I Love a Good Soundtrack

February 21, 2018

Once upon a time, Shazam did not exist; iPhones did not exist, and internet access was not just a pocketdial away. This was an archaic time, a time when you called a phone number to hear what movies were showing in your area (770-333-3456 for Atlanta), and Moviefone made you wait patiently for those titles at the end of the alphabet - those showtimes were always listed last, and unless you had extra daytime minutes to spare, you saved that call for nights and weekends.

Background Info
This was the movie-going era in which I came of age - when I started crafting my own opinions on different genres (Horror? Yes! Sci-Fi? Bleh.) and making sense of all the elements that factor into a great film: cinematography, editing, script, direction, score/soundtrack, acting, et cetera. Often times, I find the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The acting may be phenomenal, but the narrative makes no sense (looking at you, Tarentino), or the cinematography and editing are flawless but the character development falls flat. The part that has always grabbed my attention most and, quite frankly, acts as glue for all these components is the music.

If the movie is a three-layer cake, the score and soundtrack are the icing in the middle of each layer and the part that smooths it all together on the outside. Sharp, dissonant notes are singlehandedly responsible for every cheap jump-scare in most scary movies, and if it were not for that stringed background track weaving its way around your heart during those sad scenes, nobody would ever have cried during The Notebook (2004).

In my opinion, a good score complements the story like a shadow: sometimes you forget it is there, but it should definitely be there. On the other hand, the soundtrack of a movie has always been more in-your-face (ears) for me. The first soundtrack I ever owned was the Pocahontas Soundtrack; my age was still in the single digits. I asked my dad to buy me the movie, so he requested our local Blockbuster Video order a copy (am I showing my real age yet?), but they accidentally ordered the soundtrack instead, so I just kept it. It was also the first CD I ever owned, and I wore that thing out, casting all my cassette tapes aside in favor of those Disney-inspired melodies. When adolescence hit, I became too cool for such childish things and moved on, as one does.

Fast Forward
I was re-triggered some years later, like someone had flipped a switch in my brain. I distinctly remember sitting at the end of Seven Pounds (2008) to find the name of the artist who covered Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" in an earlier scene - it was Muse, and their cover is still one of my favorites. This was during the aforementioned pre-Shazam era, before post-credit scenes were made popular by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I became the weirdo who had to wait until the very last of the credits rolled to find the name of a song I heard during a movie, and whomever I was with had to patiently wait with me, because it was that serious, and that's where the song credits appear: at the absolute very end.

Before that, if I was at home and heard a song on tv, I would write down a few of the lyrics and Google them later, from our desktop computer, using dial-up. DIAL. UP. Needless to say, it was a tedious process. It is thankfully much easier now. I still Google the lyrics, but from my handy-dandy cellular device, like how I did in this instance.

So, yeah. Songs in movies have always been a big deal for me. It lowkey sparked my interest in writing because while I do love stories, I especially love a song that tells a good story, particularly when paired well in film. Film storytelling is infinitely better when matched with good music: circular reasoning case closed.

Ponce City Views

February 19, 2018 Atlanta, GA

Views from the roof at Nine Mile Station, atop Ponce City Market.

Love-Themed Inner Reflections (& Dialogues)

February 14, 2018

I have a whole category dedicated to love on this blog, yet I hardly update it.

There was a time when I wrote about love like it was going out of style, like there was literally nothing else in the world to write about. My favorite verse explains how God is love, one of my best college essays broke down the etymology of love, and each tattoo on my body was inspired by my love for someone or something. I was no hopeless/ful romantic, I never pined for a boy who did not return the feelings (or at the very least, a phone call), but I always appreciated the many facets of love and how it could change people in the most drastic ways.

Flash forward a few years, and my fire for writing about the topic has dwindled, which is strange considering my love life is nothing short of wholly fulfilling (not perfect, as you'll see below, but definitely fulfilling). I look around at my small-but-might social circle and think I did pretty well for myself. I have such an intense love for every friend of mine, and I harbor no ill feelings toward any family members. Many people out there cannot make these claims, and I am grateful for this level of love-related satisfaction.

So today, as I was scrolling and rolling my eyes at all the Valentine-inspired posts in my newsfeed, I had to stop and check myself. Am I really annoyed by all the How I Made Peace with Being Single and Why It's Okay to Be Single on Valentine's Day posts or do I just really expect more than these cliched articles from 21st century journalism sites these days? The former is true, but the latter is truer (it is also true that the curse came just in time to rain on my personal V-Day parade, so that may be the real root of my irritation). Then my inner dialogue went something like this:
Me: You cannot complain about the lack of good Valentine articles when you rarely even post good love stuff on your own blog anymore.
Also me: You know what? You right. [sic]
Also, also me: Maybe you should fix that.
Me: ...
And then I kept scrolling my newsfeed, because honestly, I have no love-themed inner reflections to contribute or a soapbox to spill onto a blank page at the moment. What I can share, is a different kind of inner dialogue - not the kind that goes on in my head, but the kind that goes on between two people who are (as previously mentioned) wholly fulfilled in their relationship.

For Aesthetics

February 8, 2018

The inspiration is above; the execution is below.

Filter the Fluff, Vol. 3

February 6, 2018

Every now and then, I come across really well-written pieces on the interwebs and get the urge to share. There are so many vapid pieces floating around these days, making it more and more difficult to filter the fluff. Whether it aligns with my viewpoint or not, I only have one rule: it should be thought-provoking. The following (listed below) were just that. 

Le Jardin Français Boutique

February 5, 2018 Atlanta, GA

Stumbled into plant heaven the other day

How We Live in Language

February 2, 2018 Midtown, Atlanta

I had the extreme pleasure of visiting MoDA with my team at work for a little creative stimuli, and this exhibit was easily one of my favorites, ever. 

Text Me: How We Live in Language, is all about written forms of communication, and how they shape our interactions, relationships, perspectives and personal identity. The show ends in a few days, which is unfortunate, because I honestly needed a few more visits to fully absorb and better appreciate these pieces (two hours was not enough!).

Here are a few of my favorites.

West Egg Cafe

February 1, 2018 Atlanta, GA

*Note to self: take more pictures next time.


January 31, 2018

I went from having absolutely nothing to say all month to not having enough space on these photos for all my January commentary. This post is longer than originally planned, but I am making an effort to share more real-life moments more regularly, so I am going for it, haphazard handwriting and all.

First, above: a selfie. I have been trying to share one each time I upload one of these monthly recaps, because I know my face is not nearly as present as it probably should be for a personal blog. It just takes too.darn.many snaps to get a good selfie. As far as I am concerned, I did not land on a good one above, which is why I cropped the background and collaged it that way. But I wanted to share one. So here it is.

Moving on...

my cup runneth over with reclusiveness

January 24, 2018

Every January, everyone seems ready to hit the ground running with fresh ideas and fresh starts and fresh content for their various outlets, and then there is me.

I have been at home, on my couch or in my bed, reading and watching and hibernating. I am fasting from coffee, so I have turned to tea - matcha green and cinnamon herbal varieties -  for a cup of something warm, and my cup runneth over with reclusiveness.

Last weekend my calendar was wide open. I went to a workout class with some friends, grabbed a few groceries, and was back home and out the shower by noon - ready to "start my day." I did not leave the house again.

My mom called to say my niece and her sweet baby had stopped by, and I contemplated throwing on real clothes and driving over - a whole 10-15 minutes away. Instead, I turned the call into a FaceTime, and eventually my mom decided to come to my place. 


More Real-Life Moments

January 17, 2018

I have dealt with a horrible bout of creative constipation all month. My create/consume ratio was off - too much of the former, not enough of the latter - so I am making it a point to watch more movies, listen to more music and read more print articles. 

I found this issue of Kinfolk magazine one randomly lovely afternoon. The day included catching up with Laura over lunch at my favorite Korean BBQ restaurant, window shopping for puppies at Petland and dessert at a local rolled ice cream shop. It was one of the cutest ice cream shops I had ever visited, and their selling point was coffee: coffee ice cream. The whole place smelled better than any Starbucks could ever hope to, and the aroma hit me as soon as I walked through the door. Even though I had absolutely no taste for ice cream (or coffee), I felt the need to sit and stay awhile. So that's what we did. 

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