Life is a mix tape.

Over the weekend I discovered a mix CD that an acquaintance made for me.  Thinking back in the history of my sometimes fleeting, sometimes lasting, and always significant connections, there have more often than not an exchange of  music in whatever new format.  Perhaps, that is the nature in which my life veered as first a passion and then into a career that makes people express themselves in the medium of sound.  The dualistic side of me also expresses sentiments in words to which books are given earlier and found much later – in transition – when needed.  On this mix was a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” by Letters To Cleo.  Truth be told, it’s a really great cover and I’m a complete and utter hater of covers, mostly.  But, this particular cover started playing as a day of Spring seeped into my Land Rover’s windows during a drive around Washington Square Park. One of those much-needed soul-lifting type of days injected with Vitamin D from the long-lust sunshine of Spring warding off Winter’s discontent.  The weather is just right, the sun kisses your cheeks, and the world wraps its arms around you, for just a moment, to let you know that everything is as it should be.

It was in the verse, “Now here I go again, I see, the crystal visions / I keep my visions to myself / It’s only me / Who wants to wrap around your dreams and… / Have you any dreams you’d like to sell? / Dreams of loneliness… / Like a heartbeat drives you mad… /
In the stillness of remembering / What you had / And what you lost,”  I found perspective.  That moment left an indelible imprint in my soul; the moment I could now put a name to this particular song, a face, an experience that would forever be conjured up in any future playing of the song.

There is nothing easy with the ending of a connection, really, and if it’s too easy to disconnect  then perhaps you should look around at the company you’re keeping.  The point is…you never can fully disconnect because you absorb them into you.  But, that won’t stop you from trying to abandon them (and perhaps you will).  After all, life is a mix tape.

May you stay forever young, but age gracefully.

Liz Phair wrote her most successful album, Exile in Guyville, in response to The Stones’ Exile on Main Street album.  I remember reading an interview in Rolling Stone about her around 1994-ish where she wrote song-by-song a response to what she claimed.  The wannabe rockstar in me roared, “Hell yeah, that’s awesome!”  I think about that moment every time I hear either of those albums, so I thought why not use this as a writing exercise.  Phair’s antidote was well-played, so I figure I could pick no other than prose royalty, Mr. Bob Dylan.   So here goes…something…to Forever Young.

May karma catch you coming or going and be fleeting

May you not always get what you wish for

May you always give to others but not more than you can stand to lose

May you have a choice of an elevator to the stars

So you don’t have to slip and fall

May you age gracefully

Gracefully, Gracefully

May you age gracefully

 

May you grow out of your righteousness

May you grow to be humbled

May you realize you don’t know all the truths

And sometimes dark surrounds you

May you learn to be vulnerable

Learn when to sit down and cry

May you age gracefully

Gracefully, Gracefully

May you age gracefully

 

May your hands finally rest

May your feet be propped up

May you marvel on the strong foundation in high elevation

When the winds of youth hit your face

May your heart always be joyful

And know your song will not always be sung

(You don’t want Bieber to cover it)

May you age gracefully

Gracefully, Gracefully

May you age gracefully


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musical Memory Meme #6: My brother Mark Bradley

He can sing a mean Fergie.

 

Cross Post #6: Hipsters, defined.

 

Excerpt:

“But what about their legacy?” I was recently asked by New York magazine. “What will they have left behind after it’s all said and done?” This question gets on my nerves. “Music and fashion,” I answered incredulously. Since when are young people responsible for leaving us with anything more? Have you heard their politics? I don’t want these people voting. I want them doing what they do best: Fun. The greasers were about rock ’n’ roll and making out in rumble seats. The beatniks gave us some good books, but they were mostly about shocking their parents by dancing with Negroes. The only thing the mods cared about outside of dancing and getting laid was fighting Elvis fans. Boomers, who are masters at glorifying their past, insist they stopped a war, but we all know it was Kissinger’s relentless bombing that ended it. Hippies were horny stoners. Though I was one of them, I’m happy to admit punks were more preening peacocks with guitars than anarchists smashing the state. Rap evolved from parties in the South Bronx. The list goes on, and it’s always just teenagers partying.

READ FULL STORY

 

 

Songs for the reason, season, and lifetime.

People come through my mind, like songs on shuffle, and the majority of the time I keep forwarding to the next one. But, then there’s that one moment when the song shuffles back through and you actually listen. Random? Intentional?

REASON:

I really never listened to this song before, but I really like it. Too bad I only have a digital copy and sold the physical copy back to the world. Like that quasi friend that wanted to dig deeper into your collection, but you were always too busy chasing hit songs to really connect with the archives. I guess I missed my chance back then to discover a really great song.

I used to act like I liked this song, but the truth is I never really got what other people heard in it. It was too loud to ignore, that is for sure, but there was always that dissonance that I cowered to. This need to be met that only that song could give me, but one I should have just skipped. I guess those people were really just noise and never should have made it into my life longer than the introduction.

The greatest discovery ever -I thought at the time – were the songs that struck an intense chord that I listened to over-and-over until I wore that record out. The whisper of the needle overpowered the music within the grooves, and then out of nowhere there was no more sound. I loved that record, and if I had to do a Top Ten List it would make it on there, no doubt. However, you can’t sit around listening to broken records so put it back in the sleeve, under the record player shelf, it served it purpose. I guess those people hold intensities in a humdrum life.

SEASON:

I was first introduced to Pete Yorn’s “musicforthemorningafter” in my first years in New York City. That album caused an uproar in creativity, a relaxation with self, a new skin, a closer existence. I can’t tell you how many pauses in life I’ve had that had me reach for that album, pop it into any musical output (albums like that you never want to forget so you get the vinyl, CD, and digital album. You might buy every single album by Pete Yorn that you don’t like just to pay homage to that one that changed your life), and reconnect. I’ll always pull that album out at various points in life even though it’s really only about that one particular time. I guess someone could bring you sunshine in the winter and snowflakes in the summer; a magical change of season.

LIFETIME:

There’s really too much music. It comes in waves, and I don’t necessarily like it all the time. A few songs seeps through, a few are force-fed, a few get me to sing, but I wonder if they all mean something to someone at some point?

Musical Memory Meme #5: Carolyn

Imagine her singing this, foot on dashboard, while driving….

 

Monkey Minds were not harmed in this blog post.

My therapist tries so hard to get me to admit that something…anything, really…hurts. I, of course, opt for closed-off buzz words like ‘annoyed’ and ‘disappointed.’ Those words that seem to ring with strength over weakness. She prods for my recognition of hurt as a feeling week-after-week, as I squirm in the uncomfortable lobby-like chair. Humanity’s friend, avoidance, kicks in but instead riddles me with trivial obsessive thoughts which is what brought me there in the first place. There, the sterile room with the only identifying element being the faux Van Gogh’s hanging on the wall. Her chair, the one I sit in, is uncomfortable and entirely impersonal…am I like her chair?

This monkey mind of mine has stuck around much longer than usual, and my true self stands outside the atrium knocking on the glass. I see you, I do, but I’m busy swinging from branch-to-branch. After all, it’s much more fun to climb trees than to fall to the ground.

The two women that know me best – my mom and wife – tell me frequently that I put more energy into those that don’t deserve it versus those that do. I wish I could say this wasn’t true, but it is and I know it. I suppose there are those times in life when you know exactly who you are, and insight and intuition are shining lights. Then there are times when you have to really work to see any light, and that’s when you change the batteries in the flashlight. It is then when words like ‘hurt’ lurk like a monster in the dark. I’ve never been scared of the dark, but after standing too close to monsters I do search for that flashlight.

It’s like REM sings, “Everybody Hurts Sometimes” and if I think about it…’hurt’ does sound more impactful, doesn’t it?

Musical Memory Meme #4: Dad

Musical Memory Meme #3: My wife Melinda

The beginning….

Dear Jeffrey, 11 days until you’re 28…

Eleven is my lucky number, do you know this?  I think it may be mom’s as well.  Seven is another.  7-11…perhaps I should be the CEO of that, huh?

Supposedly, the number seven is one of the most significant numbers in the Holy Bible (besides the number one, the number seven is used more than all the others in it).  In music, there are seven notes in the musical scale.  Rolling dice for luck (or gambling), the seven has the highest probability of occurring as an addition.  There are seven colors in the rainbow,seven continents, seven stars in the constellation, seven days in a week, seven rows in the periodic table, and of course the Seven Wonders of The World.  Seven also represents the year of my birth (’77).

As for eleven, well it’s the master number. Eleven is duality when broken down (1+1=2).  You have September 11th (9+1+1 = 11), 11:11 on December 21st, 2012 the Mayan calendar ends (and some people think the world will end), football and soccer are played with 11 players on the field, and in Buddhism there are eleven groups of kindness (a man entered the Way, the two Truths, the three Gates of Delivery, the four Truths of the correct Law, the five faculties, the six Authorities, the seven Members of the Illumination, the eight Members of the Path, the nine Residences of the Being, the ten Forces of the Realized and the eleven Deliverances of the Heart full of love).

More importantly, though, in eleven days we celebrate your remarkably short life.  If love could have kept you alive, Jeffrey, you would have lived forever.

Yours,
Sissy

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