Experience in Music {fka exp. in lit.}

I took a class in college. One of my first classes actually. We had a few requirements that we needed to fulfill our freshman year and I surpassed a lot of them by merely taking the SAT’s a third time.

Three times the charm, my ass.

Each time you take the test, I figured you were supposed to get a better score than the last time you took it.

My first composited score was 980 with about 550 in math and 430 in english.
I read that piece of math the night after our last showing of “My Fair Lady” at my high school. Already very emotional because it was the last show and the last musical for our fantastic seniors (my junior year of high school).
That was kind of a downturn, buzz kill if you will.

The second time I took it, the testing was being held at a place called George School. Its supposed to be a very prestigious private school in Pennsylvania that was roughly 45 minutes away from my house. The address says its in Newton, PA… Newtown, actually… anyway, I still roughly remember driving with my mom when we were trying to find the place just for the sake of finding it. At the time, the only radio station I would listen to was Radio Disney.
Now hear me out on that. 1) the music was a lot better than it is now, none of that Jonas Brothers/Justin Bieber crap (though I will take Jonas Brothers over Justin Bieber because they can actually play)… and 2) the bubblegum was helluva lot better than mainstream garbage, the likes of Eminen, The Black Eyed Peas and The Pussycat Dolls (though this was probably a year before they came on the scene).

One of the songs that got regular play was “That girl (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen)” and I still am in great support of Lindsay Lohan. Here’s hoping for a third album because the first two were ğŸ˜Ž

So we found the school. A few Saturdays later we made the trip again and I took the horrible test.

Mind you, this was when the perfect score was 1600, none of this 2000+ crap because a writing portion was added a couple years later. Competely bogus, even if I am a good writer.

The second time, I believe my score was 1020 where I went up a little in English and went down a little in math.

The third time I took it (I was sick of the stress at this point but my dad pushed me for a third time)… I felt like it was a waste of time. The numbers changed, but the combined score was 980… I wanted to shoot myself because it was like I leveled out after a high. And please don’t take that literally, it was a horrible jawdropping moment for me.

Omg, the local playhouse is showing a Neil Simon play and there’s a showing TODAY at two. I hope they have seats avaiable…

Sorry, I’m a sucker for Neil Simon. My school did two of his shows and “Rumors” was absolutely fantastic. “The Proposal” not quite as much just because a guy I had a crush on was in it and he had a few kissing scenes with a girl… and I auditioned for the same role and she wasn’t any better than me.
He came out of the closet a year later after I’d gone off to college.
I sure know how to pick ’em, huh, that’s the 2nd actor I crushed on with that particular conclusion. Luckily I didn’t confess my undying love to one of them, although I did set up a website for him… did he ever show up on Broadway? Where I knew he was going to be? I dunno. We fell outta touch.

I’m outta touch, and I’m outta my head when you’re not around… lmao…

I took Hall & Oates out of my car a couple of days ago when I was afraid that I’d gotten sick of them. This time I’m sure I can stick it out… because I have better alternatives… but I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to listen to in the morning cuz there’s no way I’m playing Prince’s O(+> album when I’m about to go back to the grind.

The night before this one, crazy as it sounds, I believe a lot of things from “What Time is it?” were a a part of it. But it ended with Morris Day (looking as he does now) taking off with another woman in a car that had the top down.

It had me fuming with jealousy because he was the guy giving me comfort and showing me a good time when things were bad. Its a long story.

But anyway I put my mind to the fact I’d listen to that first album on the way back home. The fact I had major traffic at one light, either because of the New Jersey state fair (the damn location had to be on my commute route… completely ridiculous) or there was a car accident at the light because someone couldn’t wait to get to the damn state fair… I really do hate traffic like that.

But hey, I made light of it by cranking Morris Day on my stereo and it worked out because after playing through 4 of the 6 songs (left out the short & sweet “OnedayImgonnabesomebody” and didn’t proceed to “I don’t wanna leave you”)… “Gigalos Get lonely too” was the final straw that made me consider The Time. I heard it on Emancipation radio and had my vitals signs going up a couple notches…

So I was listening to the song and I was in steady traffic (or lack thereof) at this point and it was smooth sailing. So in love and I was ready to leave on that high rather than continue it.

I wanted to be able to get through the entirity of the songs I wanted to listen to on the album.

With the omission of the usual hip-hop gangsta tracks, My Name is Prince and, at the last minute, Sweet Baby, I got through the other 14 tracks with no problem.

Its an interesting thing when you play an album you know really well, but its the first time you’ve listened to it in ages. Its amazing when you hear these songs and you still know the words when you’re singing along. That’s the amazing part.

Yesterday I managed to stay with the album to the end (or should I say my ride allowed me the time to do so)… I get a kick out of the last track “The Sacrifice of Victor”… whether it was Tony or one of the other members of the NPG saying “what is sacrifice”… I find it hilarious. It makes me pump my fist in proclamation…

I don’t even understand the song if I’m being honest. It probably has some legitamacy in the mini-movie “3 chains o’ gold”… about as much legitamacy of the song of the same name…
Doesn’t stop me from smiling cheek to cheek (yes, my face)

Ages ago, maybe a year or two, I made a list of my top 7 favorite Prince albums:

Purple Rain
The Gold Experience
Sign o’ the Times
Planet Earth

A bunch of those haven’t changed at all, but with my most recent run through of albums in sequence, Parade left me a little cold. I can’t quite explain what happened.

So for now, I’m going to replace it with O(+> which was probably one of his strongest albums of the 90’s.

If I were to pick an 80’s album that it is reminsicent of in terms of structure and feel, probably 1999.

Now that leaves an interesting dilemma (that’s always such a hard work for me to spell, I dunno why):

I have said that D&P is the 1999 of the 90’s. I’m sure a lot of people would agree.

Actually, with that in mind, I could bring Sign o’ the times into the mixture.

Both are highly comprehenive, ecletic albums that showcase Prince’s many talents and his diversity. 1999 goes all out, as Nicky Tuzio said on Paisley Radio, the tracks have more breathing room.

I barely notice it a lot of the time, but you gotta admit O(+> has a lot of lengthy songs.

I was about to make a point that excluding the seque tracks, the average length of songs on the album is such and such.
An average time of 4 minutes and 30 seconds per song really isn’t all that much.

Interesting, I did this just before the hell of it because I was on a role, I did the average length of song for 1999, Sign o’ the Times, D&P and O(+>.

1999 is a powerhouse in that department. To borrow a lyric, “12” of non-spot soul”… although it feels more like funk than soul…

Did you know on average, the track length on 1999 is 6 minutes?

Whereas you take any of the other three albums and the average is between 4.5 to 5 minutes… that’s a huge difference.

But here’s the big picture:

D&P has 13 songs that spread across an impressive spectrum. There’s some pop in tracks like Strollin’, Cream and Daddy Pop, ballads like D&P and Insatiable, some funk, some rap and some rock via Thunder and Live 4 Love. Each expresses a different part of what the NPG represents.

1999 has 11 songs that have somewhat of a story that binds them together. It starts out free and fun and slowly becomes serious and ends on a note of seducation. The tracks go on for long periods of time with a couple exceptions as the main ideas develop and as does what Prince’s music represents.

Sign o’ The Times is the end-all, beat-all. 16 tracks over two discs that recollect past triumphs and points towards a future without The Revolution. Each brings a different part of Prince’s reporteire.

O(+> is also a showcase of his reporteire.

In a nutshell, I think O(+> has more in common with Sign’ of the Times than 1999 and its because there was a storyline behind it, but with cuts and edits, it was completely lost. Well, fragments remain in the first three songs, the seques, The Sacrifice of Victor, 7 and Three Chains o’ Gold.

Sign o’ the times would have been an unstoppable bombshell if not for the several edits and omissions it went through on its way to the wrecka stow shelves.

Length of song really doesn’t play into this in any way, it was just an experiment.

Sign o’ the times has many tastes as does O(+>, but 1999 has a certain vibe that binds the album together as does D&P. They do that with 11 and 13 songs, some of longer length than your average song… I would say that Purple Rain and Come are more homogeneous as far as the vibe goes, but when you put 1999 up against the likes of O(+>, there are multiple vibes in O(+>, different devices Prince uses to get his point across both in the lyrics, but definitely a lot in the music.

Its one of my favorites because there are so many different pieces to it. And the ones that shine REALLY shine.

“7” is probably my overall favorite track and probably one of my favorites ever.
It has a story and the lyrics tell it really well. The layered vocals “look” Prince does with some of his greatest 90’s works to the ultimate here.

You hear him use this trick in the song “When Doves Cry” where he uses so many different vocals to emphasis certain lyrics. He uses this very sporadically in “7” (Clueless is one of my favorite movies, lol, never got the chance to use that word)… but he does it with such skill and has the utmost sense of timing.
And I love the way he says the lyrics “we speak not of love, only blasphemy”

“Damn U” is an amazing ballad, one of his best love songs of the decade. Smooth as silk, his vocals and the strings, no doubt courtesy of Claire Fischer are amazingly beautiful. I’m swooning right now just thinking about it.

“Continental” is amazingly fun. The way Prince is choreographing the song if he were directing a movie… those who have seen the movie would say that they wish he used what he did here with the movie “Graffiti Bridge,” noted for its horrible directing (sorry, Prince).

Love 2 the 9’s and Sexy MF even have their good points. I don’t like the cursing in one and in the other, some of the rapping and I find just the phrase “to the 9’s” very strange and I have trouble saying it, even though I know what I means now.

Some things were easier to remember than others, some of the raps came easier than others. Then with some like “The Morning Papers” and “The Max”… and the rhythm of the chorus in “Continental” was harder to nail down.

Yet The Sacrifice of Victor came really easy… and of course 7, but I’d heard it a lot over the past several months. Mostly in the remixes I have, one is short and sweet at 2 minutes and change.

Perhaps my favorite part of 7 is the finger symbols.

And I could continue on this in another entry, but it seems like 14 is the key number in the album. In the song “I wanna Melt with U” they count to 7 twice… 14. You hear 14 hours mentioned in the song “Love 2 the 9’s.”

Not counting the two finger cymbals after the song starts to fade to black, they are played 14 times in the song “7.”

But now I’ve lost track of where I started.

So because I took the SAT’s three times, my highest verbal score of 500 allowed me to pass another requirement for my freshman year of college.

We needed a Q1 and W1 (quantative and writing intensive), a freshman seminar… if you get an SAT math and verbal score of 500+, you don’t have to take BASK math & english classes (as in basic)… so I was able to take a class called “Experience in Literature” to fulfill my W1 requirement.

The message of the class was that we each interpret literature differently based on our own experiences. Nonetheless it was an interesting class and now I look at things a little bit differently.

I believe more so that this can be applied to music. We all have different tastes and different images come to mind based on our experiences either because the song reminds you of something that happened to you or you were in a certain place when you first heard the song.

Years ago when I first started writing, when I started dreaming about the one I’ve had a love affair with the past 10 years, music helped expand upon certain things.

Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson, and a few oddball one-hit wonders like Eiffel 65 and ATC, all of these artists had at least one song that inspired me at one point in the late 90’s, early 2K’s.

I’d been contemplating a novel for some time in 2002-3 about an epic struggle between good and evil with power of nature’s elements at the helm. Then there’s always the mysterious aspect of reincarnation. I don’t know where my fascination with that begin, but it was a big part of the storyline. The missing piece was became a key element in the story: a love story.
“Spirited Away” gave me just that.

In the movie, a girl is moving with her parents to a new house. When they get lost and go to ask for directions, they find themselves at a place full of food stands. Her parents help themselves and she wanders off. A boy she meets tells her to leave. When she returns her parents are turned into pigs and she finds herself lost among a world where spirits and ghosts rule the nights. The boy tells her to get a job at the bath house where she can stay in this world and find a way to save her parents.

The characters are magical and each has something unique about them that makes them special. You can’t help but fall in love with the story.

Because he helped her, the girl develops a certain affection for the boy, but he’s trapped between a rock and a hard place. The ruler of the bath house has him under a spell, something she has over the people trapped in the bath house. She steals your name and has some control over your free will.

And at the very end she does save her parents but they have no recollection of what happened to them. Because its mostly from her POV, you can’t help feeling what she feels for the boy and its sad when they have to part ways at the end of the movie.

So I will dare say that Jonas has a little bit of Haku in him somewhere.

I burned a 12 song CD of songs that I either featured in the book or ones that have some legitmacy in the storyline.

Three of them are from Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” album, none of them are the title track.
Two are from another soundtrack by the boyband O-Town (I doubt they’re together anymore)
There’s a dance in the story and there are five songs that are in the running to be the theme song of the dance. Unfortunately I don’t own some of them so I had to change some of them.

With that in mind, two of the songs are by the Christian band Plus One.
And one major part of the CD, two songs by Michelle Branch that just hit home for my character Jonas. “You get me” was a last minute addition.

And the lyric “please can you tell me so I can finally see where you go when you’re gone” from her single “All you ever wanted” rings very true for the character.

Some odd about him that popular girl Mai notices and tells new girl Nina is that he disappears once a month and she doesn’t know why. And she can’t understand why he keeps to himself, doesn’t talk to anyone and nobody knows anything about him.

An album I’m going to get is Vanessa Carlton’s first album mainly because of one song “Ordinary Day.”
Her single “A Thousand Miles”… I am really really sick of hearing it on the radio. You think of Vanessa Carlton, chances are that’s the only song that comes to mind.

“Ordinary Day” is her second single and the radio never plays it.

The opening lyric and the ending lyric:

“just a day, just an ordinary day
just trying to get by
he’s just a boy, just an ordinary boy
but he was looking to the sky”

I want to hear the rest of the song and hopefully with time, I’ll be able to burn another CD or make a playlist that would contain even more songs to interpret different parts of the story.

One day I really hope to publish this story because its simply amazing.

There are just a few details I’d like to hammer out to make it even stronger. One of two scenes that really don’t make sense or fit well with the rest of the story. Maybe even too dramatic or add too much.

The early 2K’s was an odd period for me music-wise… I’d call it my musical dark ages because that was after all the boybands and pop acts I grew up with had come and gone. It was a strange new world and I tried to find new artists with trial and error with few results.

Michelle Branch’s “Spirit Room” and Plus One’s “The Promise” were a couple of stars among a clouded night’s sky.

I had to remain with past favorites while picking up different artists here and there. Strangely Avril Lavinge wasn’t one of them even though her song “My Happy Ending” was one of the better written songs of those couple years.
“Complicated” is another song I’m also really sick of. Occasionally the radio will play “my happy ending” and “nobody’s home” but its that one single they won’t stop playing.

I’d finally decided that I’m going to invest in Green Day. They have a lot of good songs, but seeing as they’re not going to release a greatest hits album anytime soon, I’ll have to settle for the alternative. Buying a couple albums with the songs they play on the radio.

I’m a bit nervous about American Idiot because of the length and I get the feeling it’ll be very explicit in places (with curses and such)… I love the commerical feel of their singles and don’t want to lose that among some punk rock negativity.

There are a lot of iconic songs that remind me of my first years at college.

When September Ends
Holiday (well not so much in that respect)
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams

And I might consider their debut album for the song “When I come around” because its hook is very catchy. In fact irresistible…

Some things in life, I just can’t resist. And getting a Green Day album is inevitable because I bring them up so much.
Just as inevitable as it was that I’d become huge about Prince because of how Purple Rain made me feel when I saw it in fragments ages ago.

Possibly my longest rant ever, lol

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