Listening Lately

Recently, I have been switching back and forth between my Annie Lennox station on Pandora and a little playlist someone made on Songza full of songs from Les Miserables and other fantastic musicals. Both good for late night writing and ruminating. Here are a few other songs that I’ve been enjoying lately.

A while back I caught a little bit of Dave Stewart’s documentary covering the making of this record and this song was so sad and haunting. It stuck with me.

A friend introduced me to this one and really, how can you not love it? Melody Gardot appears to share my passion for baths. And look…bubbles!

I don’t remember where I heard this, but I believe the lyrics are what drew me to it.

Now these years locked in my drawer
I’ll open to see just to be sure

I can’t sleep
I can’t speak to you
I can’t sleep

And so I’m reaching out for the one
And so I’ve learned the meaning of the sun
And all this like a message comes to shift my point of view
And watching through my own light
As it tints the shade of you

Sometimes when I hear a song I think of characters from literature. This one makes me think of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan.

I just adore Ren Harvieu. “Walking in the Rain” is gorgeous and I love the images of celebrities that are used in the video. If you only listen to one of these…wait, TWO, listen to this one and the Melody Gardot song.

50 of My Favorite Films — 30-26

These next five bring us more of the beautiful Gene Tierney (slightly less crazy here though), two animated features, one that my husband refuses to watch (again), and an epic love story. And all five show us couples who have to get over some very big hurdles to be together. I think that may be a theme on my countdown.

30. Thumbelina
Let me be your wings / Leave behind the world you know / For another world of wondrous things

This one was really underrated when it was released (I vividly remember the episode of Siskel & Ebert) but I LOVED it. Possibly because the prince in the story was sporting a ROCKIN’ bowl haircut. And when I was in 3rd-4th grade that was awesome.

I love this one for the music. There are a number of sweet songs and it features a voice familiar to many of you out there — Jodi Benson. That’s right. Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. (She’ll be 50 this year!) And the music is composed by none other than Barry Manilow. I didn’t know this until years later, but it goes to show how exquisite my taste was even back when I was in elementary school.

Oh, Mandy…

29. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.

Let me first say that I hated reading this in high school. And to that I should also add that yes, I do have a degree in English, but for the most part I could do without Shakespeare. (Do looove Macbeth though.)

You hear that in the distance? They are coming for me, so I’ve got to hurry this along.

The story itself doesn’t do much for me. The kids are immature and behave in ways that would make you think their frontal lobes aren’t fully functional. Oh wait. They’re adolescents…so their brains aren’t firing on all cylinders. Anyway, even if the story isn’t right up my alley, this movie is. I love the cinematography, the way Baz Luhrmann and the screenwriters made this flow so seamlessly in a modern setting.

The “Kissing You” (party) scene is my favorite of them all. The song still makes my heart all fluttery like the first time I saw it in 1997. Sigh. Young love, people.

This is the one on the list that my husband will not watch again. I watched Dune in exchange for him watching this. In case you don’t recall, I WAS ON THE LOSING END, folks.

28. Beauty & the Beast
I want adventure in the great wide somewhere
I want it more than I can tell
And for once it might be grand
To have someone understand
I want so much more than they’ve got planned

Allow me to set the scene for you. It’s 1991. I’ve just started 1st grade. We’ve survived the hey day of The Little Mermaid. My best friend has long, flowing red hair. Guess who gets to be Ariel on the playground? Hint: Not the somewhat tall for her age brunette.

And then I saw a short segment about a new Disney movie on Entertainment Tonight (why was I watching this??). The heroine’s name was Belle, she had brown hair, and loved to read.

SCORE.

As the only brunette in my class who was interested in being a princess in playground games, my role was secure for at least the next year.

Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales of all time. I think the story and the lessons to be learned from it are awesome. It’s so much more than just a silly romance. It’s a story of redemption, seeing the good inside a person, and getting past fear and prejudice. I love it. It speaks to me.

27. Out of Africa
Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.

It’s an odd feeling, farewell. There is such envy in it. Men go off to be tested, for courage. And if we’re tested at all, it’s for patience, for doing without, for how well we can endure loneliness.

Bring me some tissue because I’m going to cry just thinking about it. I don’t have the words to do it justice.

Sydney Pollack was a master. John Barry, a genius. And I’d give my eye teeth to have Meryl Streep portray a character that I wrote.

If you haven’t seen this film — what are you waiting for? Every bit of it is breathtaking.

26. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
You must make your own life amongst the living and, whether you meet fair winds or foul, find your own way to harbor in the end.

Gene Tierney stars as Lucy Muir, a widow who comes to live in a haunted seaside cottage in England. Rex Harrison is the dashing, and very dead, Capt. Gregg. It’s a sweet movie and one of my favorite things about it is Rex Harrison’s humorous delivery. Capt. Gregg has an opinion on everything and because so few people can actually see or hear him, he’s very open to sharing it.

This one is heartbreaking in a way, despite the light tone the film takes at times, because these two are separated by the greatest gulf that exists. Catch it on TV sometime. It’s shown quite often.

We’re halfway through!