“I Am Not My Hair” by india.arie (with Pink) (2005)

14 08 2016

You are 13 years old, and about to start high school. I’m skeerd.

Have you read “The Lord of the Flies” yet?

We’ve watched “Heathers” together, so I know you’re at least somewhat prepared.

What I want you to know, on the deepest possible level, for your entire life, is what the great Persian poet Rumi wrote 700-ish years ago:

I am not this hair
I am not this skin
I am the soul that lives within

Brilliant. And so true.

But you wouldn’t know it in our society, would you? When you’re constantly reminded that you don’t measure up to some bullshit metric pulled out of the arses of snake oil salesmen? When you are reduced to the lowest common denominator, your appearance, detectable by only one of many senses?

So, yeah, what Rumi said. Memorize it and take it with you through life.

I like it so much, I’m going to use it in a song. An anthem, actually. Fair warning, I might post it here.

India Arie beat me to the punch. But it’s in the public domain, and I don’t think Rumi would mind. And I think Ms Arie would agree that the world could always hear more of his poetry.


“Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson (1988)

10 07 2010

I said I was going to concentrate on “pop” music for a bit, and I couldn’t do that without posting something from the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. Mr. Jackson created undeniably great music, smashed barriers, and touched millions of lives around the entire planet. That’s not a lie. He is revered all over the world.

Sadly, that’s been overshadowed by the parasitic press, the social vultures, and the countless, mindless idiots who value sensation over substance.

“Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t mean much in the public eye. And celebrities sometimes bear the brunt of that. Yeah, he was eccentric, but I believe he was merely misunderstood.

But aren’t we all? I mean, if the press was digging into your garbage for “dirt,” wouldn’t that piss you off? Or at least make you feel violated in some way?

Anyway, I can’t pick just one song to represent Mr. Jackson’s work. You should listen to it all. But I’ll pick one of my faves as a start: “Man in the Mirror.” Great song, great message, and great gratitude from me for the sonic tonic.

I think we should replace “Happy Birthday to You” with this song. If we all reflected on this message—at least once a year—maybe the world would be a better place.

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself
And then make a change”

(thanks to jennifer95828 for the upload to YouTube with lyrics)

“You Are The Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder (1973)

2 02 2010

Time for more Stevie. This man has released so much beauty and joy into the world.

Often artists—especially of Mr. Wonder’s caliber—can articulate what we’re thinking and feeling much better than we can hope to. We owe a great debt to these artists.

So let me just say that when I hear this song, I know I can’t say it as well, but I can use it to tell you that you are, truly, the sunshine of my life.

And that’s why I’ll always be around.

“I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash (1972)

12 08 2009

If I were forced—say, at gunpoint—to name my top ten favorite songs of all time, this might be one of them. I absolutely adore the sound, the nimble reggae beat, and the Atlantic Records-esque soul vibe. But most of all, I dig the pure, unadulterated joy of this track. If this song doesn’t make you happy—at least for a moment—it’s time to see a professional.

Every once in a while you have some good fortune. Maybe it comes after a long period of drudgery, or regret, or poor health. Sometimes you get some great news that turns everything around. Or maybe it’s more subtle: one morning, you wake up and you feel a little bit better. And you want to celebrate.

It’s time for this track by Mr. Nash. An audio vitamin.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright, bright
Sunshiny day!

(Thanks MicroNik95 for the YouTube upload with the great pics)

“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers (1971)

6 08 2009

Bill Withers was working in a factory when he wrote this song, and it catapulted him into a new and illustrious career in music. Lucky for us.

I remember hearing this song at a very young age. It’s one of those songs that just invades you and stays with you. Which is good, because you can use it to help you when you’re missing someone, something which, unfortunately, happens much too often in life.

Some people have comfort foods. I have comfort music. And this is savory stuff.

“I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers (1972)

21 07 2009

I’m not particularly religious. We’ll have that discussion later. But there’s nothing like a fantastic gospel act, like The Staple Singers. You can’t beat the energy, the power, and the promise of hope and glory that explodes forth from really good gospel music.

This track takes gospel and frames it with a terrific soul/funk/R&B vibe. Everything else is still there. Along with some sharp social commentary, if you can hear it (investigate “smilin’ faces” and “lying to the races,” for a start).

Whatever your religious inclinations, you can still benefit from the wonderful, positive beauty and groove of gospel music.

“Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder (1976)

17 04 2009

Just because it’s time for more Stevie.

He wrote this song when his daughter was born. I’m wondering if every parent who has ever heard this song has, at one point, sang the words or hummed the melody to his/her new daughter.

I remember singing it to you, quietly, when you were tiny and bundled in a blanket that seemed to outweigh you.

Does the melody sound awfully familiar to you? It should.