Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011

As every radio station in American features Best of 2011 countdowns, I've decided to make a countdown of my very own. Here's my list of the best songs of this year. A disclaimer: they haven't all been released in 2011, but they've all helped define 2011 for me.

Without further ado,

The 15 Best Songs of 2011 (according to me)
15. Resta Cu' mme- Pino Daniele
14.By Your Side- Tenth Avenue North
13. Talking in Code- Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos
12. Hello- Martin Solveig & Dragonette
11. Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)- Lady Gaga
10. If I Die Young- The Band Perry
9. Farther Along- Anthony Reese
8. Fidelity- Regina Spektor
7. You and I- Ingrid Michaelson
6. Mean- Taylor Swift
5. Rocks and Daggers- Noah and the Whale
4. Somewhere With You- Tyler Ward
3. 5 Years Time- Noah and the Whale
2. El Camino- Amos Lee
1. Umirem 100 Punto Dnevno- Perpetuum Jazzile

Auld Lang Syne by Dougie Maclean is a runner-up. I chose not to include it because I haven't been obsessed with that all year, just recently.
Perpetuum Jazzile took number one by a long shot.

Happy New Year to you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Apologies All' Improviso

We had an improvisation workshop in my creative writing class today. This came out of it. Nothin' like some improv to fuel my creative writing.

I'm trying to be strategic. Ten stubby fingers dancing across eighty eight keys. This is what it feels like to be on display, I think, even though I'm in a stuffy closet filled with pianos, just me and my Asian piano teacher.

There are a million ways to go. Eighty eight times eighty eight amounts to 7744 possibilities, plus 7744 times 7744 more when you add in grace notes, trills, passing tones and suspensions. A million little hammers sending vibrations through a million little strings to create sound, as a million doors open to a million possibilities, all painted white and black, alternatively. It occurs to me that I'm not choosing any of them particularly well.

At some point, you just have to go. When everything comes to a halt, all of my blood cells and tendons at once resting, all six nameless figures in the dark room stopped, impulse takes over. A hand raises. A foot jolts forward. My fingers begin to dance.

"Fuck!" I scream when I mess up, and my piano teacher winces. One of the figures falls forward, all bones swathed in blue. A friend once suggested to me that I ought to own my mistakes, never apologizing for them but celebrating them instead. "I'm sorry," the blue figure inside of me says, as she recomposes herself off of the wooden floor that has risen out of itself. She heads toward another door...

Doors. Doors rise out of the floor now, long wooden panels bathed in black. And the figures inside of me are hastening to make their way through them, worlds of possibilities: a seventh chord here, an augmented chord now.

What would it be if we understood the world through music? All of our fingers dancing across black and white keys, constructing black walls from impulse, maneuvering around obstacles suddenly risen.
Creating worlds of harmonies and dissonances in spite of ourselves.
Never apologizing when we fall.

More improv-inspired writing after the jump.