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Let’s Talk About Adele

3 Dec

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I’m trying this thing where I compile all the articles I’m reading on a certain topic and put them up here for you to enjoy and discuss with me.

I love articles.

I frame articles.  I text dozens of articles a day.  I discuss them all at length.  They mean something to me.

And so today I want to try this.  I want to discuss Adele with you.

How about we start here.

What are your favorite songs on 25?

I love When We Were Young.  That cracking high note!  The crippling nostalgia.  She’s so mad!  It makes her restless!

I love Send My Love To Your New Lover.  My heart will always respond to a good catty song.  If I were a song, I would be a good catty song.

What about you?

What type of song are you?

What Adele articles are you reading?  What interviews are you watching?

Let’s leak tears of perfectly winged eyeliner together.

1. Adele Cries To Her Music Too

If I was sad, if I was confused, I’d just go with it.  I’d let myself fall aprt, and I’d sit in darkness and I’d feel sorry for myself and I wouldn’t accept any help to get out of it, in terms of going out with my friends to cheer me up or staying busier.  No! I loved the drama of it all.

How I felt when I wrote 21, I wouldn’t want to feel again.  It was horrible.  I was miserable.  I was lonely, I was sad, I was angry, I was bitter.  I thought I was going to be single for the rest of my life.  I thought I was never going to love again.  It’s not worth it…I’m not willing to feel like that to write a song again.  I’m not.

2. The SNL Adele Sketch We’ve All Been Watching On Repeat

Fun fact! I once wrote half a screenplay with the lead named Aidy because I was convinced Aidy Bryant would read it, love it and star in it.

I should really finish that, now that I think of it…

3. Adele on ’25′: Song By Song

And I think that line — ‘It matters how it ends’ — is obviously for me and all of my friends. That’s what we always say when something’s about to happen. It matters how this ends, how we get out of this one — whether it be a relationship, a night out, watching a film, whatever. It matters how everything ends because that’s how you remember it.

Also, Adele’s favorite lyric she’s ever written is my favorite lyric she’s ever sung.

I love that I can tell that. That I can listen to a song and be punched by a phrase and that was her intention all along.

She was purposely punching and it hit me right.

4. Adele on Jimmy Fallon

The best part is Jimmy becoming Russell Brand.

5. Hey Are You Looking at Me? Good. Now Buzz Off.

There’s no testing of the limts of Adele’s stardom.  She knows what we want from her, and, for now, she’s perfectly content to give it to us.  Let Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Drake and Tyalor Swift edit the HTML of fame.  Let them play mind games and send mixed signals.  Let them be “problematic.”  Adele just wants to sing.  And ulikes, say, a newly contrite Mr. Bieber, who recently released a lusciously produced, earnestly sung album called “Purpose,” when Adele says she’s sorry she’s not saying it to her Instagram followers.

6. Adele Pranks Adele Impersonators

This just makes me think of the legend that Dolly Parton didn’t win a Dolly Parton lookalike contest.

 

PS: Speaking of catty songs…I UNDERSTAND THE JUSTIN BIEBER THING NOW.  I UNDERSTAND IT ALL.

That butter voice slipping out those double meanings!

Oh I see you, Justin.

I see you.

Last Night I Dreamt Of Joni Mitchell

2 Jun

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Last night I dreamt I met Joni Mitchell again.

We were in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the tiny artist’s colony up north.  The town with the white sand beach and the fairytale cottages and the 100 art galleries.  The town where Robert and I spent our one-year anniversary.

Joni was wearing a jumpsuit when I first saw her.  Teal, navy and seafoam blocks made patterns across her legs.  The material was polyester, the pants flared.  She wore fuzzy socks with her black Birkenstocks.

That was because of me, surely, for I have learned the only way to wear Birkenstocks is with a flamboyant pair of fuzzy socks.

Joni gave a concert by the side of a stream.  In the middle of tall, yellowed grasses and matted, tangled weeds she sat down and pulled out a guitar.  She talked to us, those waiting eagerly to hear her sing.  Her speaking voice was very specific, about as unique as her singing voice–hesitant and warbly, soft and high.

I can’t remember ever dreaming so specifically about a voice.

She sang for us by the banks of that river, the one that reminds me of the river by my home in Utah.

My worlds all melded together for Joni.

When she was done singing, she and I headed back to Carmel.  We didn’t speak about it, but soon we were running as fast as our feet could carry us, running through dense forest and foggy skies and smoky air.

Running through the smells of Carmel, the ones Robert says he found in a tea.  “It tastes like Carmel,” he says, handing me a bag.

Joni was strong and fast.  I tried to ask her about living in Carmel, about what she thought about Big Sur.  Her answers were brief, said to end the conversation.

I marveled at the strength of her legs, the pitch of her voice.  I marveled at the rocky cliffs to our right, jutting into dangerous waters.

When we got to town we headed to a restaurant.  Joni stood separate from me, up on a slight grassy hill.  I sat under a twinkle-lit terrace with the other customers.

Joni told the owner that she wouldn’t pay, she would simply do her own dishes, and that she didn’t want dessert, she simply wanted a little brown sugar on the bottom of her peaches.

We didn’t speak again, Joni and I.  I just watched her on her hill, in her wild outfit and her wild socks, with her abnormally strong legs and her soft, recognizable voice.

She didn’t look at me again.

How To Listen To Taylor Swift’s 1989

2 Nov

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I was really worried about the new Taylor Swift album.

Well, really worried might be overstating it.

I was concerned about the new Taylor Swift album in that nebulous way someone who is a fan but not a crying, screaming Fan is concerned.  I was concerned because Shake It Off didn’t do all that much for me.

Don’t get me wrong!  Shake It Off is quite catchy.  I enjoy that section in the music video where regular people dance all regularly.  And I’m all about Taylor’s new haircut.

But the song?  It feels like anyone could be singing it.  It’s a bit generic, the words don’t move me.  And, well, that’s just not Taylor Swift.

Taylor’s biggest strength, is, of course, her lyrics.  Her ability to make you feel in on a slumber party secret, to relate by being specifically personal.  Taylor Swift is in the details. And I didn’t feel that from Shake it Off.

I was also a bit concerned about the direction of the album.  The Taylor I adore doesn’t shake shake shake it off.  She uses her immeasurable talent to write pointedly personal (better than revenge?) songs.  She owns her experiences and her stories and she takes the terrible, the John Mayer, and turns it into gold like the badass kitten lover she is.

And so when I got 1989 and I did a cursory listen, I was disappointed.

There were some poppy jingles, but where was the story?  Where was the range of emotions, the beginning, middle and end all in three minutes?

Where had T. Swift gone?

And then I saw the album notes.

Please review the album notes with me for a minute:

Welcome to New York We begin our story in New York
Blank Space There once was a girl known by every one and no one
Style Her heart belonged to someone who couldn’t stay
Out of the Woods They loved each other recklessly
All You Had To Do was Stay They paid the price
Shake It Off She danced to forget him
I Wish You Would He drove past her street each night
Bad Blood She made friends and enemies
Wildest Dreams He only saw her in his dreams
How To Get The Girl Then one day he came back
This Love Timing is a funny thing
I Know Places And everyone was watching
Clean She lost him but she found herself and somehow that was everything

When I read these notes, something shifted in me.  Suddenly the album was a single, cohesive story, a continuation of an experience.

An extended version of We Are Never Getting Back Together.

One girl.

One Harry Styles.

One story about growing up.

Suddenly the line in Style:

I say I heard that you been out and about with some other girl

He says, what you’ve heard it’s true but I

Can’t stop thinking about you and I

I said I’ve been there too a few times

is about Conor Kennedy in the same way

 Drop his name 

Push it in and twist the knife again 

Watch my face

As I pretend to feel no pain

In John Mayer’s Heartbreak Warfare is about Brad Pitt.

It’s a puzzle, it’s hints at a whole, it’s utterly fascinating.  And to take one song from this album is like taking one line from a poem.  You miss the whole.

1989 is the only Taylor Swift album you’ve ever needed to listen to in order, beginning to end.

It’s her most cohesive album to date.

And my favorite.  There I’m saying it.

Holy crap I love this album.

Taylor has talked a lot about how 1989 is her “growing up” and “finding herself” album, and how she’s a new girl.  A girl who lives in New York with short hair and is happy in a world where she isn’t in love.  You can feel this in the album, the growing self awareness, the growing cynicism.

(Ugh I love the cynicism.)

(Though I wouldn’t mind  few songs about these intense female friendships she says she’s been focusing on.)

(Perhaps the next album?)

Taylor’s self-awareness is most apparent in (by far her best song) Blank Space.  This is Taylor Freaking Swift at her Taylor Freaking Best.  She mocks her public perception, the intense scrutiny on her personal life, and she does it with a whole lot of cheek.

Darling I’m a nightmare dressed as a daydream.

Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane 

Love’s a game, want to play?

Taylor is freaking rewriting her own narrative, no longer the underdog or victim or anything but a feminist queen, and every single bit of me loves this to death.

To death, I tell you!

It’s easy to listen to 1989 and imagine myself as Taylor, going through this tumultous relationship, wanting nothing more than for it to work out and being burned again and again.  It’s easy because I’ve been there, it’s easy because it’s a human emotion, it’s easy because Taylor makes it look effortless, that relatable thing.

Which is why I am infinitely grateful for I Know Places.

With Shake it Off it appeared Taylor was going for the classic Swift, the You Belong With Me Outsider Thing that has worked so well for her in the past.  I’m just like you!  I’m a dork who listens to Spice Girls and can’t dance!

And perhaps Taylor is and does all of those things, but the reality is she’s also the most successful pop musician in the world and her life, while similar to mine on some levels, is dramatically different.

And I’m glad she addressed this.

I’m glad this wasn’t The Hills where we pretended the girls weren’t celebrities, that cameras didn’t follow every lunch date, that that whole side of their lives wasn’t real.

I’m glad Taylor sang about feeling hunted by the paparazzi, the public, the world.  I’m glad I could feel the urgency, the fear that the flame of a relationship was going to burn out because of who she is.  Who he is.

I’m glad we got a glimpse into the Taylor of now.  No longer idealistic and black and white about love and relationships and life.

Taylor Now is edgier.  She’s in control of her own story.  She’s fierce.

There’s a lot to say about Taylor’s vocals.  How the first time I listened to Wildest Dreams I thought I had stumbled on a Lana Del Rey song, how Taylor experiments with sounds and beats and pop music in general and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

But.

That doesn’t even really matter to me, honestly.

This album a story.

A story I get excited listening to.

A story I relate to, a story I want to know more about, a story about a girl.

And those are my favorite sorts of stories, you know.

The Many (Many) (Many) Faces of John Mayer

3 Sep

Last weekend in a fit of madness I decided to venture to the Made in America music festival.

It was for a good cause, Caitlin’s birthday, and I’m nothing if not a fanatic for birthday celebrations. (Hey Lucas, 27 more days til birthday month!)

But whew.

Introverts and music festivals.  They really do not mix.

Really, really, really.

I derive no energy from being in large groups of people.  I feel anxious and upset and a little bit like I’m fading away into nothingness and maybe would like to fade away into nothingness if it means I can avoid another person in an American flag swimsuit.

And so it was at this festival.

I was a melty blob in a Kate Moss sequined dress willing myself to fade into nothingness and regretting every life decision I’ve ever made.

And then John Mayer happened.

Ohhhhh John The Freaking King Of The World Mayer happened and I might have gotten pregnant from hearing his voice, and I hope I got pregnant from hearing his voice because then he will live on forever in my heart and in my home.

I am not ashamed of your judgment right now.

To prove this point I will share with you approximately 45 trillion pictures that look just like this.

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And this.

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And this.

But really can we focus on the harmonica?

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Or how about that guitar pick?  Really working it John.  Really, really, really.

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And the shirt.  Let me see if I have a close-up of it.

(I kid.  I wanted to sound less intense so I pretended I didn’t know if I took a close-up of his shirt.)

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I think a lot of my sudden spike in attraction to this man had to do with his eyebrows.

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Are you seeing what I’m meaning?

There were a lot of feelings in the eyebrows.

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And the glasses.

Watch out Lucas, for my birthday month you’re getting new glasses!  Happy Birthday to me!  Happy Birthday to John!

John, Happy Birthday!

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 OK, and now we have a series called John The Freaking King Of The World Shreds His Guitar.

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Yes?

(Is this what shredding is?  It sounded right.)

And more.

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And more.

This is starting to sound sexual.

I did possibly get pregnant from his voice, so I suppose that’s only natural.

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More John!  More!

OK, too far.

Back to the brows.

Back to the basics.

Back to John.

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John, I love you.

I’ll never let go, John.

You’re the freaking king of the world John Freaking Mayer and I don’t remember you looking any better and who says we can’t get married tomorrow?

Who says?

Stevie Nicks

4 Nov

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This weekend was an big weekend for me, though, as I type that sentence I recognize that most weekends are “big” weekends for me.

I’m a person who finds something “big” in most everything I do. It is what it is.

This weekend was a particularly big weekend for me.

There, let’s put it like that.

When I sat down to write about the past few days, to work out my thoughts and feelings and all that emotional jazz, I realized that I really only had one thing I wanted to say:

Stevie Nicks.

Perhaps she is the only thing to say about anything, ever.

I got Rumours on vinyl for my birthday this year.  It was a perfect gift, a standout in what will surely be remembered as the birthday of stand out gifts.

People get me!  I am got!

Ever since then, in any moment I can, I’ve had the album blaring on that forgotten record player of mine.

I have a theory about Rumours, an intense theory about how which Rumours song is “your” Rumours song says so much about you, and what the world would be like if we split up into Rumours song groups, and which public figures fall into each Rumours song group and other such important matters.

Bill Clinton is “Don’t Stop.”

Jewel is “Songbird.”

Alanis Morisette is “The Chain.”

I also have a theory that “You Oughta Know” is simply a continuation of the sentiment expressed in “The Chain,” but, really, that’s another post for another time.

Or maybe not.

Where was I?

Oh yes, the Rumours theory.

I tend to have theories like this about a lot of things in life, like what your favorite Love Actually couple says about you.  Or what your favorite fast food restaurant means.  All sorts of really wonderful, really streching theories.

But this Rumours one, I kind of love it.

I’ve talked to everyone close to my life about it, which song they are, which song they would like to be.  And over and over I affirm that I am “The Chain.”  I am in that group of people that sit around yelling, “DAMN YOUR LOVE DAMN YOUR LIES” and pick Alanis’s brain for tips and insight and spiritual guidance.

I am so “The Chain,” it isn’t even funny.

And yet, on Friday night, as I drove down to Disneyland to meet up with my cousin, I realized, at that very flickering instant of a moment, my Rumours song was “Don’t Stop.”

It’s such a weird thing, to suddenly realize that I am in a different place in my life and am looking at the world in a new way.  It’s weird to think feelings I thought would never change, have suddenly, ever so slightly, tipped another direction.

It’s weird to think I AM A BILL CLINTON.

I told Caitlin immediately, of course, because this is what one does when one’s Rumours song has changed/whole world is disrupted.

She responded, “I’m so happy for you!”

Friendship, etc.

Two days later Caitlin and I got ready, girl-style, at my place.  We were in different rooms, she applying her fake eyelashes with expertise, me attacking my hair with, oh hell, let’s call it expertise.

Rumours played on the record player in between us.

Every once in awhile, I ran out to the hallway and sang along with a lyric, “HOW CAN I EVER CHANGE THINGS THAT I FEEL?” or she came into the bathroom and I monologued about Lindsey and Stevie and what I vibed when I saw them in person.

I will be the annoying person who speaks of those vibes until the day I die, so it’s best you accept this about me now.

Oh hey, did I ever tell you about the time I saw Fleetwood Mac in concert?

Eventually our running back and forth and monologuing and thought-speaking turned to American Horror Story and Stevie Nicks being a witch. I confessed that I’ve been wanting to write an article, “13 Reasons Stevie Nicks may actually be a witch,” but I really only have one point for that article.

It begins and ends with “Silver Springs:”

Time casts a spell on you, you won’t forget me

I know I could have loved you, but you would not let me

I’ll follow you down til the sound of my voice will haunt you

You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you

Watching Stevie, 35 years later, sing that to Lindsey, the man who literally never got away from the sound of her voice, was…

Well, you get it.

Right?

This semester in class I am writing a screenplay with a protagonist named Stevie.  I tend to write teenage female protagonists who assign themselves their own names.  Names like Stevie and Zelda and Winnie.  Names for the strong, complicated women they admire and want to become.

It’s one of the themes of my writing, these girls and their names, but that’s another post for another time.

Or maybe not.

As Cait and I were listening to Rumours yesterday, she spoke through her eyelash curler and into the mirror, “I mean this in the most non-pretentious way possible, but Rumours should only be listened to on vinyl.”

And I teased her, and repeated what she said in my best female Hugh Grant voice, because it’s oh-so pretentious.

But it’s also true.

Rumours was made for vinyl.

Which is all to say, this weekend was many things, and many big, important things.

But mainly this weekend was Stevie Nicks.

DJ Kitty Cat: Teen Soap September

20 Sep

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Remember Caitlin aka DJ Kitty Cat aka master of Music and Playlists and Angst?  No?   You’re in luck!  DJ Kitty Cat is back AND she’s talking teen soaps.  Hallelujah! Yippee ki-yay!  Pacey Witter til the end of time!

Sometimes a song is so intertwined with a moment that when you hear it you are transported back in time to the instant it happened; the sights, the smells, the emotions all resurface leaving you dazed and confused, suspending your reality momentarily. Normal people reminisce on actual events that happened in their life when these songs come on shuffle. As an adult addicted to age-inappropriate one-hour teen dramas, I experience this memory recall whenever I hear something from a favorite episode of mine. The emotions, sights and drama I remember are so real to me that I forget that the characters are fictional, and I often wallow in distress for a few hours.

Here are five television-related songs that stir an illogical, visceral response in me upon hearing them.

1. Sway by The Perishers

Veronica Mars

I have been on a recent VM kick thanks to the major babe factor of 2006 Jason Dohring. The first and second season had many memorable moments, but the most impressionable came in the form of Logan & Veronica’s slow dance at Sadie Hawkins. The pair is barely on speaking terms at the dance due to Logan’s tumultuous summer as persona non grata numero uno with the PCH-ers. Logan is in a foul mood so Veronica swoops in and asks him to dance as damage control. The couple assumes the slow dance position awkwardly as the music starts up. As the song wears on…“I don’t want to hurt you like I know I’ve done before, I will not do it anymore,”… Veronica and Logan relax into each other, their eyes relaying the separation distress without words. Logonica back on.

2. Nothing Like You And I by The Perishers

Greek

The Perishers do it again. From the episode “Freshman Daze,” this song starts during a montage of flashbacks between the initial love triangle set up of Cappie/Casey/Evan that occurred during the freshman Greek Ball to the present day love triangle in disarray at the junior Greek Ball. Casey and Evan both reach for the last glass of champagne as the song swells “There’s nothing like you and I; so why do I even try.” I internalized this song to the relationship crisis I was experiencing at the time, a triangle akin to the one onscreen. Every time I hear it, it ruins me all over again.

3. Lost! by Coldplay

Ugly Betty

Ugly Betty gets overshadowed by a lot of other one-hour dramas. To be honest I don’t remember much of the series other than that Betty once had a romance with Josh Groban’s twin, which I was all for. However, this song remains one of the most episode-specific songs that I have in my recollection. The setting: Daniel has just found out that the child who he had just learned of was actually his sister’s child. Yeah, classy ABC.  After a moment of crisis, Daniel decides to side with the cliché “if you love them, let them go.” This song begins as his nephew is helicoptered back to France in a shady PR move, leaving childless Daniel behind in a flurry of dust, wind and dashed dreams of fatherhood.

4. Hide & Seek by Imogen Heap

The O.C.

A music moment so infamous that it has been parodied on SNL. Ryan and Trey battle it out over Marissa. Trey, clearly with the upperhand in physicality and hotness rails on Ryan as Marissa cry-yells in the corner. Trey reaches for the phone to bash Ryan’s head in. A shot. The gun falls out of Marissa’s hands. Cut to Trey hunched over, confused look on his face, hands clutched tight over his stomach. Close up as he pulls his hands away to reveal a gushing wound. Pan up to his face as he realizes he is going to die. “Mmm whatcha saaaaaaaay? Mmm that you only meant wellllllllllll? Well of course you did.”  Epic.

5. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

Grey’s Anatomy

If you don’t cry at this scene in the Season 2 finale then you are a robot. Shonda’s finest moment resulting in the scene that won Katherine Heigl the Emmy. Boundary-blurred intern Izzie Stevens is laying in bed with her fiance’s corpse in a magenta prom dress, rambling on about how if she had only remembered that he was prone to blood clots or had not changed her dress so many times then she would have been able to save him. Bad boy with a heart of gold, intern Alex Karev, sweeps her off her feet in the height of her emotional hysteria and cradles her back and forth until she calms down. My high school boyfriend tried to say that this was “our song” but every time the two piano notes picked up at the start of the song I just pictured a grey, lifeless Denny, what would later become a symbol for my devastating love life in early adulthood.

Drama

16 Sep

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A few months ago, Caitlin and I gave talks in church on the same day.  During her talk, Cait mentioned that she has a flair for the theatrical. I later joked, “If you think Caitlin is dramatic, you haven’t met me.”  Ever since then people have come up to me and said, “You’re the girl that’s more dramatic than Caitlin!  I never thought such a thing was possible!”

To be fair, Caitlin and I are probably equally absurd, just in different ways.  For instance, Saturday night she called to tell me she’d begun her memoir.

I responded with, “I’m so proud of you and I believe in you fully and also I nearly died choking on a piece of pizza, alone in my apartment, while watching Romancing the Stone.”

*Moment of silence to process this information*

If our Polaroids from the Rascal Flatts concert were to be displayed at a museum, say the Smithsonian, say in an exhibit celebrating our friendship, I imagine they would simply be titled “Drama.”

Or perhaps “Drama And How To Run It Like Gary.”

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Mariah Carey

10 Jun

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I have 153 Mariah Carey songs on my ipod. That’s not a joke, a humble brag, an overt brag, or any type of brag at all. It’s simply a fact. I love Mariah Carey.

Mariah first entered my life when I was an impressionable elementary-schooler convinced “Fantasy” was the best song ever created. I’ve stuck by her side through the highs, the lows, the Bieber.

Mariah gets a lot of flack for her diva behavior and sometimes (often?) questionable interviews, but in the end, the woman can sing and she can sell a record and she does it all looking fabulous and never apologizing for who she is.

With her recent run on American Idol  and the success of her newest song “#Beautiful” (more on the title later), Mariah is back on the public’s radar. She never left mine. Here are a few things Mariah Carey taught me.

Read the rest of my article for Portable here.

I know I say “favorite” a lot, but my goodness was this article a delight to write.

Fleetwood Mac

31 May

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If you look really closely you can see the one and only Stevie Nicks rocking a tambourine.

Yesterday I went to the Fleetwood Mac concert. I was high in the nosebleeds, sitting in an awkward corner seat between two very-in-love couples.

It was unbelievable.

Stevie took the stage all golden hair and stilettos. At various points she would work a tambourine or run her hands through the beads attached to her microphone. She seemed to just wander off and on stage at will, coming back with a new flowy scarf to add to the mix.

Sometimes she would just twirl, in that little girl, put-your-hands-over-your-head-and-feel-the-sunlight way.

It was magical. She was magical. The night was magical.

Don’t even get me started on the love and healing and faith that was required to get Lindsey and Stevie on stage together singing songs about each other, to each other. Seriously, don’t. Or do and let’s talk about it for the next month.

There’s a reason all 11 songs on the Rumours album are on my “Top 25 Most Played” playlist. Fleetwood Mac, you slay me.

Pencil #9.

All I Want To Listen To Ever Again

30 May


Every time “How Will I Know” comes up on my ipod I involuntarily morph into Penny Hartz.

You’re welcome, people of Arizona.