Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I'm Getting By With My Collapsible Lung

So let’s talk about Relient K’s new album, Collapsible Lung.
(I know I haven’t blogged in a long time and I should post some obligatory drivel about how I’ve missed it and I’m sorry and whatever but honestly I just haven’t had it in me and I haven’t missed it, not really, and I’m not very sorry at all.)
So let’s talk about Relient K’s new album.
It’s currently six in the morning on July the 2nd (regardless of when I actually publish this post) and I’m on my third go. It started downloading last night sometime around 11.45 pm, and I literally screamed in excitement.  I’ve waited a long time since Forget and Not Slow Down, honey, and while Is For Karaoke was quite lovely and magnificent (particularly Baby because irony and Crazy because I didn’t know Matty T’s voice could do that) it was not original music and it was about time for a new record let me tell you.
I needed me an RK fix.
First of all I’ve just got to say the sound is unlike anything I’ve heard from Relient K. Compared to Forget and Not Slow Down, Collapsible Lung has a much more swingy feel to it.  There’s a lot of finger-snapping, beachy, surfy, dancy tunes and a lot of instruments that I am far too ignorant to name that sound like very personable computers in other songs.  Fun, interesting background vocals add a lot of dimension and we’re not afraid of falsetto or oh-ohs on this album here.  Oh, and did I mention the finger-snapping?
The blend of songs that make me want to sway and those that make me want to tap my foot and those that make me want to do that one dance move where you’re doing that alternating straight arms thing straight out up and down is really just fantastic—and all of them make me want to sing my heart out.  Really fantastic and also quite insouciant and rather unlike anything that I’ve heard from Relient K before, although I suppose I could find some hints of it were on Is For Karaoke if I think about it too long.
I’ve had That’s My Jam from its youtube debut in February (which, technically, isn’t really that legal) and it hit my top 25 most played within 12 hours, if that gives you any idea as to how glowing this review is going to be. It was my preferred summer jam four months before summer. (I can’t decide which version I like better, though—the original or the album version.  There’s something to be said for Adam Young’s voice, even though the unruliness of the first release makes me want to choose it as the favorite. (That being said both combined have 112 plays, making That’s My Jam my number one song on iTunes ever.))
So let’s get started on this journey through sound, shall we?
Straight off, Don’t Blink makes the perfect opener to the album.  It sets the tone as a catchy, positive song, working to reset the deep sadness of Forget and Not Slow Down and choosing to look ahead in a healthy way. While the title track of FaNSD told me that we’re moving on in a way that denies the pain of the past and thus remains stuck in it, Don’t Blink is a step forward. It sings of healing.  After leaving us with This is the End (If You Want it) in 2009, Don’t Blink is a song of much-needed closure.  (Not even mentioning how dang infectious and upbeat the sound is. Man.)
And suddenly, cue dancing.
Boomerang is a tune.  It’s talking about a girl that he just can’t get away from—she seems to be everywhere he goes.  And he loves it.  It makes you want to move and sing and clap.  Also, the cowbell?  Yes.  I love the placement of this song, too, because after closing of the melancholy tones of FaNSD in Don’t Blink, we burst right out into this celebration of love and life.  It’s like the album is telling you there’s nowhere to go but up—and it sounds awesome.
The falsetto makes its debut on Lost Boy.  For some reason, this song makes me want to go on a roadtrip, roll the windows down and let the music flow through my hair and out the windows into a warm, dark summer night.  Also the whistling and snapping and clapping gives this song a really organic, community vibe. It makes me think of campfires and intimate little concerts.  Definitely good feelings.
If I Could Take You Home brings you to the dance floor.  It feels like lights and the warmth of bodies dancing and the throbbing synth in the background had me bouncing in an instant.  (Bouncing because I don’t dance, don’tcha know. (Also if that’s not a synth feel free to educate me.  I’m quite musically ignorant for having a little brother in two bands and having 1382+ songs on my ipod (No, that’s not exaggeration. (The majority of them are Relient K. (how many parentheses can I get to before derailing my train of thought?))).))
I don’t even know where to begin with Can’t Complain.  From the first note, the first line, the first lighthearted whimsical line, I am beaming.  This is what I’m talking about when I say beachy.  This sounds like Tybee Island, Georgia in my brain (which is good. It’s a good place. (Or Joe’s Crab Shack, which is another good place.)).  Also for some reason when he says “life is gonna suck someday” I just have to grin because it’s so honest and so flippant.  The whimsical persiflage of this song is marvelous. (Also he says puppy which makes me want to cry from cute, even though I’m a cat person.)
Gloria is so surfy. Gosh this is such a summer album.  The background vocals and the overall Killers-esque element to Matty T’s voice are unique and fresh (“Um, just the freshest band in the world”, anyone? Yes? No? Okay.). The curveball of the bridge was worth of Owl City, if I do say so myself.
PTL has me dancing by the second beat (which is tragic—no witnesses survive), and the catchy falsetto chorus makes me want to croon I never meant to be a part-time lover/but then again I’ve never been a full-time man loudly out the windows of a cute, trendy little car, never mind the fact I’m still working on my license and my car is not cute, trendy, or little.  Also that I’m not a man or a lover of any kind.
And don’t get me started on the brilliance that is Disaster.  From the tasteful cacophony of trumpets in the background that so adroitly embodies the whole idea of the song to the lighthearted bridge and feel-good vibes of the guitars that remind me a little of Faking My Own Suicide, this song makes me smile right down to my toes. 
I’m missing the last few tracks of my album because my internet crashed at the end of the download (boo) but I’m certain I’ll love them just as much as I love the rest.
Essentially this album is nothing like I expected, and yet marvelous and perfect and just as good if not better than anything that I could have imagined, because I feel like Relient K really just made the album for the heck of it, and the fun plays out in every song.

This post is already the length of a short novella (indeed, I’m writing it instead of my wordcount for Camp NaNoWriMo, but we don’t have to talk about it), but I feel like my review would be incomplete without some account of the moral/Christian aspects of the album.  Some of you probably want me to, others probably don’t but I’ve got to say something because . . . well because I want to. So there.  It’s my blog. Nyah.
Honestly, though, I really loved this album’s message.  There’s no overt Christian overtones or very strong messages of a moral or spiritual flavor—in fact, there’s mention of bars and drinking with no thought and I really don’t see how If I Could Take You Home could be interpreted other than at least mildly sexual, which by most standards are quite “un-Christian” things.  There’s no mention of Jesus or God outside of one mention of coming home from church.
Regardless, though, I’m still quite comfortable with the album, and while Relient K might not have any songs fit for contemporary Christian radio, I don’t doubt the beliefs of the members of the band in Jesus Christ. (Also I feel it necessary to bring to mind the fact that most of the songs on this album were co-written/collabs with non-Christian writers. So there’s that.)
I suppose it’s because as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that Christianity, in some of the circles I run in, can become quite the sterilized cadaver.  Not Christianity itself, but I think we as people have a hidden tendency to be too rigid in our legality and that it’s just as much an issue as when we tend to be overtly lax with our morality.  I think there’s a humanity to a messy Christianity that is organic and lovely and intriguing.
I am not, nor would I ever, endorse sin.  Anyone that knows me knows that I’m quite stoic and unwavering when it comes to what is right and wrong, and I believe that’s necessary.  But if our Christianity doesn’t allow for slip-ups or mistakes or turning around, then what is it worth?  If our beliefs hinge entirely on what we do, and grace doesn’t even factor in, why do we need Christianity? Those are just rules. Why would we need Christ at all?
I need Christ because life is a wreck.  It’s a mess.  And so messy Christianity is appealing to me because I live in a messy place.  I like the fact Thiessen throws in “sexy” in Disaster because it doesn’t deny the reality of life in favor of a colorless Christianity.
Not only that, but as a believer, I can see the Christianity through the album.  First of all, there’s a lot of hope in this album, whereas in Forget and Not Slow Down (even with implicit mentions of the name of God such as in Therapy) there was pain and desperation in its place.  There’s a joy here that feels more than just skin-deep.  He does mention church, and it’s a part of doing life—it’s included, it’s normal.  I like that there’s not a big deal made of it, actually, because I think it might have felt sterilized or stilted, some lame attempt to appeal to a more conservative audience.
I see the belief in the threads of the album, even if the tapestry doesn’t depict a picture of Christ, but rather a picture of life.

All right, I think I’m about done. It’s almost eight and I’ve been up since 4.55 because of some jank ninja insomnia bout that had suddenly invaded my life. Also my last few songs just downloaded so I’m out to hear me some When You Were My Baby, Sweeter and Collapsible Lung.
And it’s a good time, 100% of the time~

xx Icarus

Friday, April 5, 2013

Poetry:


Poetry
is a thing that you feel.
And so often I feel things that there are no words for;
I feel so much that words can’t even begin to describe.
There is a depth to each human being that is comparable not even to an ocean—
this depth is beyond the ocean,
beyond the very borders of the stars.
There is a depth to you
that I can never hope to attain
and a depth to me
that you can never understand;
and our terrifying depravity
and our infinite magnificence
both go down together
seemingly infinite and
yet—

Poetry is
, I think,
an attempt to see a little bit farther into that depth . . .
but there are some things
that even poetry
cannot illuminate

(like that feeling I ache with when I see you kill yourself again tonight
or that feeling that washes over me when your arm creeps round my waist in midnight darkness
or that feeling that seizes me when I realize we aren’t actually eternal.
For those—
for those there are no words).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sometimes I Get Feelings and Write About Them


Sometimes I watch TV shows or play video games or see plays and these things give me feelings and I have to vent them, so I vent them the only way I know how, which is word clouds and poetry, and you get these little blurbs that are really quite angsty and tragic and since this is a thing that has been happening to me basically my whole life, I figured I might share some of them with you.

12.7.12
Take me with you
The blood red sky outside and the empty corridors are ringing and I can’t get away from them
I wish you would take me with you
I’d give anything to open that door and have you standing there, flushed and happy and ready to see me
Oh, please take me with you
I might not have known you that long but I knew you like few have known you, and you I
Can’t you take me with you?
Shivers ripple up my spine as I sit here alone, just remembering every single thing that passed between us
There’s nothing I want more
but that’s something I can’t have
I can’t have it
You can’t take me with you
and in fact I’ll never see you again
This blood red sky and the empty corridors are ringing with memories of you and I can’t open a door without hoping you’ll be on the other side and every time I introduce myself to another human being I can’t help but think that they’ll never mean as much to me because I’ll never see them all those ways I saw you in those worst five minutes of our lives, and the shivers still come because I’m still sat here alone
But I’ll always remember you
you’ll always come with me
at least
take me with you
like
that


10.11.12
My life is made of book ends
Once I was without you
And lived a very normal life

and then you appeared
you swept me away
                on the most beautiful
                                lovely adventures of all my life
and I actually fell
                most deeply and irrevocably in love
                                with you
And the rest of my days
                were spent not without you
                                but apart from you
                and the latter was much
                                worse than the former


12.7.12
I can’t figure you out.
You’re too enigmatic. There’s too much
going on and yet sometimes it
all just seems to stop in that high-
strung mind of yours and you age 100
years.
And your eyes—there’s so much to
them but I can’t ever see what’s
just behind them to get an idea.
You’re an incredibly lovely being and all
I can say is that you stun me, surprise
 me, delight me, and scare me all at the
same time and I’m wondering how that
can be.
What’s that?
 . . .
It doesn’t matter.
. . . If you say so.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Poetry


Poetry
is taking a cup of tea
and holding it in your hands
and breathing in its scent
and letting it warm your face
and as it washes across your lips
somewhere, someone who is two thousand miles away
can taste it

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tightrope




Fragile.
Everything seems so fragile.
We could fall so easily. But take my hand. Hold tight to these frail fingers and the blue veins through my porcelain skin and hold so, so tight.
We could fall, and fall so easily.
It’s a long drop, but another step and we’ll be past the edge.  We’ll be so far out we can’t go back.
But I want to try.
Do you want to try? (In spite of the fact we might fall, in spite of the fact the drop is so far, in spite of the fact both of our hearts are pounding with so much fear we can’t hardly think.)
(Step out with me.)
Do you want to try?
(We could do it, you know. It’s not even about proving them wrong anymore.)
Everything is so fragile.  You need so much courage for this. (I need so much courage for this.)
And slowly your icy fearful shaking hand reaches out, and your strong but oh so weak fingers entwine with mine.
One step.
One step and we’ll be past the edge.
Take it with me.
My hands can’t warm yours up, because I’m frozen as you. But if you think about it, the question isn’t if we want to go or not.
It’s if we’re all right with staying where we are.
There’s nothing but huge, undaunting courage before us and all that pain and sorrow and frozen wasteland behind us.
(Oh, do it. Oh, take that step.
(what I fear most is that everything depends on it)).
Just one more breath, and we could make it--just don’t look down--please-- let’s go past that edge--
As long as you hesitate so will I.
(What you fear most is that every little thing depends on it.)
And then, daring, we pick up our feet.
The next moments will the ones that prove our mad courage absolutely perfect or terrifically foolish.
What will it be, darling? Did we make the right decision?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Dreams Are My Only Obstacle


Someone needs to convince me I won’t be internet famous if I make a youtube channel and start weekly videos.
I mean, I think I’d be good at it. But at the same time, and in the words of Peter Metalhead Lalush who has tried to de-convince me, “Exposure is dang impossible.”
And I think if I could convince myself that I wouldn’t be the next Charlieissocoollike or Danisnotonfire, I might decide that I oughtn’t try.
After all, I tried to convince myself I’d be a video game character concept artist for Sonic Team at Sega and that dream expired a few years back.
And I tried to convince myself I would be fluent in Japanese by the time I finished high school and that dream died with Junior year.
And I tried to convince myself I would be a Photoshop queen and got a graphics tablet and that dream is currently collecting dust in a desk drawer.
So I don’t know if I’m just trying to convince myself that I could be an amazing “YouTuber” so that when I get my Canon S6 and a video editor or whatever I can stick that one in the deepest recesses of the internet and forget about it too.
You see, the problem with my dreams is that they’re expensive. I want to learn Japanese. Rosetta Stone Japanese is about $400, kids.  I want to be a graphics designer, and a graphics tablet is about $350 or so, or at least when I got mine it was. 
Cameras aren’t cheap. And I know nothing about video editors. I don’t even know if I can really do quality video editing without a mac ((but that might just be because I’m rather surrounded by Apple fangirls), and those are even more than a quality camera if I’m not mistaken.
But can you justify the amount of money spent on a venture if you get an experience out of it?
My no-consequences, impressionistic, idealistic artist side is saying yes.
But the rest of my brain is saying no.
And yes I could sell the Japanese and tablet for this youtube thing but—
That gives me pause. I’d still love to learn Japanese, though I know I won’t (ever. Probably.). I’d still love to hold onto the graphics tablet, although that’s kind of like that Aesop’s fable where the dog sat on the hay so the horses couldn’t eat it.
And what if I did get a camera and a video editor? What if I just shelve that dream?
I pursue far too many things, I fear.  I’m interested in so much, I feel like there’s not any time for me to actually do what I want.
That doesn’t even make sense. My dreams inhibit my ability to pursue my dreams. They are my only obstacle.
LOGIC.
Anyway. Thought I’d do a kind of blog-posty blog post instead of just posting random thoughts and things on this blog, because I haven’t in a while. I’m doing well, currently drowning in finals that professors made up purposefully to drain the life out of me. I haven’t been good at keeping up with other blogs lately, though I’ve been trying (not too hard. Finals.).
Yep that’s about it.
Much love,
Christina Icarus

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

only a few months it's been

Here I am,
In that place I told you I wouldn't be.

The stars were aligned but as soon as I followed them they fell off the map;

And no sooner than I open my mouth do all the words flee,
And so I've adapted to living with that mouth closed.

Convictions?
Illogical.

I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.

Progress is just an illusion
And all those lovely dreams are just dreams in the end
(when you've drifted away from them).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Roots Where You're Planted


If only my nightlight
was a sky light
instead of this godforsaken night life

But no matter how far you flee, you can’t outrun this state of mind
and no matter how hard you try, this is something that you can’t wish away

If only my sky was lighter
the ground flatter
Instead of recurring mountains

but what if the problem isn’t where you are
but a hunger inside you

If only I could get out of this hellhole of a town
If only I could get on a plane, go up, come down
in a place I’d never been, with people I’ve never seen

If only you could escape this horrid frame of mind
and hop the borders to contentment
You’d be happy wherever your foot falls

If only

But all I want to do is leave
and search for something bigger, greater
Something that isn’t here

All you want to do is leave

Thursday, October 18, 2012

sorry to interrupt but...

For some reason Blogger freaked out on me and deleted all the blogs I was following?
Also I don't remember what all of those blogs were. owo
so
upset

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Air


The air is cold now.
It must be fifty degrees, but it feels like it’s thirty after the long hot summer we had.  Now the only sweat I feel is the tiny strip of skin pressed against my knitted hat, where my hair is all smashed beneath it.  The trees are all empty, with all the leaves fallen and raked up, bagged and sitting on the side of the dingy concrete roads with the trash.
The trees, standing against the yellow and blue sky, are what stick out in my mind the best. They look so tragic, like they didn’t ask for the winter to come but it did, just like it always did, and it took away all of the leaves without reason, without purpose.  And yet, the trees didn’t seem sad about it; and that is the most tragic thing of all. There isn’t anything sad about it, to the trees.  They haven’t even realized that their majesty is gone, probably, sitting by the side of the road to be carted off to the dump and burned away.
They don’t care. That’s what’s tragic about them.
Your screen door slams behind you and your feet tromp twice before you sit on the cold pavement steps beside me.  I’m still looking at those awfully depressing trees, but you immediately pipe up and say hi, ask me what was up.  I wish you could be quiet. Not because I don’t want to hear you, but just because it’s nice, every once in a while, just to look at the trees and be a little melancholy.
I try to get you to feel the October inside of you.  “The trees,” I mumble, keeping my eyes fixed on them.  “It’s fall.”
You laugh, and it sounds too fast, too nervous, like you don’t want there to be silence. “Yeah, it is,” you say.
“But look at them,” I say quietly, not wanting to disturb the feeling of autumn inside of my chest.
You do, and the rustling scrape of a few neglected leaves across the pavement is the only sound. 
“Look at them. I have them inside of me,” I try to explain.  “Inside of my head.”
You give me a weird look, and I think about backtracking.  But I’ve already said it, it’s already out there.  I admitted that I have fall inside me.  I feel the season inside of my head, in my lungs, in my rib cage where my heart should be.
“You have dead trees. In your head,” you state, still looking at me with one eyebrow raised.
I just shake my head. “No,” I give up. “That’s not what I meant.”
The sun is setting now, so the air is just going to get chillier for every second we sit here.  You stand, and so do I.  “Where do you want to go?” you ask.
“Let’s go to the hay maze,” I say, still conscious of the trees out of the corner of my eye and the rich feeling in my chest.
We trek down the road to McAllistar’s Apple Orchard, the wind swishing past our faces and forcing our hands deep into our pockets.  When we get there, Mr. McAllistar is locking the door to the admission shack, about to leave for the evening.  We can see his son framed by yellow light inside the orchard store playing checkers against himself.  Mr. McAllistar says we can walk the maze for free today. It’s probably because my mother baked his son cupcakes on his birthday right after Mrs. McAllistar died. His son is kind of simple, and he thought the cupcakes were from the angels, sent from his mother in heaven. They were good cupcakes. Mr. McAllistar thinks I don’t remember it because it was so long ago, but I do.
Once we’re inside of the hay maze the wind isn’t as biting and you take off your earmuffs.  The sun is going down faster now and I can tell it’s going to be dark soon. We’ve both forgotten flashlights, but that’s all right. We don’t talk about it.
All the crickets of the summer are gone so we crunch along and swing our hands in silence.
The allspice and dead leaf emotion is so thick in my blood. The maze isn’t too hard to work out; Mrs. McAllistar was the one who came up with the designs for them, and Mr. McAllistar just put them up, but since she’s been gone he’s just reused the old ones over a few times.  We first walked this one in third grade, and then again in ninth, so we both know the way. 
When we get near the end of the maze, we check to make sure the sweep of the McAllistar truck’s headlights are gone and climb up to sit on some of the higher haybales.  The wind is really blowing now, and the sky is prickled with early stars. Our thighs are brushing so we both keep warm.
And this time, you don’t say anything. You’re all right with the quiet cold, just me and you sitting here side by side like nothing will ever change.  I know it will, one day and eventually, but for now, this is right.  This is what fall is supposed to be like.  This is forever.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Run


Run
a poem

I need to go faster.
I need to be doing more.
I’m not doing enough I’m not doing enough I’m not doing enough I’m not doing enough

I can’t go fast enough
I can’t run hard enough
I can’t accomplish as much as I need to
I can’t
I can’t

I need to
I can’t

Help me Help me Help me
help

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You Know Who You Are


You make me want to write.
That’s right—you make me want to pick up that black pen (the one that has ink as smooth as the soft back of any cat’s ear, and the color so intense I could just drown in it if I think too hard about it) and grab a small maroon notebook with off-white pages and constant grey wire lines and just go to town.  You make me want to explore every feeling I’ve ever felt, and turn them all into pictures and people and circumstances and places and give them to all of humanity in stolid black letters trucking across the smooth snowy pages of whatever book you cause me to write.  You make me want to throw all hesitation out of the window and hole myself up in a beautiful cabin somewhere starry with just fruit to survive on and chewing gum for thinking until I’ve emerged with some fragment of a gem to polish up and give to you to inset in the crown you don’t have but oh-so-definitely deserve.
I don’t know what it is but knowing that you’re proud of me makes me want to strive to do the very best with any ounce of talent I have in my body and make something worth being proud of.  Simply knowing that you love me makes me want to sing for you in the only voice I have: that of typewriter fonts and coffee stains on post-it notes and late nights and random thoughts and fragmented sentences and beauty that makes me cry.
I don’t deserve to have someone believe in me (but you do); and since you do, I want to give you a reason to believe. I want to give you the books and books you said you could see on your bookshelf one day.  I want to move you to tears, break your heart and convince you that happily ever after doesn’t depend on circumstance but what we make it and hopefully I’ve made it very good, because you told me I could.  I want to take your breath away and reconsider the way that the ocean smells and make you look at the clouds differently. I want to prove you right.
Someday I’m going to prove you right.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

.

"I hate people," I'll grumble as I glare at the entire population behind my too-long chocolate bangs
"Oh, you love people and you know it," someone will always reply, teasing and genuine
And the thing about it
is that everything said was true

Saturday, August 11, 2012

An evening in the commune

The evening is just starting to melt into a hazy dusk, turning the blues into greyish greens and heady midnights, looking fuzzy and far-off.  The air is cool, cooler than usual, cooler than it ought to be this time of year in such a hot climate but it is dry, so it's not too extraordinary.  Breezes whisk lightly through the alleys.  The murmurs of human life are just that, quieter than a usual dusk.  The curfew seemed to come earlier and earlier with every passing day of summer, the sun lingering in the sky, tantalizing all who wished to stay out and about against royal decrees.
The dallying sun is sinking fast and faster now, the night's colors creeping in behind it.  Soon it will be completely dark.
It is a good thing for the figure leaning in a shaded doorway.  The cover of darkness is her only partner. She must wait for it before she can achieve anything.

____________________________________
Mrrp. Just some bored drabbling. My laptop is currently screwed up and I don't have much to do. Could read (I was reading earlier, John Knowles, a bit of a true love of mine) but I decided to take a break.

Life's kind of getting to me lately. I need a great big vacation (and perhaps a little asprin. :] ).

Lots of love to you all~ Have a marvelous time with it,

Christina Kuri