Wedding remembrance: the music

Today a coworker was playing the Shangri-Las’ “Walking in the Sand” video. Which reminded me that, before our wedding, my wife went on a YouTube listening spree, looking for just the right processional, recessional, first dance, and parent dance songs. She found a great blog from a wedding DJ that posts monthly playlists. (I’m not linking it here because I don’t remember what it was.) In one of his playlists, I think she found the lesser-known Shangri-La number “Past, Present, and Future.” It’s pretty great:

Anyway, the coworker and I got to chatting about this, and she asked what music Claire and I used at our wedding. It took me a while to remember, and at one point I had to go into my “Day-Of Schedule” Google doc to look it up. So I’m posting here so I don’t forget. Continue reading “Wedding remembrance: the music”

My Top 5 Traditional Christmas Songs

On Wednesday night I gave you my Top 5 Non-Traditional Christmas Songs. Last night it was my Top 5 Worst-Ever Christmas Ditties. Tonight, Christmas Eve, it’s time for my top 5 traditional numbers. Here, it’s more about the song and words themselves and less the artist — although I can’t say that strong performances by various artists over the years haven’t influenced my choices here. Anyway, let’s roll …

5. ‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’

I like how, as a song, “We Three Kings of Orient Are” starts out all SERIOUS and then pops into the peppy “star of wonder” part. This Beach Boys version is pretty damn good, IMO. As a bonus, here’s a cool version of them doing a snippet of it on a TV show:

And now let’s shift to this:

I wanted bring you THE BEST versions these songs. But that would have pretty much meant a post filled entirely with Mariah or Beach Boys videos. So I did some googling for alternate versions. And the people out there recommended this one of “We Three Kings.” It’s from Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration, which I have never seen, but I was surprised at its quality.
Continue reading “My Top 5 Traditional Christmas Songs”

My Top 5 Worst-Ever Christmas Songs

Yesterday I gave unto thee my Top 5 Non-Traditional Christmas Songs. Today, I’m going in a different direction, because I’ve been driven absolutely mad by some of the following songs, which are on seemingly endless repeat in every bodega, deli, grocery store, and pizzeria I’ve been in lately. Yes, today I’m being a Scrooge, because it’s the last day I can do it — no hatin’ on Christmas Eve or Day…

5. ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over),’ John and Yoko, The Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir

I know I’m going to take some flak for this, but I do not like this song. It pretty much falls into my definition of “hippie music,” and I do not like “hippie music,” all of which depresses me in a mild and indescribable way. Like most hippie music (almost anything played at Woodstock, if you need examples), it expresses sentiments that, in my heart, I completely agree with but that are so naive as to be eyeroll-inducing. I think it depresses me exactly because it delivers its message effectively — most “hippie music” (as I define it) presents either an ideal world or laments the world as it is, sometimes both at once. On top of that, “hippie music” is nakedly earnest. There’s no wink-wink back door of irony to slip out of. It’s the disconnect between reality and idealism that depresses me, because I feel like “hippie music” is always urging me to do something I feel powerless to do anything about. Why can’t it just let me be blissfully ignorant?!?

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” elicits this feeling in me — it’s also completely overplayed (see next two songs for that rant).

I also think that Lennon is just so damn smug in his delivery: “Oh, another year over, huh? And what have you done? … Play Angry Birds for hours on end?” I guess if I’m going to be preached to in a Christmas song, I’d prefer the old-fashioned carols, thankyouverymuch. (Note: Check back tomorrow for my Top 5 Traditional Christmas Song list.)

Continue reading “My Top 5 Worst-Ever Christmas Songs”

Video time machine: “Merry Xmas Everybody,” Slade throughout the years

Slade, Throughout the Years

Curious as to what the 1970s UK rock powerhouse Slade actually looked like, I turned to YouTube. Was there a live performance of the iconic holiday song “Merry Xmas Everybody” there? There are at least four. And what’s beautiful is that each version is from a distinctly different era.

20091218-baker-mcgoohanThere’s the glam era Slade, the disco Slade, the ’80s Slade (in which lead guitarist/singer Noddy Holder looks like Tom Baker wearing Patrick McGoohan’s blazer from The Prisoner), and, last, the GnR-meets–Bon Jovi–meets–Robert Palmer Slade of 1991.

And, although they changed styles with each era, they lip-sync to the original recorded version of the song in each performance. Not a live version in the bunch. Anyway, check out the four videos after the jump. Continue reading “Video time machine: “Merry Xmas Everybody,” Slade throughout the years”

’80s music videos with 3-wheeler ATVs


In the 1980s, specifically around ’83, there was a bit of a mania for ATVs, specifically three-wheelers. The three-wheeler, however, was shown to be dangerous and was quickly replaced by its more surefooted cousin, the four-wheeler. But before the big, loud, motorized tricycle was yanked from the scene it would be immortalized in at least two iconic videos of the decade: Continue reading “’80s music videos with 3-wheeler ATVs”