Big music can fill out small apartments, paint the walls with dreams and residue from a lost time. And herein trembles the seduction: the right tone for the mood can push the envelope, just a little bit. Never underestimate the power of instruments, words and setting.
I remember an instance when an old flame was to visit my excuse of an apartment. Writers are not the cleanest breed, except if they suffer from a serious case of OCD. Most of them, or me at least, just want to drink, write, and roam the usual route from the fridge and to the bed. Then, little by little, the liberty to smoke inside, and the endless pouring of red wine softened her, and forced her to forgive the surroundings.
The right album sends off a subliminal message, almost a faint of a whisper, of what you want to say to her. How much you wish to open up. And the beauty is, the tortured soul who sings, is doing all the work for you…
Here are the 5 albums you can hear with her:
L.A. Woman — The Doors (1971)
No speaker have fully shown its worth unless the ghost of Jim Morrison breaks the barrier with his voice of roaring temper and blood-boiling sexyness. The Doors is a phenomena, it’s something that cannot be put into words. The Doors is a human condition, and “L.A. Woman” is a voyage into its many nooks and dark corners. It’s rock but it’s also jazz, funk and soul. It’s tighter than a school girl’s rim and loose as the non-filter cigarette leaning on the lower lip.
Tracks to look for: “Riders on the Storm”. When it hits, adjourn to the couch (on your cue), pour some wine, and if you want heat things up, just a notch: strike a match, light one cigarette and share it with her. The piece pulls you down, a sweet surrender to your own devices. The downfall is, though, that Jim Morrison is sexier than you ever will be…
Ascenseur pour l’échafaud — Miles Davis (1958)
If you’ve read my short story, you’d discover my deep appreciation for Miles Davis. His trumpet speaks a richness of moods, temper, stories and confessions.
The album is a motion picture soundtrack. When Davis agreed to record the score, he brought his four sidemen with no preparation. He gave them a few crude harmonics he prepared in the hotel room the night before. And with the the loops from the relevant film sequences projected in the background, the band improvised.
Which is what you’re doing now. You’re improvising with her with a crude of idea of what you’re doing, and with a hint of where you’re going. Seduction is jazz, it can play out in all directions but when done just right, you can strike the perfect note.
Blood on the Tracks — Bob Dylan (1975)
“Blood on the Tracks” is a personal eulogy, it’s an honest account of a failed relationship… but it’s also deep appreciation, a small tribute to the beauty a man can cling to in a small pocket in time. And it’s so much more than what can be put into words.
From “Shelter of the Storm”:
And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
I’ll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death,
and men who are fighting to be warm
Come in, she said
I’ll give ya shelter from the storm
If you want to
If you’re tired of parades, worn down by theatrics and if you want to cut through the noise, put on Dylan. If she’s brave enough, she’ll listen. If not, give her time, but remain on the look-out for someone else. Tracks to look for: “If You See Her, Say Hello” and “Shelter from the Storm”. They will build an intimate bubble of silence. Dylan is painting your room with his soul. Now, paint her mouth with your breath…
Broken Flowers Soundtrack — Various Artists (2005)
The society of today, is much different than the homogenous society five decades ago. Many different worlds live within our small world. The richness of which is eloquently displayed in this soundtrack. It’s an eclectic mix of the main score delivered by Ethiopian jazz artist, Mulatu Astatke and then throw in some garage rock, stoner metal, soul, rocksteady reggae and opera. Now, you’re good to go.
If the woman you’re seeing would be a perfect passenger in Marco Polo’s voyages, she will appreciate the many twists and turns of the music. It demands attention but it forces you through a myriad of states, emotions and ethnic borders. If both of you have the stomach for the trip, hold on to each other.
Lady in Satin — Billie Holiday (1958)
You can’t hear Billie Holiday with just any woman, and you can’t casually play “Lady In Satin”. Holiday’s voice is a time capsule, her chords lie somewhere between heart and ache; they echo a longing, a longing for a place that doesn’t quite exist. Other than in your darkest place.
You don’t play games in Billie Holiday’s company. “Lady In Satin” is for that special someone who gives you class because she has class. It’s for evenings with bow-ties and dresses, not because there’s a social occasion, because she’s the occasion. Few lovebirds can listen to Billie Holiday without feeling uneasy. Because Holiday never lies.
Play “Lady In Satin” when you want to dance with her in the moonlight – and not a minute to soon…