I Don’t Listen to Bands, But I Love the Script

I just do.

You know people love, love lyrics because they can express their feelings–disappointment, sorrow, mirth, affection–without taking the guilt of hyperbolically exaggerating or hardship of finding the right word to do so. Lyrics are conveniently provided in both easy and complicated tunes, sometimes translated into your respective language, ready to be discovered from Google or guessed from your poor listening skill.

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Just as any language-rooted creations, lyrics have levels of quality. Some of them are brilliantly made, some are carelessly enjoyable, and some others flaw the melody instead. Consciously stereotyping (and subjectively over-generalizing), I think the best (read: meaningful) lyrics are sung by solo singers. Bands, on the other hand, tend to have easy-listening and superficially romantic lyrics.

The Script, however, is different.

They create amazing songs that, at one point or another, win when translated both literally and figuratively. Such accomplishment can only be done with certain skills and efforts. Two top examples:

If You Ever Come Back (2011)

I’ll leave the door on the latch, if you ever come back,
if you ever come back.
There’ll be a light in the hall, and a key under the mat,
if you ever come back.
There’ll be a smile on my face, and the kettle on.
And it will be just like you were never gone.

The Man Who Can’t Be Moved (2008)

Cause if one day you wake up and find that you’re missing me,
And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I could be.
Thinking maybe you’ll come back here to the place that we’d meet.
And you’ll see me waiting for you, on the corner of the street.

If you take their literal meaning, then you’ll be having scenes of sadly interesting stories. First, a guy feeling lost lets his house as it is (they key, kettle, and all) because he hopes that his girl will one day come back; second, another guy desperately waiting for his past lover on the corner of the street, immovable regardless how the society perceives and treats him.

If you see beyond and take their figurative meaning, then you can fathom these guys’ similar gloomy emotions. Both reject to move on, to find another girl, because they prefer to stay in agony, waiting for the girl who once stole their heart and still has it.

Everytime I enter their songs in the karaoke machine, my friends will go “Afuuuuu! Galau kan! Ganti!” Yet I will ignore them, remain singing until its last pitch, sometimes with Fahmi or Kiki if they’re generous enough to tag up.

Who’s with me?

My Farewell to the Magic World

The good thing about books is that they’ are perpetually there, right on your shelf. Whenever you miss a character or you want to relive a particular event in a story, you can always turn the pages and find that chapter. However, I believe that the first experience is what counts the most.

I have to say that I’m a proud fan of J. K. Rowling and the amazing 7 titles who is currently in a deep grief to completely say goodbye to her lifetime favorite series.

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I first ‘encountered’ Harry Potter at the 3rd grade (aged no more than 7, I was) on–believe it or not–Majalah Bobo. At that time, my childhood magazine published an article about ‘the book to the magic world’, and somehow the description made me feel ecstatic and believed that I have to experience the story myself.

So I went to Gramedia Padjajaran and found the 2nd book (Chamber of Secrets), yet I had to put it down for the book was too expensive. My mother doubted that I’d finish the book since it had quite too many pages for an elementary schooler like me. Then I went sick.

It’s almost like a tradition in the family that whenever their only daughter gets ill, there must be something wrong with her heart–or mind. Apparently, that time, Harry Potter was the cause. Mother finally decided to buy one, brought it home, let me read on the bed, and I got well really, really soon. I finished the book within a week or more (it was a long time ago), and couldn’t wait to buy the first book (Sorcerer’s Stone)–which I did.

I grew up believing that I was a stranded Ravenclaw, memorizing little facts and names that appeared in the books, and getting mad at by Eyang because I couldn’t move a bit whenever I started reading them. I was known as a fast-reader in the class but nobody knew that it was because I got used to Harry’s heart-pounding stories. I became familiar to grammatically-English-structured sentences (translated to Indonesian by Maam Listiani Srisanti) without really being aware of it, and unconsciously gave a huge space for the magic world in my heart and mind.

Silly–corny, you might say, bearing in mind that I’m currently 19, but I always feel myself like 9 whenever I get in touch with Hogwarts and wands.

I remember buying my last copy of Harry Potter (Deathly Hallows) on the first day of its release date, the English version, sacrificed my monthly saving, and ended up in tears the next 3 days since I realized that most part of my childhood had ended. It really did.

The fact affected me in two ways: a) I was desperately hoping that Rowling would come up with the 8th book (perhaps about their aftermath life?) and b) I repeatedly convinced myself that it has not utterly ended because there are 2 more movies worth waiting for.

So I waited–and watched Harry Potter 7 part I which turned out to be stupendous. Today, the finale is being screened in cinemas all over the world but somehow God does not want me to watch it. Indonesia still has not finished its tax issues with blockbuster movie distributors. Maybe He wanted to prolong my pseudo-waiting in despair. I tried to not care too much about it because the book had ended anyway–although, it really puts me in galauness to perceive that my friends are watching it abroad and I’m stuck with my works here.

Good bye, Harry Potter. Good bye Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. Good bye, our not-so-charming hero Serverus Snape. Good bye and be good, Voldemort. Let’s meet up again someday. This time, Ravenclaw will play the most part.

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.” –Edward P. Morgan

One Day a Book

The holiday has finally arrived! (Yeah, tell me about that.)

Since my jobs still occupy me as much as they did beforehand, holiday only changes my ‘weekdays’ and ‘weekends’ into one label of ‘weekdays’. The holiday makes no difference on the practical level, thus I decided to make my own project–or I should say target–so that the upcoming months would actually be filled with some fun and not mere works.

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“You see, books fill the empty spaces. If I’m waiting for a bus, or when I’m eating alone, I can always rely on a book to keep me company. Sometimes I think I like them even more than people.” –Marc Acito

Out of the blue, I got an idea to have One Day A Book (although it does sound weird, compared to the usual form of One Book A Day, I guess I just want to have it that way). The basic concept is to have circadian reading on one paperback per day during 31 days of the whole July (or, August, if I can’t make it early), which is preferably 1) fiction, 2) 100-200 paged, and 3) any genre is acceptable.

So I throw the idea to Twitter, and I was so delighted to see that most of my friends are amazing readers! Here goes the already arranged list of books that they recommended:

  1. Catcher in the Rye – J.D.Salinger
  2. Franny and Zooey – J.D.Salinger
  3. Essays in Love – Alaine de Botton
  4. Blindness – Saramago
  5. Eragon – Paolini
  6. Lolita – Nabokov
  7. A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
  8. Doctors – Erich Segal
  9. The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman
  10. Kafka On The Shore – Haruki Murakami
  11. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
  12. Perks of Bing a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  13. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  14. The Solomon’s Ring
  15. Twenty Love Poems and Song of Despair
  16. The United Burger States of America
  17. The Gulag Archipelago
  18. Never Let Me Go
  19. Panggil Aku Kartini Saja
  20. Manjali and Cakrabirawa
  21. The Little Prince
  22. God Explains in A Taxi Ride
  23. Life is Good If We Don’t Weaken
  24. Howards End and A Room With a View – E. M. Forster’s
  25. Siddhartha
  26. The Stranger/The Outsider
  27. Homage To Catalonia
  28. 1984
  29. Dr.Zhivago
  30. San Fransisco Blues
  31. On The Road
  32. Stone Woman
  33. Le Fleurs de Mal
  34. The Grand Design
  35. Sofie’s Verden – Jostein Gaarder
  36. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  37. Leviathan – Thomas Hobbes
  38. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
  39. Tipping Points, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw – All Malcom Gladwell’s
  40. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
  41. Art of War – Sun Tzu
  42. Arthashastra – Kautilya
  43. Annie On My Mind – Nancy Garden
  44. The First Men On The Moon – H. G. Wells
  45. The Lost Symbol, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Deception Point, Digital Forters – All Dan Brown’s
  46. Brave New World Revisited – Aldous Huxley
  47. History of Love – Nicole Krauss
  48. Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky
  49. Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
  50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  51. On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan

The underlined titles are read already, but surely there are many of them left to explore! So yes, challenge-accepters are all welcome (some people actually mentioned me saying that they would also do One Day A Book).

The next obstacle might be on how we’re gonna find those books. Well, some people informed me that both Pasar Festival and Blok M possess decent secondhand bookstores, so there might be treasures that we can find there. Or, library.nu is always there for you who appreciate writers yet do not possess that much of capital to afford the printed version.

Believe me, every good writer was formerly a good reader–actually, many of them still visit the library from time to time. I’ll suggest you to never take advices from professional writers–or anyone else–on how to become a good writer, because it will never work. The only way to get there is by taking extensive readings and find your own style.

That’s how truly great writers really do it.

Citation Provided

Words are already beautiful when they stand alone, yet the effect gets a hundred times stronger when they line up and form certain sentences. Here go several quoted ideas that deserve a big win!

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“When a language is lost—meaning no living person can teach another—a world perspective is lost. Some foreign language expressions simply cannot be translated. Colloquial phrases are pleasant to the ear, not only because they are familiar, but also because they reflect a unique aspect of a culture. … There are 50 different words that mean ‘snow’ in Canadian native language, and in the Eastern Arrerntre language of Central Australia the word nyimpe translates to ‘the smell of rain’.” —The Exodus of Language, Jessica Kwik (1998)

“Menarik lho! Misalnya, dalam bahasa Jepang untuk mengatakan hujan ada banyak kata, shigure, samidare, dan tsuyu.. Sementara dalam bahasa Inggris hanya ada rain. Tapi sebaliknya, domba dan anak domba dalam bahasa Inggris dibedakan menjadi sheep dan lamb. Bahasa Cina, kuda yang hitam disebut Han dan yang dahinya putih disebut Di. Dengan kata lain, hal yang penting dalam kehidupannya dan cara berpikir orang-orang yang menggunakan itu, terungkap dalam kata-kata..” —QED #6, Sou Yu (who sounds a lot like the SMA-me)

“I don’t write for readers; I don’t think many writers do–I don’t think any, They say they do, don’t they? But…well, I only write for myself, and when somebody says: “Oh, your book has given me so much pleasure,” I just think, “How peculiar.” I don’t know what to say. Of course I don’t say that; I smile and say “How nice.” –but I think I’d have written books whether they were published or not. I just liked writing.” —Beryl Bainbridge

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.” Edward P. Morgan

Sing These Kick-Ass Lines

“I don’t listen to songs…I read their lyrics.” –Melissa Indria Pertiwi

Truth be told, I didn’t really perceive myself as a ‘lyrics-reader’ until I read such sentence on a friend’s blog. By that time, I realized why, most of the times, my friends don’t enjoy songs that I dearly do. I mean, I feel good listening to Bruno Mars, Michael Buble, or Rihanna, and more to follow, but I’m not necessarily absorbed by the song. I just don’t. Then I discovered the reason: it’s the lyrics!

So, in a quest of geeks-with-similar-thoughts, I’ll share my five best songs (all of them are pretty much induced with perplexing metaphors):

1. A Beautiful Mess – Jason Mraz

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You are strong but you’re needy, humble but you’re greedy
Based on your body language and shoddy cursive I’ve been reading
Your style is quite selective, though your mind is rather reckless
Well I guess it just suggest that this is just what happiness is

Hey, what a beautiful mess this is
It’s like picking up trash in dresses

The lyrics itself–can’t find a better phrase to describe–is a beautiful mess. Some people may need to take another angle in ‘seeing’ these lines in order to understand their truest beauty (if not handsomeness), yet once they do, they’ll get intoxicated. Like a maze in which you wish to get trapped forever.

2. Like A Star – Corinne Bailey Rae

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Just like a star across my sky
Just like an angel off the page
You have appeared to my life
Feel like I’ll never be the same
Just like a song in my heart
Just like oil on my hands
Honored to love you

I always admire Corinne and how she puts clouds that I have in mind into vivid, concrete lines. From all possible personification you may use to describe a guy you fall in love with, ‘oil in my hands’ would hardly pop up. Yet this amazing British girl is simply different.

3. The Man Who Can’t Be Moved – The Script

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Going back to the corner where I first saw you
Gonna camp in my sleeping bag, I’m not gonna move
Got some words on cardboard, got your picture in my hands
Saying if you see this girl, can you tell her where I am

People talk about the guy
Who’s waiting on a girl, oh whoa
There are no holes in his shoes
But a big hole in his world

One of the hardest thing that a man should do, to my shallow observation, is to admit that they’re weak. So weak that they’re afraid to move on from a girl they used to be in so very love with. Yet The Script wrapped it all subtly in a song that tells the listener (or I’d prefer reader) how they really feel without actually showing how soft their heart is. A gentle warrior holding on in a battle they know they already lost. Deep.

4. Thinking of You – Katy Perry

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Comparisons are easily done once you’ve had a taste of perfection
Like an apple hanging from a tree, I picked the ripest one I still got the seed
You said move on, where do I go?
I guess the second best is all I will know

You’re like an Indian summer in the middle of the winter
Like a hard candy with a surprise center
How do I get better once I’ve had the best
You said there’s tons of fish in the water so the water I will test

Even without the strong story (of a woman whose husband died in a war and had to struggle with a new man in her life) attached to this song, I can already sense the ‘grandiose-ness’ of its lyrics. So far this is the best potion-of-words Katy can ever come up with. The soft images it stimulates your mind with, the pain it induces your heart with, and the relieved feeling you’ll get afterwards. Priceless.

5. My Today – D’Sound

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And I love you, my today
And I love you, my tomorrow
And I forgive you, yesterday
For the treachery and evil ways
I love you my, I love you my today

A song I dearly treasure for days when I doubt if I deserve what I have and if I deserve to wish for things I don’t have. A plainly beautiful song to let go. To love your today, tomorrow, and to forgive yesterday. Indescribable.

That’s it for now. Make sure you have these songs on your playlist!