So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say I’ve picked up another one. Who knows if this one will withstand the test of time for me, but it’s all I’ve listened to for over 30 hours now. And as usual, I’m way late to the party on discovering this song, but that doesn’t mean I’m not making up for lost time. There was lots of awkward dancing with Fitz around the house last night, blasting this song (on repeat, of course).
Just try not to be won over by its catchiness. I dare you! What are you listening to right now? Any other admitted repeat-junkies out there?
Happy Christmas Eve! Rounding out our month of Tuesday Christmas Tunes (weeks 1, 2, and 3) I thought it was time to share some Charlie Brown cheer. And by cheer, I mean deep childhood existentialism:
“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents, and sending Christmas cards, and decorating the tree and all that, but I’m still not happy.”
Oh, Charlie Brown! I adored the Peanuts gang growing up (who didn’t?) but maybe I would have been spared a lot of melodrama and angst if someone had just slipped Charlie Brown a Prozac in his egg nog?
I’m wishing you all a wonderful, cheerful holiday. May you all spend the day with loved ones and cuddly sweaters and hot cocoa and only the smallest bit of Christmas depression. Love you, kiddos!
I wanted to wait to share this song until next Tuesday, saving the best for last, but I just couldn’t wait. Three Words: Wham! “Last Christmas.” This is my definitive Christmas song. I listen to it year round, though mostly through headphones when it’s not the holiday season to avoid the weird and judgmental stares. Once December rolls around? Good luck hanging out with me and escaping without having to hear it at least twice. I’ll even sing it if you’re (un)lucky.
It starts out promisingly enough: a group of friends gathering together in the snowy mountains for a Christmas ski vacation. Look how happy George Michael is! With his arms spread open like that and the hills in the background, he could be Maria von Trapp!
“THE HILLS ARE ALIVE, WITH THE SOUND OF GEORGIOS!”
Things continue along a whimsical trajectory. People are setting the table, collecting firewood, decorating the tree. Someone is wearing moon boots. George Michael is innocently assisting with the tinsel garland, when all of a sudden…
Awk. Ward: his bangs stick out further than his nose. Oh, and there’s clearly some tension between them.
We then learn that these two had a history, but now relations are so frosty they’re reduced to sharing silent stares and stolen glances in the midst of the merriment surrounding them. “What happened, George Michael?” you might wonder. It’s actually pretty tragic, but he’s been putting on a brave face since last Christmas: he gave her his heart, and then the very next day she gave it away. The very next day! The nerve!
He tried to be strong, but the grief overcomes him, and then he starts brooding wildly all over the place.
During snowball fights:
Omg stop it George Michael, it’s creepy.
We’re treated to a montage of their happier times last Christmas, before she gave his heart away. There was frolicking in the snow!
And hilarious wipeouts!
In addition to his heart, we learn George Michael also gave her a diamond broach in the shape of a flower last Christmas. George Michael really went all out last Christmas.
Since she’s still wearing it this Christmas, I think it’s safe to assume she didn’t give it away last year on the 26th and is therefore obviously a shallow, materialistic harlot who never deserved George Michael’s heart in the first place.
I know, I know, it’s awfully depressing. But you shouldn’t be sad for George Michael, because he learned a valuable lesson through the whole ordeal: this year, to save himself from tears, he’ll give his heart to someone special (liiiike, maybe the woman he brought on vacation? Poor thing, she’s barely a blip on his radar).
The video ends with everyone packing up their skis and giant, oversized 80s coats and taking the ski lift back to civilization. But they have to go out the same way they came in:
Over the fence.
Seriously? That house is enormous and there isn’t a gate or like, a path somewhere? It’s like building a house in the Sims with no exits and watching them struggle to get out. Eventually the Sims will die. Everyone in this video makes it out alive, though maybe more emotionally damaged than when they entered. There’s something incredibly dramatic there, spending a week in a ski chalet with two ex lovers and their new partners, just basking in the suspense. Don’t you wish there was a follow up song to complete the storyline? Though come to think of it, “Careless Whisper” was released the following year, so apparently George Michael moved on from this chick.
Let’s continue with more Christmas Tunes, yes? If there is a song more quintessentially “Christmasy” than “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, maybe it exists. But I think everyone can agree it’s one of the absolute bests (and Mariah is never better than when she’s belting out Christmas songs). Something about the epic slow start at the beginning, the jingling bells, and her impressive vocal gymnastics sets off a Pavlovian response in me to sing along and dance like a dork no matter where I am (for some reason, it always comes on when I’m in a dressing room around this time of year, so there is a lot of awkward put-your-pants-on dancing).
Technically, this version of the song was performed in “Love Actually.” But it’s still a Christmas song and it’s even more special because it’s from my favorite Christmas movie. A double whammy. And let’s just pause to appreciate how great this movie is. My best friend and I have been texting each other random lines of dialogue back and forth for weeks. And considering it’s SNOWING again today (!!!) I think we all know what I’ll be popping in the DVD player when I get home from French class (!!!!) tonight.
If that doesn’t make you lose it, good luck on your life without a soul.
I was waiting to break out the Christmas music until December, a feat which required unparalleled strength and an itch I’m finally able to scratch now. To ramp up the holiday spirit, I thought I’d share a favorite Christmas song every Tuesday leading up to the 25th (Christmas Eve, it’s worth noting, falls perfectly on a Tuesday. It’s like Tuesday Christmas Tunes was meant to be!). If Jamal had a say, he’d start with this 1980s Dan Fogelberg song, “Same Old Lang Syne” which isn’t actually a Christmas song at all except that it mentions Christmas Eve in the beginning. But try to tell him that, he will blast this song all day during the holiday season if you let him.
To kick things off, let’s start with an absolute classic, shall we? John Denver and the Muppets will regale us with the most hilarious and adorable rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The part with Beaker just about kills me.
Happy December, kiddos! What holiday songs, if any, are you listening to this month?
Surprising absolutely no one, I frequently check the Billboard France list of popular songs whenever I need something new to listen to. I wouldn’t say I’m really “current” in my music tastes (hello, Ace of Base and New Kids on the Block) and I only listen to classical when I put on the radio. So that I’m interested in a Top 10 list of pop music is weird, but then you realize the songs are mostly in French, and suddenly everything makes sense.
Cut to a few weeks ago when, at Billboard’s suggestion, I listened to the new Stromae song, “Formidable.” Stromae is a Belgian artist (his performance name is Maestro in Verlan, a French slang where the syllables of words are reversed), and Yelle and I have bonded over our love of his other songs, including “Alors on Danse.” “Formidable” has been on the charts for 14 weeks, often at the number one position, and it’s obvious why. This song is so damn catchy, despite being rather depressing.
(Something magical happens around the 3 minute mark, when Belgian police make an appearance)
I’m hooked on this song. What are you listening to?
One of my better life decisions (among making Paris a priority, eating gummy bears for dinner, and locking down Jamal) has been to set my alarm ring tone to this song:
I’m sure I’ve shared it with you before, but in case you’re unfamiliar with the magic that is the Amélie soundtrack, give it a listen. Tell me that isn’t the most delightful thing to wake up to. It somehow manages to rouse me from my sleep while simultaneously allowing me to dream just a little bit longer that I’m here:
My friend Aidan and I went to the Backstreet Boys concert on Friday night. If you’d like to tell me how exciting and amazing that is, you’ll have to get in line behind me, because I’ve been telling myself that every minute since the concert ended. My loyalties will always lie with the New Kids on the Block, but I’ll admit that I got swept up into the BSB mania in 1998. I even called in to a local radio station once (and made it on the air!) to try and win tickets to a concert of theirs (I did not win :(). This was back before anyone had the internet in their home, and you purchased concert tickets by going in person to the box office (the crazier parents camped outside in line for days for big concerts like this for their preteen daughters. My parents had more sense than that, though I resented them at the time). I don’t know why all these great 90s pop bands are having such a huge resurgence the past few years, but I’m not going to question it. Aidan and I have now seen all of our favorite bands from 6th grade together (yes, we’ve been friends that long!), albeit 16 years later; we saw the Spice Girls in 2008, New Kids on the Block this June, and now the Backstreet Boys. Our 11 year old selves are really, really happy. Say what you will about boy bands, these guys looked like they were having so much fun up there all these years later.
To share the love, today I’m posting the incredible and ridiculous and hilarious and nostalgaic music video for their hit, “Everybody.” Inexplicably, there are mummies, werewolves, vampires, a creepy haunted mansion, and there is, of course, awesome choreography. Enjoy!
I’ve been thinking a lot about Paris recently (when am I not), but maybe that’s because I watched “Midnight in Paris” again on Saturday, for what I’m sure has to be the 150th time. Oh, that movie. Oh, that city! The soundtrack is particularly magical, too, and I think Jamal and I have decided to have everyone walk down the aisle to this song (ourselves included, since we are escorting each other down as a symbol of unity), “Parlez-moi d’Amour”:
I’d prefer it if someone could just play the entire soundtrack during the ceremony and cocktail hour, back to back with the “Amélie” soundtrack. Maybe I just need to hire an accordion player? If I could hire an accordion player to follow me around everywhere, that would be great.
Did you forget? Maybe you need a litte refresher (here and here). My love for the “five bad brothers from the Beantown land” (as they refer to themselves in the 1991 hit “Games”) has been a pervasive and defining element throughout my entire life. Though I was too young to go to a New Kids on the Block concert before they broke up in 1994 (I was 8), I have consistently stoked the fire of my burning love for them for the last 20 years. I had the bed sheets and comforter. I had the Barbie dolls. The CDs. The trading cards. And then, years after they broke up, I had a serious problem letting go of them, so I didn’t. My dad and I belted out their songs in the car, instead.
I always held out hope they’d reunite. And in 2008, after 13 years apart, they did! With a new album and a tour (Lady Gaga was theopener for the opener, and no one knew who she was back then). I went to a show that year, and I feel that the only way to accurately describe what I felt is with the power of their beautiful lyrics: “Didn’t I blow your mind this time? Didn’t I? Didn’t I do it baby… didn’t I do it baby?” OH. YOU DID, BABY.
It was like poetry in the form of five late-30-something grown men skilled at synchronized dancing. It was, in a word, MAGICAL.
“STOP. AND OBSERVE OUR MAGNIFICENCE.”
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING THERE.
So yeah. They’ve gone on a few tours since, and their current tour includes Philly-natives Boyz 2 Men. They played here Saturday night, and there was no way I couldn’t NOT go. And lo, it was good. I didn’t bring my camera this time, from a combination of fear it would get confiscated upon entry and desire to just experience the force of their boyband skillz without being behind a camera (I did snap one lone Instagram). They played all the hits. There was hip-thrusting. A rendition of “Hot In Here.” And! And! At the very end of their TWO HOUR set, Boyz 2 Men came back out and they all sang “Motown Philly” together. It was a trip!
At the risk of being judged for this: the New Kids are hot. If anything, they’re hotter at 40-something than they were at 20. Observe:
Maybe it’s the suits. But Donnie was shirtless for a good portion of the concert, so it’s clearly more than the clothes. A swagger that comes with age? I’m like an inch away from using the “a fine wine” analogy, somebody stop me.
Today is Tuesday, and even though we’re three days removed from the concert, I have not left the haze of New Kids music (Jamal will tell you all about it). Herewith, the first single from their new album, “10.” The video is delightful and the song itself is pretty great. And they’re in suits! It’s fantastic.
I love these guys. Always have, always will. And I don’t care who knows it.