Sunday, May 31, 2009

Any Dream Will Do

Genre: Broadway Musical
Artist: Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
Album: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

This is a play that I have loved ever since I was a little boy. It is also the play I have seen more often than any other by far. The play begins with the narrator singing about dreams. "Some folks dream of the wonders they'll do" but many "hide their hopes." "We all dream a lot. Some are lucky, some are not." The narrator then tells us that this can all be explained in the story of a boy whose dream came true. That boy is Joseph. Joseph then enters the stage to sing this song. He had dreams and because of them he was sold as a slave and eventually cast into prison. His dreams seemed hopeless. And yet, in the end, his dreams really did come true.

There are times when I feel like Joseph in this song. "Far, far away, someone was weeping, but the world was sleeping." Somebody needed help, but the world was oblivious to the fact. One of my dreams is to find those people that are weeping and lift their heads and give them hope. I want to change the world for the better. I feel inspired by my dreams. I gaze at the distant horizon and see the dawn breaking. But then, frequently, I begin to lose sight of my dreams. This happens because I am either ridiculed or else I feel extremely burnt out. "The light is dimming, and the dream is too." But, like Joseph, I am still waiting. I am waiting for my dream to come true, to make a difference in the world.

This song also takes me back to my childhood. I remember first seeing it in Salt Lake City with my aunt Dee. I also remember on one trip to her apartment she presented me with my own "coat of many colors." I saw it multiple times after that, including once at Riverside. (I loved that theater, especially their production of Robin Hood). My favorite production was with Michael Damian. I saw that with my dad and Becky. I would act out scenes from Joseph at home. In the scene where he was thrown in jail, I would be behind the rocking chair wearing a towel (because that's basically all he was wearing in the play). I also drew pictures of parts of the play on the computer and wrote the accompanying lyrics (although I struggled with such words as economic). As a child, this was certainly my favorite play, only to be replaced years later by Phantom of the Opera, another Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpiece.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thank Goodness

Genre: Broadway Musical
Artist: Music and Lyrics by: Stephen Schwartz
Album: Wicked

I had listened to the Wicked soundtrack multiple times before seeing it performed last month. This song never stood out to me as being very remarkable, but when I saw the play and understood the context of the song, it stood out a lot more to me. I'm not going to comment on the context of the song because I don't want to ruin it for anybody who hasn't seen the musical yet. But the part of the song that stood out to me were the lines: "Getting your dreams, it's strange, but it seems a little, well, complicated. There's a kind of a sort of cost. There's a couple of things get lost. There are bridges you cross you didn't know you crossed until you've crossed. And if that sudden joy, that thrill, doesn't thrill like you think it will . . ."

This song made me think about the price of dreams. Glinda had to make some sacrifices for her dreams. In this song, she happily proclaims that her dreams finally have come true. But as she says she, "Simply couldn't be happier," she suddenly stops and realizes, "Well, not simply." And from there she begins to reflect on what her dreams have cost her. Even though she obtained her dreams, the feeling was not how she anticipated it would be.

What about my dreams? I am working hard for them and sacrificing a lot of my time. But will this sacrifice be worth it in the end? Certainly there are some things that are worth the sacrifice, such as making it to the Celestial kingdom. All sacrifices necessary to make it there will definitely be worth it in the end and that joy will be far greater than I can anticipate. But what of my lesser dreams? I don't believe I should give up my dreams because the sacrifice might not be worth it, but I do think I need to better analyze my dreams and what the cost is going to be to achieve them. No matter what, all dreams will have a cost. The question is whether to cost outweighs the result. I don't know. I haven't really reached a conclusion yet. This song has just made me think about this subject a little more.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

His Work and Nothing More

Genre: Broadway Musical
Artist: Music by Frank Wildhorn, Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
Album: Jekyll & Hyde

As Jekyll immerses himself in his experiment, trying to fight against Hyde, his good friend Utterson makes a profound observation, that Jekyll's work is consuming him. Upon hearing this observation, Jekyll wonders, "Have I become my work and nothing more? I know that's not what I'm living for." Even his fiance and her father are concerned. His fiance tries to be supportive, but her father fears, "he's gone too far." Little do they realize just how much Jekyll has become his work.

Sometimes I also feel like I have become immersed in my jobs. I work so many hours during the day that I feel like I have my work and nothing more. I feel so burned out sometimes that I feel like I have "lost the fire [I] built my dream on." When people see how burned out I am and how much I long for a break, they ask me, "Is what you are seeking worth the price?" They wonder if I really need to work three jobs, taking up 15 hours of each day.

But for me, it is worth the price. At least, I hope it will be one day. I have over $3,000 saved up for when I get married. When that time comes, I know this will have all been worth it. I am also saving up for future vacations, school, and trying to get my car paid off. I know that in the end I will be really grateful for the work I am doing now. But even so, sometimes I wonder if it all really is worth it. I am working my life away, having little time remaining to enjoy myself. "There was a time [I] lived my life, and no one lived the way that [I] did . . . [I] had it all . . . [I] seemed to know just what to live for." I must be sure my life does not consist of only my work and nothing more. I want to feel alive every day and make every day a blessing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Many Roads

Genre: Progressive Rock
Artist: Neal Morse
Album: Lifeline

This song is one of Neal's greatest! The song is about a man that stands at a crossroads in life, looking at all the different roads before him. So many are calling out to him, but he knows that only one road is right. First he talks about the road of fame that promises to make him "a star for a day." They will invent a personality for him. It is really neat because when he is at the crossroads, there is a theme music that plays. When he starts down this first road, the same music is playing, but it sounds darker, signifying that this is the wrong road. Next he tries to humdrum life, where he has a family, but he is never home because he is working all day long. After that he tries another extreme where he can "forget it all" and "party every day." At last, he comes to the road that he feels has been calling out to him. This road requires him to look in the eyes of the Savior and the Savior will be his guide.

Like the man in the song, I can also say that "I came to a place in my life when I looked out at many roads" and "looked for the one that was right, stood frozen in my soul." Actually, I come to that time frequently. I feel like I am there right now. I have so many options before me, but suddenly I am not sure which option is wrong. "There's so many roads to nowhere." I need to find the one that, for me, is really right. I, too, "feel like I have a calling." Right now I feel like I am living the humdrum life. I feel like I am working my life away. I don't like this road that I am on. It is a road that shouts, "Give up your silly dreams!" "Dreams won't pay your bills." But I am a dreamer and I have a strong desire to achieve my dreams.

Just like the man in the song, I am trying to look in the eyes of the Savior, and also trying to look through the eyes of the Savior. "I'm seeking the One who will guide me . . . If I trust in the One who loves me, He will lead me in the paths of light." Life offers so many things, but time is so short here on earth. I can't afford to take the wrong road. Indeed, there are so many roads to nowhere. I want to take the road to somewhere. Lately I have had some promptings as to what I should do. So I will follow these promptings, putting my faith in the Lord that He will not let me go down the wrong road.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chicken Farmer Song

Genre: Progressive Rock
Artist: The Flower Kings
Album: Space Revolver

This song is so much fun to listen to!!! It is very upbeat and happy and is the kind of song that automatically puts you in a good mood when it comes on. Like so many other prog songs, I first heard this at Nate's house while playing pool. I fell in love with the song instantly. I made myself a CD of "prog singles" that I could just put into the CD player and get a sample of several great songs. Chicken Farmer Song is one of my favorites when it comes on.

The song is basically about taking a break from life. Right now everybody reading this is thinking, "Ah. Gotcha. Now I know why Kevin loves this song." Yes, I do love the idea of taking a break from life. "I could use a day on my own!" That is how the song begins. "I would get away from it all-drift into the silent summer!" I would like to grace "the eternal summer." The song talks about walking out of the "darkest age" into the endless summer. Is that darkest age an actual age (like 23?) or is it a period of time, like the dark ages. Either way, it is time to step away from life's bleak obscurity and embrace all the joys life has to offer.

This song is full of great imagery. To me, summer represents childhood freedom. School is over and the months seem endless. True freedom is discovered. Whenever life gets hard and presses down on me, this song lifts me up and makes me happy. It reminds me to join the endless summer and leave the pessimism behind. I could use a day on my own. Maybe one. Maybe two. Maybe three. Maybe four. I need time to break away from the pressures of life and drink in the silent, golden summers that life has to offer. Most importantly, I need to make time in my busy schedule to live for a few minutes in the summer and walk out of my darkest age.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Genre: Progressive Rock
Artist: Spock's Beard
Album: Kindness of Strangers

This song is very special to me for many reasons. First of all, it is the song that introduced me to Progressive Rock, Spock's Beard, and Neal Morse. Neal Morse is my current favorite musical artist, and it all started with this song. I first heard "June" back in 2003 during the summer. I went to spend some time with Nate, as I aways do during the summer. He had recently received the DVD "Don't Try This at Home" by Spock's Beard, which was a DVD of one of their concerts. Nate wanted to watch it with his dad, so I sat with them. I'll be honest. I was bored during a good portion of it. I actually eventually left the room. I remember during "Healing Colors of Sound" I thought, "What? This is still the same song?" I was not used to songs lasting for longer than five minutes. But sometime during the concert, before I left the room, "June" came on. I really liked it. The next day, while Nate and I played pool, he played "Kindness of Strangers" and I got to hear the song again. I liked it so much that Nate burned 3 different albums for me to listen to.

The song is very nostalgic. It is imagining a time, lasting only one month, when Spock's Beard hits it big. "The sun came up . . . and never went down at night." Crowds camp out to see the concerts, singing songs by the band. The band members were able to have nice hotel rooms and all the luxuries life could offer, but then it was gone. They tried to get things working again, but then realize it's all gone and they say, "I wish we were still in June."

"June came upon us much too soon, then was gone." I have had many experiences in my life where June did seem to come much too fast and then was gone, leaving me empty and alone. Sometimes, as I think about those moments, I want to cry out with the song, "I want to go back!" Such moments go back to my high school days (which, by the way, I have decided I do NOT want to go back to), and my mission days. June is when I left Jundiapeba, my favorite area of my mission. I had some great experiences in June in Jundiapeba, such as my birthday that lasted an entire week because of everything the members did. But I was transferred during the last week of the month. For me, it certainly came upon me much too soon.

I am really grateful to Nate for showing me this song. It took a while, but it led to me really enjoying this kind of music and discovering Neal Morse and his solo albums, which have given me a lot of hope and peace.

No Seu Lugar

Genre: Pop (maybe?)
Artist: Kid Abelha
Album: Kid Abelha Acústico

Ok, before I go on, I have to say I don't really understand what this song is entirely about. It's obviously about a romantic relationship and how time seems to change depending on whether they are together or apart. My favorite line would be translated to mean, "Could it be that we were in a hurry, or was it time that stopped?" She goes on to sing, "With you, time stops. Without you, time flies." Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I really can't decide what she means by that. But in the song she says, "I want to see you take my place and I would like to be you." Um...sure?

I basically just like the poetic phrases of this song. But what I like most of all about it is that it reminds me of two of my wonderful friends: Adriane and Erlândio. During my entire mission, I really wanted to buy a CD by a Brazilian artist. These two friends strongly recommended Kid Abelha and so I gave Adriane some money and asked her to get this CD for me, since it is a collection of their greatest hits. When Adriane gave it to me, I remember that me, Erlândio, Adriane, and several members of the ward were eating underneath the bridge. I can't remember the name of the place where we were eating, I just remember that a lot of us were there. On the same occasion, Adriane also gave me several comics books I asked for.

I really enjoy listening to this CD. The last time I had it in my CD player in my car, I listened to the entire CD three times. To me, it is a reminder of my wonderful friendship with two wonderful people. I would love to be in their place, not meaning that I want to switch places with them, but I want to be where they are so that we can continue to create wonderful memories and fortify our friendships.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Don't Think You Know Me

Genre: Rock
Artist: The Monkees
Album: The Monkees (what an original title!)

"If you think I want the life you choose to live,
I don't think I want the love you've got to give.
If you think my goals could be so trivial and small
Then I don't think you know me at all."

I have loved this song ever since I first heard it. I was probably thirteen at the time. It appealed to me, even though there wasn't a girl that matched the description of the one in the song who was "born between the covers of [her] fashion books" and thought she "could make it . . . on just her looks." What appealed to me was the idea of nobody knowing who I was. At that age, I really felt like nobody understood me, nor did they understand my motives for my actions. I would often sing this song while riding my bike on my paper route.

At that age, my favorite "alone spot" was underneath the stairs in my house. I remember being there one time and writing the lyrics to this song. I've never felt that my goals were trivial. I've always dreamt big. But so many times throughout my life, even at that young age, I have been criticized for my dreams. Those who want me to settle for less do not know me. And yet, for some reason I often try to please these people. "I've chased what I was running from." But if I try too hard to please everybody, I end up not even knowing myself anymore.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dream Child

Genre: Rock
Artist: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Album: The Christmas Attic

Although this song appears on one of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas CDs, I don't think it has to be a Christmas song. It is about a dream that a man has one winter. In this dream, he sees the Christ Child. But the Child is not a babe. It is a young boy. The man asks, "Do your hands . . . still bleed? After all of this time, do you think there's still need?" This symbolizes the sacrifice that the Savior made when He gave His life for ours. His hands were nailed to a cross. In essence, the man is asking, "Does your sacrifice still apply? Does it work for me? Is it a current thing?" Well, the Child does not reply, but motions for the man to walk with him until they reach an evergreen forest. The man notes that "there were thousands of candles upon every tree! It was beautiful! But, there was one mystery." The only candle that was lit was in the hands of the Christ Child.

These candles, the man realizes, are the dreams of every person that has ever lived. But the dreams have been vanquished. All hope has been lost. All of us have sinned. All of us are fallen. But then the man marvels as the Christ Child "one by one, re-lit them all 'til each dream was awakened." Then, after re-kindling these dreams, the Christ Child turns to the man and tells him of all the dreams that He has, and all the things that might be. It is His dream that our hope stays alive in Him and that we all return to Heaven. After this, the man awakens, but hopes that sometime in his life he might be able to dream this dream again.

I just love the imagery of this song. It is true that our ultimate dreams are only possible in and through Jesus Christ. He is the Light and Life of the World. I have burnt out my candle so many times, but when I turn to Him in full sincerity of heart, with real intent, He is more than willing to re-light my candle and guide me back to my heavenly home. Although His hands do not literally bleed anymore, He has engraven me upon the palms of His hands. His sacrifice does still matter and it does still have power to save me. This song is so soothing to me. I love to listen to it, especially before I go to sleep. Like the man in the dream, I have dreamt of the Savior many times. But I long for the day when seeing Him will no longer be a dream, but an ever-present reality.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Genre: Disney
Artist: Multiple Artists (music comes from multiple movies)
Album: Disneyland Fantasmic! Good Clashes with Evil in a Nighttime Spectacular

I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! In fact, I was very sad when I found out that Disneyland wasn't going to be presenting it this last time that I went. This show not only combines adventures from multiple Disney movies, but it combines live action with animation. The theme of the whole show, however, is about the power of imagination. Mickey's imagination creates scenes from Fantasia, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and the Little Mermaid. When confronted by several villains, it is Mickey's dream/imagination that gives him the power to conquer and have a "Happily Ever After."

Imagination has always been a huge part of my life. As a kid, I loved going to parks and pretending that I was entering a whole new world. A slide would teleport me to a deserted island, a swing would give me wings to fly to Neverland, and monkey bars would keep me safe from the crocodiles below. I called the place Imagination Island. It was my own Neverland. It still is. I also remember playing basketball against myself. I would have the Imagination team and the Villain team. I would always try to play better when I was representing the Imagination team because they were the good guys. The people on that team would be characters from books and movies.

Imagination has always been my weapon. It gives me ideas for stories. It allows me to pull out my Legos and immediately have a story for them. It allows me to create songs and poetry. It lifts me from the gutter and lets me soar. "Dream a fantastic dream!" "See it in your mind and you can find, in your imagination, mysteries and magic." "Dreams are make believe, but could they all come true?" Yes, they can! I dream fantastic dreams. I know they can come true! I bet my life on it, because my dreams are what make my life.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)

Genre: Disney
Artist: Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by X Atencio
Album: Disney Classics Vol. V

Since I was a little kid I have loved The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. It has been interesting to see the changes over the years. I remember when the pirates would chase the women around the village just because they were women. Later, Disney added trays of food so that it looks like the pirates are chasing the food and not the women. This change didn't bother me like it bothered some people. Either way, it shows the endless appetite of pirates. The real changes came after the movies came out. Now Jack Sparrow appears throughout the ride, and Barbosa and Davy Jones also make an appearance. It amazes me how realistic they made Jack Sparrow.

I also remember watching the sing-along video with this song when I was a little kid. I loved watching it because I could see the ride without being at Disneyland. For that same reason, I really loved the Disneyland sing-along video. But if I remember correctly, this song was actually on the same video with the Zorro song. Either way, I have been very familiar with it since a very early age.

One of the reasons why I have always loved this ride is because I have always been fascinated with pirates. When I was a little kid in California I had major gold fever. I dreamed of finding Captain Kidd's lost treasure, most likely buried somewhere along the east coast. I loved reading about Captain Blackbeard, the hellish pirate that shot his crew members for sport. I would dress as a pirate for fun, whether or not it was Halloween and sometimes I would dig for gold in the backyard. Who knew-maybe the construction workers totally missed a gold mine while they were building our house! When I played with my Lego pirates and soldiers, I always made the pirates the good guys. As a kid, it really was a pirate's life for me!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's a Small World

Genre: Disney
Artist: Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman
Album: Disney Classics Vol. 2

In honor of my recent trip to Disneyland, my next three Disney songs will all be from Disneyland. I will begin with It's a Small World. Most people would probably shudder at this point and say, "You like this song? It's the most annoying song in the world! Even Scar on Lion King hates it!" That's true, but Scar is the villain, remember? I'm sure Timon and Pumbaa love this song!

I like this song because of its message. It actually never really was a favorite until I came home from Brazil. After spending two years in a separate part of the world, I really felt that it was "a small world after all." We all belong to the same human race. We each share the same moon and the same "golden sun, and a smile means friendship to everyone." We all share the same emotions: laughter, tears, hope, fears. "There's so much that we share!"

I really enjoy going on the ride and seeing the depictions of the various cultures around the world. My favorite part, however, is the end when you enter the last room and everybody from around the world is there, but they are all dressed in white and are singing together. You can still tell what part of the world they are from, but they are all united. To me, this is what Heaven is like. Everybody there, even with their differences, but all dressed in white and unified. In a world of hate, strife, and contention, this ride is a peaceful reminder that we all belong to the same race and that we are all brothers and sisters.