Monthly Archives: February 2011

sotd 3.1.11

Before I even knew what the lyrics said, this one got me for roundabout reasons. It’s kind of twisted, but each time I hear this song I remember that Kyu Sakamoto was killed in a horrific plane crash. It’s a burdensome kind of sadness; the song itself sounds pretty and light, but knowing the story of the man singing it just casts a shadow over the whole thing and weighs it down.

But then I read that the song, actually titled “Ue wo Muite Arukō” (“I Look Up When I Walk”) actually is a sad one (“Sukiyaki” is just some random, generic Japanese word [the name of a dish, actually] that American pop audiences attached to it). According to Wikipedia:

“The lyrics tell the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears won’t fall. The verses of the song describe his memories and feelings.”

“Sukiyaki” / Kyu Sakamoto (1963)

For those who do not speak Japanese (like me, haha) a translation:
I look up when I walk so the tears won’t fall
Remembering those happy spring days
But tonight I’m all alone

I look up when I walk, counting the stars with tearful eyes
Remembering those happy summer days
But tonight I’m all alone

Happiness lies beyond the clouds
Happiness lies above the sky

I look up when I walk so the tears won’t fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I’m all alone

Remembering those happy autumn days
But tonight I’m all alone

Sadness hides in the shadow of the stars
Sadness lurks in the shadow of the moon


I look up when I walk so the tears won’t fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I’m all alone

sotd 2.28.11

Basically anything that is sung from Conor Oberst’s mouth will sound sad. I’m not sure he can help it. This one, though, is sad in a scrunch-up-your-face-and-say-awwww kind of way – you hear about these two people and you can’t help but feel sympathy – or, depending on the hand you’ve been dealt, empathy.

How’s this for songwriting? “And me, I’m not a gamble: you can count on me to split.” I love it.

“Lua” / Bright Eyes (2005)

Another sotd theme week!

Sir Elton John said it best (er, or at all): Sad songs say so much.

I got a real kick out of last week’s “Lady Songs” so I decided to start another theme week. But instead of pining / humorous / pitiful  songs featuring a lady’s name in the title, I figured I’d take a walk down Depressing Lane and (starting tomorrow!) come up with some of the best, saddest, songs that I know.

It might sound like a pretty morose theme for an entire week, but let me explain: just because a song is sad doesn’t mean it’s bad. It doesn’t even have to be about a sad topic; sometimes the melody or the key or the what-have-you just implies a sort of musical melancholy that hits me in just the right spot. Sometimes you just need to hear a sad song to cheer you up. Twisted? Maybe.

So what songs get you each time?


Oscars picks at-a-glance.

Paul N.J. Ottosson isn’t even up for an award this year, so I don’t know why I’ll even bother to watch the Oscars tonight.*

Irregardless, I am compulsed to present to you, loyal reader, my predictions – in brief – for the 2011 Academy Awards:

gratuitous picture of James Franco, because he's everywhere anyway

Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”)
British, historical, British, and historical. And stodgy. Is he stodgy? What does that word even mean?

Actress in a Leading Role: Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”)
Because everybody loves a drunk, abrasive lesbian. Or something like that.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale (“The Fighter”)
Because everybody loves a crackhead, especially one speaking in a regional American accent.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”)
Because kids talking like adults is real cute. And precocious! And her hair is so long!

Animated Feature Film: “Toy Story 3”
Didn’t see it, but heard that the ending made more than one grown-ass man cry.

Art Direction: “Inception”
But only if this category means “making buildings look like they are flying through the air at you.”

Cinematography: “The King’s Speech”
“Cinematography” is a long word, and implies stodginess.

Costume Design: “The Tempest”
I haven’t heard of this movie. Have I heard of this movie? Is it like the Shakespeare play? If so, then duuuurrrr, this one’s a shoo-in. Shoe-in?

Directing: David Fincher, “The Social Network”
He’s done some good shit, give him a little gold man already.

Documentary (Feature): “Exit Through The Gift Shop”
Probably won’t actually win, I heard there was controversy here. Or something. I don’t know. I like the title. And, ya know, it’s the only one I’ve heard of in this category.

Documentary (Short Subject): “Killing in the Name”
STEREOTYPE ALERT: No clue what this one’s about, but it makes me think of suicide bombers, which are in the news a lot. And the news and documentaries go hand-in-hand, like Brits and stodginess.

Film Editing: “127 Hours”
I’m sure a lot of editing went into this one; how many angles can you shoot from you’re filming a dude caught under a rock for two hours?

Foreign Language Film: “Biutiful”
No, for serious: this sounds heartbreaking.

Makeup: “Barney’s Version”
Those makeup artists sure had a chore, transforming Paul Giamatti from an old curmudgeon into a slightly less-old curmudgeon!

Music (Original Score): “The Social Network”
I just want to see Trent Reznor accept an award.

Music (Original Song): “If I Rise” from “127 Hours”
I don’t know. Just because I like “Jai Ho”

Picture: “The King’s Speech”
Movies that have certainly been mis-punctuated on movie marquees across the country automatically make it on the Short List. See also: British, historical, stodgy.

Short Film (Animated): “The Gruffalo”
Makes me think of some sort of lovable spawn of a grizzly bear and Mark Ruffalo, and who wouldn’t want to see that?

Short Film (Live Action): “God of Love”
Used my almost-always-at-least-half-right Gut Feeling to pick this one.

I don't care if you didn't do anything this year, Paul. You were robbed.

Sound Editing: None.
If Paul can’t win, nobody should win.

Sound Mixing: “Inception”
When I tried to watch this movie, it was on a Very Bad DVD Player hooked up to a Very Bad TV so I couldn’t Fucking Hear Anything so I imagine there were actually a lot of sounds, mixed together, that just didn’t make it to my ears.

Visual Effects: “Hereafter”
Not seen it, but I can’t imagine how difficult it’d be to recreate a tidal wave. What I’ve seen in previews is awesome, in the denotative kind of way.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): “The Social Network” – Aaron Sorkin
Wanton abuse of narcotics aside, this guy is The Man. I mean, shiiiiiiit son! Boy can write!

Writing (Original Screenplay): “The Kids Are All Right”
I want to hear how Lisa Cholodenko says her last name. And see what she looks like.

*Oh wait. James Franco. Yes. Okay. I remember now.

sotd 2.26.11

Well, folks, here it is: a entire gosh-darn week of Lady Songs. Thanks for tuning in; I’d like to make the “theme week” thing a “recurring thing” so any suggestions you’d like to shoot my way are most welcome.

My reasons for loving this song are, we’ll say, less-than-opaque. If someone could ever sing this to me in real life, I just might propose marriage on the spot (certain limitations apply). But the name of the chick he’s singing to aside, I freaking adore the refrain – the brass, the chorus of voices, the tempo. Criminally catchy, it is.

“Julie, Do Ya Love Me?” / Bobby Sherman (1969)

sotd 2.25.11

Aw, man, I sure hope all the coke doesn’t end up ruining Steven Page’s voice. What a singer! Also – great subtle storytelling song (as opposed to the musical gems that begin with some line like “Let me tell you a story about…” ie the Beverly Hillbillies theme song).

“Jane” / Barenaked Ladies (1994)

sotd 2.24.11

Oh, come on, did you really think I could get through the entire week without doing this?
Two versions of this song have been released – one posthumously (which gives it a hollow, eerie, feeling) and the “original” as featured on Figure 8. I prefer the Figure 8 version, but the other has its place (and that place is Youtube tribute videos, apparently). I failed at finding a studio version-vid, but here’s a live one.

I generally cringe at using live videos with the sotd, but I’m partial to this one because of how true to the studio version it is, meaning this guy is just all-around talented. He can take a guitar and microphone and give a performance just as rich as if one were listening to it through the discomfort of their earbuds.

I’m gushing, yes, but it’s my damn blog.

“Pretty Mary K” / Elliott Smith (2000)

sotd 2.23.11

Alright, alright. I know how to take a hint.

But no, seriously. What a fun song. 🙂

“Elvira” / Oak Ridge Boys (1981)

P.S. I’ve driven past the exit for Oak Ridge. I did not see any boys.

sotd 2.22.11

This is getting to be harder than I thought (don’t worry, Queen of Subtle Hints, the week is still young…). I mean, I can think of a ton of songs that fit this category, I’m just not sure how to narrow it down. And just because I know that Hall & Oates recorded “Sara Smile” doesn’t mean it needs to make it on my blog. Just sayin’.

I offhandedly texted Baby Brother to ask his input. His reply was a 6,000,000-character text message in fourteen parts that listed every single song recorded by the Beatles that fit my parameters. And as I took a few days to read through the message, it hit me – BAM! – Oh, duh! Had totally forgotten about this one! One of my favorites, mostly for that initial piano (and later, horn) hook. (Is it a “hook”? Whatever. You know what I mean).

“Martha My Dear” / The Beatles (1968)

mattress-buying adventure, part two!

I’d best pee myself with excitement now, because in a few days doing so will void the warranty on my BRAND NEW MATTRESS!

Just some quick observations, because my head is swimming with all the stuff I need to do to, you know, make room for the damn thing:

1. I thought that going mattress shopping after working on my feet for six hours would be stupid. False! Best idea ever! Because when will I care most about how comfy my bed is? After I’ve worked a shift twice that long. Yes!

2. I also wondered how I would know which one was “the one.” Here’s how you know: you lie down, and without thinking about it, you close your eyes and the only thought in your head is how nice it would be to take a nap, right then. Sure, I imagined myself fast asleep as I tested out the other mattresses, but when I got to The One, I immediately forgot that my back hurt (and that I was in the middle of a gigantic warehouse furniture store). For a brief moment, it was just me and the bed. Aaaaahhhh.

3. Tomorrow I begin the task of dismantling my current bed and rearranging furniture. Lord, beer me strength.

Stay tuned!