3 of a kind: heart-melting classic musical songs

I’m here to share with you my top 3 heart-melting songs from musicals I grew to love. Come and revisit the 1900’s with me!

1. He’ll always need your love, and so he’ll get your love.

This is Lady Thiang, the Emperor’s first wife, singing Something Wonderful to Ms. Anna Leonowens in the 1956 movie adaptation The King And I. Ms. Anna, having been disgruntled by the quirks of the Emperor, wanted to leave and head back to America. Lady Thiang went to Ms. Anna, begged her to stay, and sang to her about loving an imperfect man who merits her love because of the good he possesses, however small or meager.

“This is a man you’ll forgive and forgive, and help protect, as long as you live. He will not always say what you would have him say, but now and then he’ll say something wonderful… A man who needs your love can be wonderful.”

I always thought Lady Thiang was crazy. But now looking back, I realize maybe I was crazy for thinking she was. For one cannot say she has genuinely loved until she has learned to embrace the imperfections as well as the perfections of the person she claims she loves.

Listen: 3:02 mins!

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2. Her joys, her woes, her highs, her lows, are second nature to me now.

Meet bitter ol’ Professor Higgins from My Fair Lady of 1964! This particular song, I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face, gets me every time. It’s a scene of him walking alone to his house, after hearing the news from Eliza Doolittle that she was getting married to an English socialite named Freddie. In this song he swings back and forth hurt and angry to a man in slow but painful realization of Eliza’s importance to him.

“Damn! Damn! Damn! I’ve grown accustomed to her face… I was serenely independent and content before we met; surely I could always be that way again- and yet I’ve grown accustomed to her look; accustomed to her voice; accustomed to her face.”

It’s almost amusing — not in a mocking way — how some people (including me at times) realize the importance of a beloved once he or she has walked out the door; and how proud we are to admit to no one else but only to ourselves how much we need that beloved in our lives.

Watch: 7:25 mins!

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3. I should have had the whirl to change into a girl, to learn the way the creatures think!

“What’s wrong Jenny, where are you these days?” King Arthur of Camelot (1965) whispers to himself as he baffles his thoughts about Guinevere, his wife and queen. Here he sings and reminisces about a conversation he had with his warlock teacher, Merlin, about matters on How To Handle A Woman.

“How to handle a woman? There’s a way,” said the wise old man, “A way known by ev’ry woman since the whole rigmarole began.”

“Do I flatter her?” I begged him answer. “Do I threaten or cajole or plead? Do I brood or play the gay romancer?”

Said he, smiling: “No indeed. How to handle a woman? Mark me well, I will tell you, sir: The way to handle a woman is to love her…simply love her… Merely love her…love her…love her.”

Their story did not end on a happy note. But when you look closely into the highs and most especially into the lulls of their time together, you know for a fact that King Arthur loved his wife through and through — even though he barely understood her.

Watch: 4:18 mins!

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How about you, do you have a favorite musical song? :)

Meeting Milo Greene.

I was deciding on which entry to prioritize: this or a list of my new site addictions. But I figured this can’t wait so here goes.

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If you haven’t heard of Milo Greene, then maybe it’s time you should start listening to them. Formed in Los Angeles in 2010 are band members Robbie Arnett, Andrew Heringer, Graham Fink, Curtis Marrero, and Marlana Sheetz. Why listen to them, you ask? This is my only rationale (however blunt it may be): their first ever self-titled debut album — released last year — completely blew me away!

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I suppose with the quintet’s spot on sound quality due to their mastery and command of harmonies, there is no question as to why they continue to rise so quickly in popularity — to the point that music bloggers have categorized them into “indie pop”. That’s what they get for making it as Billboard’s #1 heatseaker last year (Read more), and consequentially getting featured at David Letterman’s show last July (Watch here).

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I still have more to know about them (like why their name is so) and I’m looking forward to being a full-pledged fan of the group this 2013 lol. Before I get ahead of myself and say things I shouldn’t be saying here, I leave you now (again) with a favorite. Milo Greene’s Cutty Love: “Even if your heart stops, I’ll be there to hold you up. Even as the world turns, I’ll be there to watch the fire burn — burn us both alive.” (Watch here)

Get social with them on Facebook via Facebook.com/MiloGreene or on Twitter via @MiloGreene

Raised By Swans.

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

– Arthur O’Shaughnessy (Music and Moonlight, 1874)

Allow me to pull out another indie band from my imaginary music shelf for you. Founded in 1998 is an indie rock band with roots from London and Canada: Raised By Swans, as led by singer-songwriter Eric Howden. With him are Alex Wright on guitar, Andy Magoffin on Bass, and Brady Parr on drums, and Ray Cammaert on keys. Their sound? Contemplative bordering on haunting, but beautiful to the ears — enough to let your thoughts soar with their music.

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They released independently recorded albums Codes and Secret Longing in 2005, and No Ghostless Place in 2010. Both albums hit the hearts of indie fans, including movie producers who picked out some of their songs for movies such as Adoration (2008) and Chloe (2010).

According to an interview by Zabukavec, Howden admitted his regular exposure to nightmares. “Howden suffers from nightmares on an alarmingly regular basis… he remembers the violence so vividly that the band’s name, Raised By Swans, was actually taken from an unusually pleasant dream he had.” (Read more)

You know what’s amazing to me? The fact that Howden has been living his whole life in constant subject to fear in his dreams, and yet when he’s awake, he’s able to channel all of those into something “hauntingly beautiful” — music that literally stirs minds and souls. It’s as if (every time I tune in to them) he shows me a glimpse into his nightmares, but in a more attractive light, a little less daunting and something I can actually marvel on. It’s the kind of music only a complex mind can create, and the kind of music hopefully more people can appreciate.

I’ll leave you now with words from one of my top picks in their 2010 album, How Do These Hearts Unfold: “How do these hands hold? How do these hearts unfold now? Never knowing the ways they can, a blindfold between the night and Neverland, you will come back to me.” (Listen here)

Find them online: Facebook.com/RaisedBySwans

Oh BOY.

Okay, enough of the hoarding music attitude. Consider this my early Christmas gift to you:

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You guys have to listen to this German-Swiss duo band I’ve been raving about in practically the whole year of 2012. Meet Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass of BOY (very new all the way from 2007). I first heard of them from a friend of mine who’s based in Germany, recommending the song Little Numbers that goes “Seven little numbers baby they could be a start, seven little numbers baby, I know yours by heart!” (Talk about the ultimate song for the single and ready to mingle feel good woman lol — mind you they’re hard core, landline, not mobile).

They definitely add a fresh feel to music — against the overplayed songs on radio — with great influences from Bon Iver, Shawn Colvin, Imogen Heap, Cat Power, etc. (read here). Mmm sounds familiar? No wonder they make such a fine addition to today’s music scene. Yes, I say so myself. Hah!

If my rambling isn’t enough to pick your curiosity, download their first ever album Mutual Friends (It’s FREE on ITunes — what are you waiting for!). It’s “a totally underrated album” according to Coup De Main, and I don’t get why this is so since I’m confident that I can (or will) listen to it ’til my ears bleed. I guess that’s why I’m sharing it here — so you could fix that slight problem with me lol. If you already know the band, I’m telling you, HANDS DOWN — belly, knees, and feet included –to YOU. *wink*

My personal favorites from the album (not that you’d really care to know but I’m putting them here anyway) are: July, Drive Darling, Waltz for Pony and Skin. I just can’t get over how they described time as a ‘hungry beast’ in Waltz for Pony. If, with what I just said, there was a long pause in your mind followed by ‘what is she talking about?’, go find out for yourself and start listening to these girls. ;)

Get connected to BOY |  @ListenToBoy & Facebook.com/ListenToBoy

Send in the clowns.

Tonight I experienced one of my most favorite moments with my dad again: him driving us home while we listened to his music. Appreciating every line in every song, my dad enthusiastically tells me the stories behind them — even though he’d already told me a million times before.

Tonight, he retold me the reason behind the song Send In The Clowns, Barbara Streisand’s version of it playing in the background during his story telling.

“Back in the time of the carnivals,” he started as he usually does, “the highlight of each show was the flying trapeze. Three people, up in the air, one of them being thrown from one to the other.” By then dad was gesturing a swinging movement with both his hands, occasionally resting them back on the wheel. “They were supposed to catch each other,” he thoughtfully added.

“But sometimes, an accident occurs ‘no? And one falls to the ground. Of course, when that happens, the show must go on and the managers will send the clowns to entertain the crowd. The one injured on the ground will get dragged out of the show area unnoticed.”

I had always thought this was an inhumane way of dealing with someone who had been hurt. Until I realized there is sense to the “the show must go on” attitude. The world will not care to know your peril, and life does not deserve — not even for a second — to dwell on your sadness.

“Pa, let’s play it again,” I said when the song ended.

“Sure!” he answered; and we ended up listening to it over and over in silence until we reached the subdivision gates.

“Don’t you love farce?
My fault I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want.
Sorry, my dear.

Daughter’s Peter.

“Oh Peter,
I can dream no more
I’ve been chasing all of yours
That I’ve forgotten what it was that I wanted
That I want.”

The leaves were falling with the wind, touching the park grounds with hues of orange and brown. Amidst the chaos of autumn was a stillness between him and her. They were seated on a bench for what seemed to have been forever, both their hands rested peacefully on their sides. No one moves, no one talks for a while.

“Will you stay?” he asks, breaking the silence. Time stood still, as if the world was waiting for her answer.

Not long after, she stood up from the bench. She hid her cold hands in her coat pockets, whispered to the wind, to the leaves, and to him, “No.”