Inspired by my friend Ben Hong, who got the idea from Jen Myers, I am continuing the practice of tracking my media consumption this year. This will now be replaced with a 2021 media log, which I will update regularly on its dedicated page. Here are all the movies, shows, books, albums, games, and more that I logged this year.Read More »
Last week, I was able to see Ingrid Michaelson perform some of her fan-favorite hits and never-before-performed new songs as the concluding concert for the 2016 Summer Fest concert series.
It was an incredible opportunity that (luckily?) not many people knew about. Tyson’s Corner Center had been holding a summer long concert series, featuring a variety of acts, from American Idol contestants to a “Kidz Bop” concert that I spotted on the schedule a while back. The grand finale was this performance by Ingrid Michaelson, who has a new album coming out soon and will be returning to DC for her tour in November. (I posted clips of her concert on my Snapchat if you saw ’em!)
Tommy McFly from 94.7 Fresh FM’s the Tommy Show was there to introduce her, so of course my friends and I got a kick out of seeing one of our radio DJs in person. (You never quite know what to expect just hearing their voices for several years!) He introduced Ingrid, who came out looking like… the cool girl that you wanted to be friends with and weren’t too intimidated to make it so. I’ve always liked her songs on the radio, but I never sought out listening to any of them, so I never paid her much mind.
But the girl can sing…Read More »
Happy first day of spring! It snowed here (because of course it did) but I hope you are enjoying free Rita’s and warmer weather without suffering from allergies.
Lately, I’ve just been really feeling French music. Not necessarily French by nationality but French as in the language that is being sung. I think I can trace this kick back to seeing a Stromae music video for the first time. It was this one:
Tumblr was a big fan and I was, too. I had first heard of Stromae through Pentatonix, actually, when they did a cover of his hit song “Papaoutai”. Their cover was really good, but I love Stromae’s video.
First of all, freaky fresh dance moves. Second of all, I really love how weird but not too-weird his music videos are? I get pretty easily waaaaay weirded out by music videos. Call me provincial, but the “artistic message” behind really “avant garde” music videos is very frequently completely lost on me. With Stromae’s videos, I am really engaged by the interesting video but I am also listening pretty closely to the music.
Even though I know French, I don’t really listen to the lyrics too closely when I listen to French songs. It’s like when I had my kpop phase; I listen to the songs because they sound good, and very rarely do I pay attention to what the words themselves mean. In fact, I rarely listen for the lyrics in English songs the first few listens. I have never spent much time on lyrics when it comes to listening to songs.
Anyway, French music keeps following me about so I thought I’d share a couple of music videos with you all. I made a Paris playlist ages ago, intending to release it with my Paris blog. That won’t be out for a while, since I spent a long time in Paris and… I am putting it off knowing how much I need to put into it. Also, these are mostly contemporary songs. Before this current music phase, I liked listening to a lot of older French music and was not at all familiar with anything from the last decade or two. (Or really any decade, let’s be real.)
Besides Stromae (who I am seeing in September!), I have also been listening to these artists on-and-off for the past few years:
Coeur de pirate
(who is on my Paris playlist)
(the first contemporary francophone artist I ever listed to was Yelle)
(you may know her best from her work on the Ratatouille soundtrack)
Do you listen to French music?
Can you recommend any other artists/songs for me?
As promised last week, I compiled a little list of Christmas/holiday music albums. Because sometimes, Christmas radio isn’t quite what you want, ya know? Especially if you want to listen to one voice. Although you know what:
But right, one artist.
For Christmas 2012, my brother told me he got me a Christmas album of my favorite Christmas singer. I exclaimed “Bing Crosby?!” Nope.
Oops. I do love Frank Sinatra, and his Christmas albums are great. This is the one that I have. Or had, until my mom snatched it and kept it for herself. (I no longer have the physical copy but I was able to put the songs on my computer first.) Mmmm, Frank Sinatra’s buttery jazzy voice is pretty great for the holidays, and really any of his Christmas albums will be great. (All of his music is pretty great, let’s be real.)
I’ll admit, this album cover is a little big scary to see when I’m not 100% awake. Of course, his classic “White Christmas” is always good to have as well. Bing Crosby is kind of THE voice of Christmas, isn’t he? It’s not quite Christmas without his voice cradling you in a warm holiday mood. (Thanks again to my little brother for getting me these two albums!)
You see, when I curate my holiday music, I look for specific artists who I know have great Christmas albums. INCLUDING but not limited to:
- “The Christmas Album” – Elvis Presley
- “Christmas Song” – Nat King Cole
- “Merry Christmas” – Johnny Mathis
- “Noël” – Josh Groban
- “Merry Christmas” – Mariah Carey
- “Christmas” – Michael Bublé
- “Christmas Portrait” – Carpenters
- “These Are Special Times” – Celine Dion
- “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – Vince Guaraldi Trio
- “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- “Christmas” – Mannheim Steamroller
- “When My Heart Finds Christmas” – Harry Connick Jr.
(All images from / links to Amazon)
And….. I think that’s about right. Most orchestras have a great Nutcracker album that I would definitely recommend having on hand for the holiday season. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but these are the albums and artists that I’m most familiar with. I am not quite at that pro level just yet, but I’m getting to the point where I can mostly identify the artists without looking when I’m listening to my Pandora Christmas station or when I’m driving in the car. (Despite my tendency to hop around stations when I drive, during the holiday season, I don’t even THINK about touching the dial on the radio because it is permanently set to my local holiday music station.) (Let me know if you listen to Delilah during the holiday season!)
Did I get your favorite albums?
What are your favorite Christmas/holiday albums?
And which newer ones should I be listening to? I am very biased, obviously, against the more current artists’ holiday albums.
YES. Time to play holiday music WITHOUT fear of judgement or hatorade from grinches all around. I won’t say this video describes me, but I also won’t say that it does not.
Here we go, the Spotify playlists from the song lists I provided last year, slightly modified. Essentially, I chose the versions of songs that are/came closest to what I hear in my head when I think of these songs. That means either the classic version (often a popularized one) or one that is stripped down to the essentials. (I get a bit annoyed when artists take too many liberties with their vocal add-ons to these songs. Not a fan of super jazzed up holiday songs.) I also tried to keep some variety with the performing artists in these playlists.
ALSO, I will admit this now: I prefer a rich baritone voice for my holiday songs. I know that most of my choices are men and not women, but I think that’s because yes, I grew up listening to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra singing these songs so that’s how I have internalized them.
I had a hard time with many of these. Sometimes, I just couldn’t find THE perfect version. (Spotify also doesn’t have everything. Where’s the Bing Crosby+Davie Bowie doozy, Spotify?!) Maybe next year, I’ll make sure to have all the mp3s I want and put up an 8tracks list, as requested. Next week, I’ll recommend some of my favorite Christmas albums if you would prefer the homogenized listening experience of one artist. (I own a few of them, so I definitely understand if you want to wrap yourself up and listen to one voice serenade you.)
I also made several concessions to my cousin, with whom I share a love of holiday music (you should see us racing to name the artists’ rendition on the radio) but who loves Taylor Swift way more than I do so NO TAYLOR SWIFT ON THIS LIST SORRY CUZ.
Anyway, here’s the Spotify playlists:
“Snow & Bells”
Happy, cheerful holiday music that makes you smile and want to sing along to, these songs have a bright tone that evokes the image of falling snow and jingling bells, going ice skating and sleigh rides. Includes most classic carols.
“Fireplaces & Cocoa”
Feel that? That’s these songs tugging at your heartstrings, making you tear up. But it feels like sipping a mug of hot cocoa while sitting in front of a fireplace while wrapped in a cozy blanket.
Wintry, holiday pieces that are a little tricky to sing along to, due to there being no lyrics, but somehow I still manage. These are good if you can’t help singing along but it is not convenient to do so, e.g. at work, etc. (Mostly Nutcracker, not gonna lie.)
These are the more religious songs. While I am not personally a Christian, I appreciate these songs that celebrate what the first Christmas was originally about. It wouldn’t quite be Christmas without these songs.
“Christmas is for Children”
This is a collection of songs that are really more geared for kids. I have a lot of fond memories singing these songs with my middle school choir for roaring audiences of elementary school kids. I didn’t want them in that first playlist because they’re a little TOO chipper.
Songs that I have purposefully excluded are:
- “Feliz Navidad” – Got cut this year because the song is really repetitive and gets old after you hear the verse 3 times. Which is fewer times than you hear it in one playing of the song. Sorry!
- “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” – Still doesn’t do it or me
- “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – Ugh.
- “Grown-Up Christmas List” – SUPER UGH.
- “Christmas Shoes” – As someone who enjoys crying to holiday music, this one makes me angry. UGH TO THE MAX.
- “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” – Annoying.
- “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” – Also annoying.
- “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – I actually kind of like this but it’s pretty condescending towards Africa as a continent and the new Bandaid30 version is not really any better.
But hey, “Santa Baby” got promoted so there ya go. “Seven Feet of Snow” should be on my list but Spotify doesn’t have it so. 😦
Lemme have it, what did I miss? What did I get totally wrong? (If you’re my cousin, you’re not allowed to tell me Taylor Swift.)