Saturday, May 23, 2009

Johnette Napolitano Shares a Piece of Herself with Scarred By Christine Albrecht

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Johnette Napolitano's (formerly lead-singer/guitarist of Concrete Blonde) solo-cd release, SCARRED (2007/May), surprised me because she bravely held up a mirror to her fans so they could identify, for themselves, her emotional progress during the last few years. Her raw and vulnerable personal stories/tunes and worldly struggles were imprinted into the Scarred CD grooves for all listeners to formulate their own conclusions. If you love Johnette's off and on band, Concrete Blonde, do not be upset with this veering from her band’s formula.

Buy Johnette’s Scarred CD here.

This CD is intensely good, as well as captivating (as you conclude after subconsciously playing it for the 8th time in a row.) When she sings Amazing, I feel as though I have been privy to some innermost confession of Johnette’s, and I am trying to honour the song by listening to the honesty in her voice. And I cannot leave this song, as it is akin to speeding past a tragic car accident. One is compelled to slow down, turn around and find out how it all ends no matter how squeamish we feel. (Fortunately the song, Amazing has a far better outcome - a more lifting outcome - than your average car upset.)

This album affected me and I didn’t know whether to roll my eyes, dismiss the occasional cliché, laugh or cry. So I decided to simply empty my mind, sit back and let the songs speak to me. Meanwhile, all my emotions were taking turns vying for the forefront, determining which mood should slip out first.

A lot of people appear to enjoy the track, The Scientist. However, I really enjoyed Scarred and Save Me despite my brief confusion (I assumed Johnette was covering Amy Mann’s Save Me. (Another great album.)

During 2007, I did a quick interview with Johnette (interview) while she was touring Canada to promote the release of Scarred, and I found her to be akin to a giant onion; composed of many layers; too many to be able to reveal during one interview - yet she welcomes the writer to give it a go.

Scarred is definitely an album worth your pennies, and Johnette's definitely a woman who demands you take the time to check out her views and voice. I enjoyed this CD and feel it is time for Johnette to turn out more. Bravo! 4.5/5

Sinderella's Last Sweep By: Lannon McGregor

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Midnight was marked by screams from their bedroom.

"I'm unhappy, John!" howled Sinderella, with her fury unleashed in his direction. John was confused.

Sinderella had been very happy earlier that day when she had told him how, unbelievably excited she was to be with him; and how she couldn't wait to find a job close to his house, so they could move in together, and get married!

Yes, John and Sinderella were deeply in love. They had met seven months prior and fell madly, deeply, and instantly in love.

Of course, they had their problems as most couples do, but Sinderella seemed unable to move beyond the general “couple bickering”. When the “bickering” got to be too much for her, she would denounce the feasibility of their relationship; leaving John begging forgiveness, while alternately declaring his undying love,in order for her to return.

John offered to act out these memorized scenes, as he truly didn't know how else to keep Sinderella happy.

In hindsight, he had quit his “bad” habits for her; he bought her nice, “random” gifts; gave her copious amounts of attention, and provided her with affection whenever he thought she might need it.

Despite John’s efforts, every once in a while he and Sinderella would have an argument which would result in her final assessment that she and John were not 'as happy' together as they had originally been led to believe.

Despite her occasional misgivings; John had never had any doubts. He knew the moment he met Sinderella, he wanted to marry her.

He often reminisced back to that day when he first saw her, sitting on a bench with this incredible, giant-white, aura reflecting about her. The aura’s blinding light merely highlighted the absolute perfection of Sinderella’s unconventional beauty.

John vaguely understood how relationships work. First rule he always told himself - It is natural for couples to fight. They are known for it - especially in the first year.

But by midnight, tempers were flaring at both ends, and at an all-time high.

"I don't know how to keep you happy!" John screamed, while Sinderella’s Dad continuing to snore loudly, oblivious, in the adjacent room.

"I have tried, Baby. I really have! I love you more than life itself, and I just don't know what to give anymore." He paused to gauge her reaction.

She exhaled a sigh, while simultaneously cracking a smirk, and announced in her 'little-girl voice' to John, “Are you going to Fix the shoes?"

"Fix the ... what? What do you mean? The shoes are fine."

Yes, she knew the shoes were fine; she was joking with him and when he realized the joke after her third: Fix...” repetition. This indicated the end of the spat. He was relieved that the fight was over, and relieved she loved him again.

John and Sinderella’s roaring laughter replaced the earlier hate-filled screams for the rest of the evening.

When John got off work the next day, he went home and tried to relax. Again, it had not been a great day. With a shitty day, comes a man’s need to talk to the woman he loves. He just needs to hear three-little-words to set things ‘right’ in his world.

Sinderella neglected to say those words. Purposely? John proceeded to sulk and spout off like a complete idiot. And so, the cycle continued.

This, in turn, sent Sinderella into a rage: "I am done with you!" she screamed. "You are toxic to me, and to our relationship!"

John was shocked and somewhat bewildered. After she left, he decided to switch off his phone; relax the rest of the night, and hopefully she would be calmer by the morning.

When morning came, he found that she hadn't tried to contact him at all. John is generally an impatient guy, but he felt it was important that he try playing this waiting game, (although she usually won). Of course, this time was no different, so a new approach would be needed.

He told her he was fine with her “breaking up” with him, and (gulp) he couldn't be happier (which was a total lie). In reality, the only thing he wanted was Sinderella. He wanted her attention; her affection. He worried that perhaps he wanted too much.

Sinderella's response? After she and John had fought the night before, she decided to go out with another man whom she was also starting to have strong feelings for.

John felt ruined and disillusioned. Never before had he felt a love so powerful, yet here he was, losing his grasp on it? He also wondered if he was also losing his grasp on life as he’d known before?

Yes, he determined, he had lost his grasp on his love, and on his life as he'd known it.

To John, Sinderella had been completely honest in the seven months they were together. When she told him how happy he made her and how quickly she wanted to marry him, he felt loved and accepted. But now, he felt betrayed and discarded. She couldn't even wait two hours to move on to another man? To say he felt 'useless' was the ultimate understatement.

John went home after work to an empty house; grabbed his roommate's gun from its hidden spot and blew his jealous brain all across the carpet.

As love seeped and trickled out of the fresh wound in John’s temple, his last thought was how he couldn’t exist in a world where people could abuse their power to randomly hurt others.

John felt this was the only way out - this was his end of the road. Now, if only he would have waited just one more day.

We all know that time heals all wounds.

Well, that is... except gunshots to the head.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Hitchhiker: By Lannon McGregor

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His soul has long been sold.
He walks close alongside death;
His legs are growing old.
In fact, getting older with each step taken.
His body shakes in waves of panic,
As he walks amongst the stars.
Calm twilight, sidewalk graves,
And the highway's hissing cars.

They said he'd appreciate a mile of sun,
When he had walked a mile of rain.
But lonely storm clouds can't be outrun,
And show little signs of change.
The wetness weighs him down,
And now he struggles with each step.
His heavy eyes loathe the sight of ground,
And his lungs draw tired breaths.