So grateful to be alive at a time when Brandi Carlile is an artist.
I spent most of 2018 listening to Brandi Carlile, so this list will include many of her songs. Some tracks below were released prior to 2018—some way prior—but captured my ears or imagination for one reason or another this past year. I heard some in coffee shops, some from YouTube binges on sleepless mornings, some on the radio, and some from streaming stations. I hope you like the list, or in the very least, discover a new song/artist or rediscover an old favorite.
In no particular order, here are the songs I listened to the most for the past twelve months.
From the Album of the Year, By The Way, I Forgive You, I first heard “The Joke” listening to Radio Woodstock on a cold Hudson Valley February morning, still in my PJs and in front of my friend Mark’s fireplace.
Now the words had all been spoken
and somehow the feeling still wasn’t right
and still we continued on through the night
Tracing our steps from the beginning
until they vanished into the air
trying to understand
how our lives has lead us there
How long have I been sleeping
How long have I been drifting alone through the night
How long have I been dreaming I could make it right
If I closed my eyes and tried with all my might
to be the one you need
Dear media, you are being used. You are playing right into the hands of a dangerous madman. You are disseminating propaganda and terror by giving too much oxygen to a lying fascist and white supremacist. For the sake of your own credibility and a fragile democracy, please stop playing video clips of the president. You can report on what he says and does without incessantly showing clips of him lying. It doesn’t matter if you tell us before and/or after showing the clips that it’s a lie—the clip is more powerful. And he knows it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video clip is worth a million.
He is using you to spread hate and distract. Stop playing along.
Here’s a more important scoop for you: more Americans just voted for Democrats (57%) than Republicans (42%) in Senate races, yet the Republicans picked up seats and will control the body (especially women’s bodies). A majority of Americans support progressive ideas and beliefs, but because the system is rigged they will be ruled by a radical and oppressive minority. Our constitutional crisis is the constitution itself. It’s the undemocratic Senate and antiquated Electoral College. As Lawrence O’Donnell recently said, “the Senate is an unfixable crime against democracy.”
When you were little you didn’t like when we over explained things to you. You were an extremely curious kid. (You still are.) Like a detective you’d ask a lot of questions to get at the truth, or at least your understanding of it. But once your curiosity had been satisfied, you wanted us to stop talking. You had no patience for anything that sounded preachy. When you sensed a lecture or sermon coming on, you’d interrupt and say, “I don’t want to know. And I don’t want you to tell me.” So please forgive us for writing this letter of unsolicited advice.
What follows are things we have come to believe and value about life and the human experience. Much of it we learned from you, by being your dads. All of the sentiments expressed below have been said or written by others, and with more eloquence than us. And our thoughts are repetitive, disjointed, and scattered. One passage may contradict another—sometimes in the same sentence—but that’s life: a complicated, repetitive, disjointed, random, beautiful mess. The route is seldom a direct express.
The tone below veers into commencement speech territory, including generalizations and nauseating clichés commonly heard at graduations. But since neither of us are likely to ever deliver a graduation commencement speech, this is our attempt at passing on what we’d like to believe is wisdom, all of which you are free to ignore. (Skip past the dotted lines if “you don’t want us to tell you.”)
So from us to you, in no particular order, here goes.
The elephant in the room begins to dance
The cameras zoom into
His mouth begins to move
Those hateful words he uses
I don’t care for your paranoid
“Us against them” walls
I don’t care for your careless
“Me first, gimme gimme” appetite at all
Thank you Mayor John Birkner Jr. and the Westwood Borough Council for hanging the pride flag on the borough hall. Reading about the flag raising at njersy.co/westwoodrainbow made me quite emotional. As a kid, I would have never imagined my mostly conservative hometown being so welcoming and inclusive to celebrate gay pride month. Of course back then I had no idea what gay pride was and the rainbow flag—what’s that?
The historic record is clear, the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal – through monuments and through other means – to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity. First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy. It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots. These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.
After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.
If you don’t find this funny, or if you find it annoying, then you are part of the prediscursive cisproblem.
This morning Brandi Carlile’s “Beginning to Feel the Years” came to the top of my iTunes shuffled “All Songs” playlist. I instantly knew I wanted to post the song with a few loving words about my husband Danny. So I searched for a video. In the process, I went on a little YouTube sidebar binge, watching other Brandi Carlile videos, including her Late Show with David Letterman performance of “Keep on the Sunny Side” with The Avett Brothers