no hero in her sky

Call me a feminist (go ahead; call me one. I wouldn’t hold it against you), but there don’t seem to be as many outstanding female heroines in movies as there are male heroes. Kick-ass heroines in action films are more celebrated for their ability to look hot in a catsuit whilst firing bullets (ahem–Angelina Jolie–ahem) than they are their courage and strength, and most female leads in romantic comedies are shallow and weak-willed caricatures of what movie producers imagine real women to be like (retail therapy and men bashing sessions over cocktails, anyone?).

And then there are those fabulously magical free-spirited “indie chicks” emulated by every Urban Outfitters-clad hipster (Natalie Portman in Garden State, Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer, Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown, etc.). They’re fun and light-hearted and gorgeous and quirky, they steal the hearts of the pathetic male anti-hero, and I’m pretty sure they don’t exist in real life. Maybe in the Annex or Trinity Bellwoods … or the entirely fashionable city of Montreal. But since the aforementioned films are from a male’s perspective, they’re glistening beacons of tiny-waisted perfection, quirks and all. And thus, I hate them.

So when I was wracking my brain trying to think of movie heroines that didn’t annoy me in some capacity, I came up with a pretty short–yet specific–list. My choices may surprise you …

Without further ado, my top five favourite female heroines in film:

5. Kate Winslet as Iris in “The Holiday” (2006)

Kate Winslet pretty much rocks in everything she does, but for some reason, in the Christmas romcom “The Holiday,” she’s particularly charming. I don’t know if it’s her adorable English cottage with the cozy fireplace and books, her acknowledgment of being pathetic over that schmuck who uses her, or her unlikely friendship with Amanda’s elderly neighbour, Arthur Abbott, but she’s so darn likable, especially in comparison to the irritating Cameron “I’m-a-gorgeous-goofball” Diaz.

Kate has class, and although Iris is wasting her time being in love with an unavailable schmuck … well, who hasn’t? At least she realizes that “you’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God’s sake!” and she handles her feelings for Miles (Jack Black) with grace and restraint. She recovers her self-esteem and even displays healthy doses of gumption. I watch this movie every Christmas and always find myself loving Kate Winslet a little more each time.

4. Emma Thompson in anything, but particularly “Love Actually” (2003)

I want to be Emma Thompson when I grow up. Truly; she’s a marvel. She’s intelligent, funny, thoroughly British, and I’ve loved her in every film she’s ever been in. Even “Nanny McPhee.” Like Kate, she’s a class act and has such an un-Hollywood vibe about her that is so refreshing (Sidebar: Emma and Kate do a bang-up job as sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in the 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense & Sensibility.” But I digress …) Emma seems like someone you’d be able to sit by the fireplace with under heaps of thick knit blankets during a snowstorm, having a nice tea and a long chat punctuated by moments of comfortable silence.

… But enough of my Emma Thompson idolatry. There’s a moment in the film “Love Actually” that my friend and I absolutely adore and pretty much sums up why her character Karen is so wonderful. After attending a work Christmas party where she observes her husband (Alan Rickman) flirting with his pretty young secretary, she doesn’t fly into a jealous rage and throw teacups at his head or demand an explanation or cry irrationally which is probably what most of us would have done. Instead, she remarks how pretty the secretary is, and when her husband makes a glib response, she says simply, “Be careful there.”

As my friend says, such grace. It takes a very confident, self-composed woman to be able to deal with that situation the way Karen does. I recommend watching “Love Actually” just for how Emma Thompson’s character handles her husband’s suggested infidelity. It’s quite inspiring.

3. Audrey Tautou as Amelie Poulain in “Amelie” (2001)

To whomever says that shyness and introversion are negative characteristics, I say phooey. Amelie is a shy, introverted loner living in Paris who enjoys the small pleasures in life, like skipping stones, and engaging in random, anonymous acts of kindness. If she wasn’t that way, could her sweet “stratagems” have that much of an impact? I love this line about her: Amelie still seeks solitude. She amuses herself with silly questions about the world below …

Even though her neighbour Dufayel tries to convince her to stand up and do something (“So my little Amelie, you don’t have bones of glass. You can take life’s knocks. If you let this chance pass, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So, go get him, for Pete’s sake!”), she pursues Nino on her own terms and in her own way.

I love the part where Amelie goes home with Nino’s photo album and is lying in bed with it (as shown in the picture above), and the narrator says: “Any normal girl would call the number, meet him, return the album and see if her dream is viable. It’s called a reality check. The last thing Amelie wants.” So she’s a little reserved, a little scared of putting herself out there and possibly getting hurt or torn from her dream world. I can identify with that, and that’s why I love Amelie so much. She reminds me of one of my favourite quotes by Virginia Woolf: “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”

2. Olivia Williams as Miss Stubbs in “An Education” (2009)

I’ve already blogged about why I love Miss Stubbs at the end of this blog entry about “An Education,” so you can just read it there …

1. Juliette Binoche as Vianne in “Chocolat” (2000)

In a town of closed minds and cold hearts, Vianne is a breath of fresh air in “Chocolat.” She’s upbeat and positive, she sees the best in others (even the town’s stodgy mayor), she’s able to melt and win over her toughest critics, she wears bright coral heels everywhere she goes, and she fills her life with goodwill, joy, and fun. She follows her heart. Oh, and she owns a chocolate shop! What’s not to love?

Honourable Mentions: Belle in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (1991), Sophie Quinton as Avril in “April in Love” (2006), Rebecca Hall as Vicky in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008), Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo in “Frida” (2002), and Drew Barrymore as Josie in “Never Been Kissed” (1999).

It just occurred to me that among my top five favourite females in film, three are British and two are French. Interesting, n’est-ce pas?

… So, back to you, blogosphere. Who are your favourite film heroines and why?

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One is the Loveliest Number

i sing myself and i celebrate myself

Alone.

Why is it that so many people panic and recoil at the prospect of a day, a week, a lifetime alone? Are they afraid that, once alone with their thoughts and removed from constant communication, they’ll start rocking back and forth in the fetal position, babbling incoherently? Why does the thought of sitting in a coffee shop at a table for one, going solo to the movie theatre, or staying in on a Friday night with only a bottle of wine and a handful of classic movies sound like hell to so many people?

To me it sounds like heaven.

But that’s me, and I’ve come a long way in fully understanding, accepting, and celebrating my introverted, sensitive nature and my need for frequent solitude. It wasn’t always that way. Up until I came across some life-changing books — namely, The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, and recently The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron — I thought I was a freak.

When I lived at the School of Ministry in Etobicoke with 5 other girls in one small room and Alone Time pretty much didn’t exist, I’d wonder why I’d get cranky and snappish sometimes and why, unlike everyone else, I’d so often feel exhausted and drained and need frequent cat naps. There was nothing wrong with me — I’m just an introvert, a trait which is both more common and yet more rare than you’d think. If I’d have known this at that time, I probably would’ve felt calmer and happier and less like an antisocial grumpster, a feeling which only alienates one further.

There are times when, if there’s too much going on and too much excitement, I’ll find myself slowly withdrawing and filled with an overwhelming desire to be alone. If my work day has been particularly overstimulating and hectic, I’ll find a spot to sit alone on my break and just stare blankly at nothing, trying to gather my thoughts. It’s not that I’m space cadet, darnit, it’s just that I’m very sensitive and have a stronger reaction to noise and commotion than most. I crave stillness and serenity in the midst of the storm, and I can find that peace by being alone.

So that said — the fact that I’m an introvert and a sensitive person who needs time alone to recharge my batteries in order to go forth into the world — means that I know the importance of solitude, if only because it’s my natural inclination. But I think everyone, introverts and extroverts alike, needs to create a space for quietude and reflection away from a mad frenzy of e-mails and appointments and text messages and chirping Blackberries. Sometimes I can think of nothing I’d like more than to stay in a remote cottage in the woods by a lake all by myself for a little while, just to ponder and pray and write and stuff without all the distractions. Of course, I’d have to have some choice records and perhaps an animal companion of some sort, but a retreat like that would be extremely beneficial to my health in every respect.

But like I said, people these days — especially extroverts — need to learn that being alone doesn’t make you go crazy or talk to your pets like they’re people (okay, that actually happens. Moving on …) Since I value my alone time so much, it came as a shock to me to discover others didn’t and seldom allowed themselves to be without another’s company. In my last year of university, I was talking to a couple of friends and mentioned that I had gone to the Tim Horton’s across campus for a bowl of chili and to do some reading and writing by myself. They were both absolutely flabbergasted that I had the “confidence” to eat lunch in a public place by myself to which I replied, “What? Doesn’t everyone do this?” The one girl said she was afraid she’d look lonely or pathetic eating by herself, which is why, if she didn’t have anyone to eat with, she’d take her food to her car in the parking lot and eat there!

Let me assure you … when you’re alone and truly enjoying your own company, no one’s going to think you’re lonely or a loser or antisocial or pathetic (unless that’s how you’re feeling, in which case you’ll probably project it). Instead, you’ll just seem interesting and secure enough in yourself to be alone … at least, you will to introverts who understand the need to break away from socializing every once in a while. An extrovert might approach you and say, “Awwww … you’re all alone. Where’s all your friends? You poor thing!,” not understanding that what you’re doing is vital to your existence.

Maybe that’s just our introvert advantage …

In Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the author stresses the importance of a woman finding herself in herself, which is done best when separated from one’s partner, children, work, responsibilities and other obligations with which women use to define themselves.

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

Certainly, one has the illusion that one will find oneself in being loved for what one really is, not for a collection of functions. But can one actually find oneself in someone else? In someone else’s love?  Or even in the mirror someone holds up for one? I believe that true identity is found, as Eckhart once said, by “going into one’s own ground and knowing oneself.” It is found in creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself.

[…]

Woman must come of age by herself. This is the essence of “coming of age” — to learn how to stand alone. She must learn not to depend on another, nor must she prove her strength by competing with another.

Only when one is connected to one’s own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover. And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be found through solitude […] Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone.

no hero in her sky

And here’s another thing. Why are so many people — especially women — so afraid of being single? Why would they rather be in an unhealthy relationship or settle for a succession of wrong guys, simply because the thought of being alone scares the hell out of them? Let me tell you — while in a secure relationship, the prospect of being single and having to endure the dating scene can seem frightening, but once you’re there, it’s not that bad. In fact, it can be the best thing to happen to you.

It can be absolutely lovely, and the more time you spend getting to know yourself, demons and all, the more you’ll come to appreciate and celebrate one of the most important relationships you’ll ever be in … the one with yourself.

You’ve Got the Music in You

i got by with a little help from my iPod

A friend of mine recently tagged me in a Facebook meme with the following directions:

For every year (well almost every year) of your life there should be an album, a song or simply a beat that helped to form you and who you are. Take a few minutes and a trip down memory lane. Think of the top albums that define you. The order is up to you.

I thought I’d take a few moments to think about the albums that have made me … me, and it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be!

Without further ado:

  1. Jesus Freak, DC Talk (1995) — At 10 years of age, this album showed me that Christian music can be edgy and meaningful.  It was an eye-opening moment.
  2. Morning View, Incubus (2001) — My friends and I were absolutely nutty for Incubus (and Brandon Boyd, let’s be honest!) in high school. Especially the zen final track, “Aqueous Transmission,” which we listened to on repeat one weekend.
  3. O, Damien Rice (2001) — I bought this album on a whim without having ever heard him and his gorgeous Irish voice. I am so, so glad I did!
  4. Trouble, Ray Lamontagne (2004) — I was browsing Indigo in the Annex one night when they played this album and I fell head over heels in love.  Lamontagne’s voice is the equivalent of taking a long, hot shower after a tiring day. I want to curl up inside it and live in there forever.
  5. The Best of 1980-1990, U2 (1998) — My sister has to be credited with introducing me to one of the greatest bands of all time. Seriously. Where would we be without “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “With or Without You,” or “All I Want is You?”
  6. Hopes and Fears, Keane (2004) — It’s not that they’re the most talented band ever, but this album just always takes me back to the awkward transition between working at Mr. Sub and beginning my first year of university at York.
  7. Simple Things, Zero 7 — My brother tried getting me into downtempo, trip-hop, ambient music back in high school when I stubbornly refused to accept that computers and groove boxes could make music. Then I saw that sublime scene where this song is playing in Garden State and was converted.
  8. The Amélie soundtrack, composed by Yann Tiersen — One of my favourite movies ever with a largely piano-driven soundtrack. Pure love. Perfect music to write to!
  9. The Les Miserables soundtrack, composed by Claude-Michel Schonberg (1980) — In the seventh grade, our music teacher introduced us to the Les Miserables musical and we studied the musical score. “Do You Hear the People Sing?” Yes, indeed!
  10. 1, The Beatles compilation (2000; features #1 singles from 1962-1970) — This just goes without saying.
  11. For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver (2008) — A coworker at The Brock Press had this album playing one afternoon and from the moment I heard “Flume,” I had found my new favourite band. The perfect companion to winter blahs.
  12. Absolution, Muse (2004) — That operatic voice! The highly theatrical melody! High-octane drama! This album is only for the intensely passionate.
  13. Diorama, Silverchair (2002) — I got into Silverchair a little late, and although most would argue “Diorama” is their worst album and the lyrics really don’t make any sense, it helped me get through a really monotonous and depressing job at a factory one summer.
  14. White Ladder, David Gray (1998) — A personal album that is important to me for personal reasons. Always takes me back to my first year of university, which was a pretty weird time.
  15. No Need to Argue, The Cranberries (1994) — Would I be the same person if I hadn’t heard “Zombie” way back when in the room of my friend’s cooler, older brother? I think not.
  16. Mezzamorphis, Delirious? (1999) — I saw them in concert in Scotland but loved them even before that. A Christian worship band with teeth.
  17. The Garden State soundtrack, hand-picked by Zach Braff (2004) — This album introduced me to Zero 7, The Shins, Frou Frou, and Iron & Wine. Thanks, Zach Braff!
  18. Funeral, The Arcade Fire (2004) — I had borrowed my older brother’s iPod when I decided to take up jogging for like, a month. Hearing “Rebellion (Lies)” provided me with the extra oomph to keep going.
  19. Let it Die, Feist (2001) — Another personal album which takes me back to my first year at York.
  20. Parachutes, Coldplay (2000) — Do you remember the first time you heard “Yellow” by Coldplay? I was at my aunt’s for Christmas and she had this playing on her computer. Melt. I think my wretched roommate from York stole my Parachutes album which still kind of sucks.
  21. Grace, Jeff Buckley (1994) — I got into Buckley a little late and definitely after his death. This album contains some of his best, such as “Last Goodbye,” the first song of his I ever heard, and “Lilac Wine.”
  22. Oracular Spectacular, MGMT (2007) — It started with the infectious “Kids” and the accompanying music video (I think I’m in love with the guy painted like a tiger), but I was definitely won over with “Electric Feel.” This album makes me want to dance. Always.
  23. Twice Removed, Sloan (1994) — Another high school album for me, and one of those rare albums where you love absolutely every freaking song. I wanted to marry Patrick.
  24. Dummy, Portishead (1994) — Again, I got into Portishead past their prime but they remain one of my all-time favourite bands. Their mathematical precision combined with haunting beauty on tracks like “Roads” make me feel a bit weak in the knees.
  25. OK Computer, Radiohead (1997) — My love for Radiohead really took off in my second year of university at York when it was cool to sit around and philosophize and listen to bands like Bjork and Massive Attack and Radiohead. “Karma Police” sing-alongs ftw!

Okay, well even though I’m 24, technically I’ve been on this planet for 25 years!

Doing this experiment has taught me two things: a) I have great taste, but you already knew that!; and b) 1994 sure was a great year for music!

DisCOVERing Beauty

"You could have it all ... my empire of dirt"

"You could have it all ... my empire of dirt"

This post follows a conversation my boyfriend and I had recently about songs where the cover is better than the original.  I believe we were talking about Johnny Cash’s powerful cover of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails, recorded just prior to his death.  As one YouTube viewer commented, “Trent Reznor sings the song like someone who wants to die, whereas Cash sings it like someone who knows he’s going to die.” 

In case you haven’t heard Cash’s haunting version and seen the goosebump-inducing music video, take a look:

This discussion led me to consider other songs in which the cover is somehow better than the original or it adds another layer or element that brings depth to the song.  These instances are the exceptions, however, since most covers that are played on the radio absolutely murder the original (Karl Wolf’s cover of Toto’s “Africa” comes to mind, as well as Divine Brown’s cover of Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night, to name a few).  I also once heard an electro-pop cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and wanted to throw up.  But sometimes, a cover just gets it right. 

Here are some of the best:

—  “Crazy” by Gnarles Barkley, covered by Ray Lamontagne:

I want to curl up inside of Ray Lamontagne’s voice and sleep there forever.  Arguably one of the best vocal performances I’ve ever heard.  I’ve always loved this song, despite the fact that it was overplayed on the radio when it was released.  It was one of those songs with a funky, retro feel that made it seem like a song you’ve heard before, somewhere even though it was new.  Lamontagne’s acoustic version, with his smoky vocals, add a poignancy to the surprisingly profound lyrics that you may have missed in the original. 

Scottish hottie Paolo Nutini also does a bang-up job in his lovable, quirky little way:

I want to marry him.  Sorry, boyfriend!  (Jokes)

—  “To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees, covered by Damien Rice and Ray Lamontagne:

It doesn’t get any better than this.  Damien Rice and Ray Lamontagne.  When Meg showed me this, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.  My Irish love, Damien, who has one of the most passionate voices and sings with every fibre of his being, performing with Ray’s soft, soulful voice.  Pure perfection. 

—  “Creep” by Radiohead, covered by Damien Rice (song only, no video):

Maybe it’s because I love acoustic covers or maybe it’s because I just friggin’ love Damien Rice, but this version just does it for me every time.  Listen to Damien’s passionate howling in the bridge.  When I first heard this cover, I had to make everyone in the room be quiet so I could fully absorb this song.  It’s best experienced with your eyes closed.

—  “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2, covered by Damien Rice (you might have to turn up the volume because it’s quiet at first):

Yes, Damien Rice again.   My Irish folksinger could sing the phone book and make it sound like heaven on earth.  I am more of a retro U2 fan than a new U2 fan, because songs like this as well as “One,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You” and “Pride” have so much raw emotion and speak so earnestly about grappling with spiritual issues.  Damien’s beautifully transparent voice only adds another layer of humanity to the song about the constant search and mystery of life.

—  “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, covered by Rufus Wainwright:

Leonard Cohen can write a song like nobody’s business.  He truly is one of the best poets of this era.  However, like Bob Dylan, he is much better writing music than he is singing it.  Canadian Wainwright is my favourite musician to cover this song because of his melodic, almost operatic voice and the tragic quality he brings to the song strewn with Biblical references (Samson, David, etc.)

—  “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen, covered by Judy Collins:

Another Cohen cover.  While Cohen’s original is kind of monotone and the repeated pattern of the classic folk song gets a little (I hate to say it) boring, folk goddess Judy Collins transforms the gorgeous lyrics into gold with her pure, angelic voice.  Even though she’s a bit older here, she’s still a songbird in every respect.

—  “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, covered by Cassandra Wilson:

This is the cover I told you to download in a previous entry.  I admire Neil Young as a Canadian musician, but he has a really annoying voice, I’m sorry to say.  I first heard this cover in the movie My Blueberry Nights and had to play it before I fell asleep.  The sound effects and night noises in the background turn this lovely song into a lullaby.

And here are some more that I can think of at the top of my head:

—  “Heartbeats” by The Knife, covered by Jose Gonzales

—  “Wild is the Wind” by Nina Simone, covered by Cat Power

—  “Kids” by MGMT, covered by The Kooks (not better than the original, but still cool in its own right)

—  “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone, covered by Muse

—  “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan, covered by Jimi Hendrix

—  “Goin’ to Acapulco” by Bob Dylan, covered by Jim James from My Morning Jacket and Calexio (as seen in the movie I’m Not There — Jim James is dressed up like a clown and singing at a funeral)

Are there any I’ve missed?

The Top 5 Songs about Low Self-Esteem

photo courtesy of www.ffffound.com

photo courtesy of http://www.ffffound.com

I was taking a walk tonight and listening to “Creep” by Radiohead, one of my all-time favourite tunes to listen to and sing in Rock Band.  I love how the lyrics nakedly describe the alienating sensation of feeling like a creep and not belonging, along with the insistent desire for perfection.  This led me to take a look at my iTunes and consider how many songs are dedicated to being a loser, a loner, a lacklustre wallflower, inspiring a small, simple list.

I tried to stray away from songs about low self-esteem as a result of drug addiction (Alice in Chains, most NIN, Jane’s Addiction, aptly named), eating disorders (Silverchair dominates the “S” section of my iTunes) and anything suicide-related.  Heaven knows there’s so much of that.

Instead, here are (in my opinion) some of the best when it comes to letting your geek flag fly.

5.  “Don’t Let Me Get Me”–Pink

Yeah, yeah.  Pink would never find a place on my sacred iPod, and her breed of pop makes me shudder, but you can’t ignore the genuineness of this tough, scrappy anti-popstar belting it out about not being pretty enough for Hollywood.  Who hasn’t wanted to be somebody else?  Who hasn’t felt like they were their own worst enemy?  Sure, the song may be way overplayed and the pop singer overrated, but the honesty and depth in these lyrics have always struck me.

4.  “I’m a Loser”–Beck

I first heard this song when I was between the ages of 10-12 at Roller Gardens with my best friend Elizabeth.  I probably wore a Scrunchie in my hair and was probably rocking a Northern Getaway sweater.  I was hot shit, man.  This song was playing, because it was popular then.  I remember going home slightly disturbed and telling my mom that there was this song at Roller Gardens about this guy who was a loser and wanted someone to kill him.  Definitely a far cry from DC Talk and Psalty the Singing Psalter Hymnal!

The beat is addictive, the lyrics kind of postmodern and tongue-in-cheek, I’m pretty sure I still don’t know what the song is “about,” I’m still not certain if I like/admire Beck or if I find him arcane and off-putting, but the chorus says it all: “I’m a loser baby / So why don’t you kill me.” 

3.  “I’m a Loser”–The Beatles

What I love about The Beatles is that they’re so prolific and I’m constantly coming across songs I’ve never heard before.  In this cheeky nod to Bob Dylan, the refrain states: “I’m a loser, and I’ve lost someone who’s near to me / I’m a loser and I’m not what I appear to be.”  According to legend, John Lennon said the song was about how he constantly felt like a loser throughout his life.  That’s what I love about John Lennon, the oddball artist who suffered from too much fame: he was never afraid to show his unpolished side, unlike Paul McCartney (recent Heather Mills scandal aside). 

2.  “Creep”–Radiohead

Probably my favourite Radiohead song.  Ever.  This anthem of the ugly and unpopular has been amazing me ever since it was released.  The overlooked intensity of someone not fabulous enough to catch another’s eye is stunning.  The desire to be special, to be noticed, to have a perfect body / perfect soul / control even if it hurts is sung so beautifully with Thom Yorke’s enviable vocals.  It has also produced one of the best covers I’ve ever heard: check out Damien Rice’s acoustic version of “Creep.”  The raw emotion will blow you away and the lyrics will cut even deeper when stripped down to its essentials.

1.  “I Wish”–Skee-lo

I couldn’t resist.  This song tops the list because it’s such an anomaly among other rap and hip-hop artists, in the world of over-inflated egos and “My car is bigger than yours, my ice is more dope than yours, I got more hos than you, I got a mansion, I got better rhymes than you”, etc.  I’ve blogged about the wonders of this song before, so I don’t need to remind you that Skee-lo is so refreshingly honest about being short, driving a hatchback, being picked last when they’re making teams, and sucking at basketball.  Dag, y’all.

* Honourable mention: “Hurt”–NIN, covered by Johnny Cash

The beauty of this song lies in the chorus: “What have I become? […] I will let you down.  I will make you hurt.”  Such a sad and self-assured confession.  I love what someone on YouTube said about this song: Trent Reznor sings it like a man wanting to die.  Johnny Cash sings it like a man who knows he’s going to die soon.

On that happy note, go listen to Skee-lo and get your groove thang on.