Friday, June 28, 2013

Doctor Who?

I have been watching a loooooot of Doctor Who lately.

I was hesitant about watching Doctor Who for a long time.  I'm already an obsessive person by nature - it's a part of my personality.  I love to dive into aspects of culture like movies and books and T.V. shows.  I have a habit of going through phases of being obsessed with one thing and then becoming obsessed with another.  For example, one month I'd be obsessed with Once Upon a Time and then I'd switch to being obsessed with Sherlock for a while.  So if so many people, some of whom aren't usually as obsessive as I am, obsess over Doctor Who, I should probably stay away from it.  The reason I stayed away from Doctor Who for a while was because I knew there was a high possibility I would become obsessed with it, and it doesn't help that it's addictive, as I've heard some people say.  But then, a lot of T.V. shows are addictive - most or all of them are.
Doctor Dolittle (1967).

I've always been aware of Doctor Who in the back of my mind since I was a kid, although I used to confuse him with Doctor Dolittle (I knew about the books by Hugh Lofting and had seen the 1967 movie with Rex Harrison).  I suppose this was a slightly odd connection for me to make, since the only thing in common between the two is the title of "Doctor".

My awareness of Doctor Who came from my dad, who grew up with Doctor Who as a kid in Ireland.  He has a lot of catching up to do, seeing as the last time he watched Doctor Who was when Sylvester McCoy played the seventh doctor.  Throughout the past two years the Doctor Who fandom came to my attention more and more, until I realized how popular and well-known Doctor Who had become, not only in British culture but in America as well.  A lot of people I know are fans of the show, which piqued my curiosity.  So I broke down one day and decided to buy a few episodes of series two with David Tennant on iTunes.

I had no idea whatsoever where to start, which I've heard is a problem for a lot of people trying out Doctor Who for the first time.  I started with The Christmas Invasion.  It left me pretty confused.  I have to confess that however hard I tried, I could not force myself to watch all of The Christmas Invasion.  I only managed to watch the first quarter of it.  I just didn't find it particularly easy to watch.  I'm not really the science fiction type, and I found the conflict with the fake Santas and frightening christmas trees uninteresting.  So I skipped the rest and watched the next episode, New Earth.  I watched Tooth and Claw and School Reunion as well, but I didn't watch anymore after I had finished School Reunion, as I had not bought any more episodes.  I forgot about Doctor Who for a while afterwards, but I still had an inner desire to catch up on Doctor Who and watch it myself instead of merely knowing about it.  On my birthday, my dad gave me a dvd with all of the classic Doctor Who episodes from the 1960's, starting in 1963, with the first doctor, William Hartnell.

About a week ago, to my glee and surprise, I discovered nearly every single episode of the Doctor Who revival (starting with the ninth doctor played by Christopher Eccleston in 2005) on Youtube and Dailymotion (where I found all episodes of series one and two of Sherlock as well, by the way).  Since then, I have caught up on series five, six, and some of seven, with Matt Smith as the eleventh doctor.  I watched quite a lot of David Tennant episodes beforehand, but my interest in the series with the eleventh doctor couldn't wait any longer.  I just had to find out who Amy Pond and Rory Williams and River Song and Clara Oswald all were.  I am presently caught up to Cold War, the eighth episode of series seven.  Since watching the seventh episode of series seven, I've gone back to Rose, the first episode with the ninth doctor.

I really love the ninth doctor.  I like the sound of his voice, his black jacket, and his personality.  He's just so funny and nice.  I'm already fond of his version of the doctor and I've only seen the first two episodes with him.  I love David Tennant as the doctor as well.  If I were to make a list of my favorite doctors, it would include one, four, five, nine, ten, and eleven.

I like all of the doctors, but the six doctors above are my favorite doctors as of late.

David Tennant and Matt Smith are my top two favorites.  However much I love David Tennant's doctor, Matt Smith easily tops him as my number one favorite doctor.  Some people don't like his doctor as much as David Tennant's because he is not David Tennant.  Of course he's not David Tennant, he's Matt Smith.  And he wears bow ties.  Bow ties are cool.

Overall, I love Doctor Who.  And just as I suspected, I've become obsessed with it.  But luckily, not as obsessed as I thought I would be.  As much as I like Doctor Who, it's not completely my sort of thing.  There are plenty of amazing episodes that I absolutely love, but there are some episodes I don't care for so much as well, whereas with series one and two of Sherlock and the first season of Once Upon a Time, there was never a single episode that I didn't like.  I'm definitely a Doctor Who fan, but The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984) and Sherlock (2010) are more my cup of tea.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

What is my favorite song?  Out of every song that ever existed in the world?  My answer to that question has always been, and most likely always will be, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", by Bob Dylan.  Joan Baez's version of this song is the one I love the most.  Joan Baez was Bob Dylan's girlfriend back in the day and sang a cover of many of his early songs.  I am a fan of Bob Dylan's music, but honestly, it's not his singing that made him a well known musician.  Of course his rough down to earth voice is famous and recognizable to many people, but what he is most talented at is writing songs.  He's known for his meaningful and poetic songwriting, and he's been an influential musician for over five decades.  I loved to listen to his songs when I was little, but it always seemed to me that he talked-sang and was more of a songwriter than a singer.  The reason I love Joan Baez's version of It's All Over Now, Baby Blue is because I grew up with it.  I have very early memories of listening to Joan Baez sing this song on the record from 1965 that my mom had.  I recall thinking it was about a baby wrapped in a blue blanket.  I imagine I must have muddled the lyrics quite a lot.

You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out the saints are comin' through
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense
Take what you have gathered from coincidence
The empty handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home
Your empty handed armies, are all going home
Your lover who just walked out the door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor
The carpet, too, is moving under you
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you
Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you
The vagabond who's rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
Strike another match, go start anew
And it's all over now, Baby Blue.

Because I associate my early childhood with this song, it's very nostalgic for me.  Of course nostalgia is a key reason as to why this is my most favorite song of all time, but it isn't the only reason.  It's All Over Now, Baby Blue is such a beautiful-sounding and meaningful song.  And what I find to be so cool is that the meaning of this song has changed for me as I've grown older.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Feeling Conflicted

I'm feeling conflicted about the gothic metal (or as I like to say, gothic rock) band "We Are the Fallen".  We Are the Fallen was created after Ben Moody, Rocky Gray, and John LeCompt left Evanescence to form their own separate band.  Ben Moody split from Evanescence when he and Amy Lee's contrasting creative outlooks clashed.  The lead singer of We Are the Fallen is Carly Smithson, an Irish American and a Dubliner (I know Dubliner refers to a person that presently resides in Dublin, but as Carly Smithson was born in Dublin, I like to call her a Dubliner), who used to be a contestant on American Idol.

A lot of people constantly compare Evanescence with We Are the Fallen.  In my view, these comparisons are unavoidable, seeing that We Are the Fallen gave themselves a title that obviously refers back to Evanescence's first album.

My conflicted feelings towards We Are the Fallen stem from their relationship with Evanescence.  Some view We Are the Fallen as unoriginal and a copycat of Evanescence's music.  I thought this when I first discovered We Are the Fallen, and I really hated their band then.  But since then my opinion of them has softened.  We Are the Fallen does sound a lot like Evanescence, but only the songs of their first album, Fallen.  Since Fallen, Evanescence's music style has changed and developed.  They now sound nothing like We Are the Fallen.  We Are the Fallen is also changing.  Their music is developing into their own style more and more.  Presently, We Are the Fallen and Evanescence do not sound all that similar.

Below are some songs by We Are the Fallen that I have recently taken a liking to.

"I Am Only One":

Evanescence would usually include a lot of piano in a song like "I Am Only One", but We Are the Fallen uses stringed instruments (in this case, mostly cello).

"Tear the World Down":

I really like the sound of Carly Smithson's voice.  Her voice differs from Amy Lee's in that it sounds rougher and more gravely, like a rock star's singing voice.  Amy Lee is a fantastic rock singer, but her voice is deep, clear, piercing, and floating, as though the song she were singing had's difficult to describe her singing voice with words.

"Sleep Well, My Angel":

I know I should let go and appreciate We Are the Fallen for what it is, but I can't shake the feeling I'm betraying Evanescence by listening to their music.  As a loyal Evanescence fan, I don't like this feeling. Despite this, I do enjoy We Are the Fallen's music, and I'll continue to listen to it.