In “Wonderland”

Taylor Swift’s 1989 is by far one of the best and most successful albums of this year, and quite possibly the decade.  After six months on sale, the album still sits within the top ten of the Billboard 200 and iTunes Top Albums, and it has sold over four million copies just within the U.S. (I think it sold like eight million world wide so far).  In fact, Swift’s 1989 has outsold both her previous two albums, Red and Speak Now.  But what makes this album so great is that it takes listeners on a journey in one cohesive, fluid motion.  It’s relatable, timeless, and inspiring.  It has even gone on to grow Swift’s already huge fan empire.

I bring this up for two reasons. One, I saw this on Twitter a while ago and have always thought it was hysterical because of it’s great caption, and I wanted to share:

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The other reason I bring up 1989 is because if you haven’t picked up the deluxe edition or the bonus tracks on iTunes, I highly recommend it, especially the song “Wonderland.”  This particular song has been stuck in my head, but it really captures the exciting feelings I have around this time of year, the time when Spring blooms and it’s almost summer.  It starts off simple and soft, and then explodes into a huge, upbeat chorus that has epic drums and fantastic dub step.  Then it draws back to the simple synths, and then explodes again. It’s such a great dance number.

Swift makes references to, obviously, Alice in Wonderland, especially with lines referring to falling “down a rabbit hole,” and her love interest calming her fears with a “Cheshire cat smile.”  Lyrically, I think the song is very tight and amazing; the lyric that’s most powerful to me has to be “I should have slept with one eye open at night.”  This line is the epitome of the song: she was swept up into a toxic relationship that felt magical, but was really rather damaging and not healthy, which she regrets letting herself get there.

While I usually post clips of songs I write about, I’m again not going to do so to honor Taylor Swift’s determination to revive the music industry and not allow music to be free.  Also, let’s be real, any Youtube clip I’d find would most certainly be deleted within an hour or so…but, if you’re looking for a new song to bop to in the sun, and you have a $1.29 to burn on iTunes, “Wonderland” really is a “wonder” to listen to…

J.K. Rowling Still Blows My Mind

I am a huge Harry Potter fan.  Did I wait for my Hogwarts letter to arrive on my eleventh birthday?  Yes.  Am I kind of mad it still hasn’t arrived yet?  Yes.

I think one of the things I love the most about this series is how much J.K. Rowling thought through and planned these books.  I mean, there’s a scene in the fifth book where Harry, Hermione, Sirius, and the Weasleys find a locket that can’t be opened, which ends up being the Horcrux Harry and his friends need to find in the seventh book.  It’s such a small, minor detail, but she tied it all together.

I had read somewhere that Rowling got a lot of her inspiration for spells and names of the characters in Harry Potter from the Latin language.  Like Lupin’s name came from the Latin word lupus, meaning wolf.  So one day I randomly decided to look up what the name Phineas meant.  I was curious as to why she would give Sirius’s ancestor, Phineas Nigellus Black, that name; was it random or on purpose?  Well, apparently “Phineas” is a Hebrew name meaning “oracle,” and Phineas Nigellus Black was the painting that gave information and advice to Harry when Harry was in 12 Grimmauld Place (or when Phineas Nigellus was in Hermione’s purse in book seven), acting like an oracle.

Then, randomly, I ended up on Google translate, and decide to type in “avada kedavra,” the killing curse.  Now, I was assuming it was going to be Latin for something. Except it’s not. According to Google, it’s Estonian meaning “forbidden curses.” Seriously. J.K. Rowling is familiar with the Estonian language (she might not be, but this lady is so seriously smart and talented, I would not put it past her for knowing Estonian). On a side note, I did read that she came up with the term avada kedavra as a play on “abracadabra” and something about using Greek spellings (I kind of skimmed that part of the article…) but what are the chances it means “forbidden curses” in Estonian when in fact avada kedavra is the most forbidden curse in Harry Potter.  My mind is blown and now I kind of want to have tea with Ms. Rowling and discuss how awesome she is…

If I discover anymore mind blowing facts, as I no doubt probably will, I’ll share.