30 September 2011

Music Day

You can think of today's song as the updated version of last week's featured song. So if you liked the excitement of last week but not the eighties synth work, you'll almost certainly like this one. (And even if you did like the eighties synth work you'll probably like this too.)

Title: We Love You
Artist: Fraser Campbell
Album: We Love You
Year: 2009
iTunes here but unfortunately it doesn't appear to be on YouTube...

23 September 2011

Music Day

This is exactly the type of song I would love to perform in a church -- either as a vocalist or as a dancer. Lately I've become increasingly aware of how bored people seem to be when they sing in church -- I mean, come on, people, this is the God who gives you breath that you're singing about here. Get excited! Don't just mumble the words on the screen, sing! Be joyful! At least try to smile. This would be a great church song if people were more excited about God and less so about judging genres.
But that's a rant for a different day, methinks... As for me, I don't think this song ever fails to bring a smile to my face.
Recommended: turn this up. (Also recommended: buy all the albums iTunes recommends at the bottom of the page (I'm pretty sure they show the same list of albums each time). That right there is (some of) the best of Newsboys, Michael W Smith, The Imperials, and David Meece.)

Title: Adonai
Artist: Petra
Album: Beat The System
Year: 1985
Label: Star Song
iTunes here; YouTube here.

16 September 2011

Music Day

This is another story that could be filed under 'I bought a whole album for twenty dollars or more just for one song because it wasn't on iTunes and the song had memories so I was sort of desperate...'
The good news is, this wasn't nearly as dramatic as the Amazon ripoff back in March. Better news: it was only twenty dollars and it was a double album (both albums are all right, although aside from this song I probably wouldn't have bought them).
Even better news (for you, anyway): the song is now on iTunes, thereby making your potential acquisition of it much easier than mine was.

As I already mentioned, this song does have nostalgic value for me. Specifically, it reminds me of going to laser tag with a few church friends years ago; of the vehicle driving down a steep (and narrow) descent into the northern part of the city. It was already dark out and the skyline just before us was all lit up -- a sight I don't think I will ever tire of.
The crazy part is, I don't think this song was even playing at that point in the journey.

Title: Beautiful Love
Artist: The Afters
Album: I Wish We All Could Win
Year: 2005
Label: Simple Records
iTunes here, YouTube here. (As I was watching the video, I was fairly strongly reminded of Relient K. So if you like them, you might like this...)

13 September 2011

I Don't Understand

For years -- over a decade actually -- I've wanted to be a dancer.
That has been my main goal in life since I was five.
Then, of course, it was a childish dream completely founded in a princess fairy tale mindset. But I started taking ballet lessons at age six and by age seven I had considered the angles and the work involved more thoroughly and had come to the adult-like decision that yes, I was going to be a dancer. Yes, it would be hard work, and yes, it would be a long time before I could see it come to fruition. But there was no doubt in my mind.

I was going to be a dancer.

And I am still going to be a dancer.

My family, however, thinks otherwise.

You see, I made the mistake of starting to take pictures of things that I wanted to remember. So when I got old and grey I could show my grandkids the places and the people I'm telling them about. So whenever I get lonely and sad I just pull out the pictures and relive the good times.
Naturally, I wanted the pictures to be as clear and well-taken as possible, so I learnt a little about aperture and shutter speed and other tricks of the trade.
I've been taking dance for more than ten years now, but my family took this little bit of photography knowledge and blew it completely out of proportion.
So now I am going to be a professional photographer and I'm going to do studio portraits and I'm going to run my own business and I'm going to do twenty weddings a year and I'm going to win win win win WIN every photo contest they can get their hands on and I will become a household name and other photographers will simply beg to go on photo excursions with me, the great Canadian photographer.

It's like a nightmare.

We've been at a great deal of family/neighbourhood gatherings recently, and many people ask, 'so what are you up to?'
I say, "Dancing mostly -- taking ballet lessons and looking for a tap class somewhere (do you know how freaking hard those are to FIND?) and I'm working on a lot of choreography."
"Oh cool."
Then, just as they may be about to pursue that train of thought, my mother and/or grandmother comes in.
"Yeah, and she also REALLY likes TAKING PICTURES and she's thinking of starting a photography BUSINESS here in the next couple weeks and she's REALLY GOOD and lots of people COMPLIMENT her on her great pictures so she's REALLY SERIOUSLY thinking about DOING THAT." (Insert murderous glare at me here for 'forgetting' to mention this obviously vitally important matter.)
And then, because most people have some idea what goes into photography and haven't the faintest clue what's involved in dance, they naturally seize on the topic they feel a little more knowledgable about -- photography.
It has gotten to the point where my mouth tastes bitter when my relatives start talking about photography.
I don't want to be a photographer. Sure, I mentioned perhaps starting an online shop and selling a few prints to make some money until I could get the choreography/dance thing going, but that was only ever meant to happen 'on the side.' Photography is not my vocation, and it never has been. I may be good and I appreciate that they think so, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life clicking a stupid button.

And their I-know-what-goes-on-in-your-head-better-than-you-do attitude has completely ruined any joy I did get out of taking pictures, capturing memories. Aside from some Northern lights this past week, I haven't touched my camera in several months, because now I know that every single second they see a camera in my hand is only fuel for the fire -- their argument is, "Well, I never see you dancing, and you're always taking pictures, so I thought that's what you wanted to do."

Yeah, well, you try testing out the timing in that one part in Spirit Mover when you're in the middle of the mall. A camera takes up a space the size of your hand. A dance takes up two or three of those little shops, depending how big your movements are.
And these two are completely different things. Sure, they're art, but the fact is, with the camera, I'm only recording memories and things I find either beautiful or interesting. With dance, I want to express emotion and beauty and marry it to my love of music and the stage.

I don't understand how they can have misunderstood all this so badly. Ten years of dancing should not trump a couple of library books on photography. It just shouldn't.

09 September 2011

Music Day

I think this song will forever remind me of eating sunflower seeds in my father's old Toyota. How, I don't know, as we owned this album on CD and the Toyota in question was far too old for CDs (although I'm fairly certain it had a cassette player).
I don't know exactly what year or model that Toyota was, but I do know it lasted basically forever. It had a line of rust spots all along each side of the pickup box and the spots never seemed to get any larger.
In order to house his tools, my father had built a cover for the box, added some hinged doors (which may have been padlocked, I don't recall), and painted it silver.
My sister and I loved to go with him to town on Saturdays in that truck. Usually he had to go look at a potential job or measure something and get supplies for Monday morning. He almost always stopped at a gas station and got us each either a bottle of pop or a treat of some kind. If we went to the Building Centre (which was a common occurrence), we got popcorn... a nice reward for those seemingly interminable hours we would spend there as Dad visited with everyone in the store.
There were always sunflower seeds in his truck though, and often I would sit in the truck and eat them until he made me stop before I ate the whole bag. I liked the salt mostly. I would suck the salt of the outside of the seed, then carefully bite the tip off and pry it apart to get the actual seed inside. My parents never seemed to understand why I would put the whole thing in my mouth if was was just going to spit it back out but it seemed perfectly logical to me...

Anyway, this song is far too steeped in nostalgia for me to give you an objective description or anything, but I can tell you this -- if you don't like the eighties' sound, don't listen. This is the song that still defines 'eighties music' for me.

Title: Dancin My Heart Away
Artist: Kim Boyce
Album: Love Is You To Me
Year: 1989
Label: Myrrh Records
iTunes here. I couldn't find it on YouTube.

05 September 2011

So Needed That

Sadie, I've known you for five years and yet I haven't known you at all.
I could pick you out in a crowd, but I couldn't bring myself to compliment your outfit. I could follow your voice in a crowded room, but I couldn't walk up and say hello.
I haven't seen you in nearly a year. We haven't talked to each other in more time than that. I've always just sort of co-existed in the same church as you. We've been on camping trips and mission trips together, we've been in Bible studies together, but we've never really spoken.
Five years have passed. You, Sadie, have remained cheerful and friendly, compassionate and helpful. I have drawn farther back, terrified of my own bitterness and refusing to acknowledge my own emotional turmoil.
Today, on your first Sunday back home in nearly a year, the worship leader invited everyone to get up and greet those around them.
I saw you coming toward me and I extended my hand, fully expecting the typical quick handshake and a quick 'good morning' without even eye contact as we both search for the next person to greet.
You squealed my name and rushed at me with a hug. I only just managed to move my extended hand fast enough to not stab you in the stomach.
You know Sadie, I can't remember the last time anyone just walked up and hugged me for the sake of it. Sure, a few friends hug me from time to time, but now it's more routine than anything. It's like a handshake between us now -- 'hey, I see you, I know you're here, we're still cool as friends, did you get my text?'
Sadie, I don't know if you will ever know what that meant to me. Girl/girl hugs can be so easily misinterpreted these days, but you took the chance anyway.
Because even though I didn't fully realise it until you squealed my name, I so needed that.

02 September 2011

Music Day

(I remembered...)

This week I narrowed it down to Connie Scott or Lecrae. Connie Scott is definitely older material, but I've been featuring her a lot lately.
So I'm going to go with Lecrae this week.

I first heard Lecrae on a (now off the air) hip hop show late one night on the local Christian station. I found the song I'd heard (Far Away) on the iTunes Store and bought it.
It wasn't too bad -- in fact, it's gotten me through quite a few tough moments since then. However, I didn't buy any of the other albums. Since I knew almost nothing of Christian hip hop or rap, I was a little reluctant to invest the money into a album that I may or may not like.
Then came my birthday.
My grandmother takes all her grandchildren aged twelve or older shopping for their birthdays. This year, we made a stop at the local Christian bookstore to check out what remained of their narrow selection of music.
It was actually quite a good day for that place -- at one point I had nine CDs in my hand. But I could only afford one, and after extensive consideration, I finally decided on the Rebel album.
Now I'm a bit of a theology nerd -- something instilled in me by a former associate pastor at our church. So when I listened to the CD that night, I was thrilled out of my mind to hear good theological arguments and witty lyrics set to modern music pouring out of my speakers.
Deciding on a favourite to feature here today is even more difficult than usual (this is one of those 'seriously, get the whole album' posts), but I'll close my eyes and link to just this one song:

Title: Truth
Artist: Lecrae
Album: Rebel
Year: 2008
Label: Reach Records
iTunes here, YouTube here.