Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Life Soundtrack: Javeda Zindagi

This is the first song I thought of for this series, really. And yet it's taken me this long to write about it. That's because I don't know exactly what to write. This song echoes in the deepest part of me, it has a resonance that I don't even have words for.

I fell asleep to this song almost every night for six months of my life. Six months that, looking back, were the shining pinnacle of my life, despite myself. Every day was a fight. But every day was a small victory. I cannot believe that I lived with so much energy and so little fear. And every night.. some morning-nights... I slowed down. My heartbeat, brain waves, slowed to the steady beat of the tabla and I drifted off into any one of a million parallel universes, to wake up hours later ready for the next brilliant moment.

This is quite possibly my favorite song of all time.

Here are lyrics and a translation.. I found the translation online and improved it some, in a non-literal sort of way :)

tose naina laage piya saaware
nahi bas mein ab yeh jiya saaware
mohabbat to ek javeda zindagi hai

Your eyes met mine, my love
This heart has gone wild, my love
Love... is eternal life

tose naina laage mili roshni
tose man jo laaga mili zindagi
mohabbat to ek javeda zindagi hai

When your eyes met mine, I finally saw
When your soul met mine, I finally lived
Love... is eternal life

mohabbat ki hai daastaan zindagi
mohabbat na ho to kahaan zindagi
mohabbat to hai javeda zindagi hai

The story of love is life
Without love, there is no life
Love... is eternal life

shamaa ko pighalne ka armaan kyun hai
patange ko jalne ka armaan kyun hai
issi shauq ka intehaan zindagi hai

Why does the lamp desire to burn ?
Why does the moth desire to burn in its flame ?
Life... is this sort of desire for infinite love

mohabbat jise baksh de zindagani
nahin maut par khatm uski kahani

Whososever is given life through love
Gains immortality...

kaise jiya jaaye ... ishq bin?
How can life go on without love?

nahin koi insaan mohabbat se khaali
har ek ruh pyaasi, har ek dil sawaali

No one is devoid of love
Every spirit is thirsty, every heart is searching

mohabbat jahaan wahaan zindagi hai
mohabbat na ho to kahaan zindagi hai

Where there is love, there is life
Without love, where then could there be life?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life Soundtrack - What A Good Boy

Barenaked Ladies - What A Good Boy

Freshman year of college, finally, I was discovering some new music. Went on a trip to New Mexico with some classmates. Met a boy from Louisiana who played the guitar, among other instruments. I was smitten. He didn't even notice me.

This was one of those songs that he played on that trip... when I came back to the dorm, I immediately went out to the record store and bought the CD. And maybe because of the boy, maybe not, I just heard it so much more clearly. Could hear every instrument, the guitar, the fiddle, the piano, all the instruments he played, and their parts making up the whole. My memories of those days are brightly colored with the tones of these different instruments all mixing together to make this beautiful, if cynical, song.

But isn't that how we respond to life - sometimes in awe of beauty, sometimes with a cynical eye?

It was easy to forget about the boy. But I still listen to each chorus a little more attentively, for those quiet parts that can go missed if you're not careful, the melodies in the background that add to the earnestness of the song, the notes that make it believable.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The wind has changed

Just wrote this tonight. Was thinking about the years when I sat in between decisions, not knowing where to go, what path to follow. I wish I'd had this song then.

The wind has changed
Is it a shift of consciousness
Is it a tender sweet caress
That blows on and leaves me here
The wind has changed
Will it take me away
Or will I remain the same
Or will I get swept away
The wind has changed

And if I don't go
Am I letting life pass me by?
Or do I hear its sweetest sweet reply
"Stand strong and fight"
But if I heed its call
I don't know where it leads
Could my best days be all behind me?
Which way is right?

The wind has changed
And so have I
I call to it
Don't get no reply
It's up to me
To decide who I will be

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Life Soundtrack: She Will Be Loved

Maroon 5 - She Will Be Loved

2007. I felt so focused and so sure about everything. I thought I could control the whole world if only I was in the right frame of mind, but that's another song and another entry. The only thing I wasn't very sure of was myself.

But I found good friends. 3am friends, do nothing and feel at home friends, singing friends, conversation friends, be there when you need them friends. One of them was all of these things.

Some part of me, though, never quite believed that someone like that would want to hang around with someone like me. And so I hesitated, didn't say what I should have, said what I shouldn't have, thought constantly of the future when I would leave and lose these shining times, let myself drift away. And did not come back. Maybe it mattered, maybe not, but years later, I still think that I let something good pass by without realizing it.

When I went to that new city, I had no regrets. When I returned a year and a half later, I was full of them. But my first regret was that I didn't let go of all those things and be the friend that I was so lucky to have.

I will never hear this song without remembering the best of times.

It's not always rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that moves us along
My heart is full and my door's always open, you come any time you want-

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life Soundtrack: Sin Miedo

They say there are two kinds of people in the world - lyrics people and music people. I always thought I was the first kind, but as this and the previous song show, maybe I'm not. Or maybe you really can't make the distinction.

Rewind back to junior year of high school for this one. I was going through a very, uh, awkward music phase, where I pretty much listened to Celine Dion all the time. Lucky for me, those who knew me well were doing their best to get me out of this rut, but no one more so than my sister, whose life's mission, it seemed, was to learn about good music and share it with others. I have met many such people in my life, and now I am one of them.

My sister was studying Spanish, and had recently discovered the local Spanish pop station. And as was the custom in the 90s, we would tape our favorite songs off the radio. This was one of those songs, and the one I listened to most often off those tapes. I really didn't understand a lot of Spanish - just what I had picked up from Sesame Street and from my grandparents, who lived in Spain. So I understood about a dozen words from this song, and they were all in the chorus. But that was really all I needed at the time. You can get the 'feel' of the song from just that and the music - it always served as a "motivational" song for me.

How motivational? This song was on probably 90% of the mix CDs I made throughout college and afterwards - usually as track one. It was my way of saying "I am here, the party can start now."

And throughout all this time, I never bothered to look up the lyrics on the Internet or ask my sister to translate or anything.
It was what it was.

My Spanish has improved greatly over the last few years, and I started understanding bits and pieces - but when you listen to a song you don't understand for years and years, your brain can't figure out the words, even if you know the language well. (I still can't make out the lyrics to a number of Journey songs!) So when I started picking up these bits and pieces, I wanted to know what the song was really about. So I looked up the lyrics online. And when I read them and understood them for the first time, I knew what the song was about and what it meant to me.

Now, this song was not my own song of motivation, something to take into myself, it was advice. It was me being able to take my own life and experience and pass them on to those who come after me. It's me arriving at a place of wisdom after so many years of learning and passing on that wisdom - and the music - to others.

Here's the lyrics and my translation (which may not be literal or even totally accurate.. I don't have a Spanish degree :>)

En tu rincón protector
Se te ve como un rey
Luces muy bien en tu cómoda piel
Pero yo se, que te va,
que te va muy mal
la vida es una mujer
una belleza tan difícil de conquistar
para ganar su voluntad
tienes que ser un huracán

In your protective little corner
I see you as if you were a king
You're looking good, comfortable with yourself
But I know that you're not doing well at all
Life is like a woman,
A beauty that's hard to conquer
To win her consent, you have to be a hurricane

Sin Miedo, por fin atrévete
Sin Miedo, esta vez, sorpréndeme
Sin Miedo, con fe, con decisión
Sin Miedo, lánzate igual que yo

Without any fear - just dare yourself
This time, surprise me
With faith, with certainty
Throw yourself out there like I would

Tu corazón dice no
A llorar, o a reír
Es un error, un estúpido error
Abrazar nada mas, a la soledad
Sal por ahí, vuelve a sentir
La melodía de los sueños de libertad
Para perder, para ganar
Hay que jugar hasta el final

Your heart says no to crying or laughing
This is a mistake, a stupid mistake
To never hold someone again, to be alone
Get out of there, go back to feeling
The melody of the dreams of freedom
In order to lose or to win
You have to play until the end

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life Soundtrack: True

I figure if I'm going to call this blog what it is, I should probably post a little about those songs that are the soundtrack to *my* life. What they are, what they mean, how they all come together to describe and explain me. Some people say they are indescribable. I'm not - but you have to hear that music to know the story.

We'll start with junior high. 1992.
Spandau Ballet - True

Sunset on a summer weekday, pinks and golds filtered through the miniblinds, the last rays of sun creating the setting. I was sitting alone in my room because that's what teenagers do. But while most were talking on the phone or thinking about what will happen tomorrow, I sat there in my nostalgia of the few years I had already experienced. I was still young enough to remember what it was like when reality wasn't filtered by experience yet, but not so young that I still looked at life through those all-seeing lenses. And I thought days of being four or five years old, knowing this song at that young age. I don't remember hearing it for the first time - this song was just always present, as far back as I can remember.

The song is calm, it's backwards-looking, it's the doorway to that world of endless possibility and unfiltered life. It's syncopated synths and deep, pure voices. It is the sound of my soul, although the words have never really moved me nearly as much as the music does.

This is an evening song...
a song for seeking peace...
a song for the calm times...
the past-oriented times...
my first taste of nostalgia.