The Tailgate Society thought it was high time to get someone on board to send your ears on an aural adventure each week. Our girl Sylvia June selects 5 songs that tell a story, pertain to current events, convey a feeling or just make her happy. And, most of the time, she’ll have a great new album for you to check out, too.
In order to understand the stories an author tells, you have to understand the author themselves. So I suppose a proper introduction is in order. I’m Vee. I live in a cute little house with my partner and our 3 cats. I grew up in Northwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State (where, btw, I first met the notorious Ted Flint over a game of flip cup). Other totally random facts about me: I like goats and I am turned on when people make literary references in everyday conversation.
Music has always been like oxygen to me. I love turning on, tuning in and rocking out to a great song, but I prefer to make my own music. I have studied classical voice for years and learned to sing in 7 languages. Anywhere you can sing, I’ve done it — the car, the shower, numerous bars, on choral risers, stages, at the top of skyscrapers, in canyons. The list goes on.
However, being an opera singer or Broadway star is not in my future, so I came back to Northwest Iowa, where I work a “real job” in communications. I’m just excited to have this chance to share my love of music with you each week.
These 5 songs will tell you everything else you need to know about me.
- Tori Amos – Crucify
I discovered Tori when I was 10 years old, through Under the Pink. Hearing her singing about “getting off while they’re all downstairs singing prayers” really spoke to me in my budding adolescence. I received weekly lessons from the Good Book and came to know the fear of God, but I was also learning to question everything in every way possible. Not only did Tori’s music help me understand things I didn’t know I could feel, it has literally saved my life. I have often thought of getting these lyrics from “Crucify,” off her debut album, Little Earthquakes, tattooed somewhere:
You’re just an empty cage, girl, if you kill the bird.
2. Smashing Pumpkins – Muzzle
I also discovered the Smashing Pumpkins when I was 10, with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Where Tori lent the piano soundtrack to my rebellion, the Pumpkins fueled it with alt-rock guitar and silver pleather pants. They both helped me deal with some shit. Despite all the hard rocking songs on these two albums, my favorite over the years has become “Muzzle.” Like many others, I do fear that I am ordinary, just like everyone.
Time heals but I’m forever broken / By and by the way
3. Kesha – Hymn
I love Kesha because she is like me — a little wild, a little goofy, and she doesn’t give AF what you think. Her party anthems are glorious, but her Rainbow album showed she can also be serious. “Hymn” is one of those songs that speaks to my soul. I’ve struggled with accepting myself the way I am because others haven’t been able to do it, either. Fuck ’em.
If we die before we wake, who we are is no mistake / This is just the way we’re made
4. Bjork – Pagan Poetry
I love to write or read anything, but my bag is poetry. No other method of writing allows you the freedom to put your words in any order, position, or language and still have it all make sense. I will never get enough of its double entendres and hidden meanings. Bjork’s music is the best kind of poetry, especially on Vespertine.
On the surface simplicity / But the darkest pit in me / It’s pagan poetry
5. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
I am an only child. I am a nerd. And I’m an eternal optimist, despite being a ridiculously tragic person. I sincerely believe that it wasn’t an accident that the song “Don’t Stop Believin'” came out within a year of my birth. I just love Journey, specifically the Steve Perry version. I love singing Journey in the car. I love singing Journey at karaoke. I love singing Journey in front of random strangers at the thrift store. But it’s mostly this song I sing, or “Faithfully.”
Just a small town girl living in a lonely world / She took the midnight train going anywhere
“New” album of the week – Lana del Rey, Norman Fucking Rockwell
I was pumped when Lana’s sixth studio album hit earlier this year. I feel like I really appreciate what Elizabeth Woolridge Grant is doing with this Lana persona, especially since (as I’ve stated before) I am a ridiculously tragic person. People have whined about her obsession with death, her deer in the headlights stage presence, her midcentury nostalgia based on nothing, really. But if you actually listen, especially to Born to Die, this is a chick who lives in the moment and is determined to enjoy it, no matter what. And that’s something I have a lot of respect for.
Norman Fucking Rockwell is a little more melodic than her earlier offerings, but I wouldn’t say it’s more introspective by any means. Her lyrics are always full of meaning. The songs do all kind of sound the same, but I love the low-key vibe so it’s fine. My favorite song on this album is “Mariners Apartment Complex.” But I also totally identify with the last song, “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have.” I’ll never stop believing, though.
Lana will always be my little Venice bitch…I love her.
I’m the board, the lightning, the thunder / Kind of girl who’s gonna make you wonder / Who you are and who you’ve been