Not an illusion of bliss

Sarah McLachlan is not happy lately. My presumptuousness is embarrassing but I would bet on her not being suicidal or raging either. It was wrong to assume that she’s happy on the basis of Loving You Is Easy or on the cover of her new, Laws of Illusion. Not until you read through the liner notes of the CD will you find out about her new drummer, Tori Amos’ very own, Matt Chamberlain, who replaces her long-time drummer and now ex-husband Ashwin Sood whom I’ve always had mixed feelings about because inspect the backstage footage of Afterglow Live and you can sense, in a footage where Sood talks to a bunch of girls ostensibly about how they feel about Sarah and her concert, that there’s an unmistakable flirty vibe in the way he talks to them, the Sarah McLachlan fans. Sarah McLachlan is not frequently featured in the pages of Yahoo OMG, she’s not that type of celebrity, and so of course things as major as her divorce escapes public scrutiny and disdain, as if divorced celebrities is a novelty. She tweets too although it’s highly likely that it’s the record label that’s doing it for her, and only to say, often, that she’s playing at some small venue, at times at a Starbucks, no less, or at times at bigger ones such as wherever her Lilith Fair crew is currently playing. Other than what she means to spill about her life can only be surmised through her songs which is just as it should be.

To hear of her true feelings for Sood, dissect the lush ballad, among some other pretty things in Laws, Forgiveness, where she rips Sood to pieces, but still ever so gently, by piano, by addressing the ‘loving lying enemy’ with a heartbreaking mix of longing and vindictiveness. This lying,  loving enemy, she’s seen its face before but didn’t want to anymore, but she remembers its ‘loving eyes and the moonlit kiss, the evening lullabies’ that, as this is the most beautiful song in here, it’s become evident that she hasn’t quite let go of these blissful things just yet, and these are things, kisses, midday calls, etc, that she will truly miss. But alas, she will never give him forgiveness which is so, so sad. It’s the kind of sad like when you felt like weeping at certain scenes in Boys Don’t Cry just because Hilary Swank’s face is on and her face is so depressing even when she isn’t saying anything.

Before she sets Ashwin Sood to endless days of remorse, she frolics, or, her term, awashes herself in illusions of bliss, in songs like Illusions of Bliss, gets really illusory in Loving You is Easy, screaming ‘I get so high!’ ‘Shot like a starburst!” which is the closest she gets to sounding like a crazy, a rare treat considering she’s always been usually melancholic and discreetly angsty which have always been concealed under her gentle piano playing.

I don’t know how significant it is that her new drummer is also Tori’s, but just the thought of the possibilities is exciting. While it’s thrilling to fantasize that the two might duet, or just be in the same room together,  I don’t think the idea will come from the drummer (no offense meant to creative drummers). Not that that’s urgent. They’re fine on their own, even if in McLachlan’s case, long-time collaborator Pierre Marchand’s still doing much of the production, doing great things to otherwise usual Sarah McLachlan songs, which are basically songs that will get played in movie or TV scenes that usually signify the emotional crux of the story, songs that will get heavy blogger emoting-through-music posts, songs like Angel which a decade after getting featured from the City of Angels soundtrack, many still find haunting and lovely, descriptions which have been consistently used by anyone who’s ever cared to talk about Sarah’s songs, songs like Love Come which crescendoes to a gorgeous ahhhh… ahhhh… ohhh, that’s become almost a signature, songs like that that no one does quite lovelier than she.

That Forgiveness is about Ashwin Sood is just conjecture of course, and it hardly matters who the song’s about or what it’s really about, but really, it’s about Sood, but it doesn’t matter eventually because it’s just as resonant and beautiful had it been about her dog. When Sarah McLachlan does this, sing about someone who’s wronged her, as opposed to occasions when she writes a plain, old love song, like Push which she wrote for Sood, you realize suddenly how horrible it must be to do someone harm which is such a simplistic realization but that also when you encounter these, songs like Forgiveness or its equivalent, say, when someone writes you a well-crafted, seriously thought and constructed letter/e-mail, that there’s no harm or pain that you wouldn’t trade for pain you wish you have instead, instead of being its inflicter. If I were Sood, I’d stay away from the radio forever, or I’ll just move to my homeland India where Sarah McLachlan wouldn’t get much radio airtime. But then a world without Sarah McLachlan songs, that’s impossible and unbearable, less aurally beautiful, maybe even if I were Ashwin Sood.

Glory of the 90s

Ace of Base. Glicos. Streetboys. Universal Motion Dancers. Pearl Jam. That’s Entertainment. St. Mary’s Academy. Archie & Jughead Double Digest 256 pages. X-Men. Cedie. Uhaw. Solid Gold Songhits. Cutterpillow. Mariah Carey. One Sweet Day. Always Be My Baby. Bone Thugs N Harmony. Bone Thugs N Harmony feat. Mariah Carey. CrazySexyCool. Dragonball Z. Palibhasa Lalake. Cynthia Patag. Gardo Versoza. Seiko Films. Priscilla Almeda. Cory Aquino. Filbars. Goldcrest. Mercury Drug. Nintendo. Rockman 1, 2, 3, 4. Backstreet Boys. Spice Girls. Robin Padilla. Beverly Hills 90210. Cartimar. Jagged Little Pill. Puff Daddy/Bad Boy Records. Typewriter. Boyz II Men. Miss Universe. Miss Belgium. 3-story Tower Records. Quad 2. Quad. Return to Innocence music video. Paolo Contis. Tropang Trumpo. Melrose Place. Cristy Per Minute. Eric Fructuoso. Thank God It’s Sabado. Wacks/Kiko. Donita Rose. VHS Porn. VHS. Angie’s Video House. Ferris Beuler’s Day Off. Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion. Sega. United Colors of Benetton. Hanson. Freddy Krueger. Dawson’s Creek. Dawson’s Creek Soundtrack Volume 1. Tira-tira. Star City. MTV Soul’d Out. Camille Pratts as Princess Sarah. Angelica Panganiban as Becky. Kurt Cobain. 7-11 nachos. Barbie’s Cradle. All Saints. Top 20 at 12. Fun House. Manilyn Reynes. Jay Manalo. Devon Sawa. Are You That Somebody music video. Aaliyah. Semi-charmed Life. Titanic. Always (Erasure). Low-waist. Nerds candy. Fanta. You on My Mind. Penthouse. Mix tape. 200 pesos pirated CD. Dave Matthews Band. Crash Into Me. Brown-out. Flintstones chewables. Bubble Tape. Cry Baby. Silent All These Years. Sustagen. Kero Keropi. Fido Dido. Tina Paner. Nova Villa. Laser Disc. The Cask of Amontillado. N*SYNC. The Boy Is Mine. Joyce Jimenez. Acne-free. Corn Flakes. TT Boy. Ron Jeremy. Taboo. Nokia 3210. Ice candy. Freestyle Live! Building a Mystery. Landline. Autograph. Sometimes (Britney Spears). 10 Things I Hate About You. Phoebe Buffay. Joey Tribbiani. Floppy disk. Prince of Persia. Lemmings. Michael Myers. Matthew Mendoza. Patrick Guzman. Gelli de Belen. Carmina Villaroel. Decades Bar. Tom & Jerry. Magandang Gabi Bayan Halloween Special. Suddenly Susan. Bugs Bunny. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Maala-ala Mo Kaya. Youth. No Internet.

Familiar Alien

To hear something familiar, I listen to Tori Amos’ Abnormally Attracted to Sin. She brings me back to an unforgettable period a few years ago. I don’t know how I even got to like Tori during my barista days, how her songs are all I ever played in my discman that I was  carrying around during shifts. I don’t know how From the Choirgirl Hotel, an album that is  mostly about her miscarriage could sound so good to me. It could be a plain fascination for the sounds she used to make. From Spark to finish, I loved it. Maybe it doesn’t have a big fat meaning, my liking it at the time but it was a significant part of my barista soundtrack. Maybe I was influenced by my coffee shop with the very classy muzak. It is after all where I got acquainted with The Weepies, The Guggenheim Grotto, Spinto Band and Elliott Smith.

And so thank God for those songs and artists that reminded me of those days because I can not feel anything with Abnormally Attracted to Sin. I really liked the sounds here the first time I listened to it. I liked Welcome to England a lot and I was more or less accurate in my prediction of how she’s going to sound in here. I’m fairly ignorant in the language of music so by sound I mean the ones she used to make circa To Venus & Back. Remember Bliss, Concertina and Datura? Those were good. AATS serves as a reminder of that era. Venus was nothing like I’ve heard before, and I listen to this and I get nothing. It must be the length because at 17 tracks, it’s a bit of a chore to listen and I’m in an album hog mode. I acquire music almost every other day. I acquire and acquire that the hard disk/CD shelf space are all but cramped and old friends such as Tori get pushed in the background. Or it could be that nothing remotely interesting is happening right now with which to need a soundtrack.

In consuming Tori Amos music, do we need bit of a drama? Lyrics from previous albums provided timeless but just for me lines such as ‘If the divine master plan is perfection, maybe next I’ll give Judas a try’ or ‘So don’t give me respect, don’t give me a piece of your preciousness’. I don’t know about anybody else but these lyrics went well with coffee.

I think it might be the insatiability for new albums that snuffed whatever interest I may have had on this. In the future, when I can’t enjoy anything any more from any of my divas, Abnormally Attracted to Sin might serve as a reminder of when I hogged but only half-consumed. Or someone must order Miss Amos to come back to Planet Earth and sing her alien lyrics but once familiar music.

You can’t buy Tori Amos Live Recordings in Tower Records

Tower Records in Glorietta used to be pretty. It is now shabby and untended. It has become so unappealing that I now associate it with very old underwear, and I don’t know why. Tower Records is no good for CD-hunting anymore, and the MP3 revolution is to blame. And iPod and iTunes. It used to be three-storeys and now it’s just a tiny hole in the fringes of Glorietta 2. If I hadn’t been a barista I would have wanted to work at Tower Records and I would not have cared if we have to wear silly aprons. It looks like a fun job.

Tori is crazy

I met with Al, a Tori Amos-obsessed, semi-kalbo, 30-something guy. We agreed to meet because he was going to give me copies of all of his Tori Amos live recordings. The night before we met, we agreed that This Is Not Going To Be An EB. And it wasn’t. He really just gave me the CDs and I was profuse with thanks. It’s important for me to say because it is.

It was reassuring to know that certain people are actually interested in the stuff that they talk about in forums. He gave me After the Rain, Blood Girl, VH1, MTV Unplugged and other live albums, which I could find anywhere in the world. He also turned out to be a lucky charm because I found Air’s Moon Safari and Sneaker Pimps’ Bloodpsort on Tower’s pre-owned section. I offered to treat him to a coffee and he declined. What a great guy.