Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekly Buffet: Mixed Emotions

Certain moods tend to bring on the need to be comforted by entertainment of a similar tone.

Sometimes the worst thing in the world can just be hearing a boisterous pop song on a day that isn't your best. One of those times that you'd much rather be a curmudgeon hiding your head under the covers listening to "sad bastard music" on repeat instead of facing the world.

But then there are good days. It could be gorgeous outside with the sun shining warm and bright. Under such circumstances it seems like there are absolutely no worries to bog you down, so putting on some chipper oldies to tap your foot to while working on a creative project outside seems like a great option.

As you can tell, for most people around the Pacific NW (including myself), mood has a ton to do with the weather. I find that when the sun is shining, it is nearly impossible to feel entirely crummy.

Over here in my little space in the world, it has been a week full of highs and just regular old blah days. The erratic mixture of sun and storms had a lot to do with that. One day we were looking at 65 degrees with clear blue skies and by the next morning it was chilly, dark, and down pouring buckets of rain.

The entertainment I was digging this week just happened to mirror our varying spring weather system - some times were made for upbeat jams and a laugh out loud book, other moments were meant for gorgeous slower tunes and a serious family drama. Overall, the whole gamut of emotions has been covered.

Marina and the Diamonds

I've talked about the welsh singer Marina Diamandis (stage name Marina and the Diamonds) in the past. She falls into the category of people who on paper you'd think I would hate. As I said in my past post from many moons ago, the name alone would be reason enough. Back then I also wasn't impressed with Ellie Goulding - oh, how the advancement of time changes opinions.

No matter how many years go by, a solid pop song will always win the hearts of this great nation. Marina's music totally fits the category of big pop anthems. Her latest album Froot, has been playing on repeat as a motivation device while I work and makes for a fine album to blast in the car with the windows down. To me, that's about all you need from a record full of electro-pop inspired songs.

But Froot isn't just the fun fluff - there are a number of emotional ballads and lyrics about heartbreak and regret are woven into even the catchiest of tunes. One of the grand slower songs, "Happy", includes a minimalistic beautiful piano melody and has lyrics like, "I believe, in possibility....finally, I have found a way to be, happy". That one has really hit my sentimental core.

Ultimately, Marina is hard to classify into one category. She's more like a pop star with an indie/folk rock edge, very reminiscent of other talented women, like Regina Spektor and Florence Welch.

From the first track to the last, Froot is definitely her strongest album. Other people seem to agree, since it debuted at number eight on the Billboard charts last month, her highest charting record to date. 

When You Are Engulfed In Flames

There's a guy out there who writes stories about taking care of a spider in Paris (when everyone else squishes them), wacky babysitters from his childhood, and an elderly woman who watches her soaps and yells at neighbors. These topics are only the beginning of the long list of comedic events David Sedaris has produced into hysterical tales.

If you haven't read anything by this guy and you consider yourself a human being that likes life and laughing, immediately pick up When You Are Engulfed In Flames, which feature the anecdotes listed above, or any one of his other books.

Sedaris is a people watching human - my favorite kind. He writes stories about the people and events - significant or minimal - that make up his life. If some wacky gentleman walks by him in the street or a taxi driver tells him an offensive story, Sedaris will remember it and that will be worked into a story.

I've been in the need of a good laugh, so I recently started rereading through all of the book of his that I own. With so many books I've yet to read, I don't often read books for a second time. Although, there are exceptions and Mr. Sedaris is one of them. His stories never get old.

Sufjan Stevens

Gorgeous. When it comes to the latest by Sufjan Stevens, there are simply no other words.

After venturing off on a couple experimental albums (like the cool space agey sounding, The Age Of Adz),  fans of his will recognize Carrie & Lowell as his return to what he does best.  Past albums, like Illinois and Michigan, have shown that Stevens is the master of creating songs that are haunting, filled with beautiful melodies, and are deeply emotional. Plus, Stevens himself has some extraordinary pipes to back this all up.

"Casimir Pulaski Day" and "Romulus" (a few of my favorite tunes) still make my eyes all teary during every listen. Oh, never mind, it's probably just my allergies acting up...said everyone who didn't want to appear like an overemotional wreck.

This new album has already had that same weepy effect on me and I guarantee to many others as well. But it's not just a bummer. His music also has a relaxing feel, inspiring some time for introspective thoughts, which we all need from time to time. 

It's only a couple months into the year and I guarantee this album will be one of my favorites all through the rest of 2015.


The family drama is not new to television,  but Bloodline still stands out on its own.

This Netflix original series debuted last month and follows the Rayburn family. Based in Florida, the story  focuses on the four adult children and their parents. The folks own a successful beachy resort, but one of those cool locally owned ones, not a corporate chain. All of the children, except one, still live in the area, and in classic form for drama to be stirred up, the series kicks off with a reason to bring them all back together for the first time in years.

In the first episode, the children are gathering at the resort for a big shin-dig honoring their parents. The family is basically local royalty after having long been involved in the community, and that weekend will have a pier dedicated in their name.

There is a lot of focus on the one brother who is coming from out of town. Everyone seems tense about his arrival. The real reasoning behind this is mostly mysterious, but it is obvious that something bad has gone down in the past.

They are a well respected family that has elements of darkness. That fact is definitely evident by the "holy (expletive)!" last moment of the first episode, which flashes forward to what is potentially the end of this season. After that scene it made me realize that shows seem to be tailored for the whole "binging" experience now, because after seeing this certain moment, there's no way you're not pressing play on episode two.

Not that it's a bad thing, because building towards the unfolding of the family mystery is where Bloodline is very well done. It's a very serious show, not much room for jokes, but its focus on the idea of past events and how we deal with all that comes with regret and denial is interesting to watch.

Not to mention that the cast is loaded with talent - from legends like Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard, to younger top notch actors like Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini, Chloƫ Sevigny, and Norbert Leo Butz. At times the show is a little too slowly paced, but I could watch these people all the time and they keep me coming back.

Well, that's all folks. After some exciting, can we say "finally!", announcements today, I'll be spending the rest of the evening hoping this is the future President and Vice President:

Until next time.

post signature

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...