Often times, when I am sitting around with people, we will talk about our favorite movies. Eventually, the focus is on me and what my favorite movie is... of all time! Talk about pressure. Some people take this seriously and, like me, spend days in thought. Meetings will be cancelled. Schedules will be adjusted so that I can take this question seriously. In the end, it's a dead end. There is no real answer to this, is there? Like "can you hear a tree fall on a house at midnight?", it is a question that cannot be answered; a mystery.
With movies, your answer is always judged by a bunch of different types of people. If your answer is an indie film, then you'll get a bunch of people who have never seen it and will judge you as "hipster trash". For the same film, you will get a bunch of other "hipster trash" people who will dismiss your answer as silliness and make you feel unworthy of their company.
If you're answer is something like The Shawshank Redemption then you just feel cheap, like you didn't think hard enough.
In my film course, we were asked what our favorite movie was a few different times by a few different people. Kind of like keeping you on your toes, I guess. I didn't want to answer because I knew that no matter what I said it would be a lie. In the end, I said Unforgiven. The director of the school misheard me and thought that I said Armageddon. I quickly corrected this situation and promised myself that I would never answer that question again.
Later on, the producer of Spiderman 3 asked us the same question. I was going to joke and say Spiderman 3, but then I thought that maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea. He might have thought that I was kidding, or worse, telling the truth. In the end I said No Country for Old Men.
These days, if you ask me, I will just say The Shining just to add more confusion. It is a great movie, but can it be some one's favorite?
With music, the haze lifts a bit. I have stood by my Wilco answer for quite some time now. Their latest album solidifies my view. However, I must admit that...
Feist could very much be my favorite artist. There, I said it.
The other day I was on a long bus ride to the other side of town, listening to her latest work called Metals. Have you heard that one? Come on... stop reading a go listen to it. I'll stop typing and we'll meet back here in the future.
Welcome back. If you didn't really listen to it then go now. If you still are not going now then I don't really know what to do with you.
The key is the headphones. I haven't been listening to music that much lately for some reason. Well, the main reason has been that emusic.com has been lacking in interesting quality lately. I'm talking about the Canadian version. The American one, as usual, is way awesome. Anyways, I had picked up the Feist album a while ago, but this was to be the first time that I would listen to it with headphones on.
The truth is that this album changed the projection of my week. I had been feeling pretty wiped out emotionally. Partly because of jet lag and partly because of watching my kids. My kids take a lot out of me, and they take a lot of time away from the writing and editing that I like to do. I am caught in babysitter mode for the moment, which is fine, but it can leave you feeling drained.
And, as you will know, when one of your walls gets knocked down, it compromises the whole structure. I started feeling pretty useless, and frustrated at my circumstance. Being in China has always been a challenge for me, and when I get frustrated in one area of my life I will come back to my anger at my discombobulated functional situation here. In short, I have a hard time functioning here. I can, but it all piles up and then I lose focus.
So basically, I was needing some "me time". I boarded the #86 and took it all the way to the computer market to change up a cord that I had accidentally bought for the one that I really wanted to buy (which ended up not being there, but I got it online so I'm okay).
The whole album is solid. Feist can sing. People think that there are too many people sounding like her these days, but I disagree. She's unique, and other people can't hit the emotion like she can. The band is great, the sound is a full sound. Sometimes she's just a guitar and a skirt, but this album pulls out all of the tricks.
That all being said, let me be a little more honest. I listened to one song on repeat for about 10 listens on the bus. The song is The Circle Married the Line. I was reminded of this song at my brother's wedding a few weeks ago. It was in the slide show and I got a little emotional. On the bus I remembered that I got emotional, and thinking that I would be okay on the bus, I put it on.
Well, I got a little emotional; but just so much that my eyes watered in a way that people might have thought that I just had a cold. I was emotional, but I wasn't sad. I was actually quite happy while listening. I think that it's because I connected with the lyrics. I don't really know what she was thinking about with them, but they meant something to me at that time.
There's something in there about the good and the bad. Something about being grateful. Though, the way she puts it, it transcends these simple observations.
I got off the bus and walked right back into China with a hop in my step. The cord wasn't there and I felt fine. It wasn't their fault. I got back on the bus and listened to Feist and some other songs that I remember feeling inspired from.
Roll away your Stone - the only Mumford and Sons song that I like.
Misunderstood and At least that's what you said by Wilco
The Hours by Beach House
And, Feist some more. The scenery on the way home was beautified by it's soundtrack. I had been reborn, in a way. Thus, the healing power of music.