taking a page out of Julia's book....

Sometimes when you take a journey of sorts, you forget to include the things that you want to learn more about, instead of just catering to the masses and being as touristy as possible. But I don't believe a journey would be a journey without a touch of self-reflection.

Initially when I started the project, I spent so much time wondering what everyone else would give me....but what about myself? I get so lost in my musical niche that I forget to include the possibility of contributing my own ideas to stops along the way. It wasn't until I was a couple days into this project that I realized I also needed to provide a challenge for myself. Music that I would enjoy learning more about, yet I never had the chance to listen to.

While watching Julie & Julia for what felt like the 50th time, I started to think about French music from the 1940's and 1950's. Sure, I do love American music from the 40's and 50's, but just the thought of music in another language, it's something I've never considered listening to until now. I didn't know where to start with it, but I figured that with a little bit of research and some time, I had a good chance of coming across something I'd enjoy.

Starting with popular movies and glancing at their soundtracks, my first toe in the water started with Charles Trenet. The first time I had watched the movie French Kiss, I fell in love with the song Verlaine by Trenet. It was the scene where Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan's characters were dancing before Ryan went to try and win her ex-boyfriend back. Getting the chance to listen to a song outside of a movie was very enlightening, as it gave me the opportunity to hear the song in its entirety. And if there's one other thing I can admit about the idea of music in another language, it's the mellow mood it creates.

From just listening to the first song, I imagined myself outside on a deck with a glass of wine and lit candles, something that I find pertinent to good music: the ability to envision a moment you'd listen to that kind of music. There's a richness and decadence that comes from listening to French singers....a quality to the music that in today's music, has pretty much vanished. Then after listening to just one song, I located another Trenet classic, La Mer. And just like with the first pick, I was able to imagine a similar scenario. It was oddly comforting, despite the fact that I had no clue what the English translation was. All I knew is that I could find balance and harmony in the music....and possibly fell a little bit in love too.

My mother was helpful in my quest for French artists, especially when I told her about my project and what I hoped to accomplish. After explaining just how beauty and endearment of Trenet's music, she told me that if I truly wanted to appreciate French music, I would need to listen to Edith Piaf. And taking her suggestion, I dove even deeper into l'amour with this stop on my path.

As I started to listen to one of Piaf's signature songs, Hymne a l'amour, it dawned on me: even in life, it's important to come out of your comfort zone. With music, my tastes may be eclectic, yet I've always been drawn to certain types of music. And in this instance, I challenged myself with music that I may have never given a chance unless I started this project. We all tend to try and stay in what we feel is comfortable and safe, with no knowledge that there could be something better out there. It's just easier to hide and not take chances.....

But what then? If you don't start something and try to see it through, you'll never learn anything. Just like Julia Child was persistent in earning her degree from Le Cordon Bleu and writing a French cookbook for Americans, I realized that my own persistence in continuing to pursue new music that I stumble upon is just as important. It helps me grow, learn more about who I am as a person, and become that person I've always known I could be. I've found new things that cause me to break free and step outside my box. I feel like it will take me exactly where I need to be in my career.

And I'm sure that by the end of all of this, my iTunes account will be full of wonderful music....and probably bankrupt me.

~Jenny Rockstar


And these highways are in so many songs........

Sometimes, it's hard to place the music I've received (so far) into specific entries. Frankly, it's a challenge to which I must admit a little defeat. But it makes me grateful that some of my friends have been able to give me such interesting (and awesome) choices in new music. And so, for a little treat today, as one does when they do "sightseeing", I'm going to talk about someone who has given me more music than I know what to do with! Very much like a tour guide. 

I first met Nick when Matt's band starting playing Wednesday nights during the summer at the bar/restaurant he works at. Gradually, we started joking around and talking during those Wednesday nights, yet it wasn't until this year when I found out just how much he loves music. He was one of the first people to give me suggestions for my music project and upon that initial request, has continued to send me music every few days since then. (Hell, come November, we'll be going to see Roger Waters perform The Wall at the Izod Center....talk about coincidence!)

While I had originally thought that it was going to be nothing but a classic rock experience, as he does love Pink Floyd and Billy Joel, I have found so far that most of the music that Nick has given me goes beyond what I could imagine. At first, there was some Ray LaMontagne and Jeff Buckley, two artists that I have come to enjoy listening to when I need a mellow mood for writing. Then came some Woodstock-era music with Richie Havens and Melanie, taking me back to my classic rock roots. But what really surprised me was the Rachael Yamagata and Shawn Mullins, two artists that I believe most with a Y chromosome would never really listen to. 

As I kept receiving suggestion after suggestion, I gave feedback on my favorites, shared a video or two that I found, and even continued further with certain musicians that really caught me aurally. I wasn't just given a roadmap on the journey....I was handed key "sightseeing" stops along the way. 

Most importantly, Nick has listened to what I was looking for and as a result, I have found a lot of new music that has made it onto my "to download" list in the future. It seems the more I continue to venture down this path, I'm finding more and more artists that I like. Music I may have never given a chance to before are going to become part of my iTunes collection in the future. (And for those interested in some interesting music, do listen to Martin Sexton while you're at it!)

But even better than that, I've learned that sometimes people surprise you with what they like. Appearances can't always tell you what music someone listens to. It requires more thought than that. Yet when you do find out about those little tidbits, you take more away from the experience that you had originally hoped. And for that, I appreciate my friend more for sharing his musical spirit. 

~Jenny Rockstar


experimenting....not just for druggies

The first time I had ever seen Frank Zappa, it was on an episode of The Monkees. He had made an appearance on the final episode of the show, dressed up as Mike Nesmith (with green wool cap) while Nesmith dressed up as him. At the time, I had no clue what was going on, or who Frank Zappa was. But unbeknownst to me, Zappa and Nesmith were friends at the time, which was part of the reason why he was on the show. Their mock interview ended in the trashing of a car on set, Mother People playing in the background. 

Before this project, I had never bothered to listen to Frank Zappa or find out anything more about him. All I had known is that he had a guest appearance on a television show (and a movie)....and nothing more. Yet, in keeping with the importance of my project, I decided to give myself a lesson in the avant-garde. Zappa, apparently, was very well known for his interest in creating music that went beyond the norm. Using different instruments, sounds, and even stranger vocals, he captured music in a way that very few had before him. 

Now with many suggesting Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention to me, one of my friends told me that if I really wanted to learn more about Zappa, I needed to listen to We're Only In It For The Money. So today, after collecting more "souvenirs" along my path, I decided to let go just a little and spend some time understanding the avant-garde lifestyle.

While I thought the song Revolution #9 by The Beatles was pretty far out there, it doesn't compare to Frank Zappa! Strange phrases? Check. Use of unconventional sounds? Check. Songs that string together but don't necessarily make sense? Check. For lack of better phrasing, I found Zappa to be a bit of a mind-fuck with the way he created music.

Yet, as strange as it may be, I found that Zappa created the music that he envisioned. And that is something beautiful in itself. His fascination with experimental melodies were a big thing during the 60's. The Beatles did it, The Beach Boys did it too. (In fact, the album cover for We're Only In It For The Money paid homage to The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.) Its success during this time helped pave the way to different harmonies and variations on what we call music today. As always, I learned something too.

Music doesn't always need to fit into a neat, harmonizing package. It doesn't need to make sense to everyone. Music can be defined differently by every person, deemed meaningful in various ways. Whether it be in the lyrics, or the singer, or even the instrumentation used. Zappa wasn't exactly one of my favorites to listen to, but I wouldn't discount him either. Because after all, he was suggested as a note-worthy artist. With that being said, another entry in my travel blog....ready to see where the next stop takes me.

~Jenny Rockstar


in the summertime......

Sometimes trying to be a daily blogger on this site can be hard.......or at least that's how I feel when it comes to coming up with new material to write. Most of the time, I just can't find the words (or the time) to talk about things on a day-to-day basis.......I take those words back right now.

As summer comes to that final leg of August, I took another break on my journey, pulled out my roadmap, and started to contemplate my next step. And it occurred to me that even though I'm on this music experience of a lifetime, keeping true to my regular entries would be a great way to continue writing when I need a break from all the new music I have been pushing myself to listen to.

Yet summer has lingered on my mind lately......and all of the music that I tend to associate with it. Sure, it could be as simple as looking up some of the standard summer tunes people long to hear during this time, but I'm not just your average person. The summer is more than just the themes of the music. It's all about the attitude, the body of work, the feelings you get when you listen to the song. It's more than just drinks with umbrellas, a closet full of tank tops and shorts, and nights of digging your toes into the sand. It's a state of mind, a feeling from deep within, that relaxation and calm that comes with listening to the waves and smelling freshly fried funnel cake.

In summer fashion, I have thrown away structure (i.e., Top Ten) and focused on a variety of songs that I feel embody what I look for in summer music. So here are my top 13 songs that compliment my personal summer soundtrack.

Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy - A bit off what I would consider my musical expertise path, but one has not really lived until hearing this classic romantic period piece from Debussy. The instrumental themes in Clair de Lune build like the ebb and flow of the ocean waves.....gradually building, then growing to the climax before pulling back again. It reminds me of a wistful, dream-like experience, which is what summer is to most who relax and enjoy it. 

Dream A Little Dream of Me by The Mamas & The Papas - I'll admit, when it comes to The Mamas & The Papas, it's difficult to pick just one song that embodies summer for me. Why is that? Because their West Coast style bears summery themes. Who else would talk about dancing and California with such passion and adoration? 

The Escape by Rupert Holmes - I always find it amusing when people automatically draw a blank upon mention of this song. Yet when the chorus hits....just about every classic 70's rock fan will sing along....drunkenly, if possible. But this song is more than just about Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. It's the story in the song. The way Holmes describes the characters falling in love all over again, even though they are not aware that they are responding to each other through the ad. It alludes to how a little bit of mystery in the relationship has brought back that spark that they once shared before it made them stray a little for something more exciting. 

Better Together by Jack Johnson - What better way to incorporate summer themes into modern music? This Hawaiian native has been on the scene for over a decade or so, yet until recently (around the time of Curious George hitting theaters), Johnson became a household name. His catchy island-style rhythms & harmonies resonate throughout this song, almost reminiscent of the elusive summer romance.

Wouldn't It Be Nice by The Beach Boys - Another classic example of musicians who embody that summer/fun vibe through any of their music. The Beach Boys are iconic and popular for their song themes about girls, surfing, and cool classic cars. Yet instead of choosing one of those standard themes, I decided to go with something from their breakaway album Pet Sounds. It's just proof that it doesn't matter what the Beach Boys are singing about; their music will transcend and fit the mold any day.

La Mer/Verlaine by Charles Trenet - As part of my journey, these selections would be the first (two) songs that I would add from my own education. Branching out into new territory, I challenged myself with learning more about 1940's and 1950's French music....settling into the soulful, creature comforts of Charles Trenet. His voice oozes classic summer with a martini or glass of wine at a boat party on the French Riviera. A more sophisticated palate, but one that just seems so fitting on a night where the stars are out and the temperatures cool enough to open all the windows while sipping a glass of my favorite Pinot Noir. 

Urge for Going by Joni Mitchell - Break out my inner hippie, Joni Mitchell has come onto the scene! I have always enjoyed her folksy singer/songwriter style....and this song is no exception. Whereas every once in a while I feel the need to be sophisticated, I also feel the need to put my toes in the grass, run in the rain, and feel the sun beat down onto my face. Mitchell captures that campfire acoustic vibe all too well.

Hotel California by The Eagles - Cue the epic masterpiece. While Hotel California really has no summer-style themes, it always seems to me that this is the one song that most patrons long to hear when they're at an outdoor beach bar. Originally about American decadence/hedonism and its downfall, Henley's voice captures the voice of the narrator perfectly in this ballad. You hear him talk about stopping at this hotel along the way, bleary-eyed and weary from his travels. Yet as he's there, the strange happenings begin to unravel before him and when he goes to leave, he finds that no matter what he does, he will never be able to fully put the hotel behind him....he has become a part of it.

Here Comes The Sun by George Harrison - I would be remiss if I didn't include this musical gem on my list. After all, a Beatles song is perfect for any season! But this one? Definitely a necessity for the summer......simply because it signifies the beginning of wonderful times ahead! When I think about the summer, I feel it's a time of refreshing one's soul, a time to put all that has happened behind you in order to move forward in life. A clean slate for what's to come......and it shall be exciting!

Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael - If you couldn't tell, I have a thing for older music. Just the way it captures innocence and beauty all within its melody......astounding. The vibe being reminiscent of a Great Gatsby-esque party, champagne and an evening gown. Or even just a nice bubble bath, with the candles lit.....and a nice chilled glass of Chardonnay. I consider it my more mellow selection of the summer, when one wants to just unwind and relax for a while.

You and I Both by Jason Mraz - Just like Jack Johnson, Mraz is an artist who is able to be considered a summer-style performer. Anything I could have suggested of his would be fitting for this list. Yet I chose this song particularly for the fact that it was the summer of 2003 the first time I had heard it. His guitar style is classic, his voice is light and clear, and his music makes me feel like being at the beach on a warm summer night. During the winter, when I need that summer boost, I can always rely on Mraz to take me back there....zeppoles not included.

I'll Be Seeing You by Billie Holiday - This is the true "lady" of music.......and her style can be adapted to fit any season! But I feel this fits in the idea of summer romance....when you're saying goodbye and knowing that you'll think of that person whenever you're around something that reminds you of them. Call me a hopeless romantic, if you will, but just popping in some Lady Day and dancing with your significant other, it's timeless.

The Door Into Summer by The Monkees - The only song on my list that mentions summer in it, but the most complex of all. For being known as a "boy-band" style of music, by the time their fourth album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. was released, The Monkees had taken a more serious approach to their music and what they hoped they would produce. The chorus stands out the most to me, talking about the familiar things that remind us of summer....and how it all fades away once the summer is gone. Simple in meaning and melody.


As I sit here reflecting back on this past summer, I cannot help but be filled with gratitude, love, joy, and above all else....a wonderful soundtrack to remember it all by.

~Jenny Rockstar


serving up a generous slice.......in retrospect

I wanted to take a moment on this journey to take one step back into my collection......viewing something that I own, yet I now listen to with a more careful ear. It probably doesn't make sense as to why on my own path I would manage to reflect back onto a piece of work that I already own, yet let me explain.

While I was finishing up writing about Dylan last night, I kept thinking back to a moment during Matt's solo gig last night. As per usual, at any bar, you will have the local patrons who come to partake in tasty libations and want nothing more than to listen to some of their favorite classics performed live. This crowd definitely didn't disappoint. As Matt started to play the opening strains to Don McLean's "American Pie," this man who could've been my father walks up to him and poses the following question: What is the theory behind this song?

A simple question, yet it caught my interest just as quickly as it was asked. What was the true meaning behind this song? I knew that it referenced "the day the music died," when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in that tragic plane crash on February 3, 1959. Yet what about the rest of the song? There was this epic 8 minute song that made more references to music than most people realize. I couldn't wait to get home to place the words in front of me, pull up Don McLean on my iTunes, and really analyze the song for its true artistic value.

And Don McLean is a pure genius for it! In so many words, he managed to capture the essence of the 60s in eight minutes. The allusions to Elvis (the king) and Dylan (the Jester), as well as Helter Skelter (Charles Manson) and The Beatles (the marching band & sergeants), just to name a few.......all mentioned within stanzas of one another. Or at least, this is the idea that many have created through listening to the song and discussing it through the years.  

But it's more than just the people.....it's the moments captured. McLean recalling the moment he opened the paper and discovered that Buddy Holly had been killed in that plane crash. The summer of Charles Manson and Helter Skelter. The Great Space Race and the violent undertakings at Altamont. All prolific moments within the course of the 1960's that changed the face of the culture drastically. 

Yet I can't help but wonder, what is the significance of "American Pie"? And why is she of such importance that she has the song named after her? Or maybe, just maybe, with all the musical reference and the sad moments captured, that "Miss American Pie" is not a person. Just maybe, it's a metaphor for the American Dream. For what many during this time had sought in their pursuit of life and liberty. Their slice of the pie, so to speak. While there is no real concrete understanding of what the song is truly about, since McLean refuses to explain the significance of the song to this day, taking one step back reminded me of yet another important lesson: listening to the words.

For so many people, we tend to just like a song for its catchy melody or the way it makes us feel. We bop along to it in the car, never paying any mind to what the song could be about. Yet sometimes, we all need to give a closer listen. There's more to be said for really listening to a song, but I think for now, I could use a slice of American Pie before I get to my next musical destination.

~Jenny Rockstar


an adventure in album appreciation.......

When first contemplating who to ask for music, it dawned on me that throughout my life, I have surrounded myself with the best people to suggest music to me: musicians. While they may play originals or covers of other people's music, they must have their own influences that brought them to their current career. And so it became my initial step on the journey.

I could start from the first suggestions handed to me, yet I'd rather start with the first album that piqued my interest on the list. John, the bassist for Big Bang Baby, explained to me that good music to him is reflected in a body of work rather than in just a song or lyric. It's all about the big picture and not necessarily the one hit that made them famous. That being said, he placed Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde album on his quite lengthy list for me. And while I've never exactly listened to Dylan I decided to give it a whirl in order to understand a little more about album appreciation. 

So on Friday night, with Matt away at his gig at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, I pulled up the track listing for Blonde on Blonde and proceeded to put on my headphones, crank up the music, and immerse myself. Each song was placed through my trusty Google search engine as I located each track.....making sure that I followed the album listing to stay true to its form.

At first, I realized that no matter what song Dylan sings, he will always have this wavering tone to his voice. Originally, I used to find it kinda annoying. It would constantly have this sort of 'back and forth' motion to it, not a smooth consistency that most artists have to their voice. Yet as I moved past the first track and kept listening to the album itself, Dylan's voice became less annoying or grating.......in fact, I realized that his voice had its own rhythm. It reminded me of the ocean when I heard it, the way that the waves seem to move back and forth, rippling like sound. While at first one may feel a little agitated at hearing him sing, once you continue listening to Dylan, he tends to calm and soothe you, just like those ocean waves.

Secondly, I've also learned how above being a musician......Dylan is truly an amazing poet. Once you get through his voice and the melody, the words shine through. And they're different, spoken from a place that in all my years of writing, I've never been able to find. Who else can evoke such imagery from their words like he does? During my listening experience, I closed my eyes and I could picture the song, something very few artists have been able to accomplish in their career. Add in his voice and the melody, not to mention his classic touch of a harmonica, you have poetry in motion. 

And just like John explained to me about focusing on the body of work, I listened in a similar fashion and found that more than anything else, Dylan is best observed when you put his work all together. If you want to focus on one song, that's just fine. True, you may find some songs are better than others, like how I feel "Just Like a Woman" stimulated my auditory senses more than "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again." Yet when you can piece it together and listen in one continuous strand, it's even more epic in meaning. 

Before starting this journey, I noticed that a lot of my music wasn't always in full album form. I tend to pick and choose certain songs from particular albums, not really focusing on what the album sounds like as a whole. In today's day and age, we tend to pick apart things to get to what we want, instead of giving everything else attention. I equate it to the equivalent of a really good ice cream sundae. Each component is delicious on its own, yet when you put all the ingredients together, you can appreciate and enjoy it as a whole. 


As always, I truly appreciate all the suggestions that have been sent my way. Who knows where my next adventure will take me? We shall see.

~Jenny Rockstar


breaking the project down.....

So I've realized with my new project that this may be something that pushes me to write more blogs, which I am looking forward to. Because honestly, after receiving pages upon pages of suggestions, I have found that I don't quite know where to start when I begin the writing, yet when I do start........I doubt the education will stop! And balancing this with my school photography job, family and friend outings, writing and my never-ending support for my bf and his music.......I've placed quite the task in front of me.

But what is music? For some it's more than just words and melody and rhythm all jammed together. It's about an expression of your soul. Just like artists create visual masterpieces and writers string together jumbles of words to evoke emotion, musicians are able to aurally appeal to their fan base with their words and melodies dripping in emotion. I find that above all else, music speaks the words that we sometimes cannot. There have been several occasions where I fail to find the words to express my true emotions. (And for me to be at a loss, being a writer, that is a rather difficult feat.) What can I say? There are moments that the music I listen to can explain what's in my heart better than I can. Whether that emotion be love, anger, pain, happiness, peace, camaraderie..........there will always be a song to fill that feeling.

With that being said, do expect my first entry soon, as I am currently sorting through the mass of music that has been bestowed upon me. And yes, quite a bit of it will be going onto my iTunes when I have the funds to do so. There will still be several different entries, such as my top ten lists and random trains of thought.....can't just neglect the rest of my life for one single project!

And for those who have contributed from their collections......thank you. I've found some of your selections to be quite exquisite, sometimes mind-blowing! I'm looking forward to sharing my findings with my readers.

~Jenny Rockstar

P.S. - As a side note from my current findings, I do recommend Jeff Buckley........his music (covers and original) are beautifully executed.


taking you on my amazing musical journey........

I've always heard it said that "the journey of a 1,000 miles begins with one step." I do have Lao Tzu to thank for those beautiful words, because they are more true than most people know.

Such a simple word, yet differing in meaning for each person that thinks about what this word means to them.

Some people travel internationally for their journey, believing that seeing new places and different cultures will help them to understand the world better.

Other people keep it more local, seeking the solace of their roots to figure themselves out.

Some have a spiritual journey to seek deeper meaning to their life, while others have journeys in self-discovery through family history and their past.

Journeys can be found in every decision you make, every idea you create, and every moment that you take a chance to take risks.

As a change of pace, I've decided to go on a journey of sorts.......a musical journey. And as an added bonus, I get to take all of you with me. Why? Because I'm stuck in a musical rut at this moment and in order to get out of it, I need everyone's help. I have such an extensive music collection, yet I feel it lacks something. It describes me perfectly, full of several different types of music that I find interesting, well-rounded and eclectic to a fault. But where now? I have so much music that has been part of my journey......and I need more to complete it. In turn, I get to learn more about those who I encounter along my journey.

So I set out to pose a challenge to my friends and those around me, for those who know my musical tastes to push me into different directions with music they feel I would like or appreciate. A pretty simple request, I know, one that has given me quite a few pages filled with nothing but artists, songs, or albums that I must listen to now.

I've received such suggestions from rockabilly to classical, indie rock to techno rock, international to local fare. And while I indulge in these new musical ventures, I hope to take you, the reader, on my musical journey through my experiences while I listen to the music that will help compose my life's soundtrack. I think it'll not only help me find new music, but also have the chance to learn more about the people around me; to grasp a sense of who they are through what they listen to.

I have a feeling that this one idea is going to change my life in some huge way, so let's see where this particular journey takes me..........I'm ready.

~Jenny Rockstar


on the flip side.........

Before iTunes became a hot commodity, I can remember walking into Best Buy or Sam Goody and purchasing many of the albums and singles I have today. Flipping through some of those singles, one of my favorite things was not listening to just the hit single that made it onto that CD or tape, but the second track that always managed to elude the top billing. Through years of listening to several of my favorite artists, I have found a love in giving the remainder of an album the opportunity to impress me........so far, I haven't been disappointed that much. 

Fast forward to now, where many have the chance to download just the "B-Side" songs that they love, everyone is given the chance to break away from the hit single and understand why a big name artist can be called just that. Because it's not all about the big song on the album anymore. No......it's more about the body of work that they produce over their career. Whether it be good, bad, indifferent, a true artist is one who can give you something to listen to other than the songs that grace the radio waves. So as a fun break-away treat to top ten hits, I give you my favorite top ten B-Sides!

1) Tuesday's Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd - The first time I had heard this song, it was in the movie Dazed and Confused. Skynyrd was always known for their big hits such as Free Bird and Sweet Home Alabama. Hell, even now, I can mention at least three or four popular cover bands that still play these songs today. And while I admit to loving the more favorable tunes, it was Tuesday's Gone that really grabbed me the most. It plays with the idea of a man losing the woman he loved, a story that just about anyone is familiar with. Yet the way L.S. makes it more personal by giving a distinct day of the week and really getting to the heart of the matter of the singer not being afraid admit the desire to be alone while they nurse their broken heart.......it's compelling. Furthermore, the instrumentation and musicianship that has been put into this song always brings close to tears any time it has come on my iPod or by some strange fate......or the radio.

2) Bell Bottom Blues by Eric Clapton - While this song may have been a single, this song was also a b-side to Layla, which is one of Clapton's most moving pieces in his musical career. But Bell Bottom Blues is an epic piece in its own right. Where Layla was all about Pattie Boyd Harrison and his love for her, this piece deals with the idea of unrequited love in its simplest of forms. Where most have dealt with the notion of loving someone that they couldn't be with, the words are, in essence, the most realistic. That very idea of loving someone so much that you would do anything they wanted you to do, but if they were to leave you completely, that they shouldn't be surprised by the idea that you could move on and find love again. We all talk about never feeling or loving anyone as much as we love certain people in our lives, but it can happen again. And Bell Bottom Blues gets to the heart of that, sharing with us that desire to be with someone we want more than anything in the world, yet knowing that with any love, when it is lost........it can be found again.

3) Dear Prudence by The Beatles - Yes.....I know that The Beatles are a force all their own. Any song that is mentioned on here would not be considered much of a B-Side.......considering that the Beatles catalog is something that is not exclusive on radio. Instead, I've heard many Beatles songs make it onto radio stations, even ones that were never released as actual singles. But I take this moment to give the band their due because yes, even their non-hit songs were just as note-worthy in their career. This one is no exception. Off their extremely lengthy and eccentric White Album, I can honestly say that this one is, by far, my favorite track. Written about Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence, who dedicated her entire stay in India to meditation so much that she missed out on being part of the group. And in turn, Lennon wrote this song for her as his own way of letting her know that they wanted her to be a part of the group and come out and have a good time with them instead of being a recluse. It is my go-to song for needing a simple pick-me-up during a stressful day......a reminder that there are other things going on around me and I should focus on them and have fun with life rather than lock myself away from the world. 

4) We by Neil Diamond - It has become a tradition to hear Sweet Caroline at just about any bar that I go to.....it's a classic! Everyone I know can name at least that song when they hear the name Neil Diamond. But what about his other songs? I'm sure that if everyone really thought about it, they could come up with more than just one song by Neil that they're familiar with. America......I'm A Believer.......Hello Again.......all wonderfully crafted songs in their own right. But We takes the classic Neil we all know and love and turns him into an acoustic genius! Discovering this hidden gem on the soundtrack to Funny People, I found myself diving deep into the lyrical ocean of romance.......awed by its simplicity in words and meaning. Because in this particular song, Neil Diamond portrays love as more than just a one-way thing.....he gives it dimension and understanding. It takes both parties to make love work, not just you or me. But us

5) When The Tigers Broke Free by Pink Floyd - For any die-hard fans of The Wall, this song is legend. Yet for those who are not familiar with the album and have only acquainted themselves with Pink Floyd's more popular hits, then I feel sorry for you.....because you have no idea on what you're missing out on! Broken up into two parts in the movie, When The Tigers Broke Free tells the story of how Pink's father was taken from him during the war. The way Waters paints this vivid picture of his father in the midst of combat and how the King signed the letter notifying his family of his father's death with a rubber stamp......it's moving in ways that one cannot even comprehend. You feel the raw, yet disconnected emotion within the words and the melody. 

6) Ripple by Grateful Dead - Now this is a true B-Side, as it was known as one for the single Truckin'. I admit I am not the hugest fan of the Dead, but there a few signature songs that I can really get into......this one being one of them. What truly sets this apart from most songs is the way the song itself describes a person's life like a ripple in the water (of life): it is short and will eventually fade, but at least while it's there it makes an impact on the water. 

7) Warning Sign by Coldplay - In its entirety, A Rush of Blood to the Head is one amazing album......I recommend this album to anyone who is looking for something intriguing to listen to. And yes, while there are many great hit songs on this particular album, Warning Sign is one that shakes me down to the very core. I can remember many nights of crying about stupid boys when I heard this song. The words talking about loss in a way where the person singing wants nothing more than to forget the loss and be back in their arms again. Whether it be about the loss of someone close to you or mourning the end of a relationship, the song always catches me in a way that no other Coldplay song can. It's looking for those signs that the end was near, but you couldn't find it.......and let's face it, how many of us have been in that position before? Quite a few.

8) Disenchanted by My Chemical Romance - There is definitely more to My Chemical Romance than just I'm Not Okay (I Promise) and this song is testament to it. Off the album Welcome to the Black Parade this is one song that has always grabbed me more than anything else MCR has released. From my own interpretation, I always took it as the idea that the person singing was talking about the idea of how they overcame adversity from their past and made it to the point where they view those who tormented them as lonely and unwanted. I distinctly feeling empowered by the melody and the words strolling through the streets of NYC to my travel filmmaking class after a wonderful night in the early stages of dating Matt and the world before me. 

9) Einstein on the Beach (Waiting for an Eggman) by Counting Crows - Ever have one of those moments where you hear a song and it takes you back? Well, of course I wrote about this in my previous blog, but I saved this song for here, because Counting Crows are such an eclectic and charming band that just happen to have a lot of singles! Yet this song is such a rare track that I had to include it on this list. I can remember my friend Katie and her sister, Drea, in the car with me......and this song blaring as loud as possible through the speakers. Years later, I purchased the compilation Films About Ghosts (The Best of Counting Crows) and couldn't help but put this song on repeat, re-living the first day I had heard it and blaring it as loud as possible.

10) Cried by Hanson - So if you couldn't tell, I do actually like Hanson......ever since they came out with Mmmbop in 1997. I went to more than one concert, own quite a few of their albums, and thanks to my family, own quite a bit of memorabilia. When the song I Will Come To You came out as a single, Cried was the actual B-Side on it. The first time my friend Katie and I heard the song, we fell in love. It was catchy, it was something we could dance to, and most important, it was our favorite band singing it. And for those who still bash Hanson to this day, keep in mind that these three brothers started writing and performing their own music when most of us were still into Barbies and Hot Wheels. Now that is certainly impressive.


I have always considered the B-Side as the under-appreciated music. Many of us can relate to feeling like that, wanting to take the spotlight, yet not feeling like we have the star material. But the best part about it all? Those who do appreciate it understand what makes it special......and makes it stand out above the ones that clamor for the spotlight. 

~Jenny Rockstar


Thanks for the memory of things I can't forget........

It was Oscar Wilde who once wrote "Memory...is the diary that we all carry about with us." 

Wilde was definitely a very gifted writer and very profound in this statement, for it is our own mind and senses that help to preserve those memories that we carry on in our lives. For me, just the smell of a pack of Dentyne gum conjures up those memories of spending time with my Grandma Shirley when I was a budding young lady. The taste of chocolate-covered Pocky reminds me of those random movie nights with my friend Danielle in college. Even a mere glimpse at photographs of Central Park gives me the solace that I would get from walking around Manhattan.

But when it comes to music, my memories are the strongest. Most say it is scent, but when I hear a familiar song, I can piece together some of the most wonderful (or heart-wrenching) memories in my life. Just a few opening notes of a familiar tune takes me away to a moment as simple as brushing my teeth or as significant as the moment my senior year of college really hit me.

1) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd: One of the greatest Pink Floyd songs has one of the simplest memories attached to it. I can remember standing in front of the mirror of the bathroom at Matt's house, brushing my teeth and getting ready to drive up North for work. Matt, as always, was awake (after 4-5 hours of sleep) and in a music mood. Picking up his acoustic, he serenaded me with some Elton John and Oasis.........but it was Floyd that stood out the most. Standing at the door of the bathroom, he started to strum this song and suddenly, it took on a new meaning for us. It was more than just a song at that moment. It was our relationship taking that next level and being some more meaningful than either of us could have ever imagined. Whenever Matt and the guys play it at a show, I am transported back to that moment. And yes, I even think about Colgate.

2) Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) by Green Day: So yes, I associate this song with my ex-boyfriend in more ways than one would know, but this one is not solely about him. More importantly, I think about my last Drama Club showcase in my senior year. Our theme was the idea of growing up, set to song, dance, and acting numbers. For my number, I chose this song for the way that it talks about life and how no matter what, as long as you enjoyed it, it was worth it. It was the second to last individual number of the night before our group encore and as nervous as I was, I came out in my own attire, quote book in hand. Walking down the aisle and through the audience, I made my way to one of the front corners of the stage, plopping down and opening the book to a favorite poem of mine. In there, I tucked some familiar pics of my ex and friends, making sure to give a genuine, thoughtful smile before the song started. By the end of the song, I was in tears, moved by the moment.

3) 867-5309 by Tommy Tutone: Before Matt joined Big Bang Baby, I HATED when anyone called me Jenny. You can call me Jennifer, you can call me Jenn, but never had I been able to accept it when someone would call me Jenny. It was the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. When friends would attempt to call me Jenny, I cringed. Because, in all honesty, I didn't feel like a Jenny. But then came Big Bang Baby and before I knew it, I had inherited the nickname of........Jenny. And while on occasion I still do cringe at the nickname, it makes me smile knowing that even though it's not my preferred choice of name, that the boys from the band prefer to call me that. It's like their own personal nickname for me. Since this song is played at most of the shows I am at, I always feel like it's a reminder of just how much I consider these guys family.

4) With You In Your Dreams by Hanson: About 12 years ago, I lost my Grandma Shirley to lung cancer. To this day, it affects me almost as deeply as it did when I was 14 and in my freshman year of high school. During this time, my love for classic rock took a minor back-burner to my love of pop and boy bands. You name the band, I probably had their album. Yet in my freshman year, Hanson became my favorite band, despite all the ridicule I would get for listening to them. While since then I have found other bands to love, this one in particular I will always remember when I think of my Grandmother. Before she died, she gave me a Hanson t-shirt, along with a few glossy head-shots of them (courtesy of Eggo and their promotion at the time). Yet what makes this song stand apart is that Hanson wrote this song for when their own grandmother passed away. And so, when that fateful day came for me, I put that t-shirt on and played this particular track, crying as I listened to every word. Later on that summer, I got the chance to see them live and in the midst of one amazing show, this song came on. With my parents and friends around me, I cried, knowing that this was my grandmother's way of reminding me she was with me. Even now, I still get teary-eyed whenever I listen to this on my iTunes.

5) I Turn To You by Melanie C. - When I was a senior in high school, this song came out on the radio. Coincidentally, this was also the year I got my driver's license and started to give my friend & neighbor Manny rides home from school. Also a complete coincidence, just about any time we got in the car, this song would without fail, always come on in the car, whether it be on KTU or Z100. Manny and I always shared a laugh over hearing it and in time, would sing loud and proud to the song. When I graduated from high school, we lost touch as I went to college and immersed myself in lots of different activities with new friends. But even now, years later, when Manny and I seem to catch up, he'll give me that little reminder with a YouTube link or a line from the song.......and it will be like nothing has changed.

6) Twist and Shout by The Beatles - So imagine, if you will, my freshman year of college. I was starting to come out of my shell quite a bit in this year, making more friends and memories than I could have ever imagined. Then the Student Activities Director comes up to you and asks you to be a part of the Talent Show for Spirit Week. And in that moment, it's a chance to really break out and show the student body what you're made of. So in a black mini-skirt, one-shouldered purple tank, and knee-high black boots with fishnets, you're ready to take on the crowd! After several ballads, this is the chance to get the crowd up and moving......and your friends are ready to come out and help you! When that music starts, it's like something takes over you, urging you out into the spotlight as you belt it out just like John did when The Beatles covered this song. Before you know it, the crowd is up and out of their seats, screaming and cheering as loud as they can! And when the song is over, you've proven to the rest of the school that while you're usually quiet and reserved, you definitely know how to rock out! From that moment on, I made it a point to participate in as many Drama Club productions and Talent Showcases that I could be a part of.......because in this moment, I learned how incredible it felt to pull myself out of my shell and become who I am today.........Jenn.

7) No Rain by Blind Melon - While Big Bang Baby may cover this song now, I can remember being 9 or 10 years old the first time I heard this song. I remember that video distinctly as the bumblebee video. Just the opening strains of this song and I still smell the chlorine of my friend Mari's pool, the feel of the wind on my face from riding our bikes around the neighborhood, and the taste of a tall glass of refreshing iced tea. And most importantly, I can close my eyes and remember my childhood.......and how that summer began a tremendous change in my life. I was gaining more friends, breaking away from my parents (even though it was difficult), and learning more and more about the world around me. And sometimes, what I wouldn't give for the feeling of my clothes sticking to me after a good swim on a hot summer day.

8) Unforgettable by Nat King Cole - More than anything else, when I hear this song, I can close my eyes and still see my grandfather's face and the way he saw me peruse his music collection. I was an inquisitive six year old, plucking such gems as Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra out from the small stack of cassette tapes. As the stereo played oldies and we talked about music, I can remember hearing the first few notes of Unforgettable and asking my Pop-Pop about this song. He then told me about Nat King Cole........and I became intrigued with this song. It was at this moment I knew that I wanted to learn the piano and become involved in music. In fact, the main reason I decided that music was my path was because I was determined to take lessons and figure out how to play this song. My Pop-Pop taught me a lot about life and how sometimes taking big risks (like divorce) can lead you to where you should be. Even now, at 26 years (8 years since the passing of my Pop-Pop), I hear this song anywhere and I'm taken back to one of the most defining moments in who I wanted to be.......tears to always follow.

9) Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World - Although I do remember hearing the band perform this live, what really stuck out about this song is that when Matt and I were in the beginning stages of dating, my ex sent me this song on my phone....with him playing and singing the sorrowful ballad. The song was written for two fans who were killed in a car accident in Cali......and the band wrote a song mourning their loss. While I didn't lose someone to death, hearing this song was like mourning the end of the past four years of my life.........as I got ready to embrace the future that lay before me. So much had happened and this song made me feel like I could finally have closure on a huge chapter of my life. Every once in a while, when I hear this song, I can now smile knowing that whatever happened is over and now my life has really begun.

10)  Because I Got High by Afroman - All of my other picks on this list have been meaningful in more life-changing ways. But this one? Not so much. The summer before starting college, my friends and I all got into the Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back soundtrack. Being cliche and being huge Kevin Smith fans, we would listen to that album over and over again, always quoting the dialogue tracks and singing along with our favorite songs! And while there were better songs on that soundtrack than this one, I remember this one the most, because whenever I close my eyes I can still hear the laughter and camaraderie that existed between all of us that summer. The night before I moved into school, we went to see this movie on its opening night, sharing in one final get-together before we all parted ways in the next chapter of our lives. 


It's important to have memories, even when you don't want to remember them. They give you the confidence to keep going (or to take a step back when re-assessing). The push in the direction you've needed to go. And if those memories come with a kickass soundtrack, then at least you have something to listen to while you remember.

~Jenny Rockstar