KingMidget's Ramblings

Pull up a chair. Let's talk.

Tag Archives: Music

A Song For Today

In downtown Sacramento, there exists a central plaza — Cesar Chavez Park — right across the street from City Hall. During much of the days and weeks and months of each year, it is a place for the homeless. Except in the summer months when it turns into a Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and a concert venue on Friday evenings. Most of the Friday evening performances are local performers.

A couple of years ago though we went to a Friday evening concert that was put on by a local radio station. It was a fundraiser for a cause I no longer remember. It featured more well-known acts of various degrees of national reknown. The main reason I wanted to go was Mat Kearney. While he was good, he played his upbeat pop songs instead of his downer, moody songs. I’m all about the latter, not so much the former.

There were a few other acts that performed. One of them was Andrew McMahon. During his set, he sang Cecilia and the Satellite.

Every since then, I’ve loved this song. It intrigues me and I don’t know why. So, for today, here’s a song for those moments when you’re intrigued and you don’t know why.

 

Advertisements

A Song For Today, Next Week, Next Month, and Next Year

I went to a concert last night. The opening act was Forest Blakk. He was a really good singer-songwriter type who I hope to hear more from in the future. The headline act was NeedtoBreathe. They put on a non-stop 2+ hour set that included an hour or so of guitar-driven rock, followed by an acoustic set, and then a rocking song or two to close things out.

In between the two was the band I came to see. Johnnyswim. Although they didn’t play my favorite song of theirs, they still knocked my socks off. Their final song was today’s song. They introduced it by explaining they wrote it with Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors somewhat accidentally. It is their response to the ugly political discourse in this country. Now you know why it is such an important song to me. So, Stand Up or Ring the Bells. You decide.  (Lyrics are below the video.)

 

[Verse 1: Abner Ramirez & Drew Holcomb]
Ring the bells, this time I mean it
Bid the hatred “fare thee well”
Give back the pieces of my Jesus
Take your counterfeit to hell
Bang the drums, this means war
Not the kind you’re waiting for
We say mercy won’t be rationed here
That’s what we’re fighting for

[Pre-Chorus 1: Amanda Ramirez]
If all is fair in love and war
Then what the hell is loving even for?
If we can’t sing it loud enough
We’ll keep on adding voices up

[Chorus: Drew Holcomb & JOHNNYSWIM]
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells

[Verse 2: Drew Holcomb & Abner Ramirez]
Move your feet you tiny people
You’ve been hiding for so long
Behind your statues and your steeples
Does that hit too close to home?
I got faith to move a mountain
And to watch that mountain move
It’s time for words to fall like thunder
Sound of justice breaking through

[Pre-Chorus 2: Amanda Ramirez]
If all is fair in love and war
Then what the hell is loving even for?
The world laughs and the martyrs sing
But love breaks through the cavalry

[Chorus: Drew Holcomb & JOHNNYSWIM]
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells

[Verse 3: Abner Ramirez & Drew Holcomb]
You called me boy instead of son
And I ain’t the only one
Was in the throneroom of a kingdom
Where I found that I belong
I ain’t scared to face a fortress
I have seen them fall before
With broken bones you’ve built it
But it crumbles board by board

[Pre-Chorus 1: Amanda Ramirez]
If all is fair in love and war
Then what the hell is loving even for?
If we can’t sing it loud enough
We’ll keep on adding voices up
[Chorus: Drew Holcomb & JOHNNYSWIM]
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells
Ring the bells

[Outro: Abner Ramirez]
Ring the bells, this time I mean it
Bid the hatred “fare thee well”
Give back the pieces of my Jesus
Take your counterfeit to hell

Not A Song For Today

A few days ago, I was listening to the radio, Sirius XM, and heard a quick blurb that their Classic Rewind station would be playing three-fers all Labor Day weekend. It’s something classic rock radio used to do a lot.  Two-for-Tuesdays and weekend versions of the same. I kind of miss it.

I thought when I heard the blurb that it would be cool to listen this weekend and relive the old days. Just so long as I didn’t have to listen to a three-fer from that band. The one I consider to be the most over-rated rock band in the history of over-rated rock bands.

So …

This afternoon I got in my car after work and fiddled with the radio, flipping through stations until I landed on Classic Rewind and was reminded of the three-fer weekend. And how was I reminded of it. They announced the next three-fer. From that band. Yes, the very first three-fer for the weekend that I heard was from … the Rolling Stones.

Just kill me now.

I switched to another station for a few minutes. Then I went back. I wanted to see just how bad it would be. I didn’t hear the first song, but the second and third songs are exactly why I can’t stand the Stones — Little T & A and Mixed Emotions. Both songs like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I stuck around to see who the next artist would be. Ugh. The Police.

Maybe I won’t be listening to Classic Rewind this weekend.

A Song For Today

I said please talk to me
Won’t you please come talk to me
Just like it used to be
Come on, come talk to me
I did not come to steal
This all is so unreal
Can you show me how you feel now
Come on, come talk to me
Come talk to me

Drake

He’s got seven songs in the top 10 and every song on his new album is in the top 100. I’ve got to listen to this, don’t I?

Except …

I’m a 53-year-old white guy who has spent his life pointing out that there are two genres of music that are worse than death itself. Country music and rap. My psycho girlfriend from hell liked country music. That should have been a clue. I should have run. I didn’t. And I spent countless hours having to listen to George Strait and Randy Travis and only God knows who else for the few years I was with her.

I’ve never listened to a rap album. Ever. My kids like rap and occasionally some of what they listen to creeps into a play list and into the air that I occupy. So, I hear it and then tell them to forward to a new song as soon as the N word makes an appearance. Admittedly then, my exposure to rap is limited. Bits and pieces of Eminem songs and Usher and Fort Minor (who actually has a couple of songs I like) and only God knows who else. But I’ve never listened to a rap album.

I read this morning about the success of Drake’s new album and decided to crack the door open. I pulled the album up on Spotify on my phone and listened during my drive to work. Then finished the album on my drive home.

I’m still not a fan. The first and fundamental problem is that I am of a generation that views the N word as one of the most offensive words in America. It is like 1,000 fingernails scraping slowly down a chalkboard. It is a word that flays me raw when I hear it.

On the one hand, I have some appreciation for the idea that younger generations have taken this toxic word and negated its impacts. They have taken the power of the word away.

On the other hand, that will never work for me. I simply cannot hear the word without imagining the pain it has caused to so many during the history of our nation.

Drake sure does love the word. Only a few songs on the album don’t have the N word liberally sprinkled through the track. Littered throughout the album are also f-bombs of various forms. And bitches and shit and … you know, I’m not a prude when it comes to language — I through an f-bomb around now and then, but all of these words, to me, are used in instances of hate and intolerance and anger. So, listening to Drake’s album is like listening to music drenched in those feelings and emotions.

Which may be the point of rap. Or maybe there’s another point that I’m missing entirely.

But those negative emotions are not why I listen to music. There is enough hatred and intolerance and anger in this world, I don’t need to wallow it in the music I listen to.

Drake’s not for me.

%d bloggers like this: