Junior’s List of Musicians Who Had Played the Most Joyous Music

(from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Arnold Spirit Jr. had a realization:

“I used to think the world was broken down by tribes. By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know this isn’t true. The world is only broken into two tribes:
The people who are assholes and the people who are not.”

After this, he felt like dancing and singing. His classmates who protested and defended him gave him hope. And then, he made lists of things that made him feel joy and this is one of them:

(He just listed the artists; I chose the songs.)

List of the Musicians Who Had Played the Most Joyous Music

1. Patsy Cline, his mother’s favorite

2. Hank Williams, his father’s favorite

3. Jimi Hendrix, his grandmother’s favorite

4. Guns N’ Roses, his big sister’s favorite

5. White Stripes, his favorite

Perhaps we should start making our own lists too. 🙂

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My Top Five Newly Discovered Songs from High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

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High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is our book club’s book this April. I really enjoyed the book with all its humor. It’s a plus that Rob Fleming’s (the protagonist) life is all about music (and other hipster stuff, haha!). Here, a lot of Top Five lists are mentioned and enumerated by Rob and his friends. And I just couldn’t pass this opportunity to come up with my own list, even if we already made some Top Five lists for our book club activities.

So here is My Top Five Newly Discovered Songs from High Fidelity:

1. Got To Get You Off My Mind by Solomon Burke

So, on this third or fourth time, she came up to my little rostrum thing and spoke to me, and I liked her straightaway: she asked me to play a record that I really loved (‘Got to Get You off My Mind’ by Solomon Burke, if anyone cares), but which had cleared the floor whenever I’d tried it.

2. In The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett

3. Bobby Jean by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen’s always doing it in his songs. Maybe not always, but he’s done it. You know that one ‘Bobby Jean,’ off Born in the USA? Anyway, he phones this girl up but she’s left town years before and he’s pissed off that he didn’t know about it, because he wanted to say good-bye, and tell her that he missed her, and to wish her good luck. And then one of those sax solos. And Bruce Springsteen. Well, I’d like my life to be like a Bruce Springsteen song. Just once.

4. Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Neil Young

5. Boulder To Birmingham by Emmylou Harris

“This is a song by Emmylou Harris called ‘Boulder to Birmingham’,” she announces. “It’s on the album Pieces of the Sky, which Rob is selling this afternoon for the unbelievable price of five pounds and ninety-nine pence, and you can find it right over there in the ‘Country Artists-(Female)’ section.”

If you want a list of the songs from the book, I found a great compilation from this blog post.

And you can listen to them in this YouTube playlist:

(Thank you for compiling the songs, Fiona/zomgitsona.)

The Cellist I Met in If I Stay

When I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman, I loved how music is a very big part of it. Gayle Forman even made a playlist in her website. The book also made me review the modern violin family from music classes when I was young. Hehe!

One scene that really caught my attention while reading was the conversation between Mia (the protagonist) and her bestfriend Kim. Mia believed that her music is solitary. That time, she already wanted to quit because she thought that playing the cello is lonely and boring. The cello is a dumb instrument for a girl to play, so dorky, she said.

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Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But Kim gave her a CD of Nirvana MTV Unplugged, and introduced her to “Something In The Way” played by two guitar players, a drummer, and a cello player. The cello player is Lori Goldston. Mia listened to the song over and over and played along. She loved the cello again.

“Her name is Lori Goldston…
And I don’t think anyone would dare call her a dork.”

Here’s the video of the live Nirvana performance:

Also, in the book, they held a barbecue dinner wherein she played the cello with her family, with guitars and a snare drum. At first she was hesitant, afraid that the cello has no place among the jamming guitars and in the punk-rock world. Afraid of not blending and making bad music. But as proved by Goldston and thanks to her:

“…the cello didn’t sound half bad with all those guitars.
In fact, it sounded pretty amazing.”

Although we now agree that the cello is not a solitary instrument, I still enjoy listening to it played solo. After listening and watching a lot of Lori Goldston’s videos, let me share with you an example of her beautiful music, played solo, just her cello and herself. And the audience.

You can learn more about Lori Goldston in her website.

Ghostwritten, Tokyo, and Jazz

Last month, I read Ghostwritten by David Mitchell with my Cloud Atlas reading buddies. (Right now I think it’s proper to call them my David Mitchell reading buddies. Hehe!) This book is David Mitchell’s first novel, consisting of nine different stories but they are somehow linked through chance and fate. One of my favorite chapters is Tokyo, the second chapter of this amazing novel.

“No, in Tokyo you have to make your place inside your head.”

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Tokyo’s ending, being hopeful and sweet, is one of the reasons why I like it. Also, Satoru, the central character in this chapter, is a musician. He plays the tenor saxophone. If a story involves music, there’s a greater chance that I’ll like it. But I love it more because of Satoru’s outlook about people making their own places inside their heads. And this quote below is how he told us about his love for jazz.

“My place comes into existence through jazz. Jazz makes a fine place. The colours and feelings there come not from the eye but from sounds. It’s like being blind but seeing more.”

So here is my Ghostwritten: Tokyo playlist. I compiled these so that I could somehow see, feel and hear that fine place inside Satoru’s head. You know, all that jazz. 🙂

1. It Never Entered My Mind by Miles Davis

I put on a very rare Miles Davis recording that Takeshi had discovered in a box of mixed-quality discs which he’d picked up at an auction last month out in Shinigawa.

It was a gem. You never entered my mind was blissful and forlorn. Some faultless mute-work, the trumpet filtered down to a single ray of sound. The brassy sun lost behind the clouds.

(Hey! This one’s from Petersburg, a conversation between Tatyana and Margarita at The Shamrock Pub.)

‘More like Miles Davis than Miles Davis,’ she murmured.

‘Wasn’t he the first man to fly across the Atlantic?’

She hadn’t heard me. ‘The brassy sun lost behind the clouds.’

2. I’m a Fool to Want You by Billie Holiday (from the Lady in Satin album)

I felt in a Billie Holiday mood. ‘Lady in Satin‘, recorded at night with heroin and a bottle of gin the year before she died. A doomed, Octoberish oboe of a voice.

3. Some Other Spring by Billie Holiday

This is my place. Another Billie Holiday disc. She sang ‘Some Other Spring‘, and the audience clapped until they too faded into the heat of a long-lost Chicago summer night.

 4. Left Alone by Mal Waldron

It was a Mal Waldron time of day. Every note of ‘Left Alone‘ fell, a drop of lead into a deep well. Jackie McLean‘s saxophone circled in the air, so sad it could barely leave the ground.

‘The music was “Left Alone” by Mal Waldron. Would you like to hear it again?’

‘Would you mind?’

”Course I wouldn’t mind… Mal Waldron‘s one of my gods. I kneel down to him every time I go to the temple.’

 5. After the Rain by Duke Pearson

I can’t describe women, not like Takeshi or Koji. But if you know Duke Pearson‘s ‘After the Rain‘, she was as beautiful and pure as that.

6. All the Things You Are and 7. A Night in Tunisia by Charlie Parker

I put on a Charlie Parker anthology, with the volume up loud to drown out the ringing of metal. Charlie Parker, molten and twisting, no stranger to cruelty. ‘Relaxin’ at Camarillo’, ‘How Deep is the Ocean?’, ‘All the Things You Are‘, ‘Out of Nowhere’, ‘A Night in Tunisia‘.

8. A Caddy for Daddy by Hank Mobley

This lunchtime Mr Fujimoto was looking for something Lee Morgan-ish. I recommended Hank Mobley‘s ‘A Caddy for Daddy‘, which he promptly bought. I know his tastes. Anything on the loony side of funky.

9. Darn That Dream and 10. My Funny Valentine by Jim Hall and Bill Evans (from the Undercurrent album)

Hey, hey, this is my place, remember. Time for jazz.

Undercurrent‘ by Jim Hall and Bill Evans. An album of water, choppy and brushed by the wind, at other times silent and slow under trees. On other songs, chords glinting on inland seas.

The girl was there, too, swimming naked on her back, buoyed by the currents.

11. Take the “A” Train by Duke Ellington

I dug out some old big band Duke Ellington. It reminds me of wind-up gramophones, silly moustaches and Hollywood musicals from before war. It usually cheers me up. ‘Take the “A” Train‘, rattling along in goofy optimism.

12. In a Sentimental Mood by John Coltrane and Duke Ellington

‘I’m not good. John Coltrane is good! Wait a sec-‘ I grabbed a copy of John Coltrane and Duke Ellington, playing ‘In a Sentimental Mood‘. Smoky and genuflective. We listened to it together for a while. So many things I wanted to say to her.

13. My Funny Valentine, 14. You Don’t Know What Love Is and 15. I Get Along Without You Very Well by Chet Baker

I thought about what she had said as I put on a Chet Baker disc. A trumpet with nowhere urgent to be and all day to get there. And his voice, zennish murmurings in the soft void. My funny valentine, You don’t know what love is, I get along without you very well.

Yesterday, I listened to these songs all day. I hope you find time to listen to each composition too. (Especially you, my reading buddies. 😛 )

My Eleanor & Park Playlist

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It was also December last year when I read Eleanor & Park. It is a young adult novel written by Rainbow Rowell about first love amidst life’s difficulties. One of the reasons why I like this book is because of the songs and artists mentioned here. Music has been a great part in Eleanor & Park’s relationship. So far, this contains the most songs and artists references from all the books that I have read. Since the time setting of this book is 1986, I wasn’t familiar with most of the songs so when I encountered new songs and artists, I listed them and looked for them in YouTube. Then after reading the book, I made my own playlist. Here are the twenty songs that I listened for days (or weeks) after I read the book.

1. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths

Rainbow Rowell said that if this book will be adapted into a movie, this would be the song in the trailer.

…Park made a tape with all his favorite Smith songs…

2. Love on a Farmboy’s Wages by XTC

XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.

3. How Soon Is Now by The Smiths

He pointed at her book, where she’d written How Soon Is Now? in tall green letters. 
She ran her fingers over the embarrassing song titles – “This Charming Man” and “How Soon Is Now?” – on her math book.

She picked up the cassette. He’d written HOW SOON IS NOW AND MORE on the thin white sticker.

She could still hear that voice in her head – not his – the singer’s. From the Smiths. You could hear his accent, even when he was singing. He sounded like he was crying out.
                I am the sun …
                And the air …

4. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division

“No. It was awesome. I didn’t want to stop listening. That one song – is it ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’?”
“Yeah, Joy Division.”
“Oh my God, that’s the best beginning to a song ever.”
He imitated the guitar and the drums.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” she said. “I just wanted to listen to those three seconds over and over.”
“Plus,” she said, “I love the rest of it just as much, like the high part, the melody, the dahhh, dah-de-dah-dah, de-dahh, de dahh.”
He nodded.
“And his voice at the end,” she said, “when he goes just a little bit too high … And then the very end, where it sounds like the drums are fighting it, like they don’t want the song to be over…”
Park made drum noises with his mouth: “Ch-ch-ch, ch-ch-ch.”
“I just want to break that song into pieces,” she said, “and love them all to death.”

5. Out of Control by U2

Park was wearing a U2 shirt today with a picture of a little boy on the chest.

6. 867-5309 by Tommy Tutone

He started singing his number to the tune of “867-5309,” which cracked her right up.
 
“You remember my phone number right?”
867-5309.”
“Seriously, Eleanor.”
“Seriously, Park. I’m never going to forget your phone number.”

7. Two of Us by The Beatles

“God, I know…. Hey, I can’t think of any 2 songs.”
“’Two of Us,’” she said.
“Two of us?”
“It’s a Beatles song.”
“Oh … that’s why I don’t know it.” He wrote it down.

8. Bad by U2

“Is that U2?” he asked. He could hear “Bad” in the background.
“Yeah, I think it’s my favorite song right now. I keep rewinding it, and playing it over and over again…”
“What’s your favorite part?”
“Of the song?”
“Yeah.”
“All of it,” she said, “especially the chorus –  I mean, I guess it’s the chorus.”
“I’m wide awake,” he half sang.
“Yeah…” she said softly.
He kept singing then. Because he wasn’t sure what to say next.

9. Drowning Man by U2

What did Eleanor think about the U2 album? She loved it.

10. Alison by Elvis Costello

Park pushed Play.
“What’s this song called?” she asked.
“’Alison.’”

11. The Morning of Our Lives by Jonathan Richman

Park played Elvis Costello for her –  and Joe Jackson, and Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.

12. Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure

She couldn’t repay him. She couldn’t even appropriately thank him. How can you thank someone for the Cure? Or the X-Men?

13. I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner

“Because it’s prom,” he said.
“And it’s lame,” she said.
“How do you know?”
“Because the theme is ‘I Want to Know What Love Is.’”
“That’s not such a bad song,” he said.
“Are you drunk? It’s Foreigner.”

14. The Same Deep Water As You by The Cure

“But if you let “Same Deep Water as You” into your head, it will lull you into an achy haze. Which is exactly right for Eleanor and Park, in his dad’s truck, both scared to say everything they want to.”
-Rainbow Rowell

15. Kiss of Life by Friendly Fires

“When I was writing this book , I wanted to capture how it feels to love someone. You love them with your head. And then you love them with everything else. When they’re with you, you vibrate. When they’re gone, you ache.
This song does both.”
– Rainbow Rowell

16. Swithin’s Day by Billy Bragg

“Anyway, in their last few scenes together, Eleanor begs Park for understanding — but she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t give enough to get it.
The album version of “St. Swithin’s Day” is more wistful, less angry, and I kept listening to it because it’s about the aftermath of a terrible good-bye.”
– Rainbow Rowell

17. Once I Was by Tim Buckley

“This song is Park’s song, on the way back to Omaha. He wants to be everything for Eleanor. But everything he’s tried to be has already been.”
– Rainbow Rowell

18. Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell

“And now we arrive at the best love song ever written.
Park, waiting in Omaha for a letter. For a phone call. For something.”
– Rainbow Rowell

19. I’m a Better Man by David McAlmont

“And if you’ve read the book, you know that the ending isn’t clean and neat and wholly happy. But Eleanor and Park are both transformed by their love for each other. They are saved. They are new.
What does Park get out of loving Eleanor?
EVERYTHING.”
– Rainbow Rowell

20. Blackbird by The Beatles

Sometimes it felt like she’d always be in his debt
And then she realized that Park didn’t know about the Beatles.
 
She reached into his jacket and slipped the Beatles tape into his T-shirt pocket. He caught her hand and held it to his heart.
“What’s this?” He pulled the tape out with his other hand.
“The greatest songs ever written. You’re welcome.”

I copied some of the songs here from Rainbow Rowell’s playlists to make it exactly 20. Hehe. You can visit her blog for her complete Eleanor & Park Playlist.


Love books and music? What About Movies?


Bonus Track:

21. Helter Skelter by The Beatles

I missed this song before but found it later when I was checking the pages of the book for Beatles songs.

They talked about the White Album on the way to school, but just as an excuse to stare at each other’s mouths. You’d think they were lip-reading.
Maybe that’s why Park kept laughing, even when they were talking about ‘Helter Skelter’— which wasn’t the Beatles’ funniest song, even before Charles Manson got a hold of it.