Looks Like Tomorrow Is Coming On Fast

I sat in this same building half-a-decade ago (that sounds so much statelier than five years, don’t you think?), a rather unwilling violist in the Alabama All-State Orchestra.  I’d put much less thought in the ensemble than my outfit: tight bell-bottoms and a perfectly worn Dylan tee. I wiggled, squirmed, made eyes at the curly haired bassist behind me—who later serenaded me with Desolation Row—and thought mainly about my chances of scoring the much-coveted Oreos on our next break

1,825 days (and a few boys) later, and I’m still fidgeting, wiggling, and making eyes via emoticon at my main squeeze while learning about Ghanaian drumming. It’s a different boy now, still curly headed.  A different kind of love, too: still puppy-eyed and gooey, but better then I could have dreamt when I was a very angst-y sixteen (I blame it on Bob).  My application for graduation was accepted today: the day has come despite many last minute scrambles which often made me doubt its probability (or for that matter, possibility).

Time has moved a bit too unwaveringly for my taste.  I’ve since collected many more Dylan shirts from many more shows, backpacked through Europe, lived in five different apartments with eleven different roommates, and survived a semester studying solo in France.  Often, my to-do list grows so daunting that I forget to look at what I’ve done; however, as graduation looms and avoiding it is becoming increasingly impossible (no matter how deep I stick my fingers in my ears and how piercingly I scream) I find myself becoming increasingly nostalgic.

I want a comforting platitude to cling to as I jump off the cliff into The Real World.  The thing is, no quote by Dr. Seuss and the Dalai Lama quite cuts the cold sweat that breaks out over my entire body at the mere mention of The Future. If I’ve learned anything though, it’s that I’ll “stake my future on a hell of a past/ [cause it] looks like tomorrow is comin’ on fast.”

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!).