I was supposed to post a review

24 10 2011

of a film but I have left this again to the last minute of the day and am unable to do that.  Instead, here’s a somewhat creepy-sounding tune from– you guessed it– Vanessa Carlton to set the Halloween mood.  Really digging this song right now.

“Hear the Bells”

Dear Life

18 05 2011

I almost forgot about this little ditty I wrote.  It’s really short and is based on Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1 and was written to be included in a documentary short I co-directed/wrote, part of the Playing It Safe Project I was in a few years ago.  It’s also the first song I ever wrote on guitar, and it was difficult to record, even though there are only a few chords in the entire piece.  The lyrics came to me really quickly, possibly because I was just looking for something quick to write, but I didn’t end up changing them very much because I felt that they fit with the film and the message I was trying to convey.

As of now, I don’t have any recording of it up on youtube although you can hear it two ways:

1.  It’s uploaded on my myspace music page here: www.myspace.com/aaronjchan

2.  Watch the film!  A Dose of Life is personally my favourite film I was able to make with Lulu Gurney as part of the Playing It Safe Project (and I think that’s saying a lot too).  However, I don’t think the full version of the song is in the film (it definitely is on myspace).  http://playing-it-safe.nfb.ca/youth-filmmakers.php?youth=20&film=74

3.  Do both!  I recommend this one.  🙂

Dear Life

Will I ever get off this ride of rushes?
The choice seems clear but I can’t decide,
I’m aimless.

Life extends its hand towards me.
Should I take it?
And as the moment passes me by,
I hang on for dear life.

Dear life…

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 23: A song that you want to play at your wedding

2 05 2011

Well, this is an easy one.

At a certain point, the thought of having “Home” by Vanessa Carlton playing at my wedding must’ve entered my mind because I remember vividly and suddenly realizing, “Omg!  I can see it now: a small, classy wedding outside on a sunny day and my husband walking down the aisle (not set in stone!) while Vanessa Carlton is playing.  Ahhh… perfect.”  I can also imagine the piano solo at the end playing during the opening of the wedding too.  Oh, and I sang this to my boyfriend in public at my last show… which I hope he appreciated.

Sometimes I think thinking of my wedding makes me seem super gay… but then I realize it’s not that big a deal and at least I haven’t decided what flowers I want and theme for the wedding should have lots of whites and–


30 Day Song Challenge: Day 16: A song you used to love but now hate

25 04 2011

Well, I don’t hate this song but I don’t like it as much as I used to.  After posting it, I realized there were other songs, notably from the Canadian band Lillix, like “Tomorrow” and “It’s About Time” that I do actually now hate because the songwriting is so juvenile.  But anyway, on the topic of bad Canadian artists, we have, of course, Ms. Avril Lavigne, who, as we all recall, was the subject of much scrutiny for being pretentious and acting like a rebel — well, “rebel”.  While her image didn’t bother me in the slightest since she had catchy, fairly good songs, I was eventually bothered by her sudden change to almost turn into the kind of girls she started her career out not wanting to be by her third disc.

With her tight new corsets in her video for “Hot” (which I find is a ridiculous song on its own) or sporting dance moves like in the overplayed “Girlfriend”, her new music left a sour taste on her old music and it really did feel like she was being pretentious all along.

All I know is now I can’t enjoy “Sk8er Boi” or “I’m With You” without thinking, “In 5 years, these songs will be meaningless.”

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 13: A song that is a guilty pleasure

22 04 2011

Just because I’m gay doesn’t automatically mean I like Cher.  Or Madonna.  Or Bette Midler.  Or any of those somehow-designated gay idol divas.  I remember when I used to work at Future Shop and we were looking for some CDs for callbacks.  My coworker Christine asked Marcus and I if we knew where a Bette Midler CD was and all he did was turn to look at me, as if I knew the exact location of the CD in the store just by being gay.  I glared at him in return.

And for a long time, I had been resisting one of the newer self-proclaimed gay idols, Lady Gaga, since the very beginning.  I didn’t find any of her songs particularly interesting and “Telephone” was the same way.  But ultimately, the catchiness of the tune got to me.  I don’t love the song but I will sing along to it if/when I hear it, and I do like it, and I like what Lady Gaga stands for so maybe that’s a part of my tolerance for the song.  Hmm.

I don’t see this trend continuing but who knows.

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 3: A song that makes you happy

12 04 2011

You may or not have noticed but I don’t really have a giant collection of happy music to pick from mainly because I don’t stop to listen to happy music when I’m happy, so I spent some time rifling through my CDs.  Eventually, I picked Jeremy Fisher’s “Scar that Never Heals” though I think I’ve posted it in a previous post.  Anyway, I don’t have much to say about this except that I love Jeremy Fisher.  And he’s a Vancouverite too!  🙂


7 03 2011

Long, long ago, in a basement in East Van, my friend Bekki and I were fidding around with my keyboard while her seemingly schizophrenic cat would jump on our backs, embedding her claws into our skin.  I had suggested previous times for Bekki to write a song, since she was a singer and a pianist like me, but she never seemed driven to do so (also she claimed she wasn’t a songwriter even though she had never actually attempted to write a song).  But this time, for whatever inspired reason, Bekki took out her notebook or random writings over the last many years and we began to deconstruct some interesting lines of her poetry to construct the lyrics of a song.

While I worked on the music, she continued working on the last bits of lyrics, and eventually, this untitled song was born.  Unfortunately, we both thought it was terrible (especially the ending) and it was never performed in public.  That being said, I still remember how the song goes, even after these years…

Bekki had tentatively named it “Patterns” but I don’t quite agree with that title, so it’s still just “Untitled” to me.  Behold my first collaborative effort!


So it begins anew,
I start high but fall in rank.
So far behind, yet I run when called.
Detach me from reality.

You are simple but confusing:
A blank voice pulled aside from memories.
Stab my heart, but it’s too late,
Or maybe I’m just weak…

This bitterness, my only bliss,
this unrequited love.
The filtered sounds give names for tears,
City lights bind all my fears.

Never meant to drown the stars.
Come with me, rewrite these scars.
‘Cause time just seems to slip away,
I lose myself when you’re not here.

So it begins anew.
I started high but fell….

Where the Sidewalk Ends

28 12 2010

It’s also where the streets have no name (okay, that seemed more witty in my mind).  This was one of the earlier songs I wrote back in the day, and it is based on a Shel Silverstein collection of poems of the same name.  I’m not sure how it somehow popped into my head but I do remember really enjoying his work in the 2nd grade.  I’ve pretty much forgotten about this song since I used the bridge of this song in “Let Go”, which I think is a much better song, both lyrically as well as musically. That being said, I still remember how to play it and how the melody goes so maybe it’s not such a bad song after all.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the sidewalk ends,
that’s where I’ll see you again.
Jumping from crack to crack,
always wishing to want you back.

When the rains begin,
I’ll hold a candle and some things.
As the colored skyline fades,
I rush back to my mental cage.

And I run down the street
All these thoughts and memories gently spilling out.
Leave me here to mend.
And I”ll meet you where the sidewalk ends.

Where the past will start
is when my heart departs.
Chasing fantastic dreams
and anything else in between.

How fortunes finish,
a mystery diminished.
Mixtures of low tides,
bottle up numbling then divide.


Fly away, I’ll fly away
Fly away.
These mistakes, oh, these mistakes,
Will I finally die today?


Where the sidewalk ends,
that’s where we’ll meet again.

“Not While I’m Around” — Jamie Cullum

27 08 2010

Once again, one of those songs I just kinda feel.  Originally from the musical “Sweeney Todd”, one of my favourite and awesomest musicians of all time, Jamie Cullum covers this song.  What I like about his version is that he makes it almost a pop ballad love song, contrary to the musical where the little kid sings it to Mrs. Lovett (I remember her name but I don’t remember the kid’s… oh well).

Here’s a live version of Jamie playing the song.  I haven’t had the chance to see him live before because tickets always seem to be sold out whenever he comes to Vancouver but one day!  One day…

“The Luckiest” — Ben Folds

26 08 2010

It’s just one of those days where you wake up thinking of a song and have to listen to it.  In my case, I started listening to Ben Folds’ “Landed” and then reluctantly started to listen to “The Luckiest” before just getting up and playing and singing it on the piano.  Since no one really reads this blog, I don’t feel so weird typing this out: I serenaded my then-boyfriend with this song way back when, and now it reminds me of him and how ironic the title is now.  I was far from being the luckiest but I thought I was at the time.  Sigh.

I’m not a very lucky person, I’ve found.  But I’m lucky enough to have a group of close friends and to be able to play piano and express myself through writing and music.

Maybe that’s all I need.