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Tag Archives: magic

27 // Yellowcard

 

I don’t fully remember when my love of Yellowcard began. I think it probably started with my friend Andrew, which is where most of my musical obsessions of early high school began. He had a knack for finding music that pushed me out of my comfort zone. He would put something in his shitty CD player and suddenly my whole perspective would change. I’d start paying attention to lyrics, to how melodies and instruments lined up to create something so perfectly crafted.

Yellowcard was one of those bands for me. My first introduction to them was through their first breakout CD, “Ocean Avenue.” Possibly their most popular album to date, which is fine by me, because back then I hadn’t been aware that OA was actually their fourth studio album. For me, it was their first one. ‘Way Away’ opened the album with a slow build to a fast and furious violin/rock wall of sound and I was just blown away.

This band made me want to play violin. I never did pick it up, but when I hear their songs I still can’t help but appreciate how hard it must be to play pop/punk music with a stringed instrument more commonly known for being part of the classical music circuit. Yellowcard’s music signifies summer for me. I put them on shuffle today on my iPod as I was driving home from work. It’s a sunny day. Yellowcard makes sunny music.

It’s not all happy, positive, infectious pop. Their music has a dark side. But I like that I’m still completely in love with Ryan Key’s voice after all this time and that the violin solos just have never gotten old. I recently found out that Yellowcard is working on their next album. I know there are other fans who just didn’t like their albums after Ocean Avenue, but I’ve never stopped being excited about their music. Lights and Sounds. Paper Walls. When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. These albums have defined my adolescence. I can’t help but feel that they sometimes just grew up right along with me.

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23 // Live Music

Concerts make me so incredibly happy. Tonight, my friend Morgan and I were planning on wandering about Sewickley to find some fun class to take during weeknights. Instead, we decided to go trek to Pittsburgh for a show. A girl from my high school, Brooke Annibale, was playing at the New Hazlett Theater tonight. I think it’s been so interesting watching her progress. I used to listen to her sing during Moon’s 4th of July celebration, back when she was just starting out.

Tonight, there were 4 performers at this Songwriter Spotlight event. Brooke, the lead singer from a band called Space Pimps (he was shockingly great, reminded me of Ryan Key from Yellowcard), the lead singer from Punchline (!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so excited !!!!!!!!) and Harrison (formerly of The Morning Light — yet another high school reference, Andy McDonald and Bobby Garver were in that band) all got to sing a few songs individually, and then sung together in the end.

The venue was pretty cool. We all got to sit, and everyone had a good view of the performers. Brooke sounded amazing, as I knew she would. I need to pick up her CD. I was also pleasantly blown away by the lead of Punchline. I’ve loved his band and his voice since high school, when my one friend Andrew would play Punchline’s debut album, “Action,” constantly in the car on the way to school. Harrison left me feeling lukewarm. Maybe it’s because I knew two of the guys in his old band, and have an inkling of how things unraveled for all of them. Guy from Space Pimps was hilarious, and his voice was so strong.

All in all, it was a great gig. I’d go see some people there again, and now I have new albums to research and new bands to look into. I like that the Punchline lead guy is going solo a bit (while also recording with his band still). My iPod could use updating.

21 // Driving with the Windows Down

There’s nothing like the beginning of spring to really uplift your mood and make you generally more positive than you otherwise would’ve been. My day has been uneventful for the most part, but I was so happy about the weather. I love when it gets nice out. It’s like the whole world is letting out this collective sigh of relief because finally, it can stop burying itself in heavy sweaters and snow boots. Now it gets to put on some cute swishy skirts because the sun is out, and it is (tentatively) here to stay.

My drive home from work was the usual suck-fest. Heavy traffic. Too bright sun causing me to be blinded for a few moments too long. General fear for my life when I’m merging, at the same time as fifteen other cars. But one magical little moment decided to happen when I was getting close to the Sewickley Bridge.

I rolled down my window, because you can’t help yourself from doing that when the weather is nice. The air came all rushing in and it made my skin feel the way it does when summer is hanging around. I turned on the radio and was extremely surprised to hear this song playing on 96.1 of all stations.

Then a train went by, nearly going the same exact speed as me. And all of this culminated into this great little moment. So I sang really loud. And danced in my seat. And it was lovely.

19 // Working by a River

I think that living around bridges my entire life has desensitized me to the actual beauty of rivers. Since I hail from the city that is famous for not just one, but three of them, those bodies have water have never impressed me much. You see one, you see them all. I left work late tonight, which I had been planning on. I was one of the last few cars in the parking lot and the sky was starting to grow darker and darker with every step that I took.

I work very close to one of the rivers and there are many days where I forget that fact. I’ll get out of my car without even glancing at the water, so focused on just getting inside the big brick building to toil away without even a window to look out of. But as I left work tonight, I found all of the scenery in front of me to be strikingly beautiful. The sky was beginning to look like dark ink spreading all over, and amid the hills past the Strip District, all of the houses and buildings looked like tiny torches aflame. The river was ever present beneath all of that, and I wanted to just take a photo.

Thanks to my iPhone’s terrible photo quality anytime you zoom, the effect isn’t nearly as good as what I saw in person. The river and the surrounding lights and trees looked almost ethereal. When it gets nicer, I’ll probably spend a bit more time observing the water. I’m jealous of the people who own the boats around the marina. It’d be nice to take off whenever you want, sailing around Pittsburgh.

15 // Backyards

I went for a walk tonight with my dog, Bella. It was kind of refreshing being outside in the cold, walking briskly with my heavy jacket on. Five minutes in, I had to unzip my coat. But I continued on. I was determined to put in 30 solid minutes of exercise, and if you’ve ever seen my neighborhood, it’s not your typical walk in the park.

Most of the streets dip wildly up and down, so even after you’ve begun you already know you’re in for a decent workout. I usually hate walking in my neighborhood for that sheer reason alone. As me and Bella walked, we passed the usual giant dogs barking at us, cars getting a little too close to the curb and the myriad of other normal-neighborhood things you encounter at 7:25 at night.

I usually end up going all the way to end of my neighborhood (which, in my mind, ends near my old friend Melanie’s house) and then turn back, which is what I did tonight. The most interesting part of my walk didn’t happen until I was halfway back to home. I was passing houses of people I knew and when Bella stopped to pee for the hundredth time, I saw it. This one house of a family I don’t know terribly well. I remember their son vaguely from my days on the schoolbus. I always thought he was weird. I’m pretty sure he’s much older than me.

But the point isn’t their house. It’s their backyard. They have a pool, which, you know. Isn’t anything too exciting. A million people have pools. But their backyard is lit up entirely with Christmas lights. Bright, neon ones decked all over the trees and around their pool. I glimpsed it through the cracks in their huge fence. I just can’t believe I’ve never noticed it before. It was like magic and Christmas and wonderment all wrapped up into one neat package, displayed in their yard.

It made me really happy to see it, and after Bella was ready to go, we carried on as we always do. Maybe when I get my own house, I can convince my future husband to let us decorate our backyard in a ridiculous amount of lights. As long as the neighbors don’t care. But that’s what fences are for!