Once back from hollidays we want to enjoy every second of free time as much as possible. Since Spotify allows remote access there better be a great tune already playing when the door to our homes swing open.
I work with kids. Its brutal work, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for anything but it takes its mental toll. When I get home I often need to wind down as well as take my mind elsewhere. Brooding over work isn’t healthy for anyone but in my line of work it can be extra hard to just let go as you walk out the “office” door.
The right combination of cheerful and relaxing music is my go-to here. As far as I would have guessed Tara Jane O’Neil wasn’t exactly a frontrunner to have her new album fit that bill. I knew O’Neil to be highly interesting but I think it’s fair to say that the thing all of the multitudes of acts spawned from the remnants of Rodan have in common is that they are somewhat demanding to listen to. In addition to that, “cheerful” can’t be a trending hashtag associated with anything in those circles either.
O’Neil’s self titled latest solo album however defies expectation somewhat and does radiate a certain warm glow that is hard to describe in any better way than “cheerful”. The album is still a demanding listen but it is also strangely relaxing. I had it play in the background a few times over a couple of days and by the 4th or 5th run through I started missing it whenever it wasn’t on.
The album has what I would like to describe as a bell curve over it’s 11 tracks. As the album progresses it builds in intensity for its first half to then recede for its second half. By the beautifully executed 3rd track Sand we have reached a lull. Laugh the 6th track and tempo peak of the album is the only outright upbeat track of the album. Here, for one track only, drum brushes give way to regular sticks and the wind speed is up to a soft summer breeze which just happens to be a good description of the song’s mood as well as intensity. From this apex the album perhaps descends in intensity but certainly not in beauty. Well anyhow, Laugh is just the right pic-me-up I might need from a hard day’s work.
Two days a week I ride the bike to work. I love that little ride for about 20 minutes, I get to listen to music on my headphones without a care in the world. Sweetness. The other days I’m in the car with kids, not exactly listening to what I want. On Fridays we have a special playlist that I have imprinted on my family — it’s a feelgood jazz playlist which everybody loves now. It might be so that my children thinks that jazz is called Friday music.
So you see it depends on the day of the week. If it’s Friday the whole family expects it to be something like La Vie En Rose, the Louis Armstrong version. If it’s a car day chances are that I want some quiet time. So let’s say that I’m on the bicycle on my way home. When I’m nearly home I ride by this beautiful shady lane flanked by aspen trees, I think that that is the place where I fade out my punk playlist and put on Dan Auerbach’s Going Home. It’s a perfect fit when he sings that he wants to feel the sun through the oaks. I then smoothly switch it on the home stereo before I enter my house. Dan has, in my not so humble opinion, the best blues voice this side of the millennium. This song is from the excellent debut solo album Keep It Hid from 2009. I love that the lead guitar plays the melody that is sung throughout the song. I love the cozy feeling of the song. It’s not like I have been away in new Orleans for a decade and now decided to come home to my beloved home. It is not, but it is like that in miniature. That grand homecoming but in a tiny version. So long, I’m goin’, goin’ home.
…and for our next task, we will find a tune that…
so what about at work. If work have to take up something like half to two thirds of your time awake, it better offer at least some good opportunities to listen to great music, right. Heck music might even help you at work. We will all know in two weeks time won’t we.
See you in 14 days!