Movable Type 3.2
April 12, 2011
Song of the Day: Taylor Swift does "White Blank Page"
I'm a huge fan of both Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons, but even I was a little skeptical of Taylor Swift COVERING Mumford & Sons. But it's actually pretty good!
April 09, 2011
Songs of the Day: Sixteen
My friend Megan turns sixteen today, so I thought I'd do a song of the day for her: one of those sixteenth birthday songs, like "Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen" or "Sixteen Candles." And then I listened to them and realized that they're all romantic AND also kind of creepy and paternalistic, which I didn't notice so much when I was a kid. But I kind of love them anyway. So here they are, and let us marvel at their sweet grossness together.
Please note how Ringo subtly changes the lyrics to make it even creepier:
April 05, 2011
Song of the Day: "Don't Turn Out the Lights"
I'm taking a break from my book-of-the-month themed songs for the first single from the new supergroup NKOTBSB. Yes, that's New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys. HEE. (Also, I wonder how Donnie Wahlberg feels about this musical resurgence happening right when he finally has a successful TV show?)
March 18, 2011
Amanda Seyfried Covers "Little Red Riding Hood"
I've given up on seeing her Red Riding Hood movie in the theater - it's supposed to be SO BAD that I'll just wait for Netflix - but, wow. I had no idea she sang. Or played. This is not half bad. (Apparently she sang in Mamma Mia, but I still have not managed to see that.)
March 15, 2011
March 09, 2011
Song to Counteract Glee: "Animal"
When Glee does a good job with a song I like, I sometimes end up buying their version. When they do a bad song, I end up spending the next day listening to the original over and over to get the Glee version out of my head. In case you're in a similar boat with "Animal" today, here you go:
March 07, 2011
March 03, 2011
Song of the Day: "Hey Now"
Yeah, I'm on a Burn Notice kick.
Listed: 5 SiriusXM Stations I Like More Than I Expected
(Listed is a new [daily-ish? we'll see] feature, because a) I love lists and b) sometimes I just want to tell you I like something or don't like something or whatever without writing out a big long explanation.)
5. 20 on 20
February 26, 2011
Unicorns! Rainbow laser beams! JAMES VAN DER BEEK!
Ke$ha's new video is really freaking epic:
February 18, 2011
Song of the Day: "Happiness Is Overrated"
I'm sure those of you who have names that are in songs can relate to this. I grew up with people singing that "K-K-K-Katy" song at me all the time, and now I hate that song with a FIERY BURNING PASSION. So, as though I did not love Vampire Diaries music supervisor Chris Mollere enough already, I was thrilled to find that he found a MUCH BETTER song with my name in it to use on the show last night. Behold:
February 17, 2011
Song of the Day: "Family Tree"
I know this was one of the songs in my TVD post last night, but I'm kind of obsessed, so I'm embedding it in hopes that more of you will listen. Heh.
January 28, 2011
More New Music from Peter, Bjorn, and John: "Second Chance"
Is this "ooh ooh" stuff at the beginning going to be the new whistling? Is this going to be in every ad and TV show all spring and summer? SAVE US. (I do like the song in general, though.)
Song of the Day: "Please Mr. Postman"
Gladys Horton, lead singer of the Marvelettes, has died in California.
January 27, 2011
Song of the Day: "Rise"
Castle fans might want to pay particular attention - this is the song that was playing in the last few minutes of this week's amazing episode. I love it in general, but the lyrics are also perfect for those scenes. So. New musical obsession! (Although it's Glen Hansard, so it's not really that new to me, I guess.)
January 26, 2011
Not that I expect pop songs to be particularly original . . .
But doesn't "Maybe" by the Sick Puppies . . .
. . . sound kind of astonishingly like "Whatever It Takes" by Lifehouse?
January 25, 2011
New Music from The Mountain Goats: "Damn These Vampires"
I mean, how can you not get pulled in by a title like that? But the song is actually good, I promise. You can listen to it (and download) at Stereogum. The Mountain Goats are a band I've always meant to start listening to properly - I don't know tons of their music, but I've always liked what I've heard, and it seems like they have a lot of song series, internal mythology, etc. and the listening experience would (probably) be improved by understanding it. (And one of their albums was used in the homework for my cataloging class in library school, so I know random stuff about them!) The album is out in March.
January 22, 2011
Can we talk about Michael Buble?
Does anyone else find Michael Buble's new single "Hollywood" to be kind of . . . baffling? I'm mean, it's just so judgy for something coming from A BIG FAMOUS POP STAR. I mean, sure, he's not exactly a teen idol, but he's not a toiling unknown who eschews commercial success, either. It sounds so bitter and un-self-aware that I started wondering if it was aimed at some particular ex-girlfriend or something, because seriously, so much contempt. But then I watched the video:
And it really does seem to be talking about . . . alternate versions of himself? So I guess I'm just back to being confused. What I am not confused about: Please grow a beard like your Western alter ego, Michael Buble. That's a good look for you.
January 20, 2011
New from Peter, Bjorn & John: "Breaker Breaker"
Remember that time a few years ago when that one Peter, Bjorn & John song got stuck in all of our heads for like six months straight? Ah, memories. Anyway, they have something new with which to torment us. Although this one has no whistling, so maybe there's hope. (Their new album comes out in March.)
January 18, 2011
Out Today: The King Is Dead by The Decemberists
I've liked things The Decemberists have done in the past, but I listened to this whole album (via NPR) and loved it. It has both a folky and a classic rock feel at times, and it keeps up their trademark obscure references while feeling more accessible to the casual listener. And there's a sea shanty. Of course. And Gillian Welch! Really, give it a try. (I just noticed the CD is only $6.99 at Amazon at the moment!)
January 14, 2011
A few thoughts on the "Back to December" video
1. Disclaimer: I know nothing about music videos and watch them rarely. Mostly if Alyssa tells me to. So take everything I say with a grain of salt.
2. I'll just come out and say it: I've given up apologizing for it or calling it a guilty pleasure or anything - I just love Taylor Swift. I am now an unabashed fan. Sorry.
3. I basically agree with everything Carina says here, and yet I also sort of love it.
4. Sure, it's kind of overwrought, but visually, I really like the house filling with snow and the various other winter images. My actual thought was "This is closer to Wallander than she's ever been!" I suppose that's probably an unusual reaction among her fan base, but STILL.
5. I can't decide whether the various articles claiming to not know which of her famous exes this is about are for real, but seriously, folks, do your research. This is Taylor Lautner. Obvs.
6. Okay, so I DO like this, but it's also kind of a letdown because I had such clear images in my head of what was going on during the song. It's much more "hotel after running into him at an awards show" than it is "empty house and high school football field."
7. Guy has some seriously great handknits, huh? I may have to watch this a few more times just to figure out the stitch pattern of his scarf. (Seed? Moss? Double moss?)
8. Oh, to the question of why she's releasing this so late, after the album came out in October - given the title and the winter imagery, I'm wondering if she wanted to wait until, you know, after December. OR if she was waiting for the Jake breakup story to blow up and wanted to have something to take the attention away from that.
9. I LOVE the way the guy audibly sighs at the end. HEE.
Oh, one more - 10. The pantslessness worked here, thematically, but Taylor, honey, DO NOT MAKE A HABIT OF THIS. Taylor Momsen you are not. Thank God.
January 05, 2011
Song of the Day: "Save Your Heart for Me"
This is entirely random, but I found this as an unpublished post from October, so I figured I might as well throw it out there. I have absolutely no recollection of why I picked it at the time, but I love Gary Lewis and the Playboys, even though my dad insists they only got anywhere because of Gary's father's connections.
December 30, 2010
My Five Favorite Albums of 2010
I realized while putting this together that I really didn't pay as much attention to music this year as I'd like - most notable is the fact that I'm not really aware of any new classical releases, and that's actually my favorite genre - and I'll try to remedy that next year. But here are my five favorite new albums. Please note that I am just saying favorite, not best. For example, I am in no way saying that Taylor Swift's album is musically better than any number of other things. What I'm saying is that I got it the day it came out and haven't managed to stop listening to it since. So, for better or worse, this is what grabbed me this year:
In list form:
And here, if this works correctly, you can listen to bits of all the songs. (It's just in a list, one album after the other, in the order listed above.)
December 02, 2010
In defense of Taylor Swift...
I've been listening to Swift's new album kind of constantly since it came out, so I wrote about her a little over at Alyssa's.
November 16, 2010
The Royal Engagement, plus some neat songs I heard recently
Happy Tuesday! I am listening to the Glee Christmas album (which is amazing and wonderful, by the way) and drinking cocoa and generally feeling festive. And I just noticed that the milk I bought tonight doesn't expire until January 4, so wow, the end of the year is really creeping up on us, isn't it?
Announcement! I am working on a NaNoWriMo advice blog post! So if you have questions or topics you want me to address, please put them in the comments. I realize I probably should have done this at the beginning of the month, but better late than never, right?
Speaking of comments: Gmail has started sending some comment notifications to the spam folder. I'm trying to catch them all, but some may be slipping through the cracks. If your comment never shows up and I don't answer it, feel free to leave another or email me.
The Royal Engagement
As I tweeted this morning, all of my childhood hopes and dreams were finally officially dashed: Prince William is engaged. I know some people are already sick of hearing about this, but I am so excited about the prospect of a royal wedding. And yes, I understand that it's not actually vitally important news and doesn't need to be on CNN constantly, as I hear it was today. (I was at work.) I'm just saying I want to buy magazines full of pretty pictures and find a way to order some tacky souvenirs, and then probably stay up all night watching coverage of the event itself. Because, really, I care about the royal family far more than I care about pretty much any American celebrities. I grew up playing with paper dolls of them. I am emotionally invested.
And hey, this will certainly lead to all sort of fun things to read. Already today we have this explanation of why Kate is an awesome name and this list of historical events that took less time than William and Kate's courtship. And Matt Yglesias is taking the opportunity to make a pretty decent case for monarchy here, as a follow-up to this. I'm pretty convinced.
And now for a musical interlude . . .
Hey, Listen to These!
One of the reasons why I sort of love long drives is because they provide the opportunity to listen to a bunch of music, and concentrate on it more than I usually do when I have music on in the background while working or writing or cleaning the house. And XM Radio has been a revelation in this department. It used to be that, say, as soon as I crossed the border into Maine, my radio options became 80% country. Now I can continue listening to my ridiculous number of stations wherever I am.
Usually when I'm just driving around town, if I'm not in the mood for a particular genre of music, I cycle through a certain subset of the XM options. (My standard rotation: the decade pop stations [40s-90s], the current pop stations, Lithium [90s alternative], Alt Nation [current alternative], and On Broadway.) But when I'm on a long drive, I go through pretty much all the stations to see what grabs my fancy. And that means that I often end up hearing some random new stuff, or at least new to me; it's completely possible that you all have known these songs for years. But I just heard them over the weekend, so I am going to inflict them upon you now.
First, a Counting Crows cover of the Eagles's "Amie:"
And how about a Tori Amos cover of Springsteen's "I'm on Fire"?
Now, I like Snow Patrol, but there's just something about "Chasing Cars" that makes me . . . well, usually makes me change the station before it finishes, frankly. But this remix was great:
October 27, 2010
Song of the Day: "Sparks Fly"
I'm working on a review of the whole album, but I woke up with this one in my head, so...
October 20, 2010
Song of the Day: "Roll Over Beethoven"
Chuck Berry week continues...
October 19, 2010
October 18, 2010
Gwyneth Goes Country?
I know this is for her new movie, which actually looks fairly decent - Leighton Meester! - but it's still vaguely baffling. I mean, there is clearly some sort of GOOP joke to be made here, right? It's a . . . somewhat inconsistent career vision, it seems. The song itself isn't particular memorable, but it isn't wildly awful, either, so there's that.
Song of the Day: "Sweet Little Sixteen"
I think we're going to have a Chuck Berry week, just because.
October 15, 2010
October 14, 2010
Song of the Day: "Marian the Librarian"
"What would you like to take out?" "The librarian." I LOVE THIS SHOW.
October 13, 2010
Song of the Day: "Till There Was You"
I think I've used this before, but I can't leave it out of my Music Man week...
October 12, 2010
October 11, 2010
October 08, 2010
Song of the Day: "The Sadder But Wiser Girl"
I was talking about The Music Man on Twitter yesterday, and discovered that some of my friends didn't know it, so hey! New song of the day series! I think this is my favorite song from this show:
October 07, 2010
Song of the Day: "More Today Than Yesterday"
How did I not know until yesterday that Spiral Starecase spelled their name that way? Did you all know that? I am bewildered.
October 06, 2010
October 05, 2010
Song of the Day: "Your Love Is the Place Where I Come From"
October 04, 2010
Song of the Day: "I Should Have Known Better"
Beatles on a train!
October 01, 2010
Julie Andrews Birthday Celebration: Now with Bonus Gene Kelly
Julie Andrews Birthday Celebration: "I Could Have Danced All Night"
Julie Andrews Birthday Celebration: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"
Julie Andrews Birthday Celebration: "Before I Gaze at You Again"
Julie Andrews Birthday Celebration: "In My Own Little Corner"
September 30, 2010
September 29, 2010
September 24, 2010
September 23, 2010
September 22, 2010
September 21, 2010
September 20, 2010
Song of the Day: "Hawaii Five-O"
Since the new version is premiering tonight . . .
September 17, 2010
September 16, 2010
September 15, 2010
September 14, 2010
September 13, 2010
September 09, 2010
Song of the Day: "Cosmic Love"
In honor of tonight's premiere of The Vampire Diaries, here's yet another great song they used in the first season . . .
September 08, 2010
September 03, 2010
Bonus Song of the Day: "Last Night"
"Bonus" as in "This week killed me and I got behind on writing actual posts." Also as in "I heard this on the radio last night and realized I'd completely forgotten it existed, but I love it." Also as in "My dad will probably appreciate this."
September 02, 2010
Alexa Ray Joel really wants you to notice her.
She is NOT subtle about it. Also, it seems she is currently enamored of big words:
The video is most notable for the Blake Lively and Leighton Meester lookalikes, I think. Well, and it's always nice to see a young woman who's not a size zero who is (or acts like she is) confident in her sexuality. Joel has had a very public battle with depression, so it's interesting to see that she is promoting such a bouncy and upbeat single. (I hope this means she's actually doing better.) And her stylist has done a good job of making her look lovely and glamorous but not trashy through most of the video.
But the actual song? Enh. Sure, it's catchy, in a Lily Allen sort of way, and I don't turn it off when it comes on the radio. But it goes out of its way to reinforce all sorts of traditional gender roles and sexual politics. The line that bothered me most in the radio version - "Why you being such a chick about it?" - is apparently the edited clean version, and I find the line in the official video above - "Why you being such a dick about it?" - actually rather less offensive. Some of the lyrics seem weirdly young for an almost-25-year-old - although the "Make my dad want to ground me, honey" line is a cute throwaway reference to her famous father.
Regardless, though, it seems Joel has succeeded in her mission: we've noticed her. Now let's see what she does next.
September 01, 2010
August 31, 2010
August 30, 2010
August 27, 2010
Song of the Day: "Uprising"
By request from Rachel, as she pointed out that it's the perfect song for Mockingjay . . .
August 26, 2010
August 25, 2010
August 24, 2010
Song of the Day: "Half of My Heart"
This has been stuck in my head for DAYS.
August 23, 2010
August 20, 2010
August 19, 2010
Lessons from South Pacific
Last night, I watched the troops leaving Iraq on MSNBC and then turned to PBS to watch South Pacific live from Lincoln Center. I feel like I should have some profound comment about this, about war as entertainment, but I was too caught up in the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein and instead was left wondering, yet again, why people bother writing musicals anymore, because they were just that good.
Both of my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein shows are about World War II, actually - the other, of course, is The Sound of Music - and now that I think about it, my two favorite movies are too (The Sound of Music, again, and White Christmas). Of all the mystery shows I love, my favorite is Foyle's War - again, set during the War. Some of this is likely particular to me, and my influences, as my father and aunt love anything WWII, and my favorite movies are two of my mother's favorite movies.
But it's not just me. It's undeniable that that war led to great art, both at the time and afterward, and still captures our cultural imagination, even now. In sixty years, will our grandchildren be watching movies about the war in Iraq and loving them like this? I suppose it's possible, as impossible as it is to imagine right now. Who are this war's Rodgers and Hammerstein, this war's Irving Berlin?
To tie in another current event, the ridiculous "Ground Zero" "mosque" controversy keeps bringing to mind this song:
And because I thoroughly regret not seeing Matthew Morrison as Cable, here he is singing some more, shirtless:
August 18, 2010
Song of the Day: "Then I Kissed Her"
(Yes, basically the same song as yesterday. But I didn't even know this existed until I started looking for yesterday's! Wow.)
August 17, 2010
August 16, 2010
August 13, 2010
August 12, 2010
August 11, 2010
Song of the Day: "Secret"
Here's the Pretty Little Liars theme that keeps getting stuck in my head . . .
August 10, 2010
August 09, 2010
July 31, 2010
July 30, 2010
Song of the Day: "Twist and Shout"
It was starting to seem like this week would never end. Time to celebrate!
July 29, 2010
July 28, 2010
July 27, 2010
July 26, 2010
Song of the Day: "All In"
Just because it's been in my head all day...
July 23, 2010
July 22, 2010
July 21, 2010
Song of the Day: "See You in September"
The fall TV season begins seven weeks from today - not that anyone's counting - so this seemed somehow appropriate.
July 20, 2010
Song of the Day: "Heat Wave"
Not even Martha and the Vandellas can make me like this weather.
July 19, 2010
July 16, 2010
Song of the Day: "Roll Over Beethoven"
Hey, it's Friday. I'll give you two versions. I couldn't pick.
July 15, 2010
Song of the Day: "Laugh, Laugh"
Another childhood favorite I rediscovered via XM last night. I love the very polite bitterness in this one.
The Turtles had more than one song.
Last night, I was in the car with my friend Jack and "She'd Rather Be With Me" came on the radio. He asked whether we were listening to Deep Tracks, because "The Turtles only had one song." I maintained that the Turtles had several songs, and that "She'd Rather Be With Me" was a hit in its own right. (We were in fact listening to 60s on 6.) I couldn't actually come up with any other titles off the top of my head, though, so I decided to do some research, and I found at least five songs that I heard regularly on the Hartford oldies station growing up.
The "one song," of course, is "Happy Together." Here's a hilarious video they made for it, although the sound is iffy:
The sound is better in this one:
"She'd Rather Be With Me" was their follow-up:
But before either of those, their breakthrough hit was a cover of Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe:"
In 1969 they made a concept album with two big hits. I love "Elenore:"
And the other was a cover of "You Showed Me" by the Byrds:
July 14, 2010
Song of the Day: "Li'l Red Riding Hood"
Satellite radio is reminding me of all sorts of great songs I'd half-forgotten.
July 13, 2010
July 12, 2010
Song of the Day: "Ballad of Serenity"
No, no particular reason for this today, except that someone mentioned it on Twitter yesterday and it was in my head when I woke up this morning.
July 09, 2010
July 08, 2010
Song of the Day: "Sleepyhead"
A suggestion from my cousin Liz...
July 07, 2010
Song of the Day: "Summer Girls"
Hey, look at me, trying to play along with this "summer" thing and use seasonably appropriate songs. Yes, I have an inordinate and likely indefensible love of this song. Enh, 1999 was a pretty good summer.
July 06, 2010
Song of the Day: "Love Song"
I visited my family this past weekend, and at one point my brother put this song on, and my response was basically "Wait . . . wait . . . WHAT? What is this? WHO is this?" It is, in fact, a cover of Sara Bareilles's "Love Song" by a band called Four Year Strong. Are they famous? I don't even know. But I really like this.
July 03, 2010
Song of the Day: "Saturday in the Park"
It's the third of July, but close enough! I'm not going to the park today, though. I'm going to (I hope, I hope) buy a car. Wish me luck!
July 02, 2010
Song of the Day: "I Should Have Known Better"
Beatles on a train! (Like Snakes on a Plane, but different!)
What happens when neutron stars collide, anyway?
Obviously, one of the lingering questions about The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is what the heck is going on in "Neutron Star Collision," the song Muse wrote for the movie? Is a neutron star collision good or bad? What happens? Death and destruction for all? It's kind of unclear from the song, so I asked my favorite Muse fan, who also happens to work in the planetarium field, so I expect him to be an expert on all things astronomical. Obviously.
He kindly took up the question on his blog:
In any case, colliding neutron stars don't so much whack into each other as orbit each other very fast until they merge in a great explosion of energy. They may orbit for many years, but once the death spiral begins it can end almost instantaneously, with the stars traveling close to the speed of light. . . . So hearts combining, figuratively, are not badly represented by the literal fusing of two stars. What becomes of those two stars is something new -- perhaps a black hole.That actually makes more sense in the context of the movie than I'd expected it to! But memo to Bella and Edward: Notice how you end up with a black hole there? Yeah. Not exactly a happily-ever-after. Just, you know, something to keep in mind.
July 01, 2010
June 30, 2010
June 29, 2010
Song of the Day: "Sassy"
As a rule, I have extremely low expectations of songs put out by young actresses. So this one by Vampire Diaries costar Katerina Graham struck me as delightfully non-awful!
June 28, 2010
Song of the Day: "Running Up That Hill"
They used the Placebo version of this on The Vampire Diaries, and I hadn't even realized it was a Kate Bush song. But it is!
Star Trek/Ke$ha Mashup
I realize I'm very late to the party here and you have probably all seen this already, but it's really rather delightful so I had to post it.
June 23, 2010
Song of the Day: "Carolina in My Mind"
I am, in fact, going to Carolina. Not in my mind. Really. I've been saying I would for years, since my then-roommate moved down there and this song started making me cry every time I heard it. And then another good friend moved there, and then she had a baby I desperately want to meet, and so I am going, because who can resist a one-month-old? Not me.
(And yes, it is in fact 3:30 a.m. Good morning!)
June 18, 2010
Song of the Day: "California Gurls"
This is somewhat rare for me, but I'm actually embedding this purposefully for the video, rather than incidentally just because I want the audio. I've gotten the impression that this video is much-derided, but I don't really know or care enough about music videos to understand why. I thought it was fun. And it made me hungry. My only question was why it seemed to have nothing to do with California.
(NOTE: This may not be appropriate for kids to see.)
June 17, 2010
Song of the Day: "Crossfire"
Brandon Flowers of the Killers has a new solo song. I kind of like it. Different format than usual: when you click here it will take you to his site and automatically start playing.
June 16, 2010
Song of the Day: "All I Need"
Fine. Fine. I'm using a lot of songs from The Vampire Diaries recently. So sue me! They're good songs.
June 15, 2010
Song of the Day: "One Fine Day"
I came across this while looking for versions of "My Boyfriend's Back," and, well, since when do you need an excuse for some Carole King/Chiffons action, anyway?
All Good Shows Use "My Boyfriend's Back"
They played a version of this on The Good Guys last night, so I thought I'd use the original as the song of the day. But then I realized there were a lot more versions of this than I'd realized, so here you go. A retrospective!
The original: the Angels (complete with random images from Grease):
Martha and the Vandellas:
Here are the Raveonettes, otherwise known as the version on The Vampire Diaries:
And - aha! The version they used on The Good Guys, by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes:
June 14, 2010
June 11, 2010
Song of the Day: "You're the Top"
Apparently I missed Cole Porter's birthday earlier this week. Oops. (I also missed my cousin's birthday earlier this week. Not my week for birthdays.) Here he is, singing what I am fairly convinced is the best ode to a best friend ever.
June 10, 2010
Song of the Day: "To Sir, With Love"
It occurred to me while watching Glee that those less steeped in 1960s pop music might not know the original "To Sir, With Love." So! Here you go. There's a movie, too - I really should see that. (And I think it's all based on a book, now that I think about it.)
June 09, 2010
Song of the Day: "Charlie Wilson's War (Main Theme)"
Today is the birthday of James Newton Howard, a movie and TV composer. Here's his theme from Charlie Wilson's War.
June 08, 2010
Song of the Day: "Fairy Tales for Viola and Piano"
Happy 200th Birthday, Schumann!
June 07, 2010
June 04, 2010
Song of the Day: "Dream On"
If Glee accomplished nothing else in its run, the fact that they brought us this Matthew Morrison/Neil Patrick Harris duet would mean they'd done more than most TV shows ever do.
June 03, 2010
Song of the Day: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"
I was actually looking for a live version of this I heard on the radio yesterday - I think it might have been Carole King and James Taylor. But I came across this, and wow, I'm not sure I even knew Dusty Springfield covered this! And now I'm wondering if this was the version used in Studio 60, and it is taking every ounce of my self-control not to put in the DVD and find out RIGHT NOW.
June 02, 2010
Song of the Day: "Enigma Variations"
The radio just told me that it's Elgar's birthday. So!
June 01, 2010
May 28, 2010
May 27, 2010
Song of the Day: Foyle's War Theme
I meant to use this as the song of the day on Tuesday, when I posted about the new Foyle's War DVDs, but I was at a conference and the day totally got away from me. So, hey, still excited about Foyle. Here you go.
May 26, 2010
Song of the Day: "St. Paul's Suite"
Well, part of it, anyway. I heard this on the radio this morning and it took me way too long to identify it, considering that I've actually played it. So! Here you go.
May 24, 2010
May 19, 2010
Song of the Day: "Sabotage"
It's The Good Guys day, and FOX used this song in their upfront presentation about the show, so hey, good enough reason for me.
May 18, 2010
Did the end of "Neutron Star Collision" sound familiar?
Yeah? Maybe? Here it is again . . .
When I first listened to it, I couldn't figure out why, at the end, I suddenly felt like I was listening to Celine Dion and/or watching Clueless. But!
The common thread? Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto, the second movement, Adagio sostenuto.
May 17, 2010
Bonus Song of the Day: "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)"
Here's the new Muse:
I've only listened to it once, but my first impression is that I like it well enough, I guess. It seems to be missing the energy of "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Starlight," and sounds an awful lot like Queen. I was going to call the lyrics heavy-handed but then I remembered that I adore the early Beatles and I don't hold that against them. It certainly sounds like it was written for a Twilight movie. My lingering question: Why do they keep putting space stuff in their song titles if they're going for the teen vampire demographic?
Song of the Day: "The Old Ways"
(Have I used this one before? Hmm. Anyway, it's still good.)
May 15, 2010
NPR Does Lady Gaga
This is a little old at this point, but I somehow hadn't watched it until today. So in case you also missed it, I assure you that you want to watch this. Right now.
May 14, 2010
Song of the Day: "You're Nothing Without Me"
Yes, this is a duet between an author and his character. I love it beyond all reason, and it seemed vaguely appropriate for today in a few ways.
May 13, 2010
Song of the Day: David Tennant's "Modern Major General"
It's Arthur Sullivan's birthday, so I was looking for some Gilbert and Sullivan on YouTube, and hey, look! It's David Tennant! Who knew?
The Most Incredibly Exciting Week Ever
Okay, that may be overstating things a little, but seriously, folks, there's a lot of exciting pop culture stuff going on in the next week or so. Here's a rundown of the things that interest me. (Notes: All times are Eastern. Here's an explanation of "upfronts".)
Thursday, May 13
Friday, May 14
Monday, May 17
Tuesday, May 18
Thursday, May 20
May 12, 2010
Song of the Day: "Train Home"
"This is kind of a gospel song for people who aren't really sure."
May 11, 2010
May 07, 2010
Song of the Day: Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto
Not exactly a song, as such, but happy birthday, Tchaikovsky! Make sure you check out today's Google doodle.
I can't decide how to feel about this.
There were rumors going around that the band Muse wouldn't have any songs in Eclipse, the third Twilight movie. (If you don't care about Muse or Twilight, feel free to just stop reading now.) Muse had songs in the first two movies (and on the soundtrack albums), so there was sort of an uproar when they were supposedly not going to have anything to do with Eclipse. But don't worry! They are in fact putting out a whole new song for the movie! Everyone take a deep breath!
On the one hand, Muse is a good band, and I'm happy that they're getting more exposure. On the other hand, well, I try not to be one of those people who refuses to like popular things, but I'm not necessarily wild about the idea of bands I like being co-opted by screaming teenagers. (Actually, I maintain that Muse exited indie-cool status three years ago, when a poster of the band was used on a failed CW summer teen soap to telegraph that a boy was angsty and depressed, but since I seem to be the only one who watched that show, I generally fail to convince people of this. And by people, I mean my best friend, who runs MUSE: Simulacrum. Anyway. Moving on!)
On the other other hand, my feelings about the whole Twilight franchise are rather mixed right now. There are a few reasons for this, but first - okay, I'm getting into Casey McCall territory here*. And now that I think about it, I might write something longer about my Twilight issues at some point. But a summary: I enjoyed the books. I think it helped that I read the first before it was popular, before there was any hype. But I think the movies are pretty bad. And I think the plot sends some iffy messages to young girls. But without Twilight, other things I really REALLY like - namely The Vampire Diaries - would have been given much less of a chance.
So! New Muse song for Eclipse. The name is kind of dumb: "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)." I mean, with this trend in Muse song titles, I'd really rather they be used in a movie about space rather than vampires. And what the hell is the point of subtitling a song WRITTEN FOR A TWILIGHT MOVIE "Love Is Forever"? Is that really necessary? Not to put too fine a point on it, or anything. But hey, new music from Muse. So I'll stop complaining. For now.
* "Let me answer that question in four parts, with the fourth part first and the third part last. The second part has five subjects--" - Sports Night
May 06, 2010
Song of the Day: "Fugue for Tinhorns"
I think my parents saw this revival on Broadway. It also - the song choice and this version in particular - is sort of in celebration of something that will be on TV tonight, although the connection is tenuous. (Anyone get it?)
May 05, 2010
Song of the Day: "Grande Valse Brillante"
Something a little different...
May 04, 2010
Song of the Day: "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye"
(To head off any concern: this is in no way a commentary on anything actually going on in my life right now. I was just looking for Ella doing Cole Porter and here we are!)
May 03, 2010
April 30, 2010
April 29, 2010
April 28, 2010
Song of the Day: "I Know I Know I Know"
Continuing our Veronica Mars theme . . .
April 27, 2010
Song of the Day: "I Hear the Bells"
I couldn't find decent versions of the first few songs I was looking for, so, well, you can never go wrong with this one. I first heard it on the Veronica Mars soundtrack, which is actually one of my favorite albums. Hey, let's do a week of songs from that soundtrack. Why not?
If you prefer to see it set to lots of Logan and Veronica talking and kissing:
April 25, 2010
Song of the Day: "'Til There Was You"
I was thinking yesterday that I'd write a post about my favorite covers by the Beatles. Apparently there was something in the air, because The Curvature got there first. The one I was going to include that they did not was "'Til There Was You," from The Music Man.
Pop quiz! Which of my favorite writers sent a woman flowers and then had this song sung to his answering machine as a response? Here's a hint:
April 23, 2010
Song of the Day: "My Best Friend's Girl"
Finishing off our week in 1978...
Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!
It's (maybe, sort of, possibly) Shakespeare's birthday today, and I was going to find a passage to quote, but it's Friday morning and hey, let's have some music instead. Other favorite songs that reference Shakespeare's characters, anyone? I feel like I'm forgetting about something really obvious.
October Project's "Ariel:"
Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet:"
And the same covered by The Killers, which I'd somehow never heard before:
Taylor Swift's "Love Story:"
And hey, Shakespeare references "Greensleeves," so that's as good as excuse as ever to make sure everyone's heard Loreena McKennitt doing Tom Waits doing "Greensleeves:"
April 22, 2010
Song of the Day: "Werewolves of London"
We're in 1978 this week, in case anyone missed the previous posts. I was sort of looking for something romantic, since today is actually the day of my parents' anniversary, but all that struck me from the list I read was Billy Joel, and that would defeat the purpose, as my father dislikes Mr. Joel's music rather a lot. So! Werewolves!
April 21, 2010
Song of the Day: "Don't Look Back"
Continuing our week in 1978 . . .
April 20, 2010
April 19, 2010
Song of the Day: "You're the One That I Want"
My parents' 32nd anniversary is on Thursday, and so, in their honor, I'm going to do a whole themed week: Hits of 1978! Obviously we must start with something from Grease.
April 18, 2010
Song of the Day: "Louie Louie"
So, who can figure out why I picked this song for today?
April 17, 2010
Song of the Day: "The Ugly Bug Ball"
In the same vein as the "middle school crush" song earlier in the week: today is my middle school best friend's birthday. For some inexplicable reason, we were all obsessed with this random Disney song in eighth grade. (Really, if there was a reason, I don't remember it. Aren't eighth graders these days far too cool for this sort of thing? Hmm.) It's pretty silly, but I thought of it, and her, this morning, so here you go. Happy birthday, Heather, wherever you are!
April 16, 2010
Song of the Day: "Nostalgia"
I usually try to be a bit peppier with the songs on Fridays, but I woke up thinking about this one. I'll take Songs I Found Through Masterpiece Mystery for $100, Alex!
April 15, 2010
Song of the Day: "Wuthering Heights"
I heard this for the first time in a while today, and - wow, I'd forgotten quite how bizarre it is.
April 14, 2010
Song of the Day: "I'll Get You"
I was looking at the calendar this morning and realized that today is my Big Epic Middle School Crush's birthday. This was my favorite song throughout most of that time, and I always associate it with him. It's still one of my favorite lesser-known Beatles songs.
April 13, 2010
Song of the Day: "Maybe This Time"
In case you haven't noticed, I'm really excited about Glee tonight. :) So, for our song of the day - "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, as performed on Glee by Lea Michele and the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth.
April 12, 2010
April 10, 2010
Song of the Day: "Slow Ride"
Yes, it's in the promo for The Good Guys. But it just seems like a good lazy Saturday morning song as well.
April 01, 2010
My new favorite song
This is actually really well done. I especially like the Robert Frost bit in the middle.
March 08, 2010
Incredibly Important Things Happening Today
Okay, that's almost entirely tongue-in-cheek. But! Today:
1. Supposedly the Lady Gaga/Beyonce "Telephone" video is being released around 11. I'll try to find a link for you at lunch.
2. Gossip Girl comes back from hiatus tonight! Honestly, this is about the only thing that got me out of bed this morning.
March 06, 2010
Sunny Saturday Songs
Is there a better band than Boston for those first days in March when it suddenly feels like spring? No, there is not. And apparently the local DJs agree with me, because I heard these songs over and over while driving around today.
And my favorite Boston song:
March 05, 2010
Song of the Day: "Black Friday"
I know the Cure would have been the obvious option for today, so I figured I'd do something else... Interestingly, practically all versions of this song on YouTube were set to montages like this.
March 04, 2010
Song of the Day: "Thursday"
Okay, I didn't actually know of any songs with "Thursday" in the name, so I did some searching and came up with this. I like it!
Someone decode these lyrics, please.
Every time I hear Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" on the radio, I am baffled by these lines:
Now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swaggerWhat? Really? I mean, look at him. He wasn't even cute when he was young. Last week, I e-mailed my dad: "It seems like there were an improbably high number of really attractive British boys in 1963 who became musicians." His response? "As long as you forget about the Rolling Stones?" Yeah. So. What is going on in these lyrics? I'm thinking it must mean something entirely different that I'm just missing. Help!
March 03, 2010
Song of the Day: "Wednesday Morning 3 A.M."
Okay, it's 3 p.m., but I figured I'd see if I could keep the day-of-the-week theme going:
March 02, 2010
Song of the Day: "Ruby Tuesday"
You likely saw this coming.
March 01, 2010
February 25, 2010
Song of the Day: "I Want Her She Wants Me"
I mentioned the Zombies to Alyssa yesterday, and she brought up this song. I'm not sure I'd ever heard it before - my Zombies knowledge is pretty limited to a few songs they played on the oldies station when I was a kid - but I love it. Take a listen.
February 24, 2010
Song of the Day
Thinking about making "Song of the Day" a regular feature. What do we think?
This is one of those songs that I had basically forgotten about, but when last.fm played it for me I got all excited and realized I love it. I don't know what was in the water in Liverpool in those days, but there must have been something...
February 23, 2010
February 20, 2010
I was listening to the Guys and Dolls album yesterday, and it struck me how similar "If I Were a Bell" is to "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" from South Pacific. Both tell of a woman trying to find the words to describe being in love for the first time, and they're chock full of great similes, from "I'm as corny as Kansas in August" to "if I were a salad I know I'd be splashing my dressing," which is one of those wonderfully inexplicable lines that doesn't make a whole lot of sense on first glance but somehow perfectly gets at its point.
(Random: The latter recording is from the 1992 Broadway revival, which I'm pretty sure my parents saw. And my mom definitely had a sweatshirt with that Guys and Dolls logo on it.)
February 19, 2010
Friday Listicle: 9 Perfect Pieces of Music
Johann Pachelbel: "Canon in D" (c. 1694)
February 17, 2010
And now I vacuum the turf at SkyDome
I just read that President Obama is having lunch with the King of Spain. There is only one possible response.
February 16, 2010
I guess it's half timing and the other half's luck.
I had heard Michael Buble's new song "Haven't Met You Yet" a few times before, but last night it struck me that it's basically in the same genre as Rebecca St. James's signature song "Wait for Me:"
Buble gives the secular and, um, less "pure" version:
And - ha! That video! It's the dorkiest thing ever but I kind of love it. The marching band bit made me remember this one from The Music Man. Here's the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth:
I'm too annoyed with John Mayer to embed a song of his here, but I have to admit that "Love Song for No One" fits in here as well, although it's whinier and more demanding than the others. Shocking!
And really, we can't end this in any other way than with a little Ella:
February 13, 2010
Loreena McKennitt's "The Old Ways"
Here's the Loreena McKennitt song that they played at the beginning of the part of the ceremonies last night with the fiddler in the floating blue canoe, before the madness with the plaid and tattoos and dancers started. This is actually my favorite of her songs, but I just thought it was weird that they chose to use a song so obviously about Ireland in the yay-Canada part of the show. In fact, they said that segment was specifically supposed to pay tribute to Quebec and French-speakers, did they not? Anyway. It's a good song! Listen:
February 03, 2010
But February made me shiver
It's the anniversary of The Day the Music Died. Take a listen:
And those who were lost:
January 30, 2010
Of Open Arches Endlessly Kneeling
Does this happen to you? A song comes on the radio and you realize that you completely love it, but had in fact completely forgotten that it existed. This happened to me with "Cathedrals" by Jump Little Children today. All I could come up with at the time was "Oh my gosh! That was on [my former roommate's] iPod! I love that song!" I had to Google afterward to figure out what it was. Take a listen:
January 29, 2010
Chopin and Schumann: Different!
Check out this New York Times article on Chopin and Schumann. First: I'm not entirely sure why this is news. I mean, it isn't news. I guess the tie-in is that this year is the 200th anniversary of their births, and Emanuel Ax is doing recitals comprised of their music. Okay then.
The main thesis: Chopin and Schumann were not as similar as you (supposedly) thought. Really, do people assume they're similar just because they were contemporaries? "Two people who became famous had very different lives!" Do people assume this about all contemporaries? Why? The following people were all born in 1947: David Bowie, Laura Schlessinger, Dan Quayle, Edward James Olmos, Mitt Romney, Elton John, Camille Paglia, Tom DeLay, Tom Clancy, Iggy Pop, Salman Rushdie, Meat Loaf, Kevin Kline, Hillary Clinton, David Mamet, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Also my dad and my friend Kate's mom. Do we assume that all of these people have had similar lives or careers? No, of course not. (Many people do, however, say that my dad and Kevin Kline look alike.)
Here's where I think the premise of the article breaks down: Tommasini thinks he had scores of readers who were thinking, until this moment, that because Chopin and Schumann were both Romantic composers born in 1810, they probably had a lot in common. But I believe most people will never have given a thought to the question at all. And I think anyone who cared enough to think about it for thirty seconds immediately realized that no, their lives were pretty different. And most people who are reading classical music coverage in the Times likely fall into that second category.
The article doesn't actually say anything shocking. They moved in different social circles! Their family situations were different! George Sand and Clara Schumann: also pretty different! The really odd thing is the tone. It's in the first person, and Tommasini seems really . . . invested in the whole thing. It's like he's telling us about his personal emotional journey when he found out this supposedly shocking news. It ends with this one-sentence paragraph:
I find it touching that on good days during this period in the asylum, Schumann was allowed to walk into Bonn, where he made a point of visiting the monument to Beethoven.Um, okay. That was abrupt. And vaguely creepy.
January 26, 2010
And then there's The White Album.
The other day, I was trying to find the song "Never Say Never" on my iPod, but I couldn't remember what the album was called. I finally realized it was The Fray. I was confused because I knew "Never Say Never" was a newer song, but I'd assumed The Fray was their first album. Nope. How to Save a Life was first, and the self-titled one was second. What's with that? I don't like eponymous albums in the first place: they're confusing. And seriously, if you have enough creativity to make a whole album, why can't you be bothered to come up with a title? But if you insist on having a self-titled album, then for goodness' sake, at least make it your first. I'm not wild about albums that share titles with songs, either, because, again, confusing. I do like album titles that are made up of a quote from a song on the album that somehow symbolizes the whole thing, like, oh, Jagged Little Pill or A Few Small Repairs or Films About Ghosts. But I'm not picky. Just come up with an album title that is distinct from both the artist name and the song titles.
My best friend got an early version of this rant, and he pointed out that R.E.M. has an album actually called Eponymous. Stop the madness! (Well, okay, Eponymous as a title is actually kind of funny.)
January 25, 2010
Patty Griffin's Downtown Church
I listened to Patty Griffin's about-to-be-released album on NPR First Listen, and I remain baffled by my seeming inability to like Gospel music. I love the atmospheric originals, and her voice is gorgeous, of course, but most of the traditional songs she includes just leave me cold. I'm not sure what my problem is, but I always have this issue. Gospel music almost always seems - I don't know. I can't relate to it. I'd almost say that it's because it's so far from my own New England Catholic experience, but that doesn't make any sense, because there's plenty of music from completely different faith traditions that I like a lot. So. Baffled. Let me know if you have any ideas on what my problem is.
I'm undecided on this version of "All Creatures of Our God and King," which I would put in the "hymn" category rather than the "Gospel" category:
It's beautiful. That much is clear. And it's done pretty straightforwardly, which is what I generally like from hymns. It's somewhat addictive; I've listened to it several times and like it more each time. But it's so slow! Why? And it sounds almost unnecessarily mournful. It's a happy song! Cheer up, Patty!
Corinne Bailey Rae's The Sea
Yet another from NPR First Listen, here's The Sea. I got really, really sick of "Put Your Records On" when the radio was playing it constantly a few years ago, but I figured I'd try the new one anyway. I'm not the hugest fan of her voice, but I think it works really well in certain types of songs. I really like "The Blackest Lily:"
My other favorites are "Paris Nights/New York Mornings:"
And "Paper Dolls:"
Most of the other tracks were less interesting, though, and I ended up getting kind of bored by the album as a whole. Hm. The songs I liked had the quickest tempos, I think. Maybe I like her voice better in faster songs. She tends toward the whiny in the slow ones. Of course, her husband died two years ago, so she's entitled to some less-than-happiness. But there's a way to be sad without whining.
Don't I know you better than the rest?
(There are two more music posts coming up this afternoon, because I wanted to get them up before the links at First Listen expire. If you're only going to pay attention to one, it should be this one.)
Please go listen to Teen Dream by Beach House right now. Shani O from PostBourgie tweeted about it the other day, and I can't stop listening. I preordered the CD, even. The whole album somehow hits the title perfectly - it really does feel like a dreamy version of some sort of archetypical teenagerhood. It all sounds like it could have been on the Veronica Mars soundtrack, and it makes me think of Sarah Dessen novels and maybe A House Like a Lotus and Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle. The album perfectly encapsulates the mix of promise and innocence with regret or nostalgia for the parts of that innocence that have already been lost and, more than anything, the total transience of the adolescent experience.
Both the vocals and the instrumentation give it an often droning sound that could get annoying fast, but doesn't. The fabulous keyboard parts are a large part of the dream-like quality. The vocals are a little fuzzy and sometimes hard to understand, but that doesn't bug me as much as it usually would because what they're really going for here is the atmosphere. It did make it difficult to quote the lyrics for you, though. The songs are similar enough to clearly make a coherent whole, but different enough to keep it from getting boring.
I had a really hard time deciding which songs to include here, so you really should listen to the whole thing. But here are a few.
Here's "Norway," with the best example of the droning I was talking about:
"Walk in the Park:"
"In a matter of time
"Used to Be" has shades of Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles, no?
"In an endless night, could you feel the fright of an age that was and could never be?
Coming home, any day now, any day now, any day now, coming home..."
The quote in the title of this post, by the way, is from "Zebra," and we'll end with one from "10 Mile Stereo" that nicely sums it all up: "They say you'll go far, but they don't know how far we'll go . . ."
January 23, 2010
A few thoughts on the Haiti telethon
(Here's the link, in case anyone needs it: Hope for Haiti Now.)
1. I knew I wasn't going to be home when the telethon aired, so I TiVoed it. I think that says a lot about what a huge cultural event they managed to make it, that anyone would even think to TiVo a telethon. So good job to the organizers for getting so many huge names.
3. It really, really bugged me that they didn't give names for any of the performers (or actors/other celebrities doing the talking parts). I recognized some, but certainly not all, and I would have liked to know who they were.
4. I am biased against anyone who isn't Jeff Buckley (even Leonard Cohen - I know it's his but the Buckley version is just sublime) but I have to say that Justin Timberlake (and someone else I didn't recognize) did a nice job of "Hallelujah." I will be buying at least that one and the Jay-Z one when they get up on iTunes. (I might just get the whole album. I am undecided.)
5. I unabashedly love Taylor Swift's records, but I'm always disappointed with her performances I see on TV.
6. "Like a Prayer" is probably my favorite Madonna song, but it seemed like an odd choice in this context. The choir sounded nice but also seemed weird, given the song.
7. Songs in the telethon that have also been on Glee: three that I caught. No real point there, except maybe that in all cases I preferred the Glee versions.
January 22, 2010
Mr. Brown Has Two Daughters, But...
Perhaps the least unpleasant effect of Tuesday's Senate election has been that this song has been stuck in my head for days:
Did you know that the powers that be (Mickie Most, maybe?) decided to promote Herman's Hermits because they thought Peter Noone looked like JFK? Yeah. At least according to a PBS special my dad and I watched recently. Actually, though, I feel like they're kind of an underrated band. I guess by that I mean that I tend to forget about them, and that whenever I stop and think about how many of their songs I really like, I'm kind of surprised. This one, of course. "I Am Henry VIII, I Am" is just silly, but I've always loved "There's a Kind of Hush." "I'm Into Something Good" has a sort of sublime simplicity. And there's "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat," of course. These less prominent British Invasion bands often get overshadowed, and sure, they're not the Beatles or the Stones. But not everyone has to be. They're worth a listen.
(And IMDb tells me that Peter Noone guest starred on Quantum Leap. Who knew?)
June 25, 2008
A few people suggested that I use last.fm to explore new music. I signed up last night, and I'm loving it! And it's not even blocked at work! (Knock on wood.) I've found a few people through their friend search, but I'm sure there are more of you on there. What's your username? Wanna be friends? (Mine is katelinnea.)
June 24, 2008
What are you listening to?
I realized while flipping stations in the car this morning that I've fallen into the trap of just listening to whatever's on the radio, rather than seeking out music I really like and find interesting. But I'm not sure where to proceed from here. So I guess my question for you has two parts...
1) What are you listening to recently?
2) More generally, how do you go about finding new music, beyond what's on the radio?
June 05, 2008
Political/musical discovery of the afternoon
So I'm sitting at my desk, blithely bopping along to the cast album of Annie, and suddenly FDR bellows "Harold Ickes, stand up and sing!" What?? Some quick Wikipedia-ing turned up the fact that, indeed, Harold L. Ickes, the father of Clintonite Harold M. Ickes, was FDR's Secretary of the Interior and has a big part in the Cabinet scene in Annie. Hee!
(Bonus discovery! While writing the above, I found that there's an actual mineral called Clintonite.)
June 03, 2008
What are your favorite knitting podcasts? I'd like to add a few to my listening routine.
January 20, 2008
In the office on a Sunday: Random Thought #1
Someday I will learn that Franz Ferdinand's song "Michael" has noises in it that sound like my phone. Because every single time I listen to it, I end up checking my phone, just to be sure.
November 08, 2007
Directory of NPR Streaming Music
I just noticed that the new NPR music site has this nice directory of streaming all-music stations. I'm always looking for good sources of classical and Celtic music, and thanks to this page I now know that WGBH, which is even fairly local to me, has a 24-hour classical stream and a weekly three-hour Celtic show. Yay!
Mexican Folk Music with Led Zeppelin and Bach
No, really. If you didn't already hear it on Morning Edition, I'd urge you to take a look/listen to NPR's story on Sones de Mexico, a Chicago Mexican folk band. They base their music on the Mexican son tradition, but their new album also includes versions of one of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, a Led Zeppelin song, and Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." The band was extremely interesting and likeable in the interview, and the music was catchy and unique at the same time. I'll definitely be buying this album; it would also make a great holiday gift for the music enthusiast on your list.
September 15, 2006
So don't you worry 'bout me...
Seriously, how did I survive for so long without the greatest hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on my iPod? I don't think I realized until recently how many of my favorite songs from childhood were by them. On Saturday, we were playing it on the overhead at the store, and I had to buy it. (An aside: it is so not supposed to work that way. I mean, yeah, we're trying to get customers to buy the CDs. But employees should be immune, darn it.) So so good.
July 13, 2006
I've long used the concept of comfort foods, and comfort books and movies, and even comfort knitting, but I'd never really thought about comfort music before. I'm not sure why - it seems that in some ways it would be even more useful, since music can easily accompany other tasks. But anyway. As I turned on Aurelia iPod at the office this morning, I found myself scrolling her contents, unsure of the right music to help me stay calm and sane. And then I found myself starting Anything Goes, and I realized it wasn't just because Cole Porter is a god. (Although he is.) It was because this is the album that I remember always being in the cassette player in my mom's car when I was in elementary school. (I'm sure it wasn't always, but that's how I remember it.) I've known all the words to all the songs for far longer than I've known what they all actually meant. ("So kiss me, pretty wench, in English or in French..." ah, good old Cole.) It has all sorts of warm, fuzzy memories attached.
I started thinking about what other music might fall into this category. I realized last December that Pachelbel's Canon instantly calms me. (It was sort of our school orchestra anthem. I cannot even begin to fathom the number of times I've played it.) Probably Rodgers and Hammerstein, especially The Sound of Music (best movie ever) and maybe South Pacific (the show I played in high school). Maybe Beauty and the Beast. Perhaps some early Beatles. Pet Sounds. Bach. "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik."
Hmm. What's your comfort music?
(I apologize for the overuse of parentheses and italics in this post. Also, sorry for any link wonkiness - Amazon's being weird.)
June 30, 2006
Lipstick.com, which is vaguely amusing/informative when I remember to check it often enough to not be totally overwhelmed, informs me that there's a Jeff Buckley biopic in the works. I'm skeptical, of course, but interested. His mother is working on it, and she says that she is "inspired by the success and integrity of recent music biopics such as Ray and Walk the Line." Which is... hmm. I mean, sure, if you're going to make a movie you want it to be successful, but that comment sounds awfully close to "I want to profit from my son's death." I'm sure that's not how she meant it, but it still sounds a bit odd.
Of course, my other main impression from the Yahoo page was "Wow, he was cute!" Although I don't know why I'm surprised, since Defulct was the one to get me into Buckley, and we all know how he chooses his musicians. For example.
December 20, 2005
To whom it may concern:
Dear stupid coworkers in the neighboring department,
Dear Chris Botti,
Dear out-of-it teacher lady,
Dear reading public,
Dear Mr. Ledger,
December 14, 2005
Random Wednesday ('cause I can)
Yeah, I know, twice in one day. But I had stuff I felt like saying and liked the idea of posting Random Wednesday on Wednesday for once. (It is Wednesday, right? I think?)
1. First, because Lauren asked for it:
The five scarves-in-progress, albeit a bit blurry. The stray needle and brown yarn coming in from the left belong to another scarf-in-progress, but that one is my roommate's, not mine (thank goodness).
2. Tonight was my last class of the semester. We had pizza and wine and cookies and then left early. Really, all classes should be like that.
3. During class, my professor asked me: "Could you make your life any more difficult?" Hah. He doesn't know the half of it.
4. I also discovered that when I e-mailed my final paper to my professor yesterday, I didn't actually, you know, attach the paper. I am so smart.
5. While walking to the train after class I started calculating my Knitting Hours Per Day for the next ten days or so. Let's just say that it's looking rather appalling. Details, and hopefully a Plan, will be forthcoming. Tomorrow. When I'm bored at work.
6. I have decided that Green Day's "Holiday" is what I wanted Franz Ferdinand's second album to be. Not necessarily politically (because Franz Ferdinand is/are British [Scottish?], for one thing), but musically.
7. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal shooting incident that occurred at my alma mater. Although I was there long afterward and didn't know anyone involved, the reverberations are still felt throughout the tiny community, and I felt I should mention it and that everyone affected is in my thoughts today.
8. On a happier note, it is also my dad's birthday.
9. New Dunkin' Donuts favorite: Vanilla Spice coffee. Yum.
10. I'm dreaming, not of a white Christmas (well that too), but of all the things I will have time to knit after Christmas: the baby Aran, Birch (which was going along swimmingly until I finally had to admit that I should stop on it until after Christmas), Trekking XXL socks, and some sort of freaking head covering, already. I am in New Hampshire. It is cold. I do not seem to own a hat. What I really want is a hooded scarf, but I'm not letting myself think about it yet.
11. It sounds weird, but I have discovered that sleeping in hoodies (yes, with the hood on) is SO cozy. Another thing for which I can blame my roommate. Caffeine, Auden, alcohol, Michael Nava, Six Feet Under, cilantro, sleeping in hoods... what will be next?
12. Since I am home in time to go to bed on time, I should really do so, huh? 'night.
November 16, 2005
No ordinary princess...
I know this isn't exactly news or anything, but, well, it was news to me. Dar Williams is amazing. I somehow managed to be basically unaware of her until just a few weeks ago. Now I'm listening to the two albums of hers I have on my iPod just a wee bit obsessively.
The Honesty Room was her first, I believe, and it's my favorite so far. The songs that stuck out to me at first were "When I Was a Boy," "The Great Unknown," and "The Babysitter's Here," but my list of "favorites" is getting longer and longer - it at least has to include "You're Aging Well" and "When Sal's Burned Down" now, and "Flinty Kind of Woman," and, well, that's probably at least half the album, so I might as well just say I love it all!!! I want to quote lyrics at you but I'll try to restrain myself, well, except for one:
"Your behavior is so male it's like you can't explain yourself to me.
Hah. I laugh every time I hear it.
The other one I have on Aurelia iPod is The Beauty of the Rain. I didn't feel as immediate a connection with this one, but it's definitely growing on me, and I think "Your Fire, Your Soul" might have to be my theme song this holiday season. And "The One Who Knows" is gorgeous and haunting, as is the whole CD, really.
She has several other albums, it seems. I know what's going on my Christmas list...
November 09, 2005
(Yes, we had Random Kat Facts just last night, but that's a different kind of randomness. This is the "Here are twenty things I've been meaning to tell you but didn't have the time/energy/inspiration to write a whole post on" sort of randomness.)
2. I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about the election results. Yay New Jersey and Virginia and Maine. Boo Texas.
3. Whoever decided to play "Saturday in the Park" (you know, the "every day's the fourth of July" one) right when the majority of listeners would be headed to work on one of the coldest days yet this autumn really should not be a DJ. (Or computers shouldn't be picking out music. Whatever.) That said, it did make me smile and it's a good one to sing along with. Can you dig it? Yes I can! (Of course, listening to "My Immortal" next didn't exactly do wonders for my mood, but who can resist the line "Your voice, it chased away all the sanity in me"? Yeah, I'll be listening to that the rest of the day...)
4. I finally finished the school assignment that had been hanging over my head being impossible for two weeks. Turns out I was making it far harder than it actually should have been. (What, you, Kat? Making something hard for yourself? Really? Shut up.) I'm ridiculously excited about it being done.
5. I'm also ridiculously excited about the fact that I'm wearing my "skinny jeans" that haven't fit in about a year. Whee!
6. Novel? What novel? No, really, it's... coming. I'm a bit behind but not irreparably so. As I said to my roommate this morning, I have nothing planned this weekend other than working all day Saturday (yes, he laughed), so I'm hoping to get a few good sessions in and get ahead.
7. Meg Cabot blogs! I somehow just learned this last night. Happiness ensued. (I know what I'll be doing during my down time at work today...)
8. I took a vacation day yesterday and Erica and I headed out for a day of excitement involving Harrisville, the Woolery, and crazy fundamentalist pizza. I'll let her tell you her big news herself, but let's just say that she picked me up at nine and by noon we'd managed to spend about $500 between us. And that was before the Woolery.
9. At Harrisville, I found a copy of Knitting Fair Isle Mittens & Gloves: 40 Great-Looking Designs by Carole Rasmussen Noble. A friend, with whom I had never before discussed porn of any sort (I don't think), recently told me that this was one of his "favorite books of knitting porn." It's out of print, and I didn't want to order an expensive used copy sight unseen, but there it was in the bookcase at Harrisville! And - yes. My friend was absolutely right. (And yes, I have started a glove.)
10. I may have also started the Irish Diamond Shawl from Folk Shawls: 25 Knitting Patterns and Tales from Around the World1 in Harrisville Shetland in Evergreen2. I bought the "weaving" version of the yarn, on the cone, because it was a fraction of the price (and it's what the pattern called for, technically). I'll let you know how it goes.
12. I finally went to an orchard and got local apples, unpasteurized cider, and cider doughnuts yesterday. Yum.
13. Okay, my computer here at work is freaking out, so I think it's time for some quality time with AdAware.
14. But I don't want to jinx my bad mood by leaving off on number 13, so let me just mention how annoyed I am that my online registration for next semester is at 5 pm on Saturday. Because that is clearly the best time for everyone to be at their computers. (I get out of work at five, so I'll be at least a half hour late and probably not get my first choice of classes. Bah.)
September 15, 2005
What is up with Cinderella?
So I've been listening a lot to the Into the Woods soundtrack recently. Such fun, addictive music. One of the stories followed in this musical is that of Cinderella. And after listening to it about three million times, I started realizing that her story seemed kind of . . . odd. (The following will be mostly based on the songs in Into the Woods, but as far as I can remember from the other versions I've seen, it's pretty similar.)
The main characters all have these big, huge life dreams - the Baker and his wife want a baby; Jack and his mother need to sell their cow to survive; Rapunzel wants to get out of the tower. And Cinderella? She . . . wants to go to the festival/ball. She doesn't want to break out of her life of drudgery. She doesn't even want to find her prince. (When she does find him, or rather he finds her, she's decidedly ambivalent.) She just wants to go to the festival. What?
Now, you might argue that with the limits that have been placed on Cinderella's life, she couldn't really dream any bigger. Maybe. But really - wouldn't it seem more reasonable for her to wish to, say, have the life of her stepsisters, rather than to go to a festival or ball? She'd at least seen her stepsisters' lives. It doesn't seem that she'd ever been at a festival before.
And besides, there's the beginning of the second act, where they all have new wishes. By now, Cinderella is married to the prince, living in the castle, etc. And her wish? To sponsor a festival. What is going on here?? I think I am missing something. I mean, if I were her, I wouldn't be thrilled with that prince either. But I could understand the dream of finding a prince. I don't understand having your one wish being to go to a party. But then, maybe that's just because I'm shy and antisocial.
P.S. Proof that I'm not always antisocial: I was photographed at a knitting group. (I'm on the right, in the purple dress, and darn, I actually look not half bad. I usually hate how I look in pictures.) It was my first time going to this group, and it was great. Can't wait for next month!
February 04, 2005
Music survey from Rachel
Rachel passed this to me. I feel honored. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic.
1. What are the total amount of music files on your computer?
2. The last CD you bought was?
3. What is the song you last listened to before this message?
4. Write down five songs you often listen to, or that mean a lot to you.
5. Who are you gonna pass this stick to (three persons and why)?
Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM