Some people spend their whole lives preparing the answer to this question: What albums are on your personal all-time Top 10 list?
1. Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk
Far and away my favorite CD in the entire world, this concept album loosely traces a character's road trip across the country, with poetic and illustrative lyrics, many of them focusing on smaller stories of lost/lonely women. I have my favorites, but there actually aren't any songs I don't like on here.
2. Jewel - This Way
Had to make the list in one form, since I have more CDs by her than any other artist. Her earlier albums have more of that raw and soulful sound, and while I was disappointed in this one at first, now this third really sticks out as having more substantial and tangible lyrics. Also a good blend of styles, before she moved on to the 1-CD pop experiment followed by the country phase she's in now. And for me personally, it also conjures up wonderful memories of bike trail excursions in 2002.
3. Josh Groban - Awake
Although I miss the blend of languages that made his other CDs stand out (only 1 Spanish and 1 Italian here), his voice is still sonorous and incredible, and this selection of tracks tell the best stories.
4. Loreena McKennit: The Book of Secrets
And now, representing my love of all music Celtic...I was deeply torn between this and Parallel Dreams, but this has 3 of my all-time favorite songs on it. At any rate, her voice is beautiful and enchanting as she evokes scenes from various lands and historical time periods.
5. Billie Piper - Best of Billie
Hey, sometimes I like pop music. And considering there is only 1 song out of 14 I don't like, I figure this is a pretty good representative, all things considered. (best-of compilations count, right? Let's say they do). I like the half bratty teenage sassing, half more mature sound. Or as mature as largely dance tracks can get, anyway.
6. Doctor Who Series 3 Soundtrack
Representing my love for the instrumental, I think I'm ready to forsake Eric Whitacre as the best composer of all time and pledge allegiance to Murray Gold's scoring skill. Beautiful, emotive orchestral works.
7. Avril Lavigne - Let Go
I fell in love with two of her songs on the radio, individually, before I even knew her name. I like her voice and her style on pretty much everything, but her first album has a young, fresh sound, very small-town-high-schooler. It's simple, and it makes me nostalgic, not least because I was 16 when I got it for Christmas.
8. Vanessa Carlton - Heroes and Thieves
First or third CD would have worked equally well, but the third is the only one I have, and it has more songs I like. I simply love her voice and skill on piano, and think she's one of the best examples of my female singer-songwriter ideal out there.
9. Lifehouse - No Name Face
Because I do, contrary to what I claim, occasionally deign to listen to bands. When I do, I always compare them to the one band I completely respect, and as far as I'm concerned, they should all aspire to Lifehouse's sound. And, er, all their subsequent CDs sound sadly alike to me, but I love this one.
10. Beth Hart - Screamin' For My Supper
I never hear her mentioned anymore, but this is one of the CDs I've had in my collection the longest (middle school! Yeah!), and it's still got a bunch of tracks in regular rotation on the MP3 player. She has a rough edge to her voice, kind of like Sheryl Crow, only with songs that have considerably catchier melodies and grittier stories.
11. Dido - Life for Rent
What Beth Hart evokes about L.A., Dido does for England (all right, I generalize, but all I know comes from TV. Generalizing is allowed). A pleasant, much smoother voice, she occupies another spot in my singer-songwriter hall of fame. Also, not coincidentally, this was another Christmas present (senior year), and thus brings to mind another Christmas break absorbed in her music, particularly in use when I was writing in my journal.
12. Sarah McLachlan - Mirrorball
Again, compilations count, right? Good, because most of the best are on here, annoying applause with the live performances and all. This was my first Sarah CD, because it was the one slated for release when I first fell in love with her music, and I still cherish it. I admittedly don't listen to many of the songs anymore, but my ***EXTREME GUILT*** would not hear of leaving her off the list. Sarah launched my entire fantastic journey into the world of female singer-songwriters. She *is* the gold standard, and while a lot of this list is unique to me, she's deserving of making such a list in almost any context.
(*finishes* Oh crap! Way to forsake Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks there, self! And there's a Beatles album I actually like!
II. I don't think I can watch CBS again until Friday, because if I see one more damn Ghost Whisperer preview about "a love that transcends death," I may actually make good on my lifelong threat to put my foot through the TV screen. I don't even like that show, yet every time I hear it get all pretentiously smug about how this was A Really Romantic Decision on TPTB's part, IT MAKES ME WANT TO BURN THINGS. *smolders* I can't even explain how incensed/irate I am on behalf of its fans. I personally do not see what's so attractive about Jim, but viewers frequently assure me it's just like Joe and Alison on "Medium," and I'm willing to take their word for it, which just multiplies the fury.
III. Bones: The Skull in the Sculpture
Three super-brief thoughts because I watched it on Sunday and didn't take notes:
a) I freaking hate Roxy and everything connected to her story, COLLEGE ANGELA, so we're never going to bring it up again
b) *gasp* "DAISY'S BACK! IT'S KIND OF LIKE IT MAKES UP FOR PUSHING DAISIES NOT BEING ON."
c) The end, oh my God. I let out a long, low, squealing noise of surprise and delight when Sweets kissed her. And then I sat bolt upright and went "Wait a minute, what the hell, didn't I VIOLENTLY HATE this suggestion last time people brought it up?" I'm sure I did! Look! Here are my exact words:
As to Daisy/Lance: SQUICK.
Damn it. DAMN IT, when did they get hot and/or adorable? *watches kiss several times in a row* UM. I THINK I'M SORT OF ATTRACTED TO SWEETS ALL OF A SUDDEN? AAAAAAAAAACK. This is so very, very bad and wrong. But stupid man, he pulled this look of tenderness and caring out of nowhere and just sprang it on me without warning! I can't be expected to keep a clear head when he's all sweepingly romantic like that!
Also, now is probably as good a time as any to admit that I was deeply confused by the terrible acting in that scene, because I thought they were deliberately trying to sound stilted, and for the first couple of seconds, I thought the kiss was some big joke from Sweets, like he was trying to show the team "this is why you shouldn't send your therapist to fire people, he'll get distracted." Or something.
IV. Bones: Con Man in the Meth Lab
Wasn't really paying attention to this one - it was more like background noise. I was grumpy about not realizing Pushing Daisies was gonna be off the air two weeks in a row. But I did sit through it, more or less, so have some truncated thoughts:
I don't like Brendan Fehr. There, I said it! I felt okay about him as Dan Cooper on CSI: Miami, even after the character assassination they put him through, but that giant thing between his eyes is just horribly distracting and a little bit gross, and when he doesn't have hair, it's even more prominent. That being said, I...have no particular feelings on him playing Booth's brother. Really. None.
Possibly because I'm too busy getting all mushy over the sappy B/B speech at the end, and drat it, I think I am starting to ship them a little for real now. Not just in an I-feel-obligated-because-everyone-else-d
Speaking of which, this is my quote of the night: "THE HELL! You can't shoot Brennan - there is blood, come on; I don't care if it's a shoulder/flesh wound! - and then not show me Booth checking on her! That's cheating!" Seriously, all the sappy speeches in the world don't make up for depriving me of that.
In unrelated news, CLARK EDISON! Oh please, oh please, can he be the one who stays full time? Please? You know why I love him, right, he's exactly like Emerson Cod, and he just delights me into fits with his muttered comments about non-professionalism, his desperate desire to focus on ACTUAL WORK, his "shoot me now" looks at the ceiling when he's constantly trapped into hearing conversations about his coworkers' sex lives...seriously. He is the funniest man on the show.
V. CSI: NY: 5x07
As previously mentioned, I've missed a lot of episodes of this show, which I'm not actually sure I'm going to catch up on now. And I wasn't going to watch it tonight either, but then I got all grumpy by not realizing Pushing Daisies was going to be off 2 weeks in a row, and so I went "screw it, I'm vaguely somehow aware that this is the one with the Flack/Angell Promo Pic of Fandom Squee and Explosion," and I wanted to see what went down with that.
I put it on as background noise, which meant I was not paying attention to the plot at all, although I was distressed when there were flashbacks to past episodes I hadn't seen. (this is why there is no such thing as a non-serialized drama, damn it, TV snobs and their "it's just a procedural" lies...). This is what happened, in truncated and far-less-elaborate-than-usual detail:
1. Grinned like a fool during Flack & Angell's first conversation. A mad, mad, ship-crazed fool.
2. Frowned at a confusing scene with Danny and Lindsay. I wasn't sure what was going on. This was because I thought I heard banter, and obviously that's crazy talk. I was under the impression they'd stopped acknowledging one another's existence. What's been going on in my absence, here?
3. FLAILED A LOT at the first appearance of Samantha Flack (I am totally unspoiled here, OK? Not even promos. Not by choice, just by happenstance; this news no longer crosses my path. When Ausiello deigns to spill stuff, that is literally the only clue I have as to what's coming up). Being too full of anticipation, of course, could not even process the twenty-seven different levels of Hot that Don Flack reached throughout the episode as he ran around being alternately angry at and remorseful towards her I was experiencing a severe pleasure overload here.
(the family vacation story, for example. By that point I was blind and deaf to anything but SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I can't calculate how much I am enjoying the deluge of detail here - I can barely even take in the details because I'm so happy simply that they EXIST.)
4. Omigod, Samantha asks if Don and Lindsay are "together." Like, it takes her all of about one second to make this assumption the first time she sees them walk up.
5. Started to get grumpy towards the end, when we had like 2 minutes to go, and it looked like we were going to end on Samantha's AA meeting. Like, hi? Sam's great and all, and Angsty Caring Flack is super-attractive, but where the hell is Angell? I WAS PROMISED ANGELL.
6. Jumped and clapped when she was standing on the street outside, waiting to give him a ride. Which he turned down. And then he walked off, having at no point stopped to thread his hand in her hair as implicitly promised, and the moment of opportunity seemed long past. At some point, I should learn that a lot of things can happen in the final thirty seconds of an episode, no matter how lost hope seems.
But at this point, steam was shooting out of my noise as I raged "ARGH! Stupid promo pics! They always lie! And -- bzuh? Um? Turning? Turning coming back EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
Not even kidding: I let out an actual scream of disbelief and joy. Pretty much identical to the one I made when Jim proposed to Pam (and haven't done since), IT WAS THAT GOOD. My faith in TV ships has been restored!!! Oh, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Ship of Pretty, someone needs to put that clip online ASAP, so I can watch, preferably on repeating loop, him very hotly grabbing and kissing her.
7. I don't actually remember anything past that second, because I think I may have fainted from joy. Or else I just had my face buried in a pillow by that point so I could scream less disruptively. I know at one point I twirled in circles and had to jump up and down a few times.
8. This is the single greatest thing to happen on CSI: NY since...let me think...the season 3 finale. Yep. This episode right here is better than the entirety of last year.------
VI. Speaking of things that made me flaily with joy, last night, even as my reading was putting me to sleep, I forced myself to stay awake long enough to catch the Office reruns on TBS. And a good thing I did, because I was hit with a 1-2 punch of Joy and Wonder - "Email Surveillance" and "Booze Cruise." OH, MAN. JACKPOT.
I didn't realize the first one until after the cold open, but as soon as they said the magic words, I'm pretty sure I sat bolt upright in bed, yelling 'JIM'S PARTY! OMIGOD!" Have not seen this in full since the first and last time I watched it, in September 07. And the things I learned during my second rewatch were...
a) Jim is a fantastic host, and I give my brain 8.13 seconds before I start figuring out ways I can use this in my daydreams for present-day scenarios now that he and Pam are together.
b) Mark the Roommate should have been featured way more prominently.
c) My brain is so used to pausing and drawing out the scene in Jim's bedroom that I forget how short it really is, or how the camera guy ruins it by...being present (because this was back in the day when he got all embarrassed every time he got caught looking at her too long, and promptly found fascinating things to ponder on the ceiling). This in no way prevents me from being enchanted by how openly delighted he is about having her there, even when she's mocking his dorky yearbook photo.
d) While I miss Meek Pam, I don't entirely miss how she'd get short-tempered and huffy every time there was a suggestion of her getting too close to Jim
e) Pretty sure I fell in love with Jim all over again when he stood up and sang the duet with Michael. Just because damn it, he's a really good guy. And it's really sweet that he saves Michael from profoundly sad embarassment. See, I didn't mind these bonding-with-Michael moments back in the days before it backfired horribly on him.
a) I didn't recognize this episode at first either, I was just ecstatic about the fact that it is literally my favorite cold open of all time - nothing will ever beat Dwight's stuff in the vending machine. Nothing. But now that I realize it's attached to Booze Cruise? Um, yippee!
b) Fortuitous timing - I just got my hands on "The Silence" and I've been trying to convince myself to fall in love with it, because it's about the scene in this ep. I haven't been able to connect with the song yet, but having the scene in front of me helped.
c) Wow, this episode is profoundly sad in so many different ways. I mean, 27 Seconds is like the easy part of the episode compared to Jim's face in the rest of it. Rip my heart out, stomp on it, and grind the remnants into the dirt, why don't you? Oh, and have Pam kiss Roy a lot while you're at it! (Yeah, even my bitter new Anti-New-Pam self can't stomach that sight.)
Seriously. His expressions kill me. It's like having a tiny ball of knives scraping at your stomach from the inside.
d) It's made a tiny bit more bearable by the presence of Amy Adams as Katy, which...I LOVE KATY. I AM NOT SURE IF I HAVE MADE THAT CLEAR IN THE PAST. She's just so delightful and silly and adorable, and so game for everything even though she gets treated horribly (screw sympathy for Karen. Karen could hold her own. Poor Katy, I say!).
And, yeah, despite everything, I still find it sort of delightful when he dumps her on the spot. Pretty sure I...giggle, inappropriately, but come on. "What is wrong with you?! Why did you even bring me here?" "I don't know, let's break up." He's huuuurting! Man, you'd think season 4 would be enough of a cushiony barrier by this point, but no. Watching Love In the Time of Angst is still always going to suck.
e) Incidentally, having been driven by love of the episode to deleted scenes, can I just say that I really love the one where Katy and Jim are pointedly sitting at different tables, glaring at one another? (well, she's glaring, he's more avoiding her eyes and sulking. It's very childish and yet somehow wonderful)
f) Aw, and the last scene with Michael at the end...pretty sure that every time he says "She's really funny... she's warm..." my stomach goes into funny flips.
g) Also, I realize with a jolt that warmth is what I'm lacking from Fancy New Beesly, at least the season 5 version. I feel like she's just always ON: super-focused, looking forward, a ball of ridiculous energy, always smiling her head off. Which is fine, and delighful, but I feel like it's all very Pam-centric right now, and before what I loved about her was how sweet she could be to other people. I don't get that sense of depth anymore.
That's a depressing final note! Let's end there.-----