Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Hero by Foo Fighters

It's a widely accepted rule of friendship - by which I mean real friendship, the through-thick-and-thin kind - that the two friends have to respect each other. The person I respect more than any other, and look up to as an example of a life well lived, is my best friend Caroline, and this song always makes me think of her.

There goes my hero

He’s ordinary

Of course, when you're a kid, you think a hero is someone with quasi-mystical powers, someone who saves the damsel in distress and remains calmly composed and unemotional when the grateful citizens thank him.

Don’t the best of them bleed it out

While the rest of them peter out

But as you grow up, you realise that the people who are most deserving of your admiration are just as human and flawed as you are. The praise they so richly deserve is not because of their extraordinary abilities or attributes, but because, with the same resources as you and I, they overcome adversity and manage to keep their dignity intact. This world can be a horrible place, and for my friend Caroline, that certainly seemed to be true for a very long time. No-one had any faith that she would succeed, everyone had written her off. It's not just a matter of "if they could see her now"; the thing that impresses and inspires me most about her is not the successes, it's the success story, and all the struggle therein.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Fresh Feeling, by eels

eels is one of those bands that are so strange. I know the word strange isn't enough to describe something, anything. They are tender sometimes, they sound hardcore other times. "Fresh Freeling" (from Souljacker, 2001) is one of their most tender moments. A sort of hip-hop base, with strings and the promise that everything will be better. You must forget the past, because tomorrow is here. The feeling when you have met someone and you're walking in the street like saying: "I don't care. The world might collapse, but I don't care, because I'm super cool". The wind hitting on your face, thinking about her all the time, thinking how cool things are finally going. That is the fresh feeling. The only one that matters right now. The only one that really matters at all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sitting Still Moving Still Staring Outlooking, by His Name is Alive

La tarde ha caído mientras estoy encerrado traduciendo el Evangelio eterno de Blake. Veo una parte de mis discos que no he escuchado en meses y la mirada llega al hermoso Home is in Your Head de His Name is Alive (1991) La tarde cae con el peso habitual de la luz. Pongo el disco. Cierro los ojos. Imagino las cosas que vendrán con los sonidos de la guitarra del señor Defever. Siento un profundo naufragio y no veo ninguna playa apacible. Seré una sombra que escapará al alba....

Sitting Still Moving Still Staring Outlooking, by His Name is Alive

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What Difference Does it Make?, by The Smiths

Life is full of defeats. When you feel you have finally been hit, you are falling, you can see the earth below you. You still have some time to sing a final song.

Maybe this one:

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Because music is that place we can always go to when everything else has let us down.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wild Horses, by The Rolling Stones (acoustic)

According to this silly list, Bono is the one. doesn´t matter. This poll made me think of that rare light that engulfs you: those moments when you jumped from the sofa and said: what the hell was that?!!! This song by The Rolling Stones is a sort of stage moving from childhood to old age: the condition of being alone we carry with us sometimes: Jagger sings

Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can't let you slide through my hands


Faith has been broken tears must be cried
Let's do some living after we die

Lyrics (moments) with desperate longing for another chance to escape somewhere else...

Wild Horses, by Rolling Stones (acoustic)

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You Really Got Me, by the Kinks

I must have been six or seven when I first noticed it. The wall is not there anymore, substituted now for the parking lot of a corporate broadcasting giant, but the graffitti still remains fresh on my mind. Scribbled hastily, but very stylishly, the white graffitti on the grey or black wall read: Manchuria Rock: De veras me atrapaste, followed by the drawing of a magic mushroom. I was intrigued by the scribbling on the wall on the way home. It kept me awake at night: "de veras me atrapaste". There was, beyond the subversive nature of a writing on the wall, a very seductive, mesmerizing effect in those words. De veras me atrapaste. You really got me. I knew, deep inside my child's heart, that those were words that could only come out of a tormented soul. There was a sense of inevitability, of a manifest destiny one could not avoid. Love as fate, but also as punishment. When I finally listened to the song, I was, literally, trapped. The energy of its first two riffs, joined by the sparkling light of the rusty percussion, and the crazy, out of control guitar solo around the minute and a half, were to me the musical translation of love sickness. Desire as imprisonment; love as a chosen prison. The song was, needless to say, catchy, but it was, in no way, simplistic as the other tunes I was used to listening to on the radio. There was something paradoxically liberating in this anthem. It summarized my experience; trapped in a mutant body; hating my looks and my guts, helplessly in love with a girl who would never even look at me. The song was the a priori and the a posteriori of it all; pure love and desire and passion and lust made music and distortion and whining cries. In-love and out-of-love, this is the song that, for me, started it all. Now, when I listen to it, watching the old, dust-kissed dark seven-inch record spin, I still remember that graffitti, written by god-knows-what tortured soul of an upscale suburb, perhaps the everlasting S.O.S from an unknown, lonely and heartbroken hipster very far away from home.

You don't know what love is if you haven't listened, truly, to this song:

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Yesterday, by Dylan and Harrison

Una de las canciones más feas y aburridas jamás escritas y cantadas es "Yesterday". La canción, por alguna razón que ignoro, la asocio con una tortillería, con el calor y el ruido de la máquina , y con el chicle que el tortillero mascaba durante las 5 ó 6 horas que duraba su turno. Luego, "Yesterday" la escucho cantada por uno de mis vecinos que moría de amor por otra de mis vecinas y, creo, ambos consideraban que la canción era romántica. En fin, aquí les dejo una versión con Bob Dylan y George Harrison.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Lovefool, by The Cardigans

Una vez mi psicoanalista señaló un punto en mi discurso que me hizo ver lo masoquista que puedo ser a veces. Esta mañana, viendo los discos que tengo y ordenándolos, encontré una canción que de Noviembre a Diciembre del 2005 oía todos los días. Quise seleccionarla y algo en mí tembló diciendo: don’t. Y sin embargo la puse. Esta vez quise bailarla pero no pude. Estoy agotada. Me agota pensar en el desamor, en esas mañanas en que bailaba y bailaba, con una mordida de serpiente en el talón. Mi flatmate me miraba con paciencia, porque sabía mejor que yo, lo que estaba sucediendo. Era mi manera de decirme: dear, I fear we’re facing a problem.

Me encanta que las canciones pop se tomen la licencia de gritar a los cuatro vientos cosas que uno no se atrevería a decirse a sí mismo. (Algo tan estúpido como: Fool me fool me, go on and fool me).

Por cierto que a Nina, la cantante de la banda, la vi hace dos años en Malmo, Suecia. Yo estaba caminando con una amiga mía muy querida y el día estaba muy gris y no había mucha gente en la calle. De pronto una chica muy guapa se paró junto a nosotras porque estaba estacionando su bici. Le dije a mi amiga: esa chica es idéntica a la de los Cardigans. Me dijo que era ella, que ya la había visto varias veces porque ensayaban en el mismo edificio donde ella daba clase de español.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Half The World Away, by Oasis

Paul Weller considers this one the best song written by Noel Gallagher. People who tell me: "How could you possibly like Oasis?" I always answer them: "Listen to their b-sides". This is probably their masterpiece, in terms of what they did for their b-sides. Noel singing his heart out, but in a tender way. The feeling of defeat is present during the entire song. But there is also a little cynicism ("...but I don't feel bad"). So many times have I heard this song and so many times I've nodded, saying: "Yes, I would like to leave this city, this old town don't smell too pretty, 'cause I can feel the warning signs running thru my head". It sounds selfish, abandoning one's problems. But there are some times in which one cannot do anything else for something. Nothing makes sense and it seems like far, far away one will be better. Sometimes I do believe it. Do you?

200 bars, by Spiritualized

En una vieja entrevista con Jason Pierce en la NME del 92 se afirmaba que el disco de Spiritualized (el hermoso debut Lazer Guided Melodies, el mejor primer disco de una banda inglesa en años, en serio) podía resistir el paso del tiempo. "Si te encierras en una cápsula y despiertas ciento cincuenta años después te darás cuenta que tus nietos estarán hipnotizados con las armonías de este disco." Las palabras del periodista ya le hacían un homenaje al personaje de Jason Pierce (tomando el alias de Jason Spaceman). ¿Cómo entrarle a un disco dividido en cuatro tracks como si fueran movimientos de una sinfonía de una hora? Eso es otro tema: la emoción que sentí en una tarde de abril del 92 en una tienda Mixup al comprar el cassette del Lazer Guided Melodies (yo no tenía reproductor de discos compacto en esos días) y pasar tardes enteras esuchando en esa cinta valiosos tratados de la historia del rock (una hora que va desde Hendrix, Can, Beatles, Velvet Underground, Zappa, Syd Barret, Neu!, King Crimson, Fripp, Eno para aterrizar en el terreno del Britpop) ...y llegar al track final: 200 bars...

La hermosa Kate Radley empieza a contar: una hermosa semblanza de arithmos (el inquietante término griego de larga historia) Antes de la aparición de la filosofía de Aristóteles, el concepto de número es para lo griegos percepción: eran los días en que el número no era una abstracción o el resultado de una ecuación de tercer grado: el arithmos era la unidad de la realidad (Euclides define el número como "la multitud compuesta de unidades") Exacto: al escuchar el tenue conteo en la voz de Radley el universo se compone de unidades que se empiezan a delinear con la intensidad del compás de un instrumento: aquí los números son nociones de ritmo en un aparente largo camino. Y cuando Kate Radley alcanza el cien parece que el kosmos (puro latido en griego) estallara; como si detrás de los números se escondiera la esplendorosa armonía.

200 bars, by Spiritualized

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Svefn-G-Englar, by Sigur Ros

Un poema casi estático o la reminiscencia de la distancia estancada.

Las cuerdas emergen en remolinos como la aparición súbita del alma. Estrategia de la invisible álgebra, justo como la describió Borges. Y entonces la sustancia: el mundo es tan lento como el soplo que forma la estela crepuscular donde tú y yo estamos en un diálogo cuyas palabras son una travesura. Y mis ojos no pueden dejar de ver tu piel imperturbable: ocurre la suspensión de la luminosidad. Trazos que se componen de una lejanía y del splendor formae. Un instante y la metáfora audible se convierte en un mito personal. Sus fragmentos descubren la mutación de la luz y pregonan tu cuerpo. El quebrar de una cuerda se abre como un río: la eternidad ha empezado a agitarse y la multiplicación del sonido rodea armoniosamente todos los idiomas desconocidos: la gloria concentrada del amanecer en tu eco.

Svefn-G-Englar, by Sigur Ros.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ivo, by Cocteau Twins

Cocteau Twins forma parte de las bandas que mantuvieron buena parte de su carrera a base de nadar a contracorriente en el panorama musical. A mediados de la inasible/vasta/demencial década musical inglesa de los 80 Cocteau Twins apostó por el lenguaje incomprensible como bandera a defender. El canto de Elizabeth Fraser ocurre/brota en la era postpunk y con el nacimiento de la lánguida melancolía de The Smiths. El lenguaje de los Cocteau Twins es inexpresable porque abarca una necesidad permanente del alma: un modo esplendoroso de un enigma. Muy lejos de la arrogancia Sigur Ros por crear un esperanto musical, los Cocteau Twins comprendieron rápidamente que las palabras (a la manera de Wittgenstein) siempre están rodeadas de fronteras inabordables. Si cada palabra evoca una imagen, los balbuceos siempre virginales de Fraser invocan emociones primigenias. Su voz tiene el alcance de un rito que alberga la plenitud de un nuevo universo. Anhelo, sospecha, latido incallable de una nueva Alquimia musical. Ecos, ruinas añoradas y punteadas por la guitarra de Guthrie convertidas en enigmas desentrañables...

Ivo, by Cocteau Twins.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday Morning, by The Velvet Underground

The pretty bells are just an excuse. It's like waking up and wanting to kick life right at the stomach. Like wanting to get yourself lost in that cup of coffee or that cereal dish. Or like watching the sun through your window wishing that the night before had never ended. But no, sunday morning is here. Inevitable and cynical. Laughing at your disgrace. Not asking your permission to step into your life. Monday is closer now. And there is nothing no one can do to avoid it. However, we try to make Sunday Morning last as long as possible. We? Not me. I just can't stand it. The good thing about sunday is that it ends and won't come back until next week, or so it seems.

Tell me something by Devendra Banhart

I woke up singing the tune: tell me something, do you love him, does he love you too? Like I love you. Sigh... if you have been in a relationship for a long time with someone who's now with someone else you might relate to these lines sung by beautiful Devendra Banhart in one of his best records, Oh Me, Oh My... I'm truly brokenhearted by the pic! Devendra, why are you doing this to me?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

World Leader Pretend, by R.E.M.

Te levantas con la cruda habitual de un viernes, Recuerdas los pagos del banco. Apuras tu mañana hacia la calle, chocas de frente contra el trabajo. Eres un adulto, asumes tu perfil por ocho horas. Recuerdas los días en que podías comer en casa de tus padres, la comida casera herencia de la abuela. Quisieras que la tarde no fuera sólo melancolía de la infancia. Saliendo, a algún lugar donde puedas añorar con una cerveza en la mano, con tus amigos. Narran historias de amores que caen, amores rotos. Añoran juntos. Regresas a casa adolorido, solo y antiguo, a trabajar unas horas más y premiarte con un poco de televisión, por el gran camino que te estás forjando.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Creep Out, by The Dandy Warhols

It creates time and space. It flows, evergrowing, one wave after another. It fills the ambience and it fills the body, floods veins and organs with electricity. An appendix, an epilogue, it grows within you, makes you imagine cables and microphones and amplifiers, instruments like weapons, the dirty hair falling down, the eyes staring into space, or the body bent, the muscles in tension, the gaze focused on the wooden floor of the stage. This is potential volume, the invention of levels of experience, the recreation, through sound, of what we conceive as "listening."

It is the absolute dimension of sound. The evolution of a collective organism: sounds pile up one over the other, gradually, respectfully, creeping into your skin like passionate kisses or an unseen hairy insect. The drums join to set a regular rhythm, a pace of unstoppable sexyness, the beauty of distortion, the emotion of expectancy. The musical translation of suspense, made to be experienced loudly, alive, live, every time unique.

Crank it up. Let it creep into your mind. Close your eyes and imagine the perfect aestheticism of pure rock and roll. Play it loud. The Dandy Warhols at their best, no concessions: just the art of rock. Ten years have passed, and this still sounds fucking awesome.

Blow up your speakers: this is what makes life be worth all the while.

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