The song that’s stuck in your head

I woke up this morning with Dan Fogelberg’s “The Leader of the Band” going through my head. I have no idea why. I wake up to my TV, not the radio, and I don’t remember hearing the song on the TV. I didn’t hear it last night, nor at any time in the last several months. Yet there it is, playing continuously in my head, all morning.

Perhaps there are stray thoughts of my father percolating in my head, manifesting as this song. “And, Papa, I don’t think I said I love you near enough.”

I’m in a weird, sad, and melancholy mood the last couple of days. Last night, I had sudden and vivid recollections of the summer day our first dog died of a heart attack in our backyard. It’s been almost 30 years and I still feel it keenly.

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Mad World

I usually stop watching American Idol when the auditions are done. I find the early weeks of the actual competition dull. Sometimes I start watching again when it’s down to the top 10 or so, if someone I liked in the auditions is still in the game. XUP’s mention of Adam Lambert singing “Mad World” on the April 7th show resparked my interest. (He’s been one of my faves since he auditioned with Bohemian Rhapsody — and parts of the snippet of Cher’s “Believe” that he sung during the Hollywood auditions were just chilling.) 

Mad World” one of my favourite songs of all time. It’s not a happyhappy song in the first place, but Adam’s performance of it — both live and in the full studio version — is incredibly sad, more haunting, for some reason, than even the Gary Jules‘ cover, on which Adam’s was based. Very much the kind of music you listen to when it’s rainy or foggy or you’re in “one of those moods”.

Even though you probably shouldn’t. Continue reading “Mad World”

Major Tom

Caught the new Lincoln MKZ commercial the other day. It features a cover version of Peter Schilling’s 1983 song “Major Tom (Coming Home)”.

I’d forgotten how catchy the song is. You can’t buy the original English version of it on iTunes. The original German version? Yes. Cover versions galore? Yes. The original English? No. You can also catch a couple of live versions on Youtube, but that’s not the same thing as listening to it on your iPod. (I have a vague recollection of the original video featuring Peter Schilling on top of a huge junk pile in a junk yard.)

Saw the commercial again today and decided to actually find out who sings this cover — it sounds familiar. Turns out it’s Shiny Toy Guns, whose “Le Disko” was the music on that Motorola Razr commercial where the man and woman were attacking each other on the subway platform with their Razr’s used like throwing stars. Anyway, their cover of “Major Tom (Coming Home)” is available as a free download from the official Lincoln site — when you click that link, the commercial will automatically start playing; click the DOWNLOAD IT NOW link on the bottom right of the commercial pop-up to download the full version of the song. (If you see articles and posts elsewhere that point you towards http://shinytoyguns.com/news/transmission-to-major-tom/, be aware that the Shiny Toy Guns link will ultimately, after forcing you to register, reroute you to the official Lincoln page. I’d cut out the middle man, if I were you, unless you really want to register with Shiny Toy Guns.)

Christmas and Me Are Through

Chuck versus Santa ClausMonday’s episode of Chuck, “Chuck versus Santa Claus”, included a really catchy song at the end that perfectly captured the poignancy of the ending of the episode.

At the time the episode aired, I couldn’t find anything at all about the song. Thankfully, now there is information all over the place. The song is “Christmas and Me Are Through” by Your Vegas. Unfortunately, I can’t find where you can actually get this song — it’s not on their debut album and it isn’t available on Canadian iTunes as a separate download.

Edited to add (December 18): Aha! Found it on thesixtyone.com, where you can either listen to it streaming on the site or you can download it. Presumably the band itself is OK with the MP3 being available for free, since it isn’t available on iTunes or on an actual album. I think that’s positively cool — Live did that with “Overcome” and it probably netted them new fans as a result. I know that I’m likely to buy their album now. (Just haven’t decided to do it via iTunes or actually buy a CD.)

Continue reading “Christmas and Me Are Through”

Revenge of the Moose

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!!!!!!!

Moosebutter has come out with their own video of their Star Wars song, which was capably lipsynched previously by Corey Vidal in late October (his video is nearing 3 million views so far).

(I believe that’s Weston in the top left, Chris in the top right, Tim in the bottom right, and Glen in the bottom left.)

And it’s a fresh new recording.

You heard me. Not them lipsynching to their original song, but actually singing LIVE for the video. Lots more fun than Corey’s, though Corey did a good job. I question the mentioning of Natalie Portman after “So you have a twin sister who Obi Wan was wise to hide” (she was Mom, not twin sister) but otherwise it was a cool update to the classic. Good job, guys.

Did I mention this was awesome? It’s only right that this video top Corey’s in view count — it’s only at 2,522 now so you’ve all got a lot of watching to do.

Go watch it. Now. And pass it on to all your friends.

John Barrowman sings

jb_frontWatched him on Thursday’s Paul O’Grady show. Can I just say again how much I love him? He is such a funny, cool person. With such an infectious laugh.

And he has a lovely singing voice. He sang the new single from his latest album (Music Music Music, which was released on Monday), called “What About Us?” (written by Gary Barlow of Take That). The album isn’t available on iTunes Canada. Too bad, though having heard some of the songs on the album already, I suspect that “What About Us?” owes most of its charms to Gary Barlow’s writing skills, not John’s singing. Don’t get me wrong. He has a nice voice, but it’s a very ordinary, lovely voice when he’s singing covers, which is what most of his albums are. It’s a Broadway musical voice that is only elevated when he’s singing something original.

Continue reading “John Barrowman sings”

Nostalgic journey through my musical past

Listening to that Star Wars song got me nostalgic for the Jurassic Park theme (more so today after yesterday’s sad news) so I went to iTunes. Where I subsequently decided that I couldn’t possibly just buy the Jurassic Park theme so I went in search for other soundtrack music that I missed.

Leonard Rosenman was one of my favourite composers of the 70s and 80s. Somewhere in my parents’ basement I have an album copy of his 1978 “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack, from the animated movie. I was reading Tolkien for the first time myself around the time so it holds a fond spot in my heart. As luck would have it, iTunes has it so into the shopping cart it goes, as does the ending theme to Star Trek IV, also composed by him (and very similar in feel to his “Lord of the Rings” theme — I can remember making my then-boyfriend hang around after the movie in 1986 to watch the credits because I had to prove to him that I’d recognized the composer from the theme.) So now I’m deeply ensconced in the music. Probably not a smart idea, given that I should be going to bed, not listening to rousing battle marches and grand movie themes. But this is the music that makes me wish our lives had soundtracks. (I suspect that’s partly what makes iPods and Walkmans and all other forms of personal audio such popular items.)

One of the songs on the “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack is called “Mithrandir”, an ode to Gandalf. The album didn’t have any lyrics for the tune and for years I’ve been singing it completely wrong to myself. LOL The real lyrics are:

Let the night never cease to call you
Let the day nevermore be the same
Though you’ve gone where we cannot find you
In each heart you have set your name

Mithrandir far you wander
And long may your name be sung
Through kingdoms of starlight
And realms of the sun
Mithrandir though you’re hidden
We’re still guided by your light
You’re walking beside us
A friend in the night

We were lost when the dark descended
And the light gathered into a storm
You appeared like a sunlit morning
At the winds of a world at war

Mithrandir far you wander
And long may your name be sung
Through kingdoms of starlight
And realms of the sun
Mithrandir though you’re hidden
We’re still guided by your light
You’re walking beside us
A friend in the night

Mithrandir rising through the shadow
Like a star shining deep in its home
You will dwell in our hearts forever
Nevermore will we stand alone

I won’t tell you what I was singing, but it was much less poetic.

I’m sad to see that Leonard Rosenman died earlier this year. I didn’t even know.

That got me thinking about other music I missed. One song that I miss is John Tesh’s “A Thousand Summers”. It was a very rousing song written to celebrate the Tour de France. Not on iTunes. Can’t buy the album any more. Heaven only knows what I did with my copy. (Cassette?) That reminded me of what I hate about Wikipedia, Youtube, and iTunes — they are so comprehensive that you build up the expectation that you can find everything there. But you can’t.

The joys of viral videos

I can imagine that seeing someone have huge success with a viral video using your music must be both pleasant and annoying.

Pleasant in that the popularity of the video gets your music out to people who might never have heard it before. O-Zone’s Dragostea Din Tei comes to mind — a lot fewer people ever heard of it before the Numa Numa guy came up with his Youtube video. (As an aside, I really find him annoying.)

Annoying in that it has to bite just a bit that someone else has more success with your music than perhaps you did.

If you’re smart (or lucky), you manage to create the most viral video yourself, like OK Go and their treadmill video for “Here it Goes Again“.

As a regular punter, I’m happy for viral videos because, without them I would never have heard some of my favourite songs.

I was looking at my Youtube updates today and decided to look at the featured videos on the Youtube home page. One of the videos today was Corey VIdal‘s video of him lipsynching in four-part harmony to comedy a cappella group Moosebutter‘s Star Wars song, a tribute to John Williams’ soundtrack work:

He does a pretty credible job of it. What’s funniest — and why the video works so well — is that his appearance fits many of the voices, and his lipsynching is really good. So it really looks like it’s all him.

Moosebutter’s page for the song includes the lyrics, radio-quality streaming audio of the song, and the option to purchase a copy of the song. You can also browse their other songs. I was going to buy a copy of this song but, you know, I like this enough that I think I’m going to just go for the whole enchilada and buy all of their stuff. The MP3s are DRM-free, which is a bonus. (Shh, don’t tell anyone that I’m actually paying for music. ;-))

(As an aside, how bizarre is it that anyone, let alone a 21-year-old from Ontario, can manage to ‘do Youtube “for a living”‘. I realize that a lot of work can go into making videos to post on Youtube but the idea that you can make a living doing it is just surreal.)

Oo arr oo arr ay

Waaaaaayyyy back in the 70s, when I was still a kid living at home, my parents used to listen to what we called “The Old Fogies’ Station”. It featured a lot of Zamfir and Nana Mouskouri and the like. Its only saving grace is that it also frequently featured hits by those marvels of West Country charm and talent, the Wurzels. Thirty years later and I can still remember the words to some of their songs (Dad had/has a copy of The Combine Harvester album and I later bought him a “best of” CD) — I Am a Cider Drinker, The Blackbird, Combine Harvester, Keep Yer ‘And On Yer ‘Alfpenny — and I’ve been known to occasionally break into song (complete with accent) if someone says they’ve never heard of the group.

I Am A Cider Drinker (Top of the Pops 1976)

Combine Harvester (Top of the Pops 1976)

Maybe that explains why I just adore archeologist Phil Harding on Time Team.

And then, just to underscore the beautiful, wandering maze that is Youtube (like Wikipedia), searching for the Wurzels ultimately brought me back to another fave, John Barrowman, on Never Mind the Buzzcocks (see? all roads lead back to Doctor Who and Torchwood).

Let me look that up

Currently, Queen II is playing in iTunes and I’m thinking back to when I originally bought the album, back in about 1978 or so, when I was 12 years old. (I discovered their music shortly after Jazz came out and subsequently used all of my allowance money to buy up all of their previous albums.)

At the time, I thought I’d had a good vocabulary (I had tested at the University level around the same time) but I’d had to go through the lyrics for “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke” with a dictionary in hand. Tattedemalion, pedagogue, junketer, quaere, harridan, apothecary, ostler? What???? 

Wait!!!!  Am I supposed to know these? Is there a test later?