MatthewSean Reviews

Book reviews, movie reviews, and other writing

Writing 101 – June 2014 Challenge – Meaningful Music — June 4, 2014

Writing 101 – June 2014 Challenge – Meaningful Music

Writing 101 – June 2014 Challenge – Meaningful Music

Looking back on my life thus far, when I consider three songs that are very meaningful, it is hard to narrow it down to three. Music is such an integral part of my life, I listen to a wide range of music throughout my day, and I pride myself on a diverse, eclectic taste in music, and certainly not just the “top 40” music. In fact, I listen to CBC Radio 2 most of the time, or else music I downloaded from iTunes from a variety of eclectic bands and genres.

I also realize that there have been a number of songs very recently that have been very meaningful to me. There’s been a lot going on in my personal life these days, and music has been so helpful to me in exploring, understanding, and processing my feelings.

However, for this blog entry, I want to focus not on the most recent music that has been meaningful and helpful, but on some “old time goodies” that are very meaningful to me, and that make me remember special times in the past, and that made an impact on me in my 20s. So here goes!

1) Dave Matthews Band – Crash Into Me – This song, and really the entire album, is probably my favourite album of the 1990s. It was released in 1996, when I was in Grade 9, but I didn’t really pick it up and start listening to it like crazy until 1999, when I was in Grade 12. I loved it, and I ended up listening to it incessantly for years! It was my favourite album for years, and still ranks high up there. The message was perfect for the thoughts I had during that time, struggling with being gay and how that fit into my religious family, and just tying to understand my place in the world. The beat on the album was fantastic and made me enjoy it at work when I was at the zoo. A good friend of mine, a co-worker, also enjoyed the album, and we would talk about it a lot at work, and it helped me to bond with her, which was also wonderful. Overall, this was definitely a superb album, and I love listening to it today, it brings back nostalgic times of the late 1990s, the end of high school, the beginning of university, and working at the zoo. 🙂

2) Jefferson Starship – We Built This City – This song from 1985 is a guilty pleasure of mine. It was actually voted the #1 worst song of all time by a popular media outlet, and my friends all laughed at me when that was announced, because they knew I loved the song so much! But I didn’t care, I always loved this song, right from the get-go. To me it had a fun beat, silly lack of purpose, and is a perfect example of how fun-loving music of the 1980s can be. I developed my love of ‘80s music from my friend and manager Rob at the zoo when I worked there from 1999-2006, and this was one of the songs I grew to love there. It is one of my favourite songs and helps bring me feelings of nostalgia for this decade of music and for working at the zoo 🙂

3) Rob Thomas – Ever the Same – I heard this song for the first time in the mid 2000s, right around the time I was thinking of coming out of the closet and telling people I was gay. It was a hard step for me, because a lot of my family is very religiously conservative, and I wasn’t sure how they would react, but I figured there would be some negative reaction. (And in the end there was by some, although I had great support from friends and some family like my wonderful sister.) In any event, a couple of key movies helped motivate me to come out, like C.R.A.Z.Y. and Brokeback Mountain. And a key song helped motivate me to come out as well, and it was this song by Rob Thomas. It gave me realization that I deserve happiness and love and romance in my life, and that being gay shouldn’t preclude me from that. The song is about hope and about love and about supporting each other. And that helped give me strength and motivation and confidence. I still love the song and to this day when I listen to it, the song reminds me of my coming out process 🙂

Music truly is a powerful and amazing thing, don’t you think?!

April A-Z Challenge, April 12, Letter K: Kapuskasing Coffee and Komodo Dragons — April 12, 2014

April A-Z Challenge, April 12, Letter K: Kapuskasing Coffee and Komodo Dragons

April A-Z Challenge, April 12, Letter K: Kapuskasing Coffee and Komodo Dragons

It’s Saturday, so a relaxing blog post is in order! 🙂  Two K thoughts for the day:

1) Kapuskasing Coffee – This is an awesome song by Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge, who this month won the Juno award for best Solo Roots / Traditional Album of the Year.  The song is a simple, thoughtful, and melodic masterpiece.  Rutledge has also been able to take the sound and lyrics of this song and really make it feel very Kapuskasing, Ontario.  (It feels very northern Ontario-ish somehow.)  Always enjoyable to hear a song that has coffee and Canadian references in it, lol 🙂  Link to the song on youtube:

2) Komodo Dragon – What an awesome animal the komodo is!!!  My need to reference the komodo whenever possible is partially an in-joke for one of my best friends 😉  But at the same time, the komodo really is a fascinating animal.  It is a large monitor lizard found on some of the Indonesian islands.  Due to the fact there are not other large predators on the islands where the komodo lives, they have been able to evolve to the size they are today, and they are the dominant predators in their local ecosystems.


April A-Z Challenge, April 11, Letter J: Jasper Sloan Yip — April 11, 2014

April A-Z Challenge, April 11, Letter J: Jasper Sloan Yip

April A-Z Challenge, April 11, Letter J: Jasper Sloan Yip

Almost out of time for today! :O … lol

I didn’t know what I was going to blog for today for the letter J, and then one of my new favourite Canadian songs came on the radio this evening!  It is by a Vancouver, British Columbia artist named JASPER Sloan Yip, and is called “Show Your Teeth” … fun beat, great song!  Check it out here:

Happy start to the weekend! 😀

April A-Z Challenge, April 3, Letter C: Canadian Music — April 3, 2014

April A-Z Challenge, April 3, Letter C: Canadian Music

April A-Z Challenge, April 3, Letter C: Canadian Music

One thing I LOVE about Canada is the fact that we have such wonderful musicians!  Singers and songwriters … solo artists and bands … from rock to pop to alternative to everything in between.  We have strong musical talent in this country!  Whether it’s to explore a deep theme or just to create some fun dance music, there is something for everyone!

For those who are Canadians, and for those who are not, I want to share some links from 6 of our 10 Canadian provinces, and I encourage you to check out the links and listen to these great songs!  You may find a new favourite artist or song!  😀


1) British Columbia – Tyler Shaw – “Kiss Goodnight”


2) Alberta – Tegan and Sara – “Closer”


3) Manitoba – Chantal Kreviazuk – “Before You”


4) Ontario – Justin Rutledge – “Out of the Woods”


5) Quebec – Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”


6) Nova Scotia – Feist – “I Feel it All”


Adele – Skyfall — October 10, 2012

Adele – Skyfall

Check out the above link for the official video for Adele’s new song that will accompany the upcoming Bond film Skyfall … this song is a perfect Bond song … I am really looking forward to seeing Skyfall in theatres, now more than ever! 😀