Sunday, January 07, 2007

Don't let this moment pass you by

I had a certain plan for today--it's this blog's sixth month anniversary (woo! though that's nothing compared to three years), and so I had a song that sort of, at a stretch, tied in thematically to whatever I might decide to write today. But, you know, I think I've changed my mind...and what I'll be writing about instead doubly ties in today: not only is it sixth months after I began this blog, it's one year and two days after my interest in music completely exploded into an obsession. I think I've told this story half a million times, so feel free to skip ahead to the music!

Anyhow, the story of how I discovered music comes in two phases. Before either phase began, I had no interest in music--I had some songs I had a nostalgic attachment to in the past, but I really never voluntarily listened to anything. I'd listen to the radio, but pretty much strictly NPR (especially for when they switched over to the BBC World Service at night! Oh gosh...the memories are rushing back). That began to change when I won an iPod (green iPod mini, to be specific) in a random drawing in May 2005. I'd never wanted an mp3 player before, but the moment I won one, things began to change. Sure, at first I saw it mainly as something I could put audiobooks on (though I never actually did that), but thing slowly began to change. Pretty soon, I was sorting through my parents' music collections and checking out CDs from the library. Me with my iPod on became a normal sight.

Phase two, though, is where things really exploded and, just like I can pinpoint phase one on an exact moment--when I won that iPod--I can identify the exact event that triggered phase two: watching BBC America in late December 2005--the Kumars at No. 42 Street, in fact (why? I don't know), and, in particular, the episode with Mark Owen and Darius Danesh. At the time, though Mark seemed adorable, I didn't really make a connection to the fact that he might have music I could go look up (they spent a lot of time talking about his Big Brother experience, I think)...but, despite the fact that Darius didn't sing at all until the episode's final moments (and then, it's in the midst of chaos, not some big performance), something must have clicked in my brain--"you mean there's music being made in countries besides the U.S.? That's not being released here?"--because I decided to go look him up online to find out what his own music sounded like.

I can't believe I still remember all these details, but I do. Thanks to a Darius fansite (which has changed since then), I was able to hear clips of his first three singles...and from then on, I was completely hooked. I ordered Darius's first album through eBay but, while I waited for it to arrive, I spent forever trying to find more music from outside the US--looking at the UK charts (McFly's "Ultraviolet/Ballad of Paul K" was still floating around...the beginning of another addiction!), browsing the UK iTunes, even looking through Wikipedia for other Pop Idol contestants (-->Gareth Gates and Will Young) and UK pop groups (from McFly, it was only a short leap to Busted; oddly, considering my order of discovery, I would end up owning a Busted album before I bought any from McFly).

January 5, 2006: Dive In, Darius's first album, arrives, and I am officially addicted to and in love with music. Without the strength of those online clips, though, I would have missed out on an entire world--lots of worlds.

Onto the songs (finally!). I've posted them before (in my third post ever, as m4as; they're mp3's this time), but they're the most appropriate for today. They're by--of course--Darius, the third-place finisher on the first season of Pop Idol. He's released two albums so far and is still in the songwriting/demos phase for the third one.

Rushes--it was a clip of this song that gave me no choice but to buy his album. I never watched Pop Idol, so I have no idea what Darius is really like, but I do know he's made some amazing pop songs, this one among them. There's a sound that characterizes Darius's first three singles that I haven't yet figured out how to describe, but I love it. Honestly, if anyone has any clue what it is--what, musically, makes them sound unlike so much out there--please let me know; it's this sort of glittery, shining thing...the instruments...whatever that is at around 2:14...all the things going on that just have this amazing feeling of build...I just can't figure out how to describe it, or even really figure out what it is for myself. Anyhow, this was Darius's second single. I love it, though it's not the song I would use to introduce someone to Darius (I might go with "Incredible" for that). I've consciously avoided watching any of Darius's music videos--songs like this are just so gorgeous and fun and catchy that I'm worried the video might somehow ruin the experience. And what an experience it is--even if you're not fond of Darius or the lyrics, how can you not love the amazing music in this song?

Dive In--the first three singles from Dive In were amazing (I know, I'm using that word a lot)--in fact, I think they're my favorite lead three singles from an album ever. However, if Darius had released this song as the fourth single instead of "Girl In The Moon," he would have easily made that my favorite four lead singles from an album and would have been pretty much untouchable in that competition. Why on Earth this was passed up as a single, I have no idea--it's one of my favorite songs on the album, possibly my favorite. It's got that same undefinable musical quality the first three had that made me love them so much, and is a similar upbeat acoustic-guitar-but-lots-more sort of song.

To buy Darius's debut album, Dive In, go here (physical) or here (digital). It could use a better album cover, but it has some gorgeous, catchy, happy (as well as not so happy) songs on it. It's hard to know where to begin with recommendations, but, if all you know are the singles and "Dive In," "Sliding Doors" is another great song to check out. If you want something a little slower, maybe try "Simple Like The Truth." "Better Than That" is great, too. Umm...really, pretty much the whole album is great and a worthy purchase if you like these songs!

So...there you have it. Love him or hate him, I owe my music addiction and my awareness of music outside the U.S. to Darius. I know he's not exactly popular with pop bloggers (except, thank goodness, for Electroqueer--who did a much better and less self-indulgent feature about Darius here), but not only do I like him for nostalgic reasons, I think he makes great pop music. I don't mention him nearly often enough here, but I can't wait for his next album (let's just hope it's not in the vein of "Devil In You"!).

Next up: something with far less talk about me. Probably a song in Spanish.


J'ason D'luv said...

Jeez, it's blog anniversaries all around. Chart Rigger's two years is a mere two weeks away! Anyway, I love how demure you are, doll, but really, we all know you fell for Darius the moment you saw his religion. Golly, you look so young in that picture, too!

PinkieDust said...

I like Darius. He looks like a good snog

Paul said...

congrats on your six months! I don't know how i would cope without you now! I quietly quite like Darius' first album - thought Colourblind was an amazing amazing tune :)

Here's to the next six months Veronica Mars!

Suki said...

Happy Anniversary. What a great story. Keep up the great work.

Poster Girl said...

J'ason, you and pictures--I swear! You find ones like no one else. Although I don't think we'll be seeing anything like that on the front page of Chart Rigger anytime soon...

Pinkie: oh good, so at least it won't totally flip you out when I write about him. Contrary to what J'ason might have you believe, I can't speak for the snogging.

Thanks, Paul! And I promise not to mention it ;) I don't know what I would do without the Zapping.

Thanks, Suki! And I'll try to :)

Electroqueer said...

Hey Poster Girl - great feature on Darius. He is such an incredible performer and it makes me happy you 'get him' just as much as I do. I hadn't heard your story about music addiction before so thank you for re-telling it. Stories like that make me smile. Keep up the great work...I love reading it. Hugs, from Electroqueer.

Poster Girl said...

Oh, good--I'm glad it wasn't just totally me rambling endlessly! I'm thrilled you get him, too...and speaking of artists I love, I loved your feature on Darren Hayes! It was such a great read!