100w100d: Cher

cher

Day 84: Let’s get this out of the way: Cher is not Madonna. She’s actually not a lot of things. She’s not as short, submissive, nor young as our society limits her as a female entertainer. And then there’s her voice… not at all what you expect in a woman singer.

It really is too easy to make fun of her. But through everything she’s not, she’s undeniably Cher and she’s built one of the most renowned and prosperous careers in entertainment in the past 50 years and counting.

She perseveres because of what she’s not, and I admire her because of it.

100w100d: ARTPOP

Day 79: I’ve never been a fan of Lady Gaga. Fame Monster to me was generic and thought Born This Way to be full of clichés — she was but another artist hopping on the It Gets Getter bandwagon popular at the time.

But I’m pleasantly surprised by Artpop despite what everyone’s been saying. No longer is she tirelessly trying to convince everyone how much she cares for equality or that she’s totally not copying Madonna, this album has the space to express who she actually is.

As a result, Artpop unveils much more personality and diversity than any of her previous work.

100w100d: Bad Habit

Day 75: For someone who’s shamelessly frugal, one of the things I do buy on a regular basis is music. I’m big on personal growth, so I’m always curious to see how my favorite artists have grown through their latest work. Adding to the fact that I follow both English and Chinese music (Cantopop), I often end up spending much more than I realize or should.

Because I’m constantly buying new music, there are albums I’ve purchased but have fell completely off my radar. Fiona Apple came on the other day and I had no idea I even have her 2012 album!

100w100d: Darren Hayes

Darkness

Day 72: Darren Hayes has and always will be the artist I can most relate to.

Admittedly, it’s a little delusional to imagine how one can possibly relate to someone who doesn’t even know your existence. I know it’s silly. But through his songs there’s also this sense of openness; his songs are something I can hold onto.

From his Savage Garden days to his four albums afterwards, he’s taught me how to endure tension for the spark, when to fight a losing battle and when to let go, and that selfless giving is not a sign of weakness but of strength.

100w100d: 4'33"

image

Day 71: I like to listen to music when I write, usually with headphones. Shrinking me into a smaller world, music sets me away from my daily worries and allows me to focus solely on the choice and order of my words.

But today is different. I’m at the library and there’s no talking. Instead there’s all these ambient sounds surrounding me — paper turning, keyboard typing (that’s me), backpacks unzipping, chairs squeaking, all unknowingly working together toward a crescendo that will lead up to the piece’s biggest drop: a cough.

It’s not unlike 4’33”, except it’s on repeat without ever repeating. Bravo.

100w100d: Music

Day 67: It’s so easy for me to be inspired by musicians. More than writers, who create worlds, and actors, who turn words into emotions, musicians create something that are deeply personal yet know no boundaries.

In many ways, I owe much of my life to music. Through a collection of notes, rhythm, melody, and variations of vocal pressures, music has time and time again lifted me from life’s valleys while keeping me grounded in its peaks.

To this day, Rufus Wainwright’s One Man Guy remains the definitive song in my life. Srsly, that song needs to be played during my funeral.

100w100d: Jump

Day 65: It’s borderline absurd how much Madonna’s Jump has an impact on my life. It’s not her most famous song, but it doesn’t matter because I’m just engrossed by the song every time I listen to it.

It was Jump in 2006 that convinced me to come back to the US. It was Jump in 2010 that convinced me to quit my market research job to pursue my dream to work in the gaming industry. It seems like there’s this itch I must scratch every four years, and 2014 is just around the corner.

Question is: Am I ready to Jump?

100w100d: Tales of Us

Tales of Us by Goldfrapp

Day 41: A while back, I dated this guy who introduced me to Goldfrapp. I’ve heard of their music before but mostly in dance clubs; through him I learned that those few tracks I knew was but a small part of their musical kaleidoscope.

My life changed when Seventh Tree dropped in 2007. Never before could music transport me to such a vivid dreamscape. My relationship with him eventually ended but that album carried me through — it was the experience that mattered.

Tales of Us just came out and again it’s taking me to a dream; I can’t help but to surrender.

100w100d: Santa Monica

Day 40: Repeating their debut album for months on end, to say I loved Savage Garden in high school would be an understatement. I especially adored the ending track — Santa Monica.

A while back I found myself feeling homesick and lonesome, and found myself wandering the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica one Sunday morning.

Santa Monica shuffled onto my music playlist, and for a second memories of my high school days overwhelmed me; ideas of the places I wanted to go, things I wanted to become. I’m here.

In Santa Monica, all the people got modern names like Jake or Mandy.