Nothing says Christmas like TV specials. When you’re a kid, they herald the arrival of the season. Each airing is another step closer to the big day. As an adult, they remind us of that excitement as we gain a new appreciation for the quality (or lack thereof), subtle humor, and often awesome music that these shows featured. Here are five of the best original songs featured in these specials.
5. “Marley And Marley” – A Muppet Christmas Carol
Casting Statler and Waldorf as the Marley Brothers in The Muppet’s version of A Christmas Carol was a stroke of brilliance. This song is great, darkly comic, with the two deceased misers still trying to overcome their glee at having been such bastards in life. I also appreciate that Michael Cane, as Scrooge, sticks to Dickens’ original dialogue.
Thanksgiving is a time for oven-baked turkey, slow cooked vegetables, massive amounts of pie, and of course, family chaos. The holidays simply aren’t complete without a bit of craziness in the family kitchen. That’s why this year, we’re ditching the traditional Thanksgiving songs, and bringing you a platter filled with a few random, strung together songs, all representing what Thanksgiving means to us. It’s a little random, a little crazy, and a lot like the holidays.
So between the first forkful of green beans and stuffing, to the last spoonful of ice cream and pie, take a moment to yourself to breathe, plug in the ipod, and remember a few songs that make up the holidays, by enjoying this random mash up of tracks.
Arlo Guthrie: “Alice’s Restaurant”
Let’s just start this article off right, with Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”, the ultimate Thanksgiving song. Having just recently discovered this little gem, I felt compelled to share with you all, the world who has been missing out. Now I know, I know, it’s from 1967, so you youngins are thinking about brushing it off. But trust me-it’s a winner. It’s 18 minutes of pure hilarity, based off a true story. Plus, isn’t it still cool to know the songs that no one else knows? That’s right hipsters, this one’s for you.
Anyone who has ever started a band knows how difficult it can be to come up with an original name. And the more bands that pop up every day, the harder it gets. You would hope that this would encourage artists to push themselves to really think outside the box and come up with something truly unique, but we all know that’s not the case. The result is an over-saturation of bands whose names all incorporate the same words, themes, ideas, and imagery to the point where they almost become indistinguishable from one another. Some words and terms, in particular, are used in excess just because they sound cool or familiar. I’ve found—and I’m sure many of you may have noticed this same trend—that two of the most commonly overused concepts in the indie/rock and punk/hardcore scenes are the words “ocean” (or water-related imagery) and “ghost.” Don’t know what I mean? Allow me to provide you with a list or examples. From small local bands you’ve never heard of to huge international acts with devoted fans, the following are just a few of the many bands who either didn’t know or didn’t care how many other bands used similar monikers incorporating these terms: Continue reading ‘The Editorialist: Band Names – What Came First, The Ocean Or The Ghost?’
Okay, we all know there are plenty of terrible band names out there. From Anal Cunt to The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, we music journalists have seen it all… that is, of course, until the next new pile of grammatical regurgitation comes along to agitate our articles. Some names in particular, however, really grind my gears because of how frustrating they are to write or include in a sentence, with their unnecessary punctuation or drawn-out clauses. I know there are no definitive rules to making a band name, and I know we live in a progressive, liberal culture where artistic expression is all about pushing the envelope, but some bands are just trying too hard (or not hard enough). Call me closed minded or old fashioned, but while I respect the artistic decision to do whatever the hell you want and not care what anyone thinks, I still think there should be some sort of parameters to naming a band. So I’ve decided to highlight my top five most frustrating band names, specifically for music journalists and any English nerd concerned with grammar, punctuation, or syntax.
Nothing says Christmas like TV Christmas specials. When you’re a kid, they herald the arrival of the season. Each airing is another step closer to the big day. As an adult, they remind us of that excitement as we gain a new appreciation for the quality (or lack thereof), subtle humor and often awesome music that these shows featured. Here are five of the best songs.
5. “Marley And Marley” – A Muppet Christmas Carol
Casting Statler and Waldorf as the Marley Brothers in The Muppet’s version of A Christmas Carol was a stroke of brilliance. This song is great, darkly comic, with the two deceased misers still trying to overcome their glee at having been such bastards in life. I love how Michael Cane, as Scrooge, sticks to the original dialogue.
Ever wonder what that song is about? Here’s what these songs are about:
“Cry Me A River” – Justin Timberlake
The video Justin Timberlake made for his solo hit, featuring a familiar-looking blonde and a glimpse of a photo in an errant frame, did nothing to dispel theories that this track was about Britney Spears’ cheating ways. Goddam you, Britney, how could you?!
“Top 5 musical crimes perpetrated by Stevie Wonder in the ’80s and ’90s. Go.
Sub-question: Is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins… is it better to burn out or fade awaaay?”
– Barry, High Fidelity (2000)
I wish they’d actually discussed this in the film, especially the latter bit. For my part, I say great artists have proven that, somewhere inside, they know better, and so should be held accountable for their sins.
Stevie makes this list, but not for “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” Not even for “The Woman In Red…”
10. “Freeway of Love” – Aretha Franklin
The Queen of Soul abdicated her throne when, in 1985, she recorded this mechanized, synth-driven offense.
There have been so many live performances at the MTV Video Music Awards that I couldn’t possibly remember them all. But according to a quick sampling, most of them were mediocre, some offensively so. The best and worst, however, stand out in the cultural memory. There were certainly some good ones and some horrible ones not on this list, but here’s what made the biggest impression:
6. The Hives, 2002 – “Main Offender”
A pretty rocking performance, but what puts this one over the top is singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist announcing that they’re out of time, so everyone can turn their televisions off, knowing full well that The Vines were just about to start playing.
Sub Pop became famous as the breeding ground for the early-90s alt-rock revolution, home to the biggest bands of the grunge-era bands. Music changed fast, though, and Sub Pop struggled near the end of the decade to find their footing again, with WEA (Warner Elektra Atlantic) taking a substantial minority stake and making some cross-label promotional deals that didn’t seem like a bad idea, but didn’t really help Sub Pop’s long-term creative prospects. All that changed around the turn of the millennium, with a new generation of talent forging original and somehow familiar sounds. There have been many quality releases by the label since 2000, but these are some of the very best. I’ve combined multiple releases in some cases, and left off others when they didn’t quite hit the heights.
10. Band of Horses – Everything All The Time (2006) / Cease To Begin (2007)
A slightly more grounded My Morning Jacket or more spacey Built To Spill—either way, nothing to change the world, but really nice vibe-y, hook-filled, atmospheric rock songs with restrained country influences. Now doesn’t that sound good?
A friend of mine suggested some good ground rules for this one: You have to strip out covers of old blues tunes (sorry Stones and Beatles). Also strip out cover bands (sorry Joe Cocker and Nouvelle Vague) and cover [tribute] albums. He suggested “Police & Thieves,” with which I concur, as well as Souxie And The Banshees’ “Dear Prudence,” with which I do not. This could still be a huge, huge list, but these are some of the very best, in order.
10. “Benny And The Jets” – Beastie Boys w/ Biz Markie (original by Elton John)
“Benny And The Jets” is my least favorite of Elton’s hits (I’m not counting anything after 1989, cause why would I?), but it is given a reason for existing here by The Biz, who was fucking around in the studio with The Beastie Boys, checking out old records, and decided to cut this version, where he slurs lyrics he clearly doesn’t know, ridiculous crowd noise included. Hilarity ensues.