This year, I was inspired by my friend Ben Hong (who himself got the idea from Jen Myers) to track nearly all of the media I consumed, as a supplement to my movies and books recap. As I’ll be resetting the Media Log page on this blog, here is what I logged in 2019.Read More »
Free Ingrid Michaelson Concert
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 »
Hot Air Balloons, Lieutenant Dan, and Chaplin’s
This was one of my more eventful weekends that have come to pass, so I thought I’d take some time to share these memories so that I can look back and remember them fondly.
Turf Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival (Friday)
I nearly didn’t go, and honestly, I don’t think I would’ve missed out on much if I opted not to go. I had been excited about the festival because I’ve only ever seen one hot air balloon at a time at fairs and the like, and friends’ photos from the Thursday night festivities. Thursday night photos got me very excited because the sun finally came out on Thursday (that rainy weather streak just hasn’t let up much…) so the bright balloons against the blue sky and white clouds, or in the golden hour glow, were really beautiful…
Well, my outing to Turf Valley wasn’t quite as successful. It took me an hour and a half to drive over, whereas it usually takes me about an hour to drive to that area. I was planning on parking at my friend’s house, as he lives about a mile away from Turf Valley Resort, but there was so much traffic in this residential neighborhood that I had to just park my car where I was and walk two miles, adding another half an hour to the amount of time I had invested in this outing…Read More »
Feeling French Music
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?
IT’S HOLIDAY MUSIC TIME
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.)