Here’s where to get Boston’s best fried chicken, ice cream, and brunch New England—all in a single big, fat weekend
Newport Folk Festival…?
Technological activism on a shoestring budget!
Wow, that is very pre-Pee-Wee Paul Reubens!
Frida Hyvönen - “London!” (Silence Is Wild, 2008)
If I’m still being sparing with the word great, I’ll introduce “London!” as Frida Hyvönen’s second great song, and her greatest song. It also has her biggest chorus to date, but achieves its volume and energy with a much smaller orchestra than the listener might imagine upon first listen: drums and tambourine, bass guitar to add bounce and amplify the resonance of her piano, backing vocals, and quiet organ to return the song to the sublime mundane as the singers whirl away to reverie. The drums are the first to arrive, after Hyvönen, and announce themselves softly, not as a question, but in their new role of supporting the narrative of her accumulating energy and passion. It’s still a mystery to me, whether she knows, upon beginning this song, its eventual peak, or if she just lets things happen in the moment.
“London!” is a monument to loneliness, and it’s funny that, for all the activity of her backing singers, Hyvönen’s storytelling is once again so effective that they’re incapable of troubling the song’s perfect solitude. It could almost be post-apocalyptic. Not a single other person enters the frame, except from the pages of a book, “beautiful boys in exquisite fabrics.” “I ate it like candy,” she sings, but a high oh oh oh (all one word, in-exquisite-fabrics-oh-oh-oh, given an elaborate rising-falling intonation) has already said as much. Then, in a sudden outpouring that disproves anyone who thinks that, as salve, she’s simply seeking love, she elaborates: “I want to be like them, I don’t care if they are men.” She so much doubts ever being heard or understood, of establishing human connection and a semblance of real life, that when she mentions Sherlock Holmes, she adds, “if you remember him.”
So, the narrator makes a lover out of a city, and not even one that treats her well. Is London the original source of her misery, or the place that best embodies it? “London, the way you hate me is better than love,” she sings, though for a long time I thought I heard “the way you hit me,” an echo of “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss),” the Crystals classic that’s been aestheticized to death over 50 years. Her song’s better off without it. So, she’d rather be hated than ignored; the exclamation point of the title demands affirmation of her existence. She carries on an argument with London, and her voice is in top form here, equal to arguing the point of view of the last person on Earth. “You’re wrong!” occupies as many syllables as “you keep me hanging on,” and to the latter she appends, “to life,” a downward, perpetually breath-catching spiral of notes, joined by other voices. All fall down.
Finally there’s the bridge, which pitches the song into the realm of a musical number, the scene suspended in imagination. Hyvönen dances with the symbols of her desolation, the pipes, and both her half rhyme and the drummer’s thumping, cymbal-less articulation create the pipes’ song.
Yes, he did issue a statement at the end of Ramadan — and it’s not controversial except for acknowledging that Muslim Americans exist.
Statement by the President on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr
As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families. This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate. While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.
In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.
On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.