“Singing in my Sleep”

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My repost from yesterday mentioned this mostly unknown song from 90s trio Semisonic*.  They had a hit with “Closing Time,” but really never caught fire commercially.  I liked “Closing Time” enough to invest ten bucks in the album.  There were a couple other songs I also enjoyed, but none rang out to me like “Singing in my Sleep.”

I’m not really sure why I homed in on this song the way I did.  Except maybe that I remember making mix tapes–for friends, for crushes, for teachers, for anyone I wanted to convert to my way of musical thinking.  I loved these sounds so much that I wanted share them with everyone.  (My god.  It just dawned on me that my blog is just one really long mix tape.)  Mix tapes were an act of love.  They were a way to bare your soul without the risk of actually saying what you were feeling (probably the reason I liked them so much).  It was a chance to show someone your deepest desires and fears, your dreams and wishes.  “Singing in my Sleep” captures that yearning to be heard so perfectly.  There’s something impossibly romantic about this song, something impossibly sweet and innocent.  It’s kind of wonderful to hear.

 

 

*Although listening now, “Come Anytime” isn’t really referenced in the lyrics.  The line is “come around from another time” and that made me think of the Hoodoo Gurus song.  Huh.  See, it is possible to read anything you want into music.

“Gone to the Movies”

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This isn’t really about music, but I did include a lovely sad song that seems appropriate.

The balcony is officially closed.  Roger Ebert passed away today at 70 after a long battle with cancer that saw him lose his physical voice but not his cultural voice.  I am almost as saddened by this news as if I had received word that an old friend had died.  In a way, Roger Ebert is one of my oldest friends.

I started watching At the Movies when I was about 10 or 11.  At the time, it was the only program of its type.  Two critics sitting around talking about movies as if they mattered (the movies, not the guys).  Roger Ebert, along with the late great Gene Siskel, taught me how to watch film.  They showed me that it was possible to look at movies just as seriously as any other art form.  They might not have been the first movie critics to treat film this way, but they were the first ones I ever knew of.  I would lay on my bedroom floor, and watch them argue about what made a particular movie good or bad on my little black & white TV.  I couldn’t yet articulate why, but they were enthralling.  Gene usually favored the crowd pleasers, the mainstream movies that were popular across a wide audience.  Roger was the “artsy” guy, who liked weird and intelligent and difficult films.  (Of course, this segment where they review Blue Velvet finds their roles reversed.  I think they’re both full of shit here, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Blue Velvet.)

They enjoyed arguing, constantly baiting each other over the years.  Siskel and Ebert reviewed movies for rival Chicago newspapers, and had a fractious relationship, to say the least.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the term “frenemy” was coined to describe them.  They were rivals and competitors; they had personal disagreements, as well, sometimes going for months without speaking to each other outside of the At the Movies set.  But they were friends as well, professionals who respected each others work.  When Siskel was diagnosed with the brain tumor that ended his life in 1999, no one was more devastated than Ebert.  They were two peas in a pod, and it was really weird watching Roger go one for those years after Gene died.

Well, now they can get together in the balcony again and argue about movies.  I hope they have a great time.  I know I did.  So long, Roger.  The movies won’t be the same without you.