Tuesday was the national day of love (or, if you’re life me, the day that celebrates rose-colored Capitalism). I decided to lean more on being sentimental than actual physical gifts. One of those gifts included a 19 song playlist. At first, I added songs I liked, but, after much consideration, I decided that today was not about me, but about the person close to me. Below are five of the songs on the playlist; some of the better and more highlighted ones.

  1. Portuguese Knife Fight – Cage The Elephant

cage_the_elephant_-_tell_me_im_prettyWe were at her beach house. I was watching them play Overwatch as I hooked up my phone to the speaker. Cage the Elephant, arguable one of the most underrated bands, had released their album “Tell Me I’m Pretty” and all of last year I had been listening to it nonstop. Between the constant flick and tapping of the buttons, I heard a mumbled “Hey, they’re pretty good. I like them.” And there’s nearly nothing more that I get off on than showing people new music, especially when we can listen to it together and swoon.

This song itself is about someone who is entering a relationship (serious or not) and is trying to figure out if the partner is as well. “I wanna waste my life with you, (oh yeah)/Well the look in your eyes says you’re feeling the same way too, (oh yeah)/Give me a sign, tell me what should I do/I’m just trying to catch a f-f-f-f-f-feel.” I feel like a lot of people relate to scoping people out, trying to get what you want without getting hurt and making a fool of yourself and your emotions. I put this track on, as well, because the instrumental opening is catchy, following the sweetness and fresh sound of the main beat.

  1. The Lovecats – The Cure

the-lovecatsThe Cure, yet again, is a band I love. (I guess I still made it a little about me? I want to show them songs and groups I like to have more in common? Narcissistic romance, maybe?) “The Lovecats” is a classic, not only because of it’s lyrics but also because of its instrumentation – the beat is old and clearly influenced by later funk and blues, especially with the heavy, obvious bass.

The song is about a positive, healthy relationship with metaphors to…well…cats. Smith, the lead singer, croons; “We should have each other to dinner/We should have each other with cream/ Then curl up in the fire/Get up for awhile/It’s the grooviest thing/It’s the perfect dream…/Not broken in pieces.” What more could you ask for? Talking about a nice meal (and a little desert) then a nice relaxation together. A lot of love songs are depressing and negative, but on a Valentine’s Day playlist like this, I really wanted to add an element of optimism.

  1. We’re Gonna Groove – Led Zeppelin

were-gunna-groovePage and Plant are musical geniuses. There’s a reason Led Zep sells so much and so well – why thousands of hipster girls and boys unknowingly wear their brand. I couldn’t not add them in somewhere. Especially because my partner in crime loves classic rock as well. “Coda”, in my opinion, is a fantastic album and one that is frequently overlooked.

The entire song states Plants wishes. He is telling his woman that he wants her – now and in the future. Saying he wants a family one day. He also lets her know about his intentions by singing, “Sweet as sweet as sweet can be/You do not know what you do to me/Let me say you are my one desire/You just set my soul on fire”. His love goes beyond the shallow – this women is his soul’s desire, what he craves. Not all of Zeppelin’s songs are positive, but this one surely is a sweet tune.

  1. Think About Me – 2015 Remastered – Fleetwood Mac

fleetwood_mac_-_think_about_meWhen we first met, I had completely blonde hair. We actually first interacted at a party, one I had come to late after a long night in the hospital. My busted Doc Martins on my feet and a velvet dress; an amber stone dangled from a long silver chain. My circle-rimmed glasses must have given me a prior-decade look. Maybe it was just my vibe. She actually first called me Misty Day, a beloved hippie-like character from American Horror Story. Soon, a few other drunk party-goers followed.

When we first hung out, she wore necklace with crystals and stones because she said it (and that I) reminded her of Stevie Nicks and being mystical. Every chance she gets, she’s talking about Fleetwood Mac and Nicks, so I absolutely had to add something by them in the playlist.

Turns out, Stevie Nicks doesn’t have very happy love songs. Fleetwood Mac doesn’t have very many either. If I’m being honest, I don’t like this song. It’s simple, it’s alright. It’s done well (I guess). It’s short and sweet. But, beyond myself and my opinions, I did this as a little nod for her (Stevie’s looks are wonderful and I took no offence to being related to her in any way). She mentioned her love for them, for Nicks, and I had to add them in, regardless of my feelings.

  1. Heroes – 1999 Remastered Version – David Bowie

david_bowie_-_heroesDavid Bowie is wonderful in the most whimsical way. The song “Heroes” is possibly the most frequently used song in those films that actually have a budget but are of an indie vibe and plot line. One of those songs used in every “alternative” movie in the mainstream. See – “Horns” (a great movie, by the way). The song is catchy, the beat original for the first couple listens. I actually have the original vinyl of this album (passed down – i.e. stolen – from my mother’s collection). The song is actually about members of the band – one of them being married – which illuminates the ‘doomed’ elements of the song. Bowie sings about how something doesn’t have to be long term to be serious and have extreme value. “I, I will be king/And you, you will be queen/Though nothing, will drive them away/We can beat them, just for one day/…Though nothing, will keep us together/We could steal time, just for one day/We can be heroes, forever and ever.” The love they share is real. The love they share is intense. The love they share will have to end, but that doesn’t mean it’s ending now. The love you share for another person can end. It probably will end. But that doesn’t mean the memories and experiences that you have in your time together weren’t fun or good or worth it. The present is real, the present is what should be enjoyed, the love there should be relished – because, yeah, it might end – but why fight it and have it be tarnished and doomed while there’s still good times to be had?

I choose these songs because I liked their message and I wanted to add another connections between my playlist, myself and someone else. I wanted to add elements of both our personalities and interests and expand both our music tastes. Because isn’t that what it’s about? Expanding and growing together, finding and creating common interests, and sharing what is closest to you. We both listen to this playlist on and off – when we drove to our plans for the day – I think she listened to the playlist as she worked out this morning. And, oddly enough, she made me a physical CD for Valentine’s day – so I guess smart minds do think alike.

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Live in Paris

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The show starts off with Ozzy nearly assaulting the microphone, gripping onto it for dear life, hair flying everywhere. His shirt’s opened and head thrashing every possible moment, jumping around like a madman. Where by his own energy and oddness or a product of the metal 70s time, only he knows.

I imagine the venue as a bigger basement. On one hand, the scene looks simple and a little dingy. A wooden stage, people clustered around. Something is left to be desired – and right now what’s filling that void is Black Sabbath. The band themselves, this could be another casual Monday night practice. Dressed like average rock-metal dudes of the time, the most gaudy thing is large silver cross necklace that guitarist Tony Ioomi is still seen wearing a version of in recent shows. There’s nothing draped behind them, no Kiss-like makeup and costumes. Just the speakers, the musicians and the music. What more do you really need, when it boils down to that?

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From left to right: Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward 

Osbourne’s voice is gravelly and, at parts, forced deeper than it should be. But then he belts “You push the needle in,” and his voice goes soaring. Iommi’s hair almost touching the fretboard as he bobs his head in time with the beat. His fingers and hands gliding with the same ease that Osbourne’s voice seems to fly. Geezer Butler, the bassist, his hair even longer than Iommi’s and his ‘stash more full, seems to lose himself in the tunes, smoothly playing alongside his bandmates, moving with a steady energy.  

Eventually, the stage is bathed in blue lights and Ozzy starts by suggesting everyone clap. He then later screams into his mic, “If someone’s not clapping I can see it,” taking on a much more aggressive tone. Drummer Bill Ward’s hair is sticking to his skin, his face dripping and glossy with sweat. But still he bends with the rhythm, setting the time and beating the drums like they stole his girl (or, knowing Black Sabbath, probably his drugs).

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And that’s when it starts. The first repeated two notes of one of their arguably most popular song, “Iron Man”.  Closing his eyes, Ozzy opens his mouth wide and belts out the opening lines, “As he lost his mind/Can he see or is he blind?”. Photographers kneel and sit, rapidly firing shots of Ozzy and the band as the instrumentals rage on, fingers seeming to fly all over the instruments and Ozzy trashing his head in the beat like nobody else was watching.

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Sabbath’s first album – Black Sabbath

They sing the classics, then some other more interesting B-sides. Iommi seems to reach nirvana as his fingers roll up and down the frets like he owned them, like they were his. Like it was an extension of himself, seeming to make up for the digits he’s missing on two of his fingers. The intro on the record is a rainstorm but here Iommi shows off his talents instead. A not unwelcome change. Ozzy’s presences grows as he states “What is this that stands before me?” A revolution of a line off the first track of their first actual album. He becomes the dark figure standing there, a demonic energy, the vibes of something more than meets the eye. His face is one of pain. The lights on stage have all but fled. When Ozzy belts the desperate scream of “Oh, no!” his voice cracks and his face contorts in a way that makes you believe he is actually about to cry.

It’s not until about halfway through the performance that Ozzy seems to lose his shit on stage. What once was an awkward head bob is now a full fledged seizure.  

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Black Sabbath ends with the song “Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots”, all of them sweat-drenched and jamming, the show one long casual performance – the music speaking for itself without flashy add-ons like a made-for-TV deal.