Tag Archives: Music

New discovery

My favourite rose

This year has been the first since 2007 when I didn’t commemorate february, which was the month when I heard Josh Groban sing for the first time. It happened six years ago, and the reason why this event turned into an anniversary is the profound impact this singer has had on me. I won’t repeat myself – if you know me, you know the details. But in a nutshell – his voice reassured me, gave me strength and inspired me in more ways than one, for a long time. There has been no other performer who has had such a big influence on me.

But with time, every influence weakens. It happens naturally, because we grow, and we move on. What used to have an impact becomes trivial, because we have absorbed its message, and have learned our lessons. Josh Groban was never an ordinary singer for me, and because of his extraordinary impact I always considered him a messenger and even a mentor in some ways. As the years went by, the power of the teachings I received through seeing him perform, or listening to his songs waned. I accepted this fact as a natural occurence in life, and I was grateful for two things. For his presence that left a lasting imprint on me for years, and for the fact that I was growing. I tried to stay cheerful when I thought the time of goodybe came. Josh is a wonderful person and I would always cherish that, but if the time came to let go of the side of him that used to play such a crucial role in my life, I would do it. I was growing, and I was learning my lessons all this time – through other experiences, theatre, music, literature, psychology, etc. Josh became a mere singer, however magnificent. And I stopped listening to his music, because I felt no need to hear his voice.

All that echoes came out earlier in February this year (when I think about it, I find the sweet coincidence of months very satisfying – it’s as if he decided to catch my attention on our “anniversary” once again – I know I’m reaching but this thought pleases me, so indulge me, will you?!), and when I first heard it, I knew it was a special album. It didn’t mesmerise me the way Illuminations did, which is a very tight, very deep, very personal record, a resonating realm of private moments which I felt privileged to hear. With each and every one of those songs I was peeping into very personal space. Josh wrote or co-wrote almost all the songs, mostly original, and the album was a valiant jump from the carefully produced, tame and expected music that his name used to mark to a place of confessions and shattering tenderness both in the personal and the musical sense. I cried so much over that album I lost count. All that echoes contains many covers and a few originals that, despite their different styles somehow work together – probably because of the personal power of Josh’s voice. He’s the unifying link. He chose songs that mean a lot to him, and that comes through. I was deeply touched by a very personal experience when I decided to listen to the album for the first time, and this could be one reason why the album did not disappoint. In fact, I cried through half of the record. The other half amazed me. But I would like to give my opinion about it regardless of what I was going through that day. Musically speaking, it’s Josh’s best CD so far. There is so much richness that needs to be discovered in it still. I only heard it about five times – the reason I stopped listening to it was that whenever I did, the power of the songs simply swept me off my feet and I was unable to do whatever else I was doing. Besides, I felt no real need to hear the songs more times: they moved into my heart on the very first occasion.

When the tour dates were announced, I was perplexed and angry by the fact that my closest location, Vienna, was also the costliest when it came to tickets. I impulsively decided to skip this tour altogether. I had no need to see Josh live. I thought I’d make an adult decision and not see him live, for the first time since the “Awake” tour. I felt no envy that most of my Grobanite friends were going to one or more tours, I was happy for them and I knew that my responsible goodbye from Josh was more important than toeing the line for the sake of peace and not standing out. My resolve lasted all two hours until I got home from work and my husband told me I should reconsider. Knowing what Josh meant to me, he told me to go to Vienna, no matter what. My Grobie friends were also not helping, because they displayed disbelief and derision at my original decision. And so, because I could afford it, I was influenced against my original resolve.

I would like to state for the record that I have never been happier to be proven wrong.

There was basically no preparation or anticipation before Vienna. I work a lot, I had no time or energy to mentally prepare myself. I knew that a bus would take me, that I had the ticket, and that it would happen, so why stress or fuss about it? Those time are over. I used to have pre-concert depression, post-concert depression, and everything in between. Not any more. I am better at living for the moment than I used to be. I accept and count my blessings and absorb the joy that comes from being fully present during an experience. I don’t want to spoil it all with expectations, and so I expected mostly nothing from the concert. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences already, that I thought Josh wouldn’t be able to surprise me any more. If I was expecting anything it was that quiet, peaceful farewell to happen.

Just like the new album, the new tour is also, musically speaking, the richest, most complex and many-layered that the J-Gro and his band have put together to date. The acoustics of the Stadthalle were also magnificent. All this resulted in a flow of rich, potent sound, music at its best. And the ultimate best part – Josh’s voice – was also on a higher level than before. (If that is even possible.) He’s learning to play on the instrument in his throat better each time, and I don’t mean with more precision or discipline – I mean that he truly is playing with his voice. It’s what makes the songs more alive every time you hear them. Songs like “Alla luce” alone would be worth going to his concerts. Each year it sounds better and better. (Now would be the time to re-record it!) The new songs literally blow the mind – and thanks to the acoustics, the body, too. The first song, “Brave” and the one that followed, “False alarms” set the mood and rhythm right from the start. “Hollow talk” was a favourite of mine ever since I heard it – and on stage, toward the half of the show, it was indescribable. The potent waves of drum and bass and the sudden explosion of music toward the end of the song tore me to atoms. I wept like an idiot, I couldn’t help myself. “Vincent”, beautiful, wonderful, immortal Vincent… tender and loving song, bringing back so many memories. It was the song that made me truly love Josh – and Van Gogh’s art, as well. They are closely connected and when I hear the song today, I see the paintings of Van Gogh before me as the lyrics describe them. It’s great that Josh still performs this particular song. “Falling slowly”, a very gentle cover of a uniquely beautiful song from a uniquely, memorably beautiful movie, and now, stage play. I’ve loved the movie for years and when I heard Josh would sing this song, I had goosebumps of joy – last night, those goosebumps returned and I felt so happy that he loves the movie as much as I do. “Voce existe em mim” rocked us to pieces, so much so that the audience stood up to dance to the rhythm. The strict Austrian audience. It was my first time dancing at a Josh-concert! This was repeated during “Machine”, which will remain one of my favourite songs by him – by the end of it, a crowd formed just below the stage. I felt euphoric! I watched the faces of the musicians. Their expressions were priceless, I’ll never forget the sense of pride and joy and gratitude that showed in their eyes, in their smiles, in their gestures. Josh was loving our closeness just as much. I felt free, I felt in shock, I felt grateful, I felt alive!

“I believe when I fall in love” was spectacular, but we knew it would be. With a wonderful little choir it took the breath from our lungs. Endlessly uplifting, rich and respectfully different from Stevie Wonder’s equally magnificent original. (The thing about Josh Groban covering a song is that he does it with so much respect. Musicians should learn from this guy.)

A wonderful surprise was hearing “Awake” again. It’s Josh’s most special, most meaningful song and this time, the musical arrangement was different. Toward the end they added a string of fast drumbeats that translates to the fearful drumming of a heart, which senses the imminence of loss. It adds urgency and desperation to an otherwise gentle, tender song about the power of now. It was a touch of genius.

“You raise me up” was sung by several thousand people. Whoever said this song needs to be taken off the setlist should check their hearts and souls. It sounds better and better and the message cannot be ignored.

The last encore was “Smile”. Ruslan, the crazy Ukrainian pianist and Josh, the crazy American-Jewish-Russian-Norwegian singer made us smile deep within our hearts with their duet. Charlie Chaplin would have been proud!

I thought Josh couldn’t affect me much any more. It is very typical that when he finished “Alla luce”, he instantly jumped into the Q & A part, which is always funny. I am not sure how he does this, but he always manages to bring me to tears by making me laugh first. I don’t mean the laughing so hard that one cries part. I mean that moment when laughter changes into weeping. So when everyone else was laughing their heads off, I was trying to make as small of an idiot of myself as possible. After the Austrian waltzing lady fell in her own feet on stage, it was just a riot till the end of the Q & A. (And beyond.) We ate from his hands. I first cried, then laughed, then was cold from all the goosebumps, then became a shaking blabbering mess of snivel during “Hollow talk”, then rose to heights I never experienced during a JG-show. And what’s more important, I saw the man, and I saw the musician, and I saw everyone else beside him – and I was his slave no more. I loved him with all my heart, but I loved him in the moment, aware that after he left the stage, I would let go of him. I loved him for as long as he was mine in that immaculate white shirt and the facial expressions that I know by heart and adore every single time. I took what he gave me and felt glad, and gave back what I could, every way I that could as part of his audience.

This sense of euphoria lasted even after the show ended. The Hungarian “delegation” was quite a big one and many people were taking our photos. Josh noticed our flags and dammit, by now he should know we’re on the map, seeing as 6 of the 10 meet and greet fans were Hungarians! I was disappointed I didn’t win a meet and greet, again. It’s been a long time since I’ve longed to meet him for real, in person, and the occasion just keeps eluding me. I was disappointed and frankly, envious and jealous of everyone who got their chance. Not as envious as I used to be years ago, but there was a trace of envy. I won’t deny it. I felt cheated and worthless as a fan. But I knew, in the end, that Josh has given me so much more already than 1 minute of meeting and greeting and a general smile photo. And I was really happy for everyone who won their chance to meet him. After the concert every sense of anything negative was gone, blown into the murky, grey, drizzly-cold weather. (It just shows that you can have your own celebration inside your heart even if there’s a storm outside!) I felt over the moon. I remember how two years ago Yanni had the same effect on me – but this was better, because this was Josh! My darling, amazing Josh. Josh, who brought friends into my life, who gave me faith, who erased my fears, who stirred my soul, who inspired me to create, and to open my eyes to a lot of new music. And I used to think that albeit being a one of a kind singer, his songs are not the pinnacle of music. I knew he had it in him to grow as a musician, and he proves that with each album, making all of his fans, including me, so proud! Well, he grew a lot with his new album and even though he cannot be called the pinnacle of music, I know that the combination of a unique voice, a truly likeable persona and the humble attitude he adopts as a musician make him rather outstanding.

About twenty minutes after the show (during which time we frolicked and laughed and made group photos) I decided to take a look outside the building, where the tour buses were. Two of my good friends, with whom I shared the love of another unique performer, and who also became JG-fans later, joined me. It was cold outside and we thought that if Josh came out at all, he would come much later. We were wrong – the moment we got to the tour bus there he was under an umbrella Darren (God bless him) was holding above his head, surrounded by appr. twenty people only. We couldn’t believe our luck. I edged closer, waited for Josh to get right where I was standing behind someone and I told him how much I loved the new arrangement of “Awake”. He looked up from signing something to someone and he thanked me, like he meant it. I remember thinking after the meet and greet winners were announced that even if I won the chance to meet Josh, what the hell could I possibly say to him, how on earth could I cram several years’ worth of life-changing experiences, friendships, inspiration that he gave me – into one sentence??? There would never be a way, and I also knew that all these things are important for me, and my friends involved in those experiences, but Josh doesn’t need to know. I don’t need to tell him. He knows he is loved – we buy his albums, go to his shows, we keep his career alive and we give him feedback in all shape and form and through all possible channels. Personal stuff – that’s mine, because I experienced it. He didn’t. I did. So I can’t and probably shouldn’t tell him. And here was my incredibly lucky chance, to see him up close, and to tell him something that would matter to him rather than to me. I did, and it did matter to him, because it concerned his music, and he was grateful. We saw him for about 30 seconds more, before he was ushered into the bus to be driven to Zürich.

There are five rosebushes on the edge of our garden, just under our living-room windows. They were planted when we moved to this house, almost nine years ago. I haven’t done much tending of them over the years, just the occasional spring trim, or some minor fertilizing, when I remember to, perhaps once every second year. Despite my almost negligence, these rose bushes have been growing beautifully, yielding roses every year, from spring till late autumn. I love my roses very much.

But I love the one bush that is the strongest, and largest, most; the one that yields dark-purple, blood-red roses, a hue impossible to describe, truly the mixture of red and purple. And they smell like no other rose I’ve ever smelled. This is my favourite rose-bush. Roses will come and go, but this particular rose-bush will always remain my favourite.

Stupidmistake

Whoever wants to make a Darren Hayes video without Darren Hayes in it, STUPIDest MISTAKE ever. This video is proof. I mean – WOW. My hat goes off to the director of this one. Stunningly gorgeous, a visual feast.

As I was waching the video I thought of Heath Ledger for some reason. Must be because of the Oz connection and the Joker-Clown connection and the hunk-factor connection, too.

Explode

…and repeat…

my_music

In sickness, health, bliss and dejection, there’s music. If all else fails, music fills the void in my soul and I float above emptiness until I regain my foothold once again. Music saves. It saved me more than once. I know it saved you, too. It continues to save us all, all the time.

There has always been a lot of music circulating in our household. Artists come, and they go, or they stay. There are eternal favourites. There are new acts. There are surprises.

In the past year or so there have been a handful of albums that were the recurring canvas of my inner life. On them I painted new thoughts, I felt inspired by them, I held onto them, I soared with them. I listened to these albums a considerable amount of time, especially compared to the rest of our musical collection. New artists constantly come and go and have been coming and going, but these albums have been my lifeline in these past years. Literally. In belief, and in disillusionment.

John Mayer’s Continuum has been with me for many years. I heard the song Gravity on House M.D. and after that, I had to hear the whole album, and I don’t think I ever listened to any other John Mayer album. Sorry, John. I know you’re a genius and all, but this album is perfection and when I listen to it, no other music seems to exist or have existed. Lyrics, music, vocals, it’s all pure perfection.

She popped into my life through a Josh Groban fanfiction. Hail the genre! Someone built a cheesy piece of fanfic (in retrospect, that’s what it was, just like all of mine that I wrote at the time) on a song entitled Back where we started. Because I liked that cheesy piece of fanfiction, I was curious about the song. And after that, I was curious about Tina’s work. Basically, she’s been my spokesperson since 2007. Her songs speak from me and about me, they come from my heart and my struggles and doubts and thoughts. No other artist has expressed MY feelings as accurately as Tina has. She continues to amaze me with her songs, old and new alike. When I feel lost, she comes to my rescue. She tells me I’m not lost alone… I may be lost, but not alone. We’re all lost. And the only thing we can find is each other. All of her albums are great, but this trilogy is conceptually wonderful and probably has her most profound lyrics.

Where else would I have heard Ben’s song than on a TV show? A gifted man, cancelled after the first season, like so many other wonderful, meaningful shows. Once again, when I heard the full album, the world stopped turning. I stopped doing everything I was doing and just listened… and after a short break, I’ve been listening ever since. Magnificent debut that is receiving accolades from all directions, rightfully so. Ben’s music is fresh and honest, it just grips you with the lyrics and the exciting indie folk-rock sound.

Thank the Universe for French music TV channels. The video for Berlin was like nothing I’ve seen or heard before, too wacky to understand or even like, but when it got under my skin, it stayed for good, and Christophe, the hyper-talented French talent-show winner has become a huge favourite of mine. I was fortunate enough to see him live with two of my friends in Paris – and I must repeat that act. One of the best musical experiences I have ever had! This album is his latest, one that cannot be stopped. At least I find it difficult. To stop. Catchy, high quality electro-disco with some of the most amazing vocals ever.

Darren Hayes is a huge favourite (has been ever since I want you), and this is his best album so far. It is virtually unstoppable. A drug. It’s uncanny! It’s so good, it should be illegal. Melodic and melancholy tunes and the type of lyrics that would sound cheesy from the mouth of another singer, but not from Mr Hayes. I have yet to see him live, but his next tour, I will. I promised myself, I won’t miss him again…

And my latest discovery. I wrote about it on my blog already, I love this album so much. It started with Sherlock and Mr Cumberbatch and then his entire filmography… and a song in one of his movies. Little did I know that the whole CD was as wonderful as that one song… I listened to this album non-stop for weeks, maybe months. I needed no other music, nothing else, just this. It felt like if I could only take one CD with me to a desert island, it would be this one…

And I’ve had this feeling with all of the above. (In previous years, there were more albums, but I wanted to give a heads up to these particular ones, because they are more recent and perhaps you’re on the lookout for great new music…) Thankfully, I don’t need to pick just one CD – or else I would be in great trouble…

A piece of fabulousness called KEANE

Not sure how many years ago it was, but I do remember how it happened: posters in London portraying a band I’d never heard of before, and a few music videos on MTV at home. I purchased “Hopes and Fears” in Bideford and then listened to it for months. My immediate environment went bananas and their hatred toward Keane soon became permanent (same thing with James Blunt, due to my abusive listening to “Back to Bedlam”, but that’s another story). I didn’t care, I was in love. This music… it felt new to me, it had an energy that struck chords with me.

It still does today. In a few weeks, I’ll (finally!!!) be fortunate enough to see the band live in Budapest. To prepare for the gig, I downloaded “Strangeland” a few months back. Yesterday on the train I listened to the album for only the second time – today, at work, it has been playing on a loop. It is, to my mind, the most positive, uplifting album of theirs up to date, the lyrics prove that the boys have grown older and wiser and have learnt from their experiences, but instead of wallowing in despair at the fucked-up state of the world, they choose to see the bright side of it. Gotta love ’em for that! My spirit is sufficiently balmed by these lyrics, even the most “boring” songs from the album carry something precious in their lyrics. As for the music, it’s still brimming with that same energy, that pulsating mood that got me hooked almost a decade ago.

Thanks, boys. I think “Strangeland” is now my favourite album of yours.

Treasures

It all started with the new BBC series “Sherlock”. It took me considerably more time than it took most Cumberbitches to fall under the spell of Benedict, the new British acting phenomenon. But I did, around the end of episode 1 of series 2, and by the time I finished “Sherlock” I was hungering for more. Mr Cumberbatch led me to a few beautiful movies, relatively unknown to the general public. “Wreckers” (2011) and “Van Gogh: Painted in words” (2010), as well as “Hawking” (2004) would definitely deserve more recognition. But the movie that twisted my guts and heart and soul in so many ways I felt drenched in my own sorrow at the end was “Third star”, something I previously considered a silly comedy based on its cover, not really worth seeing, just maybe. Possibly. Just to tick it off my list. And then it turned out to be THE movie of the week. Month. Probably year. read more »

Paths into the light: “Illuminations”

I wrote about this very much awaited album already back in November last year, after I first listened to it in my bed with my earphones on in the dark, just me and the songs. The next day I already felt compelled to share my thoughts and feelings about the CD because of the deep impact it had on me. I feel I have since then managed to dive deeper into the songs, the entire album has become much more personal to me and it is my opinion that the versatility of the music and the depths of its content make the album worthy to be spoken about again. read more »

Godspeed, Mexicolas

Jamie posted this on their official webpage six days ago.
The mind boggles, the heart breaks, the anger rises.

Dear friends,

After years of trying in vain to compete with the machine that is the “music industry”, it is time to inform you that the band are hanging up their spurs once and for all. The frustration felt by many as to why Mexicolas never made a bigger splash, is felt none more than by myself and all who have worked with me over the past six years. I would like to thank all the great musicians I played with, Tim Trotter, Del Carter, Ben Drummond, Steve Godfrey, Dan Whitehouse and Paul Stone for putting up with my manic ways. Each line up brought something different to Mexicolas and I couldn’t have wished to have worked with a finer crop of people. To all involved behind the scenes I thank you sincerely. But the biggest thank you goes out to all of you who believed in my songs and kept me going, you made me realise it’s not about fame and fortune…the reward of genuinely touching people with music is worth all the years of hard work alone. Many great memories I have of Mexicolas, but it is a chapter of my life that I feel has run its course. And so InExile are putting everything I’ve ever done, demos that didn’t make the first and second record, acoustic versions and rearrangements, and of course the new material that I’ve been working on with Paul Stone onto iTunes. So…Once they’re up there… Please do help yourself to whatever takes your fancy…treat it like a song based pick and mix. I hope you enjoy owning/hearing them. (secretly i’m hoping you’ll download everything three times so i can afford a new Pair of shoes!!!) It would be a shame to lock them up to never be heard again. And so with a heavy heart I say once more, THANK YOU for listening. The creeps in my head have all gone to bed…

Jamie

Times like these I say, no fucking justice and also, if anyone dares to tell me ever again that Lady GaGa and the like make good music, I am going to hit them in the face. They are parasytes who live inside the minds of zombies… us, people… we are zombies. We settle for the crapload pushed down our throats. We accept what’s mediocre and we even start to like it. Finally, we believe that’s what we all are, mediocre lumps of crap.

You know what? If you do accept mediocrity in your life… YOU BECOME IT.

Dear Mexicolas, Jamie and the rest of you guys, you left a very deep imprint on my heart and memories like that never fade.

All my love.

Krisztina

Some kind of trouble…

Just a very brief post to let the world know about the genius whose name is James Blunt… what an amazing new album… each song a work of art on its own, upbeat yet intimate and delicate, dynamically alternating the mood of the songs with each other, speaking to my soul…

Don’t I know it
Nobody has to say
I’ve been lucky
Guess I was born that way

I thank my father
His absence has made me strong
And I love my mother
But she had troubles with God

No tears

For the life that you lead
You had angels in your head
Did you hear them singing in you?

All the things that do seem
All the things that could have been
Well I’ve been everything I wanna be
So no tears, no tears for me

Yeah. Off to cry……………………………..

Uplifting songs (IV)

Nickelback If everyone cared

From underneath the trees, we watch the sky
Confusing stars for satellites
I never dreamed that you’d be mine
But here we are, we’re here tonight read more »

Uplifting songs (III)

John Farnham You’re the voice

We have
The chance to turn pages over
We can write what we want to write
We gotta make ends meet before we get much older
We’re all someone’s daughter
We’re all someone’s son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun? read more »

Uplifting songs (II)

RyanDan High

Well here I am with so much to offer
Nothing to do but be here today
Giving myself it’s the best I can do if I’m needed
Use my strength in any way read more »

Uplifting songs (I)

For some time now, I have been looking for songs that inspire me, lift me up, make me feel positive about myself and the world in general. Listening to these songs always does something to me; the lyrics stir me and inspire me to be better, to- to do something. Something good.

I know that many people are trying to compile similar songs, so I decided to start posting the list of the songs I found over the past years, by mistake, and more recently, by searching on purpose.

Everyone, enjoy these small miracles, and I hope they will bring you as much joy as they brought me.

Josh Groban You are loved (Don’t give up)

Don’t give up
It’s just the weight of the world
When your heart’s heavy
I…I will lift it for you read more »

Unexpected (a concert review)

I distinctly remember the first time I saw the video of “You’re beautiful”. Quiet, gripping; a sad-faced guy with an almost ridiculously soft voice (who sang about some angel he had seen on the subway, but she was with another man, and now he was mourning the loss of her) undressing in the snow, arranging his things before him with military precision (confirmed later by the fact that he used to serve in the army), and finally jumping into the freezing cold water. What the… read more »