Music, Pop Culture

What it feels like when you stop enjoying a relationship

She would make everything easier when she was around. She would make the hours go by so quickly. She could put a smile on my face at the drop of a hat. But when I was sad, she let me cry it out. She said the things I wanted to say but couldn’t. She touched parts of my soul or wherever we store our feelings that I don’t think many humans have. She was my motivator. She was my rock. She was my joy.

And then something changed. Something terrible happened. She’s gone now. I don’t feel any of those things. Maybe the sadness.

I don’t yearn her. I don’t pine after her. I don’t think about her when I don’t have her near me. It breaks my heart.

I try to go back to her. I try to feel like I once felt. I’m just indifferent. She doesn’t do the things to my heart that she used to do.

Music and I were in a relationship. I think it’s over.

I used to listen to music almost constantly. With the graces of technology, I found a device to blast over the sounds of the shower. I was so proud the day I heard a Mumford’s song while vacuuming. It was truly enjoying the the advances of the 21st century in a first world country.

I was that annoying person who foolishly had a song set to play as a wake up alarm. You can be sure that every song I’ve ever had as an alarm is dead to me now. Although, that never stopped me from playing a new song I was addicted to on repeat for weeks.

Playing music at work was not only a necessity, but a must that had prerequisites. I would spend weekends compiling the perfect while working playlist, workout playlist, sad playlist, happy playlist, angry running playlist, can’t fall asleep playlist; you name it.

Tweet: Music to me was like an unexpected massage, by a beautiful person, while someone else hand fed me pizza. @jesspuente to me was like an unexpected massage, by a beautiful person, while someone else hand fed me pizza. My music selection is generally seduced by my mood. At other times it lifts me up higher than Snoop Dogg on a Friday.

Yet, I have to confess, I feel it less than I used to. I don’t know why. I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know how long it will be.

This has happened in the past. There was always someone there to tell me it didn’t have to be this way. That I could truly feel and love again. Maybe it’s the lack of new music. Maybe it’s the level of stress that has completely overpowered any and all other emotions.

I figure I have two options. I can turn into a passionless, musically devoid, semi-human. Or, I can play music every day for as long as possible. I can drown out my fears, I can drown out my apathy, I can drown out my stress, I can dance instead of sit.

Recently, a very good friend suggested I listen to Nick Cave. Suggested isn’t the right word, enthusiastically and almost forcefully insisted is better. I’m so glad she did. I loved him. Perhaps, fondly remembering him from the Harry Potter series but this music paired perfectly with my mood. Like when you’ve had a hard day and you go to a new coffee shop and they get your order right on the first try.

I want music back in my life. If you have her in your life, send me your favorite songs. Not the catchy ones. The ones that make you feel. The ones you play on repeat. The ones that you couldn’t imagine a year without listening to. The ones you will never forget the lyrics to.

Send me those.


People, Pop Culture

An open letter to Pharrell Williams

Dear Pharrell,

I’ve loved you since I saw that creepy red dog on the N.E.R.D album and the days when I couldn’t stop singing She Wants to Move in the shower. To this day, the word Mister makes me want to pop my shoulders in an awkwardly rhythmic way.

I have to be honest and say that aside from the time MTV actually played music videos, I never went out of my way to watch them. But you were really ahead of your time with visuals in your videos for N.E.R.D.

Your beats have always entranced me and your delicate voice has only added to the admiration I have for your inhuman amount of skills.

Your song with Snoop Dogg helped me discover his music and for that I am eternally grateful and indebted to you.

Even though you’re almost twice my age, your vampire-like agelessness has always made me feel like you were speaking to my generation.

It’s all these heartwarming memories of adolescent worship and music obsession that I feel qualify me to talk about my deep disappointment.

Yes, this is about Blurred Lines, but it’s also about your new album, GIRL, and what you said about it in one of my favorite magazines.

I’ve read statements from you saying the lyrics in blurred lines specifically state the opposite of the misogynistic view people claim it has. You and Robin pick out these lines:

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you / But you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature

You don’t need no papers / That man is not your maker

I hear you.

And after listening to the song repeatedly and reading the lyrics until I could see them scrolling into space in my dreams, I’ve gotta say, you’re kind of reaching.

But I also don’t think it’s an outright call for rape. It’s just the same as every other song about wanting to fuck a hot girl.

The way you grab me / Must wanna get nasty / Go ahead, get at me

I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two

Now the video. That’s a completely different story.

This is what you said about video to Red Bull Magazine, “Film gives you two different senses. With music, some of it is left to your imagination. With film there’s a curated direction by the point of view of the director and the music that’s under it. Those two are working in concert to take you to a place that the director has intended.”

I get that the Blurred Lines video is supposed to be another fun, poppy, trendy song and it would be silly to uphold it to real scrutiny but you seem to place a lot of value on visuals.

After studying the lyrics to Blurred Lines and reading countless arguments for and against it, I can see how it’s potentially a song about a hot girl, having fun, guys wanting her, and her saying no. Maybe that’s what you see, too, because you’re so close to the music and production of it. But I don’t think I’m wrong to assume most people who just hear it and watch the video see a story about a goat and some strippers.

Now there’s nothing wrong with that. I like goats. And who doesn’t love beautiful women? I just don’t like you trying to pass it off as inoffensive.

In the end, it is still about how women’s beauty is what makes them most desirable and why they should sleep with guys who tell them that.

You guest edited for Red Bull Magazine this past month. When I saw the cover in my mail box I literally ran back to my apartment to read it. I usually read it cover to cover but I went to your interview first.

I didn’t know you had a new album coming out and when I read that I was pretty stoked. When asked about the new album, these are some of the comments you made that really got me,

“I think most of the time we hear songs that are written at women versus for.

“My thing is let’s start doing things with them truly in mind–truly in mind. That is not writing something at her. That is writing something intended for her.

“I just want to make music that ladies, the girls, listen to and they feel an escapism. That is my intention. “

I’ve never heard anyone say that and the fact that your first album in 8 years was going to be focused on this made me so excited.

Obviously, I immediately pulled up Spotify and started to listen.

I don’t want to sit here and pretend I know what you’re thinking and what your songs mean. All I know is what you said in that interview. I know you’re a husband and a father. I know you talk about how much you love music and how you want to make people feel with it.

So can you tell me something? Can you tell me what this song means? Can you tell me how I, as a woman, am supposed to escape in it?

It’s called Gush, number 4 on your new album.

Make the pussy just gush

Make the pussy just gush

Make the pussy just gush

Make it, make it, just gush

Make it, just gush

I make the pussy just gush

I make it, just gush

I could be the guy to treat you

To a nice movie, feed you

But I don’t wanna mislead you

Tonight I think I wanna be dirty, girl

Do you wanna get dirty, girl?

Come on Light that ass on fire

Do you wanna get dirty, girl? Let’s go

This isn’t a hate letter or a letter attacking you so I’m truly sorry if it comes off that way.

My main point is that you’re in a position of control in pop culture. You were just named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people this year. You have the power to shape our culture, to change it, to do whatever you want with it. There are plenty of artists out there that don’t give a fuck and will sing about bitches and money and drugs and I’m not saying they’re any better or worse. What gets me is that you talk about how you’re not that guy. How you want to do things differently. How you want to make music for women and music that makes people feel. And I think you failed. And I want to know what the fuck happened.

In this same interview, you say this about success in the music business, “If that is your main concern, being on top, then you should probably find another business. Because our business works off of emotion.”

I think you’re right. I felt a lot of emotions when I listened to that album, but I just don’t know that they’re the ones you wanted me to feel.


My Saturday and road trip to Corpus Christi with Chicano hipsters

This entire day was unreal.

I woke up in bed with a gay man and my dog. Luckily, I didn’t over sleep. I was supposed to give a class that morning and had stayed at my friend Louie’s place the night before watching bad movies and drinking wine. I gathered my things and went home to get ready for the class. I should have made coffee.

I didn’t expect many people to show up. I meant to print out flyers and put them up around town but it had slipped my mind completely. When I arrived at the library, I saw a former intern unpacking what appeared to be camera equipment.

What are you doing?

Oh hey, I don’t know if you remember me I used to intern…

Of course, I remember you. (you sat three feet away me for months)

I’m with the local station now and we’re filming these library sessions for the public channel.

Great. Because I wasn’t nervous enough. In retrospect, this was great because if no one showed up, at least there was a chance someone, somewhere would see it, even if by accident. After the class, I threatened him.

If this makes me look bad, I know where to find you now.

He laughed and said he would make it look great. I asked him if he could shop in clapping after my presentation and perhaps a glow around my entire body. He thought it was a great idea, too.

I left the library feeling incredibly accomplished for a Saturday. The local pet store was having free teeth cleaning and nail trimmings for dogs so I went to pick up Orbison. I’m pretty sure the girl who works there thinks I am the biggest freak because I always go take pictures of the gerbils and bunnies. She watches me though which makes me a bit uncomfortable but I think it’s mainly because she is kinda bored.

I feel like that dinosaur scares the crap out of him

I texted Louie when I was on my way back.

Are you alive yet?


What time are we leaving? That is, if Caro ever finds her keys.

I know! I’m looking for them but I don’t think they are here. My apartment is a wreck.

I found the keys in my car and an hour later we headed out. Louie immediately took over the music situation because Caro is an NPR addict and he just wasn’t having it.

This is not road trip playable!

We listened to an a Capella band do covers of contemporary pop songs. We had this book in the car, the name escapes me, about sex in Chicago that Louie was actually published in. I read a story from it out loud and it sounded like the gay version of 50 Shades of Grey.

This car ride still wasn’t awkward which was nice. You really take a chance signing up to be stuck in a compact space for an extended period of time with people you haven’t known that long. What if they say something really crazy and you can’t walk away from it?

What are those Jewish quinceañeras called?

Are you talking about Bar mitzvahs?


And thus, #shitcarosays was born.

We were headed to Corpus to do some shopping for tax-free weekend. Once we got into town Caro actually called someone to ask what mall we should go to. We all have iPhones.

But I guess it is really refreshing that she does this. Side note: on Sunday she discovered the cadillac of laundromats in Victoria by asking the woman at the customer care center in H-E-B what place she recommended.

Once we entered the mall, we realized we had not mentally prepared ourselves for tax-free weekend. Just passing by the food court may have been one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. There were children, preteens, pregnant woman and obese people everywhere. If I had a penny for every time I saw a teenager wearing a shirt with the words “swag” or “yolo” on it I could hire someone to burn down the factories where those shirts are made.

After the mall, we wandered around downtown. Downtown Corpus is actually pretty neat looking if you ignore all the closed store fronts and the faint smell of fish.

Louie is always talking about Caro’s “hipster nonesense.” He is the poster child for the Chicano hipster.

The day ended with the three of us spending $180 on sushi and specialty cocktails. I ate and drank things I couldn’t pronounce, judged people, talked about my feelings and my friends talked about theirs.

Why isn’t there a place like this in Victoria?

Because people wouldn’t know what to do with it. Look at us, we can’t control ourselves.

Can I live here?

Then Caro gets all Caro and says, “I want to move to Paris. I want a cat named Bernard.” #shitcarosays

The ride back was wonderful. Caro and I bonded over random tejano music. We listened to Girl in a Coma, they’re an indie band from San Antonio that does covers of Mexican pop songs. We passed through a bridge illuminated with trippy lights and rolled down the window to take photos, marveling like children do at bubbles.

I poked my feet out the window. I always find it gross when I see people do this but this evening I understood.


Will Google let Beyonce’s baby create a Google+ profile?

I’m online a lot.

Forget tattoos. The day they figure out how to hook people up to computers I will be the first in line.

That being said, there are some things about the “online” that really grind my gears.

Like most, I am a Google groupie. Those random moments when I don’t have wifi or battery life I live in fear that someone will ask me something really intriguing that I don’t know and I won’t be able to Google it!

Awkward attachments aside, Google can be weird sometimes.

In my endeavor to create a Google+ page for the Victoria Advocate, I was reprimanded and banished for violating the Google Name Policy.

Indications of membership in professional, educational, societal or religious entities, such as “Dr.”, “Rev.” or “Professor” are not allowed in the first or last name fields.

Google doesn’t care about your decade of schooling. Your real friends will know you are a doctor and if they don’t, they’re not your real friends.

Avoid unusual or unnecessary characters in your name. Violation examplex: John246 , XxxXShelleyXxxX, J@SON W@T$ON, ‘Rachel Smith/.

This rule I whole-heartedly encourage. It is a little discouraging that Google has to play mom though. You know when you have that shirt on that you know you grew out of three years ago and your mother divisively asks you what sort of image you are trying to create with that outfit? This rule is that mom question forcing you to reconsider your potentially terribly embarrassing life decisions.

Your profile and name must represent you as an individual. Violation examples: Jones Family, Jeremy & Mel Mason, Vegas the Dog, Brooklyn Bagels.

Okay, okay, maybe I spoke too soon. It looks like Google is just trying to avoid the ever persistent fetus books or pet pages that appear on Facebook. As much as I love my dog, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need a Facebook page. I can barely keep him off Twitter.

Needless to say, Google gave me the boot because they didn’t believe I was really Ms. Victoria Advocate. Which makes me wonder if Blue Ivy has to put up with these sort of regulations?