♫ Hide behind your walls… ♫

Every once in a while, I bump into a song that touches me deeply. I often make it my new ringtone, or play it non-stop for days. The songs range from heartbroken lamentations to odes of angst, and they move me for different reasons. This morning while walking to work, I bumped into this song, and it’s been on replay ever since.

♫ A crowded street can be a quiet place when you’re walking alone.

I don’t know why it struck me with such force. Maybe it’s because I’m at a place where everything is right, yet everything feels wrong. I have an awesome new job that I love. My baby is thriving as a girl scout. I have a chance with a boy that I adore. I’ve found a path that suits me beautifully. Yet I’m still moping around, and I can’t think why.

3 Doors Down has always been one of my favourite bands. I don’t know the members’ names, their story, or even their greatest hits. I just know I like a lot of their songs. This one speaks to me because I’m that exact moment, the moment where I’m afraid to try things because I don’t want to fail. But like the man says:

♫ If you’re afraid to fly, then I guess you never will.

Yesterday, I directed my first ever radio commercial. Most fun I’ve had in ages! Then I did something called an aura photograph, which told me my aura was orange. Apparently, people with orange auras are ‘creative, productive, adventurous, courageous, and relate to emotions.’ The photo came with a 23-page analysis, which veered between being uncannily accurate and immensely amusing.

I don’t consider myself adventurous. I describe myself as conservative and introverted. When I said this to the people in the photography room, they burst out laughing. Apparently, you don’t get to call yourself reserved when you have tattoos and purple hair. *shrug* Anyway, that’s the frame of mind I was in when I found my OCD song for today.

♫ Your mistakes do not define you now, they tell you who you’re not. ♫

My new boss gave us an assignment last week. He asked to find the answers to three questions – our passion, what things [the company can do to] make us happy, and what [skills] we bring to the table. The task was easy for me, because all three questions are answered everyday, in my mind, and on my blog.

One thing I’ve learned – and not for the first time  – is that sometimes, having everything you want doesn’t make you happy. Sometimes, simply being happy makes you happy. I don’t quite know how to do that yet, but I’m working on it. I’m definitely working on it.

It’s the only one you’ve got3 Doors Down

Only Marshall can make beauty out of violence

♫ Just gonna stand there and watch me burn ♫

♫ That’s alright because I like the way it hurts ♫

♫ Just gonna stand there and hear me cry ♫

♫ That’s alright because I love the way you lie ♫

I bumped into this song in a very interesting way. I was having a chat with a very special person, who just happens to be an ex Mr 3CB. We have the same taste in music, so he’s always sending me songs and stuff. Today, he sent me three suggestions. The second song was Beautiful from Relapse, and the third was a song about nonpoints and bullets which made me giggle for a really long time, though I’m still not sure why. I didn’t much like the Relapse song. Too much jazz. But I’ve been playing this one non-stop. The count is at 55.

At first, I wasn’t sure just what I liked. I’ve had the song on my iTunes for months, but I didn’t pay much attention. I mean really … Eminem featuring Rihanna? How now? I glanced at the song info and skipped it more than once. It took Sailor to make me sit up and listen, and only because he has good taste.

When I heard Rihanna whining in the beginning, I was like wtf? But then her voice dies off suddenly and I’m like hmm, this could be interesting. When the beat began, I thought, ‘Hmm, catchy’. Then I started to listen to the words and I was gone. First, it has Em’s trademark rhyming. I just love the way he uses enjambment. Or, maybe it was caesura.

[Disclaimer: I had to Google that one. I know the technique from Mr Murimi and Lit 101, but I couldn’t remember the terms. I suck at details.]

Enjambment is when you stop a sentence in poetry [or rap] partway, to create rhyme and rhythm. Caesura is when you do the same with sound. I think.

High off of love, drunk from my hate

♫ It’s like I’m huffing pain and I love it the more I suffer, I suffocate ♫

♫ And right before I’m about to drown, she resuscitates ♫

♫ me. She fucking hates me and I love it. Wait! ♫

Where you going? ‘I’m leaving you.’ No you ain’t

Come back we’re running right back. Here we go again.

I just love the way he rhymes words that don’t rhyme. I like the tricky word play and the little puns you have to scrutinize to get. Stuff like huffing pain[t].

Of course it helps that the subject is deep, and that it’s handled so uniquely. It helps a lot more that the instrumentals are so awesome. I did more than my fair share of air strings – or whatevere it is they’re using to get the basso profundo. Is that what it was called? That effect where there’s a constant droning bass line? It might have been basso ostinato, I forget.

Anyway, this song clearly moved me. I tweeted about it for well over an hour, and I’m still OCD-ing as we speak. There’s something magical about the way some songs grab me, shake me, and won’t let me go. I’m just a little concerned that lately, a large number are done by Eminem.

There’s a part 2 to this song and I hunted it down on Twitter. It’s not as good as the original, though Em’s verse is amazing, and the song has some pretty serious drums. I thought about it more, whether this is really love, this furious, angstious dependency. It’s powerful and unhealthy, but you can’t deny its passion. I don’t think I want a ‘love’ like that. It makes you feel alive, but it can kill you too.

Either way, I’d still like to buy Marshall tea and pick that brain of his. As long as he doesn’t go Mariah on me. I’m just saying.

Love the way you lie Eminem featuring Rihanna

Natty na gwaan so

I heard this song in the mat this morning and I couldn’t help laughing. It’s one of those songs that people expect me to know, because I have dreads. It’s also one of those songs that makes people smile cheekily when they hear anyone sing it.

The first time I heard it on Kiss FM, I only caught the hook, and since it’s pretty catchy, I just went right on hooking at the appropriate points. But then for some reason I started to listen to the actual lyrics, and, well, let’s just say I didn’t stop blushing for a long time.

Like many ragga songs, it has layers that are only hidden by inflection. I remember my cousins telling me why they switched from rap to ragga. Their mum banned rap for it’s inappropriate lyrics. So they switched to a genre where their mum could look at them in utterly blissful ignorance as they sang …

Ee-all vee-a-jin pu-ta-pu-no-and

I can’t say I’m a fan of ragga per se, I just like the beats and the cleverness of the lyrics. I mean who can help giggling as they listen to the words of the injection song, the drivers’ licence or the broomstick song, or even the mango tree song? Really now, those songs are not talking about fruit, documents and household appliances.

That diwali beat is pretty cool too, even though to a true ragga fan, saying I like Sean Paul is like telling a rock chick you’re into Katie Perry.

Now, would someone tell me who sang Natty na gwaan so and what the hook actually says, because I’ve typed this phrase on google [along with the snippets of lyrics that I can decipher … something about a girl on code red, and a kiss and a head…] and have come up with nadda.

Natty na gwaan so

The joy of headphones

It’s that time of month when I get cravings for sugar and … other things … and when my face breaks out. Meh. I have got to find a way to fix that. The cravings I can handle, the skin problems, not so much.

So I’m sitting in my room with the lights off and my headphones on high. Also, some e-books from the pretty boy that I adore. Thank God for sweet guys.

About those headphones.

I have heard people sing with headphones.

Hehehehehe.

I always assumed the reason they sounded so … tortured … was because they can’t quite carry the melody. Like those people who try to sing you a famous song [and they will even tell you its name and artist], but you still have no clue which one they mean coz the tune is … well, it just isn’t there!

Or being serenaded by a teenage boy. Not the pretty castrato type, I don’t mean those. I’m talking about the regular my-voice-is-breaking type that vascillate between ‘sexy’ inaudible mumbles and frightfully girly squeaks.

Also, really, anyone singing Halo and sounding like a strangled cat has to be at least partially tone deaf, right? Can’t blame them entirely though, coz those modulations and ad libs can get tricky!

But I love to sing, and I do it fairly well. So when I’m getting some headphone therapy, I sometimes take said headphones off for a few seconds while I sing, so I can listen to my level of, you know, [strangled] catitude. Of course I sound fine, and conclude that my, er, singing, is bothering no one.

So here I am, singing along to Justin Timberlake’s ‘What goes around comes around’ as I read my e-book and wham! It hits me. It’s not about tone at all!

Well actually, it sort of is.

See, I assumed that the reason for headphone-itis is that you can’t hear yourself, so you can’t tell when you’re off key. Or, alternately, with songs in rock or Beyoncé … without the instrumentals or the ad lib, they just sound wrong. Try singing Naked Eye with the guitars & drums on mute and you’ll see what I mean.

Consider as well that many modern songs are more like, you know, chants. Every line sounds the same. Think Monica-Brandy boy is mine. Or Savage Garden-Truly, madly deeply. Take away the [instrumental] track and you basically have people droning. It’s not even real talking, coz there’s no inflection. Transcribing these songs into solfa is torturously dull. Believe me, I had to do it for music class.

But the true cause of headphone-itis is pitch.

Let’s face it, we’re no Justins on Mariahs. So while we may all be very good with the actual tune, it’s not quite so easy to jump between the high and low parts.

For example. What goes around. In the verses, his voice is kind of low and mournful. I believe the right term would be weepy.

Then in the chorus, he totally changes and goes all whinny.

Result being, I sing the verses an octave higher just so I can keep up, then when I get to the chorus, I can sing in my normal baby voice.

And of course it’s worse with the harmonies, since you will start out singing lead, then jump to the back-up then back to lead … and with true rock songs, you can actually sing the guitar.

Think 911 by Wyclef Jean and Mary J. You start out singing Wyclef’s part, then you jump to Mary’s part, and by the time you get to the pweo-pweo-pweo guitar part, anyone watching is thinking ‘Please God, just shoot me now!’

Now, this all sounds fine to you, you have an in-speaker orchestra.  But the person outside just hears rumble-rumble-rumble-squeak-squeak-tenenenene-bam-kaPow!

Hence, headphone-itis.

But but but…

… it’s just so fun!

Go on, grab some headphones. You know you want to…

♫  AwenaKassim

I just love the way he whines ‘penzi langu hulihitaji Awena-a-a-a-a-a-a … kipenzi changu Awena-a-a-a-a-a-a-a’ Then the instrumentals tu-lu-lu-lu-lu and the humming at the end na-na-na-na-na…