Spotify Shuffle Series. (1)

I love music more than cake. And that’s pretty huge, being that I once considered changing my license plate to a vanity plate that read cake in French (Gâteau). That said, bienvenue to a new feature on TSP: I shuffle my “Repeat Rewind” playlist that Spotify automatically generates and share the top five songs I’ve been listening to like crazy. There will be many incarnations of this feature because there are a lot of songs. And away we go…

Lovely – Billie Eilish featuring Khalid

So, Billie Eilish: when she came onto the scene, I was pretty indifferent to her. And then I heard Everything I Wanted and wept and realized that her songwriting abilities are out of this world and that her musicality is even beyond that. This song featuring Billie and Khalid just…it breaks you. And their voices soar. No surprise there, Spotify.

Water – Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, Salatiel, Black is King soundtrack

Yeah, so being African-born and African-raised means a certain sound is in my bones, I think. Because when the BIK soundtrack came out and I heard some of the songs I was immediately hooked by the music. It reminded me of listening to my parents’ highlife music back home. (And here, too.) Water is beautiful, rhythmic, and super catchy. I plan on posting my faves from that soundtrack, by the way. This may be music week on This Square Peg. Bring your 🎧.

Sparrow – Emeli Sandé

You know how I feel about her. This one is epic. Just epic. I got wind beneath my wings, I think this time I’m gonna make it til morning…

Brown Skin Girl – Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, WizKid

This song would have been everything when I was a little girl. I needed to remember the beauty of my melanin, the wonder of the skin I was in. But you know what? It’s here now and my inner 10 year-old and my outer grown lady applaud the very valid reminders.

Harvest for the World – Paul Carrack

An awesome cover of an amazing Isley Brothers song by one of my favorite voices in pop rock. You’ve heard Paul Carrack as the lead singer of Ace, Squeeze, Mike + the Mechanics. Soulful and evocative.

Hope you can check these out. Happy Music Monday.

here…

Here are some of the albums/songs/ I currently have on repeat:

snoh

Snoh Aalegra, Ugh those feels again. I’m sure the name of the album provides a clue about why it speaks to me so powerfully. But, yes, Snoh’s masterful second album is constantly playing in my car and in my ear. Her smooth, evocative voice, the effortless melodies and arrangements, and already loving her song Time from her first album have resulted in a complete stanning and fandom. Favorite songs on the album are: Whoa, Find Someone Like You, Be Careful, and Charleville 9200, Pt. II.

Dua Lipa, Don’t Start Now. I deeply love this single. It reminds me of the past without making me want to punch the past. I think it encapsulates all the silliness that comes from folks who realize you meant something to them way after you let them go, way after you needed to them to have this realization. Yes, Dua, yessssssssssss.

Here is the book I currently have on repeat, as in I’ve been reading it for the past two months, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, savoring it, unwilling to let it end:

bookta

This book takes my breath away on every single page. I won’t even summarize it for you. I actually cannot summarize it, because whatever words I find will fall short.

A few here’s to share with you. Bon weekend and here’s to upwarding and onwarding…

Five Top Fives.

Faves, like to hear it, here it go (in no particular order): lizlemon

Top Five Singers/Musicians/Artists I’ve Loved For All Time

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Whitney Houston
  3. Stevie Wonder
  4. Diana Ross
  5. James Taylor

Top Five Actresses I Love and Adore and Just Love and Adore

  1. Cate Blanchett
  2. Viola Davis
  3. Diane Lane
  4. Tracee Ellis Ross (purely coincidental that my mom her mom is #4 above)
  5. Natalie Portman

Top Five Actors I Stan For Always and Forever 

  1. Brad Pitt
  2. Idris Elba (far too many posts to link him; search away, my love)
  3. Denzel Washington
  4. Tom Cruise
  5. Paul Newman/Robert Redford (they are one entity; don’t come for me)

Top Five of My Favorite Films Of All Time

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  3. The Philadelphia Story
  4. The Sting
  5. Inception (yeah, it’s that good)

Top Five of My Favorite Authors

  1. Alice Walker
  2. Flannery O’ Connor
  3. Harper Lee
  4. Lois Lowry
  5. This Square Peg (look: you gotta love yourself)

 

This was by no means an exhaustive list, so we shall do it again with a brand new list. Happy Wednesday, dear reader.

because it’s Wednesday.

This is certainly unprecedented.

newedition

We greet Wednesday with not just one person, but five of them. (Well, still one, but we’ll talk about that in a second.)

Let me tell you how I discovered New Edition. Back in the 80s, the kids in school would sing, over and over again, “sunny days…” But they would stop there. And I would wonder what they were singing. Eventually I found out. They were singing the lyrics to “Can You Stand the Rain?” Days later, one evening, I finally heard the song on the old stereo in the room I shared with my sister. I stood there, happily frozen, listening, my ears swooning. As Ralph sang, “And I need somebody who will stand by me, through the good times and bad times, she will always, always be right there…” I declared that I was that girl. I could be that girl. It didn’t matter that I was 10 years old. It just didn’t matter. An NE 4 Lifer was born.

A Ralph Tresvant 4 Lifer was also born that day. (Second from the left in the photo above.) Every girl had their favorite. He was mine. He was and still is my 10 year-old girl crush. Still swooning in 2018. I told my mother that I would marry him, by the way, and I think she’s still rooting for that to happen.

The guys, to this day, make me smile. They just do. Their music, the fact that through everything, they’re still singing and dancing…ahhhhhhhhhh

Let’s end here, shall we?

 

try: Artists Series #1

If you’re an artist (writing, painting, singing, sculpting, dance, figuring out Math equations which, to me, is a true art form), perhaps, like me, your main medium is often influenced by another art form. For example, if you draw, you may love dance as a source of inspiration. As a writer, I find myself inspired by a long list of other art forms, most of them visual: the performing arts, fine arts, etc. I can look at a painting and fly off the artistic rails, so to speak, my creative drive climbing to giddy levels. (Or not. I haven’t written creatively in a while, save for this blog. And it’s why I have this blog. More on that later.) Anyway, the latter thesis statement is an introduction to a new feature here at TSP. Quite simply, I’ll be sharing things that inspire me. From paintings to photography to dance routines to music, I’d love to feature the works that have moved/inspired me in the past and in the now. You like? Cool, huh? First up: a music video.

I will say that music videos stopped being relevant to me when people started throwing dollar bills in the air and all the flashing lights took away from the wonder of the medium. I mean, come on. My first music video experience was watching a skinny guy in high-water leather pants stepping on a ground that lit up as he walked. Who or what could compare after that? (He also solved a potential gang war and walked on the moon. You know who I’m talking about.) These days, the videos I tend to watch are on YouTube and are of artists that I personally enjoy.

Several years ago, I discovered a music video called “Try” by Nelly Furtado. You guys. The video is just rich with story. I relate to story. No surprise there. When I first watched it, I was writing in my mind. It was that compelling. And when you combine Nelly’s lyrics to the visuals (that plaintive we are we are we are in love near the end of the song/video and the images that match continue to take my breath away), it’s hands down one of my favorite things to watch. And why am I drawn to it so significantly? Ultimately, the video reminds me of the primary topic I revisit time and again in my fiction, in my poetry, what I’m drawn to in life: the emotional connection between people. Whether that connection is strong or fraying, it’s the topic what I ultimately go back to.

Enjoy. In the comments, tell me whatever you like: if you enjoyed Nelly’s video, what inspires you, whether you also swooned when that skinny guy lit up every surface he touched. 

Fabu Fashion Monday: A Little Night Music.

Last weekend, my friend and I headed up to NYC to catch a concert by Damien Escobar, a violinist I discovered a few months ago. It was a nice chance to get out of town, even for a quick weekend. Digressing: have I discussed my love/hate relationship with the city? It’s a fantastic place for the arts, for museums, for my beloved Broadway–but my goodness, what is that infernal odor that persists in the air? It’s been there since 1986, when we first met. Anyway, our embattled relationship goes on.

We took the bus up to the city and checked in at Staybridge Suites, a nice hotel in the Hell’s Kitchen area (so many contrasts in that last sentence, no?), which wasn’t too far from the venue. Prior to this show, you guys, I wrangled with what I wanted to wear. My summer concert wear is typically comfortable and easy. But something intriguing happens when you’re headed to the big city, something that requests that you up the chic factor and slay all day. At least it happened to me. Anyone else get that feeling of wanting to look extra when you’re headed out of town and away from all you know at home? I certainly did. I went back and forth and back again with what I wanted to wear. Finally, after a few hours of searching the racks at my tried-and-true Ross a few days before the trip, I decided to stop stressing and went the simple route: a nice, comfortable shirt-dress. Here it is.

As you can see, très simple and très comfortable. I completed the look with square hoops in my ears and those bangles on my wrist. Honestly, I wanted my hair (kinky twists, protective style #1,097 since February of this year) and my lips to be the showstoppers. (This is always the case, dear reader. I live for awesome hair and awesome lips.) And so I did the side-swept thing by pinning back one side of the hair and pushing most of the twists to the other side. Then I applied my bestie Ruby Woo until the redness was the right shade of fiyah. A bit of mascara, some light eye shadow, and we were ready to go.

ConcertEns2

We had a good time overall. I could have done without waiting in line forever just to get inside the Highline Ballroom, where the concert was held, when we were told that arriving early would prevent that from happening and that we would have seats. No seats were had. We stood for three hours. (If you could waiting in line from 5-ish to the end of the show around 10-ish, we stood for 5 hours or so. Insert highly irritated This Square Peg emoji here.) Nevertheless, barring sound issues and things of that nature, it was nice to hang out with my friend and hear some good music.

ConcertEns4

How was your weekend, my dear reader?