshadowing, people. For those of us in the know, Kelsea’s softly coming out here. For the general public who is clueless, she’s telling her audience/the world that there could be, or there’s going to be something changing about her.  Don’t set your expectations on the image we know of Kelsie, because there is this new thing she is about to become–WLW?

If I’m honest

BIG PAUSE

This pause is LOADED.  She is not brave enough (yet) to tell her truth, but Kelsea is sure hinting at it.  She says, “if I’m honest” and in the pause you think: Honest about what?  Is she going to tell us some news?  Is this secret contained in the pause the change being talked about in this song?  My guess is yes, it’s a newly realized, and now actualized knowledge she’s, “not straight” as Julianne Hough said.  Maybe a gay relationship of some kind…

Growing up, it kind of hurts like hell

Growing up different, or being different but not knowing why hurts.  Being bullied for being different leaves scars.  Knowing you’re different and not acknowledging it, or actively hiding it, is hell.  She could be talking about regular growing pains, but within the context of the song she could also be talking about growing up gay.

It’s chaotic, ironic

But it’s how I learn to find myself…

I’m going to put an excerpt in that says what I think this line is about:

I don’t think about the chapters/It’s all about turning the page/And that’s alright (Yeah, that’s alright, yeah, that’s alright)

And finally, she gives herself permission to love woman publicly, and tells the world also, that it’s OK–because it is!

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.

You and Me on the Rock [Brandi Carlile In These Silent Days]

19 Jan

The second song on the album is, You and Me on the Rock. I think it’s a double meaning: Physically living on a rock, like rocky land, or a cliff, or some island? And also a relationship on the rock(s).

The first verse beautifully describes ice fishing in vivid detail. The point is transient shelters are built on an unstable, impermanent surface, fun is had during the season, then everything is cleaned up so you can’t tell anything was ever there. The song is also describing a relationship built on a slippery foundation, where both people knew it couldn’t last forever, but they had fun anyway. And now fishing season is over, so to speak.

The chorus is very co-dependent with the main character saying she can’t even stand to be apart from her lover while one is in the garden and the other is on a walk. The narrator says she doesn’t need their (our/the audience/fans) money, just her relationship/marriage.

The 2nd verse explains that the narrator didn’t build a strong, airplane out of her life, so to speak. She says it was paper (vs strong metal) and crooked (so it’s not a sound vessel to start with). Because of this faulty construction of both plane and person, ending up in the water has always been a consequence close at hand.

The narrator tells the other person (and us) that nobody cared about them in the way this wife(?) does. Nobody was asking why’s she so thin (unhealthy, not getting nourishment) and why’s she drinking again (ending up addicted or ‘in the water’). The narrator was close to crashing into the water when this other person caught her and saved her from that terrible fate (sloppiness? alcoholism?).

The bridge[is that what it’s called?] uses a tsunami as a metaphor for their relationship problems. It’s a big wave, but the couple can make it through. They will avoid the water together.

In the bigger picture of the album theme, the 1st song made clear there were relationship problems (caused by the narrator?) but this problematic main person doesn’t want to give up, and thinks things can get sorted out. In this 2nd song, the narrator acknowledges they are a bit faulty as a person, but that’s why they need their lover (as Taylor would say). And together crises can be averted.

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.

2021 Album Ranking [bottom of the barrel]

20 Dec

Gone are the days when artists can hide meh-bad songs in an album and still sell based on 1-2 singles (thank goodness).  As such, I penalized the less than good songs more than I scored the awesomes high.  Streaming is harsh.  Here’s the scale I used for this entire list:

  • 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

Another aside-I try only to rank songs released on the calendar year.  Sometimes I’m unaware a ‘live’ song isn’t new, or I judge a remix or something.  This year I must say there were a LOT of cheatee, not actually new, music put out in 2021:

Madonna-True Blue (35th Anniversary Edition); Green Day- Insomniac (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition); Avril Lavigne- Bite Me single; Metallica single; Sam Smith-Love Goes (live) & soundtrack produced by him?  Rufus Wainwright-live; Jason Isbell- live; Sarah Bareilles-live; The Black Keys- remastered, live; Pink-remixes; Blondie-Spanish; Kelly Clarkson-Christmas

You see there were a lot of people putting something out, so the Wiki 2021 Albums list looked overwhelming, but a lot of artists were tricky.  They got their name out, but didn’t put in a lot of work *side-eye* Seems to me like everyone had a lot of time to think and write and get something together during the 2020 Covid-pause.

There’s my parameters.  Let’s commence the count-from bottom of my reviewed to the best of the best 2021!

Vampire Weekend– S (too experimental & discordant)

tot = nope

I abandoned this one, because I just couldn’t.  You’ll see a theme this year-not everything is made for me, not everything is appreciated by me.  It’s fine.  This is one of those.

John Mayer-Sob Rock

I was torn about even reviewing this album.  John Mayer has been a long time staple of mine, but new information has come to light (Jessica Simpson) and I feel like it isn’t all that ethical to support him.  But I thought I’d at least give it a chance.  Well, I shouldn’t have.  It’s nothing special.  Nothing much was going on in the songs.  Boring.  And by the time I got to the baby-talking track (cringe!) I was over it.  There are just too many albums this year to fuss about with a meh one.  So I aborted mission halfway through.

tot = NOPE

Last Train Home M

Shouldn’t Matter but It Does G

New Light M

Why You No Love Me S (baby talk)

Wild Blue M

Shot in the Dark; I Guess I Just Feel Like; Til the Right One Comes; Carry Me Away; All I Want is to be With You

Those were the only two albums that I could not make myself finish.  The next ones scored in the negatives.  That just means they either had tracks to skip, mehs, or not enough songs that moved me.

Neil Young Crazy Horse-Way Down the Rust Bucket-Live

I really couldn’t get past the awful singing.  IDK why listeners are very hard on women who don’t/can’t/lose their singing, but it seems like it’s tolerated if men do it *cough patriarchy/misogyny*

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

0awesome; 2Great8; 5Good15; 3Neutral-3; 5Meh-15; 2Skip-24 = tot-20

Country Home- S (pretty bad singing)
Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleeze- S (bad)
Love to Burn- N
Days that Used to be- G
Bite the Bullet- M
Cinnamon Girl- M
Farmer John- M
Over and Over- G
Danger Bird- N (terrible singing knocks the score down)
Don’t Cry No Tears- G
Sedan Delivery- G
Roll Another Number (for the Road)- M (bad singing)
Fuckin’ Up- M
T-Bone- S (About 5 words in the song)
Homegrown- N (good harmonies)
Mansion on the Hill- S (bad)
Like a Hurricane- Gr (probably best on album)
Love and Only Love- Gr
Cortez the Killer- G

David Gray-Skellig

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

0awesome; 3Good9; 1G-N cusp1; 2Neutral-2; 6Meh-18; 1M-S cusp-4.5; 0Skip =tot-14.5

Skellig- M
Dun Loaghaire- G
Accumulates- G
Heart and Soul- N-G cusp
Laughing Gas- N
No False Gods- M-S cusp
Deep Water Swim- G
Spiral Arms- M (repetitive)
The White Owl- M
Dares My Heart be Free- N
House with No Walls-M
Can’t Hurt More Than This- M
All That We Asked for- M

Doja Cat- Planet Her:
Now, I know.  This is the album that is getting the most hype this year.  I only listened to it for that reason.  And last year I listened to Dua Lipa for the same reason, and really liked it.  The magic didn’t happen this year.  I like the title of this album, and that’s about it for me.  And that’s OK.  Not every album is made for me, nor enjoyed by me.  I wasn’t feelin’ this one.  I might be the only one on the planet.
awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; N-G cusp 1; G-M cusp 0; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6
A; 1Gr4; 2Gr-G7; 2G3; 1G-N1; 1G-M0; 3N-3; 7M-21; S = tot -9
Woman- G (Repetitive.)
Naked- N
Payday- Gr-G (Good ambient sounds, but Minnie Mouse singing.)
Get Into It (Yuh)-  Gr-G (Baby-voice is ehhhh, but rap is good and fast.)
Need to Know- Gr (Catchy and I like the repeated words)
I Don’t Do Drugs- N (Xylophone is interesting and different, but the rest of the song is kinda boring.)
Love to Dream- M
You Right- N
been Like This- N-M (Somewhat high note is good, but the song is just boring.)
Options-Gr (Moag!)
Ain’t Shit- M (The only thing I liked was the counting.)
Imagine- M
Alone- M
Kiss Me More- G-M (Disco sound)
You Right (Extended)- G (The duet is probably the best on the album.  I also liked the breathes/breathing sounds.)
Up and Down- G-N
Tonight – M
Ride- M
Why Why- M

Kaleo

I wanted to love this one like I loved their last album.  But it really fell off in the second half.  It probably would have ranked higher if the latter half was edited out completely.

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

0awesome; 0Great; 2Good6; 2N-G cusp2; 2Neutral-2; 1M-N cusp-2; 4Meh-12; 0Skip = tot-8

Brother Run Fast G

Break My Baby N-G

Alter Ego G

Free the Slave N-G

Skinny N

Hey Gringo M-N

My Fair Lady M

I Want More M

Backbone N

I Walk on Water M

Into My Mother’s Arms M

Aly & AJ:  a touch of the beat…[title is long and annoying, I’m not writing all of it]

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

0A; 0Gr; 2Gr-G7; 0G; 3G-N3; 2N-2; 3M-9; 1S-6 = tot-7

Pretty Places M

Lost Cause G-Gr (I love a bitter song)

Break Yourself S (I died of boredom)

Slow Dancing M

Paradise N

Symptom of Your Touch Lucky to Get Him G-N

Listen!!! N-G (the brr brr noise saves it.  and nice piano)

Don’t Need Nothing N-G (finally, a beat!  is this what the album is missing?)

Stomach N

Personal Cathedrals Gr-G (a better singing style, more lyrically intricate)

Hold Out M

Billie Eilish- Happier Than Ever:
I almost aborted listening, because the entire first half of this long album was pretty ‘background music’ (boring).  But it bothers me to not finish things so I pressed on a little more, and I’m kinda glad I did, bc it did get better.  Track order is a major problem here!  Mix it up or cut the front half.
awesome 5; A-Gr cusp 4.5; Great 4; Gr-G cusp 3.5; Good 3; G-N cusp 1; Gr-S cusp -1; Neutral -1; N-M cusp -2; Meh -3; M-S cusp -4.5; Skip -6
0A; 1A-Gr4.5; 1Gr4; 4G12; 2G-N2; 2N-2; 6M-18; 1S-6 = tot -3.5
Getting Older-M
I Didn’t Change My Number- G
Billie Bossa Nova- N
my future- M
Oxytocin- G-N (Good base and moag)
Goldwing- G
Lost Cause- M
Hailey’s Comet- N-G (Sounds a lot like 1930s type of singing/crooning.  This goes on for too short of a time.  There’s a pause and then it seems to be a whole different song?  Then, that’s too short as well.)
Not My Responsibility- S (Need to sing)
Overheated M
Everybody Dies- M (I can hear her breathes a lot, and it doesn’t sound good. Big yawn.)
Your power- G
NDA- Gr-A.  (catchy . Same tune as  her 1st album. Good moàg)
Therefore I Am- N
Happier Than Ever- Gr
Male fantasy- G
M (Glitch is always welcome.  Has rap :-/  .)

Shovels & Rope- Busted Jukebox Volume 3

Soooo?  Is this supposed to be a kid’s album? Title it better, because I needed to listen with that expectation in mind.

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

1awesome5; 0Great; 3Good9; 3Neutral-3; 2Meh-6; 1Skip-6 =tot-1

Hush Little Baby- S (WTF is this shit?)
In My Room- G
What a Wonderful World- N (Great song, played too slow. Whistle & talking sucked)
You Are My Sunshine- N
Cry Baby- G
My Little Buckaroo- M
Everybody Hurts- N (Weird choice for a kid’s album, if this is one…)
Mother Earth and Father Time- M
The Ants Go Marching- A (Fucking great syncopation!)
Tomorrow- G

We’ll get into the middle of the pack tomorrow.  And I’ll come back and number these when I finish the last two album-rankings.