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
(love her)


Vanessa Paradis
(who is on my Paris playlist)


Yelle
(the first contemporary francophone artist I ever listed to was Yelle)


Camille
(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.

“Wordless Wonderland”

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.)

“First Christmas”

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.)

“Left Behind” – Kaptain [track]

No real post this Friday, so I’ll step aside and let my friend of 7 years and his music speak for themselves.

Kaptain‘s new EP Cosmic Groove will be coming out next week for free to download.

It’s Time [playlist]

Tomorrow is the first of October, and we all know that October is about one thing: HALLOWEEN.

I hate being scared. I mean, I really loathe being scared. But I like Halloween. Maybe I even love Halloween. And I don’t mind things being a little bit spoopy spooky and eerie around this time of year, maybe because I can tell myself that the shivers I get are from the drop in temperature instead.

This playlist was being passed around Tumblr last week, about a week too early for a playlist called “It’s Time”. But now, at last. it is, indeed, time.

It’s Time

A mix of classic, retro, and different Halloween Songs*

  1. This is Halloween – Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack
  2. *Monster Mash – Selebrities
  3. Day of the Dead – Voltaire
  4. *Thriller – Michael Jackson
  5. It’s Terror Time Again – Scooby Doo on Zombie Island
  6. Brains! – Voltaire
  7. Ghost Busters Theme – Ray Parker Jr.
  8. Feed Me (Git it) – Little Shop of Horrors
  9. Grim Grinning Ghosts – Disney’s Haunted Mansion
  10. The Greatest Show Unearthed – Creature Feature
  11. *Time Warp – Rocky Horror Picture Show
  12. Oogie Boogie – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  13. Friends on the Other Side – Disney’s The Princess and The Frog
  14. Worst Pies in London – Sweeney Tod
  15. *I Put a Spell on You – Hocus Pocus Soundtrack
  16. Dinner with Drac – John “The Cool Ghoul” Zacherle
  17. The Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band
  18. *Welcome to My Nightmare – Alice Cooper
  19. The Headless Horseman – Disney’s Ichabod & Mr. Toad
  20. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie
  21. *The Addam’s Family Song – The Addam’s Family Soundtrack
  22. *Witch Doctor – Peter Pan Records
  23. Grave Robber at Large – Creature Feature
  24. Spooky Scary Skeletons – TheLivingTombstone mix

*Starred songs are personal favorites for Halloween

And October is ALSO when it is time for gifs of the Pumpkin Dance!

I like this playlist, but I feel like it’s probably missing a few songs and will likely put together a playlist of my own as we get closer to Halloween. (Oh joy, more promises of playlists from Starr :P)

What are some key Halloween songs that you associate with this spoopy time of year?

Favorite Duets to Sing

I am a karaoke fiend, but even a spotlight-hog like me knows that often, two is better than one.

After all, no matter how good of a singer you may be (and I’m just an okay singer), you can’t really harmonize with yourself (in real time).

So, as I say goodbye to one of my favorite karaoke buddies as he heads off to medical school, I thought I’d round up some of my favorite duets.

Is it weird to sing duets with people I am platonic with?

Eh… sometimes. Especially when a lot of my local duet partners are close friends of my boyfriend’s, primarily because we are more intense about karaoke than my boyfriend is. ^^;

Some duets are more romantic than others, and those can be dangerous.

But saying no to karaoke is difficult enough. Saying no to the rare opportunity of having someone singing the harmonies that I can’t? Nearly impossible to deny.

Sometimes when I’m lonely (slash can’t get anyone to come to do karaoke with me), I’ll record one part and sing duets with myself. I’m not totally crazy for this, am I?

As you can see, this list is all over the place. Contemporary, oldies, musicals… duets are everywhere and I am so glad.

(I can’t find a live performance of this, but this is my favorite version.)

And don’t think I forgot about this one! You know how much I love my holiday music.

Also I may or may not have learned to sing in Korean for this one.

For those of you who can’t/don’t want to load the videos, here’s a list, kind of sorted by how often I get to sing them and/or how much I like singing them (there is a weak correlation between the two, but you’ll have to guess whether a song is up on the top of the list because I like it or my duet partners like it)

  1. “Lucky” – Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
  2. “My Boo” – Usher & Alicia Keys
  3.  “Endless Love” – Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
  4. “No Air” – Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown
  5. “Falling Slowly” – Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
  6. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – Margaret Whiting & Johnny Mercer (not the version I posted)
  7. “Love is an Open Door” – Kristen Bell & Santino Fontana
  8. “Phantom of the Opera” – Sarah Brightman & Michael Crawford
  9. “Say Something” – A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
  10. “Two is Better Than One” – Boys Like Girls ft. Taylor Swift
  11. “Timeless” – Jang Ri In & Xiah Junsu (original by Justin Guarini & Kelly Clarkson)

*Honorable mention: “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem ft. Rihanna

This is an honorable mention, not because I don’t like singing it but because I usually end up singing both parts alone. People are amused by me getting angry and rapping Eminem’s verses. Who am I to deny them and not make a fool of myself?

Which duets am I missing?
Do you like singing duets? (Wanna sing one with me?)
Am I crazy for trying to sing them alone in my room or is this something you’d want to hear?