Aly

aly was born in nashville but left before she could meet and befriend and ultimately wed taylor swift. now she lives in colorado, where she spends her time crying about bucky barnes, yelling about pop music and vampires, and writing young adult fiction.

JUST WATCH ME: Cher Lloyd is Getting Activated

How blessed we are to be alive in this, the second #summerofCher, even if it is kind of getting more into the #autumnofCher. I like fall better anyway, so I’m pleased. At any rate, the new season of Cher Lloyd is finally upon us.

Cher Lloyd is very good at this thing which I love, which is the use of straight up nonsense syllables to express emotion. I find something very pure and kind of transcendent about that – the idea that your love, or rage, or whatever else, is too much for language. It started with “Want U Back”, ramped up on Sorry I’m Late with “Dirty Love” and “Just Be Mine”, and now we have “Activated”.

The other thing about this song that makes me really excited for the album is the lack of a traditionally recognizable chorus. I’m seeing it more and more – “Dangerous Woman” is a good example, 5H’s “Flex” and Little Mix’s “Move”, Selena’s “Same Old Love”, Demi’s “Cool for the Summer”, and both of Meghan Trainor’s new singles. There’s still a recognizable refrain, which you can classify as the chorus: they like ‘ooh’, they like ‘ooh / baby just wait on it / when I do the damn thing just watch me. But it’s not as separate from the rest of the song as something like, say, the chorus of “You Belong With Me”. It’s more subtle, less musically distinct. Some of these songs even use the same lyrics as the bridge rather than introduce a new element, simply changing the pacing or the pitch. It makes for a different kind of listening experience, I think, because it’s more difficult to say when the song “should” end. I could listen to “Activated” on a loop for several hours, probably, before I got tired of it or really even noticed that it was repeating. There is nothing to snag, nothing to hang you up in the flow of it. You all know I love Taylor more than life, but you know when a Taylor Swift song is over. This song – and others like it – are less in-your-face. They’re not exactly background tracks; they demand more attention and care than that. But they’re not something that you have to drop everything to focus on. “Activated” is predictable, but in a different way than something like “Sirens” is. It’s difficult to describe, but if you listen to it, you’ll get it.

“Activated” feels more mature than Cher’s earlier work somehow, and that might just be me, but I am so ready for this album, for the direction she seems to be headed in. Hopefully we’ll see more from her soon, and in the meantime, you have this slinky neon video to watch.

it’s alright, it’s okay: another playlist

Otter-Pops

it is sticky hot outside and the world is ending one day at a time. here is a playlist full of songs that will hopefully feel a little bit like a cool breeze, like wading into water, like distraction, maybe like peace.

wild – troye sivan ft. alessia cara
still too long ’til the weekend still too long ’til i drown in your hands

you don’t get me high anymore – phantogram
man i am faking it the best i can

rotten teeth – holychild ft. kate nash
i can never be the girl i wanna be no no i’m never free

blessings – chance the rapper
when the praises go up the blessings come down

sometimes – ariana grande
i ain’t even think of leavin’ sometimes

ice cream colours – corinne bailey rae
you make me dream in ice cream colours

kick, push – lupe fiasco
so we kick push kick push coast

red lights – chloe x halle
turn off the world dance with myself like ballerinas

moth to the flame – chairlift
i can’t help it i’m a moth to the flame

you’re the best – wet
well baby you’re the best we’ll figure out the rest

i love you always forever – betty who
you’ve got me almost melting away

thursday girl – mitski
glory to the night it shows me what i am

god only knows – the beach boys
as long as there are stars above you you never need to doubt it

boyfriend – tegan & sara
i need to know the rules if you want me to play

electric love – børns
she’s sweet like candy in my veins

radio – lana del rey
now my life is sweet like cinnamon like a fuckin’ dream i’m livin’ in

Some Music Videos You Maybe Forgot About But You Shouldn’t Have, Because They Are Great

It is finally starting to feel like summer here in Denver, and this weekend I sat outside and drank a Lime-a-rita (because my liquor store was SOLD OUT OF LEMONADE-RITA, which I am still angry about) and ate a popsicle and listened to a lot of music. It was very soothing and I hope that all of you are able to have a similar experience very soon, and I am going to try to facilitate that as much as I can. Here are a bunch of music videos that, if you haven’t watched them in awhile (or at all, somehow), are very deserving of some of your time today. Not quite a popsicle on the porch, but maybe close enough for a Thursday.

YOGA – Janelle Monáe

Get off my areooooolaaaaaaa.

MY LOVE – Justin Timberlake

I mourn FutureSex/LoveSounds almost daily.

IRREPLACEABLE – Beyoncé

Cargo shorts!!!! Overalls!!!! Gay-ass girl band!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’M OUT – Ciara

I mean. Speaking of gay-ass shit.

CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND – Robyn

Still delightful. Still mesmerizing.

Do you agree with the (correct) opinion that Lemonade-rita is by far the best flavor of -rita?? Do you think JT will ever recover from making his best album in 2006 and slowly declining since then?? Did you see that stupid movie with Amanda Seyfried that I saw twice in theaters??? It was really bad and I don’t recommend it but I also talk about it all the time. Remember when he was on SNL as Bon Iver and put himself to sleep with his own music? Justin! Come back to us! We deserve so much better than “Suit & Tie” and I know there are some jams on whatever that album is actually called but nothing compares to FS/LS. You know what’s cooler than a million dollars, Justin? Making a better album. Remember when that joke was relevant? All right, I’m going back to work.

 

nonrequired reading: art and artists and one witch

Hello again! I have been reading a lot of books about art lately (okay, two of them), but as a person who works predominantly with art and who considers myself to be at least a little bit an artist I am always enthralled by books of this kind.

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is about a girl who forges a painting in grad school because she’s broke (#relatable), grows up to become a famous curator, and then curates a show where – surprise – her forgery and the original show up. It is a little bit historical fiction, set respectively in the Golden Age of Dutch painting (late 1500s-early 1600s), the 1950s, and today, following painter, forger, and owner of the painting. There is a lot of rather technical detail about forging paintings which I personally found to be very interesting – types of brushstrokes, how to age a canvas, etc., etc., but it is also just a really beautiful study of people. The writing is incredible; there were certain parts that I had to just stop and stare at.

The Drowning Girl is a book about ghosts but also about art and it is, honestly, a piece of art in itself. I am about halfway through but I can already tell this is a book I will read and read and read. It has captured me so completely – it is almost impossible to describe, which I think is the point, but it resonates in my bones. It’s written so perfectly, so utterly truly – there is a part where she says that people fear vampires and werewolves and ghosts and whatnot because although they are not factual they are true. This book is true and I want you all to read it and come talk to me about it.

Now the witch! Of course there is a witch. Hex is a translation from its original Dutch (lots of Dutch today!) and the author reworked it a bit in the translating. It is a horror novel about a small town in upstate New York (I think? somewhere staid and unflappable, anyway) that has a witch. And they know they have a witch, and they’re resigned to having a witch, and when she inevitably shows up in someone’s living room to stand there for hours on end, they put a towel on her head so they don’t have to look at her face and keep watching TV. Obviously havoc ensues, eventually, but it’s a really interesting take on haunting as a concept and is pretty creepy at times, if I’m being honest.

Other books about art which I have loved: The Goldfinch,  The Swan Thieves, Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Anything that talks about the texture of light in a painting is something I am going to read. I am partial to landscapes and still lifes, Maria van Oosterwyck, Wyeth but not his weirder stuff. I would rather look at a Thomas Kinkade than a Rothko and I understand objectively why that is wrong but I am who I am. There is a painting by Didier Paquignon of a car on an overpass and the first time I saw it I cried because the light was so beautiful. There is a way that art gets talked about in fiction – painting, specifically – that makes me feel shivery and connected to humanity and these books have all got it.

Next time I will talk about Girls on Fire! I have finished it but I am still processing. It is amazing, I will tell you that much.

nonrequired reading

Hello again! I read some more things. Once again I implore you to join me on Litsy (@furiosa) which is shaping up to be maybe pretty good. I would love to follow some of our readers – y’all have good taste <3 and one of the books I am gonna recommend here today was suggested to me by one of you!

The Expedition – Bea Uusma (hi Agnes!)
If you liked Dead Mountain – frankly, if you have even heard of it – you may be in the sort of unsolved-mountain-death-mystery club that I am. There is just something transfixing about a group of people dying inexplicably! I’m sorry! I want to know what happened! And obviously we never will – I fall into this trap every time I read one of these things, like, this person definitely solved it, we’re finally gonna KNOW THE TRUTH – like, let me stop you there and warn you, that is not what this book is. But it is beautifully written and sad and really prettily arranged; it is as much a work of art as it is a piece of writing, and it is really just lovely. It is about the first-ever Arctic expedition, and these three guys who, uh, tried to fly to the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon. You read that right. It is really fascinating from a scientific standpoint – lots of theories, debunking of theories, and did you know that the Arctic isn’t land? There’s no land! It’s just ice! Really thick ice! I freaked out about that for awhile. The seafloor is ten thousand feet below this fake ice continent! It is also, though, as all of these types of books are, a love story. There is a reason people do these things, as inexplicable as we may find it, and I think the reason I love these books is because they are a window into this kind of love, this dangerous, reckless love. Anyway, you should read it, it was translated from the original Swedish (I think?) and is maybe only available as a Kindle book in English, but still. Worth it. (Postscript: if you are into this kind of thing and have not watched Devil’s Pass, please do so and report back. Note that it is a horror movie and as such is a work of fiction, but still. But still.) 5 stars, would read again.

The Fireman – Joe Hill
More horror reviews from your horrorgirl, that’s me, always reading all the horror all the time, trying desperately to find the next best most terrifying thing. This one was not quite horror if I’m being honest, but I did like it. I have a weird relationship with Joe Hill, in that I half suspect that his dad is ghostwriting for him, but whether that’s true or not his recent stuff far eclipses his early work. N0S4A2, in particular, was truly haunting and I think about it a lot. But The Fireman is not horror. It is basically The Stand again, but in this decade, and with a new disease, and some other variations. It is also much, much better than The Stand. (I hate The Stand. I’m sorry. I know this is blasphemy. I love Stephen King despite his many missteps but I haaate The Stand. In a fun installment of “Aly misunderstands very common pop culture phenomena”, I actually did not read it for years despite loving King because I for some reason thought it was a 1500-page book about a trial. Taking the stand? Listen, I watch a lot of crime shows. Anyway, I finally read it and hated it, so, joke’s on me.) So this is another during-and-post-apocalypse tale that draws fairly heavily from The Horror Greats, which makes for a sort of fun Easter-egg spot-the-reference reading experience, and although it is a little bit predictable it is still very enjoyable. The universe that Hill has created is a good one, and I kind of want to write a bunch of things involving Dragonscale, the exciting new plague that’s sweeping the nation. Ha. 4 stars, will probably not read again but will definitely read a sequel/spinoff.

I’m currently reading War of the Foxes, which is a small and devastating book of poetry by Richard Siken containing many poems that are definitely about Bucky Barnes.

Next up on the list is something called Girls on Fire, which I know almost nothing about except that the author usually writes YA and it was described as “nightmarishly compelling”. Much like myself. After that, I’m keeping my eye out for a copy of the new YA book about the descendants of the Countess of Bathory (I KNOW. I KNOW!!).

Recommend things! Tell me what you’re reading! Tell me whether you think I’m giving Joe Hill too much/not enough credit! Did you read Horns? Did you see it? Do you think Daniel Radcliffe is eating enough? Do you think he wants to hang out with me sometime? I just feel like we’d hit it off. Comment below, I’ve got coffee and I’m ready to chat!

little mix is having a sleepover and we’re all invited

There is not a single member of Little Mix that I would not kill a man for. These four precious angels are so beautiful and talented and funny and they love each other so much! I had a dream the other night that Little Mix was in a fight and I woke up near tears, okay? They are just paragons of female friendship and/or secret love (song pt. II) and they are perfect. And now there is a video for “Hair” and it is just a big slumber party and Jesy’s eyes are so green and Perrie feeds Leigh-Anne pizza and I am so very alive.

lol

 

What else is there to say? Silk shorts + crop top + unbuttoned silk shirt is definitely the only pajama ensemble anyone should ever wear again. Someday I hope Jade Thirlwall lovingly wraps a boa around my neck. That is all.

ICYMI: Tegan & Sara

You probably know this, but I won’t be able to live with myself if I don’t share it anyway. This year of our Lord 2016 is maybe the best year ever, so far, and it is definitely the weirdest, but it just keeps on giving and giving and giving.

In brief: Tegan and Sara are finally following up their (amazing, Taylor Swift-inspired) pop triumph Heartthrob, and their eighth studio album Love You To Death is coming out on June 3rd. The first single off the (incredibly titled!) album is called “Boyfriend”, and if you are looking for the perfect track to put on the mixtape you’re making for the cute-but-confusing girl in your life, it’s right here. You treat me like your boyfriend / I don’t wanna be your secret anymore. It feels like the perfect followup to Heartthrob, and I can only hope that the rest of Love You To Death is as dancey, as bubbly, as blisteringly pointed.

Love You To Death is out June 3 from Vapor Records. You can pre-order it on iTunes for an instant download of “Boyfriend” and “U-Turn”.

BELIEVE IN THE SKY: APRIL 2016

Hello! It is April! It is the month of my birth and also Gerard Way’s and Kristen Stewart’s and many of our readers and two of my very dearest friends, who were actually born on the same day as me! So! It is a good month, a month I love, and I am very excited for all of us as it unfolds. Here we go!

ts eliot, “the waste land”

Aries: “What You Waiting For?”, Gwen Stefani. Take a chance ’cause you might grow.

There is never going to be a perfect time, Aries. There is never going to be what Jack Sparrow called the opportune moment, some bright shining thing that emerges from the sky and says to you yes, now, yes. There is never going to come a day when all of your conditions are met; there is no ideal time at which everything you undertake will go well. Instead, consider this your signal. This is not the opportune moment, but it is the moment in which you have a choice. You can move, now, out of the shadow and into a light of your own making, or you can stand still and wait for it to find you. Don’t stand still. Don’t wait.

Taurus: “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)”, the Decemberists. Look for me with the sun-bright sparrow, I will come on the breath of the wind.

It is very trying to feel sad in the spring,  and very lonely. It feels somehow inauthentic. But listen, Taurus: your heart does not always correspond to the seasons on Earth. There is a landscape in your soul that is yours and yours alone, dappled with sun and shadow, snow-capped peaks next to the sea. If I can quote Whitman, and I will, you contain multitudes. You are always reflected in the world, no matter what you think, but the problem lies in that often you are not looking for yourself in the right place. This month is for meeting yourself where you are, not where you think you should be.

Gemini: “Golden Slumbers”, the Beatles. Once there was a way to get back homeward.

Your world is getting bigger, every single day, by simple virtue of the fact that you are a living thing. It can make you feel small when you think about it, the tiny boat of yourself in a vast expanding sea. It can make you want to stay still. Instead I want you to try, this month, to think of this widening life as a blessing. You are the same size no matter how many directions you can strike out in; a small fish in a small bowl feels big, but it’s confined. Recognize the incredible mobility that you have and reach for the edges of your map. Carry yourself as bravely as you can.

Cancer: “Tonight I’m Getting Over You”, Carly Rae Jepsen. No more cryin’ to get me through.

Pruning is important. It is vital, this cutting, this weeping of ichor. To stay healthy, to grow, you have to prune yourself down. Examine yourself this month. Look at the core of you, the bright flourishing new growth. Follow the branches of your life out to what is withering; take hold of those things and cut them away. You must be as impassive as you can as you do this. It will hurt, but these things are sapping you, choking you. It will hurt, but you will not miss them when they are gone – this is how you will know you were right. Protect your vitality.

Leo: “Breathe (2 AM)”, Anna Nalick. You can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable.

Balance is so very important. You are a hunting creature, a seeking striving thing, and the incredible, single-minded focus you possess is a double-edged sword. There is a difference between purposeful motion and running yourself into exhaustion. It is not weakness to rest, to acknowledge that you need rest in the first place. Allow yourself some leeway this month. Be gentle with yourself; acknowledge your needs and try as hard as you can to remember that they are valid. Doing this is not straying from the path toward what you want – only pausing upon it.

Virgo: “Like Dylan in the Movies”, Belle and Sebastian. Don’t look back, like Dylan in the movies.

You will get nothing from looking back except a mouthful of salt. This month I want you to keep your eyes forward. Dwelling on what has been will not bring it back or change it; this is a hard lesson to learn but it is crucial. You cannot live your life looking at what you have left behind, at the things you have moved beyond. Start to learn to carry the past with you without taking it out, examining it, turning it over in the light. Eventually you will be able to put it down altogether.

Libra: “Everything I Am”, Kanye West. Everything I’m not made me everything I am.

You are made up of other people, of places and books and movies and paintings, the things you learn from them and the world as a whole. Everything that has ever taught you is a part of you, and this does not make you inauthentic. Even natural things are constructed – think of crystals, think of snowflakes, think of the perfect fluid grace of any skeleton. You can make your own way even as you follow in the footsteps of others – this is how you make yourself better. This is how you make the world better. Don’t be afraid of losing yourself; everything you are is yours.

Scorpio: “BeFoUr”, ZAYN. I can’t be bothered to fight it no more, no.

Try to find it in yourself to be soft this month. It is natural, when the world becomes sharp and hard, to steel yourself against it, to spark against it like flint. It is natural to bite when you are cornered. This is against your instinct – against the instinct of all animals, really – but sometimes the unexpected move is what wins the fight. Let yourself be pliable this month; let yourself yield. Slip out of the grasp of the things that would hold you, crush you, even as you drew blood from their fingers. Live to fight another day.

Sagittarius: “Birdhouse in Your Soul”, They Might Be Giants. Keep the nightlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul.

Things flourish when they are safe. They bloom when they are nurtured. There is always the temptation to dismiss the mundane, the familiar, but there has to be a harbor. There has to be a place where you can put down roots, spread yourself upward and outward and unfurl all your tiny wings. Think, this month, about the places you feel safe, and the people you allow there. Remind yourself of your foundation, the things you can rely on, the ground out of which you will grow. Learn to take these things with you as you navigate the world. Make a home inside yourself, and know that it is safe there.

Capricorn: “Changes”, David Bowie. Turn and face the strange.

Do not be fooled into thinking that you deserve your suffering. Do not be fooled into thinking that sadness is a matter of course. Remember: feelings are finite. This is a beautiful, daunting gift. Everything you feel at every moment is new, no matter how familiar it seems – you are a new person every moment, every breath that you take. There are shades and shades of everything you will ever feel and no two are the same. Listen carefully to yourself this month, the way you would try to make out a very distant, half-remembered song. Witness the minute, dizzying, endless variations of your emotions, and know that you will feel different.

Aquarius: “Out is Through”, Alanis Morissette. I think there must be easier ways

The forest is very dark, but the only way back into the sun is to go through it. It is so difficult, in the moment, in the middle of the darkness, to remember this, but this month I want you to try. I want you to remember that the sun always rises. There is always, always a way forward – there is always meaning. There is a reason you are in the dark in the first place, but the forest tries to swallow it up and keep you there. Do not let the weary actuality of the struggle make you forget what you are struggling towards. Do not lose hope.

Pisces: “Benson Hedges”, fun. You’re beautiful for all your big mistakes.

Memory is a fluid and fickle thing, something ruled by the head and the heart, something ruled by the soles of the feet. It is tempting to ignore it, to dismiss it, to try and escape it, but this month I want you to turn and face it head-on. Your memories are a part of you as much as your blood and your bones, even the ones you don’t love. Let your past exist within you, and know that it does not make you weak. Know that to hold all of these things inside you is a great and terrible thing, something to aspire to, something to be proud of. Know that it is a kind of home.

nonrequired reading: let’s be social about books

Untitled

“In the heaven of werewolves, there’s just new grass folding back into place.”

Some books I have read as of today, March 28th, 2016, that I want to talk about:

Mongrels (Stephen Graham Jones) is a book about werewolves but it is really about family, about stories, about the ways that we knit ourselves to each other. It is about the way that sometimes you have to lie to get closer to the truth – sometimes a story is diminished in the telling, so you have to scale up accordingly. It is very sad and very beautifully written, and I cried about it. It is also fairly scary at points in a sort of creeping way, and it also made me care about werewolves for maybe the first time ever. I feel about most werewolves the way I feel about zombies – their narratives are usually very predictable, very boring, and very predicated on violence as the only answer. This book went a long way toward changing my mind. 5/5 would read again.

This Is Not A Test (Courtney Summers) is a zombie book – again, not a narrative that I love – but it is about a girl who wants to die. It is a really fascinating thing to watch unfold, and it hits very close to home, and it gave me good-vampire-narrative vibes, which I think says something about me – I am very interested in people who don’t want to be vampires, in any narrative, because what they are saying at its core is that they do someday want to die. I’m getting a little off track, but it is very good and genuinely moving and I love Courtney Summers a lot, always. 5/5 will probably not read again but am very interested in reading the sequel.

Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer) is, as you probably know, a personal account of the Everest expedition of 1996, during which a blizzard killed eight people and mangled a lot more. I knew about it, had read about it, have fallen down many Wikipedia k-holes about the death zone, the edema, the Khumbu icefall which you can only cross in the very early morning when it’s still cold because the ice shifts and falls during the day. But reading about it from Krakauer’s perspective makes it much less academic and, at the same time, much more understandable. I cried a lot – it is a very hard read, a series of very senseless and avoidable deaths, but it is honest and beautiful. 5/5 will someday read again; will not watch the movie again.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (Helen Oyeyemi) is a new collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors. Read it, read it, read it. 5/5 will read again ASAP.

Paper Tigers (Damien Angelica Walters) is a well-written but ultimately not-as-thrilling-as-I-wanted horror novel. 4/5 will not read again, but maybe worth a read for you if it’s been a while since you got a little freaked out.

Currently I am reading an advance copy of Kissing in America (Margo Rabb), which I am almost a third of the way done with and still undecided about. I think I like it, although I don’t love the writing, but I am reserving judgment because our narrator has a tendency to belittle beautiful girls. There is a lot of poetry in it though, and I am remembering more and more lately that I do love poetry, have loved certain poetry for what feels like my whole life. I am also in the middle of Richard Siken’s Crush (see! poetry!). Next on the list is Juliet Takes a Breath (Gabby Rivera), which I am deeply excited for. I will keep you updated.

I’m on this app now, it’s a new app, they only have it for Apple products so far, but it is called Litsy. It’s like Instagram, kind of, but only for books. There are not a lot of people on it yet, so I can’t quite tell how good it’s going to be, but I think it’s one of those that’s only as good as the content. So if you like your Goodreads app but you don’t love Amazon or whatever, and you want to take pictures of your books or look at the pictures that I take of mine, you can come check that out if you want. I’m on there as @furiosa. Do you have book apps you use other than Goodreads? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk! About books! What are you reading? Do you feel that the romance novel as an institution is unfairly maligned? Imagine that my head is propped on my hands and I’m doing a very attentive listening pose. Go!

all i know are sad songs

I saw Garden State for the first and only time when I was seventeen with a boy I thought I loved who kissed me too rough too heavy too urgent like he had something to prove and it wasn’t about me but I was there. I didn’t think it was a good movie but I cried anyway and I cried again when the sweater he let me take with me to college stopped smelling like him. I still don’t think it is a good movie but I get why it mattered to people and I find myself forgiving it more as I get older, the pitiful shout into the void that it is, the pointless rage against a machine of which it is a part. I haven’t thought about it in a long time but the other day I heard this new Mike Posner song and all I could see was Zach Braff sitting on a couch while the world happens around him.

There is something very uniquely appealing to me about dance songs about sadness. Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”, Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away”, a lot of Tove Lo’s body of work, almost all of Sia’s – these are all songs about pain, from the gaping wounds to the paper cuts, all of the varieties of hurt that exist, and they are all songs you can dance to. “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” is one of these, and it is a perfectly crafted song, because it sounds exactly like it feels.

They said “tell us how to make it cause we’re getting real impatient”
So I looked ’em in the eye and said

You don’t wanna be high like me
Never really knowing why like me
You don’t ever wanna step off that roller coaster and be all alone
You don’t wanna ride the bus like this
Never knowing who to trust like this
You don’t wanna be stuck up on that stage singing
Stuck up on that stage singing
All I know are sad songs, sad songs

There are days when writing hurts me more than it helps, when it feels like I am dragging my organs out of my body through my mouth and when I get them out into the light it wasn’t even worth it. There are days when I am convinced that everything I have written and will write is garbage. I am not alone in this; this is not a unique feeling, but it is very isolating, isn’t it? To be convinced of your own terribleness is a weird and addicting form of narcissism, poking at a bruise to watch it bloom purple, I don’t know. But the thing about it is – even when I feel like I am a terrible writer, that my writing is vain and self-serving at best and vain and self-serving and poorly written at worst, what do I do? I keep writing. I don’t know how not to write, so I keep writing. I write that I feel terrible about writing, that I hate writing, that I am sad and alone in the world when I am neither. This is why I forgive Garden State now; this is why I love “ITAPII”. Sometimes the thing that keeps you alive, the only thing that makes you happy, doesn’t really make you all that happy. Sometimes it doesn’t make you want to live. But it is the only thing you have, so what do you do? You make it self-referential, you keep digging it out of yourself. Mike Posner is disillusioned and lonely and tired of making music but he knows it makes him happy, he knows it’s what he is for, and so he wrote a song about it.

I’m just a singer who already blew his shot
I get along with old-timers ’cause my name’s a reminder
of a pop song people forgot
and I can’t keep a girl, no
‘Cause as soon as the sun comes up
I cut ’em all loose and work’s my excuse but the truth is I can’t open up

I think it’s easier to talk about pain in a dance song because people don’t listen as hard; people don’t expect it to be sad. You don’t listen to the Ryan Adams cover of “Shake It Off” if you’re in a good mood, is what I mean. So when Mike Posner calls himself a one-hit wonder, when he says the truth is I can’t open up it almost gets lost, sounds like a throwaway line because he needed a rhyme, and I think that’s how he was able to let himself say it. The original song was an acoustic number, a little ditty with a voice and a guitar and nothing else, but that’s not the song that’s on the radio. Mike Posner decided he was ready for people to hear him again but he wasn’t ready to be quite so honest with it, and so – this remix.

This song feels like sitting on the couch while the world happens around you. It feels like dancing alone in a crowded room watching someone you used to love kiss another girl. It feels like closing your eyes and giving in to your sadness, just for a minute, letting it pour into you and fill you tip to toe and somehow, ultimately, it feels like a kind of happiness. All I know are sad songs, but some of them you can dance to, and that is enough.