music

“Nowadays, all these girls are singing about their encounters and their dresses.”

When my mother says “encounters” she is referring, of course, to sex. When she says “dresses” she is likely thinking about that Selena Gomez song that wouldn’t stop playing some two or three summers ago.

“People have always sung about that, though…”

“Yeah but today it’s stupid: ‘he’s so tall and handsome as hell,’” she gestures at the radio, “what the hell is that shit?”

She’s complaining about Taylor Swift now, whose song “Wildest Dreams” is playing in the car.

Whether I think Taylor’s art is revolutionary or enriching is irrelevant because creating music that underwhelms me—creating anything, really—is still way more than most people do. I’m not proud to admit it but I once sobbed in a Bed Bath & Beyond parking lot when the song “You Belong with Me” came on the radio. Then, dry heaves and all, I leaned on my steering wheel and started laughing (because first “heartbreaks” are fucking hilarious). It was a time when listening to anything other than pop trash probably would have made me roll off my roof.

Even so, you won’t find me arguing for the lyrical ingenuity or emotional depth of lines like “I can feel my heart, it’s beating in my chest.”

I skip the explanation and agree with my mother: “RIGHT? Like, what happened to Etta James? Let’s talk about ‘Damn Your Eyes.’ I mean, DAAAAAMMMMMNN!”

 

Now there’s an angry, lusty love that I can understand.

Be careful when meeting eyes,

Seo

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Dear Amateur Choir,

This is a confession.

I know. Here, Halloween is a free for all. On November 1st, All Saints’ Day, you’re meant to lay flowers and prayers at the feet of those who have passed. Had you no relatives to honor?

At 11PM, a zombie on the metro asked me where I was going. Home, I said, and into my bed. I’ve been on my feet for fourteen hours and I feel like I’m dead.

Nighttime is a ritual and my sleep precious, Amateur Choir. I’m an adult now, I guess. Who are you? I, like you, like to sing. I love Madonna, too, and even have a few GaGa dance routines. I get it. Early youth is a stupid, wonderful time. Those people you met six whiskeys in really do feel like they might be your best friends. It’s all so new and, oh my god, they’re down to take Jager shots too!?

But I have to tell you, Amateur Choir, I have to tell you that 5 AM is just not the appropriate time for a Lady Marmalade singalong. I try to be fair, you know. I suspect I’ve woken you up myself once or twice. I know for sure that I stopped the party that night I slammed the bathroom door and screamed “fucking assholes,” still half-asleep and full of rage. It was a Tuesday, after all. So I let you carry on on Halloween, Amateur Choir, because it was a holiday. I sacrificed my sanity for your fun. Did you hear me? I spoke out loud a few times: Please stop, you insufferable cokeheads. Go to sleeeeppp. I tried to drown you out with the “Chillout” playlist on Spotify, but Sam Beam singing “Time After Time” into my ears just made me feel like sticking my head into a pot of sardines.

I guess you finally passed out around 7:00. The last song I heard was “Oh Happy Day,” for the second time. Props to you, Amateur Choir, for living up to your name.

The confession: it was me, at 9 AM, holding my phone up to the wall, playing M Clan’s “Hasta la vista Rock ‘n’ Roll” and then “Bodak Yellow” and then “Daddy I’m Fine” (variety is the spice of life). I heard banging and imagined you all rolling hungover out of bed into a massive pile of pipa shells. And yes, Amateur Choir, I felt good about it. I danced along to the music with my middle finger in the air and a smile on my face that felt delicious. I felt truly vindictive. Who knew?

Thank you for showing me a side of myself I didn’t know I had.

Love,

The woman on the other side of the wall

In case you ever wondered how your weirdass middle-school teacher started her days…

As someone who is perpetually behind the times, it’s no surprise that I just started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, now in its ninth season. As someone with a deep and unshakable love for theatrics and men who are prettier than I am, it’s also no surprise that I’m ADDICTED.

I’m convinced that I’ve seen six to nine Drag Queens on my morning commute. I’ve also begun the past three days lip-sycning to Diana Ross in my bedroom mirror (complete with choreography that will never see the light of day. Again, neighbors, I’m sorry but not sorry).

 

Happy Tuesday Queens,

Seo

I will never grow so old again

Listening to Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is exactly like living in the most painful, beautiful dream you’ve ever had. Very James Joyce. Very makes me want to dance down the metro aisles and also lay down in the middle of the road and cry and also jump into some sea, any sea, and run down an empty street with a lover or with a friend or alone, laughing until the end of time.

irelandpark

Kildare, Ireland 2016

“Sweet Thing” means something different every year, but has been an especially prominent song in my life lately and often played on repeat (sorry not sorry, neighbor). It’s like being a child again. It’s like falling in love with life, with yourself, with someone new after two-million heavy nights. Like getting younger every year. Like looking at the same old world you’ve always lived in and seeing it for the first time again. Like not looking for answers, “being satisfied not to read in between the lines.” Like surrendering to a gorgeous madness. “Hey, it’s me, I’m dynamite and I don’t know why.”

From 1968 with love,

Seo

Mysteries of the Mind, Part 2

Last week I saw In The Same Boat, a documentary about how technology and job automation have led to monstrous wealth inequality and how one might confront the problem moving forward. It was followed by an open forum debate with Rudy Gnutti (the director), Yayo Herrero (premier eco-feminist), Jorge Moruno (Podemos representative and “lover of gnocchi”), and Iñigo Errejón (Podemos’ poster-baby and serial gesticulator). I was interested in the subject matter, but it would be dishonest of me to say that my facetious goal of dancing a chotis with Errejón didn’t have just a little bit to do with my decision to buy tickets. At the time of writing that goal remains unrealized, but I can tell you that in person Errejón looks younger than most of my middle-school students. I can also tell you that, after telling said students about the documentary, a few of them informed me that if I was a Podemista, I should leave class. Others warned me that my “pants were turning purple” and one incredulous girl asked “so, what, you think everyone should have jobs?” More on this later. Or never.

Getting ready for bed I thought mostly about how I should study economy and take a public speaking class. I also thought about the Amazon executive from the documentary, whose interview included a really amusing line in which he talked about how truly awful he really felt about getting on his private jet after seeing poverty in the streets! Finally, head on my pillow, eyes closed, my thoughts drifted not to neo-liberalism nor to Spain’s new political party, but to… Nino friggin’ Bravo, Spanish crooner and eyebrow idol.

Musical insomnia, again.

What was the song this time? “Un Beso y Una Flor.”

And the lines that wouldn’t leave my mind?

De día viviré pensando en tus sonrisas
De noche las estrellas me acompañarán

A beautiful, romantic goodbye song.

Why? And for what?

Y’all didn’t think I was about to analyze economics, did you?