The B-Keeper. See What I Did There?

I have been assembling B-Sides like a fucking madman over the last couple of weeks. You know what the secret is? Torrenting. If you’re going to download music illicitly, or go hunting for rarities, use torrents. You can almost always find what you’re looking for, and if you’re missing a specific song, you can do what I do and start checking mediafire and 4shared for individual audio files and comparing minute differences in starting time and audio quality to see which one is superior. I’m sort of an accidental audiophile.

Tori’s Infamous List of Bee Sides

So, of the artists that I “collect,” Tori Amos has unquestionably the most B-Sides (although Ke$ha wins for the most demos/unreleased songs, she has over 80, but I really didn’t bother with them). So, for you Toriphiles out there, I thought I would show you my list of Tori B-Sides as a guide for anyone looking to assemble their own collection of B-Sides. My source for the majority of these files is a thread on a Spanish website called Taringa! where someone very kindly uploaded pretty much every single Tori B-Side, remix, and promo single ever released. Finding it is difficult, I still have to go on a mad hunt for this thread any time I need it, because I never bother bookmarking it, and I also think that it’s been made private now so you have to make an account there to view it (which I did, earlier this year when I first compiled my B-Sides). Also, there are quite a few Tori Amos discography torrents that have a lot of these, and if you can find the torrent with a copy of the 4-disc bootleg called “The Lost Works,” you’re mostly set.

I have done my B-Side hunting for Tori on about 5 different occasions now, always on a different computer each time, and this time I’m getting some CD-R’s and backing this stuff up. Of course I should mention that the best way to go about getting some of these songs is to just BUY the music properly, but some stuff, you’re just not going to be able to find, and some stuff isn’t actually available on CD (like the audio rips of the instrumental versions of tracks from Tales of a Librarian, or the audio rip of Garlands from the bonus DVD in the deluxe edition of The Beekeeper). And for those of you who ARE going to buy the music properly, I have some words of caution for you.

iTunes’ Woefully Inaccurate 1996 Selection

Tori’s third album (and incidentally, my favorite) is called Boys For Pele, released in 1996. If you want to get a copy of this album (and I highly suggest you should), you should know that iTunes has fucked the tracklisting all to hell. Your best bet is to do what I did and order a copy of the album from eBay. I believe I payed about 6 dollars altogether for the physical album, which gave me perfect rips of the tracks without improper audio or tracklisting, for less money than it would cost to purchase the album online. So, there are three editions of Boys For Pele: the original version is 18 tracks long, and has all of the original versions of the songs. The second edition of the album is my personal favorite, and the one you’d find if you were to order the album from any major retailer, like Amazon or Barnes & Noble: this version of the album has one difference from the original, in that the song Talula is replaced with “the Tornado Mix,” which is a version of the song used on the Twister soundtrack. This version is just better than the original, it adds more percussion, makes the song a bit groovier, although it does omit a few little sections of lyrics. If you’re hardcore and want to have everything Tori has ever released, I would suggest putting the original version of Talula in your list of Pele B-Sides, or putting the Tornado Mix in your list of B-Sides. Personally, I just use the Tornado Mix on my Boys For Pele and I’m done with it.

Finally, there is a third version of the album, and this is my least favorite version. The fourth track, Professional Widow, is followed up by the famous Armand Van Helden remix that granted Tori her biggest hit to date when his remix went to the top of the dance charts. Not only does throwing a remix right into the middle of the album mess up the flow of the whole thing, but it also caused one of the songs, In The Springtime of His Voodoo, to be cut completely from this version.

iTunes’ version of Boys For Pele is the third edition of the album, which in itself is already a misrepresentation of the album, but to make things worse, they don’t actually include Professional Widow. Both Professional Widow and the Armand Van Helden Remix are the exact same audio track. It’s just the same track twice in a row. For this reason, I highly, highly suggest buying the original album on eBay or from any major retailer. Hell, if you go into a well-stocked Barnes & Noble, you just might find it.

Now, back to our original mission: B-Sides. The album is not the only thing iTunes has wrong, the Hey Jupiter EP is in even worse shape. The version of Hey Jupiter used here is NOT the Dakota Version (the remix used as the single version of the song, which is about 6 minutes long and includes some heartbreaking additional lyrics), though it’s labelled as such, and the Merry Widow version of Professional Widow, which is an intense, emotional performance of the song live on harmonium, isn’t here either, it’s the original version of the song. Once again, my advice is to buy the physical EP from eBay or Amazon, it’s not very expensive and it’s worth it to get the real stuff.

There’s one another album that iTunes has messed up: Tori’s box set release, A Piano: The Collection. It has all the right audio files, but there are a lot of inexplicable silences at the beginning of the songs. Me and a Gun, for instance, has about 4 seconds of silence before the song begins. It’s not done by the artist, it’s a mistake that for some reasons happens to a lot of album uploaded to iTunes, and I can’t quite explain it. If you really want to support Tori and buy her music, do what I did: purchase A Piano from iTunes, and then go and download a torrent of the album with the proper audio files. That way you’ve payed for it and you’ve got the proper songs.

Apart from the above mentioned releases, the rest of the Tori selection on iTunes seems to be perfectly accurate. The rest of the EP’s are all in good order, I got Crucify, God, and Raspberry Swirl from the iTunes store and they’re the right songs. The only thing is that beginning with Scarlet’s Walk, iTunes has posted multiple versions of the same album, some with no differences from one another. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense, for instance, there are 4 versions of American Doll Posse, one with 23 tracks, one with 23 tracks and a digital booklet, another that is identical to the second one I mentioned, and a third with the digital booklet and bonus videos. It would have much more prudent to either post one edition of the album, or at very least a regular edition and a deluxe edition. But who am I to tell the geniuses at iTunes what to do.

See that? That was a pun. I was being funny. See how funny I am?

On to the B-Sides Already!

So, without further adue, I present to you, my collection of Tori Amos B-Sides. And no, I’m not going to give you download links, because firstly I can’t be bothered to upload them all, and also because collecting these songs isn’t really all that challenging, it just requires a bit of digging around.

Note on my formatting: I include studio tracks first, then songs from soundtracks, and then live tracks. I do not include remixes or alternate versions of songs. Other than that, the songs are pretty much in chronological order of release. Also, for album art, I used some of the Polaroids from the special edition box set of Scarlet’s Walk, just as a way to keep them all uniform, but it’s fun to find different single covers to use as album artwork. All of my information on these songs, as well as the photos I used for album artwork, along with pretty much anything else you would ever need to know about Tori Amos, is from my friend Jason’s very popular Tori Amos fansite, Yessaid.

Little Earthquakes: B-Sides

1 Upside Down [from Me and a Gun single]
2 Thoughts [from Me and a Gun single]
3 Sugar [from China single]
4 Flying Dutchman [from China single]
5 Humpty Dumpty [from China single]
6 The Pool [from Winter single]
7 Take To The Sky [from Winter single]
8 Sweet Dreams [from Winter single]
9 Angie [from Winter/Crucify singles]
10 Smells Like Teen Spirit [from Winter/Crucify singles]
11 Thank You [from Winter/Crucify singles]
12 Here. In My Head [from Crucify single]
13 Mary [from Crucify single]
14 Ode To The Banana King (Part One) [from Silent All These Years single]
15 Song For Eric [from Silent All These Years single]
16 Ring My Bell [Anita Ward cover – from Ruby Trax: The NME’s Roaring Forty]
17 The Happy Worker [from Toys Soundtrack]
18 Little Earthquakes (Live) [from Crucify single]
19 Crucify (Live) [from Crucify single]
20 Precious Things (Live) [from Crucify single]
21 Mother (Live) [from Crucify single]
22 Happy Phantom (Live) [from Silent All These Years single]
23 Silent All These Years (Live) [from Silent All These Years RAINN re-release single]

What’s missing: there is a single edit of China, as well as an edit of Flying Dutchman, both featured on the french China single, that I didn’t include. There’s also a remix of The Happy Worker called “Workers,” I don’t know if it’s an official release, but I didn’t include it. I also didn’t include the single remix of Crucify, not because I don’t like it but because it’s on A Piano: The Collection. In fact, A Piano saves me the trouble of including any of the single mixes, because they’re all featured in the box set.

Under the Pink: B-Sides

1 Sister Janet [from Cornflake Girl single]
2 All the Girls Hate Her [piano suite – from Cornflake Girl single]
3 Over It [piano suite – from Cornflake Girl single]
4 A Case Of You [Joni Mitchell cover – from Cornflake Girl single]
5 If 6 Was 9 [Jimi Hendrix cover – from Cornflake Girl single]
6 Strange Fruit [Billie Holiday cover – from Cornflake Girl single]
7 Home on the Range (Cherokee Edition) [traditional folk song with some added lyrics – from God single]
8 Daisy Dead Petals [from Pretty Good Year single]
9 Honey [from Pretty Good Year single]
10 Black Swan [from Pretty Good Year single]
11 Losing My Religion [R.E.M. cover – from Higher Learning Soundtrack]
12 Butterfly [from Higher Learning Soundtrack]
13 Famous Blue Raincoat [Leonard Cohen cover – from Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen]
14 Down By The Seaside [Led Zeppelin cover with Robert Plant – from Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin]
15 Upside Down (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
16 Past the Mission (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
17 Icicle (Live) [prefaced with a story from Tori – from Past the Mission single]
18 Flying Dutchman (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
19 Winter (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
20 The Waitress (Live) [from Past the Mission single]
21 Here. In My Head (Live) [from Past the Mission single]

What’s missing: every remix of God, and a live performance of Little Drummer Boy that was included on You Sleigh Me: Alternate Christmas Hits as well as More Pink: The B-Sides, the second disc of Under the Pink’s special Australian/New Zealand tour edition. I didn’t include it because firstly, no recordings of it, not even the one featured on More Pink, are very good quality, secondly because I just don’t like it, and thirdly because I haven’t really bothered to hunt around for it. There’s also a single edit of Cornflake Girl that I actually really like, which skips right ahead to the bridge after the second chorus, and I enjoy it as much as the original, they don’t cut out any singing, just a bit of rhythm playing between the second verse and the bridge.

It helped with some of these that the photos are the same color scheme as the album.

Boys For Pele: B-Sides

1 This Old Man [traditional folk song – from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
2 Hungarian Wedding Song [from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
3 Toodles Mr. Jim [from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
4 London Girls [Chas & Dave cover – from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
5 That’s What I Like Mick (The Sandwich Song) [Chas & Dave cover – from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
6 Samurai [from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
7 Graveyard [from Caught a Lite Sneeze single]
8 Amazing Grace – Til the Chicken [the first song is a traditional folk song – from Talula single]
9 Frog On My Toe [from Talula single]
10 Sister Named Desire [from Talula single]
11 Alamo [from Talula single]
12 Blue Skies [from Party of 5 Soundtrack]
13 I’m On Fire (Live) [Bruce Springsteen cover – from VH1 Crossroads]
14 Landslide (Live) [Fleetwood Mac cover – from Y-100 Sonic Sessions: Volume 1]
15 Sugar (Live) [from Hey Jupiter single]
16 Honey (Live) [from Hey Jupiter single]
17 Professional Widow (Merry Widow Version – Live) [A very different version of the song played on harmonium – from Hey Jupiter single]
18 Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Live) [Judy Garland cover – from Hey Jupiter single]

What’s missing: Well the obvious missing links are the Armand Van Helden remix of Professional Widow, along with every other remix of the song. There are also remixes for Talula, In The Springtime of His Voodoo, and even some unreleased remixes of Horses that aren’t included here. The Dakota Version of Hey Jupiter isn’t included either, for the same reason a the Crufiy single remix: both the Professional Widow remix and the Dakota Version of Hey Jupiter are on A Piano: The Collection. I also didn’t include the Tornado Mix of Talula because I have it filed under the album itself, and just omit the original version of Talula altogether. If you wanted to include it, I’d recommend putting it right between Graveyard and Amazing Grace, since that would be where you’d find it chronologically.

From the Choirgirl Hotel: B-Sides

(the amount of B-Sides drastically decrease after Boys For Pele, both because Tori started releasing remixes of her songs, and also I assume because CD singles were beginning to become obsolete. I personally enjoy a nice single EP)

1 Purple People (Christmas In Space) [from Spark single]
2 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas [traditional folk song – from Spark single]
3 Bachelorette [from Spark single]
4 Do It Again [from Spark single]
5 Cooling [from Spark single]
6 Beulah Land [from Jackie’s Strength single]
7 Never Seen Blue [from Jackie’s Strength single]
8 Finn [from Great Expectations soundtrack]
9 Siren [from Great Expectations soundtrack]
10 Merman [from No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees]

What’s missing: Every remix of Raspberry Swirl, Spark, Cruel, Jackie’s Strength, and Father Lucifer. Although I do personally like some of those remixes, I just don’t like including remixes in my B-Sides. There’s also a track in the Great Expectations score called Paradiso Perduto that features some Tori vocals, but I didn’t include it here either, both because I just didn’t want to and because it’s annoying to try and hunt down the score.

I used the garden because of Datura. Aren't I clever?

To Venus And Back: B-Sides

(Venus doesn’t actually have any original B-Sides, they’re all live performances that I assume were scrapped from Still Orbiting. It is interesting to note that all of the live performances featured as B-Sides are Tori playing solo without the band. The only thing that can be considered a B-Side from this album is Carnival, which is a song featured on the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack. I personally think it looks weird and throws off the way the Venus B-Sides look. You might want to tack it on to the end of the Choirgirl B-Sides, even though it’d be chronologically incorrect, since Venus was the album that was out when she did the song)

1 Carnival [from Mission Impossible 2 Soundtrack]
2 Hey Jupiter (Live) [from 1000 Oceans single]
3 Upside Down (Live) [from 1000 Oceans single]
4 Baker Baker (Live) [from Glory of the 80’s single]
5 Winter (Live) [from Glory of the 80’s single]
6 Famous Blue Raincoat (Live) [from Concertina single]
7 Twinkle (Live) [from Concertina single]

What’s missing: the single mix of Concertina. However, as with the other single mixes, it’s included on A Piano: The Collection. I don’t ever let songs repeat in my collection, because as you can clearly see, I am extremely organized. On that note, this is not technically organized chronologically, because Famous Blue Raincoat and Twinkle were released on the Glory of the 80’s single first, but I prefer them in this order.

Strange Little Girls: B-Sides

1 After All [from Strange Little Girl single]
2 Only Women Bleed [from Strange Little Girl single]

What’s missing: not much. There are only two B-Sides for this whole album, and they were included on the same single, which is the ONLY official single released for the album. There is a promo single of Strange Little Girl, which contains supposed “single edits” of Strange Little Girl, ’97 Bonnie & Clyde, and Heart of Gold. I cannot find any difference between the “single edits” and the album versions, but I wouldn’t have included them here regardless.

Scarlet’s Walk: B-Sides

(some of the songs that I’m crediting as being released on Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures, the bonus CD that comes with Welcome to Sunny Florida, were originally released on Scarlet’s Web, a website that was accessible using the Scarlet’s Walk CD, but not only are the versions released on Welcome to Sunny Florida of generally better audio quality, they’re also just better in that order because it makes a very nice EP)

1 Ruby Through The Looking-Glass [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
2 Seaside [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
3 Bug A Martini [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
4 Apollo’s Frock [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
5 Tombigbee [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
6 Indian Summer [from Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures]
7 Operation Peter Pan [from A Sorta Fairytale single]
8 Mountain [from Scarlet’s Web]

What’s missing: the single mix, and the 101 mix, of A Sorta Fairytale. Both of them are good mixes, though. Also it should be noted that there are no versions of Mountain of very high audio quality, as far as I’ve been able to find at least. There are also some remixes of Make Me Come To Vegas, and some radio versions of Taxi Ride and Strange, that I am completely not interested in.

To be honest, that’s the end of the B-Sides as we know them, there have been singles or EPs released after Scarlet’s Walk, and we now get our B-Sides from poorly put-together bonus DVDs, and deluxe editions of the albums. However, for your convenience, I’ll include the remaining bonus tracks.

Tales of a Librarian: B-Sides

(there is one “reconditioned” [or “badly remastered”] version of Putting the Damage On that didn’t make the physical album, but it is on the bonus DVD, as well as the iTunes release. The live performances are taken from the sound check of the performance that was used on Welcome to Sunny Florida. I personally don’t have any of these in my library.)

1 Putting the Damage On [reconditioned version – bonus track on iTunes release of Tales of a Librarian]
2 Mr. Zebra (Instrumental) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]
3 Putting the Damage On (Instrumental) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]
4 Pretty Good Year (Live) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]
5 Northern Lad (Live) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]
6 Honey (Live) [from Tales of a Librarian bonus DVD]

What’s missing: There is a radio edit of Mary that was released on a promo single, but my rule for Tori B-Sides is that I don’t include alternate versions, all the important ones, except for A Sorta Fairytale’s single version, can be found on an official release somewhere.

The Beekeeper: B-Sides

1 Garlands [from The Beekeeper bonus DVD]

What’s missing: there are some audio rips of Tori playing live on the DVD, but I’m not interested. In my iTunes, I have this filed as Garlands – Single, and I used the Sleeps With Butterflies artwork. Just a suggestion.

American Doll Posse: B-Sides

1 My Posse Can Do [from American Doll Posse bonus DVD]
2 Miracle [bonus track from iTunes release of American Doll Posse]
3 Drive All night [bonus track from Borders release of American Doll Posse] 

What’s missing: Not a thing. And in fact, the final three tracks on the album are apparently bonus tracks themselves, but there’s no version that doesn’t feature them, so I don’t quite see how they’re bonus tracks. Incidentally, Posse Bonus is an entire song dedicated to telling you that you’re getting bonus tracks. Yeah, it’s safe to say Tori’s albums are a little less entertaining nowadays when you get an entire number about your bonus tracks… Also, My Posse Can Do is an audio rip from the bonus DVD on the deluxe edition of American Doll Posse, I don’t know of anywhere you could properly buy the audio file, but the audio file is floating around, and can be found on some torrents.

Abnormally Attracted to Sin: B-Sides

1 Oscar’s Theme [bonus track on iTunes release of Abnormally Attracted to Sin]

What’s missing: That’s it, it’s just Oscar’s Theme. It’s track 18 on one of iTunes releases of the album.

Midwinter Graces: B-Sides

(All of these are covers of traditional folk songs. There are some original songs on the album, and Tori adds/changes some lyrics on all of the carols, but these tracks are still traditional folk songs)

1 Comfort and Joy [bonus track on deluxe version and iTunes release of Midwinter Graces]
2 Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! (Silent Night! Holy Night!) [bonus track on deluxe version and iTunes release of Midwinter Graces]
3 Good King Wenceslas [bonus track on iTunes release of Midwinter Graces]

What’s missing: Unless you want to count the bonus interview on the DVD of the deluxe version and the iTunes release as a B-Sides, nothing’s missing from here.

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#26: Family

My Tori Amos collection has grown by two CDs: one album, Under the Pink, and the Hey Jupiter EP.

Under the Pink is Tori’s second album, the followup to 1992’s Little Earthquakes. Funny story: before I ever really knew who Tori was, I actually found two mint condition copies of Under the Pink, as well as the Crucify EP (and since it didn’t include Smells Like Teen Spirit, it has to have been an international version), and I bought none of them. That’s right, I left them all there, assuming that Tori would turn out to be another Annie Lennox: I’d get excited, decide to buy all  of her albums, and then decide she wasn’t quite my style, and I’d have another CD I didn’t want. I probably would have enjoyed Under the Pink had I bought it then, I’ve heard a few people say that this is the best of Amos’ albums to start with. It walks a fine line between the somewhat radio-friendly sounds of Little Earthquakes and the off-kilter obscurity of Boys For Pele. It also has Cornflake Girl, one of my favorites which includes an awesome piano breakdown in the bridge.

In preparation for the arrival of Under the Pink (I bought it on eBay), I downloaded the music video for the album’s first track, Pretty Good Year. Later on, in the Boys For Pele era, Tori would release a music video for the remix of Professional Widow, featuring clips from all of her videos up to that point. I couldn’t help but notice that some of the clips were of Tori in a white dress doing choreography, and choreography seems quite out of the norm for her. I, of course, love choreography, and constantly make music videos in my head that include it. Anyway, the choreography clip was from Pretty Good Year, during this awesome moment in the bridge where the song transforms from a soft ballad to a screaming, rocking anthem, and then back again.

The second new addition is the Hey Jupiter EP, the title track of which isn’t the album version, but a remix called the Dakota Version. This is also the version used in the music video, the version featured on her retrospective collection A Piano, and generally seems to be the one listened to the most. It seems to me almost every single from Boys For Pele was remixed when it became a single; that doesn’t surprise me since much of Pele is very out in left field as far as radio goes. The remixes aren’t always a bad thing though, I’ve heard the original version of Talula and I think it’s terrible compare to the Tornado Mix.

The rest of the EP is live performances. Sugar and Honey are both B-sides from Under the Pink, the former about a cafe boy who couldn’t remember how many sugars Tori liked in her tea after serving her for nine months, and the latter Tori says is her favorite song from Under the Pink, but it was cut during mastering. The next track is a live performance of the Merry Widow version of Professional Widow. This is a very different take on Professional Widow, slow, brooding, and emotional, with Tori literally screaming through the bridge, and the entire song is backed by a harmonium. She jokingly mentions before beginning the song that the last time she tried singing it she “gave myself a brain annurism.” The final track is my favorite, a cover of Over the Rainbow. Having been a fan of Evanescence, I’m too used to seeing the word “haunting” attached to songs, and I wouldn’t say that it is haunting in my opinion, I just find it to be very emotional. This rarely happens, but I actually can’t seem to hear the song without tearing up, and that’s special because not every song effects me like that. It’s very soft, very quiet, very vulnerable, scared, and wishing.

As for the Tori Amos material I already have, I’ve basically given up on listening to A Piano: The Collection, because I want to hear the originals before I hear their remastered versions. Even though many of the songs stay true to their originals, I would still prefer to hear them on their respective albums first, and then if I ever get the collection, I’ll enjoy it a lot more.

I’ve revisited Tales of a Librarian, and found that after some time away from it I’ve found that it’s grown on me. I still think it’s not the best of Tori Amos’ albums to start with, the feeling is too country for my tastes. The album isn’t without it’s own original material though: Angels and Snow Cherries From France are new tracks, while earlier B-Sides Sweet Dreams and Mary were completely redone for this collection. Tales of a Librarian also features the radio edit of Armand Van Helden’s Star Trunk Funkin’ remix of Professional Widow, which was included on the second re-release of Boys For Pele and the Professional Widow single.

American Doll Posse is finally beginning to grow on me, the album is radically different from Tori’s earlier works, particularly Boys For Pele, which is almost entirely instruments and vocals, with little to no studio work really done. Every now and then a bass guitar shows up, but for the most part, Boys For Pele is piano, harpsichord, and vocals. American Doll Posse comes off as being over-produced upon the first listen, but after some time the songs do begin to grow on you. Tori did say that A Piano was the end of an era, and that American Doll Posse was a step in a new direction. Her tenth album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, seems to be just as studio-focused as it’s predecessor, and while it is kind of a shame that Tori probably won’t be making another Under the Pink any time soon, it is good to know that she refuses to become a fading memory in the mind of the music world, and that she’s trying to stay current and explore new composition styles.

In personal news, I had a brief chat with the owner of my local bookstore, he saw me wandering and asked if there was anything he could help me find. I fecetiously replied, “A job,” and he told me to fill out an application and call him. Now, that’s something that managers usually say, but he also went as far as to ask if I had a problem working in the cafe. I don’t think he would have been so thorough about it if they didn’t need new help. This is actually the job I’ve always wanted, but as it would happen I’ve had a really fucked up past week.

Emotionally, that is. I have problems with panic/anxiety/stress/etc. and they usually rear their ugly head when I’m out in public. Now they’re starting to take over my whole life. I’m having small panic attacks all the time, regardless of where I am, even in my room which is usually my sanctuary. I’ve had a hard time this week trying to stop thinking about it, and I feel a little better now that I’ve gotten away from my house, but still, it’s becoming a serious problem that I can’t handle on my own anymore. I need medication. I know that sounds like a quick fix, but it isn’t. I want a psychologist, I want someone I can really talk to about all this and get all of this off of my chest, and if need be, I want medication. I want to be able to get in a car or walk into the grocery store without feeling like I’m going to pass out, without my vision blurring, and without my heart beating out of my chest. It’s not fair, I’ve dealt with this for 3 years now and I need it to stop. I just want to be able to feel normal, like I did before I ever passed out in the middle of my classroom in 11th grade, when my life was forever changed, and I would spend every day until this very moment fearing for my health.

And that’s really what it comes down to: fear. If I’m not afraid, I don’t have any significant problems. If I am afraid, the terror follows me around, looming over me and casting a shadow on everything I do. I can’t be brave by myself all the time anymore, I need help. I need someone who knows what I’m going through and knows how to combat it to give me the tools to stop it. I don’t expect it to go away by magic, but I have to have the help I need to be able to get a job and live my own life. If not, my relationship is going to fall apart, and I’m going to become just like the rest of my family: an overgrown child. I already am.

I hate to say those things about myself, if for no other reason than because I know my mother would agree with them. Have I ever mentioned my mother? I hate her. Sometimes I can get along with her, sometimes I even find her pleasant, but when it comes down to it, I hate her in a way so deeply that I can’t stop myself from hating her. And it’s her fault. I know it’s unhealthy to blame your problems on other people, but the majority of my problems are her fault. She’s exactly the opposite of everything I think a parent should be. She has, for half of my life now, disrespected, humiliated and deeply hurt me in ways that I think I’m probably going to spend a lot of time getting over. She is the reason I have stress problems, both because I inherited them from her and because she taught me to fear life, and most importantly to fear her. I honestly have many times wished that she were dead. Because my life would be a lot brighter if she were. Not physically, because I wouldn’t have anyone supporting me, and yes, she does support me, and no, I am not happy about that. The problem is, she never taught me how to be an adult, because I don’t think she really knows how to be one herself. She didn’t raise me, she just kept me fed and clothed, and because she’s become crazier with age, she’s ruined my sister, who now is an entitled brat because her mother has always given her anything she wants. If myself and my brother are any indication, my sister might realize what kind of a person my mother is one day and try to fix all the problems she’s already created for her, but I have a feeling that in the end I’m going to be living somewhere far away from my family with no contact with them at all, and my sister along with the rest of my family will be conditioned to hate me.

Family. I don’t know what that really means. But one day, I’d like to create my own. I’d like to raise a child and teach them about truth, I’d like to try and bring a person into the world who has the ability to question, someone who isn’t fooled by society, someone who yearns to bring love and peace to the human race as much as I do. And maybe he wouldn’t hate society, or humans as a whole, the way I do. Maybe he’d be better than me, because I would give him a chance to flourish. I am a brilliant flower blooming amongst a family of weeds, and I hate them for being who they are.

#15: Father Lucifer, You Never Looked So Sane

Hi everyone! I haven’t done a blog in a while of just me being personal and talking about my life, and this blog should be personal! Some day, someone’s going to enjoy reading it, I’m sure… So! I’m feeling very calm tonight, which is a good thing, because my life has been somewhat hectic over the last couple of weeks, due to what I shall only refer to as “family issues” in the interest of being vague enough not to name names. But for the moment, things seem to be pretty calm. I didn’t have to work today, which actually isn’t a good thing, but because I am lazy, I enjoy having off days; even though most of my days are off days since my job isn’t an official one. I did make a decent amount of money, or at least decent in comparison to what I usually make working for my mother.

I’ve bought two new CDs, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on here yet but I pretty much put a stop to my CD horading habit (or at least cut down the current hoard), and I did it in stages. First, I took my entire collection, which consisted of CDs I’d bought bought in store, online, and secondhand, and seperated what I felt was essential to keep from what wasn’t. The fact is, I had (I technically still have them, but I’d like to find some way to get rid of a lot of them, preferably at some profit) at least 50 CDs, and I only really enjoyed about 10. I mentioned that I did this in stages, and not because I decided to do it that way, but because this was an unhealthy collecting habit that wasn’t really doing me much good and I was slowly breaking away from it without really realizing it. First, I took from the collection nearly all the CDs I’d bought “secondhand,” i.e. from the thrift store/”yard sale” place. Then I removed from the collection the CD singles, which consisted of 4 Lady Gaga singles and remix EPs, Paramore’s CD single for Ignorance, and Glee’s CD single for Don’t Stop Beleivin’. Then I laid out all of the remaining albums and decided which ones I really liked, and which ones I didn’t. That eventually became me deciding on CDs from four or five bands that I wanted to keep, and pretty much no others. Ultimately, the My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Imogen Heap, and Evanescnence albums stayed, the Fall Out Boy albums stayed (with the possible exception of their Greatest Hits collection, which I don’t particularly like), my new Tori Amos Collection, Tales of a Librarian stayed, and there are a few that are on shakey ground and may or may not remain: albums from Frou Frou, The Hush Sound, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, The Used, Relient K, and the Nightmare Revisited compilation. I also decided to put Lady Gaga’s The Fame away as a keepsake rather than display it: the “Lady Gaga” period of 2009 lasted from about May to December, and during this time I spent much of my life obsessing over Lady Gaga, being numb and uncreative, confused, and without much faith or hope. I didn’t realize how bad off I was then, but I know now how bad it was. However, because I do enjoy the memories attached to the time at which I first bought the album (near my birthday), I decided to keep it as a keepsake, but upon writing this, I think getting rid of it might still be a good idea. I kept The Fame Monster, it’s a nice album and it conveniently contains the contents of The Fame on disc 2, so I get to have my cake (no more The Fame on the shelf), and eat it too (the music is still there, but packaged in such a way that it doesn’t illicit bad memories).

I will only touch on this briefly, mostly because this area of life scares me: it seems that a lot of musicians have been coming under scrutiny lately for including perceived symbolism in their music, music videos, dances, etc. These people are talked about as being “Illuminati puppets.” I don’t really want to know much about this, because religion scares me, and the symbolism associated with this topic has to do with religion. I did read an article describing Gaga’s perceived symbolism, and though I found some of it to be legitimate observation and some of it a bit farfetched, I think it’s possible that the “symbolism” used in Lady Gaga’s music and music videos is just her own form of art; i.e. it’s symbolic of things that pertain only to her, or the themes and contents of her music videos are things that have special meaning to her personally or represent whatever she wants to represent. For instance, if you wanted to pick out all of the things in one of her music videos that seemed “random” or “unusual,” you could probably attach any kind of symbolism to it, after all, just about everything has been used as a religious or ritualistic symbol at some point. The only thing about the article that really stood out to me, and is the reason why I include it now, is that it said that the central theme of her music seems to be mind control. Her name, themes, images, lyrics, videos and music being things that represent numbness, hypnosis, empty-headedness, and mind control.

I just mentioned the “Lady Gaga phase” of last year, and honeslty, those were the things that I felt. I felt that there was something drawing me to her, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I felt that there was something unique about her, but I had no idea what it was. Everything about her was vague and shapeless, and I felt numb, hypnotised, and possessed by her. I didn’t just invent those feelings after reading that article, it’s almost an exact description of the way I handled her music. I still don’t know what it is about Gaga that seems to sometimes draw me to her: are her performances based on shock value? Do they have some deeper meaning? If they art artistic, then they probably only have meaning to her, and while that is still definitely art, there’s something about her that is inaccessible. She’s a conundrum. For about 7 months, I listened to one album constantly, an album in which I only really enjoyed one, maybe two songs. But all that I could do was watch Lady Gaga performances, play Lady Gaga songs, and through it all I felt completely devoid of inspiration and creativity. She seems to do her best to be creative, but the effect it had on me wasn’t that it made me more creative, it sucked every bit of creativity right out of me. I think 2009 would have been a much better year if I hadn’t been so hooked on The Fame.

Of course, I would not go so far as to say that The Fame actually is actually mind controlling, or Lady Gaga, nor would I say that I could blame my own personal shortcomings on a pop star I don’t know, or say that my life was so profoundly affected in a bad way by an album I chose to listen to, when no one was forcing me to. I like to keep an open mind, and consider things. If you think you hear me make judgement on someone, I’m most likely expressing something I feel could be a possibility. While conspiracy theories are silly, this conspiracy theory just happened to mention mind-controlled hypnotic numbness and lack of feeling, which is exactly the way I felt for 7 months, and about which I’d never felt because of any other musician in my life.

Of course, I do have a tendency to be obsessive. It’s in my nature, and it’s a part of who I am. I move from musician to musician, video game to video game, television show to television show, obsessing over them as I go along, allowing them to become a cornerstone in my life and direct my attention. Perhaps each of those obsessions to some degree gives the obsessor a level of detached numbness, as I’ve experienced plenty of times before, but perhaps with Lady Gaga, the sheer lunacy of it all, or some key ingredient in the formula of her music and performance sucked the emotion right out of me. I don’t know, and all of this sounds very strange and abstract, I don’t want to act as though I could blame a bad period in my life on something I chose to do, but I know that Gaga-obsessed part of my life was a really bad one.

And that’s that. Moving on.

I did finally break down and download some Tori Amos albums: Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink in their entirety (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I’ve been kicking myself for not buying Under the Pink when I found not one, but two perfect condition copies of the album in the thrift store, along with a copy of the Crucify EP). Tales of a Librarian was actually a really bad place for me to start, for me personally the album is random and puts the songs together in a way that I think makes all of them less appealing. Great songs like Way Down and Mr. Zebra are completely out of place here, and honestly, all of the songs are out of place. They belong on their respective albums, and I don’t think they blend together well here at all. Furthermore, though the songs are remastered on the album, they seem to be very badly remastered. For instance, Cornflake Girl sounds a lot better on Under the Pink. The general quality and volume of the song may be lower than the remastered version, but in the remastered Tales of a Librarian version, the layers all seem to be out of place: the lyrics of the bridge are almost impossible to understand because the background vocals are overpowering the main bridge vocals; from the very beginning of the song, the music doesn’t seem to flow nearly as well as the original version, something about the way the layers were all perfectly where they needed to be is ruined in the remastered version. The weird random tracklisting combined with the bad remastering just ruins this album, which on the surface is beautifully formatted and wonderfully packaged. Cornflake Girl is the best example of bad remastering, or at least remastering that isn’t completely true to the original; I’m not sure if the other songs are that bad, but this leads me to believe that listening to originals rather than remastered versions of songs is probably a better way to go. It seems like the songs that are presented on the iTunes digital albums are remastered versions as well, even on the older albums, for instance I downlaoded the Crucify EP, and the version of Smells Like Teen Spirit I have sounds like lower quality than the one on iTunes. This could be that I downloaded a lower quality version, often with downlaoded songs the quality is greatly diminished or destroyed, but nontheless iTunes could be changing the songs when they’re added to a musicians catalogue.

I wonder if I sound to you as cryptic and confusing as I do in my head right now, writing this.

That Illuminati Lady Gaga explenation really makes all of her randomness make sense, doesn’t it? At least it gives it all some meaning, something tangible you can put your finger on. Then at least it presents a clear message, something you can grasp, rather than a vague, blurry, formless shape. And even if she was using all of this supposed symbolism, so what? It’s not like it would make her music suddenly “evil” or anything. As an open-minded person, and especially as a person who’s so dissapointed with the actions and opinions of the Christian church as a whole, I shouldn’t be approaching this from a standpoint of fear, or judgement; and honestly, I don’t want much to do with any other religions either. I want to have my own personal relationship with God, and leave it at that. I don’t want to preach any gospels or try and convert people, I don’t want to join a church or really even go to a church, because other people can’t tell me what my own personal relationship with anyone, much less my supreme omniscient God is going to be like. Really, the whole idea of church is ridiculous. What is “fellowship”? What can a preacher really “teach” you? They’re just giving you their own interpretation of the Bible, or someone elses interpretation. And the Bible itself is just an interpretation, it was written by people, people who are capable of human error.

Besides, the modern Bible is apparently just a selection of books put together by the Catholic church a long time ago, consisting of the books they felt were the best to show people, and we’ve seen how manipulative they can be, so why would modern day Christians put their trust in something handed down from the Catholics? Especially since from what I understand, the people who came to America seeking freedom of religion were attempting to escape from the Church of England, which was just a copy of the Catholic church without the pope. I realize that a lot of my facts could be wrong here, but if they’re correct, I think my questions still stand.

The mind-control thing just stuck with me because feeling the way I felt back during my “Lady Gaga phase” is something I’m kind of afraid of and wouldn’t want to repeat. But now I know that if I just stay focused on who and what is really important my life, I’ll be fine.

So, there you have it, some of my thoughts. I’m getting tired, and when I get tired things start to become a lot less coherent, so I think I should be going now. Goodnight everyone, have a blessed etc. etc.

#13: Never Was A Cornflake Girl

My copy of Tales of a Librarian came in! I ordered the two disc edition of Tori Amos’s Tales of a Librarian, which if you remember is a collection of her work up to 2003, including songs from every album up to that point except for Strange Little Girls, and it also has 4 new previously unreleased tracks as well. The first thing that struck me when I opened up the packaging is that it’s a beautiful album. You know I’m a sucker for a well-formatted CD, and this was by far one of the best formatted CDs I own. I actually thought this was going to be in regular two-disc jewel case, but it’s actually paperback! It’s a digipack, which is my favorite, and it opens up, and then opens up again. So, when you first open it, you have the two folds facing down over the CD and DVD, and on these are some pictures of Tori on a beautiful pink and white background with the songs on the CD and DVD listed in order of the Dewey Decimal system (since the theme is librarian). Then you open it up, the CD is brown and the DVD is pink, and on the left side opening fold is a picture of Tori and a basic outline of the Dewey Decimal system. On the right fold is the CD booklet, and all of this is formatted on this beautiful pink and white case, the CD booklet is wonderfully formatted, it’s filled with all the lyrics of the songs and a ton of pictures of Tori Amos as a librarian in all stages: nice librarian, innoent librarian, sexy naughty librarian showing off her legs in heels, etc. It also has the Dewey Decimal classification for each song on a list falling from the left side (which is also shown on the front cover).

So far, I like every song I’ve heard, and it was nice to hear the original version of Precious Things, which I was afraid would be really 90’s and boring, but it wasn’t, and it’s surprising that her music sounds so current when a lot of it is from the early 90’s. I think she’s an artist who’s always way ahead of her time, and I’m really surprised that back in 1994, someone was making music that would sound like a lot of music does today, and she’s probably responsible for some of the music today, I know Amy Lee has been compared to her numerous times, and I’m sure she’s inspired plenty of musicians, including myself. Also, she has songbooks for all of her albums, including this one, and they’re not Hal-Leonard!

Quick explanation on that: the first songbook I ever got was Evanescence’s Anywhere But Home. If you’re a fan of Evanescence and particularly their first album Fallen, and want to learn to play their music, this is the book to get because it contains all the songs on Fallen except one (Hello, which is actually the one song on Fallen I would be interested in playing above all else if I were buying an Evanescence songbook, but I’d already learned how to play Hello from sheets I got on the internet, and a little piece of Jesse trivia: Hello is the first song I ever learned to play via sheet music, with no help from anyone), and it also has a Korn cover, two songs that were cut from Fallen, and Anywhere But Home’s previously unreleased studio track: Missing. I’d also suggest getting the album if you’re an Evanescence fan; Amy’s voice is a little unruly at times, but the new material and the live versions of some of the songs (Bring Me To Life has a pretty intro, Farther Away is like two minutes longer than usual) are worth getting if you’re a fan.

So, as I was saying, Tori Amos has songbooks for all of her albums, and none of them are done by Hal-Leonard! What do I have against Hal-Leonard, you ask? Good question. I currently own two songbooks, the first was Anywhere But Home, and the second I got was the Hal-Leonard songbook for Lady Gaga’s The Fame. It’s awful. First of all, I realize that it’s pop music and it doesn’t really include a lot of piano, but the songs are just watered down versions of the originals, with the right hand doubling the vocals of the singer have the time and the left hand playing some simple arpeggio that has nothing to do with the way the song sounds. On top of that, oftentimes in Hal-Leonard books, the songs are written in the wrong key! And they even admit to it, it says at the bottom that it’s recorded a half-step higher or a half-step lower. Why would we want sheet music that’s a half-step in the wrong direction? What purpose does it serve? Why couldn’t they just print the sheet music in the correct key? It doesn’t make any sense to me, and even in the sections of The Fame where piano is actually included (like Beautiful, Dirty, Rich), the piano part from the song is completely left out in the sheet music! It doesn’t make any sense.

So, that means that Amos’ songbooks are either done by she herself, or at least another company that knows what they’re doing. My Anywhere But Home songbook was not Hal-Leonard, and all the songs were in the correct key, and was essentially spot on. So basically, my view on songbooks now is that if it’s not Hal-Leonard, it’s probably a good songbook. Since Tori is a pianist, I assume she would want her fans to have the actual material and not a watered down version of it to play for no real reason other than to use as a guideline for your own version. The only reason I could think that she wouldn’t be directly involved in it is that she’s known for playing things by ear, before she was a solo artist she had a short-lived stint as lead singer and pianist of a band called Y Kan’t Tori Read, which I gather is not very impressive, and Tori’s said she has no interest in re-releasing the album. That makes sense, since most of the band members were studio players, the record company gave up on promoting the album after two months, and in the band’s only music video, Tori is the only member present. So, I think that the Tales of a Librarian songbook would probably be a very good investment.

A few weeks ago I found an old copy of Pink Floyd’s famous movie The Wall at the flea market, and we finally sat down and watched it. This movie gets a lot of criticism for being way too trippy and people often say that you have to be on drugs to understand it. While the movie was really spacey, confusing, and jumped around from timeline to timeline quite a bit, it still altogether made a little bit of sense, and wasn’t so unwatchable that you had to be on drugs to watch it. The movie was a combination of real-time acting and animation, usually switching back and forth between a real-time scene and an animated sequence. Only once during the movie two the two worlds mingle. Also, the main character, Pink, breaks a LOT of TV’s. Seriously, he must have 5 or 6 televisions in his house, because he breaks a new one every five minutes. Of course, the most fun part was when Happiest Days of Our Lives started, who wouldn’t be excited?

The most interesting parts of the film were the animated sequences, in every one of them there were things that morphed over and over, constantly changing into other things, and honestly I don’t remember many specific examples, but I know during the climax of the film, The Trial (a song which I used to listen to on my iPod, riding around town on my bike), some of the characters morph into one another when they speak. One animated sequence early on features two flowers engaging what is obviously a visual representation of intercourse, in which the “female” flower devours the male, a theme present in Pink’s life.

I was surprised to find out, though, that the film doesn’t feature all of the music from the album! That’s probably a good thing, because the movie would be about twice as long if that were so, but I was surprised that Hey You wasn’t included in the movie. That’s one of The Wall biggest singles!

I’ve also been listening to another famous concept album, Queen’s A Night at the Opera. I really like what I’m hearing so far, and until now, the only Queen songs I’ve really been familiar with are the ones featured on an the Queen Greatest Hits: We Will Rock You Edition I bought back in 2006. , which I until this point, I’ve pretty much only heard the Queen songs featured on a Greatest Hits album I bought around 2006. This was one of the first albums to really start inspiring a story from me, I was smack in the middle of my classic rock phase, and Queen was just right for me. I’d never really heard Another One Bites the Dust or We Are the Champions in their entirety, and I’d never even heard of Killer Queen before, but all of these songs inspired me and began to form a story in my head. Most of it was never written, but the characters it inspired are still there.

Speaking of Queen, I learned via the Biography channel’s special on Queen quite a while ago that Freddie Mercury made and album with Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe, who we really admired. It’s called Barcelona, and how could a collaboration between Freddie Mercury and an opera singer not be good?

Incidentally, The Wall and A Night at the Opera were said to be My Chemical Romance’s two biggest inspiration for their concept album The Black Parade.

Well, I have the new Rocket Summer album, but I haven’t listened to it yet. If you’re not familiar with this artist, The Rocket Summer is a musical project by musician Bryce Avery. He writes all the music, sings all the songs, and plays all of the instruments. I think that’s cool and I respect that. I’ve really only heard one of his albums, Do You Feel, and I like it. His song So Much Love was one of my favorite songs when I was 18. My only real problem with The Rocket Summer is that the music is sometimes unbelievably corny, and there are lots “Yeah”s and “Oh!”s and “Come on!”s thrown into every sentence. A lot of the lyrics are still really meaningful, but at other times it feels like he just couldn’t think of anything to include in the middle of a sentence so he stretched out the word “Oh” to be four syllables, or threw a few “Yeah yeah!”s to fill in space. While the songs can come off as being way too over the top and deliriously joyful, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and a lot of the music is really uplifting, which the world needs more of.

I’m really a big fan of Italian dance/electronica group Flanders. The only problem is that they rarely ever release anything new! In the past 4 years, they’ve released three songs. But they’re good songs. They actually have a new single out called Time, and I can’t explain it, but their music just really hits me, I really like it. Their song Behind is a very special song for me, it always takes me back to when my boyfriend and I first met, and it just makes me fall in love with him over and over again.

I’ve been listening to musicals lately, not the least of which is Stephen Schwartz’ Wicked, a musical based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. Both the novel and the musical chronicle the life of Elphaba, a child born with completely green skin and a talent for sorcery, who aspires to become the Wizard of Oz’s grand visier, but faces opposition from a cruel world intolerant of those who are different, namely Oz’s Animals: animals in Oz who have the same level of consciousness and intelligence as humans. Elphaba works toward equal rights for Ozzians and Animals, but faces a lot of opposition, and faces the challenges that will lead to her being known as the Wicked Witch of the West. The story does manage to distance itself from The Wizard of Oz significantly; it chronicles the event leading up to the moment Dorothy arrives in Oz, during, and after, without ever showing Dorothy, an aspect which I think both preserves the integrity of the original and adds greatly to Shwartz’ musical.

Another of my favorite musicals is Repo! the Genetic Opera. Though the film was released in early 2009, Repo! was a stage show long before then, in production since 2002.  The movie quickly became a cult classic upon the release of the film soundtrack months before the movie ever went to theaters, but Repo! never gained any widespread commercial success. The film starred an unlikely cast: Spy Kids’ Alexa Vega, hotel heiress Paris Hilton, and even Phantom of the Opera heroine and pop recording artist Sarah Brightman. Repo, like most other musicals, has a lot of positive messages: there are heavy undertones both of self-acceptance and society’s reliance on industrialism and the desire to be perfect.

The basic plotline is that in the “not too distant future,” organ failure becomes a wordwide epedimic, killing off a large part of the worlds population, and scientist Rotti Largo discovers zydrate, a substance that comes from human organs that somehow or another is involved in surgery so that people can have their failing organs replaced with new ones. Organs are sold by Largo’s company, GeneCo, at a high price, and if buyers don’t make good on their payments, a “Repo man” is sent after them to collect the organs, in other words, assassinating the individual and taking the organs by force while they’re alive. The story chronicles Repo man Nathan Wallace and his daughter Shiloh, who is unable to live in the outside world due to a blood condition. Nathan’s deceased wife Marni is the central tie that binds all of the stories main characters together: former lover Rotti Largo, husband Nathan, daughter Shiloh, and close friend Bling Mag, who becomes the face of GeneCo and stars in their Genetic Opera. Repo probably deserved a lot more attention than it received, it was only shown in a few theaters throughout the country.

Here’s an interesting coincidence: there’s a movie being developed called Repo Men, that, you guessed it, has almost the exact same plot. But from what I can tell, it’s not produced by any of Repo!’s producers, it just completely steals the plot from the musical. That’s pretty pathetic, and it really sucks that the producers of Repo! worked for years to create a stage musiacl and film that’s really and truly about something, just to have the plotline stolen by a big company to make another action film that will garner millions of dollars. It’s kind of sick.

On another subject, I’ve also been giving thought to my future album, whenever I finally begin really seriously writing it. I really only have 2 or 3 songs I think will make it, and a few others that were kind of thrown together or I just don’t like as much. But what I’ve been thinking about today is the subject matter, I’m thinking it would be cool for the album to be called Male, and this is an idea I’ve had for a while now. I’d like to make an album that showcases what it is to be male, what is to be a man, but on the other hand, is really about being human.

The women’s rights movement is an important thing, and I wouldn’t want this album to seem cheuvanistic at all, in fact, it’s meant to be the opposite. I feel like sometimes men get a bad rep, both because throughout history women have been opressed and men have been exalted, and because men for some reason are always talked about in brute terms. When one in modern society thinks of men, there’s a connotation of being warlike and animalistic, and it’s just not true. Men are always considered to be the warriors, and with the modern women’s rights movement, men are often talked about in a non-flattering way, women like to make joke’s at men’s expense that we’re all devoid of the same intelligence they are, that we’re childish and rude, and that we only understand basic human needs like food and sex. I do not appreciate that at all, being male, and I think that society really has a warped view of what is to be male.

There are so many double standards when it comes to male and female, on both sides. Women have plenty of reason to accuse men of having a double standard when it comes to them, it’s been true for ages, but socially, there are a lot of double standards about men. I’m sure you’ve probably thought at some point that there are certain things girls do together than if guys were to do, they would automatically be considered gay or just socially unnaceptable. One time in school I remember having a discussion with a group of people who were telling me that there was an age at which it was no longer appropriate for guys to spend the night at each other’s houses. Female friends sleep in the same bed together, in their underwear, they paint each other’s nails and are very physical with one another, they model clothes for one another and change in front of one another, there are some situations in which women bathe together, but men could not do any of these with a friend without being shunned or assumed to be gay.

This also leads me to another point I’d like to make: the infamous “feminine side.” Men who, say, did any of the activities above, slept with one another in the same house, room, or bed, on a friendly basis, or cried in front of their friends, or changed in front of another man when it was entirely possible for him not to, would be considered to be doing things that were “feminine.” When men show emotion, it’s often said they’re “embracing their feminine side,” but perhaps there’s not really a “feminine side,” but just a human side. Human beings all feel the same emotions, be they male or female, but because women are known to oft express theirs more than men, men who do the same are said to be “feminine.”

Perhaps even men who are overtly flamboyant are not feminine either, but merely human. Flamboyance is a human trait, present in both men and women, but with women it’s considered acceptable, where with men it’s considered to be an indication that someone is feminine or homosexual. If a man does something that a woman does, it’s understandable to say that it’s a feminine behavior, but one cannot just attribute that activity solely to women.

There is of course a good counter argument against one of these observations, because the majority of men who are overtly flamboyant are homosexual, and therefore societies observations on this are correct. But being a homosexual does not make you a woman. Just because a man is gay doesn’t mean he’s female on the inside, it in fact means that he’s more male than any other men. Being gay is perhaps in some ways the purest form of being male.

A lot of this is very abstract, and I’m not specifically trying to push any one idea, but I think that people should still think, think about everything, and that there is no reason why society should shun people or put anyone down, be they man or woman.

The album would be a celebration of being male, and people would probably be surprised and hear a lot of things that they considered to be female. But I think that’s the point, men are so used to only showing one side in society, it’s not considered manly to be involved in the arts or to dance, or to sing soprano. But it is. It’s all part of being male. It’s not shameful, it’s beautiful, and it’s a part of being male that men and women should all embrace rather than reject.

If men are oppresive to women, and women are understandably bitter and become oppresive to men, then in another thousand years women will rule society and men will begin to become oppresive to women again, and it will continue forever. The opposite of masculism and feminism are not one another, but acceptance. Human should be happy to be human, and not have the walls of male and female dividing, because really, what behavior or emotion is not common to both genders? I think that’s why so many musicians try and express androgyny: Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson, LaRoux, because it represents being human, rather than being one type of human or another.

The good thing is, we live in a time where people are all learning to accept one another as human beings. Not male or female human beings, not black or white human beings, not French human beings or Asian human beings, but humans, people. People are learning not to practice tolerance, but love and acceptance. Tolerance is it’s own form of discrimination: if you tolerate something, the connotation is that it’s negative and must be tolerated. But being a human being is not a negative thing, it’s a beautiful thing, and we should all forget about tolerance and learn acceptance and love. People have all sides, good and bad, but those sides and those feelings are common to all human beings, not just one group or another.

So, maybe it wouldn’t be a good idea for the album to be called Male, because then it would be focusing on the secondary message of defending males, rather than the central message of acceptance and love.

So, remember to love one another. Have a great day everyone. 🙂