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after hearing sam smith sing for only a minute, one would be hard-pressed to ignore his sweet-to-the-ears talent. what i’m most impressed by however is the vocal control/poise he shows for anybody, much less a 22-year-old.
listen to his song “lay me down” and let me know if you think there’s a singer out there better than this guy. to hear more from smith, get his debut album in the lonely hour (drops in the uk may 26th; june 17th stateside).
related: sam smith performing on snl 3/30/14
The act of putting our losses into words and letting the world eavesdrop seems some sort of consolation, or at least an acknowledgement that we all suffer such losses.
in the poem below, lloyd schwartz lets the world eavesdrop on him losing a friend (note how he does it in a way that’s unique/personal to him yet still relatable to others). share your reactions to the poem + similar experiences in the comments. via poets.org:
To My Oldest Friend, Whose Silence Is Like a Death
by Lloyd Schwartz
In today’s paper, a story about our high school drama
teacher evicted from his Carnegie Hall rooftop apartment
made me ache to call you–the only person I know
who’d still remember his talent, his good looks, his self-
absorption. We’d laugh (at what haven’t we laughed?), then
not laugh, wondering what became of him. But I can’t call,
because I don’t know what became of you.
–After sixty years, with no explanation, you’re suddenly
not there. Gone. Phone disconnected. I was afraid
you might be dead. But you’re not dead.
You’ve left, your landlord says. He has your new unlisted
number but insists on “respecting your privacy.” I located
your oldest son, who refuses to tell me anything except that
you’re alive and not ill. Your ex-wife ignores my letters.
What’s happened? Are you in trouble? Something
you’ve done? Something I’ve done?
We used to tell each other everything: our automatic
reference points to childhood pranks, secret codes,
and sexual experiments. How many decades since we started
singing each other “Happy Birthday” every birthday?
(Your last uninhibited rendition is still on my voice mail.)
How often have we exchanged our mutual gratitude–the easy
unthinking kindnesses of long friendship.
This mysterious silence isn’t kind. It keeps me
up at night, bewildered, at some “stage” of grief.
Would your actual death be easier to bear?
I crave your laugh, your quirky takes, your latest
comedy of errors. “When one’s friends hate each other,”
Pound wrote near the end of his life, “how can there be
peace in the world?” We loved each other. Why why why
am I dead to you?
Our birthdays are looming. The older I get, the less and less
I understand this world,
and the people in it.
with his new album g i r l, pharrell follows the lively tone set by his oscar-nominated single “happy”. the project isn’t perfect (corny and forced in spots). however, it’s sprinkled with enough refreshing sounds/songs to make it worth a listen. one of those moments for me is “lost queen”, which takes you on two different vibes with a literal trip to the beach in between. check it out, and if so inclined, stream the full album here via itunes radio.
one thing i love about warsan shire is her ability to tap into thoughts/emotions in a way that’s simultaneously fresh and familiar. get a glimpse of what i mean in her poem below, directed at women who are “difficult to love.” for more from the kenya born-uk raised poet, check out her book teaching my mother how to give birth:
for women who are difficult to love
you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him traveling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love
bonus: here’s a video inspired by warsan’s poem, made by andrea cortes-juarbe & christine mehr (via mona).
in a recent interview with xxl mag, john legend said that his new album love in the future is “his best album yet.” while that’s something artists usually say near an album release date, i not only agree with him, but would also say that it’s the best album i’ve heard so far this year.
with kanye, dave tozer & legend taking the executive producer lead, john’s exquisite voice finds a home over production that you can tell was formed with painstaking care. maybe the only bad thing about the 20-track project is that the interludes tease you and leave you wishing that they were stretched into full songs. the album’s really that good.
previously: video: john legend @ kean commencement 2011
the apostle paul sharing his thoughts on love with the early church in corinth, greece. centuries later, his words continue to hold up well and transcend any religious divisions. taken from the new international version of the bible, via spiritual inspiration.