Writing is hard. How hard you might say? Rock hard, I might respond. For example, I’ve spent the better part of an hour just writing these opening sentences. For those of you keeping score at home, the first question I would ask you is why are you scoring this at home? Then, I would tell you that that’s like twenty minutes per word typed (!). Whenever I find myself blocked (often), the easiest thing for me is to just start typing and let the words find the page naturally. In other words, I try not to think so much about it. After I have a few sentences on the page, I feel more comfortable as the words flow from the river of my mind onto the colorful LCD screen in front of my eyeballs. Then all of the sudden, Voila! An opening paragraph! Now that we’ve been through all that together, let’s take it easy and check out three ‘hard’ songs available for free download on Freegal.
“Hard to Explain” by The Strokes
Though the boys in the band might have a hard time explaining, I can give you a simple explanation on how to operate this track for maximum enjoyment. First, log in to Freegal using your library card and PIN. Next, search for the song. Download the file, load it to your player, and push play. Then sit back, relax and maybe even grab a cool refreshing beverage as the drums kick in fast and tight, followed in quick succession by the feverish guitar and bass riffs. When singer Julian Casablancas’ trademark ‘tin can’ filtered vocals are introduced, he details his frustrations dealing with confusion and miscommunication in life and in love. Now that the song is in full swing, continue listening until the song’s completion and move along to the next challenge once it ends.
“Hard Up” by The Witnesses
Before writing this post, I’d never heard The Witnesses. After writing this post, I’ve been rocking out to The Witnesses on the daily. Though details on the band are scarce, I’ve since gathered that they are (or were – their last album was 2006’s Black Eyes and White Lies) a five-member outfit from New York City, determined to play straight forward rock and roll. If the group is a bit light on lyrical substance, then they more than compensate with heavy, fuzzed-out guitars and slamming, four-on-the-floor drum beats. Their tune “Hard Up,” available on Freegal, is 3 minutes of near-perfect garage rock. I do not know if the band is still active, but I’m going to try my hardest to find out.
“How Hard It Is” by Big Brother and the Holding Company
After two garage-rockin’ tunes from the aughts, let’s take it back. I’m talking way back. Back in to time. All the way back to 1971, with Big Brother & the Holding Company’s “How Hard It Is,” the title track from the band’s second album sans Janis. This guitar heavy, psychedelic blues number features Kathy McDonald singing backup vocals akin to the former front-woman Joplin’s voice. This is a strong opening song on what I consider to be a severely underrated album, filled with some truly great rock and roll. Now that all that hard stuff is out of the way, head on over to Freegal and download away!
*Freegal is a downloadable music service that offers access to approximately three million songs, including the Sony Music catalog. The collection changes daily and covers thousands of artists on over 10,000 labels with music that originates in over 60 countries. Library cardholders can download up to three songs per week on their computer, flash drive or mobile device (via the Freegal app). There is no software to download and song files can be transferred to multiple devices, burned to disc and will never expire. You must have a Seattle Public Library card and PIN in order to access the service.