A $3,000 decision

I don’t often watch music videos or even videos of musicians performing. It has to do with something my oldest brother said to me years and years ago. Music videos ruin my chance to use my imagination. I can listen to a song and picture whatever and whomever I like. Watching the artist’s interpretation of the song ruins that chance forever afterward. If I hear a song after watching its music video, I can’t help but picture the video that goes along with it.

But I couldn’t stop watching this performance when it popped up on my iTunes:

I won’t watch the song’s official music video –– this rendition has drilled itself too far into my brain. I took note of Kodaline during our 10-hour drive home from Thanksgiving in Peoria, Ill. I used the Shazam app on my Droid to discover this song’s artist and have pretty much been obsessed with them ever since. Watching this performance of theirs further instilled my obsession.

Watching something like this –– where those involved are clearly infatuated with what they do –– makes me miss the musical side of me.

Yes, I used to sing. A lot. Now I reserve my vocal chords for days when I’m home alone in my parents’ house, though I have become more comfortable singing around my housemates at school.

I didn’t sing in choir my senior year of high school; I opted for a college credit-bearing psychology course instead. It worked out; I didn’t have to take the mandated psychology course at school, but I missed out on another year of singing and performing with my friends. I saved $3000 by taking the psych course, but I’ll never again get that chance to make those memories.

I don’t regret it. It was a smart decision. But I do miss singing. A lot.

Watching this live performance of “All I Want” makes me want to jump into that dimly lit room and belt out a few notes right along with them.

Watch below to get a taste of the singing I so miss from my high school’s talent show nearly four years ago. Four freakin’ years ago. Shiza. (Ignore the first 30 seconds…those girls are annoying.)

 

 

Cowboy Casanova

I like country music, not going to lie. Carrie Underwood is one of my favorite artists. My best friend Katie is a country music addict and a real farm girl, and she sort of made me see the light when it comes to twangy country music. I don’t like all of it, but quite a bit of it is okay. All of the songs have meaning to them. Not every genre can say that.

So, for our school’s talent show (known as G-Town Showdown), Katie and my other friend Alex were stuck on having me sing Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” and they were planning on making up a dance to do in the background. I never thought we would put it together. A week before G-Town tryouts, I had them up to my house and we tried to figure out how it could work. In the end, we decided we needed some other people to join our gang. We needed boys.

So, our hunt began for a cowboy. We originally only wanted one. We bugged quite a few people, but none of them wanted to do it. So, we tried out with their dance and my singing and told our principal (who had to oversee the tryouts) that we were planning on adding a couple of cowboys into the act for the show. He had no problem with that.

We managed to nab one guy to be a cowboy (our friend Jarred). Then, our friend Cody wanted in, and we figured we could use another cowboy and that would be fine. Then, we realized that we each would need one or we would only be able to have two (none of us wanted to be the one without the cowboy if there could only be two). At the last minute, before the rehearsal for the talent show the day before, we added in our last cowboy (Marcus) and they learned the dance right before we were to go onstage for the rehearsal.

The next day at school, our cowboys showed up decked out in cowboy gear; they seriously went all out and we were pleased that they were so into it.

We performed. I wore my favorite dress (slinky black with a zipper down the front. Yes, the front).

The audience loved it. Many of them know I can write, but not very many of them knew that I could sing. I gained the respect of even more people.

We didn’t win (only got Honorable Mention, whatever the hell that means).

So many people told us afterward that we should have won. I agree with those people.

Here’s the performance (wait for the introduction of our group known as “EKA” [Emily, Katie, Alex – fyi we didn’t come up with that name – the hosts did]):

Dear March, come in!

This poem by Emily Dickinson leaves me praying for March throughout the winter. Well, it’s finally here. And here’s the poem for your viewing pleasure:

Dear March-Come in-
How glad I am-
I hoped for you before-

Put down your Hat-
You must have walked-
How out of Breath you are-
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me-
I have so much to tell-

I got your Letter, and the Birds-
The Maples never knew that you were coming-till I called
I declare-how Red their Faces grew-
But March, forgive me-and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue-
There was no Purple suitable-
You took it all with you-

Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door-
I will not be pursued-
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied-
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame-

I don’t know why there are a whole bunch of hyphens. Ignore those; that’s not how it is in my book of Emily’s poems. I just love this poem. The way she personifies the months and the trees “The maples never knew / That you were coming, – I declare! / How red their faces grew!” That is probably my favorite line in the whole poem.

Last year, I kicked myself for not appreciating March like Emily does in this poem. I spent all winter reviewing that poem, just looking forward to March and the changing of the seasons, when it suddenly passed by me without even saying goodbye. This time, I plan to enjoy it.

Today brought my dog’s birthday. He turned eleven years old today and it’s scary that he’s really getting up there in years. He’s laying right next to me as I listen to Psapp (a band I just found today), text Robby, read Emily’s poetry, check my facebook and write this blog entry. He’s in his own little dreamland and kicks every now and then. I can’t believe that it has been 11 years since that day that I was five years old and we went to visit that litter of eleven puppies. One of Reggie’s sisters wouldn’t stop licking me, and I wanted her, but my mom came out of the sea of puppies with Reggie in her arms, and we never looked back after that.

Other than that, today was any other day. Yesterday Robby (you, reader, might as well be aware of my boyfriend’s name, since I will probably be writing about all of our adventures in the future) and I built a snowman out in my front yard. The snow was the perfect packing snow, and Robby rolled a ball around until it turned into the huge base for our snowman. From there, we messed around with my brother’s dog and tackled each other because, in the snow, nothing hurts. Amidst the tackling, snowball-throwing and occasional kiss or two, we managed to finish the snowman. Well, not totally; we still have the to put stuff on the face and give him arms, but the framework is standing securely in my front yard. All we have to do is get our butts out there to finish it sometime this week. That should be no problem.

I’ll miss the fun times in the snow Robby and I have had, but I won’t miss the white stuff once it’s gone. March is now here (come in!) and I can’t wait for that first real warm and mild day where the birds are out and I can finally open my window without a risk of catching pneumonia. That first day where the birds singing accompanies a chorus of dripping icicles and drainpipes is my favorite day of the year. After that day, I look forward to when our lilies pop up again. I can’t wait for that, either.

Paramore’s brand new eyes

I love it. I’m pretty sure it passes by All We Know Is Falling and I definitely like it better than RIOT! The lyrics and melodies the band display on this album really speak of the struggles they have faced over the past year.

1.) “Careful” – A bold opener; not unlike “For A Pessimist I’m Pretty Optimistic.” It really shows that Paramore has grown up and earned their brand new eyes. They’re not the naive power-pop band anymore. They’ve witnessed more of the world now and have become wise because of it.“You can’t be too careful anymore…”

2.) “Ignorance” – It’s awesome, duh. It shows the heavier side of the problems Paramore has faced. “Don’t wanna hear your sad songs/I don’t wanna feel your pain/When you swear it’s all my fault/’Cause you know we’re not the same.” The music video for this is especially impressive. It’s dark, dreary, slightly demented, yet perfect.

3.) “Playing God” – Another glimpse for those of us who are on the outside looking in. Hayley Williams speaks for herself, yet it sums everything up for the whole band. Here, she tells about how she’s not perfect, but neither are they. “Next time you point a finger, I’ll point you to a mirror.”

4.) “Brick By Boring Brick” – My favorite part is when the boys join in the last twenty seconds of the song with the “ba da ba ba da ba ba-ah.” Course, I’m a sucker for guys that can sing. It’s cute how she ties in the part about how the wolf’s going to blow it down. It’s perfection in my book.

5.) “Turn It Off” – Williams’ lyrics are absolutely beautiful in this song. I can’t get over their beauty and how they just make this song.

6.) “The Only Exception” – My personal favorite. I love slow songs that have the lovely sound of someone strumming a guitar calmly. It gives me a nice break from the headache-inducing metal I listen to. This will definitely be added to my “Calm” playlist on my iPod. I don’t especially like how low Williams goes on the “are” of “you are the only exception,” but it works. It really does.

7.) “Feeling Sorry” – Another peek into the band’s life. Williams has no time for feeling sorry, and she makes that clear.

8.) “Looking Up” – Listen to the lyrics and it will give you goosebumps. After the songs she wrote with lyrics that tell of her desperation to settle everything, it’s refreshing to hear these lyrics. They almost threw everything away; everything that Hayley dreamed about. “It’s not a dream anymore… God knows the world doesn’t need another band (whoa-oa-oa, whoa-oa-oa) but what a waste it would have been (whoa-oa-oa, whoa-oa-oa).” She took it for granted, but now they’re back and in my mind there’s no doubt anymore about whether they will stay intact. “We’re just getting started.”

9.) “Where The Line Overlap”“No one is as lucky as us.” Sums it up, right there. Definitely a good listen.

10.) “Misguided Ghosts” – The guitar part in this song melts me. I love Hayley’s voice when she sings along to it.

11.) “All I Wanted” – An epic ballad on Paramore’s part. Hayley’s voice is breathtaking when it carries up to that highest note (listen to it and ye shall know). I think they should have ended the album with “Looking Up,” but this definitely works. The first part of the album is full of their frustrations, then they are settled, and these last three songs come in. Yeah, I guess it’s perfect.

They’re not a RIOT! band anymore. They’ve calmed down, reassessed things and have come through with an album that is sure to be another hit once it hits stores in the US tomorrow. I have already listened to it probably almost ten times, and I’m not going to stop any time soon. That much is for certain. Their brand new eyes don’t get boring.

Sorry, Dorothy

Remember my blog entry about not knowing which road to take? The pretty yellow brick one that was anything but practical versus the solid red brick one? (If not, here it is: https://blackbyrd.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/follow-the-yellow-brick-road/.) Well, I’ve chosen one. Are you curious to know which one I’ve decided to venture down?

This past week was theater camp week. I didn’t really want to go because it seemed like a waste of time. People were working their batooties off on their mud-covered houses and I was stuck inside the high school’s auditorium where it seemed like nothing was wrong. But there was something wrong. A lot of something wrong.

I had to do it, though. I needed to for my own sanity. I’ve been trying to choose what career path to take; the one full of glamour and spotlights (which isn’t even guaranteed) or the sensible one where I am behind the scenes with a pen in my hand? This past week has convinced me that the yellow brick road would not be a wise choice. It may look pretty, but looks can definitely be deceiving. What if I start on my way down it and the path breaks in half because, though the bricks are beautiful, they are cheap? The red brick seems more stable. I’m going for that one.

I enjoyed the singing immensely. It’s the acting that I can’t stand anymore. I’m beginning to think that actors and actresses act like other people because they aren’t okay with themselves. I have become so comfortable with myself and have such high self esteem that I don’t need nor do I want to act like anyone but myself. As I was getting instructed to do certain dance moves and stand in a certain spot and have a certain face on, I grew extremely tired of it. I wouldn’t last in that kind of environment where I am getting told what to look like, how to act, how to sound, and where to go. That’s not me. That doesn’t sound like a desirable future.

And so, I’ve decided that I’m done with theater. I’ll keep my part in the musical, consider taking part in the play (I’ll end up doing it, I know), but I’m not doing anything extra anymore. Sure, our performance might have cheered people up yesterday, but one way to really help them out is to get dirty and help clean up our village. All this week I was wasting my days with the learning of music and dance moves that aren’t even relevant to my future.

I’m done.

The reason why my nose hurts

Wow. Warped Tour 2009? Awesome! I had my doubts, I’ll admit it, and now I can’t imagine why I ever had any. I saw some of the prettiest people I have ever seen, but I also saw some of the ugliest people I have ever seen in my life. There were people with gross piercings, girls all decked out in gothic clothing, girls with wayyy too much makeup on, lesbians (everywhere!), pimple-covered faces and people that barely had anything covered. I saw a bunch of girls that looked to be about twelve years old (and were probably even younger) that looked way too young to be in a place like that. They had no fear, though. Like most of the youth these days. They do what they want without respecting others. How annoying.

We got there and headed over to the blow-up thingy that had the stages, bands and times they were playing on it, and who should be playing on the stage near us whilst we were looking? Underøath! I saw Aaron, heard them announce “this next one is an oldie!”, realized it was “Its Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door” and you’d better believe I ditched my people and squeezed through the crowd until I could see (even though I still couldn’t really see). The drowning in my sleep part melted me.

101_0138We got our times and started walking around. We waited at the Rock Band tent for Escape the Fate to show up and start judging the “bands” that were playing the video game. When they arrived (accompanied by several squeals issued by moi), and sat down RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME (I was in the front right up against the “CAUTION” tape) I started snapping pictures left and right. Robert turned around and waved, and yes, I got a picture of it. I only wish I could have had my camera out for when he turned around again and flicked everyone off. That was awesome.101_0150

We hurried off to watch Chiodos after that. I surprised myself by knowing most of the words to their songs (much like I did back in November). We left that stage to go see Scary Kids Scaring Kids at the Hurley stage. I was so looking forward to seeing them, but that quickly melted away. I realized that I did not know ANY of the words. I knew the beat and the guitar parts and stuff, but because I barely ever understood what the singer was singing, I couldn’t sing along. They played “My 101_0158Darkest Hour” (my favorite song by them) but it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. Kind of disappointing, but the crowd wasn’t all that into it either, so that was part of the problem. There really wasn’t much crowdsurfing during their set.

Madina Lake had the most energy out of anybody. 101_0164A big hairy guy almost ruined it for me, but my boyfriend and I scrambled around until we were as far away from him as we could get. I have not taken the time to listen to them in a long time, but every word to every song came back to me as soon as the music started playing. They opened with “Adalia,” played “House Of Cards,” mixed in some new stuff (which sadly I did not know) and ended with “True Love.” After being disappointed by Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Madina Lake provided the perfect pick-me-up.

101_0191Then, after being crushed in like sardines for A Day To Remember, I made my boyfriend and friend get up so we could get in the front101_0196 for Escape the Fate’s performance (FINALLY!). Once again, they opened with “The Flood.” They had enough energy, but not as much as Madina Lake. But I love Craig, Monte, Max and Robert anyway. Monte looked like a happy little Asian kid (his hair was lovely), Robert looked like Slash (like he normally does), I saw more of Max this time since I was on the side of the stage where he normally resides, so that was great, and Craig was his usual crazy fun-loving self. They performed “Situations,” surprised me with their performance of “Ashley,” played “You Are So Beautiful,”  rounded out the set with “10 Miles Wide” and ended with “This War Is Ours (The Guillotine II).” During one of the songs (I can’t recall which one) someone crowdsurfed and kicked me in the nose. It was awesome, but that’s why my nose is killing me right now. Before “10 Miles Wide” Craig said “now, I want to see every girl on top of some guy’s shoulders! Look at the guy in front of you, ladies, and hop on!”  Some guy turned around and looked at me, but I looked to my boyfriend who was standing behind me 101_0197with his arms around me and motioned for him to get down so I could mount his shoulders. I hopped on, got a GREAT view of the stage, and danced on his shoulders to the song whilst singing along. Craig jumped into the crowd and sang with a girl who was on someone’s shoulders, and boy, was I jealous! But, it was still awesome. I got down after that song, and my boyfriend pulled me out of the way before we were pushed into the Wall of Death.

Afterward I couldn’t stop raving about Escape the Fate’s performance. It was so much better than it had been back in November at Town Ballroom. My boyfriend wanted to watch Breathe Carolina, so we did (yuck!), but all I was thinking about was Escape the Fate. 101_0183

We left after Breathe Carolina, and wandered around the parking lot looking for his mom’s car. Then we hopped in and left. It was definitely a fun time. I can’t wait to see Escape the Fate for the third time. I promised my boyfriend that I would crowdsurf at that one. I’m little enough. 100_0364

Climbing to the top

All County tomorrow.

Am I nervous? Naw… I have a kick-ass outfit laid out that is dressy and sophisticated, yet it lets my style show through as opposed to the first outfit I had picked out. Now all I need to do is pack my bag, get some sleep, shower in the morning (this is my review time for the music I’ll be singing that day, of course), gulp down some coffee and a bowl of the last bit of shredded wheat I saved specifically for tomorrow, paint my nails, get dressed, put on some eye makeup so my eyes don’t disappear, clean my glasses, and get out the door successfully. It can be done; I’ve done it all before.

Last year I successfully climbed to the top of my All County ladder and held a major solo in my grasp. Unfortunately, our concert was canceled due to bad weather, but I am certain that that will not be the case this year. If it does happen, I might just jump out of a five-story window. Kidding, of course.

Tomorrow I have to be prepared for anything and everything. You’d better believe that one of my many Emily bags (which to choose?!?) will be transformed into the Barney bag for a while. If you need it, I’ll have it.

Tomorrow’s going to be awesome. I get to sit in a room all day with people that competed to get where they are, just like I and a few of my choir mates have. I get to listen to someone that knows what he’s talking about (not that I don’t get that everyday anyway, because I totally do), but this guy teaches those who are at a college level (my current teacher included). This will be interesting.

My only hope is that we get a nice cozy auditorium with comfy chairs. My bottom hurts right now just thinking of the chairs we had to sit on last year.

We get it! You kissed a girl and you liked it

Katy Perry.

When I first heard her hit “I Kissed A Girl,” I thought, hey, this isn’t bad. It’s actually kind of funny. Then I heard it again. And again. And again. And again. Everytime I turned on the radio. Every single time I flipped to Playlist. Everywhere I turned, people were singing it. I took it off my iPod after having it on there for less than a week. Goodbye, Katy.

I have not listened to her full CD, but the ones I have heard have not brought pleasure to my ears. Namely “Ur So Gay.” Honestly?!? HONESTLY?!?!? I disliked it right away because of the spelling of “you’re,” but then the song was horrible as well. It was mostly the lyrics that really pissed me off.

I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf
While jacking off listening to Mozart
You bitch and moan about LA
Wishing you were in the rain reading Hemingway
You don’t eat meat
And drive electrical cars
You’re so indie rock it’s almost an art
You need SPF 45 just to stay alive

You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like boys
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like…

…and that’s not even the whole song.

Listen, I’m not all about gay rights or anything, but this song and these lyrics are so awful! There are plenty more creative people with meaningful lyrics that deserve what she has and more. Sure, she may be homophobic, but that does not mean she has to profess her dislike of the gay population to the whole world. I mean, c’mon! She kissed a girl! Should she not be sick with herself?

She got famous with the most meaningless song on the planet, became even more famous with her other meaningless songs, and now her music is sung by young girls across the country? What’s wrong here?

I hate the little onesie things that she wears for concerts. I watched her performance on MTV one night, and her voice was even worse than her lyrics. She’s like one of those Disney kids where you can tell just how much technology has interfered with their “talent.” (‘Cause for some reason every Disney kid has to sing as well – that’s another thing I get pissed about.)

I respected her at first. I thought “I Kissed A Girl” was neat because it was different; no other artist I know of would ever come up with something so bizarre. Now it’s old, and she’s trying to use another single off of her album (the soft song on the album) to show her vulnerable side. Well, I don’t see it. Keep kissing girls and telling people that they don’t even like… PENIS. (Seriously, look up those “Ur So Gay” lyrics and you’ll know what I am talking about.)

Emily out.

School

It seems to me like summer never even happened. Now that I am in the day-to-day “school” routine, everything is back to normal. My iPod (PANDORA!!!) sings me the song I picked out the night before at around 5:45 every morning, and then I wait for the playlist to run out before I get up (usually around 6:20). I get up, take a shower, eat breakfast (well, drink some coffee to prevent future headaches), and wash my face before I let my hair down and mess around with it. I walk out the door wearing some crazy outfit (today it is a pair of crazy colored Bermuda shorts, brown high top Chucks with pink shoelaces, a red Hollister 3/4 polo and a white tank top underneath – I know! Hollister! *gasp!*).

School is just okay. Being a sophomore is definitely different. I open up the day with band, then either English or Earth Science for eighty minutes, lunch (yes, at ten o’clock in the morning), Spanish (which has been simple so far because the regular teacher is out sick and our substitute does not know a single word of the language), Global (my teacher is hilarious!) and then Chamber Choir. After Chamber Choir comes either a study hall (where I am right now) or PE. Then, the dreaded Geometry. I have found it easier to focus this year in math. I already got a 100% on our first test, and was the only student to receive said grade (YES! I put it on the fridge! xD).

Alone

Some people my age might be a little frightened to be home all alone, but I really enjoy it. For a few hours, I can do what I please, which is mostly just writing and reading, but without ANY interruptions. Another plus about being by myself is that I don’t have to fight the urge to burst out in song. I can walk around the house belting my guts out, and not feel self conscious at all. The place I usually sing my heart out is in the shower, but when nobody is around I belt it out wherever. I can sit here at the computer desk, and sing as I type.

Sometimes I feel stupid and wonder if the neighbors can hear my voice, but honestly, who cares if they do? Are they going to come up to me and tell me that they heard me singing? Probably not. I do my best singing when I am all by my lonesome, with only my two dogs and cat to keep me company. They are the only audience that really gets a taste of my voice.

Now, what is it that I sing when I am alone? Well, I belt out whatever meets my fancy. Mostly it’s some Paramore, but we musn’t forget Evanescence, Flyleaf, 1997, Automatic Loveletter, Hawthorne Heights, t.A.T.u., New Years Day, Garbage, and Autumns Monologue by From Autumn To Ashes. I love singing Paramore songs because Hayley’s voice is much like my own, and I love trying to match Amy Lee’s voice whenever I sing My Immortal, Hello, or Lithium. I find it challenging to sing Lacey Mosley’s parts, but I have fun trying.

One of these days, I want to put videos of me singing on YouTube. I like listening to other girls my age singing some of my favorite songs, but I cannot help but think that I could do a better job than they can. Hopefully someday soon, I will be able to prove myself, but I doubt my mother would approve of it. I will probably have to wait until college to begin videotaping myself singing.

Once they pull out of the driveway, I open my mouth and out comes something not very many people have heard. I sing rather conservatively in public, but when I am in the shower, or home by myself, I let it all out. I love getting home from camping because then I can finally lock myself in the bathroom and get all of the singing out I couldn’t do while we were all camping together. I hope to someday make a career out of this little hobby of mine. Only time will tell…