So, I don’t remember the exact path that led me to stumble upon Marlon Williams. I think Spotify recommended him as a “Fans Also Like” algorithm suggestion.
He is already pretty big (huge?) in his native New Zealand, and I’m assuming Australia, but maybe William will confirm if he happens to stumble upon this entry! Additionally it appears Marlon was briefly in A Star is Born (the remake with Lady Gaga that I still haven’t seen) and his song “Dark Child” was featured in the documentary Wild Wild Country.
He’s been on “Conan” in the U.S. too.
So where have I been? Well, I don’t watch a lot of tv, and I don’t watch a lot of movies when they first come out probably because I am a bit of a grandma in terms of pop culture. In a bubble I am.
But when I heard Marlon Williams, I was like “Damn, this Marlon boy kinda sounds like if Nick Cave had a baby with Orville Peck and it was also very talented and kinda dark but great at storytelling,” and if you have been reading my stuff or do read into my archives, you will know that combination of artists would be capable of grasping my beating heart and crushing it, and I would still manage to die with a smile on my face.
But then I looked this Marlon boy up, and I was like “Damn, this boy is also very handsome, funny, and goofy.”
So yeah, Marlon will 100% be a regular staple to my listening habits. Congrats on leaving me speechless even though you dance kinda funny. I am rurnt.
The DNA of the American South was changed forever when 6’4″tall, mustachio’ed, Adonnis and drink of Georgia water Alan Jackson emerged from the Chattahoochee River atop two water skis, clad in ripped jeans, a cowboy hat, and very 90s life vest (I think this is one of the greatest things I have ever written in my life).
Alan Jackson’s “Chattahootchee” was one of the last great country songs for quite some time, though many tried to create the pure vibe of “Chattahootchee”. I believe we are seeing an active country music renaissance right now, but they harken back to the country of the early 80s and before. There was a nice time pre-aughts, pre-crossover that was sort of its own category before “the darkness”.
I would argue that Alan Jackson has maintained a steady stream of bangers throughout his career. However, “Chattahoochee”, will always stand out to me.
Matt Berry is someone who I don’t worry about delivering a consistently good vibe. The dude just seems to enjoy everything he does, and he takes me to the emotional highs and lows and all the in betweens.
So “Something in My Eye”is a bit of a different tune than “Take My Hand”, which is great because mid-2020 is definitely a different vibe than the last day of 2019. And yet, I am feeling stronger every day now.
Really feeling this today. Boy. Many other posts I have read mark “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” by Sharon Van Etten as a song being about a flippant response to self-destruction. I hear that, but this song means more to me.
When I listen to it and read the lyrics, it reminds me so much of what it feels like to identify as a woman and outwardly appear as a woman but also what occurs when you act outside the societal norms and expectations of being a woman– being quiet and good and patient. Not asking for what you need. No bodily functions. Etc.
There is a constant sense of “being in trouble” if you act outside of this expectation or norm or, god forbid, ask for what you need or express how you feel earnestly. In fact, people often react even more angry towards women when women show (maybe even a rare) instances of assertiveness, boundary setting, or speaking up for yourself or even the facts. I am sadly speaking from experience on this one and have one too many stories where I felt threatened (physically and beyond) for standing up for myself or even saying “no”. However, it is more normal to be gaslit or talked back into being quiet in real life instances.
Obviously these gendered issues aren’t just a problem for women. All genders suffer when we are bound by these expectations. This line in particular though really resonated with me in terms of being a woman:
I washed your dishes, but I shit in your bathroom
Sharon Van Etten, “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”
I’ve included a live version above because if an artist can do their songs justice in a live setting, usually the experience is a bit more touching. I have also included the music video below because it’s a really charming music video featuring a man transforming himself into a sort of a Svengoolie type character (I guess; there may be some other cultural reference I am not picking up on; let me know if that is the case!).
There is a quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s often misattributed to Albert Einstein, but I don’t know who actually said it.
Maybe it’s this weird blip in time. Maybe because many of us are relying on conversation more than pre-COVID. Probably a little of both. But I feel like I’ve been forced to look through a microscope at other peoples’ decisions (my own included). This is, of course, not true. I could choose to turn away or shut it out in many cases, and I do put up my boundaries when I get too tired (a skill that I am still learning a lot and developing). But sometimes I engage.
I think when someone invites us to look closely at them under a microscope, we start to lose our sense of self and autonomy. When you start to get lost in other people’s decisions or dramas, don’t lose your self. In fact, work harder than ever to hold on to yourself or rediscover and build out your identity even more.
I am sharing this CHVRCHES cover of the Arctic Monkeys‘ “Do I Wanna Know?” because to me, this song reeks of desperation and crawling back over and over again, which I’ve seen a lot of the past week. People can decide not to crawl and just sit with it (whatever “it” is). Then eventually maybe get up and start walking. Maybe in a different direction. This applies to the crazies we are examining and ourselves when we too closely examine crazies.
Lasting and healthy adult relationships, in every form (family, work, friends, etc.), should be reciprocal at least most of the time.
I wanted to share one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets, the amazing Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda (seriously, read his Wiki).
A former boyfriend gifted me with 20 Poemas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada which, in retrospect, was a pretty thoughtful gift from an 18/19 year old boy. I’m not sure how my heart didn’t explode, and I hope the youths are still sharing these kinds of beautiful gifts. Anyway, the gift of Neruda has stood the test of time both physically and mentally. I often revisit Neruda even though reading him takes a specific level of vulnerability.
I recently stumbled upon this very sentimental video with a velvety reading of Poema 20 a.k.a “Tonight I can Write”, and I had to share it:
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example, “The night is starry and the blue stars shiver in the distance.”
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms. I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too. How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines. To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
To hear the immense night, still more immense without her. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.
What does it matter that my love could not keep her. The night is starry and she is not with me.
This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance. My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer. My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.
The same night whitening the same trees. We, of that time, are no longer the same.
I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.
Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses. Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.
I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.
Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her. (Trans. W.S. Merwin)
The original: Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Escribir, por ejemplo: “La noche está estrellada, y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos”.
El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.
Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche. Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso.
En las noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos. La besé tantas veces bajo el cielo infinito.
Ella me quiso, a veces yo también la quería. Cómo no haber amado sus grandes ojos fijos.
Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche. Pensar que no la tengo. Sentir que la he perdido.
Oir la noche inmensa, más inmensa sin ella. Y el verso cae al alma como al pasto el rocío.
Qué importa que mi amor no pudiera guardarla. La noche está estrellada y ella no está conmigo.
Eso es todo. A lo lejos alguien canta. A lo lejos. Mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.
Como para acercarla mi mirada la busca. Mi corazón la busca, y ella no está conmigo.
La misma noche que hace blanquear los mismos árboles. Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos.
Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero cuánto la quise. Mi voz buscaba el viento para tocar su oído.
De otro. Será de otro. Como antes de mis besos. Su voz, su cuerpo claro. Sus ojos infinitos.
Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero tal vez la quiero. Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.
Porque en noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos, mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.
Aunque éste sea el último dolor que ella me causa, y éstos sean los últimos versos que yo le escribo.