Junior Murvin

Not going to quote Peter, Paul and Mary.

As usual, time has gotten away faster than I could have ever imagined. What then felt like ages ago is now tomorrow: I am leaving to visit home. Indeed, we are taking the ‘London’ out of ‘American of London.’ For two weeks this blog should be ‘American back home in that place she hated growing up in’ or ‘American can finally go to the dentist’ or even the thought provoking ‘Person.’ Regardless, in a day I’m getting on a plane and being shipped back off to the Midwest. Frightening.

I’ve always believed that music sounds different according to your geography. Take Junior Murvin in the States, UK or Jamaica and each time ‘Police and Thieves’ is on it will mean something entirely unique. Where we are shapes the social context. Magically changes the sound. So I complied a list of songs that sounded like home (or what I remember it to sound like).

This may or may not be what I actually listen to when I go home. Chances are it will be all 80s pop and hair metal (80’s Night Downtown, am I right?). Each song was chosen with a purpose. I had to start everything off with Fankie Yankovic’s version of the ‘Beer Barrel Polka.’ Nothing is more painfully Wisconsin than that song. ZZ Top and Tommy James were picked to represent my dad and mom respectively.

But most of the songs were chosen because they remind me of that space and clean air of home. I’ll miss London a lot while I’m gone, but it will be so good to be in America again because that’s where McLean sounds the best.

I am alive

After a very nice, long, relaxing weekend I finally feel mentally sane for the first time in three months. Welcome, Winter Break! And indeed, now that assessment week is over – this blog is in full swing again. Pesky school. Lot’s of things happened within one week: Beyonce dropped a “surprise album” (which I guess is the thing now), the Pope has been named Time’s Person of the Year, Peter O’Toole passed away and Uruguay can now legally grow weed!

This is all going somewhere.

Since the year is pretty much over, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the best and worst (and most bizarre) moments of music that happened in 2013. Feel free to share your own! Because sharing is fun:

1. Bowie drops first album in a decade
On January 8th we were all taken by surprise when the divine David Bowie’s released “Where Are We Now?” on his 66th birthday. The album “The Next Day” followed in March, but it was this single that really blew my mind. There was something about that release that made music feel magical again: there was mystery and honesty. The video brought me to tears. It set the year up to becoming one of the most promising in ages.

2. Morrissey’s Autobiography
I’m sure 90% of people with disagree with me when I say that this was a great moment. Most Smiths fans probably have a conflicted view of Mozzer, who is simultaneously brilliant and a complete wanker, but the fact that this usually elusive musician opened up enough for 457 pages is fantastic. The insight to his childhood starts to make his music make more sense, and that can be good or bad – depending upon how much you see of yourself in him.

3. The Carrie Diaries unleashes 80’s sugar
This is probably the most embarrassing one to admit, but the American television show The Carrie Diaries has the best soundtrack of any show on right now. The first few episodes are awkward as the viewer has to sit through shit cover versions of songs they don’t have enough money for the royalties to, but eventually songs like “Jetfighter” by the Three O’Clock, TV21’s “It Feels Like It’s Starting to Rain” and The Waterboys. Maybe you don’t have to watch it (unless you’re absolutely obsessed with anything that takes place in the 80’s, like me, then watch it if only to hear).

4. All those we lost
There were many great musicians lost to the world over the course of 2013. To say which ones were felt more would be unfair. We lost the young (The Child of Lov to surgery complications), the heartbreaking (my dear Lou Reed), the shocking (the murders of the Mexican vellanto band Kombo Kolombia), the beautiful (Patty Andrews), and the sweet (Junior Murvin). These are often what we remember years by: what we have lost.

5. Baby Queen Lorde was brought to Earth
This little 16-year-old is a beast. The New Zealander is someone I wish was around for me when I was that age. She’s bizarre and wears black lipstick. It’s cliche, but she’s really a breath of fresh air for the pop charts. While many musicians really come off contrived, Lorde still feels honest. Keep your fingers and toes crossed that she never forgets who she is. May she reign Lord of 2013.