Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Song of the Week #4 -- Plea from a Cat Named Virtue by The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans are one of the bands that everybody should know about, but no one does. It's supremely disappointing, that. There's really nothing dislikable about them, and everything likable. Their light but powerful guitar with nice, not overpowering drums are fantastic, but the vocals..

See, I usually don't pay much attention to the vocals of a song. And you will know that right away when I try to sing along to one. I get the overall message, but don't really listen to the little words. That's because I see the lyrics as secondary to the music. Far secondary. In fact, I don't much care about lyrics; one thing that I love so much about Sigur Ros is the fact that they sometimes sing in a completely made-up language (Hopelandic).

With The Weakerthans, though, the lyrics are reason enough to listen, and the great music behind the lyrics is just further reason. They're true poetry, and not any of that e.e. cummings crap: this is the real thing.

Normally, I'd provide a 'case in point,' but any of their songs could serve as a case in point. So, without further ado, Plea from a Cat Named Virtue:

Plea from a Cat Named Virtue

This was my first Weakerthans experience (it was on Punkorama 9). If you didn't realize, it's from the perspective of a cat whose owner has gotten lethargic.

Pretty awesome, isn't it?

And for those of you that want more, here's another track of theirs. This is maybe my favorite of theirs; it's got that awesome repetitive guitar and some of the most beautiful lyrics I've ever heard:

My Favorite Chords

I super super hope that you have enjoyed these as much as I have. Over and over. And if you like it, go buy it!

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

*GHASP* The Meaning of Life!

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Yahoo! Answers, but if you're not, you probably should be. It really is a pretty good tool for getting a question answered, and quickly, though it certainly has its fair share of weird questions (Should I be letting my child play with asbestos? Why cant i get boners? Men what would you do if you went to get your hair cut and the man doing it has his dick hanging out?) that make for good entertainment.

Lots of questions are posed over and over again (What's the best band/movie/book? How can I get rid of my acne?) but the one that I have seen nearly ever time I've voyaged to Yahoo! Answers is "What's the meaning of Life?"

Now, I don't mean to sound crass, but how in the hell do you plan on getting a good answer to that question by posing it on an online community!? I mean, you'd find not only a better answer but a faster one by Googling it!

That's not to say, though, that there aren't people that put a good amount of thought into answering the question. In fact, some of the replies are actually quite interesting to read:
"planting things, watching them grow"
"The meaning of life is to chase after the assumption that there is a meaning of life that can be found."
"I think we are here in earth as a learning experience for our soul's." (I apologize for the grammar)
""To be" is temporary and "not to be" is inevitable""

Others, though are not:
"Catholics believe the meaning of human life is to know and love God."
"I have no idea. We are all confused."
"live life to da fullest"

That last one hurts me the most. I know math isn't my strong point, but I can't count the number of times I've heard that phrase. "Life life to the fullest." What's the fullest? You're not defining anything, you're skirting the question. Let's look at a translation of how it might go:

"So, what do you think is the meaning of life?"

= "We've run out of relevant topics to talk about, so I'll pose a mock-philosophical question to demonstrate to you how smart I am."

"Umm. Y'know, to live life to the fullest."

= "Well, I don't really think deeply enough to come up with anything new or meaningful, so I'll regurgitate the phrase that I've heard used over and over again and makes me look optimistic and like a fun-loving person. They'll be sure to like that."

I mean, at least have the balls to say "I don't really know."

So, that brings us to a new question: what's the right answer? In my [right] opinion, it's simply to pursue your motivation, whatever that may be. Here's a list of common motivators, with accompanying brief descriptions:

Achievement -- To overcome obstacles and succeed; to become the best
Acquisition -- To obtain possessions/wealth
Balance/Peace -- To bring all things into harmony and equilibrium
Beneficence -- To protect the helpless, heal the sick, feed the hungry, etc
Chaos -- To disrupt, rebel, and to cause confusion and discord
Creation -- To build or make new, such as art, culture, invention, design, etc
Destruction -- To annihilate, exterminate, unmake, and bring to ruin
Discovery/Adventure -- To explore, uncover mysteries, and pioneer
Education -- To provide information, teach, enlighten, or train
Enslavement -- To force others into servitude
Hedonism -- To enjoy all things sensuous
Liberation -- To free self and/or others from perceived captivity or enslavement
Nobility/Honor -- TO exalt ideas such as generosity, honesty, bravery, and courtliness
Order -- To arrange, organize, and reduce chaos
Play -- To have fun, to enjoy life
Power -- To control and lead others
Recognition -- To gain approval, social status, or fame
Service -- To follow a person, government, order, religion, etc
Torment -- To inflict pain and suffering, on others and/or the self
Understanding -- To seek knowledge or wisdom (spiritual, scientific, etc)

(note-- I stole this list from here)

Also, for all those romantics out there, I would add the pursuit of love to that otherwise comprehensive list.

I think that it is too easy--too tempting--to throw a blanket statement as an answer for the 'meaning of life.' One could argue for any of these. But that also, in my opinion, would be wrong. All of us work in different ways,

As for me? It's understanding. Go figure.

Any motivators that aren't on there that should be? What do you think is the meaning of life? What's your motivator? Leave me a comment. Please. I'm begging you. I yearn it. I need it. Please.

"Take away love and our earth is a tomb."
-Robert Browning

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Song of the Week #4 -- 'Comme Des Enfants' by Coeur de Pirate

I realize that it's been more than a week. But bite me. This is hard work, listening to music and all.

This week we're moving out of the US of A into Canada. Quebec, to be specific. But before I talk about the song, lemme just say, French singing blows American singing out of the water. The language is eight-hundred times more awesome. It'd be a lie to say that I don't miss speaking it. But, then it would also be a lie to say I miss the class.

So the band in question is Coeur de Pirate. Now, don't go running off to Wikipedia, because it doesn't have a page. It's really quite a new band, so even the Myspace at this point is in French.

Beatrice Martin is the heart and soul of the band, providing light piano and beautiful vocals (as well as, according to the myspace, other instruments that are 'easy to play.')

The song I wanna show you guys is called 'Comme des Enfants.' Now, I really don't wanna read too deeply into the song because I don't think that's how it should be listened to. Y'know what? Just take a listen:

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Heheh. So, Drop.io removed their hosting service, so my audio files no longer work. Whoops.

Hope you liked it as much as I did.

"Worlds may freeze and suns may perish, but there stirs something within us now that can never die again."
--H.G. Wells