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.


This song came up on my shuffle last night while plugging away at the gym, and I was immediately reminded about why it spoke to me so deeply when I first heard it. Ah, this song. Not only that haunting melody and those vocals (those vocals, though), but the lyrics. Are the truth. Are my truths. Banning further ado, here it is, followed by the lyrics, followed by my commentary.

Closer to my dreams
It’s coming over me

I’m gettin’ higher
Closer to my dreams
I’m getting higher and higher
Feel it in my sleep

Some times it feels like I’ll never go past here
Some times it feels like I’m stuck forever and ever

But, I’m going higher
Closer to my dreams
I’m goin’ higher and higher
I can almost reach

Some times you just have to let it go (Let it go, let it go)
Leaving all my fears to burn down
Push them all away so I can move on
Closer to my dreams
Feel it all over my being
Close your eyes and see what you believe

I’m happy as long as we’re apart
Then I’m moving on to my dreams

I’ll be moving higher (Moving higher)
Closer to my dreams
And higher and higher, higher
Feel it in my being (I can feel it flow around me)
I know that I could not go alone (No, no)

I’m moving higher (Higher), oh…
I’m going higher and higher and higher (Higher and
Closer to my dreams (Higher and higher, oh…oh…)
I’m moving upward and onward and beyond all I can see
(Stretching out my arms so I can reach)

Feels so close it’s like i can just reach
I can feel my dreams (Closer to my dreams)
I’m moving closer to my dreams
I’m moving (Higher and higher) higher and higher
(Higher and higher)
Moving higher, oh…

Some times it feels like you never gon’change (Never gon’change)
But you never choose to walk away

To me, the song is about a lot of things. Relationships. Choices. Fear. But singularly, I’m drawn to the aspect of the pursuit of dreams.

I’ve never been a go-getter when it comes to certain dreams and goals. By and large, I’ve long believed that what will be will be, and what will come will come. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t taste the proximity of my soon-to-be fulfilled dreams. And this song speaks to that. It reminded me that I may not charge at my dreams like a Pamplonan bull, but I’m moving toward them at my own pace, higher and higher, upward and onward, beyond all I can see. Even when “it feels like I’m stuck forever and ever”, eventually, those dreams and I will meet.

As that linked post mentions, I’ll be reflecting on a few fulfilled dreams/changes that are coming to my life in a few short months. Needless to say, we will discuss. Until then, I’ll continue to spend some music-on-repeat time with Goapele and Closer.

Tell me: any songs you’re listening to (or still listen to) that speak to you? Like really, really speak to you?



I haven’t appropriately discussed my permanent spot before the altar of Adele, have I? I briefly mentioned her in this post, but no, you are not yet aware of This Square Peg’s endless devotion to this young woman and her overwhelming ability to cull forth emotions you didn’t even know you had through the power of song.

Now you know. Onwards.

With the release of her new album, 25, I officially accept that Adele rules my life.

I accept that when I listen to the songs on her new album, such as Million Years Ago and All I Ask, I can expect to peer down and see my heart about to take a swan dive onto the ground.

I accept that listening to Adele in my car is dangerous because of all the tears, and the driver needs to see the road in front of her, doesn’t she?

I accept that there will be times–like now–when I need a break from her music because I need to live a normal, weep-free life.

I accept that some people may not get her music and that there’s no need to react violently to said people. (I won’t comment on whether violent reactions have indeed occurred.)

Go get this album, won’t you? If you have it, you know what I’m going through.

You guys. She cries to her own music. We’re all goners.

Another Love.

Is it the whimsical melody? Those lyrics? (If you don’t want me, baby, I’ll find another, another love) Is it the fact that this song, beloved since I discovered Alice Smith a year or so ago, now takes on a personal poignancy that I’d rather not elaborate on at this moment? Sigh. But I will elaborate in another post. Maybe tomorrow. Until then, enjoy Alice and her voice and this song.

Music? [The Soapbox Series]

Since I was knee high to a grasshopper (always wanted to say that), music has been a significant part of my life. I mean, my father was playing Simon and Garfunkel and Aretha Franklin records until they scratched and wore themselves out. I grew up hearing all the greats in my household, from Sam Cooke to the Rolling Stones, from the Bee Gees to Michael Jackson. Not only was music significant for me, but I strongly believe that hearing so many different art forms expressed through music blissfully exposed me and my siblings to a sea of unique and different perspectives and emotions. albert

With all that said, here’s my opinion: the current musical landscape, as we speak in 2015, is lamentable. Just today, I read an article where the singer Pink mentioned how let down she was by the MTV Video Music Awards. (Note that I haven’t watched that spectacle or MTV since I realized that the “M” part had become optional.) She stated that music saved and inspired her as a child, and was saddened to see that the acts and performers on the program weren’t doing anything of the sort. I agree. I can think of maybe 2 or 3 performers right now that mean a hill of beans to me musically. Adele. Sam Smith. Emeli Sande. Yeah, that’s about it. Honestly, I don’t even listen to the radio that much anymore, unless there’s an off off off chance that I’m going to hear a new artist that amazes me. Rarely happens. What happened to those moments when you heard music and wanted to scream because lyrically, sonically, and emotionally, you were soaring and being taken on an incredible journey? And hey, I certainly don’t want to diminish the people that may experience those things while listening to a girl group repeat “Give it to me, I’m worth it” about 1,000 times, but come on. Are you kidding me?

I have a memory. I’m in the kitchen. I’m holding a broom, as I’m supposed to be sweeping. But the radio is on so my attention is diverted. I stand in the center of the kitchen, my eyes closed, singing along to the song on the radio with the broom as my microphone. I don’t remember the song, but I distinctly remember how I felt standing there: joyous. That’s music to me. Pure joy. Sitting in a car and hearing lyrics that bring me to tears. Excitedly telling friends about a new, talented artist that I happened to discovered on those rare moments when they are found. Like my father, playing a song over and over again and hearing/feeling something utterly new each time. Moments like those aren’t necessarily gone, but I’m getting them from artists I’ve loved for decades. Not really anyone new. To me, current musical acts are playing up their visual content rather than focusing on songwriting and the sound. And while they’re at it, these are visuals that require a bleaching of the eyes after you’ve seen about two seconds. Throw in a bit of auto-tune, some canned lyrics, and round-the-clock plays on the radio and there you go: stars are born.

No, these are no longer the days of Like a Bridge over Troubled Water and I don’t expect them to be. I am quite content listening to artists I’ve always loved and the few current ones that I’ve come to thoroughly adore and admire.

I just miss the joy.

The Poetess Who Sings: Random Memory #2

It just came to mind. And so I will share.

In my junior year of college, I took a pretty memorable Poetry course. It was memorable for various other reasons, in addition to what this post is about: I was reuniting with my beloved, favorite professor, Jennifer Atkinson, after having taking a creative writing class with her in my sophomore year that pretty much changed how I looked at my writing style, my voice, etc.; my sister was in the same class with me, which proved to be an exercise in entertaining our peers with our sibling hijinks and so much more; other familiar faces were in the class, so it was even more of a reuniting. Anyway, one morning, I overheard a guy in front of me talking about a CD he had just purchased. I heard words like amazing and poetry in music and so on and so forth. Immediately intrigued and far more open about my ear hustling, so I asked him who he was referring to. “Fiona Apple,” he replied. “Get her CD immediately. It’s like poetry set to song.” Hook, line, sinker.

The Poetess Songstress.

I bought Tidal that week.

He wasn’t wrong.

Oh, how Fiona Apple slayed me. She slayed me so easily and quickly and painfully and beautifully and deeply. She was a poetess, yes, weaving her experience and her life into verse and piano. I was a bit crazed by it all. For me, she didn’t have the intellectual rage of Alanis or the ethereal of Sarah McLachlan or the haunting beauty of my Tori Amos. She was wholly different. She had tremor and strength and fragility encased in this rich vibrato that transfixed me and transported me to my own life experiences and thoughts. I couldn’t put her in the same category as my other treasured female musicians, because I simply felt like Fiona Apple was speaking directly to me. Needless to say, I swallowed everything I could find about her. Interviews, televised concerts (her *version of Jimi Hendrix’s Angel on MTV’s Unplugged series remains an utter favorite)–whatever Fiona said or did, I read about it or listened to it or watched it.

Of course, now in my “old age”, the obsession has diminished, in the sense that I’m not minutes from camping outside of Fiona’s house, but I’m still a pretty devoted fan. Any discovery of good music thrills me, so yes, I’m glad that I totally barged in and asked my classmate what he was talking about. And speaking of my classmate, it’s no mistake that Fiona and her music/poetry moved him. I watched him fall in love with poetry in that class. His own work was pretty compelling.

Nice, random memory.

*You knew I’d post it, didn’t you? Enjoy.

In the Lonely Hour.

I had an Amy Winehouse moment.

A little history: several years ago, when Amy’s indescribable Back to Black album was released, I had my usual listening party on the headphones. I was on an airplane, en route to visit the bestie in Alabama. And then Tears Dry on their Own came on and I shocked the guy next to me by nearly falling out my chair in response. The melody and lyrics and everything slayed me immediately. I closed my eyes; held out my hands before me–I mean, I was having some sort of religious conversion epiphany moment. I don’t know what it was about that song; I don’t know why, when I played the song for my friends, they reacted in a similar way; I don’t know why when I read reviews about the album, most of the critics seemed to highlight that particular song when discussing the richness of that album. It was everything and it still is and I still squeal under my breath when that song comes on my music mix.

Oh, the talent.

Well, I had another AW moment yesterday when listening to In the Lonely Hour, the first album by new Brit artist Sam Smith. (Seriously, whatever they’re putting in the tea and crumpets in Britain is working; most of the best soul singers that have arrived on the music scene and have quickly established their talent.) The entire album had me in epiphany Amy Winehouse mode; it was one song after the next of mind blowing vocals and lyrics that landed right in the center of my chest and culled up memory and moments in time and swelling chords and just good music. Goodness. Honestly, I would list the songs on the album that stand out, but I can’t do that because they all stand out, each and every one of them. I will say that I’ve Told You Now (couldn’t find the album version to link, but Google it up…or buy the album!) did something to me. I don’t know what it did, exactly; I was exercising when it came on and my knees nearly gave out when I heard the chorus. We could attribute that to my actual weak knees, but I have a feeling it’s the song. Anyway…

Purchase this album. You need it in your life.

The end.


JohnnyswimJust officially declaring my musical love for Johnnyswim, a new husband and wife music duo that I discovered one morning on VH1 while getting ready for work. (Could by why I’m perpetually late every morning.)

Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano sing the most heavenly harmonies, my goodness, both armed with powerful voices that will immediately make themselves at home in your ear. Lyrically, melodically–I want to swim (what a pun, huh?) in this music. Speaking of swimming, so far Abner and Amanda have provided three different stories about the origin of the name of their band. I kind of like the revolving door of  tales. And, fun fact: Amanda’s mom is the late, great, my-personal-disco-queen herself, Donna Summer! Anyway, listen to some music below, won’t you?

This is the first song I heard from them. Fell in love pretty quickly.

Here they are performing a live version of my favorite song from the album, Diamonds, with Daryl Hall. Oh, and are you watching Live from Daryl’s House? Please do. Immediately. Please and thank you.