I remember the first time I heard a Joni Mitchell song. It was “Both Sides Now” – I came upon it directly after listening to Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” for the first time, which is as it should be, and a story of music and magical discovery all its own. What I remember about “Both Sides Now” is that it was one of the first songs to give me that sense that all great songs do: that is has always existed, that I was already aware of its existence, and that when I heard it, synapses in my brain fired to make this unknown thing instantly familiar, recognized, remembered – and loved. All of which is a long way to say: read this article – Anatomy of a Perfect Album: On Joni Mitchell’s Blue[Lithub]. “Both Sides Now” isn’t from Blue – “River” is, which is another classic, and a Christmas song, shot through with a gorgeous yet assenting wistfulness that sweeps you along its rich turns and delicate melancholy like the river of the title. Mitchell teaches us how to embrace loneliness as a friend rather than an enemy. “Only a phase, these dark café days.”
Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite placed first in the Indiewire’s critics poll for 2019, which polled 304 movie critics from around the world to pick the best movies and performances of the year. I loved Parasite, but the fact that it’s the pick for best movie of the year really speaks to the paucity of transcendent or even brilliant films this year. The movie is brilliant, but flawed, and it’s not even among Joon Ho’s two best films (of which one would certainly be the scorching, unforgettable Mother). The 50 Best Movies of 2019, According to 304 Film Critics [IndieWire]
What I loved this week: a Stumptown song, a ballad about missing Glasgow, and of course, Pink Floyd.
This week’s episode of Stumptown (great show by the way: far better than it has any business being from the premise and trailers), ended on a song that immediately caught my attention, which turned out to be this GORGEOUS, instantly gripping 60’s ballad from The Animals:
“If you ever change your mind
About leavin’, leavin’ me behind
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet lovin’
Bring it on home to me, oh yeah”
Recently stumbled across this gorgeous song by indie band Brett off their second album Mode. They’re on Spotify, but that wouldn’t embed, so here the song off their Soundcloud page.
A sparrow in a storm, fragile as the wealth that you hide in your heart
just wait a little more, stay until you run and the words tumble out
save your ransom, leave your hand with the mother’s touch, take my chances
pay your sum but it’s far too much
are you aware, well, someone should tell you, are you aware, well,
someone should tell you
“My father steps into a field of lost
sensation, sunflowers, a yellow star”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Beth Copeland about her gorgeous poem “Falling Lessons: Erasure One.” The poem is about the loss of her father to Alzheimer’s, and was transformed into the above video for Motionpoems by Ahn Vu (it was also featured on PBS Newshour!)
My mother was a fever. My father was a restaurant.
Every noon he fed his lungs to an entire city.
Every night he held my belly searching for a suburb.
I was the firefly that flared only once in my father’s kingdom.