Music Monday: Boys & Girls

Music Monday is a series begun in an attempt to keep me from listening to this, this, and this song for the 456,070,877th time. Every Monday I’ll offer my completely untrained and value-less opinion on new (to me) music.

. . .

Growing up, you could frequently find me playing Oregon Trail in a hoop skirt (thanks, Little House), drinking Lipton instant iced tea in a flapper dress (Betsy-Tacy), or riding my bike in Indian garb (Pocahontas). More recently, I bought a typewriter (in proper Flannery fashion) which I promptly instagrammed with my iphone. Three lessons can be learned here: (1) I seem perpetually confused as to the current decade, (2) I have fiction/reality issues, and (3) I like a mix of the old and new. The good news? The Alabama Shakes is right there with me!

Not since my Evanescence days have I felt that a band so completely captured my angst as the Alabama Shakes did in Boys & Girls. That first track was my summer theme song (and the subsequent track my life anthem).

Brittany’s voice is so full of Alabama soul (she’s been compared to Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin, though she prefers Bon Scott) it makes me want to dance and weep, respectively. The musical riffs have a very Black Keys sound to them with a little less drive and a lot less scratch, though it’s not really even fair to compare.

Each song in their debut album captures a unique emotion: Boys & Girls is a beautiful ballad of broken love, Hold On an anthem of self-sufficiency, and I Found You a classic love song. Despite the differences, there is continuity here that mimics the same strand found in real-life—things change, people come and go, we are happy and sad, but life goes on. You gotta hold on.

We have our own past and present, the Alabama Shakes and I. I first listened to a scratchy YouTube version of Hold On in BFE on the way to Bonnaroo, then that night heard them live at the opening night of the festival.

I was captured by her voice, wrapped in the dulcet tones (and the opaque cloud of marijuana smoke and body odor of five hundred people pressed against my back), but it wasn’t until later this summer that I really began listening with purpose. I needed music to make it, and this fit the bill.

The best picture I snagged from Bonarroo.
If you squint you can tell that they are people.

I have tickets to see them in September, and boy am I stoked. Regardless of my obsession with relics (I’m keeping that typewriter AND my fascination with Flannery O’Connor), the present is such a better place than the past.

Unless of course, we’re talking music.

. . .

Ps. I know that it is technically Tuesday, but Music Tuesday doesn’t alliterate and I’m all about some alliteration. I’m also all about procrastination, but I’ll be back on track next week once I get my days of the week underwear in order (jokes!).

The bestest of the best.

I have the best best friend, ever. The kind of best friend who doesn’t say “I told you so” after you make a Bad Decision even though she did, in fact, tell you so just a few months earlier. The kind of best friend who instead says, “I’ll be there in 45 minutes” and shows up with Pinot Noir and Moose Tracks. The kind of best friend who pretends she was already awake when you rouse her at 3:45am to relate your latest woes. The kind of best friend you tell people is your sister, and they believe you. The kind of best friend who takes 68 pictures of you faux laughing with your newly reddened hair until you actually laugh and she catches it.

So to celebrate her best-ness (and bewail the fact that she will shortly be 717 minutes away instead of 45), I decided to throw a party. A surprise party, of course, and a book-themed one at that. Because, oh yes, my best friend loves to read. See? She’s the bestest.

I told you so.

What we ate:

Appetizer – Spicy Guacamole Hummus Party Toasts

Main Course – Burger sliders, fries dipped in Lemon Garlic Aioli With Truffle Oil, watermelon

Dessert – Vegan Double Chocolate Cake (made into cupcakes) half with Brown Sugar 7-Minute Frosting and half with Champagne Frosting

What we played: Trivial Pursuit Book Lover’s Edition

What we listened to: Amelie Soundtrack

Books to decorate. Easy peasy considering how many I hoard (I mean, have).

You say goodbye, but I say hello.
Hello, helloooo.

We had to majorly bend the rules on this one. It’s TOUGH.

Nothing says “surprise” like five people hiding behind your face.