Monday, September 13, 2010

Hand In My Pocket

I was afflicted with indecision today - could not decide what song to learn.  All the songs in the universe, and I couldn't just pick one and go with it.  There are too many!  First I thought I'd learn "My Cherie Amour".  Or maybe "Halo" - I like the piano part in the intro.  Well, I forgot to update my ipod before I left my apartment this morning, and by the time I got home, I... just didn't feel like learning either of those songs.  I coached a guy for an audition, and he sang "Superman" by Five for Fighting ... ooh, maybe I'll learn that one.  ...Nah.  "Ain't No Sunshine." "Philadelphia Freedom." "Tears In Heaven." Maybe I should learn a Celine Dion song.  Arghh I can't make up my mind!  There must be one perfect song out there for today. 

I took my copy of Rolling Stone's book of Women in Rock with my to my neighborhood cafe for some much-needed inspiration (baked goods.  I always look for the elusive answers in baked goods).  The book just added to the too-many-choices problem.  Finally, in desperation, I asked facebook.  Help, facebook.  What song should I learn today?  Apparently, all I needed to do was ask for help, because I was able to choose right away when I received suggestions from three of my friends.  I decided on another song entirely, when I glimpsed Alanis Morissette's name in my book: "Hand In My Pocket".

I bought Jagged Little Pill back in high school when Columbia and BMG had those music clubs where you'd buy one CD for $17.99 and then get like five for 25 cents, plus some ridiculous shipping rate.  This was right around the time when the boys in my sophomore music theory class were teaching me how to swear artfully, and naturally one of my favorite parts of this angsty CD was "are you thinking of me when you (*turn volume down abruptly*) her..." from "You Oughta Know". 

"Hand In My Pocket" wasn't one of my favorite songs then.  I didn't not like it, but... it just didn't resonate with me the way songs like "Forgiven" and "Perfect" did (can you tell I was raised Guilt-Ridden Presbyterian?).  I just didn't give it a second thought, until I saw my friend Brandon perform it as an opening number for a late-night open mic he MCs on Friday nights in the theater district.  He and his brilliant pianist, Ray Fellman, have a really cool arrangement that gives Brandon leeway to ham up some of the lyrics (which you'll see, if he can track down a video... couldn't find it on youtube). 

Frankly, I'm going into Brandon withdrawal - I've barely seen him all summer!  We get to start working together again on Wednesday and I kinda can't wait.  Anyway, his rendition of the song made me listen to it again.  All this paradox, all this indecision, all this stuff nobody has figured out just yet.  Do I put time into pursuing music directing and performing, or into writing?  Or do I get practical and try to build my teaching studio so I can have more flexibility?  I wanna be a billionaire, so f***in' bad (I learned that song the other day - fun!), I'm broke but I'm happy.  They're both true.  One hand in my pocket.  The other one playing a piano.


  1. That *turn down volume abruptly* technique wouldn't happen to be one you learned by observing how I listened to Bryan Adams' Run to You, would it ... I still do that with Certain Songs--only it's to protect my children's delicate ears these days, rather than my own backside!
    But we all still jump on hotel beds

  2. Did Bryan Adams say something naughty? Ever??