Big changes this week! Finally decided to separate my Mommy Blog which can now be found at: because I think it’ll just make things much simpler for me in terms of organizing entries and such.

Still keeping this blog of course – though changed the name to suit my varied fields of interests.

More to come.

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Holiday Leftovers

This christmas I received an odd yet meaningful gift from my husband: half a Jim Shore collectible Winter Angel mug. Yes, the top–the angel, was missing. I was genuinely happy upon it’s unveiling straight from the delivery box, styrofoam balls, packaging tape and all. As I tore the box open in anticipation, he said “It’s vintage” sweet thoughtfulness knowing that I’d appreciate all things with a vintage feel. I was pleasantly surprised to find a gift as simple as a mug. We agreed, “no big gifts this year” to route the funds in making our little wing’s first christmas a special one. While I do appreciate Jim Shore’s collection I have enough clutter as it is to even think of starting a menagerie of angels, or even mugs.

So. What to do with the mug? I have used it. In fact, I used it on Christmas morning and pretty much everyday since. Not the best mug I’ve used it all honesty (sorry, Love) BUT Perhaps there’s more to it than a chunk of green and beige ceramic riddled with mistletoes and snowy landscapes with a missing angel head. The thought behind it is the true gift that lingered beneath the brown flaps of my christmas box.

Love is not cerebral. Let’s start with that.

Not a definitive statement either but rather felt in the gut by instinct, down in the belly where the butterflies flutter about. My gut tells me this gift is full of it. Love. After all the reason he explains, he bought it, is because he was concerned that my morning coffee always went cold before I had the chance to finish it. And it always did. This winter angel, cut just above the waist has a smaller opening and will somewhat keep my drink warmer, longer.

Not that much longer.

But maybe…

It’s a lot like a marriage and love. It isn’t perfect. There are missing parts. But as a matter of perspective, something is kept warm and protected within it; cupped so to speak.
Everyday there is something new and fresh to take in, and when emptied, the prospect of filling it up stirs up possibility. There is always something to look forward to.

And as I hold it between my hands I remember what I hold sacred at this very moment. My family. My sweet, thoughtful husband. My bright-eyed, gurgly, kitty-kat, daughter. Love knows no warmth, warmer than that.

So you see, I got more than just a cup for Christmas.

Happy Holidays to everyone out there. Hope you’re embraced with warmth this season.

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Pocket Review: St. Vincent – Actor

st-vincent-actor-cover1.jpg​Don’t be deceived by the doe-eyed luminosity of Annie Clark’s (a.k.a St. Vincent) pallid face, nestled in the confusion of her soft brown curls. Actor takes on the sensibility of binaries: from the album’s (palatable) sweet allure of ambiguity down to its last smack of bitterness as you consume it in its entirety. Album cover alone, you can’t tell whether she’s witnessing the blossoming serenity of cherry blossoms or if she’s watching humanity’s apocalyptic fate take place from a distance.

Actor is beautiful as it is strange. The pleasantries of pop tunes infused with a lingering darkness, the subtle silhouette of eeriness. A brush of familiarity lures you in, curious critter that you are; while the innocent frailty of her voice anesthetizes the precarious note that tips the song over to the desolate forests where many of the characters in her songs can be found lurking in the shadows. St. Vincent testifies to the harrowing chaotic grace of our mundane lives. Slowed down in frames of patient renderings of muted emotion and restraint, somewhere between the stark la-la-la of sanity, a heavy riff intrudes; the estranged banter of madness makes itself known.

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Moleskine: Madness

moleskine33.jpgThe Moleskine. Mol-a-skeen’-a. Yet another cult classic, and why shouldn’t it be? This little black notebook’s got its fans cutting hearts out and launching virgins off the summit of Krakatoa, all for its furtive anonymity, acid-free paper, and unembellished distinction. Okay, hyperbolic, yes–but still, you don’t see enthusiastic blogs, reviews or even movie “sightings” about Mead or Composition notebooks do you?

I came across this notebook while on a trip to Italy and France in 2004. The auspicious day took place in small bookstore by the corner of a cafe in Rome. It was a musty souvenir shop, slightly dim and dusty with slivers of sunlight streaming from a small window. By the door lay the biggest St. Bernard I have even seen, nearly akin to a grizzly bear rug except this dog had it’s tongue out and had a slight wheezing in its breathing. A moderately attractive italian woman in her sixties who had an orange glow from her sultry affair with the sun, stood behind a counter and spoke to me in italian. She had a raspy voice and muffled something incomprehensible to me behind the cigarette that kissed her mouth.

“Notebooks?” I asked. She pointed towards the back end of her shop where a few shelves were frosted with notebooks adorned the ubiquitous Mona Lisa, The Vitruvian Man, and a cherub cutout from Raphael’s Sistine Madonna. All sprawled out on the wooden shelf were images raped by mass production and printed for the hoarding consumers that we are. Why not hang a neon sign that read “tourist” around my neck instead? Yes, I was one by the strict definition of the word, but I chose to define myself as a traveller. One who wasn’t just there for the postcard photographs. I wanted to be there for the art, food, coffee, wine, and the company of locals, not adorn every single printable surface I own with a cherub.

moleskine300.jpgUsually, images attract my attention. Colors tickle my fancy. But on that day, a plain and unassuming notebook just below the high renaissance artists, reeled me in. I was curiously attracted to the simplicity of its design, and I’ve been hooked, ever since. Black and leather-bound, like a fetish of sorts. The paper isn’t even white–as if by some guided intuition, it doesn’t flaunt purity, not even the eggshell shade of frailty. This notebook was created to know your sins, your secrets, and desires. I’d like to believe that it is a pale rendition of flesh tones. The corporeal canvass that will soon be inhabited by our savage and even carnal longing.

The irony we choose not to see is that the mere fact that they’ve printed out and included a pamphlet (in every book) stating the history of this legendary notebook, where; Van Gogh, Matisse, Hemingway and BrucePicture 5 Chatwin (among many others) have used Moleskine’s for their craft, we are vulnerable to it’s key selling point: celebrities. The high-brow kind: Artists. Poets. Writers. When you think about it, it’s no different from cherubs or naked men gingerly touching fingers halfway across heaven and earth. Moleskine just took it off the front page and stuck a leaflet in its back pocket. In fact so many others have trailed along the bread crumbs left behind by this journal. Nevertheless, why do we continue to stack up on it today as if there were a great notebook supply crash? Hoarding, anyone?

This is all attributed to the fact that NO other notebook has inspired and brought people from around the world to unite for the sole purpose of creativity. No other notebook has done tours, traveling from city to city like a moveable feast (I hear you, Hemingway). Perhaps, it is with the sense of community that comes along with it that one can find a sense of belonging. It is the experience. The possibility of creative thought framed between its pages, the solitude in putting it all together and finally the elation of sharing it with others.

A Moleskine is more than just a notebook. You know it’s serious when you start writing down an “As a Reward” figure on the fist page of your journal. Moleskine has made it easier for you by printing out an “In case of loss, please return to…” and a rewards area where you are free to narcissistically place value for your scrawls and scribbles. Seriously though, if you happened to write and lose the epic poem of the century, you’d give leg and limb to get it back. Moleskine assumes that you’re not just writing grocery lists and random phone numbers in there.

Several varieties are available; one for every split personality you carry with you. For the doodlers and artists, the sketchbook. The OCD inflicted planner, the daily and monthly diaries. For the budding Anderson Coopers, the reporter. For music prodigy, the math geek, the pack rats (memo pocket), the traveller, the thinkers, the poets and writers. The list goes on. But personally, I prefer freedom of space. The plain notebook–the one I call mine.

To lose a passport was the least of one’s worries. To lose a notebook was a catastrophe. — Bruce Chatwin (Travel Writer/ Moleskine advocate)

Now, In case you find yourself shopping around for a notebook and feel like spending for your thoughts, when in doubt on what to buy ask yourself: WWJD? No, not Jesus. I’m talking about Jones, as in Indiana. As in, The Last Crusade. What Would Jones Do? Steer clear of the bejeweled chalice, my friends, we all know how that ends. The simplest of cups, the most unpretentious of all chalices is what ultimately held the blood, wine, insight and answers to life.  As far as Moleskine notebooks go, it is essentially, just a blank page. Like an empty cup. What we make of it is what makes it special. It is you that summons the creative forces from thought, pen, to paper that brings it to life. But if you do fill the cup, perhaps an inveterate thirst will be quenched.

However inspiring this notebook may be, the muse will not undress and reveal itself before you. The green fairy is not a centerfold bonus inlay. You won’t win the Pulitzer just by writing your name. Let it bear witness to your life: leather-bound, pulled together with an elastic band and restrained to some degree, somewhere between your Moleskine’s pages you just might find out what makes you feel alive.

You can visit Moleskine at:

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Black Dogs and Dark Horses


It’s good to be skeptical at times. It leaves room for wonderment and surprise, the kind that grabs you by the throat at the moment you least expect it. Saturday night at Slim’s in San Francisco on 11th and Folsom proved to be a remarkable night. A band that called themselves Led Zepagain was set to play. I’ve never heard of them up until two weeks ago when my husband found them on YouTube, so yes, I was extremely skeptical. Especially after hearing of bands like the ghastly Dredd Zeppelin that mutilated Led Zeppelin songs for years on end. I’ve been a Led Zeppelin fan longer than I’ve been a Tori Amos fan. Those who have read my previous posts would know how long, indeed, that is. My husband and I couldn’t believe how good they were that we  just HAD to see them for ourselves.

This was beyond imitation and flattery. This was beyond cover bands and songs. This was (nearly) a paranormal event staging Led Zeppelin, because in the dim red and blue lights at Slim’s, a lingering buzz fromled-zepagain-jpeg1 knocking back a few Sierra’s, and the energy that ran through bodies electric, I swear I saw them. On stage. Live. It started with a screening of “The Song Remains The Same” a concert/movie of Led Zeppelin’s tour in 1973 filmed in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Juxtaposed with the bellowing crowd filmed in New York, the audience at at Slim’s lauded as the screen slowly lifed, unveiling Led Zepagain. And then it happened. Once the first chord was stuck, the first word sung, you had no choice but to sing along. Resistance is futile. You can’t help but give in, eyes closed, beads of sweat running down your cheeks, hands up in the air waving like a soft breeze just ran through a meadow.

What Led Zepagain has done (with almost a ritualistic flair) is to pay tribute to one of the most musically complex, intriguing, and controversial bands in the world. Led Zeppelin’s music is dark and captivating with bouts of enchantment and bliss. Their songs are brilliantly written, both divine and arcane that to this day, with a good ear, one can easily tell which musicans have been heavily influenced by the group. Considered as the BEST Led Zeppelin tribute band, the four members of Led Zepagain channel all four Zeppelin members Robert Plant (vocals), Jimmy Page (Guitar) John Paul Jones (Bass/Piano), and John Bonham (drums) with such discernng precision that Zeppelin Heads regardless of age, nationality, sexual orientation, shower-or-no-shower, arrived to celebrate the music, the memory, and the experience that has never again been embodied by any group and musician since.

“It’s amazing how much you sound like us.” “You must have grown up on this because you were inside the music, and you paid attention to detail in your presentation…I can tell you guys really love the music!” – Jimmy Page


The beauty of that is, Led Zepagain is not trying to mark their own territory. Members of Led Zepagain (Swan Montgomery as Robert Plant, Steve Zukowsky as Jimmy Page, Jimmy Wooten as Jonesy, and Jim Kersey as Bonzo) closely studied Led Zeppelin’s music and everything else about them. This group of people are hardcore fans, playing for a cult following of fans (for 18 years now!), determined to keep the music alive. They radiate Led Zeppelin down to the finest details of Robert Plant’s mannerisms. How he held his mic (not to mention his voice), his beckoning stage presence (although no one can EVER be like Robert Plant), and the frail snapping of his fingers while he sang. Zukowsky’s take on Page’s stage antics were spot on: His use of a Theremin (an electric instrument used to create sliding tones by placing your hands in its peripheral area), and the infamous cello bow used in the exact guitar solo. Even the guitars they used are the same.

Jimmy Page Bow Guitar Solo

Led Zepagain’s Steve Zukowsky (as Jimmy Page) Bow Guitar Solo

The band played a wide range of Led Zeppelin legendary hits: Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Rock N’ Roll, Immigrant Song, Kashmir, Going to California, Ramble On, Black Dog. Of course they were fabulous, as if the band crawled into each of the songs and lived there for a while only to come out emmanating the voice, sound, emotion and energy of each track. But it was the songs that I thought I would NEVER (in my life) hear live that startled me stupid. Not just because some of these songs are difficult to play in front of a live audience, but because these aren’t exactly Casey Kasem’s Top 40 hits material. They weren’t even released as singles. These were songs that made the night worthwhile: The heavily toked up track, Dazed and Confused, The Song Remains the Same (probably one of Led Zeppelin’s best songs in my opinion), Bron Yr Aur Stomp, and the deeply enigmatic, No Quarter.

zeppelin.jpg Led Zeppelin: Circa 1975


LOOK AGAIN: It’s Led Zepagain!!! (Circa 2009)

The music lives on. Someday when the Mothership returns once again and lands on earth for a reunion concert (this time not just in London as they did in 2007!) My husband and I will be in line–up front–with Swan, Steve and the rest of Led Zepagain, waving our golden concert tickets. Jimmy Page will step down in his dragon suit, armed with his 1275 Gibson double neck guitar and a cure for cancer and say, “I’ll take over from here.”

You can visit Led Zepagain at: and the Legendary Led Zeppelin at:

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Pocket Review: Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

Julie-and-Julia.jpgThis is a refreshing memoir about discovery, possibility, and ineffable amounts of butter. The book was a light read, though I often found myself tearing up and staring into the open spaces of my life with the subtle yet incisive wisdom of her words.

At some point, the rest of us will have bouts of frustration and envy, left with the tingling buzz of a thought: I wish I could do that. Create and commit to a project as if your life depended on it. Even if you have to butcher ducks and murder crustaceans. It can get bloody. Then again, that is the beauty of the book: The revelation that quietly arrives to the threshold of our knowing. We taste with caution, swallow without fear, and allow the reawakening of our senses.

Julie Powell’s latest memoir Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession is due for release on December 1, 2009.

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You Lost What!?!

I lost my wallet. Debit card, I.D. and six bucks. Wait–let’s take a step back for a moment. You see, while smitten by the very near sight of Tori Amos last July 13th for her SInful Attraction tour, my wallet fell out of my purse. You know, one of those little purse wallet flaps you bring on nights out without the fanfare of Sears photoshoots, cute pets, adorable children, receipts and other useless scraps of paper. If only we could blame inanimate things for human error. Purple flap wallet, having only six dollars, jumped off and out a small black purse Monday night, having found no reason to go on living. It took me days to discover that I had lost it. When I finally did, I called the Paramount Theater only to find that their box office (where they keep lost items) opens on Tuesdays. I had to wait it out through the weekend. Fortunately, I checked my bank account and my funds were still intact.

Tuesday: I called the theater and they said they had a wallet in the safe. I gave all the pertinent information needed and upon confirmation that it was mine, my husband and I drove stright to Oakland to pick it up. It took no more than a minute for them to give it back to me. I signed my name beside a short list of
helplessly muted, abandoned-without-knowing items that people have left behind. Though I’m very happy for getting back something I lost, I’m mostly thankful for not having to go through the inconvenience of procuring another I.D.

I’d like to thank the Paramount Theater’s staff and management for the excellent service they’ve rendered, and for even keeping my wallet; debit card, i.d, six bucks and all, safely under lock and key.

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Yerba Buena Gardens

While on our way to watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon at The Metreon (in San Francisco), my cousin, husband and I, chanced upon a most serendipitous performance that was about to take place at Yerba Buena Gardens. With time to spare before the movie started we walked over to the garden, found a sunny patch of green and basked in the heat for a good half hour. The stage was simple and casual. Empty mismatched chairs lined up into rows suggesting the spacial breadth of a symphony. There were no banners, no huge sponsor ads and as we were quite far, we had no idea who was perfroming. After a brief introduction, which I unfortunately didn’t pay attention to due to the pleasant sight of dragonflies buzzing alongside our little turf, I flipped through the booklet that was randomly being handed out and learned that the production was for the 2009 Summer Season of the Merola Opera Program. To my utmost joy and amazement, the symphony started playing the overture to Gioachino Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri, (The Italian Woman in Algiers) an opera in 2 acts that premiered at the Teatro San Benedetto in Venice on May 22, 1813.

The sun was a tad bit too happy that afternoon; the heat nearly unbearable (at least for us), so we picked ourselves up and sought after a cool shaded area. We were lucky enough to have finished listening to the overture when we realized that the movie was about to start (Okay, truth is, we still wanted to buy some popcorn. Don’t judge me!) Though we wanted to stay for the rest of the performance, we decided to heed the Autobot’s distress call. The performances we missed were Act 2 L’italiana in Algeri, Acts 2 and 3 of Orofeo Ed Euridice, and Act 4 of La Boheme.

Yerba Buena Gardens: Hiding in the shade gleefuly listening to the overture of Gioachino Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Woman in Algiers)
being performed. Bravo!!!

Apparently, this FREE performance is part of the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival which generally presents music, dance, theater, spoken word, and exhibits (to name a few) that celebrates the unique cultural diversity of San Francisco. More info regarding the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival can be found at: Have I mentioned that all these outdoor programs are FREE!?! All the way through the entire month of OCTOBER!!! The Merola Opera Program collaborated with Yerba Buena Gardens by joining hands in its two long standing summer festival traditions.

Named after San Francisco Opera’s first General Director, Gaetano Merola; the Merola Opera Program is a comprehensive 11 week training program for artists all over the country between the ages of 20-34 that features classes and even public performances. The Program zeroes into the following categories: Musical style and interpretation, ensemble work, accompaniment, acting, conducting, prompting, stage technique, movement, maekup, fencing, role coaching, languages and diction. The coveted 29 slots are given to approximtely 24 singers, 5 apprentice coaches and one stage director. All participants of the program are given the oppurtunity to showcase their artistic growth through performances; ultimately leading to prolific careers with the San Francisco Opera, should they be accepted.


Although the only free performance the Merola Opera Program had was at the Yerba Buena Gardens, ticket sales for the remaining three performances will help ease the finances of accepted and participating artists, as their transportation, housing, training and a weekly stipend is covered for the duration of the summer program. More information regarding the SF Opera and the Merola Opera Program 2009 can be found here:

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival:

San Francisco Opera/ Merola Opera Program

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Summer of Sin


Somewhere out there, tickets (as good as ours) from July 13th’s FANTASTIC Tori Amos concert would have sold for more than $400. We spent only $50! This has definitely renewed my faith in Ticketmaster, considering that I’ve NEVER found tickets as excellent as this–selling for its face value. We were on the second row (Row B, aisle 3, seats 109 and 111) right smack in the middle of the main orchestra. This has got to be the best $50 I have ever spent in my entire life–even better than the first time I watched her live in 2007.

One Eskimo a London based indie group opened ever so promptly at 8:00 p.m., and while their ambient music was beautiful, the wave of anticipation that surged within me was meant for only one act. Tori walked out and greeted the crowd with arms outstretched as if to embrace all 3,000 of her fans with a smile that gleamed from ear to ear. Crowned with long fiery red hair, her dress was fringed with cowboy trimmings across her arms and it draped asymmetrically past her tiny waist, over shiny electric purple tights and three inch heels. Entranced by the very mere presence her and the bacchanal introduction of Give, we all stood up and cheered on as she nimbly moved across the stage towards her Bosendorfer where she curtsied and sat herself down between pianos. I fumbled to get my camera photo ready and managed to get a hopelessly blurred photo of her, in spite of how close I was (apparently, all my motor functions ceased as soon as I saw her). She then threw her head back, hair like flames, as she uttered the first line of the song with fierce confidence, “So you heard, I’ve crossed over the line”. What followed was a dangerously erotic, dark, albeit pleasurable hexing through sound and sheer emotion.


In a segment called the Lizard Lounge, where on previous concerts was her alone time with Bosey (her beloved piano) Tori talked about how she loved the Paramount theater and how a movie of her was made the last time she visited. There was unfortunately no mention of its release date, though the affirmation that it would–someday, was enough to keep us going. She then went on to talk about her conversation with her daughter, Tash.

“Tash I’m going to play this song”, said Tori. “You’re kidding me” uttered her daughter. “No, I’m not kidding you”. “You don’t know that song” Tash replied sharply.
“I don’t know any of the fucking songs I play”.

“So you haven’t guessed who it is yet have you?” Tori asked the audience.

None of us knew what was coming. Now, of all cover songs that she has skillfully mastered in true Tori style, no one expected it would be Britney Spears’ breakout single. I never knew a pop song as ubiquitous as “Baby One More Time” can have such fiendish depth and poignant lyrical insight. Tori singled out the undulating desolation beneath Britney’s catholic school girl accouterments and released its lyrics and emotions into the wild with sadomasochistic flair. “Hit me baby, you always do, hit me baby one more time”. Twelve more songs followed after her surprise cover song, including Carbon, Precious Things, and Tear in your hand– some favorites of mine.

As posted in my previous entry, I have been a fan since Tori’s career started out as a little earthquake, until today, where I find myself a part of cult fanbase that proclaims how her music has guided, helped, comforted, and entertained us. Hearing a song from her first album like Precious Things (among other songs) LIVE after seventeen years brings back so many memories of my angst ridden teenage days. And though my angst has long gone (overriden by the occasional pathos that gnaws at me) her songs, old and new, are still relevant because they transcend the shifting paradigms of our lives.

Looking through her past repertoire and performance from 2007’s American Doll Posse Tour (See Dec. 8, 2007 setlist below) where I sat SO far back it felt like lawn seats, I was given a second chance at the Paramount to see her up close last Monday. Now, with a new and almost primeval awareness of the senses–the fresh blood on my lips from my first kill, I can’t help but want more. More concerts and front row seats, because as far as sins go, I now plead the third of all seven. Greed.


Sinful Attraction Tour

July 13, 2009
Paramount Theater, Oakland

Cornflake Girl
Space Dog
A Sorta Fairytale
Beaty of Speed
Curtain Call
Baby One More Time (Britney Spears Cover)
Maybe California
Martha’s Foolish Ginger
Fast Horse
Mother Revolution
Precious Things
Strong Black Vine
Police Me
Big Wheel
Tear in Your Hand

American Doll Posse Tour

December 8, 2007
Paramount Theater, Oakland

Fat Slut
Smokey Joe
Teenage Hustler
Big Wheel
Space Dog
Cornflake Girl
Putting the Damage on
Spring Haze
Cloud on My Tongue
1,000 Oceans
Code Red
Precious Things
Digital Ghost
Hey Jupiter

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Welcome: Ears with Feet

In spite of recent disappointments and pitfalls, July 13th is fast approaching. In fact, it’s in two days! It’s one day that I’ve been looking forward to for years because for the FIRST time ever, I get to sit on the SECOND ROW of Tori Amos’ concert at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. After 17 long years of being a die-hard fan, I finally get a chance to see her up close. Real close.


As soon as I recieved my pre-ordered copy of Abnormally Attracted to Sin last May, I instantly dove into sound immersion as I do with most albums I anticipate with my fan favorite handful of artists and bands, new and old. No party shuffles here. I kick it old school and listen to the tracks in the order she meant for it to be heard. Listening to Tori’s new album is somewhat like deja vu. Getting sight of a familiar face in rush hour pedestrian traffic on a very cloudy day. Recognition is slightly a moment’s miss but there is that lingering tinge of a distant memory. You know you’ve met her. Somewhere. Before. And I have. On my third run of her album in full length, I was hooked. It has the sensitivity, emotion, and the vast musical landscape that bonds you to it’s tracks

Although critics haven’t been as kind to her as her Pele years, she has nonetheless evolved from years of silence to swirling in raspberries to bouncing off clouds and finally to her attraction to sin. I’ve read that seventeen tracks is too much to handle for a full length album. I say, there’s not enough of her music to be had. What would normally be sent off to B-sides has found its way past the velvet curtains for the pleasure of our perusal. Forget the critics. This is for her fans. You know who you are. Those who understand the relevance of what she has and always was bravely willing to convey. If I am indeed abnormally attracted to her new album, then to hell with it. Damned we be all for this sin.

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