Hello Friday OOPS-ers!
Here is a little (or big) musical journey to kick off your weekend. I mainly pulled songs from those moments I had super awesome feelings of connection to the musician on the other side or the song evoked monumental feelings of sadness or joy. This is a range, but all music dear to my heart. Not everything will be for everyone, but maybe you'll discover a new taste, so hold on!
It turns out I was exposed to vocal classical music in a very unconventional way. I walked into the Barnes & Noble music section (remember those?) and heard this tasty snack and bought the album. The acclaimed soprano Maureen O'Flynn and producer Lord Vanger put together this sweet contemporized realizations of the album's familiar vocal repertoire. Blasting these with the windows down, driving around in my Ford Focus at 16 never felt so good. Keep in mind this dropped in 2000 so the beats are a little stale, but the album is filled with surprises. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone ever made a music video, but I love this album cover. Giulio Caccini's Ave Maria, Operatica
For all you purists, let's start go back to Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria. This arrangement is probably one of the most influential pieces from my childhood, all the way to still playing it today for my son. You know it's gorgeous. Fall asleep to it. Yo-Yo Ma & Bobby McFerrin
This cellist will wake you up and I am a sucker for a string instrument in a indie/alternative/rock band. Don't worry it's not Yellow Card or One Republic (although those might be guilty pleasures...), this is one of my favorite bands and albums. I think the lyrics and cello are brilliant in the entire album. Art is Hard, Cursive
I know we artists can relate, especially with this last year!
Let's keep it weird for a second. Many not so classy nights jamming out to these original crazies. But with all the epic weird European punk moshing I did, Gogol Bordello knew what the message was more than a decade ago. Immigraniada
Another song to get your blood moving. Having my favs like Mariah and Whitney were great, but I discovered the power of the female voice in another light. Speaker Push Air by Pretty Girls Make Graves
If I didn't totally scare you away, I'll bring you down a little more gently off from that grouping and now you may bring up the volume again. Poor little rich boy, Regina Spektor. She is a classically-trained pianist, can do anything with her voice, and can keep a killer beat with a drum stick on a chair at the same time? She's my hero.
I went through a heavy contemporary French music period, which included French pop, indie, hip hop (yeah, still don't speak french) and of course Jazz Manouche (Gypsy Jazz- still called this in the community, just in case anyone is raising an eyebrow). Staying true to the master Djengo Reinhardt, this is one of the Hot Clubs of our generation that I believe encompasses true to authentic style and new compositions. My friend from undergrad also happens to be a part of this band, but this piece is dear to my heart because I stayed and visited with him during those big audition years, once for graduate school in Michigan where Hot Club of Detroit was formed and catching the Jazz community's eye. And the second time was when I was doing tumultuous YAP auditions in NYC, it was/is great travel music to get pumped up.
Speaking of French music, let's go the opposite of upbeat and happy and switch to my other favorite for traveling, sleeping, relaxing. I was OBSESSED with the movie Amelie, but mostly the music; I could do a whole post about this soundtrack. The composer Yann Tiersen has composed many scores for other movies (including Goodbye Lenin! Watch this, it's super German and hilarious...well in a dark way) and of course I had to buy the sheet music to play as well. I love his minimal, but very moving variational melodies. Porz Goret, Yann Tiersen
Here are two ladies whose french words give me life (again, definitely not fluent lol). I could listen to them all day. Carla Bruni with Quelqu'un m'a dit
And here is Le long du temp by Quebecoise Coeur de Pirate
Multi talent musicians and good orchestration pretty much have me sold. I am a huge fan of Beirut, and this song Nantes has always been one of my favorites. Check out their other songs and live videos, just a good old time! But in this particular video, you may notice your lovely city of Minneapolis and if you can "ride" it out until the end, you'll see Carl proposing on Nicollet Island. I know, I put my own engagement video on this....
And the award to the singer who plays the most instruments is Sufjan Stevens. You know he's amazing, I could also do a whole post on his orchestrations through his discography, but I won't! He is one with words. And as much as I adore many of his uplifting songs about nature, relationships and geography, the first time I heard this song I was shocked and had tears in my eyes when he sings "oh my god". It's chilling, I don't need to over explain. John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Stay in the dark zone with me, this wasn't even one of his super super depressing songs, but Elliot Smith knew how to write to make you feel his pain. Between the Bars
Arcade Fire's Wake Up These guys have been cranking out great tunes for years, love their style, love this song. Behind the positive upbeat vibe, it gets you thinking.
Ok, let's cleanse the palate a little and imagine a seven year old Corissa with the largest, thickest Korean hair, competitive roller skating to a routine from On the Town - Time's Square, Act I Finale by Leonard Bernstein. Oh yeah, sequins, a little skate dress just like my hero Kristi Yamaguchi, but on rollers skates. It was a thing, I promise.
And apparently I was exposed to opera as a teenager. For your visual; I want you to picture a duet of synchronized swimmers with pointed toes, make up, sequined swimsuits and smiles for days to the Overture from Carmen by Georges Bizet. Yep, did that sport too. Did I know this was one of the most well known operas? No, but at least years later when in the chorus during undergrad and I heard it play, the light bulb went on!
And with Carmen's power and conviction, here is a modern woman who, when I listen to her songs, all I feel is power. I'm probably late to the game, but for the last few years, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down has been on a lot of my driving playlists!
If I haven't lost you yet, let's go back to a good story. The Downeaster "Alexa." This was my favorite Billy Joel song as a 5 year old. Not Piano Man or Vienna, I would blast this in the car with my mom.
One more story and even in a country style! Dang Trixie Mattel is a good singer/songwriter, puts a little ache in my heart. Red side of the Moon
Donovan. Yep, this is the only song I know of his, but it's so simple and true. And it reminds me why we sing. To Sing for You
Thank you for adventuring to weird corners of the music world with me, I probably could go on and on...but let's get to the weekend! I'll leave you with two great dance party songs that should launch you into body moving gleefulness. You can't go wrong with The Go! Team. This video may not be as invigorating as being dehydrated and sunburnt in the middle of August at a festival touching lots of sweaty strangers, but it's just fun and makes me think of summer! Doing it Right And here is LCD Soundsystem's North American Scum, even if it's not your cup of tea, it will make you move!
To learn more about Corissa, check out her bio on our Diversity Council page.