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Tuesday’s Tunes: Free Write

Tuesday's Tunes: Free Write

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

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      Today – rather than a post about the music I like or listen to while writing, I think I will issue you a challenge CHALLENGE CHALLENGE! How about that? Hah!
      You see, one of my favorite things to do when I’m just in between projects, or bored, or frustrated with a current piece, or feeling like I’m in a creative slump, or hungry, or whatever-else-I-might-be is to FreeWrite.
      My definition of free writing is quite possibly different from your own, or others you might find around the interwebs. To me, it is simply an opportunity to choose a topic, a sentence, a word, a phrase, an object, a character, a song, an anything and just… write. Write for 10 minutes straight or 2 minutes or an hour. Write until you’re done or your hand cramps. Just write.
      You’d think I didn’t like rules, with all these open-ended ‘guidelines’, but that isn’t true.
      Anyway – for today’s challenge (and to relate it back to music) I challenge you to pick a song randomly (or specifically) from your playlist and close your eyes. Listen to it once and really experience it – the lyrics, the melody, the highs and lows, the intricacies of the background instruments. And then play it again and just… write. See what comes out.
      Maybe you see an image or maybe its just a feeling, maybe you write about how much you hate this challenge or how you never noticed the tambourine in the ensemble before. Usually, I get end up with a phrase that sparks a short ‘flash fiction’ sort of thing and I’m off to the races.
      In fact, I think that’s exactly how I will spend my lunch hour today.
      If you take up my challenge – post a link to your free write in the comments below. I would LOVE to see what you all come up with!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Bwahahaha!

Tuesday's Tunes: Bwahahaha!

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      Okay, so Tuesday’s Tunes is a little late today. Memorial Day being a holiday sort of skewed my week and I totally forgot to finish this draft and schedule it. Oops!
      Thanks for forgiving me. You do, right? RIGHT?!
      *ahem*
      I’ve talked a lot about music that sets a scene or punctuates some action or helps me get out of reality and into THE ZONE. I’ve mentioned songs that reflect certain characters or just fill me with joy or get hits on my blog (Meghan Tonjes, I’m talking about you again). What I haven’t talked about is my proclivity for funny/parody/dirty/comedy songs.
      Yes, I adore Weird Al (and have since I was young, and will until the day I die AND he might have been the catalyst for my preference for funny, curly-haired boys), and I will probably dedicate a whole entry to him one day, but today I’m concentrating on a handful of hilarious musicians and songs that tickle my funny bone, get stuck in my head, and force me write bizarre flash fiction about banana-eating aliens and the cast of “The Guild” in LoTRO-land.
      *ahem* …again.
      Before we get to a few of the catchiest, funniest, raunchiest videos I’ve ever seen (and subjected poor Jack to), let me just make a plea to you… If you are easily offended, if the “F” word makes your ears bleed, if blond girls rapping about cocks hurts your soul, or reference to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll are not your thing… Please, for the love of God, do not listen to the songs below. They are filthy and wonderful, but definitely not G-rated.
      That said, the songs below are just a tiny sampling of those I enjoy. They are the ones that randomly get stuck in my head and cause me to go bopping around the grocery store singing “Bounce that Dick” or “I’m on a boat, m*therf*cker, don’t you e’rr forget” or “Whether you’re English, French, Japanese, or German. Whether you’re at home or at a movie with Pee Wee Herman. We all take matters into our own hands. With the five finger army we invade our pants”.
      The first video is by a YouTube Superstar called Jenna Marbles. Her vlogs are hilarious, but not usually musical. Still, the song I’ve embedded below is called “Bounce That Dick” and its so totally her and a fantastic foray into the area of parody/comedy music. Listen to it, relish the many different euphemisms for male genitalia, and then check out the rest of her videos.
      The second video is “Alone in the Universe” by Jon Lajoie. He’s a comedian from Canada, but don’t let that blind you to his awesomeness. “Everyday Normal Guy” is witty and most of us can probably identify with some of the lyrics. The subsequent “Everyday Normal Guy 2″ and “Everyday Normal Crew” (and then WTF Collective, which seem directly related to me) capture a lot of the initial comedy, but definitely insert more offensive stuff as well. I chose “Alone in the Universe” because I admire the dozen different phrases for masturbation (both dudes and chicks), and because of the video. “Pop Song” is another great one to find if you find him funny at all – its from his album and the video skewers the late-90s boy band trend as beautifully as the song does the music industry.
      And last but not least, The Lonely Island. I wanted to go with something less popular than the ubiquitous (and spectacular) “I’m on a Boat” or “Dick in a Box”, but I chose “I’m on a Boat” because of its earworminess. Which is to say, once I hear it, more than any other song on this list, I find myself singing the lyrics for hours afterwards. Usually without even knowing it. And that is as close to THE ZONE as comedy music gets me, for while I’m mindlessly humming “I’m on a boat and, it’s goin fast and, I got a nautical themed pashmina afghan. I’m the king of the world, on a boat like Leo, If you’re on the shore, then you’re sho’ not me-oh”, I’m also writing or editing like a fiend.
      Now if you like The Lonely Island (SNL alums, for those who didn’t know), definitely check out “Jizz in a Box”, “Throw it on the Ground”, “I Just Had Sex (ft. Akon)” and “3-Way/the Golden Rule (ft. Justin Timberlake & Lady Gaga)”. John Waters and Nikki Minaj feature in “The Creep” which is pretty funny, and “Boombox” features Julian Casablancas, who I don’t know, but who blows glittery like nobody’s business.
      So.
      What do you think of comedy songs? Do they inspire you to better dialogue? I like to think that they do me – wittier turns of phrase and ironic juxtapositioning – but it could just be that I love to laugh.

      Which I do.

      Are there any comedy songs/artists you’d recommend for me to check out?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Signature Songs

Tuesday's Tunes: Signature Songs

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      Have you ever read a novel (or comic, or graphic novel, or short, or fan-fic, or hell – anything) and some how, in that crazy way our brains have, ended up associating a song to a certain character or scene?
      We’re talking the “Imperial March” playing in your head every time Baron Arconin walks into the room. Or the distinctive squeal of Slash’s bad-assery on just about any GNR track while hooligans harass Hannah into furious action in Incandescence. Or the voluptuous bardess-turned-assassin strangling a john in an alley way who is irrevocably intermingled with Bree Sharp’s “The Cheap & Evil Girl” in my mind.
      I was listening to VH1 in the background while I wrote a lot about a lady wizard and her dragon-blooded lover. To this day, when I hear “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane (which was huge that summer/fall) I think of them and sigh. The song’s lyrics may not be particularly ‘suited’ to the pair or their romance, but it became associated with them in my neural pathways. In the same vein, I can’t read any of Jack’s snippets about a character called Carver without thinking of “Down with the Sickness” by Disturbed. And “Blind Faith” by O-24 always cycles in my mind when I’m re-reading one of the romance shorts I wrote back in the early aughts when I also happened to listen to a lot of K-Pop and J-Rock on the International Channel.
      What bouncy faux-hippity-hop korean pop music has to do with a love triangle on the American prairie I will never know. But I can never hear “Blind Faith” without thinking of Felicity, Robert, Edith and a burgeoning lesbian love affair set against the long, arduous journey West.
      For my current WIP, the afore (and frequently) mentioned Incandescence, I’ve written a guest post about the music that sort of makes me think about the story as a whole and some of the characters.
      Without totally spoilerizing (er….) that whole post, let me just say that without a doubt, the so-called villains of the story have the strongest association with music (in my head) of any character in the novel. I’m actively trying to come up with a signature song for Hannah, but I suppose her ‘signature song’ probably hasn’t been written yet – seeing as the story is set in the near future and teenagers tend toward the new, now, and trendy.
      Her brother strikes me as the fellow who would listen to bands like Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, Staind, et cetera – but who would totally listen to the sappiest pop-music ballads if it scored him some lady lovin’. Then again, there’s always Brandi’s influence – and that girl is a hardcore country queen. Michael’s signature song? Right now, I’ll say “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd (or Shinedown).
      Anyway – the point of this Tuesday Tunes post was to find out what sort of associations YOU make to stories you’ve read, characters you’ve loved (or hated, or loved to hate), scenes you’ve adored?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Narada

Tuesday's Tunes: Narada

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      As I mentioned recently, I used to get into THE ZONE by listening to Bryan Adams’ “So Far, So Good” on my walkman. Circa 1992, okay? Give me a break – I was twelve. Plus, if I’m being honest, I still have like seven or eight Bryan Adams songs in my rotation.
      Where was I? Oh yes, THE ZONE.
      I find it more difficult to get there these days. I blame all the distractions of the interwebs, cell phones beeping, and my darling Jack. But its okay and I’ll tell you why.
      Even when THE ZONE eludes me, I have beautiful music like the stuff below to soundify (hah – better than songify) my scenes. Things without lyrics that immerse me in the imaginary culture of some fantasy realm. From the soaring, tinkling “A Thousand Golden Bells” which was my first official introduction to the Narada stable of artists, to things like “Ride into Midnight” and “The Long Road”, Narada’s instrumental, Celtic, New Age-y music has been the soundtrack to many of my fantasy pieces.
      Now, I do understand that Narada is the collective not the actual artist, so don’t bother correcting me. Its just that whether the songs are by David Arkenstone (love) or Keiko Matsui, or any of the talented folk who ever put out music under that label are most easily classified in my world as “Narada”.
      Anyway – without further ado, here are a few of my favorite pieces.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

P.S. I couldn’t find “A Thousand Gold Bells” which… <3 ... but still, almost anything by Arkenstone or the Narada artists is lovely.

Tuesday’s Tunes: RAAAAWR!

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      Yeah, so this morning’s Tunes is not so much artist specific as it is RAAAAWR!
      Because sometimes you have to write a swordfight, or a battle scene, or a bar-room brawl, or a confrontation between a power-maddened 15-year-old girl and her arch-nemesis! Thankfully, for those intense moments, the world has given us such awesomeness as Manowar, Iron Maiden, Savatage, et all (and those are just the 80s ones!).
      Now, my love for epic 80s metal is not exactly new, though writing to it is a fairly recent (five or so years) development. And I place the blame squarely on Jack and his gaming friends. Because if it weren’t for all the 80s metal screaming in the background whilst we roll dice and/or reminisce about rolling dice, I would probably never have experienced 80s metal the same way. It wouldn’t get my blood pumping and my head banging and my horns being thrown up.
      Those bastards.
      But really, these sort of epic, thrashing, screaming ballads appeal to me when it comes time to really write an intense confrontation. If I’m not sitting at my keyboard bobbing my head absently to the music while some (now agéd) dude growls and shrieks in the background – the action suffers. Okay, not really, I can – and do – write in silence from time to time, but only by necessity. I feel like the energy in songs like these (see also: Drowning Pool “Bodies”, The Offspring “Bad Habit”, and more, which I’m sure I’ll list in a future post) really gets into me when I’m writing and it cannot help but some out on the page.
      I have really eccentric and broad taste in music. Some would call it crappy taste in music – but I like to think the fact that I find things to love in music by FinK.L., Garth Brooks, Black Sabbath, Shaggy, Bryan Adams, and a billion others just means I’m a well-rounded person.
      So. You may never get Dio’s voice out of your head if you listen to the original “Holy Diver” (or Killswitch Engage’s version, which is pretty spiff too) but why would you want to?
      What music gets your blood pumping when its time to kill off a character? Or blow-up a building in prose? Or whatever it is that happens in your books?

Oh yeah – captured from VHS baby!

No one wins…

Madness reigns – AAAAAAAAH yeah!

Tuesday’s Tunes: Meghan Tonjes

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      This week’s TT post features a songstress who is beautiful inside and out. She’s a YouTube sensation famous for covers of pop songs, but also a talented song-writer and musician. I fell in love with Meghan’s haunting voice the first time I saw video #2 below. Subsequently, I clicked through her catalog and subscribed to her future posts and eventually bought her releases…I’m a big fan of her original stuff.
      “This Year” was one of the first of her original songs I heard and it resonated with me in a dozen different ways. 2011 may have been HER “This Year” but 2012 is mine and this song has sort of become one of my anthems for the year of the Tangerine Tango.
      Check out the rest of her videos – you won’t be sorry.

~P.P.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Beth Hart

      A disclaimer. Some of the songs posted will have naughty language. Some will be terrible in your opinion. Some will be terrible in my opinion. Watch the linked video(s) at your own risk.
      That said, if you have ever wondered what sort of songs are punctuating scenes in my head, come back every Tuesday to find out.

      A break from the typical blah blah blah of my writing blog, I am going to take a break every Tuesday to give you a peek at the eclectic (okay, WEIRD) soundtrack that fuels my novels. Hopefully, this sort of feature doesn’t detract from the focus of the blog – but I figure that since music is integral to my work, why not share it?

      Enough of that. Moving on…
      This week, the premiere post, features Beth Hart. She is definitely not for everyone, between the slightly ‘goat-like’ quality some people ascribe to her voice and the subject matter of her songs. Thankfully, she is absolutely for me. My best friend introduced me to her back in 2005 when her DVD “Live at the Paradiso!” came out (which I immediately ran out and bought) and she’s been in my playlist ever since.
      There is a raw, passionate, intensity about her performances. She is the type of singer who truly deserves the title “artist”. She is not just making pretty sounds to some pre-recorded pop-cloned-tune. Beth is the music. When she is playing the piano, she and the instrument seem to become one undulating beast of emotion. Cannot help but write well with this degree of talent and energy behind you!

~P.P.