“Praying” documents Kesha’s transformation from bad girl to mature woman.

I heard this song, “Praying,” for the first time today and when I found out it was Kesha I thought I was being punked.

I’m blown away by Kesha’s transformation from her shallow, partying “Tik Tok” days to the woman she has become.  I’m also blown away by her incredible, powerful voice.  I always thought she was a lightweight vocally, more a rapper than a singer really.  How wrong I was!

The raw emotion and spiritual depth she shows here is so different from the cartoonish “bad girl” image of 2009.   She fought hard to get here.

Yes, the dollar sign in her name is gone.   It would no longer fit.   Something tells me she was never that shallow, cartoonish bad girl, but was always a butterfly struggling to emerge from its chrysalis.   I’m a fan now (though truth be told, “Tik Tok” was damn catchy).

This song is emotionally cathartic for me.   It may be for you too.

“Praying” was released last year. Kesha is a warrior who not only managed to conquer her own demons of bulimia and depression, she also held her own against a controlling and abusive manager who tried to destroy her. From her psinful struggle, she learned that it’s from the greatest pain that empathy can be born and true forgiveness can occur. Few ever learn this valuable truth. She writes:

“Praying” was written about that moment when the sun starts peeking through the darkest storm clouds, creating the most beautiful rainbow. Once you realize that you will in fact be OK, you want to spread love and healing. If you feel like someone has wronged you, get rid of that hate, because it will just create more negativity. One thing that has brought me great relief is praying for those people. Being angry and resentful will do nothing but increase your own stress and anxiety — and hate is the fuel that grows the viruses. Don’t let anyone steal your happiness!

In this emotional interview from Good Morning America, Kesha talks about her spiritual and emotional journey (and sings too).


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Stressed Out (Twenty-One Pilots): iconic anthem of the Millennials.

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Rock and pop music in recent decades (since the 1960s) have always had iconic songs and music styles that define the angst and existential concerns of generations that were coming of age when those songs and music styles were popular.   For the Boomers, it was  The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, or The Who’s “My Generation” or “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” For “Generation Jones” (my own age group) — those straddling the Boom and Gen-X (who were born approximately 1956-1966) — their iconic music was punk rock and the new wave of the early 1980s.   For Gen-X, it was Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or Alice in Chains’ “Man in a Box.”  For Gen-Y (those straddling Gen-X and Millennials), Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” or Blink 182’s music might be good examples.

What about Millennials? Since 2009 or so, rock music as we knew it seems to have died as a genre, at least on mainstream radio. It’s been usurped by EDM, hip hop influenced R&B, and pure pop.   But there are still a few mainstream bands that retain rock sensibilities (even if they’re not exactly rock) and produce music expressing this generation’s own unique sort of angst.    Twenty-One Pilots — a newish band that mixes elements of hip hop, rock, pop, and EDM — seems to get them best, and of course it doesn’t hurt the bandmembers are themselves Millennials.

I really enjoy the music of 21 Pilots, even though I’m way past Millennial age — in fact I have adult Millennial children.  Their 2015 rap-rocker, “Stressed Out,” I think captures Millennial angst best:  the feelings of pressure to succeed in a society that has made their entry into the adult world so incredibly difficult, coupled with a nostalgic longing to return to the childhood world of fantasy, when adults promised them they could be and do anything they wanted.   The bleak economic reality that faces them as they enter the adult years has proven everything they were promised they could achieve as children was a lie.    “Stressed Out” is an anthem that describes that frustrating experience that– to a lesser degree or another — affects my own kids and all of their friends.   It’s also just a great song, well-crafted, with extremely catchy hooks and very listenable.

Bad Blood (Ryan Adams — cover of Taylor Swift)

Taylor Swift is a guilty pleasure of mine (I think she’s a suberb songwriter and knows how to craft incredibly catchy songs) but I didn’t care too much for her version of “Bad Blood” from her hit “1989” album.

Sometimes covers are better than the originals.   Indie singer-songwriter Ryan Adams (not to be confused with BRYAN Adams) did this gorgeous cover of Swift’s song, which gets played a lot on our local indie station.   I like his low-keyed pop-rock arrangement of it, which sounds quite different from Swift’s upbeat dance-pop original.

Swift’s original:

Which version does everyone prefer? Let me know in the comments.

Ride (Twenty One Pilots)

I heard this song several times today during my almost 700 mile ride home, and can’t get it out of my mind.  It’s incredibly addictive and I think it’s a perfect driving song too.

I think this is one of the best songs played on mainstream pop radio I’ve heard in a LONG time–both lyrically and musically it stands above most mainstream music today.   It sounds more like indie or alternative.  I’m not even sure how you’d classify this. Is it indie rock? Indie pop?  Hip hop? Reggae?  EDM?  1980s or 1990s retro?  Something else entirely?    I’m not sure but it seems to have elements of all those genres and probably a couple others too.  Somehow it manages not to sound chaotic and disjointed–all the various genres flow together well.

Make You Better (The Decemberists)

“Make You Better” by the Decemberists is a new song but sounds like a jangle-pop song from the early ’90s (think REM, They Might Be Giants, Gin Blossoms, etc.)    I can’t stop listening to it.  The harmonies are just beautiful.    I’m not posting the official video because, frankly, I think it’s stupid and the intro makes no sense.  But someone made this trippy “visualizer” and set it to the song so I’m using that. This song makes me cry.

 

New song by NarCissistic Mary: Illuminating Dreams

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Mary Pranzatelli,narc abuse survivor and frontwoman of NarCissistic Mary

NarCissistic Mary’s indie rock songs have all been very popular on this blog and I want to help her get as many views as possible. Here is her latest, a slower tempo song called “Illuminating Dreams.” Please share!

Please follow NarCissistic Mary’s band page on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/NarCissistic-Mary-1109482479067945/?pnref=lhc

“Take Her Home”: song about homelessness and PTSD by NarCissistic Mary

I’ve posted a number of songs written and recorded by my friend Mary Pranzatelli and her band NarCissistic Mary for this blog before, but I think this one’s my favorite. It’s called “Take Her Home” and is about a homeless veteran woman suffering from PTSD who gets raped and beaten on the streets of LA. Sad lyrics but with an important message and the music sounds great!

In Mary’s own words,

[“Take Her Home” tells the story of] a female Vietnam veteran who served in the Medics in the Navy. She told me she lived on the streets in LA, and that she was raped and violently beaten.
She told me the statistics for homeless in Tent City.

African American women are homeless at a higher rate and I learned at my National Organization for Women PAC meeting that South Jersey social services neglects African American women and most often picks up white homeless women when they have shelter available. I also was told that at Tent City in LA the police sweep away the few personal belongings of these women and the often brutally take them off and incarcerate them often late at night.

Here is the song.

Follow NarCissistic Mary’s Facebook Page:

“First”–Cold War Kids

Where I live, we’re lucky enough to have a good indie rock station that plays both old and new indie and alternative rock. Most of the new stuff isn’t getting radio airplay on the more commercial stations, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There’s still good rock music being made but you have to look a little harder for it. Here’s one new song I can’t get enough of. I’m posting the lyric video–is this song a good candidate for my lists of songs about narcissism, or is it just about the end of a normal relationship?

“The Devil’s Son”: new song by NarCissistic Mary

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NarCissistic Mary, a hard/punk rock indie band my friend (and narcissistic abuse survivor) Mary Pranzatelli started after leaving her abusive relationship last year is doing well, getting lots of gigs, and now they have a brand new song: “The Devil’s Son.” Mary is the group’s frontwoman and writes all the lyrics.    I’m going to see if I can get the lyrics for this and post them here later.

Please Like their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/NarCissistic-Mary-1109482479067945/?fref=ts

Here are some more publicity photos of Mary and the band.

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Coming up: a new song by NarCissistic Mary.

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A friend of mine and fellow survivor or narcissistic abuse, who courageously started her own rock band (NarCissistic Mary) after she broke free from her narcissist even though she’s over 50, has a brand new song that’s making quite a stir on Youtube.

I’ve posted a couple of their other songs here before. They rock hard and are really good.

I’m waiting until tomorrow to post the video and new publicity photos, because I’m sleepy and have to be up for work in a few hours. Stay tuned!