30 Day Music Challenge Day 21: Roxanne (Sting and The Police), Hey Jude (The Beatles)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 21 is “a song with a person’s name in the title”, and those of you who KNEW I’d pick “Roxanne” by (Sting and) The Police can now claim your betting winnings. Even as a straightforward poem it’s solid, because the persona/speaker is so conflicted and obliviously possessive it’s fascinating. (The Moulin Rouge tango takes it to a whole other level.) And it’s just funky!

I’m also picking The Beatles’ Hey Jude, partly because it’s awesome and partly to mess with you and cost you your betting winnings. Hey Jude is an iconic song, no doubt about it — but while most (including myself) tend to get caught up in the super-catchy “na na na NANANANA” bridge-to-forever, the lyrics themselves are quite meaningful. While I talk a lot about wonderful, poetic imagery in things like Sky Blue and Black, if you’ve followed this series of posts at all you’ve seen me praise simple but striking lyrics as well. This is a fairly straightforward song, as were many Beatles songs, but it’s hard not to appreciate how there’s just enough room for interpretation in what “make it better” means — for a sad song, for a stalled relationship, for being Jude.

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30 Day Music Challenge Day 20: Hallelujah (Rufus Wainwright)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 20 is “a song that has many meanings to you”.

Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright (originally by the late, great Leonard Cohen) is one such song. While the bulk of this version especially makes reference to love, there are various angles regarding it that the song could be taken from. It’s a great poem on its own, especially with the more religious images in the stanzas removed from the Cohen version.

Interestingly, my introduction to this version of this wonderful, wonderful song I owe to — of all things — Shrek. You know, when it was still trying to be clever and counterculture-y.

 

30 Day Music Challenge Day 19: 100 Years (Five For Fighting)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 19 is “a song that makes you think about life”. Given that so many songs actually do that for me, I picked a song that is directly written as a reflection on what we become at each phase of our lives.

100 Years by Five For Fighting is one of those songs that sneaks up on you. Group releases a few songs playing on familiar themes (Superman, Easy Tonight) and then out of nowhere come these more deep, introspective/reflective songs (100 Years, World). One time during a Lit test we got a poem by Andrew Hudgins called “Blur“, which touches upon very similar themes. I think I even referred this song to the class after the test. (The poem is linked to above — it’s heady stuff but worth a read).

There’s a currently popular song about turning 7 years old, 20 years old, and whatnot, but I feel that while it has its merits it doesn’t really speak to me the way this does. This one isn’t as on-the-nose, for one thing, and is more thought-provoking than sad.

30 Day Music Challenge Day 18: Working For The Weekend (Loverboy)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 18 is “a song from the year you were born”.

Little, ahem, old me was born in the same year as Loverboy’s Working For The Weekend charted. I somehow went my entire life never encountering this song aside from its use in Click, until it proved instrumental in getting me hooked on Regular Show.

 

The actual music video is an odd affair with a super-lengthy intro, but skipping to the 2:20+ mark will get you the good stuff. It’s a good mix of the era’s synth and guitars, and is just overall a fun song. You can really see why it made for a good fit on Regular Show, aside from the on-the-nose plot match of working to make money for concert tickets.

30 Day Music Challenge Day 17: Whenever I Say Your Name (Sting and Mary J. Blige./Jo Lawry)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 17 is “a song that would sing a duet with on karaoke” (?). Again, not something I’m likely to ever do unless you get me drunk enough, and seeing as how I don’t drink…

Originally I’d waffled between Here’s to Love by Renee Zelwegger and Ewan McGregor, which is a nice big-band style song that that vocal showoff McGregor does well in (Zellweger doesn’t do too badly but doesn’t get to go wild) — and Something Stupid, infinitely more survivable than the former if using Robbie Williams’ take (with Nicole Kidman).

But Whenever I Say Your Name was on the playlist recently, and it occurred to me that this deserved attention as well. It’s one of Sting’s 2000s works, originally performed with Mary J. Blige (which probably explains the style of the song). That version plays to their strengths, but I find that I listen more to the Live in Berlin duet with the wonderful Jo Lawry. The former does have the advantage of a super silly music video, though.

 

30 Day Music Challenge Day 16: Waltz from “Sleeping Beauty” (Tchaikovsky)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 16 is “one of your favorite classical songs”, which is an… odd thing to ask. I guess they had to make this a little challenging at some point. Given the “al” tag at the end, I’m taking classical to mean vintage orchestral with iconic (pre-modern) composers. Otherwise I’d probably sub in a Zimmer score track.

Air by Bach is always a lovely song, although depending on the mood I’m in when I hear it I sometimes dismiss it as “too wedding-y.” O Fortuna by Carl Orff is a good all-purpose dramatic track, and you can shoot any number of instantly-more-ominous moments.

 

But today I’ll link you to the waltz from The Sleeping Beauty by Pyotr Ilyitsch Tchaikovsky. I remember getting a few orchestral CDs in at one point (perhaps trying to recapture my days as a five-year-old listening to my big band conductor lolo’s tape recordings of the PC marching band). We know this better as “Once Upon A Dream”, thanks to Disney.

30 Day Music Challenge Day 15: All My Loving (The Well Pennies) and Let My Love Open The Door (Luminate)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 15 is “a song that is a cover by another artist”. I had a hell of a time picking, so I drew lots (actual paper, the whole shebang, it’s embarrassing). As if to echo my thoughts, I pulled one that was wrapped around another, so we have two songs. Why not?

I discovered The Well Pennies’ cover of the Beatles’ All My Loving via Spotify, and I’m grateful I did. It takes an already-catchy song and changes it up just enough to maintain  recognizability and add something new. It’s one of the better covers in that regard, hitting the sweet spot without just being “the original song with an acoustic guitar and some vocal stunts”.

On the other hand, I was glad to also get the Luminate cover of Let My Love Open The Door, because it lets me mention how awesome of a show The Newsroom was (this is where I first heard this cover, and the moment is a very nice one if you’ve been following the pair involved). The second season is very The Who heavy (more on that on a later day) and this Pete Townshend cover is a good nod.

30 Day Music Challenge Day 14: Complainte de la Butte (Rufus Wainwright)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 14 is “a song that you would love played at your wedding”, which is a super tough call as I have honestly never given a wedding the slightest thought. Besides, it seems more apt to let the bride pick her music (grooms don’t really get an entrance, unless you’re Test).

I’ll probably go with Complainte de la Butte as performed by Rufus Wainwright. I’d considered Come What May, also from Moulin Rouge, but having actually seen that it doesn’t really feel like me. (Still love that song to bits though.) Nevertheless, Complainte de la Butte’s accordion and piano, smooth Rufus Wainwright vocal, and everything-sounds-sweeter-in-French vibe would make for a lovely atmosphere at this hypothetical wedding — and the translated lyrics are quite nice, too.

Princesse de la rue, soit la bienvenue, dans mon coeur brise.

30 Day Music Challenge Day 13: Somebody To Love (Queen)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 13 is “one of your favorite 70’s songs”. As old as I’m getting, I still had to Google this to make sure this was in those bounds.

Queen is just one of the best all-time musical icons; this group left us with countless inventive, memorable songs with playful but strong lyrics and distinctive musical characterization (compare any two Queen songs and, say, any two One Direction songs. Yes, I did go there). Somebody To Love was a 1976 release that has since then gone on to be covered by anyone who wants to lend their vocals to the very striking arrangement.

I was introduced to Queen by a grade school classmate — this was in the early 90s when Wayne’s World (eek) brought Queen’s older material back into prominence. But the guy who really filled me in on everything beyond the then-ubiquitous Bohemian Rhapsody was my Tito Pao, whom I will never tire of crediting with the many, many things he taught me. We miss you, man.

30 Day Music Challenge Day 12: Tuloy Pa Rin (Original album edit) (Neocolours)

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In an effort to drum up some posting after leaving this blog essentially dormant for, well, too long… here’s me taking the 30 Day Music Challenge. It’s spreading well enough that it’s still interesting, and it’s relevant enough to my interests that it’s worth pursuing. I love music, and I’ve come to associate certain songs with certain parts of my life, and it’s a fun opportunity to talk about some well-remembered songs.

Day 12 is “a song from your preteen years”. Dating self alert!

Tuloy Pa Rin by (the?) Neocolours was re-recorded by the group for a 2000s anniversary/compilation album, but nothing substitutes for the original. I feel bad for any and all covers, as while they sound nice (the female solo for the recent McD’s commercial is all right) you can’t replicate this.

It’s perfect early-90s, pre-alternative band OPM, complete with super cheesy synth for everything (even a nifty little solo in the bridge), with lyrics just this side of poetic. Man, Ito Rapadas and Neocolours turned out a lot of good songs, come to think of it. It makes you long for the days when local artists seemed to be more ambitious musically and lyrically, which only hurts more when you get into a Grab Car playing Yeng Constantino’s latest “let’s reference Facebook and Twitter so this hugot song is relevant yay” tripe.