"What’s been your greatest accomplishment?"
"Keeping in touch with distant friends and relatives."
"Why is that important?"
"It’s important to always have people who remember you at various stages of your life. It’s especially important as you get older, because there are less of those people around. And they remind you who you are."
— J.K. Rowling (via wordsnquotes)
Couldn’t have worded it better. And why the hell am I getting so acquainted with this feeling?
1. Elliott Smith. His “Either/Or” album showed me being broken is not something shameful or weak, and expressing anger doesn’t require heavy guitar riff and shouty vocal. And if you want to know what a cussing angel sounds like, check out “Say Yes”.
2. Karen Carpenter. If you are not moved by her vocal, you are not human and we cannot be friends. Making a seriously shite song like “Jambalaya” tolerable was really something.
3. Sinead O Connor. In “All about Lily Chou-Chou”, the kids talked about singers that could channel the “ether”, the field that light travels through. Her voice is that field to me.
4. Barbara, the French singer and not the one spelled with one less letter “a”. A good Canadian friend educated me about the beauty of her music and I have since become a huge fan. I can put her songs on anytime of the day and they immediately transport me to France in the 60s where women are chic and the men sophisticated and suave.
5. Billie Holiday. When Lady Day sings the blues, be ready to have your heart crushed. When Lady Day sings the blues, don’t forget to pour a strong one to go with them.
6. Nina Simone. When life gave Lady Day lemons, she crushed them, made whisky sour and down them. When life gave Nina Simone lemons, she threw the lemons back into life’s face and she lived the hell out of life. Just listen to “Ain’t got no… I’ve got life” to get what I mean.
7. Serge Gainsbourg. Sleazy. Classy. Crazy. Cool. Music that your church, your parents and your conservative government wouldn’t approve.
8. Aimee Mann. Kinda like Karen Carpenter, she has the same contralto vocal that is warm, and it wrap itself around your heart like a fuzzy glove. Her songs made “Magnolia” 10 times more heartbreaking than the film already is on its own. “Wise up” and the raining frogs scene had me bawling my eyes out while watching the film.
9. Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. To me his voice embodies everything English. In my school days, I imagined myself having his voice and doing this amazing version of “Being Boring” in my head. Also, in the alpha male worshipped 80s, he was an alternative to another form of male coolness. To that kid that was me back then, Neil Tennant made Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and all leather jacket wearing big hair rocker guys that bragged about machismos looked like savage caveman and buffoons.
10. Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl. Her voice, like Neil Tennant’s also embodies everything English to me. I remembered a magazine once said that her voice could make the stiffest upper lip tremble. Her voice still has power to quiver my stiff upper or lower Asian lip to this day.