Friday, May 6, 2011

NZ Music Month: Top 5 tracks/pages from 'The great New Zealand songbook: autographs' that inspired a mini-epiphany or moved me to tears

List by Tosca

"Music is the medicine of a breaking heart."
- Leigh Hunt

How are you celebrating NZ Music Month? Danielle (the same Danielle who updates the Top 5 Goodies blog with me) set herself an NZ Music Month goal for this year: to listen to 1 new-to-her NZ cd a day. It was such a brilliant idea that I decided to do the same for myself and tweet/Facebook whatever it was that I'd chosen for that day. Two days in to my May resolution and I'm quite excited about the possibilities. My first cd was TV knows better by Clap Clap Riot, which Danielle recommended, and it was a loud and joyous kickstart to my musical journey. I've received a couple of recommendations from people already (please feel free to leave your own as a comment - I will try any and all): Kids of 88's Sugarpills and Whirimako Black's Soul sessions. My NZ Music Month journey led me to my greatest find so far this week, an unassuming title I found by happy accident that is, in a nutshell, a book with a couple of cds. The two cds are The best NZ music from last century and The best NZ music from this century highlighting some 42 songs in total. Every person who appears on the cds was given the opportunity to contribute to a journal where they could handwrite the lyrics to their song and add photos, anecdotes, memorabilia and/or sketches. I couldn't believe how much more meaning this added to each track, to be able to know what inspired a melody, a lyric or even a title. I spent a long time poring over every page, reading and re-reading, both with and without the cds playing, jotting down notes, scribbling them out again, muttering to myself and generally trying to make sure my list was true to me but the hardest part of preparing this post was listening to the music with new eyes. A challenge in and of itself. I wish I could tell you I had some empirical, scientific method for selecting which 5 tracks/pages I love, love, loved the most but that's not my style. I chose, instead, to list those that inspired a mini-epiphany of sorts or moved me to tears because, really, that's the sort of person I am.

Honourable mention:
  • Dominion Road by The Mutton Birds - have never really noticed the lyrics to this song until now because I've always let myself get distracted by the fast music. It makes me want to mosh! And gosh knows at 35 my mosh pit years are dead and buried, but I think that it's the contrast that intrigues me - this raucous sounding track has something so deep about it and now, finally, I'm in the right frame of mind to hear it.

  • Bathe in the river performed by Hollie Smith and written by Don McGlashan
    "Like a bird through prison bars
    I'm escaping
    And behind me on the long highway
    Lies all that I've forsaken..."

    In discussing this post with others I was told that this particular entry was a little too cliché, even for me (whatever that means) and it left me feeling like I should justify it. And so I will, with just one sentence: I chose it not for Smith's voice (with its uniquely husky timbre) but for McGlashan's understated yet powerful lyrics.

    For a while by Stellar* (featuring Andy Lovegrove of Breaks Co-op)
    We're two of a kind
    But something like strangers
    Misfit and blind
    Still finding our feet..."

    Boh Runga and Andy Lovegrove - not a combination I'd ever have thought to see/hear but it works so well. And oh, wow, Lovegrove's vocals *sigh* A few months back Danielle and I coined the term yearnage to describe the intense feelings of longing Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot tried to hide in Austen's Persuasion and I think it's a word that sums up this track.

    Home by Anna MacDonald
    "It's gonna be alright this time
    I'm coming home
    Evoked among familiar faces
    The sound of a trombone
    And in the presence of the night
    I store my feelings on the shelf
    Listen to the breathing of the fireplace..."

    Wistful and sweet and somewhat full of longing to be home. I really like the string arrangement, too.

    Welcome home by Dave Dobbyn
    Out here on the edge the empire is fading by the day
    And the world is so weary in war
    Maybe we'll find that new way...

    Made me want to cry.

    No ordinary thing by Opshop
    I'm naked, I'm naked in this afterlife
    I was fallin', I was fallin' from the greatest highs
    If everything, if everything should come to pass
    Tell me when are you comin' home to stay
    When are you coming home to stay...

    I've heard Opshop's No ordinary thing so many times that I think I know everything there is to know about it. I get complacent about a lot of songs that way and, in some ways, it's probably quite arrogant because I end up thinking it can't teach me anything new. More fool me because then I read Jason's (I call him Jason like I know him but I really don't) section and he talks about how whenever he plays this song he thinks he has it nailed. And every time it reveals more of its layers to him. I loved that! Listening to No ordinary thing again with new eyes, just letting it wash over me without second guessing what came next, knowing just that little bit more about what went into the song, made it a more emotional experience. I cried just a little. Does that make me sound somewhat fluffy? Yeah, totally. And you know, I think I'm ok with that.

    If you made it this far then I admire your persistence and patience! One last thing: How are you celebrating NZ Music Month?


    Danielle said...

    Now I'm sitting here trying to compile 'Top 5 moments of yearnage on film' when I'm probably supposed to be doing something else. Yearnage! Totally distracting.

    I'll pop in a fave Top 5 NZ cds after this month's marathon listen-a-thon, but so far? Standouts have been Clap Clap Riot, Tadpole (who are an extra and don't count, I have heard most of Buddhafinger on music TV many years ago) and Atlas. And today's cd, Deceptikonz ('Heavy rotation') is just right for a grey Friday, though I think I should really have a better listen to the lyrics sometime.

    catatonia said...

    Oh yearnage *sigh* 'Persuasion' with Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth and Amanda Root as Miss Anne Elliot would be in my Top 5. As an honourable mention I'd have Anne of Green Gables with Megan Follows. 'The Village' for two moments in particular (so maybe as an honourable mention?): where she tells him she knows he has feelings for her because he never touches her; the village is in an uproar because danger is coming (the village bells have rung?) and everyone is rushing by her, in all the commotion she's suddenly become little more than the blind girl standing alone and uncertain, everyone ignoring her (more concerned with their own safety?) and some part of her knows he will come for her, she doesn't question it - she knows, and instinctively holds out her hand and he comes rushing around the corner and escorts her to safety *sigh* She just knew she could trust him to be there when she needed him to be and he was. Unquestionably. Yearnage :)

    suci said...

    vere interesting which ones to me pareceriam the 5.
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