Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A New Thought For Christmas

Christmas is here!!! At least in my heart it's now officially Christmas everyday. Except for devoted Christians, I think nowadays Christmas isn't so much about the birth of Jesus anymore. Jesus wasn't exactly born on December 25th, anyway. Christmas now represents all the good things the birth of Jesus brings: hope for humankind, love - as the basic of all his teachings, and peace on earth, like it is in heaven. For me it'll always be like that. And whenever I feel so much hope, love, and peace in my heart, it's Christmas time!

No word can express my excitement when I heard that Melissa's gonna make a Christmas album, and I read this:

"What if someone made a Christmas album for everybody else? That's exactly what Melissa Etheridge has done. Working alongside her producer David Cole, Melissa's songs celebrate a spiritual time of year where people can rejoice in their traditional, or non-traditional ways, and celebrate a winter solstice filled with love and peace. This ten song album has newly composed songs such as "Ring The Bells," "Light A Light," and "It's Christmas Time" interspersed with traditional holiday standards such as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Blue Christmas." This album begs the question, "If we're all talking about peace on earth, what if we all concentrated on peace on earth and made it happen?""

I waited like crazy before I finally found the album... illegally. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Melissa... but I've tried, ok, I've gone to every place that sells CDs within the range of my knowledge, money, and foot strength. It made me wonder to no end how on earth some people in my country have got their hands on the CD and sproud the rips while it's only been out in USA for 13 days and in Holland for 3 days... and it's hard to find the CD, many people in the forum said so. Well, whatever, anyway I'm thankfull cause finally I could listen to my most cherished Christmas album ever. Nothing less than what I hoped Melissa would deliver. Oh well, I wished there were more songs in the album and more Melissa's original. :p

1. Blue Christmas
I dare say I'm never a blues music fan. But I used to say I was never a rock 'n roll fan either. Well, never say never in case of music - and Melissa, I guess. If she start to sing dangdut I might fall in love with dangdut too. Lol. FYI, dangdut is the music of my country. Lol. Well, you can searched for more information online. Not that I'm discriminating dangdut music, but I take offense of most of its music and lyrics, more often than not, it's degrading women. Back to the blues, I've never heard 'Blue Christmas' being sung so bluesy. Beautiful, Mel, beautiful. I can imagine listening to this song on Christmas eve at home when it's raining outside. If I heard this song six or seven years ago, it'd be perfect with my mood. Lol. For now it's just really really relaxing.

2. Glorious
From the first time I listened to this song (30 seconds sample from I knew I'm gonna love it. Indeed I loooooove it. The first song in the album that's Melissa's original, and it's simply gorgeous. It's a... I don't know what to call it, but it's using some melody from 'Gloria in Exelcis Deo'. But the lyric is 'loooooove, looooove, loooooove, it's glorious'. What struck me the most of the lyric is 'Believe in heavenly peace'. The second I hear that line being sung, I realize that I do believe in heavenly peace.

3. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Ah, the happiness of Christmas! Melissa absolutely rocks this classic and I can almost hear her smiling and having a blast singing this song. Jumpy and everything, much like a lover being excited and can't wait for the other lover to come home. Beautiful, beautiful, and FUN!!! Absolutely love it!

4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
The first time I read that this song will be in the album, I almost cried. I've ever listened to Melissa singing this song, on Camp Christmas 1993, and though it was group-singing, I could hear Melissa's voice so clearly. I thought it was probably a traditional Christmas song most fitted to Melissa's voice. And damn, I'm right a big time! It's absolutely divine! Absolutely my favorite of this album. Well, besides 'Glorious', 'Ring The Bells', 'Christmas'... well, forget it. I've tried a zillion times to try and find my absolute favorite Melissa's song and failed. But dammit, I really really really love this one!

5. Ring The Bells
I've blogged about this one, haven't I? Oh well, I don't care, I'll write praises again and again for this song. I love this song more than just musically, but considering that it's sung (and written) by an American and a Pakistan. And it's not just that. The music blends. Some may get confused at first, 'Huh? An Arabian music in a Christmas album?' Well it started that way, but as the song goes on, it's not just Arabian music, it's a beautiful blend between a Christmas-ish song and an Islamic religious song. But it's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! It's really all about peace. It's about 'let's go further now than we've ever gone before'. "I know peace begins with me." "Ring the bells, ring the bells of change. Ring the bells, every boy and every girl. Ring the bells, ring the bells of peace, all over the world." To Salman and Melissa: you guys ROCK!!!!!

6. Merry Christmas Baby
Damn, I should've expected this. In every album, Melissa ALWAYS puts in a sexy song. Lol. This is a classic though I've never heard it before. Again I can almost see Melissa grinning while she recorded this song. It's indeed fun. I don't love this song as much as the others, but it's still gonna be on my playlist for a while.

7. Christmas In America
I've loved this song since I first heard it as a music video interpretation a fan made. I can imagine how the mothers, wives, and families of the soldiers in Iraq must feel when they listen to this song on Christmas. "It's Christmas all around here, you're in someone else's land. So I send my only wish, hey Santa, tell the man. Hey mister, send my baby home, this December I don't wanna be all alone. Oh, Christmas in America, I need you in my arms, far away from harm.
Mister, send my baby home." And a message of peace: "What happens to the peace on earth, all the goodwill towards men? Oh c'mon all ye faithful, it's time to think again."

8. Light a Light
'Tis the season of change. The title of this song is the most haunting one from the track list. Everytime I light the candles where I work, I chant 'light a light' like a mantra. Dunno why, really. But here's the message that really makes me want to light a light in my own heart: "Heaven is inside, it's all around, not just above. Choose only love." Just a glimpse of information to help you appreciate the 'choose only love' part: Melissa always believes that there are only two main forces and/or feelings in this world, one is love and the other is fear. Every choice we make is based on those two basic feelings, and everytime we should choose only love, cause it will bring us to the truth, and the truer we're being to ourselves, the better the outcome in the long term will be. Be strong, speak true, eh?

9. It's Christmas Time
Ah, the straight rockin' song. I don't have to learn to dance, all I need is Melissa's grooving songs! Lol. Fa lalalalala, it's Christmas time!!! Happy groovin'.

10. O Night Divine
I read lots of review about Philip's guitar solo to 'O Holy Night' but unfortunately I'm not gifted with the ability to appreciate electric guitar. Anyway, 'O Holy Night' actually has a special memory for me, but Melissa doesn't sing it. She sings something else, I don't know if it's her original or it's a classic, but that song has the same chord progression with 'O Holy Night' and ends with 'O night diviiiiiiiiiiine' which Melissa sings oh so divinely. Anyway, a beautiful ending to a beautiful Christmas album.

I so waaaant to write so much more about Christmas and about this album, but it's almost dawn so I'd better sleep. Some of the songs here could lull me to the dreamland and make me sleep like a baby. Oh well. Sleep in heavenly peace, huh? I hope you all will sleep in heavenly peace too tonight. Goodnight, and sleep tight.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh My Beloved Country

Only at times like this I love my country so much. And for all the wrong reason, but do I care? No. Well, I've been searching for Melissa's new Christmas album EVERYWHERE. Online and offline. Buying or stealing. And finally I get it. FROM MY OWN COUNTRY. Amazing, really, considering that the album has only been out in USA for 13 days and in Netherlands for only 3 days. Really, amazing. But I'm not complaining. It's freakin amazing!!! The bad thing is only that it's 8 o'clock in the morning and I haven't closed my eyes since 11 am the day before. Dammit. Gotta sleep. I'll bore you with a brand new review of the album tomorrow. Gosh. I'll be sleeping in a heavenly peace now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm Just Fine

It's been a long time since I feel like writing. So many things are going on in my mind and my heart but I just go back to the 'empty' mode. Do you ever do that to yourselves too? I think I started learning how to make myself feel nothing since I was in junior high school. I'm not sure why but I got picked a lot at that time. Actually I got picked a lot too in kindergarten and in early years of elementary school so it's not a completely new thing... but back to the topic, it's then that I learned to empty myself out. I learned how to not flinch at pain, I learned how not to show emotion no matter how sad or disturbed I was. I wasn't just that I kept it inside me, I kind of took all the emotion and throw them all away. My first love in senior high school actually was the one to break through the walls I put around me and I learned to feel again, only to have that walls up again in second year when I lost her. And then in college I decided to start all over again and I learned to put the walls up and down depending on the circumstances. Especially since I know Melissa, I let out more of myself in the name of health, I don't wanna sow cancer or other diseases in my body.

But the method of emptying myself out is still useful to me, especially in times like this. Right now I'm forced to live IN THE SAME ROOM and work with her for one year. She's acid, totally acid. She's the type of person who normally I wouldn't touch with a ten-feet pole. She's not completely a bad person, and she might be good for others, but she's clearly not good for me. I just don't get her. How can she accused me of having a heart of stone after I said 'I don't care, it's not my business' to her saying that a pizza place has no tables, and so where do the customers are supposed to eat? I don't get it when she said I'm egoistical and measured everything by my own standards when I woke her 15 minutes before we went to train station. I mean, she's a grown up so if she wanted more time, she should wake up by herself, right? Plus, there are THREE alarms went off and I've already asked her if she wanted breakfast. And she woke up everyday 15 minutes before work so what's the difference, rite? And that's why I have to empty myself out to survive. You see, even people who loves each other face lots of problems when they start living together. We've got a whole lots more of troubles, trust me.My love life isn't much better. It kinda went on and off all the while. At first we didn't talk that much, then we got closer and I started liking her better and she went on vacation, then she came back and we got closer again and then she stopped because she had a new job, and it had been a month before I saw her again yesterday. It sucks, let me tell you. First you didn't expect much cause you haven't know each other that much, then as you got to know each other you had a kind of crush on her and she went away for a while, and then when she came back you started to try getting closer to her, impress her and flirt a bit, and you know that you make a good teamwork with her. Then she stopped working with you, and you felt down and tried to forget her, then suddenly she reappeared in your life and you just don't know what to expect anymore, cause suddenly you're in love with her again.I really have no idea what I should do. She might even already has a boyfriend or a guy she likes, though her status still reveals 'single'. I beated her in a game she taught me and she looked kinda down afterwards. But she still invited me to walk her dogs with her, which is actually my favorite moments with her cause we're all alone and I got to enjoy the nature for a moment. It always ended too soon for my liking. Damn. I knew I'm whipped when I couldn't get mad at her for not keeping her promise to me.

Well, there's a good news too. I met a friend of a freind of mine and he saluted me cause he heard how I was doing in my previous training in Indonesia. It was only for three months, but it's very flattering and makes me very proud to hear that I'm remembered in such a good note.

Oh yeah, I smile a lot whenever I watch this video: This song is called I've Got You by Melange Lavonne. I found this video by chance, and I'm in no way a rap/hip-hop fan, but the two videos she made are really touching and the songs are good, so I'll keep an eye on her. Watch this video, trust me. She wrote a song about the family she would like to have someday, imagining taking her kids to the park... saving money to send her children to college. Haha... after I listen to this song I wanted to write a song like this on my own. I've written a wedding song for myself, though I haven't had a bride-to-be just yet, but I haven't written a 'family' song. Well it's still too far away in my mind, besides Melissa has put it down beautifully in 'Truth of The Heart' and 'A Truthful Lullaby', two songs she wrote for her kids. I think I relate to 'I've Got You' more for now, though, cause in the lyrics she admitted that "You weren't even here yet, and I'm preparing myself, yo, I'm trying to give you the best, like love and health (?), so I'm doing everything that I can, even though they keep telling me raising kids is a woman and man."

Ok, that's about all I want to write down for today. Even this I had to squeeze out of my memory. Well see ya sometimes.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas


A New Thought For Christmas has been released. Sometimes I feel it's unfair. I love Melissa as much as any of her fans does, but I can't get her new CD ontime, I can't go to her CD Releasing Party, I don't have any of her souvenirs, I'm not a member of the MEIN, I can't buy her song books, and while I've travelled half the world, I still can't go to her Awakening concerts. Half of the problem is that I don't have a credit card. Well, I have one but it's in Rupiah and my parents will kill me if I use that for buying things from MEIN. Now that I have my own money in Euro I still can't buy them cause I don't have a credit card (it costs A LOT and I'm only here for one year, so what's the point???) and the shipping cost is still A LOT. Oh, and one other bummer: I can't find her live DVDs except for the Live and Alone, and even that one I suspect isn't the version a huge fan would like to have. Internet is my only salvation for videos and audios for interviews and appearances and such. Big thanks to the internet boardies!

Okay, enough with the complaining. I've got a pretty good internet connection here so I can even stream 'Ring The Bells' from the source. Haha. And I can listen to 30 seconds samples. The song I like most from the samples are 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' and 'Glorious'. I don't know if my opinion would change once I listen to the whole CD, I'll make sure I write a review of the whole CD. But I doubt I'll have just one favorite. It never happens to me with Melissa. I never have any favorite of her songs.

What strikes me most about 'Ring The Bells' is that she did it with Salman Ahmad from Pakistan. It's heartwarming to me to listen to an Eastern moslem sings about peace with a Western lesbian. It's almost like hearing a peaceful duet between America and Iraq. The song itself has an Arabian atmosphere to it... which is strange at first cause I was expecting a Christmas song, but as the song goes on, it blends in beautifully, including Ahmad's Qawwali. This song doesn't need to be played in a Christmas setting, this is as much a peaceful anthem like 'We Are The World', but when I close my eyes and imagine Melissa and Salman sing together on stage decorated with Christmas tree and all of those red and green Christmas decoration on fake snow, maybe even with a background choir dressed as angels each holding a bell and ringing it during the song... well, it makes a very beautiful Christmas song. Gotta admit, my Christian friends may not like it cause it tells nothing about Jesus being born. But what the heck??? How many 'traditional' Christmas songs actually talk about the birth of Jesus? Jinggle Bells? Frosty The Snowman? Blue Christmas? White Christmas? I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus? We Wish You A Merry Christmas? Well I forget the lyrics to many Christmas songs... but my point is the same. There are many Christmas songs which don't necessarily talk about the birth of Jesus, but they focus on love, peace, and hope on earth. And that's what Melissa and Salman do.

Oh, come to think of it, there are one more song I've heard in this album. 'Christmas in America'. It's been released in 'The Road Less Traveled' before, so it's not completely new. I love that song too, and I bet many of the wives and mothers and families of the soldiers going to Iraq love that song more. "It's Christmas all around here, you're in someone else's land. So I send my only wish, hey Santa, tell the man. Hey mister, send my baby home, this December I don't wanna be all alone. Oh, Christmas in America, I need you in my arms, far away from harm. Mister, send my baby home."

I've ever heard Melissa sang 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' in Camp Christmas 1994, I think. She only sings about two lines solo, but damn how I love it. It was wonderful! When I saw the title on the tracklist, I KNEW I was going to sing lots and lots of 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' this year.

Okay, so that's two and a half songs down ( I count the HYAMLC as half coz I only heard her version a decade ago and it's not solo), that makes 7.5 songs more to go. Wonderful. I read a story of a fan who was waiting for her lover on the car with open window and people were looking at her in a strange way, and then she realized that she was rocking to 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' on October 1st!!! LMAO. That could very well be me if I've got my hand on the CD just yet.

Aaargh, ok, I'm sleepy, time to sleep. See ya around.