How’s this for out of left field? Picture yourself 10 years ago (you know, a decade), tending to your typical ‘your age today minus 10′ kind of day. At that point in time I was probably sitting in a minivan, getting dropped off at the movie theater by my parents to catch the latest teen movie with my BFFs. We’d hang out in the arcade area afterwards and then be back in our respective houses by 10pm. Sharp. It would be glorious. Now, imagine in your ‘day 10 years ago’ that “More to Life” by Stacie Orrico suddenly began playing over the loudspeakers (if you’re picturing your day as taking place outside, roll with it and pretend there are speakers). The quality of your day slid into one of the following scenarios, where it instantly went from:
- Terrible to amazing
- Mediocre to amazing
- Pretty good to amazing
- Amazing to THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE
If you were having a wonderful day, there was nothing missing from your life (except for maybe a driver’s license) simply because your jam was playing and you knew every word. Having a rough day? Stacie gets you. She’s totally speaking to your soul because you know what? There’s so much more to life. She’s been through it all. I mean, haven’t you seen the video? First, the debt collector comes to her house because she and her boyfriend can’t pay the bills and she has blue hair, then she’s running a race and has to walk and before you know it she’s a waitress and wipes out at work. No need to feel alone. Stacie will sing through your pain.
The lyrics, video and her highlights are so classic early 2000s that it almost makes me wish my parents could drop me off at the theater again. (I said almost.) Now for a challenge. I dare you to play this song and not let out at least a little smile. That is, if you didn’t let one out thinking about what you were doing 10 years ago.
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Tags: More to Life, Music, Song of the Day, Stacy Orrico, There's Gotta Be More to Life, Throwback Thursday
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Tags: Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Grammys, Lord of the Rings, Music, redhead, Song of the Day, The Hobbit, The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug
Oh, you wonderful Civil Wars. You’ve up and done it again. You’ve made an album that I look forward to listening to, even if I had it on repeat the day before. I can’t say that I’m surprised. The duo’s songwriting ability and lyrics in their debut album, Barton Hollow, hardly earned me the name “ye of little faith” when it came to their musical ability. However, just last year The Civil Wars suffered a, well, civil war of their own. Leave it to me to fall in love with a group just months before they cite “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.”
Timing aside, it was upsetting. Their hiatus meant one thing and one thing only: a pause, perhaps even a stop altogether, in music from The Civil Wars. Until…my hopes were lifted during ABC’s show Nashville, when a young duo sang a song by The Civil Wars. I was watching the show the way I tend to watch most things (aside from Downton Abbey – that one has an odd power over my brain), iPad in hand, Facebook or Pinterest open, when I nearly leapt up from the couch. And by that I mean I set my iPad down really fast and leaned about as far forward as I could without falling to the ground, left ear angled towards the TV. Yes, it was that easy to distinguish a song by them, even when Joy Williams and John Paul White weren’t on the lead vocals.
That distinguishing factor is one reason why I love and adore this group. I almost did heel clicks down the hallway as soon as I heard a new album would be out on August 6 and, after hearing the first song, I came close to doing them again. The Civil Wars came out with The Civil Wars after “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” and the product was beautiful. It’s times like these when I truly believe beauty is pain. (I don’t believe it as much after wearing [too] high heels for 5 hours…because there is nothing beautiful about that shuffling limp.) The natural sound to both Willams’ and White’s voices I fell in love with on Barton Hollow is still there, despite what they had gone through. It’s a small vibrato you can’t mess with or autotune. One that is so full of a human element and emotion that I nearly give a round of applause to my headphones after hitting the play button. Don’t think that this means their music has a frail element to it. “The One That Got Away” (a favorite on the album) runs the gamut of a feeling of sadness to being legitimately angry. At least this is how the duo sounds and you know what? I believe them.
As expected, The Civil Wars delivered a song just as beautiful as “Poison and Wine.” The fourth song, “Dust to Dust,” is the song featured in advertisements for their album. While I’m sure that discussion and decision making process was one that lasted for hours upon hours, I can see why it was chosen. The harmonies made my hair stand on end and I stopped what I was doing until the song ended. Not a bad quality for an advertisement. “Eavesdrop” has a similar impact on the listener. The story told by the lyrics, guitar line and merging of their voices is tragically beautiful and makes me feel for the storyteller. Once again, thank you dearly for the human element and for pulling at my heartstrings. How could it not with lyrics like this? “Oh, don’t say that it’s over…let’s let the stars watch, let them stare. Let the wind eavesdrop, I don’t care. For all that we’ve got don’t let go. Just hold me.”
Not surprisingly, The Civil Wars debuted at number 1 on the Billboard chart with this album. While I’m certainly not a proponent of war of any kind, perhaps the obstacles faced by The Civil Wars are what created it. If that’s the case, I applaud them in fighting through and doing it gracefully. The result was a number 1 album that won’t ever feel stale to me. And I hope that maybe, just maybe, Joy Williams and John Paul White are actually doing heel clicks around town; they’re certainly warranted.
The One That Got Away:
Dust to Dust:
I Had Me a Girl:
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Tags: Album Review, Barton Hollow, Billboard Charts, Dust to Dust, Eavesdrop, John-Paul White, Joy Williams, Music, The Civil Wars, The One That Got Away
In true social media
nerd enthusiast fashion, I’ve decided to participate in Throwback Thursday (or #tbt for all you savvy people out there) in the blogosphere. I present to you Kelly Clarkson’s Behind These Hazel Eyes.
This song has been on my mind all week. Why, you ask? It’s simple. The weather forecast. It is presently mid-March and Chicago has snow in the forecast today. When I left for work yesterday morning, it was in the 20s. To those of you who
are oblivious have missed previous weather ranting posts of mine or have never met me, winter and I do not mesh. We don’t even glance at each other in a friendly manner. (I promise that having the weather forecast as an explanation as to why this is the perfect throwback Thursday number is actually legitimate.)
In highschool, I was a member of our dance team. While I wouldn’t change that for the world, the outdoor summer practices from 7am-10am throughout June and July weren’t a favorite. Summer was a time to sleep in, not a time to stand in a kick line and practice high kicks on the track in 80 degree weather. For us, though, it was. And as much as I prefer a life without mornings, I was always there. And, at the end of practice, I always walked to my car quickly so I could get home, relax, and generally eat a box of white cheddar mac and cheese. (Generally? Who am I kidding? I always at a box of white cheddar mac and cheese after practice which, now that I think about it, is kind of gross.)
The drive home from school wasn’t a long one, but I couldn’t bear the thought of 5 minutes in the car with heinous music playing. And so, Kelly Clarkson’s album “Breakaway” became my life soundtrack, and Behind These Hazel Eyes became my anthem. How 16-year-old girl of me. No, I didn’t feel as though someone swallowed me and spit me out; I wasn’t torn to pieces and I’m sure someone understood what was going on behind my hazel eyes. Sure, certain lyrics spoke to me but as a whole, I think I just enjoyed putting on my sunglasses, screaming the lyrics and speeding home. I’m getting a little nauseous at how cliché I sound.
So there you have it. The weather forecast led me to Behind These Hazel Eyes. It made me crave summer more than ever, and a summer memory from a few years past (no need to count how many) came flying back to me. I’m glad it did.
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Tags: Behind These Hazel Eyes, Breakaway, Dance Team, Kelly Clarkson, Summer, Throwback Thursday
Based off of the sheer amount of love I’ve shown for One Republic and Sara Bareilles over the past few years (it’s a little excessive, I know), it should come as no surprise to you that one of my all-time favorite songs is a collaboration between the two. What should come as a surprise is the fact that I have yet to feature it on HauteThought. Quite frankly, I’m shocked and disappointed by my irrational behavior. It was selfish and I deprived you of something great. I apologize for keeping this to myself and I hope you can find it in your heart of hearts to forgive me. Please?
Enough self loathing.
“Come Home” finds a way to be beautiful in more ways than one. Clearly Tedder and Bareilles don’t need my support as proof that their voices are perfection. Their awards, careers and dedicated fans are a testament to that. But it’s the pairing that has me swooning. “Come Home” was a favorite of mine on One Republic’s Dreaming Out Loud album, long before the duet version. In fact, I was given the opportunity to tell Ryan Tedder that a few years ago and it’s an experience I’ll never forget. I also commended him on borrowing parts from John Lennon’s “Imagine.” We laughed and then he played it on the piano. And then I passed out. (Not really, but I easily could’ve.)
The pairing of Tedder and Bareilles shines during the harmony on the bridge. I have goosebumps as I write this and, at the very minimum, this could be the 200th time I’ve heard this song. Sometimes simplicity is striking, and in this case, that’s exactly what it is. The harmony isn’t anything groundbreaking, but the way their voices melt into each other is what makes it perfect.
The most complex part of “Come Home” is the lyric portion. The words express a difficult emotion, one where the individual is aware of both the fantasy view and realistic view of a situation. With a simple piano chord progression and strings behind it, everything is properly highlighted and the instrumentation still isn’t forgotten.
Something tells me this will remain a favorite for a long, long time.
Ps: No laughing, these are old photos.
Pps: I apologize for the janky video…there doesn’t appear to be an “official” one.
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Tags: Come Home, duet, Imagine, John Lennon, Music, One Republic, Ryan Tedder, Sara Bareilles, Song of the Day
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Tags: Downton Abbey, Downton Abbey Theme Song, John Lunn, Music, PBS, Song of the Day, Sybil, The Suite
Unless you live under a rock bolted down by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, chances are you’ve heard about Justin Timberlake’s return to the music world. Yes, ladies and gents, it’s true. Last week, he took to Twitter to tease that he may be coming back. He then released a video announcing that he was ready.
At the very moment the video was released, past N’Sync and JT fanatics absolutely lost it. Plots to become the next Mrs. Timberlake thickened. You couldn’t sign onto a single social network without being inundated by posts about Justin in OMG ALL CAPS (some with hearts) from guys and girls alike. Excitement was at an all time high as people geared up for more information on his next album, “The 20/20 Experience.”
What we all got was a song with Jay-Z, titled “Suit and Tie.”
My thoughts on “Suit and Tie” can best be described with a quote from Gabrielle Union’s character in 10 Things I Hate About You. ”I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” As it turns out, you can be. And as much as I hate to admit it…I’ve officially been whelmed by Justin Timberlake, something I never thought would be possible. How so? From an even pros/cons list.
We’ll start with the pros.
That falsetto: One of JT’s staples is his ability to sing in falsetto for…well, forever. I’m eternally grateful that this was a huge part of “Suit and Tie” since it’s the reason so many fans melt the second he opens his mouth.
Motown vibe: I grew up listening to oldies music stations, cursing the fact that I wasn’t born decades earlier. While fellow gradeschool classmates were having serious playground fights about who was better, N’Sync or Backstreet Boys (stop fighting, it’s clearly N’Sync), I was listening to The Temptations, The Mamas and The Papas and Michael Jackson, and creeping up to the front of a Beach Boys concert with my dad. (And I shook Mike Love’s hand. I know, you’re jealous.) The fact that the Prince of Pop chose to pull inspiration from the past makes me want to give a standing ovation.
It’s catchy: Justin Timberlake has never had a hard time coming up with a solid hook and writing something sure to be stuck in everyone’s head for days, weeks, months, years. In fact, I had “Rock Your Body” stuck in my head the other day for absolutely no reason at all. I didn’t hate it.
And now, to justify just being whelmed by discussing the cons.
The first 43 seconds: Truthfully, upon hearing the song for the first time my body froze. It froze for 43 long seconds. The sluggish intro left a sour taste in my mouth and it still upsets me each time I hear it. There is nothing sluggish about Justin Timberlake. He has more energy than a room full of sugar high first graders, but the song begins with a total drag. Thank God for fast forward.
Jay-Z: It’s important that I start out by saying that I like Jay-Z. Quite a bit, actually. However, right when Justin has me convinced that we’re skipping along at his regular pace, Jay-Z brings us back to that sluggish feeling found in the intro. He speeds up a bit with quicker triplets at the end of his piece, but I wish he had done something similar all along.
His past: Prepare yourselves for a backhanded compliment. I hate to compare this new song to everything else JT has done, but it’s hard not to when everything else has been so good. Literally, everything else. After the first time I heard “Suit and Tie” and even still after the umpteenth time, I’m left with the question…that’s it? No really, that’s…it? Is this a sad attempt at being Punk’d? It leaves me hoping there’s more to be found on his new album, so I’ll give him that. And maybe that was the intention, to release a “whelming” song so that everyone is beyond excited with an album full of overwhelming material.
So there you have it. A score of 3-3. As it turns out, it’s possible to be whelmed by Justin Timberlake. My fingers are crossed for the rest of “The 20/20 Experience,” though. He’s a master trickster and here’s hoping he has some good ones up his sleeves.
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Tags: 10 Things I Hate About You, Backstreet Boys, Beach Boys, FutureSex/LoveSounds, I'm Ready, Jay-Z, JT, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Motown, N'Sync, Rock Your Body, Suit and Tie, The 20/20 Experience, The Mamas and The Papas, The Temptations