Today, January 8, 2021, would’ve been David Bowie’s 74th birthday. It’s been five years since we lost our patron saint of glam. Five years, what a surprise. He still turns up everywhere, that sound and vision shapeshifter, especially on movie soundtracks. When I’m watching a movie, and a Bowie song comes on, I feel like I’ve run into a long-lost friend, even if it’s performed by somebody else or it’s more Bowie-adjacent than pure Bowie.
Director Wes Anderson excels at selecting impeccable music for his films, as demonstrated by The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. About 10 minutes in, a character teases us with just a bit of “Ziggy Stardust,” playing an acoustic guitar, and singing in Portuguese, and we know we’re in for a treat. That’s Seu Jorge, who beautifully reinterprets several Bowie songs, giving us the pleasure of hearing two different versions of “Life on Mars?” during the film—Seu’s and Bowie’s. Continue reading “David Bowie’s Movie Music”
The library has always had great resources for music buffs, but lesser known among these are the many documentaries about music, musicians, and musical history that are available on our video streaming services. Often, these include both great insights into the works of famous musicians or hidden gems that tell a particular story about music history that is not necessarily well-known in the mainstream. If you are interested and want to learn more, here are three excellent documentaries about musicians and musical history that are available to you for free on Kanopy with your library card.
Nas: Time is Illmatic. This documentary, subtitled “The Making of a Groundbreaking Hip Hop Album,” is a little over an hour long and tells the story behind influential 90s rapper Nas’ breakout hit album. It also treats the early personal life of Nas himself.. The film includes interviews with musicians Nas influenced, worked with, and/or was influenced by, including Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keyes, and Busta Rhymes. It is also beautifully filmed, and this has been recognized critically as it has also been nominated for a few awards. It’s a real treat that it is available for free via Kanopy. Continue reading “Three on a Theme: Music Documentaries on Kanopy”
Eleven out of ten times, music can give me comfort when I’m feeling low and can’t motivate myself to do anything else than be mopey. When I hear a song come on that I really enjoy I feel an instant shift in mood; like someone just yanked the recoil start in my brain. Here is a short list of albums I have found to be blissful and helpful given our current situation. During these times of solitude and uncertainty, music prevails at healing our souls and giving us some direction to keep going.
Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong. Bombay Bicycles Clubs 5th LP titled “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong” is about “finding hope, safety and comfort during times of despair, when everything is crumbling all around you” says BBC frontman Jack Steadman about the title track to the record. He also talks about his anxieties and how putting on headphones makes him feel “a hundred times better”. I wanted to highlight this album in particular because this sounds exactly like what we all need right now.Continue reading “Blissful Albums in Hoopla”
March 13th, 2020 was notable for two reasons. One, it was Friday the 13th, but hardly anyone at the Seattle Public Library noticed for the second reason: it was the last day we were open before closing our doors for a month because of COVID-19. It was a frantic and stressful day full of uncertainty for everyone, with an outstanding outcome: on a typical Friday, SPL checks out 13,000 physical items, but on March 13th we checked out 104,000 books, DVDs and CDs!
While patrons are unable to borrow any physical items until at least April 13, SPL has a rich and robust collection of digital resources that can be accessed anytime. Patrons new to digital resources will find lots to choose from, and experienced patrons will find new items to discover.
This year is giving me life when it comes to new albums coming my way by some old favorites and new loves. Brooks and Dunn from my childhood; the Hotel Cafe alumni, Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, who were the soundtrack of my twenties; and the band Joseph is a gem my husband shared with me a few years back that I can’t get enough of…now if Fiona Apple were to come back on the scene my life would be complete! Sprinkled throughout is music others have sent or shared that has added to this incredible year. Hope you enjoy this mix as much as I have. Happy listening!!