Beanie level: Rooftop room dweller

So here we are, March 31, 2020.

It’s been some month, eh? Usually February is the one that requires surviving through to get to the other side, but 2020 seems to have its own plans. I feel like I’ve lived three lifetimes in the last 31 days. From starting on a contentious primary race (it still hurts) to busy work deadlines – I was finally supposed to be able to rest peacefully after the 16th! But the universe had other plans. I guess I am resting – so I got my wish in the most ass-backwards way ever.

Anyway. I started the month with my favorite artist. In the days following I’ve shared songs and artists that I love for one reason or another. Today I share another song, but really I want to talk about this soundtrack as a whole.

Hamilton was and is my musical happy place. I have seen it three times, and every time it was something new and magical. I’m not a Broadway nerd by any means – I like to catch a good show now and then, but nothing special. I’m more of an old-school theater person. But Hamilton…that’s another story.

I love everything about Hamilton. It’s a story about America, the place I call home, and it’s as much about its strengths as it is about its brokenness. I love how accessible it is to people, young and old. Even my mother who doesn’t understand hip-hop or rap loves it. The celebration of immigrants is moving because I am the child of immigrants. I love the messages it conveys, both in its story, and in its casting. The fact that it is cast colorblind and creates opportunities simply by existing is beautiful. The way its staged – I could write an essay about the final act and the ghosts lining the upper walkway on the stage. The costuming and staging are incredible and tell a story all on their own

I listened to the soundtrack endlessly before I ever saw the show, which was enlightening. It’s so clever in every way – its lyrics pay homage to everyone from John Philip Sousa to the Beatles to Biggie. Its use of repetitive refrains (not unusual for Broadway) brings so much nuance to a single word or phrase, turning it on its ear when you think no more can be done with it.

I remember the first time I saw Hamilton it was because I won the ticket lottery. I got the notification on my phone after a long day in court. I usually just swiped past them because I never won, but hope kept me entering. And lo – that day the notification was different. I almost screamed at my desk. I was shaking. I got up and called my mom, to let her know. We saw it then following night. Our seats were right up at the stage, so not the greatest, but I could make eye contact with the performers, see the details of their costumes and expressions. I got to see some of the nuance that you miss further back.

The second time was seven months later. I got tickets for myself and my mother – our birthdays are four days apart and I had just started a new job, so I wanted to treat us. Again, I got more from the show and fell more in love. The third time was a fluke – me and a co-worker got last second matinee tickets and went in the middle of the workday. It was a balcony seat which allowed me to really appreciate the choreography in a whole new way.

It is hard to pick a favorite song from the show, but the song below is the one that came to mind immediately when I thought of what to share today. There are so many great choices – the duo of “Helpless” and “Satisfied” are one of the cleverest uses of staging and diverse points of view in theater ever; “The Schuyler Sisters” reminds us not to underestimate the women of the past; “Ten Dual Commandments” is a great homage to Biggie; “Dear Theodosia” is a beautiful song from fathers to their children; The two Cabinet Battle’s are fun, as is anything by King George; “The Room Where It Happened” is now iconic; “Hurricane” is an amazing ode to hubris and one of the most wonderful metaphors that is carried throughout the show. Just to name a few.

“It’s Quiet Uptown” is one of the few songs that makes me cry. It comes at the end of the play, after Alexander and Eliza’s oldest son dies in a dual. You realize that throughout this play, as much as there was politics and war and ideology at the heart of it all it’s a play about familial love, and especially parental love. This song breaks my heart. I love that Angelica is the one singing with Alexander only chiming in for a moment. After an act and a half of this larger than life man he is made small, quiet, and hiding himself not from shame but from heartbreak. This song is also his final desperate cry for Eliza – but also respectful of her choices and her pain. The final verse always gets me, because it comes after reconciliation, but at a cost that no one should have to pay:
There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable
They are standing in the garden
Alexander by Eliza’s side
She takes his hand

It’s quiet uptown

March has been a doozy. I don’t know what the future holds. But we start fresh tomorrow with a new month. I hope this finds you all safe and healthy and well. Take care of yourselves and be good to yourself.

“It’s Quiet Uptown” as performed by Renée Elise Goldsberry and Lin Manuel-Miranda from Hamilton

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    Primary race?

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      Democratic presidential nominee. I’m very salty about the choices we are left with.

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        Ah! I can vote as well. For POTUS, that is. (My parents lived in the States in the 90s and I was born there.) I haven’t decided if I’ll vote though. I have citizenship, but I don’t think of myself as American and I never intend on living there, so I don’t know if I feel comfortable voting in American elections (don’t know if this makes sense). If I do vote, though, it’s obviously going to be against Trump and for the Dems.

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          I feel for you about the nominee though. Biden is a fabulist, a comforter of racists (can anybody forget how he talked about how great the Senate was when Strom Thurmond was still around?), and Trojan horse for progressives (not to be too controversial, but I put Obama in this camp as well – for all virtues, in the end Obama, like Bill Clinton and Biden, would’ve been a moderate Republican in the 60s or 70s).

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            I dislike Biden because he will take us back decades in his pathetic attempt to keep the status quo (a status quo which has consistently ignored the needs of women and people of color). I also dislike Bernie – not only because of the toxic nature of a faction of his followers – because he was given four years to improve his relationship with certain demographics and he failed, he can act like a petulant child, and his leadership is lacking. Additionally, for someone who has been in congress for the span of my entire life, he hasn’t achieved a lot. I prefer the latter when push comes to shove, because I think that progressive ideas are better. Warren was my candidate, and the way she was unceremoniously pushed out of the race makes me so so angry – especially because in the end we are just left with two geriatric white guys (again). The message this sends is awful. I’m angry and disappointed but I’m also not surprised. I’m hopeful that this means we are going to continue to have diverse races, and I know that things on the state and municipal levels are changing, so in the end things are better than worse. But still very salty and will reluctantly but most definitely be voting blue in November.

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    Ahh someone who loves Hamilton too! Hearing you’ve seen the show thrice makes me so jealous! Being in a country a long-haul flight away makes it almost impossible for me to see it, so I’ve only enjoyed the soundtrack.

    I’ve always loved musicals – I feel like growing up with Disney movies practically brainwashed me into loving them. But I was hesitant with Hamilton at first because I never liked rap music. Like my bestfriend in college loved rap music and tried to get me into by sending me all those rap albums but they just didn’t appeal so much to me. Hamilton though was different. I guess, it’s history that drew me in, as I’ve never learned anything about US history aside from the basics – George Washington was the first president, they conquered our country, etc.

    But let’s be honest – it was Satisfied that got me. Hearing that song for the first time, I was just hooked.

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      I’m very lucky that I live in a city that had a permanent show for several years (It just closed a few months ago). I will most definitely see it again and again every chance I get. Hopefully you get a chance to see it one day as well. I will say, the one set of tickets I spent money on was the most I’ve ever paid for theater tickets and it was worth it. No regrets.

      I agree – I think Disney primed our generation for an affinity to musicals, though, l am actually less of a musical person more of a theater person. We get a lot of Broadway through here, so the opportunities are always there to see stuff, but I actually go to the Shakespeare theater more.

      I actually knew a lot about Hamilton before this even existed because a good friend of mine was obsessed with him in high school (I went to a weird school – we were all very nerdy). So a few of the random facts – like Martha Washington naming her cat after Alexander – I already knew. I do love how this has piqued a lot of people’s interest in American history. My mother wrote American history off until she saw it. I mean, it’s a deeply flawed history, but it is fascinating and interesting and worth knowing.

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        I definitely hope I get to see this one day! I think it’s so cool you get so many opportunities to watch plays there! I used to be in prod teams for our theater orgs in HS and college but the theater scene is pretty small here, so there’s not a lot of opportunities to watch legit plays for on a regular basis. And if you do get an opportunity, it’s not cheap either.

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          Yeah, I take advantage of th he access as much as I can. I also think its ridiculous that theater isn’t more accessible in terms of cost to people because it really shouldn’t be. Art is for everyone. When I was younger I took advantage of student discounts. The Shakespeare theater here is really excellent too and they have a program where you can get tickets for $20 if you’re under 35 and I have used that to see all the Shakespeare plays they’ve put on for like the last five years, plus a few of the other productions that have come on there. I know once I age out of that I’ll most likely get season tickets. The Broadway here also does season tickets but I haven’t seen a season yet where I want to see a majority of the productions so I’ve never done it. I just try to take advantage of early access discounts and so on.

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            Recently, some Broadway productions would come here (as more like a seasonal thing, it doesn’t happen often) so we take advantage of that if we really like the show (like last year we watched Lion King). The cheaper productions are usually the ones produced and written by locals – which is not bad either, I just wish they could advertise it more so more people can know about them.

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    I just saw Hamilton this past fall. Amazing. Every American or person living in America should see this.

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    Also, this song is about NYC, uptown, where things are so chaotic in hospitals right now due to COVID, but there is an eery quiet on the streets. This song is perfect for today.

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    Aw this was bittersweet to listen to, I had booked tickets to see this musical on the 31st of march. I had been holding out to listen to the soundtrack until the show. Anyway hopefully I can get to see it once life gets back to normal:)

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Wow, we’re on day 30 of Music March and I feel like there is still so much music I wanted to share that I never got to. Ah well, next time. But since we’re here on our penultimate posts, I thought I’d share another small band that I love.

I first discovered Company of Thieves off of a sampler card of music I got at Lollapalooza maybe twelve years ago? They’re actually a local band. I don’t know when exactly I really stopped and listened to them, but once I did I never stopped. I remember that I got into them and then got my roommates into them as well. I saw them on my 23rd birthday and still have the T-shirt I got that night, which has a lyric from the song below on it (“Live like it’s the style”).

Company of Thieves is fronted by the amazing Genevieve Schatz (she goes by Genevieve for her solo work and I highly recommend checking it out – “Colors” is particularly good if you need a pick-me-up). She’s a tiny little woman with wild curly hair and a voice that defies her diminutive stature. Her voice soars when she sings, and yet, when she needs to, she can bring it down to a soft tone in order to convey what she needs to. The band supports her beautifully, and she and Marc (the other founding member) are great lyricists. Their first album is an ode to an ordinary life, and I love that contrast of lyrics to their larger-than-life-sound.

They have two excellent albums out – Ordinary Riches and Running from a Gamble – and a few other singles and EPs. They go in and out of hiatus as they work on solo work and other projects these days. But the two albums they have put out have been constants in my life for the last decade. I’ve seen them play a handful of times – from opening for OK Go, to a free show in a bar here. They never fail to impress me. I’m posting one of my personal favorites below off Ordinary Riches but other tracks I love include: “Death of Communication,” “Nothing’s in the Flowers,” “The Fire Song,” and “Tallulah”. I hope you enjoy it – we have one more of these left, and I saved something special for tomorrow.

“Oscar Wilde” by Company of Thieves

If yesterday’s Korean indie band reminded me of summers, then today’s pick, Standing Egg, reminds me of September days when the weather is starting to change and we all start to get ready for the end of the year. They have this quality to their music that is just calm and comforting to me. They can be sweet (like the track I’m posting here) but they never cross the line into saccharine. Some of their tracks remind me of that soft feeling when the weather is just getting chilly, the leaves are changing, and you can drink warm apple cider again. (“The Light Whispers,” “Runner’s High,” and “Old Song” all come to mind.) Other tracks give me a sense of nostalgia like the memory of an old crush. (“Lemon Pie,” “Miss Flower” and “Cuz It’s You”.) Then there are the songs that I just love for any number of reasons: “A Celebration Called You,” “Crazy,” “Keep Going,” “She is Back” – because they are just lovely songs. Standing Egg is always relaxing without being dull or boring. Even their more lively tracks have a calmness to them which never overwhelms the senses but instead lets you sink into the sound of the music and get lost in it for a few moments.

I also just love how simple a lot of their music is. Sometimes that’s just what you want – something simple and sweet. That’s why I picked today’s track. I love this song for its uncomplicatedness – both in terms of sound and lyrics. (Also, this video is hella adorable.) It’s a simple confession song, and I love that. We’re all here because we love dramas – with their grand love stories and complicated relationships which move mountains and steal the stars from the skies when it comes to love. But sometimes it’s the simple, quieter confessions which are just as earthshaking. I love that about this song: “Just like you girl/I like you girl/ Only you girl” is a lovely sentiment. Who doesn’t want that? We can’t always explain our feelings, but knowing them is sometimes good enough to start with.

“Yes, You” by Standing Egg.

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I discovered this band, The Solutions, a few weeks before I took the bar exam. They are one of my favorite Korean indie bands because their music is so infectious and joyful. Their sound reminds me of summer: dancing to my favorite bands at music festivals, wandering around the city with my friends, taking a walk by the lake, sipping on iced coffee. I remember I listened to this song between the morning and afternoon sessions of the exam, putting on my headphones while sitting in the bleachers of the basketball court where the exam was being held. I remember that summer was spent indoors studying while the sun was shining outside. I remember buying sunflowers at the farmers market on my walk home from my bar prep class. I remember listening to a lot of happy music that summer in order to keep my spirits up.

Immediately after that exam my life took a bit of a nosedive. The next few years were tough for me. My life needed to be rebuilt in a lot of ways from the inside out (it was a long time coming). But this song, this band – they were one of the last bright spots in that “before” time. So I like to listen to them when I feel a bit down. They remind me of how even a summer lost to study can have a little joy in it if you look (or listen) for it. Hopefully this brings a little brightness to you in these tough times.

“Love You Dear” by The Solutions

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Probably my all-time favorite track from any drama. Shut Up Flower Boy Band is hands down my favorite drama OST and it was a tough choice between this and “Jaywalking” from it.

I just want to say to everyone: It’s OK to be annoyed if you’re stuck inside right now. That is a very valid feeling. It sucks. I’ve been distancing for 9 days now and I’m ready to tear my hair out. (And I don’t even have kids.) I know a lot of people have been at it even longer. I’m not a particularly touchy-feel-y person, but I really miss human contact.

This is a frustrating situation, so be frustrated. Don’t suppress your very valid feelings, because it leads to self-doubt and questioning whether you are ever feeling the “right” thing; there is no such thing. We feel what we feel – it’s what makes us human. It’s how we deal with it that makes us grow. This is a testing situation for everyone – there are definitely going to be long term social and psychological effects. When this is over – whether it’s weeks or months – we’re all going to be different. And in the meantime, it’s going to be hard. It’s going to make us annoyed and mad and sad and grumpy and stressed. Don’t let suppress negative feelings and let them stew – that will hurt you more in the long term. Don’t feel bad for feeling negative. Acknowledge all these feelings, because they aren’t going to disappear.

Also, don’t compare your situation to others – just because all you can do is stay in, that doesn’t mean you aren’t doing enough. You’re doing what you can, and that is enough, even if it’s hard and makes you want to tear your hair out. You matter too – your mental health matters as much as your physical health right now. Take care however you need to. We are all doing the best we can right now.

So with all that in mind, today’s Music March post is a song that reminds me that it’s OK sometimes to not be OK. Actually, this entire album is pure pessimism, but I’m just posting one track. There is no joy in these lyrics. They don’t provide hope. Instead they’re about being annoyed and frustrated and angry. They are about how the world and people just suck so much sometimes. It’s also depressing that the lyrics are relevant again 14 years after the album came out.

But f*ck if it isn’t catchy as hell. I mean, this entire album is just straight pessimism set to super happy catchy tunes. And sometimes that’s just what we need to do – dress up our frustrations in optimistic tunes and pretend everything is OK even when it’s not. Because even if we can’t stop our feelings we can validate them in the weirdest possible ways.

We’re all in this together, and I don’t think anyone will think less of you for feeling annoyed because you are feeling frustrated by everything. I certainly won’t.

“Do Over” by Get Set Go

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Today’s pick was a tough call. I chose the artist right away – Florence and the Machine – but the song was hard. It’s impossible for me to pick just one song by her that is worth showcasing. I knew it would be something off one of her first two albums, because those are the two I love most, but which song was hard. Do I pick a well known one? Or something that isn’t known but is just as great? Or do I just skip album songs and go for one of her singles that isn’t on an album? Or one of her collaborations?

I remember when I first became aware of Florence and the Machine. I remember I’d been hearing about them for a while, but I hadn’t really paid attention because there were so many other groups taking up my attention those days. Who had time to pay attention to every new British hippie on the scene? But then one day I was watching Nikita (Y’all remember that show? It was great.) and “Cosmic Love” played during one of those moments where the tide changed for the characters. It was mesmerizing. There was a verse that caught my attention:

I took the stars from our eyes, and then I made a map
And knew that somehow I could find my way back
Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too
So I stayed in the darkness with you

Her voice, which has been building up the entire song drops down when she sings this, and it makes you stop and listen. And I did. I went back and listened to the song about a dozen times. It was so beautiful and haunting. I couldn’t get it out of my head. So, of course, I did my thing and went on a deep dive and became obsessed. Everything off Lungs is beautiful. I love how raw and her lyrics are, and how powerful her vocals are. I love the metaphorical and storytelling quality she gives her music and they often feel almost like you’re listening to old folk songs but with a modern sound. They have wildly beating drums and tambourines which make you wan to move.

It was hard to pick just one song – “Between Two Lungs” is a quiet and contemplative song but also one that reminds me of Pablo Neruda’s lines “I love you as one loves certain obscure things,/ secretly, between the shadow and the soul.” but joyful instead of brooding. “Dog Days Are Over” is a perfect opening track, setting the tone for the album. “Kiss With a Fist” is disturbing and passionate and I often go back and forth as to how it makes me feel – is it a condemnation of fierce love, or a metaphor for passion? Maybe a bit of both. “Howl” it feels like being lost in a dark castle in a fairy tale and the music build and builds and then ends on quiet. I can probably write about every song on this album and why I love it, but I won’t.

I almost picked “Drumming Song” for the following lyrics:

I swallow the sound and it swallows me whole
‘Til there’s nothing left inside my soul
I’m as empty as that beating drum
But the sound has just begun

This reminds me of how I feel when I have found a song or an artist that consumes me – much in the way Florence and the Machine consumed me all those years ago.

Instead, I’m sharing what is probably my favorite song off Lungs, a melancholy and simple story, but also one that just makes my imagination go wild whenever I hear it. I love this song because it reminds me of what I love about folk tales and fairy tales and the oral tradition. I love that it’s not a story of grandiose love, but rather is a simple song about the loving someone – I’ve always heard it as a mother singing about her son, but I suppose it could be about a lover as well. Sometimes it is the stories of quiet love that are the most powerful.

“My Boy Builds Coffins” by Florence and the Machine

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Not a lot to say about today’s song. I love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – they’re the perfect band to put on when your energy is drained and you need something to revive your spirits. So, basically perfect if you’re socially distancing or on lockdown. I used to love putting them on when I was done with exams or a big assignment in law school and just dance around my apartment wildly.

Hopefully some of you who are feeling cooped up and tired can get some energy from this song today.

“Zero” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

So, somehow we’ve made it 23 days into Music March and I haven’t posted about David Bowie. I’m not sure how this happened – but I’ma blame COVID-19 because I’ve decided to blame that for all my woes today.

So, David Bowie. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m lowkey obsessed with David Bowie. I love his music. Labyrinth was one of my favorite movies as a child (which, I feel explains a lot about me as an adult). He’s my style icon. My friend used to joke that while other parents will sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to their kids, I’ll be singing “Changes”. (She isn’t wrong.)

I write this from my kitchen table where a giant Ziggy Stardust poster hangs as a centerpiece to the decorations here. I have a keychain with David Bowie’s mugshot for my office keys. My favorite coffee cup is my Hark A Vagrant “Glam Breakfast” mug that my brother got me for my birthday. When I still had a desk, I kept a postcard of him on the wall in front of me. The Ziggy Stardust album cover was my phone background and lock screen for years. I’ve named many of my electronics after Bowie characters (My current phone is Thin White Duke).

I’m not one to cry over the loss of celebrities, but I did feel his loss. When he died, no less than three people texted me that morning to see how I was. He was a creative spirit who seemed to ignore the rules and boundaries. I loved his various personas throughout the decades and the characters he gave us – the people he sang as and the people he sang about – there is something for everyone.

Bowie’s music always feels both of an era and timeless to me. It’s so easily covered by modern artists. (Nirvana’s cover of “The Man Who Sold the World” may be my favorite cover of all time.) It’s pop and rock and a little something else that he brought to the music. It wasn’t punk but somehow it felt like it was. I can’t pick one favorite song – I love them all. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album is one of the best concept albums of all time in my opinion. Every song on there is perfect. Together they tell a story, but they all stand strongly on their own as well. Crafting an album like that takes skill. But his other work also fits into this idea – like he was crafting a world, creating these characters and telling their stories to us through song.

One of those characters was of course, the iconic Major Tom. There’s something about the way he sings about Major Tom in “Space Oddity” and then years later again in “Ashes to Ashes,” which makes the character so sad to me, but so real at the same time. Nothing is quite like “Space Oddity”; it’s one of those songs that takes you on a journey but instead of giving you a happy ending, you are left to wonder what will become of him. It can be taken literally as a song of a man lost in space, but it also has that metaphorical aspect of being lost even when you’re not.

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three)
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (two, one, liftoff)

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare
“This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you “Here am I floating ’round my tin can
Far above the moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do”

“Space Oddity” by David Bowie

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Cheese in the Trap was a drama that started out so well – it had the trifecta of good writing, direction, and acting. I’d read quite a lot of the webtoon prior to watching and I loved how true to the story it was and yet it felt like its own entity. I was disappointed, to say the least, when it went downhill in the last quarter due to very questionable directional decisions. I have a lot thoughts as to what I think happened, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. I still think the first 12 or so episodes are outstanding.

The other thing CITT had going for it was an excellent soundtrack. It introduced me to this excellent little indie band, LOVE X STEREO, via the track below (I’m posting the album version, not the OST version, though). It was also my introduction to the excellence that is SALTNPAPER. They have become some of my favorites in the years following the drama. I love how experimental LOVE X STEREO are, and I highly recommend checking out their other work. I chose this song because it’s beautifully haunting and its lyrics express a little bit of what it feels like when we’re all social distancing. They felt apt in the drama, the way each of the leads kept people at arms length, hiding themselves away until they were able to trust one another and open up.

I think I relate to that a lot, even when I’m not socially distancing myself. I have a tendency to keep people at a distance. Being alone like this has been hard because it reminds me of when I was isolating myself when it was a choice (of sorts). This song was one of the ones I listened to a lot in that time. I remember I used to play it on repeat, laying on my bed listening to the words below over and over. Feeling seen, because I so often felt like I was drowning. These words helped keep me afloat in a dark period, and for that I will be grateful. It’s interesting to me how songs that I associate with dark periods of my life don’t bring that darkness back, but rather remind me that while I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel back then, I did make it out the other side. Those songs remind me of the little things that kept me going – the dramas I watched, the food I ate, the books I read. Sometimes we need the little things to stay sane.

I know it’s hard these days for a lot of us, and it’s OK to not be OK. But I want to remind you that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Tonight I’m sending you all good vibes.

Your body was sinking
Into infinity
Your mind was sailing
Underneath insanity

Can you even hear me
I got a lot to say to you
Do you wanna leave me
Whatever words I say
It won’t matter to you

Play hide and seek
You sneak under the sea

Throw me down a ladder
I’m gonna climb infinity
Throw me down a jukebox
I wanna keep my sanity

Can you even see me
Just let me wave goodbye to you
Do you really wanna leave me
Whatever games you play
I’ll be there for you

Play hide and seek
You sneak under the sea

“Hide and Seek” by LOVE X STEREO

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Social Distancing Log, Day 5: The subject has now reached the “eating hot cheetos in bed while watching dramas” phase of this self-induced isolation. It was expected, but the moment has arrived sooner than anticipated. The subject believes this may just be a momentary low point and anticipates returning to her regular central couch position within a day or two.

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    We understand.
    We support.
    We are beanies.

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      Thank you. About five minutes after I posted this my cousin texted me about making pizza dough – I have the ingredients for the dough and roasted garlic, she’s going to the store to grab some other ingredients. We’ll meet and exchange ingredients, so we will have to eat by ourselves but will at least have some interaction, even if it is gloved and at a distance and outside. (She works in a hospital, so she’s being extra cautious, but she’s also going nuts, so we’re trying to do what we can.)

      This is my first time making pizza dough, so I’m excited to try something new. I forgot that there were a few recipes I wanted to try or tweak, so there’s something to keep me occupied.

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    May I suggest you also look for Paul Bae on Twitter (@MrPaulBae) for an uplifting laugh. After I scan my feed, I seek him out to feel better (as well as our former IT Beanie Mary).

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Have you all been watching TV and Dramas and Movies these days and seeing characters hug or hold hands or even just get on the subway and mentally just yell “NO TOUCHING”? No? It’s just me? OK then.

Anyway. Can you tell the isolation is starting to get to me? The sun is finally shining though, and my place has windows on all sides, so at least I can enjoy that for a bit before sunset. Except that of course the sun only came out 45 minutes before lockdown went into effect, because of course it did. Hopefully I can get a nice, socially distanced, walk in tomorrow before I completely lose my mind.

Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite little indie bands, Tangerine. They haven’t released a ton of music yet, but what they have is great. Their lyrics always feel nostalgic and remind me of of sunshine and beach days with friends. They have this great old-school almost 50s/60s pop sound but with a 90s garage band vibe, all mixed together with the ease I associate with California bands (though they originally hail from Seattle). Interestingly, I discovered them through the blog “Korean Indie” as the lead vocalist and the drummer are half-Korean sisters.

I love to put on Tangerine when the weather is grey and a little auditory sunshine is in order. I had a hard time picking just one song by them because they’re all so great. “Sunset” is great because it makes me tap my feet; “Wild at Heart” has an almost be-bop sound to it; “Fever Dream” is an earworm in the best way. Their latest EP, White Dove showed their music was growing and advancing – “Cherry Red” is dreamy and nostalgic, “Local Mall” has a great 80s vibe.

I decided on “Sly Moon” in the end because I think it showcases all their best qualities. It’s catchy and fun, and I never really get sick of it. I hope it brings a little auditory sunshine to your day today.

“Sly Moon” by Tangerine

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    I was rewatching Kingdom season 1 in anticipation of watching season 2 tomorrow, and honestly found the scenes with crowds more disturbing than the zombies themselves. I was cringing because there was so much touching. Stop touching each other!

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    Not just you. I had a hard time watching people make lettuce wraps for others and feed them. It was hard to watch.

    Hopefully, there will be more sunshine for you~

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    Oh every time I see them next to each other I cry “don’t get too close to each other!”
    yep, these times are intense….

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    I’m missing touching so much! I can’t not to touch my little children, they’re depending on it, I won’t do this royal cold raising of my children… Fortunately we’re living in the countryside where houses are within 100 meters from each other.

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Social Distancing Log, Day 4: I used to be worried I was turning into my parents when I started watching the news regularly and thinking broccoli would be a really great side to my dinner. I see now my previous fears were misplaced. This crisis has taught me that only now have I truly turned into my parents. (See Exhibit A, “conversation with brother” attached.)

I legit just lecture my mother every time we talk on the phone now. I kind of want to go to her house just to sit outside the door and pelt hot cheetos at her whenever she tries to go out. Or maybe I should just slash her tires.

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    Is she obsessed with her breaks? Lol.

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    I’ve decided it’s probably easier to herd cats than moms during a pandemic.

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    If you slash her tires she’ll probably call a tow truck to come and tow the car and then go to the mechanics or the tire place and buy new tires. That is SO MANY social interactions.
    Throw the cheetohs at her.

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      You make a good point. The main problem with the cheetos is that if I throw them at her she’ll make some remark about “how can you eat that junk” and we’ll argue, she’ll try the hot cheetos, like them, and then steal my stash. She has a hard time understanding the joy of American junk food. Chocolate and candy and baked goods she understands. But she is baffled by oreos and cheetos and the like. If I slash her tires I’ll have to organize getting it fixed and just keep the car away from her. And she has yet to figure out Lyft. So I’ll be good for like three days.

      Also, I feel like this is a waste of cheetos. In these trying times I cannot waste my vices.

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Social Distancing and Isolation Log, Day 3: Today I was productive, personally at least – work less so. I filed my taxes, filled out my census report, and managed to have one proper meal. (Well, proper-ish, since I got wings and fries, so not healthy, but also not just picking at random bits in my fridge and cupboards.)

I also went outside to get groceries and it was a strange experience. There’s a mild tension in the air and people are all excessively cautious around one another (this is a good thing). We’re going into lockdown starting tomorrow evening. The grocery store was so strange. Some shelves were totally barren (yogurt, toilet paper – y’all gotta stop with that already – pasta, etc.) and there were signs up asking to take one only for certain items, and I think for the most part people respected it. I did get nearly all the produce I wanted which was nice.

While I was out I put on Hot Fuss by The Killers. It was the album I’d been listening to last time I was out, so it was already on in my music app, and I decided to just go with it. I love this album. I remember that I listened to “Somebody Told Me” in my mom’s van before taking the SATs. I just have this vivid memory of sitting in her van while I killed a few minutes before going into the testing center. I put this album on and skipped to this song. It just helped to calm my nerves so much.

I saw The Killers play a few years later at Lollapalooza. It was the summer I went to study abroad, and maybe a week after I got back home my friends from university came down for Lolla. I remember we spent an entire afternoon pushing our way to the front of the crowd just so we could be front and just-off-center for The Killers. (I mean, we were gonna watch Vampire Weekend and Snoop Dogg anyway, but now we had a mission.) We made it in the end, making new friends on the way. We ended up three rows or so from the stage, and I remember I could count the feathers on Brandon Flowers’ jacket. It was easier to look at the stage than to look at the jumbotrons. You can see my hat in the pics taken from the stage. It was one of the most memorable and fun days of my life.

Basically, I love The Killers. They have made some of my favorite music and I love that they can calm me even in these mad times. So today I’m posting “Mr. Brightside” because it’s one of my favorites, and I forgot how much I love this music video. I hope you are all staying safe and healthy. I hope this song can bring you a little peace in these chaotic days.

“Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

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    One of my favorite Killers songs.

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    Yesterday I had my first-ever not super friendly cashier at Trader Joe’s, it felt very weird. She looked haunted.
    They had a sign at the entrance telling people we are allowed no more than two of any item, and one full shopping basket is the limit per person.

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      I feel so much for the cashiers. My Jewel cashiers seemed fine yeaterday, but like I said, people were being respectful for the most part.

      Also, TJ’s cashiers are like the friendliest people ever – screw whoever it was that broke their spirit.

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        It might be fear. They’ve closed at least one due to a worker testing positive.

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I have lost all sense of time. I’m tired. But I’m also wired because I’ve been inside too long. I wanted to go to the store today but it was pouring rain so I figured I’ll go another day. But it seems like we’re on the verge of a lockdown here. The mayor has closed schools until April 20th. I think it’s only a matter of time before we’re ordered to stay in. I can’t decide whether to stay here at my place where I’m more comfortable or to go home to my mother and potentially carry something back to her.

But on the bright side, my boss was like “You can finally work on that massive appeal I gave you, you know, the one with 10k+ pages in the record!” So I guess at least I’ll be busy for the rest of the month. I’m never gonna get that break I wanted. Oh well, at least it’s better than nothing.

I don’t really know what else to say. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe, and that you have access to the things you need. I complain, but I’m honestly so grateful that I am comfortable and have a roof over my head, and access to food and necessities. This is such a strange moment to be living through.

Today I’m posting a song by Every Single Day, apropos of nothing. I first discovered Every Single Day when I watched Pasta. (I also discovered Gong Hyo-jin from that drama, so lots of good memories.) I love Every Single Day and their OSTs are always some of the most memorable, not just because they are good but because they always serve to underscore whatever drama its in subtly. I feel like the music they create fits in with real life – it’s not grandiose or overbearing, but it captures the mood perfectly.

I chose this song because I love how quiet and contemplative it is, but it builds to something grander before quieting down again. I also chose it because this was one of four great songs they contributed to the OST for a great and totally underrated drama, Miss Korea. I would highly recommend it if any of you are stuck inside and want a quiet little drama with a feel-good story. It’s surprisingly feminist and the women take center stage in a lot of ways. It doesn’t seem like it would be, but I’d probably qualify it as slice-of-life.

“New World” by Every Single Day

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    Just wanted to say I am so glad someone else noticed the really nice Miss Korea OST, not only the songs done by Every Single Day, but also Hero. Have you ever heard the main track for Golden Time, also by Every Single Day? I remember liking it very much also.

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      I think so? I almost always listed to Every Single Day OSTs even if I’m not watching the drama.

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First day working from home and I’m already not a fan. I was productive but I don’t know how much of this I can take. I like being able to play music and not have headphones on, and I prefer my table here because the office I share is kind of a mess. But I think I did something stupid today and I’m slightly stressed out and making myself anxious over it. I could use some good distraction. I’m hoping it’ll come to nothing – but I still feel anxious. I think it’ll be OK in the end. But still, anything you have to help would be appreciated.

For a song – well, I’ve been listening to Abba all say, but I already posted one of their songs. So instead I’ll post something new (to me). Someone posted a Sekai No Owari track the other day, and it led me to this song, and I fell in love. I can’t wait to explore these guys more in the future. I first heard Sekai No Owari when they collaborated with Epik High. I looked them up at that time but never really got a chance to explore them properly. Then I saw an interview with them and Epik High the other day and Tablo mentioned this song, and how it made him want to collaborate with them. I looked it up and I was hooked. It’s so chill but it’s lyrics are great. I can’t wait to keep exploring them more.

“Anti-Hero” by Sekai No Owari

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    I’m scared of clowns but I love this song. It is so funky and fun to listen to! I need to listen to more of their music, thank you 🙂

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    Very cool. My ears kept latching on to the keyboard sound lurking somewhere in the background (and then coming centrestage!), more than the vocals or any other instrument.

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I don’t really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but I live in a city that likes to go all out for this holiday. They dye the river green and there are celebrations for days. That’s why it’s so strange to have such a quiet St. Paddy’s for the first time in my memory. It was beautiful outside today – the sun was out, the weather was cool but not cold. But because people are starting to take precautions it was quiet out (for a big city, that is). There were some people walking by the lake or biking, but all keeping away from one another. Downtown was quiet at 5:30, when usually it’s a bustle of black and grey coats all heading home, streets jammed with buses and cars and taxis (or rideshares now). The storefronts were quiet, many of them were dark. The park was quiet and people were staying in despite the beautiful weather in March. Like I said, strange times.

To get back to my point. It’s St. Patrick’s Day and it’s a quiet one. I don’t celebrate but I’ve always loved Irish folk music. I used to listen to The Corrs a lot when I was younger – I loved that they were pop music with an Irish folk bent. I liked how they would always put a few traditional instrumental pieces on their albums, and how they used traditional Irish instruments along side typical pop sounds – tin whistle, bodhrán, fiddle. It created a very fun and unique sound. It was also a great gateway to Irish folk music. I’ve always loved the sounds of Irish folk songs because it has so much life in it. The music is haunting and sweet with whistles and fiddles but the drums ground it, and the lyrics of the songs always tell the most interesting stories – from lost and unfaithful loves to fairy tales. It’s a unique genre unto itself.

So for this quiet, strange St. Patrick’s Day I chose a song that mixes a bit of the modern and the traditional. It’s a collaboration between The Chieftains and The Corrs on a traditional Irish folk song. It always makes me tap my feet and sing along. I hope you all can find a little joy in this song too, and that you’re all keeping safe and well wherever you are today.

“I Know My Love” by The Chieftains and The Corrs

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On a massive deadline for work today so I’m keeping this short.

I watched Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again! on Saturday night because when the world is insane sometimes you just need to watch a terrible cheesy musical movie. Also, ABBA. Plus, Cher is in it and she is a national treasure. I even named one of my plants after her. Anyway, I digress. This isn’t my favorite Abba song by any means (it’s probably a toss up between “Fernando” and “Dancing Queen”), but it’s been stuck in my head since Saturday night and it seems like just the kind of thing the world needs today. I mean, we always need more Abba, but in these strange pandemic times I think they are needed more than ever.

OK, I must get back to work, but I guarantee I’ll be listening to Abba while I do so.

“Super Trouper” by Abba

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I don’t think I’m qualified to comment on this song, so I’ll refrain from that. But I can say I think that every track on this album is a masterpiece of writing and music. Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is one of the most important pieces of culture to come out of the last decade, and it’s worthy of all the praise and study it gets. From the music videos to the lyrics to the way the album is put together and produced, nothing is unfinished in its execution. Nor is this album immune from criticism, but even the criticism is important to larger conversations of race and language and how we as a culture engage with those things and even to a certain extent how we can engage with those things. It provides a doorway to start conversations, but it also requires those of us who it isn’t about to sit down, shut up, and just listen. It’s a reminder to me that not everything is allowed to be commented on by all people, but all people can engage with complex subjects which are outside themselves by the simple act of listening. And that’s what music is all about at its core – listening.

I encourage you to do the same with all music. Sometimes we need to be pushed outside our comfort zones, sometimes we need to just sit down and listen to the music.

Like I said, I can’t comment on the meaning of this song, or what it represents – that’s not my place. But I can listen to this, and engage with it actively. But I can also listen to this and enjoy it from a superficial standpoint. I can listen to this and think about every word, every beat and how it’s put together with purpose. I can also just put it on in the background and just enjoy it for what it is. That it can be so many different things is masterful artistry, and for that, this album is one of the best I’ve ever heard. I’ve listened to in hundreds of times, and it never gets old for me.

“HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar

So, here’s something I haven’t done yet – post a song that reminds me of someone. So today, I’ll do that.

This song reminds me of my best friend from university, J. This whole album reminds me of J, but especially this song. I feel like it was always playing when I’d wander into her dorm room in first year. I love Ben Folds in general because of J. (I’m pretty sure she can’t hear “You Don’t Know Me” by Ben Folds and Regina Spektor without thinking of me, since it was my alarm song and she would hear it through the wall when we lived together. Sorry J!) But this song in particular always reminds me of J, and our friendship. I was (and am) introverted, but I think that I was the first one to approach her – I liked her shoelaces and I told her so, and a friendship was born. I mean, we also had a lot in common – loved a lot of the same books and tv shows, and music of course. Lots and lots of music has been shared between us. She was my travel buddy to Bonnaroo and Coachella. We danced till dawn (literally) with Girl Talk, watched Radiohead under the desert stars, and rocked out to The Killers from right in front of the stage at Lollapalooza.

Aside from music, we also have similar backgrounds and families (both Asian, though I’m south Asian) and we were the ones in our house to make sure that the kitchen was clean, and that we weren’t going to get murdered because the doors were all unlocked. We would bake cookies at 1 AM when we were bored. We had a headband in our shared bathroom that she attached paper cat-ears to one night for a costume, and would often forget we were wearing cat ears when we ran to the corner store. I still have the headband. We would sometimes hide from our housemates when they got to be too much drama and get Chinese or Cambodian food. Once we carried a giant metal Oscar the Grouch style trashcan a mile home from the store once because we were cheap university students; I think people thought we were carrying a dead body around.

Also, today is our favorite holiday, Pi(e) Day. So today I’m dedicating this Music March post to J.

“Zak and Sara” by Ben Folds