A Soundtrack for the LA Commuter

3608475365_189200eaa5The normal Los Angeles commuter usually consists of people spending hours in their cars, by themselves, driving five days out of the week to get ten to twenty miles to work.  We waste an exorbitant of time alone, miserable, and constantly in a hurry to get nowhere.  It amazes me that in Los Angeles people are in such a hurry behind the wheel of a thousand pound bomb, but walking they have no sense of urgency.  Maybe it’s the New Yorker in me, but I can’t handle walking behind slow people.

Communing on the Metro you get experiences that you will never get to experience in the comfort of your own car.  Like a homeless man sleeping sprawled out over two seats, a father and a child who carry all their possessions with them in a baby carriage, or a woman passing around the same story everyday at the same time saying that she hadn’t eaten today, but will never accept food given to her only money.  In Los Angeles, I’ve learned to appreciate what I have and as I people watch on the train, moving in slow motion, you see that society is nothing but a big giant high school full of judgements.

Yesterday, there was a man on the train probably in his 60s, long white beard, balding, and kind of looked like Santa Clause who hadn’t taken a shower since last Christmas.  He seemed sad, empty, lost, and smelled a little funny.  Everyone that was sitting in a two foot vicinity moved to the opposite end of the car; except me.  He watched everyone move away and it made him sadder. He looked at me, and was waiting for the same reaction, but all I did was smile.  He smiled back and then got off the train at the next stop.

A few weeks ago there was an African-American man in his 20s that sat next to me on the train.  His friend told him that he scared me.  So, he looked me straight in the eye and asked if I was scared.  I told him that very few things scared me anymore.  We had a long conversation about work and our lives.  He grew up in LA and worked with children in the inner city and teaching them to play basketball.  I guess my point in this post is to listen to everything and everyone around you – smile, talk, and laugh with people you don’t know.  Sometimes we are so connected to technology that if the world unplugged for the day I don’t think any of us would really know how to have a normal conversation; how to truly slow down.  Society judges people based on appearance.  We are brought up in a world where people who look or dress in a certain way are more worthy of our attention.

Sometimes music can be a basis of conversation.  Full of understanding our feelings.  We never truly understand what people are going through on the outside.  Someone could be smiling and laughing, but be a complete and depressed mess on the inside.  So, I leave you with this playlist full of fifteen songs that I hope encourage you to look at people a little differently.  To slow down in more ways than one.  Change does not happen over night.  It takes year of practice.  Full of critical mistakes, being stressed out, and scars to your beautiful self, but with a little bit of real friends, images of when life was simpler when we were young, and developing close functional relationships, we can all change the way we think, act and do.

Check out the playlist here!


Bring Me Back to Doo-Wop

Doo-WopMicAll I hear from society is how my generation (the millennials) are the entitled type, technology obsessed, and selfish crazed kids of today.  I swear I had another life before being born in 1986 because everyone I have had experiences with from personal to professional has never believed my age starting from the time I was 20 to now.  I have been told I have an old soul, which means I’m mature for my age.  I am sure some of my friends would disagree with that statement considering I find shows that are meant for eleven year olds funny.  So, take me back to the 1950s where fine-knit sweaters, full skirts, and sling-back pumps were the fashion and the start of Rock n’ Roll and Doo-Wop music were coming into trend.

Meghan Trainor and Kevin Kadish have brought a twist with Trainor’s recently released pop album “Title” where each song is infused with multiple harmonies and simple instrumentation for that Doo-Wop sound, bringing all music lovers back to the life of American Bandstand, Drive-Ins, and the fearlessness of dancing in public.  Trainor’s track “Dear Future Husband” reminds me of “Runaround Sue” by Dion.  Granted “Runaround Sue” came out in 1961 and was done solo without The Belmonts, but Dion and the Belmonts started releasing Doo-Wop music in the late 1950s which included hits such as “A Teenager in Love” (1959) and “I Wonder Why” (1958).  I digress.  From the start of “Dear Future Husband” and “Runaround Sue” each song begins with a slow rhythm and begins to pick up tempo as the stage is set with the logistics of the storyline.  In Trainor’s case a man who will become her one and only and in Dion’s case a woman who he thought was his one and only.  I know ironic, but isn’t most Doo-Wop kind of ironic?  Think about it.  There is Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” (1956) or The Monotones “Book of Love” (1958).  All the Doo-Wop hits are about falling in love or broken love.  Again ironic considering they are different ends of the spectrum.

What makes Doo-Wop music so great and alluring?  Is it the smooth sound of a voice breaking through multiple harmonies?  The light and simple instrumentation keeping the beat in the background?  Is it the lyrics that are presented with emotion and passion?  I think Trainor and Kadish have brought back a sound that is heartfelt and has been missing from music for the last forty years.  Kadish, I applaud you for finally finding an artist that understood your vision on bringing back Doo-Wop.  So, is the millennial generation still bad?  Possibly.  But at least we can say we have one thing in common with the baby-boomers.  Doo-Wop is back!  The next time your parents tell you that the music today is crap just turn on Meghan Trainor.  I am sure they will fall in love (just as the world has) with her old-school classic vibrato, witty lyrics, and harmonized style.  Bring on the Doo-Wop.