rows and rows of big dark clouds

(completely unrelated to this post, i’ve become a far more nocturnal creature since i’ve been in california – which also, unsurprisingly, correlates to my unemployededness. and i totally didn’t make that word up)

people have intermittently told me for years that i should listen to patty griffin. did i? nooooooo. because i’m a nerdface. wanna know what it took to get me to listen to patty griffin?

it was an episode in the second season of joan of arcadia. yeah, i said it. (and i’ll also say, that there was a different episode from the first season which i still purport to be one of my favorite hours of television, like, ever) it was when joan bought her brother a kite that he had wanted for several years. in the background, they were playing patty griffin’s “kite song”. the line that leapt out at me was:

made of something light as nothing

it’s still my favorite line in that song… but that whole album (impossible dream, for those of you keeping track at home) is stellar. stellar stellar stellar. especially “mother of god” which is my favorite song on there… she verbalizes the transcendent in the mundane. it’s accessible and it’s genius. she realizes it lyrically and musically.

her music is pretty sparse, but the music i gravitate toward tends to be. not only does it appeal to my aesthetic* but it’s also the type of music i can realize on my own with just me and my guitar, piano, or dulcimer.

i’m getting too wordy. the thing that i’ve been meaning to say this whole post is that i bought a new patty griffin cd the other night: 1000 kisses. which is a TOTALLY chick title for an album. but so it goes. she’s a chick, so am i. however, the reason i bought it is for her song “rain“. that song has not been out of my head since the first time i heard it last wednesday. i’ve learned to play it on guitar, have most of the lyrics learned. as i’ve said to erik quite a bit, it’s just the right amount of sad.

i have a hard time describing precisely what appeals to me, musically. it’s much more of a visceral and emotional reaction than any other art form. i can verbalize why i like certain paintings, writing, theater – but music is much more chthonic and physical. there’s a certain ache that i seek in music. when i say ache, i mean a physical ache. the songs i love the most give me a dull and tingling (can it be both?) ache just above my uterus when i hear them. they don’t have to be slow and contemplative – take “chief” for instance. it inspires me to try to write music. (making it all that much more disappointing when the music i write is crap)

i’m overtired. i started this post a good 45 minutes ago and don’t know how to get out of it. unless i do it the cheap way, and end with a link to patty griffin’s myspace page… hey, that’s an idea. maybe i’ll finish this properly later.

maybe not.

*i hate classic rock because it’s SO overwhelming to me, contemporary jazz because it’s too self-indulgent and arrogant, most pop because it’s too overproduced/compressed/slick/glossy. i think the most beautiful music is found in what’s left unsaid – it’s not music without the silence between the notes. but likewise, i respect your right to like whatever kind of music you want. even if it’s totally crappy.

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5 responses to “rows and rows of big dark clouds

  1. chthonic

    I love you.

  2. Love the fact that you notice that overproduced songs are crap. In my own music I have no choice, since everything I have to record with is pre-Flinstonian. Remember when lo-fi bands were all the rage?

    I will have to check Patti Griffin for myself.

  3. Oops, Patty Griffin. There, now I just need to check the locks, blinds, and stove burners fifty times and then I’ll be able to sleep.

  4. I also heard that song for the first time this week (such a sad story) – WOW. I love music like that.

  5. lisa, i’m guessing we both heard it from the same place, from reading the story that erin linked to.

    littlegoat, yay!

    grunty, i still totally heart lo-fi fuzzy poprock from the elephant six collective… luuuuuuurve neutral milk hotel.

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