Monday, March 5, 2012

A Blue Angel ...but not the kind you're most likely thinking of.

You might/might not remember a few weeks back, I wrote a post about my iTunes binge. The primary focus of my  musical gluttony was a band named City and Colour ...or... more specifically, a dulcet-toned angel named Dallas Green (aka (by me) Dallas F$&KING Green).

I love him.

And what I'm about to write does not in any way diminish that love....


I feel the need to issue some sort of warning.

Here is my cautionary tale:

As previously noted, a few weeks back, I bought a shit ton (or so) of City and Colour tunes. My ears were bathed in a near-constant flow of the milk and honey that is Dallas Green’s voice.

I was in heaven.

But then a funny thing happened.

I gradually became aware of the fact that I was feeling a wee bit blue...nothing too horrible, I was just a little down.

As the days passed, my case of the gloomies deepened until one afternoon, I found myself curled up on the couch wallowing in a full blown state of melancholy...I went the whole nine yards: tears, my favourite snuggly blanket, surrounded myself with my herd of empathetic animals ... except for my Wheaten Terrier, Spencer, who is a bit of a jerk and hits the road as soon as I show the first sign of any emotional distress... which reminds me of a funny (to me, anyway), if you'll excuse me for a short moment, I'm going to lapse into...

~A Little Stream of Consciousness Aside... Almost exactly 4 years ago, I experienced the worst day of my life ...and I’m not being melodramatic or exaggerating even a little bit had been, by anyone's definition, a shitty shitty SHITTY day. Anyhow, it was the middle of the night and I couldn't shut my brain off long enough to fall asleep and I had finally reached the breaking point. Not wanting to disturb my then-husband, my imminent emotional breakdown and I climbed out of bed and headed downstairs where we could continue our business of falling completely to pieces without disrupting my sleeping  family’s peace. Accompanying me and my breakdown was my 9 month old puppy/constant companion, Spencer. I curled up under my snuggly blanket on the couch and Spence assumed his customary position curled up at my feet. I pressed the Resume button, and my breakdown continued with full force. It was really quite something...I'm not much one for sobbing...never ever really...A Crier? Yes. A Sobber? No...but this time was different. I had mustered up some impressive bone-shaking sob-action with my little furry best friend at my side/feet for support...or so I thought, since that's what dogs are known for, right?? ...Providers of silent, non-judgemental comfort and support in times of great need...yeah...well, not my dog. Just as I was hitting my stride, I was thrown off-task by the abrupt exit of my heartless hound. Not only did he beat a hasty retreat, abandoning me to my grief and sorrow, but as he left the room...Spencer, the Sufferer of Extreme “I cannot bear to live if you are out of my sight, Lady” Separation Anxiety, actually LEFT the room...and as he left, he looked back over his shoulder and shot me a look that very distinctly said, “Fuck. This. I'm going somewhere where I can sleep in peace. Pull yourself together, Lady. You're embarrassing yourself.” He was so obviously disgusted by my undignified behaviour that I couldn't help but chuckle at the expression on his face. Through my mask of snot and tears, I called after him “Where the hell are you going, you little jerk? ‘Man’s Best Friend’, my ass!! I should've stuck with cats!! They’d never desert me like this!! INGRATE!!” and then proceeded to giggle my brains out ...probably as much a result of my hysteria as from any situational dog-humour, but hysterical laughter is better than inconsolable crying. So I guess, in his own jerk-face way, Spencer fulfilled his obligatory canine role as human supporter/comforter. His cold and callous abandonment pulled me back off the ledge of emotional ruin and I was thus able to gather my wits and manage a couple of hours of sleep so I could better face the next day. Thanks, Spence. You’re always(not) there when I need you xoxo~

Back to my cautionary tale...

To reset the scene...I'm waxing melancholic on the couch surrounded by my support team of pets (with one obvious omission...jerk) and I can't for the life of me, figure out why I'm feeling so glum.

There is no reason for it...

My world is spinning around me all tickittyboo-like ....

We’re nicely settled in to our beautiful new home.

Kids are happy and healthy.

My Guy is happy and healthy.

Companion animals are happy and healthy ...and characteristically, either empathetic or asshole-ish.

I've come to terms with dismal bird feeder turnout, so that's not an issue.

 I'm reading a happy book (the brutal and violent and depressing ...yet awesome...A Song of Ice and Fire series now far behind me...phew!!).

I've had Dallas F$&KING Green serenading me by way of my iPad for the past week or so and his voice is so beautiful and angelic and his songs are so happy and uplif...





Wait a minute.

As beautiful and angelic as Dallas F$&KING Green’s voice truly is...the lyrics he sings are a little less than upbeat and bouncy ...

In fact...

They are depressing as hell...(“Little Hell”, as the case may be.)

In fact...

I did a little research and happened upon an article/review that went a little something like this:

Sound Advice: Little Hell by City and Colour
Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.

“Recently I said in an interview that I don’t want to make people dance—I want to make people cry,” recalls Dallas Green in a mini-documentary about City and Colour’s third album, Little Hell (out today on Dine Alone). “But I think I have to take that back.”
Yes, Little Hell kind of makes you want to dance. Lead single “Fragile Bird” (streaming right), featuring a slick blues-funk groove replete with a skronky fuzz guitar solo, is a spirited departure from Green’s usual sad-guy-with-an-acoustic shtick. He ramps up the rock elsewhere: “Weightless” has an electrified behind-the-beat pull reminiscent of Ragged Glory–era Neil Young, while “Natural Disaster” is a buoyant, Southern-tinged pop gem. For the most part, however, Little Hell makes you want to cry again.
There are plenty of delicate folk dirges here—enough to remind you that City and Colour is still the Alexisonfire guitarist’s touchy-feely alter ego. But what’s changed most noticeably is the subject matter Green’s making you blubber about. Whereas previous releases Sometimes and Bring Me Your Love were full of vague heartbreak anthems that could easily be MacGyvered into panty droppers, this record confronts intimate anxieties so candidly it’d make Kanye West sweat. On “O’ Sister,” Green addresses his sister’s mental health problems in an upfront, barefaced manner (“Does it have something to do with the pills they gave to you?”). “The Grand Optimist” sees him lament the schism between his own pessimism and his father’s rosy world view. Heck, “Fragile Bird” even plunges into the night terrors suffered by his wife, which is particularly revealing as we all know who she is: TV host Leah Miller.
Little Hell is one big step outside of Green’s comfort zone—sonically and, above all, thematically. Rather than whine about his girlfriend being in a different area code, he’s now more inclined to roll up his sleeves and wrestle palpable demons head on. This time around he’s not concerned with making you cry; he’s too busy dealing with things that make him cry. And those are man tears he’s weeping.

AH HA!!!!

Dallas F$&KING Green was leading me down the path to the Pied Piper... minus the pipe ...and the rats.

That voice and that guitar had lured me to the Dark Side...the Blue Side, really...the Dark Blue side...Navy Blue, maybe.

So, I knew what I had to do...

I had to either give up Dallas ...


Up my dosage and forsake the outside world...

And smiling ...


A tougher decision I had rarely faced.

After much thought, I managed to forge a compromise between my world weary soul and my Dallas F$&KING Green addicted ears.

First, I cut back my usage. Showering without him was the hardest break to make.

Then, I found an antidote to the D.F.G Gloomies and....ironically enough... I found it in the guise of country music!!

 Weird, huh??

Listening to country music to get HAPPY??!!

Well, actually, it's country music that isn't really country, really.

I headed back into iTunesLand and grabbed me a couple of Zac Brown Band records and I believe I am cured.

Like Dallas, Zac Brown has an awesome and beautifully smooth voice.

Unlike Dallas, Zac Brown has a sense of humour and sense of joy that radiate and shine through his music. He sings with Jimmy Buffet ...need I say more?

Here are some awesome examples of his positive vibe:

It is because of Zac Brown Band that I can smile once again :D

Disclaimer: Dallas F$&KING Green, in real life, may be a right regular Jimmy Fallon/Susie Sunshine but there is no denying that his lyrics are not hilarious nor are they particularly sunshiny.

And that leads me to my warning....

Please use Dallas F$&KING Green in moderation.

He is as sorrowful as he is beautiful...and it's very catchy.

Consider yourself warned.

Enjoy Responsibly.

p.s. I love you, Dallas F$&KING Green.


Anonymous said...

Karen....I know your pain. Many a wonderful song has led me down that sorrowful path. And, I, too, finally figured it out, and took the cure. Willie, still, often, makes my heart...hurt. Linda

trailgrrl said...

There is this one song of Bon Iver that reminds me of my friend dan who dies a few years back>>>EVERY time I hear matter where I am at...I start to bawl...snot nosed runny ugly face bawl...sometimes I need that kind of bawl...but not in Starbucks getting my morning Misto : )

Laura said...

I've never heard of this "Dallas F$#king Green" before!
I've been feeling a tad blah lately (since my cell phone of 6.5 years up and broke on me and the 2 people that usually text me now can't). Perhaps I'd better wait till I get my awesome new phone and I feel like smiling again.

I just can't risk it!


Kathryn Jefferies said...

Karen! You are such a f'n good writer!!!! I look forward to your first book (you heard it here first. well, if anyone's been remotely paying attention, i shouldn't be the first...)

squirrel_e_girl said...

So sorry I am waaaay late on commenting on your comments...oops...better waaaaaay late than never ;)

Linda- Willie will do that ...he's tricky that way ;)

trailgrrl - I'm sorry that you lost a friend :(
Kudos to you and your out-in-public snot nosed runny ugly face bawl ... I say "Bawl On, man. Bawl On."

Laura- Hope your new phone is all you ever wanted it to be and that you've texted your blahs away!

kj - Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are far too kind.