Without giving too much away, there was a confluence of events in my life recently that I will list for you with handy bullet points so you, dear reader, can keep easy track.
- I lost a vast majority of the passion for what I do. Going to concerts hasn’t been fun for a while. Nor has getting press releases, hearing albums before they came out. To say I got jaded would be an understatement.
- I got sick. Incredibly sick. I guess a life lesson for you all is to not left three month long colds go untreated because the results go something like this: Sniffles, sinus infection, plugged up ears, coughing up icky stuff, walking pneumonia. Good news is that after a week of antibiotic, I craved bacon tonight. So much for vegetarianism? But my body desiring protein is always a sign of Get-Better-dom.
- I also got a major big time crush on a fellow. He seemed to be a lot of things I wanted right now in life and things went from “Oh, this guy’s handsome.” to “Holy shit, are we kissing?” to “Did he really just invite me to visit him in Tennessee?” within a few days. I could pour out my heart, directly quote texts and e-mails, but what it comes down to is that it didn’t work out and he wasn’t worth my time, let alone the gas money it took to get from Cincinnati to Nashville. Why this hit me as hard as it did is because I don’t remember the last time that I let someone get to know me or, rather, that overly sensitive version of me I mentioned earlier. Usually, I’m heart-hardened, a real life version of Clementine Kruzcynski without the mood swings (or, more honestly, a less rehabby version of Kim in Rachel Getting Married), who scoffs at people who say things like “I’ve never fallen for someone so hard before!” or “I think they’re... The one.” To quote my old roommate, Sara, “Amber wouldn’t choose a guy over a can of beer.” And despite how often I drink it, I don’t even like beer that much. I actually, for the first time possibly ever, let my guard down with a boy and let him get to know the “nice”, “genuine”, “heartfelt” Amber underneath the sarcastic and apathetic exterior... And it didn’t work out. Not even a little. It’s really probably just life trying to tell me that I need to stop getting involved with guys I meet at the bar. Especially if I’ve been “pregaming” which is really just a nice way of saying “I was wasted when I showed up.”
- Take all of the above and add in a major tiff with my best friend and you’ve got a doozy of a week for your Hot Half Life showrunner.
And to top it all off, there wasn’t even a song I could relate to. Sure, there were lyrics (Oh, Jesse Lacey of Brand New, why is your over-dramatacism so apt for every break up I go through? Additional shout outs go to his dynamic BFF duo of Andy Hull and Kevin Devine, the latter of which who’s new song I should probably keep my mouth shut about and just give it’s own post to.) Reverse the gender roles found in the lyrics Brand New’s bratty anthem “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad (“I hope the next boy that you kiss has something terribly contagious on his lips”) and you have a sentiment I’m not vindictive enough for but appreciate anyhow. Plus, let’s face it, what with that “walking pneumonia” nonsense, I was the girl with something terribly contagious on her lips. I’d call and tell him to start a regimen of vitamin C now but considering the supreme brush off I received from him after we slept together... I highly doubt he’d respond.
Anyhow, point is that whenever I don’t have a song in my life, I feel sort of displaced. Like something important to me has been misplaced and no matter how desperately I look for it, I can't find it. For some reason, I just need other people’s words to confirm that I’m not as big of a singular freak as I imagine myself to be and without that to rely on, I just feel off.
In my phlegm ridden downtime recently, however, I’ve been falling in love with music all over again. Not only is it refreshing from a professional standp point as I've been finding a whole stream of musicians I want to interview but it’s also refreshing on a personal level because it's just cathartic. From the folk noir beauty of Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore to the sassy, druggy stylings of long time favorites The Hold Steady, I’ve found my fair share of songs to lean on and discovered some new artists in the process. (But more on those folks later.)
Sure, I could make a mix CD of all these songs and let that be the end of it but wouldn’t it be more fun to post about each song, running a gamut of emotions from hurt to angry to rebound-y and sexy, detailing why it is I relate to each sentiment so much?
Of course it would!
Thus wordily commences Amber’s first mix of 2010. The title? I’m wrestling between “There’s Always Other Boys and You Can Make Them Like You” and “You Can’t Hold The Hand of a Rock N’ Roll Man”, despite the latter song not appearing on said mix. Let’s face it: With my predilection for dating males in my line of work, Okkervil River’s truism about cuddling men in bands is just as apt as it is witty. (Editor's note: As you can see from the title of this entry, I have settled on the Okkervil River reference. What can I say? I'm a sucker for Will Sheff and any chance I get to reference, you know, anything about him, I'll gladly take.)
The first song to be inducted was Metric’s “Gimme Sympathy”. Not a new song by any means but I’ve said it before and it’s a statement I’ll reiterate here: If I had a talent at writing lyrics that perfectly depicted my personality, I would write songs like Emily Haines of Metric. At once self-deprecating and affecting, Haines is one of the few female songwriters I don’t find grating or pathetic and let’s face it, girl’s a looker and that always helps. (Although I feel the need to point out that she's a hundred times more adorable with dark hair but I'm a bit biased.)
“Gimme Sympathy” was a song I had adored from the first listen of Fantasies, Metric’s latest effort, finding it to be one of the album’s stand out tracks despite the fact that, apparently, name checking the Beatles and the Rolling Stones multiple times in the same song struck many as tacky. You may remember, however, that the track made my top twelve tracks of the year compilation from a couple months back. Or you may not remember that. No big deal, I’m just sayin’ it happened is all.
Metric - Gimme Sympathy (Acoustic)
Despite my like for the track, it was never something I particularly lyrically appreciated despite thinking it was actually cheeky and clever as opposed to tacky but it was certainly nothing I related to until the past week.
From the opening sentiments of being alarmingly honest at the start of a fledgling relationship to the admission of things happening at a crazy fast pace and the pre-choral notion of being “so close to something better left unknown”, “Gimme Sympathy” was the first song as of late that struck me as being something to relate to. I could write paragraphs into each line, specifying why each relates to my life (because each does), and saying what each means to me personally but it’s not important to go into details. Instead, I’ll remember someday all the chances I took.
Sure those chances didn't pay off in the way I'd figured they would as things didn’t work out in my favor but it doesn’t matter. Here’s where, normally, I’d go into a soliloquy about what I learned and how I’ve grown from the experience but that disposition, I suppose, are best saved for the wrap up post of the entire mix itself. But, for the record, I did learn and grow. So here's to getting the brush off. I hear tell I was out of his league anyhow. (Editor's note: I hear that from an ex-fella who went to high school with said mix inspiring Nashvillian so that does come from a biased source but regardless. It's nice to hear.)