A Week In The Life: Darren Kataja

Welcome to the first entry in a new Earhole series! A Week In The Life posts will chronicle our writers' last seven days in terms of the songs that helped them celebrate, unwind, turn up, or simply survive. Maybe you'll learn a thing or two about us on the way. To kick things off, have a look at what kept Darren going last week.

Monday, February 23: "Amazing" by Kanye West ft. Jeezy

Mondays are rough. This fact was actually the 11th Commandment and the Fourth Law of Motion, but both Moses and Newton realized they didn't need to go in to any detail about it. This truth was self-evident.

The one blue M&M in the bag of M&M's that somehow got filled with rat pellets instead of candy -- in other words, the highlight of my Monday -- is racquetball practice. Hitting balls really hard in a box is effective therapy. Plus, I'm pretty good at it. Tonight, after getting a reminder of how far behind I am in class and how little I want to do anything about it, I needed a pick-me-up before practice. Just pass Kanye the aux cord.

Say what you want about 808's and Hearbreaks, but this song loud in my car gets me GOING. I'm the only thing I'm afraid of. Ok, time to hit some balls.

By the way, I'd never eat a blue M&M I found in a bag of rat pellets. The nature of Mondays is such that the excitement of seeing a blue M&M is all it takes to constitute a highlight.

Tuesday, February 24: "UEFA Champions Leauge Anthem" by Tony Britten

Something else I got from my father (for context, have a look at this) is soccer fanhood. Unlike most American soccer fans, my preferred club team plays in Italy rather than England. As a young lad, my parents brought me back an Alessandro Del Piero jersey as a souvenier from their trip to Italy, and I've been hooked since.

Juventus has enjoyed perennial success in Italy of late, which grants them access to European club soccer's most prestigious competition: the UEFA Champions League. The tournament's knockout stage begins in February, and Juventus kicked off its 2-game matchup with German side Borussia Dortmund this afternoon. The culmination of all the pre-match anticipation is the blaring of the Champions League Anthem -- the song in soccer most correltated to success, prestige, and immortality.

Some interesting tidbits: The song features lyrics from UEFA's three official languages -- French, German, and English. It also cannot be bought, which is somewhat weird. Bill Gates can't own this song, but I brought it to you anyway cuz ya boy is THAT POWERFUL.

Update: Juventus won 2-1 despite giving up a goal that I could have defended better blindfolded. I'll take it.

Wednesday, February 25: "Someday" by The Strokes

The Strokes are an excellent choice no matter the situation. This particular moment, I was controlling the Spotify at my friends' house as we celebrated the upcoming snow day in Chapel Hill. We all love The Strokes, and we all love this song. It's a pretty simple formula for enjoying a snow day, really: play The Strokes, drink some beers, repeat.

Thursday, Febraury 26: "I Just Had Sex (feat. Akon)" by The Lonely Island

This song intentionally after sex is either uncomfortably triumphant or garishly lame. This song unexpectedly during sex is undeniably hilarious.

Friday, February 27: "The Boys Are Back In Town" by Thin Lizzy

I've recently joined the most prestigious unnamed garage band in Chapel Hill. Fridays are our designated jam day, and we absolutely shred this song. We're almost good enough to ruin our friends' evenings by playing at a party. That's going to be fun.

Interestingly, this song rung in my 2015. I spent New Year's Eve like I had spent the two previous: going nuts watching hometown heroes The Avett Brothers (shouts to Concord). (Side note: I really want to know what's in the Girl's Guide To Rocking, visible in the video at 12:13.) Around midnight, the Avetts brought out "Father Time" to help count down to the new year. Father Time turned out to be Herbie Abernathy from Valient Thorr (shouts to Chapel Hill), and as 2014 made way for 2015, Herbie took the lead on a raucous rendition of "The Boys Are Back In Town." A treatful start to the new year from an unlikely combination of artists.

Saturday, February 28: "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger

Going to a Risky Business-themed cocktail tonight, so this is a no-brainer.

This night ended up with me at He's Not Here (for the unfamiliar: a popular Chapel Hill bar) in boxers.

Sunday, March 1: "Bella Luna" and "Plane" by Jason Mraz

It's a grey and rainy morning. As the sounds of the rain reverberate outside -- a colorful way of saying my apartment's walls are dangerously thin -- I turn to Jason Mraz for a bit of an escape.

Old Jason Mraz is different from new Jason Mraz, and these two songs are a bit out there even for old Jason Mraz. They're back-to-back on his Mr. A-Z album from 2005, his second full-length.

"Bella Luna" is sexy as hell (just look at the third verse) and teeming with Latin American influences which are not really evident anywhere else in Mraz's discography. My favorite part is the tone change leading up to the "ring around the finger of a girl" line. I close my eyes and belt it out every time.

"Plane" is slightly less sexy, but only because our hero is leaving his love instead of longing for her as in "Bella Luna." (Peep the chorus). Mraz lets his vocals take the lead, backed only by piano at the start. Strings and xylophone come in next, followed finally by the more conventional guitar and drums. It comes together to create a sad, beautiful story about the difficulties of distance.

I listen to these two songs a lot. Ten minutes of love songs can provide a solid escape from many things, including drab, rainy Sundays.

Thank you for coming along for that ride with me -- I hope you enjoyed following along as much as I enjoyed leading you through. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to check back next Monday for a taste of Ian Porter's week in music!

Contact me and stuff.
Email: darren.kataja@gmail.com
Twitter: @DarrenKataja
Phone: You wish ;-)

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