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Cozy: 2012 November/December Playlist

19 Nov

I’ve decided to make the collaborative playlist idea a regular thing.

My vision for this blog at this point is to experiment with different kinds of interactive media/shared curations etc.- book clubs, film discussions, live watching things together. I want to have a conversation with you. More on that soon (anyone wanting to watch Borgen, LinkTV will be posting the episodes online starting on Thanksgiving and they’ll be available for two weeks. I cannot recommend it enough, seriously watch it and watch yourself slowly, magnetically pulled toward Denmark. I’m ready to move to Copenhagen at the drop of a hat now myself.

So I posted on Facebook about the collaborative playlist earlier this week and so far have had a great response with a ton of great songs.

The theme is cozy and I’ve gotten a great mix of songs. It’s kind of nice to have a playlist that’s not so in-your-face Christmasy, to enjoy in the late November/early December period. You know, because ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ can wait a few weeks, but you can never get enough of Judy Garland singing ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ or Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas album.

From the six collaborators (seven counting me) so far we’ve got 55 wonderful tracks- Christmas music, songs about Winter and generally songs to wear wool socks and read leatherbound books by the fire to.

Anyone is welcome to add away- the more the cozier!


Things I Love About Enya (That You Should Also Love About Enya)

10 Oct

Yesterday was a slippery slope of internet distraction for me. Sure, I read the assigned UN Report on social conditions in the Soviet-bloc transition, but you can bet I read some Rookie articles and retweeted some very important things between pages (let’s be honest, between sentences).  It wasn’t good.

One of my many vital distractions was music browsing. In a pathetic attempt at justifying my non-homework browsing, I decided to find some good ‘study music’. Honestly, the only thing I’ve ever effectively studied to has been the soundtrack from the infinitely inferior non-BBC movie version of Pride and Prejudice…so that’s weird. So deep down I knew I was just wasting precious time, but the overt justification kept my conscience at least marginally cleaner.

At first I was hitting up some Celtic Woman, but it didn’t quite hit the mark, so I sidled over to another old favorite in the PBS-esque Celtic pop genre (which I love, by the way. No apologies.) to the GODDESS OF NEW AGE CELTIC POP.


Enya, of course. (pictured here impersonating a pensive poppy)

Who else?

I’ve been rocking out to Enya since I was a 4th grade Catholic school girl who would pretend to céilí dance in the living room. My love for Enya only intensified during my hard-core Lord of the Rings fandom slash write-poems-about-elves phase, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

What do I love about Enya?

1. Her 90s aesthetic feels very homey and comfortable to my 1991-present self.

2. The font of her signature, which appears on all her album covers. Can I get that font? Can I use it on all future documents? Can I print resumes in that font?

3. She makes a ton of Tolkien references. From a song called Lothlorien to her actual appearance on the soundtrack to the Fellowship of the Ring, you can tell she’s familiar with Middle Earth, which in my eyes is a sign of good character.

4. Her given name is: Eithne Ní Bhraonáin. So yeah, she’s Irish.

5. Everyone secretly loves Enya. If you think you don’t like Enya, you need to look deeper into yourself.

6. Before she started her solo career, she played keyboard for her family band (promoting Teamocil perhaps?)- which is a sign of her independent spirit, as if the flowiness of her dresses wasn’t already sufficient proof of that.

7. She started her own recording studio, and it’s called ‘Aigle’, French for eagle. Again, her spirit is the most free.

8. Her heavy use of backup singers singing in unknown tongues.

9. Mainstream musicians routinely sample Enya songs. Mario Winans sampled the Enya song Boadicea, but only after producer P. Diddy personally contacted Enya to ask for permission. Enya walked away with 60% of the profits from the song.

10. Sail away, sail away, sail away…

What do you love about Enya? Because it’s not a question of whether or not you love her…you definitely do.

Enya – Book Of Days – Remastered 2009 – still brings the tears. Post your favorite Enya song or your favorite Enya fact in the comments.

Everybody’s Favorite Little Human Trafficking Musicale.

9 Oct

Nestled in a beautiful corner of the American west, the stage is set for a ‘beautiful morning’. Instead, open on a band of sex-starved brothers who live in a cabin in the woods (Unibombers much?). In a charming adaptation of everyone’s favorite tale of Roman pillage and plunder, the brothers kidnap six girls they’re crushing on from a nearby village (the oldest brother managed to get a lady to actually agree to marriage), they trap them in their hilltop shack and force them into marriage.

It’s Broadway baby!

Why am I writing about this goofily sexist product of an earlier age?

I’ve recently been experiencing a resurgence in affection for classic Broadway standards. I have a not entirely unabashed affinity for these classic songs. High school musicals were the cultural events of the season in my childhood and adolescence, I was raised on the Sound of Music and I can belt out OH what a beautiful morning with the best of them. While I have occasionally felt the urge to commit to an indie-band public listening persona, it would be dishonest to imply that I didn’t binge-listen to Les Mis on occasion.

Anyway, so I’ve been listening to some oldies lately. I’m not talking West Side Story, and certainly not Wicked. I’m talking 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls,  and my all time favorites from Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan etc. In a thirst for more music, I was trying to remember musicals I’d seen as a kid, and I remembered watching ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ on a family road trip.

So I revisited it.

Various Artists – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Well, obviously there’s some problematic misogyny  issue happening here. Actually, it goes way beyond misogyny and doesn’t just verge on but walks right on into full-on human trafficking issues. But it’s still a little bit charming…right? The thing is though, this ultra-macho story of forced marriage is presented in technicolor. The songs are bouncy and catchy, the dancing is really great,  the costumes are cute and the setting is America at its most beautiful.

Which must be the reason that this retelling of Plutarch’s “Rape of the Sabine Women” (See track 6: Sobbin’ Women) is still somehow not absolutely repulsive. Granted, it’s a somewhere between a little and a lot repulsive- but I don’t feel the need to burn every DVD copy in the real-fire kind of way. I’m even feeling a little drawn into the world of swinging axes and gingham skirts.

I mean, I’m probably being dramatic, it’s not like these women are in chains- they put them up very nicely in their mountain cabin and they do after all, kind of like the brothers. The story ends as a love story, albeit perhaps made possibly only via Stockholm syndrome.

Another possible reading is that it’s a story of the desperate sexual politics of the American frontier, where the male to female ratio was far too high. So, I get that joke…but ladies of the old West, the joke’s on you.

Either way, it’s the plot of a Roman tragedy with a uniquely American ultra-masculine ethos, lit like a My Little Pony dreamscape, punctuated with song, dance, lots of fringe and ending with a group wedding.

The moral of the story: We’ve produced some super weird cultural relics over the years, and Broadway is a prime culprit. Don’t even get me started on Brigadoon (which is more awesomely weird than sexistly weird, but still)…

Help Me Build an October Playlist!

8 Oct

I once heard somewhere that in this cultural moment, curating has become the mainstream form of self-expression. That articulation has stuck with me- because I feel like that’s what I’m always doing when I’m online. We’ve created this network where we can store and share information, so it makes sense that via collaboration, we have all become digital age librarians of arts, culture, politics, really of everything.

I’m not sure how I feel about that, I guess it is what it is.

Regardless, here’s something I’d like to curate together. I’ve created a collaborative playlist on Spotify called “That Curious Love of Green: October Playlist”- add whatever songs you’re listening to right now- I’d love to have a listen.

That Curious Love of Green: October 2012 Playlist

I’d like to highlight one of the tracks I’ve added to the playlist. Paper Bird is a band based on Denver, CO. Full disclosure, I became familiar with the band because two of its members are second cousins of mine (oh, the perks of having a big old Irish Catholic Midwestern American family).

The track I included on the playlist, “Firenze” is my favorite off their new album. Their older stuff is much more bluegrassy, and I would most definitely add those albums to a summery playlist or a hit-the-open road playlist (warning though, it will make you want to move out west). But I have loved listening to their new album “Carry On” as its gotten colder this year.

I saw the group live in September, and I realized how much their sound seems to have evolved from their earlier work. I’m a fan of both styles, each suited to different moods/moments.

So, if you’re in the mood for a good autumnal album to study to, give “Carry On” a listen.

ALSO, this is so cool: The band did a collaborative event with the Denver Ballet this past September, which looked like it was so awesome.

Hm. Denver Calling?

Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling and the Dharohar Project

23 Feb

I found this 4-song collaboration on iTunes, and delighted to find more Mumford and Sons material to listen to, I promptly bought it. I had heard of Laura Marling before, mostly because of her other collaborations with Mumford and Sons and Johnny Flynn (it’s nice to have your favorite artists also be friends who tour together on the regular- like Billy Joel and Elton John).

These particular songs have a little twist- a group of Indian musicians called the Dharohar Project. This is the English folk-revival, postcolonial REMIX, and I mostly love it. Every now and then I get a hint of dischord where I’m not sure if it sounds awful or awesome- but it’s definitely a cool experiment. Good stuff. Really good stuff.

Rolling Stone will back me up on that:

The Princess is Dead

29 Jul

Cinderella has never been my favorite Princess, by a long shot. But, upon discovering that Ilene Woods, more commonly known Cinderella’s singing voice had died this month at the age of 81- I looked her up. Seeing her delicate, graceful decorum- so…Cinderella-like- really helped the earnest, steadfast Cinderella of the movie grow on me. So, I decided I’d take a look at some of the other princesses…

Adriana Caselotti-Snow White… is the cutest thing ever. I love the story about her dad on the phone! This makes Snow White so much more endearing.

Mary Costa-Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty- I am a big fan of her voice in the movie-you can hear a hint of Aurora’s speaking voice here still as well…

…also love this awesome duet from the Ed Sullivan show!

Had to include my personal favorite-Belle- Paige O’Hara. (love her bookish spunk)

Jodi Benson-Ariel-The Little Mermaid- Also cute. Her voice has nice character. Fun fact, she was also the voice of the animated Thumbelina.

Lea Salonga- Jasmine- Aladdin- also featured here is Brad Kane (singing voice of Aladdin) who unfortunately emotes like a Backstreet Boy

Judy Kuhn-Pocahontas- I couldn’t find a good video of Judy Kuhn singing a Pocahontas song. So, here is Pocahontas singing about the French Revolution. Also please enjoy the Reagan cameo?


Mumford and Sons Learning to Pronounce French

21 Jul

Mumford & Sons – The Banjolin Song / Awake my soul – A Take Away Show #105 from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

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