Tag Archives: sing-a-long

Monday Mixtape – Songs I Was Caught Singing (and Dancing to) at Work

working 9 to 5
workin’ 9 to 5.

By Cynthia Almansi

Like so many people, music is what gets me through the day at work. It helps me set the tone and pace for my workflow, and it is crucial for drowning out the sounds of a busy office when high levels of concentration are required. There’s just one thing (I don’t want to call it a problem since it really isn’t): I often can’t help dancing along. Truly, I am infamous for instinctually finding a dance move to match just about any rhythmic sound. Let me remind you, this is happening at my desk. I also lip-sync and, occasionally, even sing out loud by mistake. (That’s okay if you do too, Buzzfeed says it’s good for you!)

This is only a selection of songs that frequently populate my playlist and have the added appeal of triggering my happy feet syndrome.

1. Dirty Projectors – Stillness in the Move

Although this list really isn’t in any particular order, this is the unbeatable No. 1 of the bunch. A while back I caught myself merrily swinging on my chair and silently singing along to this song, making passionate facial expressions every time the lead singer would raise her voice and totally making up the words because I never paid enough attention to the lyrics— all while still managing to pump out eloquent, thoughtful emails. At one point I swung far to the left and found my company’s CEO standing over me. On any given day this man would be stoic and pensive like a wise, old sage. Yet there he was, actually chuckling at the sight of me being utterly ridiculous. This will forever be one of my fondest office memories.

2. Wild Belle – Keep You

I cannot explain what it is about this song that makes me involuntarily howl like a Chihuahua singing the blues but it just does. My voice comes out in a grave bass at first, “Same song, again and again, you wrong me twice and I keep coming back.” Then my neck begins to twist to one side and then the other like a swan’s. By the time the chorus hits— “why can’t I keep you, keep you…”— I’ve managed to produce a high-pitched tone that I am normally absolutely incapable of producing. There is something in the lyrical longing and stylistic weave of this song that I find intensely overpowering.

3. Devendra Banhart – Quédate Luna

This one starts out in an ultra mellow atmosphere. The mild vibrato, yes, instantly makes me sing and I recline as the anticipation builds up in my upper back. Then the heartbeat— or as some might call it, percussion— picks up and my shoulders begin to make waves in the air. Devendra implores the Moon to stay and provide him with answers. By the time the Moon is done enumerating the reasons why she is too old to stick around, I’m completely ensnared by the languid flow of the tune.

4. Foals – Olympic Airways

This one strikes a stark contrast to all the sinuosity experienced within the last three songs. The strong, persistent beat makes me bounce and bob my head like any stereotypical concert goer, I suppose. Oh well. I quite like the escapist yet non-definitive aspiration of this song. The metaphor of an aviary in particular, a place where winged creatures can pretend to be free while remaining within the boundaries of the human construct we call civilization. Back in high school, Sylvia Plath taught me everything I needed to know about communicating in riddles and this is a bad habit I have so far failed to kick.

5. Stromae – Alors On Danse

Last but not least, “Alors On Danse” is incredibly literal and I absolutely love it for this very reason. Dancing and singing might not fix your troubles but it certainly will help you get by. Becoming completely entranced by a club song is an exceptionally common occurrence for me, and anyone who frequents my workspace has at least caught me moving and grooving a few times to Stromae. Can’t say I sing much with this one but, hey, I’ll always take an invitation to dance—“so let’s dance!”

Photo by asndra

Cynthia Almansi is a communications professional with a passion for all of the arts. She is an avid and eclectic consumer of music who enjoys discovering new and old sounds and attending live shows. Look her up on Twitter (@timesofpeace) to say hi!

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eyes on the prize. photo c/o M. Vinokur

Throwback Thursday: Keeping Both Eyes Open

I had just started playing guitar earlier that year, and now here I was learning how to take what little I had internalized and share it with the adoring public as a graduate of our camp song leader program. In this case, “what little I had internalized” was only a “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” “Hotel California,” a few assorted Adam Sandler tunes, and a handful of simple Jewish folk tunes, and my “adoring public” was a camp of 300 of my peers.

Nothing major.

In spite of these uncomplimentary elements, I was confident. I wasn’t altogether out of my depth either, having always taken delight in– and never missing an opportunity for– performing in front of people. Only now I was developing skills that those people might willingly like to be subjected to. Not to mention I only had to learn to present one measly song by the end of camp.

It was still a new skill, however, and “raw talent” alone was not going to get the job done. I needed some practice. Lucky for me, camp was full of opportunities for practice time. Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Keeping Both Eyes Open

Songs About Rain (Part 2): Grand All Over

God willing and the creek didn’t rise. The show went off without a hitch, and neither the one and a half hour drive / crawl down, nor the labyrinthine parking situation, nor the slightly more-than-damp lawn seats and humid night air were enough to deter or detract from the fun that lay before us.

Indeed, just as I wrapped up the writing of my previous post, the rain reduced to a slight, cough-and-sputter-style sprinkling. By the time we arrived at the grounds the rain had all but gone away, leaving patches of setting azure-to-sandstone colored sky behind as it went.

Stepping through the gates at the Comcast Center grounds I was immediately reminded of the entrance to a giant amusement park. Save for relative lack of ambient screeching and screaming of both the human and high-speed mechanical sort and the obvious absence of any large and looming, bobblehead-ish mascots that lumber up and down the main drag of such places, it made for an appropriate comparison (Just add much more Coors Light at Fenway-park-style prices and you’re golden).

If “amusing” was one of the keywords of the evening, then “entertaining” was another, and none of the three acts failed to delight or impress.

Maroon 5 themselves certainly did not disappoint, putting on a show that was enjoyable both on a base entertainment level and on a technical, musically complex level as well. Continue reading Songs About Rain (Part 2): Grand All Over