Category Archives: Music

%$&* Song Lyrics

I recently read a Facebook post by a teenage girl about the deterioration of secular song lyrics. And as a whole, I agree. I’ve jerked forward to change the station as a “special” kind of word floated out of the speakers.


Whoops. Sorry kids.


I’m not going to do this: “When I was a kid…I walked to school, barefoot, both ways in the snow. AND the songs I listened to didn’t have no cussing.”


When did it become normal for songs to talk about sleeping around or body parts? A long, long time ago. And guess what? It sells…a lot.


Have you ever watched a performance by Lady Gaga? She’s got a “schtick” – weird costumes. I won’t taint my page with her bizarre stuff. However, this rendition of the national anthem and this Sound of Music rendition changed my mind about her. But being a normal person with a beautiful voice doesn’t sell. Just ask an abundance of waiters and waitresses in Nashville and Los Angeles.


Thank the Lord, there are groups who come along like Twenty One Pilots, bucking the trend with clean lyrics and snappy interviews.


What do you think? Have lyrics been headed downhill for years? Who is your go-to for clean listening?

Twenty Øne on the 21st

Did I fall down a hole? Well, kinda. And now that I’ve clawed my way out, lemme share with you the best part of my absence: going to see Twenty Øne Pilots in concert.


On July 21st, I saw TØP. Get it? Twenty Øne on the twenty first? I crack myself up.


Last year, the day the tickets went on sale, the hubs bought a set of four. We pulled a surprise scavenger hunt on Christmas and surprised the spawn. But man alive, eight months of waiting. Ugh.


Oh, there was a friend of Thing 1 who wanted to go. So she knew beforehand and didn’t even spill the beans. Good job, girl whose name isn’t Carmen, no matter how many times I called you that.


So, finally, the day arrives. Cue the alarm clock at 2:15 a.m. Yup. You read that correctly. It’s a 3 ½ hour drive one way for us, and we wanted a good place in line. An email had come two days before warning us NOT to camp (um…I can neither confirm nor deny we were going to do this…totally true, though) and that the venue would NOT allow anyone to line up prior to 6:00 the morning of the 21st. So we figured we’d be thirty minutes early. No biggie, find a place to park.


Some people don’t care about rules. Upon our arrival, we were about 150 people back. At 5:30. Found out later that the first bunch in line had been camping since the day the email was sent. No matter, dirty rule breakers…we unpacked our chairs and coolers for the long day.


Little did we know, until many hours later, that we were part of the largest group, to date, that had lined up prior to a TØP concert. By noon, we were still in our spot, while hundreds and hundreds fell into rank behind us. Groups filled the sidewalk block after block. And with hours to kill, we sometimes looked like this:

TOP line wait

(Yes that is just my little group by itself. Somehow, we ended up being placed between a staircase to UC Berkeley and a driveway—just enough room for the five of us.)


Somewhere around the seventh hour, I fell asleep in my chair. Everyone napped at some point. At 4ish, we left the hubs in line and the girls and I trekked to the car with all of our gear. We knew the line would be shifted and didn’t want to juggle everything. On the way into the parking garage, a bearded guy, his wife and their little girl were playing near the entrance to the venue (where the bands’ buses enter). Thing 1 commented on the lil’ one’s ball. The guy was super nice. Found out later, he is Darren King, the AMAZING drummer for Mutemath. I capitalized that for a reason. Please do yourself a favor and watch him in action. He’s all over YouTube.

heavy breathing

Odd thing happened before the line pushed forward to go into the Greek Theater. We were approached by Mark Eshelman of Reel Bear Media. They produce weekly updates for TØP and post them to YouTube. He asked to interview us because we came as a family. Mark was stellar and hilarious. When he left (and I still had no idea who he was), the spawn totally fangirled over meeting him. Maybe we’ll make the cut for last week!


And how cool is finding this tweet after waiting hours and hours?

TOP tweet

 (there’s Thing 1 & Thing 2 on a retweet by the Hubs)

We had two secret weapons as the time grew close: Thing 1 and Thing 2. They had been to a TØP concert earlier in the week (long story involving lucky spawn and gracious uncle), so we knew there would be two stages. I fear the pit. Too much pushing. Too little caring. So, we found the second stage and sat three feet from it. Yes, three feet.


Chef’s Special started off the concert. Along the reggae lines, they reminded me of another band. Then Mutemath came on and I thoroughly enjoyed their set. That lead singer has moves like a penguin.


I cried when TØP started. I wasn’t there as a mom who brought her kids or a wife with the family because they were all going. There’s already a post here about how much I enjoy the group. And the more I learn the lyrics, the more I appreciate Tyler and Josh.


TØP engages their fans. The crowd sang every bit as loudly as Tyler did. And that proximity to the second stage? As chinzy as it sounds, it was almost intimate to watch two friends play for a crowd of 8,500.

TOP Tyler up close

(Why is he blurry? He never stands still…)

Would I suggest TØP concerts? Whole-heartedly. They don’t just play songs, they give you an experience.

TOP Berkeley

Would I go to another TØP concert? February 2017. Boom.

Dearly Beloved…

When my hubs sent me a text yesterday, informing me that Prince had died, I thought it was an internet hoax—you know, one of those annoying Facebook stories people keep reposting without checking the facts? No way…


And then it was confirmed. It’s not even funny the amount of blogs and news sites I clicked on yesterday. If you were on the internet at all yesterday, you couldn’t dodge the announcement: “Prince Found Dead In Elevator.”


You see, the man was iconic to me. I’ve always loved his music and knew he was a musical prodigy. I’ve known for years he wrote Sinead O’Connor’s ballad, “Nothing Compares 2 U” and that he sang it live with Rosie Gaines. And while I wasn’t a fan of his sense of fashion, it didn’t stop me from giving him props for wearing stack-heeled boots since he was, in fact, a tiny guy.


The first time I heard the soundtrack to “Purple Rain” was in a scrap of a town called Hornbrook at my friend Nicki’s house. Of course, we listened to “Darling Nikki,” none the wiser about its true meaning as wide-eyed sixth graders. My parents would’ve probably grounded me from ever going over to Nicki’s house again, but I still know the songs to the “Purple Rain” soundtrack by heart.


Honestly, I hadn’t planned on writing a blog about Prince or The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. Didn’t want ya’ll to know that the only time I visited Minneapolis, I made my friend drive by Paisley Park just so I could say I did it (without hyperventilating). But then another friend sent me a Facebook repost (from John Tesh, no less) last night and it struck a chord:


“For people who don’t understand why others mourn the death of artists, you need to understand that these people have been a shoulder to cry on. Our rock. They’ve been family, friends, leaders, teachers and role models. Many have taught us what we need to know and what to do when times get rough.


They’ve helped us move on. They’ve pushed us out of bed.


They’ve helped us live when nobody else had the time to. Artists have inspired us in endless ways and have been with us through stages in our lives.


We’ve made memories with them. So when they die, a part of us dies.”


I’m not saying that Prince was my rock, but his music is carved in the walls of my life. I will sing “Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts. Let’s look for the purple banana ’til they put us in the truck” loudly and not even care what you think.


Artists, no matter their medium, have the capacity to make memories. I hope someday, my writing will make someone reminisce—but I won’t wear a purple, velvet or satin coat or change my name to a symbol.


P.S. I’m not ashamed to say “Purple Rain” was on the DVD player last night.

It’s Twenty Øne, NOT 21

There is a band you should check out. Twenty Øne Piløts—all spelled out (and yes, they use the crossed out “ø”). I think I first heard their song “Tear in my Heart” on the radio and was ambivalent towards it.




Then “Stressed Out” received air time.




The video?! I want an adult sized trike. NOW.




So I did what every good mom does and looked up the lyrics to see the poisonous words seeping into my spawns’ ears. Lo and behold—song lyrics with meaning. *gasp* Slap me with a fish in the face! I continued down my whirlpool of TØP titles and subsequent lines and found depth, a rare quality in many musicians striving for fame and fortune.


I won’t reiterate Josh and Tyler’s story, other than they worked their way up from living in their family’s basements (true story) and that their interviews are a pleasure to listen to. Seriously. Try this interview or this one. Those mama’s boys make a habit of being well spoken and hilarious. Savvy businessmen, they are currently on a sold-out tour and announced another run next year. Some locations sold out within minutes of being available. Mind you, these aren’t tiny bars or venues: Madison Square Gardens in NYC and The Greek Ampitheatre in Berkeley, CA.


Back to their music; what impressed me the most (other than their sound) is the profound lyrics Tyler pens. He uses music as an outlet. His overt lyrical honesty is refreshing. (P.S. How rad is it that they put their grandpas on the cover of an album?!)


While not labeled as “Christian” music, their songs have zero swearing. Even their interviews are clean. Their song The Judge is in reference to Tyler’s faith (he’s a proclaimed Christian) and seems to be his interpretation about asking the Lord for help. Now I’m sure somewhere down the road, someone will find fault with my observations. Go for it. Not my song, not my band, but it is my blog and my opinion. Rawr. Note: just because they are cuss word free doesn’t mean their listeners are, so be forewarned of comments.


If you are an Enya fan (read: nothing wrong with her…I own three of her albums), then maybe this band isn’t for you. Want to give them a spin? Enjoy my favorite track, Fairly Local:

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