Tag Archives: stress

IRON AND WINE – Communion Cups and Someone’s Coat

So, I know it has been a while – both for me and a music review. But, you know, life happens. And lately, life has been crazy. New, old, unstable, unrelenting, busy life. I’ve been more stressed in the past few months than I have for the entire year.

And so, with all that anxiety in worrying about the past and future, I decided to pick a song that, I believe, is all about focusing on now.  “Communion Cups and Someone’s Coat” from Around the Well, is one of my favorites from Iron and Wine. Sam Beam is the man behind the name and has one of the most calming voices I have ever heard. One that I, frankly, cannot get enough of.

The acoustics in this song are simple and beautiful, repeating this flowing melody with sharper upper tones and a ghostly echo. Like so many Iron and Wine songs, there is an earthiness to the sound and an easiness that is both relaxing and familiar. There are no drums, no bass, and nothing fancy – just Sam’s voice, the guitar, and a woman’s voice backing vocals to enhance the wonder.

Sam starts in with the first set of verses and answers:

Talk of yesterday and she will show her
brothers photographed in calloused clothes.
Say tomorrow and she’ll say come find me,
on a beach and there will be no moon.

But say
today
and she will
kiss your face
and maybe
forgive.

Looking at this, many meanings can come forward from the lyrics dependent on a person’s history and life experiences. For me, right now, it is about today. The woman Sam talks about goes off on a sad nostalgia (photographed, calloused clothes) when asked about the past and when it comes to the future, it is dark and unknown (no moon). However, when you ask about the present and what is happening now, she is delighted.

The second verse continues this:

Talk of yesterday like bargain shoestring,
she will kick the car and find her friends.
Say tomorrow and then she’ll describe some
old communion cups and someone’s coat.

But say
today
and she may
look your way
and lead you
home.

When the past is mentioned, the woman is angered and begins to look for her friends.  To me that is a reaction to find comfort now in the people that surround you. When the tomorrow comes about, she diverges and reminisces on details that are not important in life. As if to say, why focus on things to come and not enjoy right now? I love how when today is the topic, she pays attention to the speaker and leads them home. She is so delighted to be in the moment with another person that she will share her home.

This song is a reminder to me to stop worrying about what happened yesterday, quit analyzing the probabilities of my futures, and just enjoy the now. Be present in the moment and live life.

Please take a listen to the song here .  I encourage you to then keep exploring Iron and Wine and bathe in Sam’s heart-wrenching sound.

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REST EASY

The hammock groans
in my ear.
Each rope tightly woven
into place.
Fabric of opaque
diamonds pressed on my skin,
where the blood runs thin.

The chains clink along
with the leaves scratching
the patio floor.
They flip
and flutter,
swirling trails of yellow
and orange.

The dogs run free
around the fading green.
Following scents
made up
of mysteries.

The sun is setting
even though
the day has been
warm
and slow.

In the comfort
of familiar,
a lethargy sways with me.
I rest easy,
knowing nothing
about tomorrow
and focusing
on simply just
breathing.

THE FUTURE

You weren’t always like this.
Were you?

You were young once.
Full of some dreams.
You had an imagination.
An ambition.
Going somewhere,
beyond the borders that
tried to define you.

Then something happened.
We’ll call it
“Life,”
to make it feel ordinary.
To make it feel normal.
It happens to everyone,
doesn’t it?
We all go through
“Life.”

You know that’s not right?
Don’t you?

That’s just an excuse.
A way to blame the world
around you,
instead of looking at yourself.

“Life,”
didn’t happen.
But reality did.

Things got harder.

Responsibility became a hounding force,
not an exciting endeavor.
Freedom still keeps you bound,
more than it ever did before.
Dreams were strangled
by sarcastic faces and wasted time.

You know you can still change it?
Don’t you?

Those things didn’t disappear
or become unreachable.
It’s only yourself that stops
the future you crave
from happening.

So don’t sit there
and complain to me
about this “Life” and that.
These are all your choices.
And this is your outcome.

Take hold of what you have left
and move on with it.
Move forward.
Move further than you think you can.

STRESSED OUT – Twenty One Pilots

I first heard this song at one in the morning coming back from a business trip. My trip had gone as wrong as possible, starting with delayed flights, dropping my iPad, and constantly running from one place to the next (I hate being rushed). I don’t think I even ate that day except for a late and terrible airport burger. I was finally on my way home when this heavy beat matched with a whirring electric sound began to run through my speakers.

And then it just kept getting more interesting. This song was talking to me about exactly how I was feeling at that moment. What had been playing through my head is what everyone thought and would think of me based on my performance earlier that day. Work was stressing me out and I was ready to be done with it. I wanted so badly to be free from the heavy responsibilities that were now laid on me.

“Blurryface” is the album that Stressed Out is featured on and was released by Twenty One Pilots May 15, 2015. The album’s theme, according to lead singer Tyler Joseph, is about insecurities. The name Blurryface itself is meant to represent a character within the songs that explores these uncertainties that Tyler Josepsh (and most people) have. The lead singer even takes a very artistic approach to this characterization for the music videos produced for the “Blurryface” tracks by painting his throat and hands black, alluding to his insecurities with the things he creates and the feeling of suffocation that is brought on by that emotion.

Stressed Out specifically delves into the fears about growing up and becoming part of the adult-world. This idea is emphasized in the lyrics through the verses: “Out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the latter,” “Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face/Saying, ‘wake up, you need to make money,” and the chorus: “Wish we could turn back time/to the good ol’ days/When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.”

The Blurryface character introduction is made right before each chorus, explaining that he “care(s) what you think,” compared to when he was once a child and none of the social anxieties he has now even mattered.

My favorite verse within this set has to do with building a candle for those scents that bring back memories. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into the room and caught a strange smell for an instant and my brain was flooded with old images and emotions that were linked to it.

Twenty One Pilots did a great job with this song. Lyrically, this song could be read like a poem and is relatable to so many people (especially my generation). Musically, the song structure and electronic influences is fun and entertaining.

Please take a listen of the track here  and check out the full lyrics below. And when you’re done, get out of your funk and go make some money 🙂

Enjoy!
______________________________________________________________________
“Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots (Blurryface)
I wish I found some better sounds no one’s ever heard,
I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words,
I wish I found some chords in an order that is new,
I wish I didn’t have to rhyme every time I sang,

I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink,
But now I’m insecure and I care what people think.
My name’s ‘Blurryface’ and I care what you think

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to when I was young,
How come I’m never able to identify where it’s coming from,
I’d make a candle out of it if I ever found it,
Try to sell it, never sell out of it, I’d probably only sell one,

It’d be to my brother, ‘cause we have the same nose,
Same clothes homegrown a stone’s throw from a creek we used to roam,
But it would remind us of when nothing really mattered,
Out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the latter.

My name’s ‘Blurryface’ and I care what you think

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face,
Saying, “wake up, you need to make money.”

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

———————————————————————-

PS. For those that made it to the very end…Isn’t the irony of line four awesome?

CATCHING UP WITH LIFE

Like a rushing current, she wailed on and on. Drowning out all sounds but the screech of her own voice.

Miranda tapped her head on the steering wheel. A repetitive motion to keep her steady. God knows she needed to keep steady.

She didn’t have time for this right now. She looked back her daughter who had begun thrashing in the car seat. She beat her legs wildly on the chair.

A stiff tinge of a headache began fogging Miranda’s mind. She sighed.

A shoe flung by her, hitting the dash.

“Riley! Enough!” she yelled. Her irritation grew as she recalled the hour she just spent dressing her. Pulling that golden hair into adorable pig tails that were now a monument to static electricity.

“Why do I even bother?” She fixed her gaze back towards the placid grocery store in front of her. They would just sit here until the tantrum ran its course. Judging by the gurgle scream stage that just kicked in, it wouldn’t be too much longer.

Every time this happens. She’d told Tom about it, but he wouldn’t hear her out. He would shake his head, “You’re a stay-at-home mom. We’re not paying a sitter for a few hours just so you can go to the store. Besides, if it is such an issue, just drop her off with my mom. She can handle her.”

She can handle her. Miranda bit her lip. What was that supposed to mean?

Just two hours a week, that’s all she asked for. For two hours of peaceful shopping with no screaming. No clothes pulling. No offhanded stares from strangers, with their smug faces.

Tom always scuffed at that notion. “How can you be alone with a hundred others parading around the store?”

You don’t know any of them, that’s how. You disconnect. You are just a woman in a grocery store. No more than that. Not a mother. Not a wife.

“Are you done yet?” she asked blatantly to the burping child in the back seat. He eyes were now red and puffy, her adorable blue dress soaked at the collar.

Miranda jumped out of the van and opened up the back passenger door. Her daughter who had so angrily screamed at her only moments before now reached out with longing arms. She unfastened the belts and gently lifted Riley from the seat, wiping her face with the spare pack of wipes she always kept in the back. Riley nudged her head into the nape of Miranda’s neck, curling her fist into small balls against her chest. Miranda smiled at her deeply. If only it would stay this way.