Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Christmas Song

After a short(ish) hiatus I'm back! With less than a week left until Christmas, how can I not write about some of our favourite (and least-favourite) holiday songs?

This year I've been revisiting the kid side of Christmas. My son is 18 months old and just starting to get that there is something special going on right now. He dances to the carols on the radio, he's enjoying all the yummy treats we keep bringing home, he's even saying "Ho Ho Ho" when he sees a Santa Claus! I have sung Jingle Bells countless times so far and I have also lost track of how many times I've sung Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman! Thankfully I have a few of the Christmas specials on DVD so I can have a break and pop them in to entertain the wee man for a while.

Sure, everyone has their favourite Christmas songs, but what are some of the songs everyone seems to hate that are played year after year? Well, The Hanukkah Song by Adam Sandler has certainly lost its relevance, referencing celebrities from the late 80s. Yes, it is amusing to hear perhaps once a year, but by the 5th or 6th time it starts to grate on your nerves! Another one that drives me crazy is Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid. I know, I know...the song was done for charity and a whole bunch of famous people contributed, but the part that makes me cringe is the line "[a]nd there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time". Really? Did you need Bono to tell you that? Last I checked there is never snow in Africa except maybe in the mountainous regions. I think that if there were snow in Africa I'd be more concerned!

But enough with being a Scrooge. My absolute favourite Christmas song is White Christmas by Bing Crosby. Every year I sit and watch the movie White Christmas (and yes, I know that Holiday Inn did it first and I love it too) and drink hot chocolate and write my Christmas cards. Even though I live in Canada, we aren't going to be having a very white Christmas this year...it's been a warm, wet December here in the Nation's Capital so unless we get a big dump of the white stuff in the next couple of days I guess we'll just have to enjoy our Christmas with grass on the ground instead of snow!

I may surprise you with a post between now and New Year's but incase I don't, I'm wishing you all a very happy holiday season and all the best in the new year!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Musak - Not Just For Elevators

Hi folks! I know it's been a little while but my life seems to be stuck in fifth gear these days!

While you wait for me to be inspired again, don't forget to listen to the musak, you never know when you're going to hear a familiar tune ;o)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Parental Advisory: Explicit Contents

**Please note that after re-reading my last post I decided to re-write it**

Is it just me, or does almost every CD cover have this stamped on the front of it these days?

I understand that artists have a need to express themselves and that they should be allowed to use whichever words they chose in their lyrics, but is it really necessary to use these words so much?

Obviously, certain words are used more in certain genres but you can find excessive swearing in almost any style these days.

Exhibit "A" - Money for Nothing by Dire Straits, where you will find the lyrics "See the little f****t with the earring and the makeup / Yeah buddy that's his own hair / That little f****t got his own jet airplane / That little f****t he's a millionaire". Ok, we get it, you don't like Michael Jackson...but did you really have to use that word that many times?

Exhibit "B" - Lighters by Bad Meets Evil ft. Bruno Mars, which has enough swear words in it to offend a sailor. Seriously, you listen to this song on the radio and it sounds like morse code for all the words that are bleeped out!

Exhibit "C" - Grand Ole Opry by Hank Williams III, which chides "new country" and says "Hank Williams still aint re-instated and I'll tell ya / thats f**king bull s**t / and the king Jimmy Martin if he were still here he'd tell em all to suck his d**k". Now Hank III isn't exactly known for being proper, but Country music is...you'd be surprised at just how many country songs drop the f-bomb or use the s-word.

You'll also find the occaisional swear word in an Adele song, or even hear Josh Groban drop an f-bomb in a parody (I'm F**king Ben Affleck anyone? Go look it up on YouTube, it's Jimmy Kimmel's reply to Sarah Silverman's I'm F**king Matt Damon). You go to pretty much any concert these days and the artists are swearing up a storm on stage so that people know how "real" they are (even Michael Bublé had a potty mouth at his last concert in Ottawa).

I guess I'm not really complaining - I listen to these songs and I even sing along to most of them...but really, is all the swearing necessary? You tell me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Before I get into my post, I want you to know that the whole time I'm writing this I'm humming the a cappella theme from Glee :o)

I love Glee. I know that not everyone does, and that's okay! I didn't get into the show until the second half of the first season but oh am I a Gleek now! While I really enjoy the characters and the story lines, the real reason I love Glee is the music.

Sure, that seems like an obvious reason to love the show, but it's true! I love that they sing almost anything, from Michael Jackson to TLC to Broadway to Country! My absolute favourites though, are the mash-ups! Who would have ever thought you'd hear I Feel Pretty from West Side Story mashed with Unpretty by TLC? I mean sure, now that it's been done it seems obvious, but before that can you honestly say that you had thought of it? Didn't think so.

For those of you who can't stand Glee, that's okay, I can't stand The Office. For those of you who've never watched Glee, you should give it a try! It's a really fun show that is well written and entertaining. At the very worst you'll have only wasted an hour of your life.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Music is my boyfriend

I love my husband to pieces, I really do. In fact, just today he was very sweet to me when I misunderstood his question and was a bit of a (total) bitch with him. I'm lucky to have someone who puts up with me really!

Anywho, when my husband isn't around I cheat on him - with my radio. My name is Andréa and I am a radio slut. Although I have three stations that I listen to on a regular and daily basis I also hop around the dial on a daily basis, listening for something new, something old, something weird, something boring. Seriously, I will listen to almost anything on the radio. In fact, the other day I actually stopped the dial (not that my car radio, which I was listening to at the time, has an actual dial...) on radio Bingo. B12...B12...O69...O69...

I've also caught myself listening to the international music station based out of Ottawa. Depending on the time/day you can hear anything from Indian (think Bollywood) to Chinese, Spanish to African. Although I'm not a huge world music buff, it is interesting to listen to the way their music is different from North-American music.

So there, I've taken the first step - admitted I have a problem, an addiction. My name is Andréa and I am a radio slut.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Growing Into Your Music

I can't believe how many different styles of music I've listened to throughout my life. This came to mind when The Tragically Hip's Courage came on the radio. As a Canadian I have to love The Tragically Hip, as a young adult I really do love them. However, if you would have asked me whether I liked them 10 years ago as a high school student I would have probably said no.

High School is where I really discovered music as something that represented who I am, who I would become. That's not to say that music is the only thing that defines me, but I am a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person based on the music they do - or don't - listen to!

As a child I listened to what my parents listened to; golden oldies, soft rock, some classic rock. Thanks to them, I know all the words to (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding.

As a pre-teen I listened to the bubblegum pop groups; Backstreet Boys (who I saw in concert 3 times!), Spice Girls, The Moffats, Hanson, the list goes on.

Once I got into my teens I started listening to more complicated music where the lyrics actually mattered and the music wasn't over-produced. I listened to a lot of Green Day (Dookie, Nimrod, and Insomniac especially), Goo Goo Dolls were also frequently playing in my CD Walkman. I'd say though, that my favourite band in that era of my life was Our Lady Peace. My two favourite albums of theirs were and always will be Clumsy and Happiness...Is Not A Fish You Can Catch. These two CDs were permanent residents in my stereo or Walkman.

I stuck to the alternative style throughout most of high school but I also listened to whatever my friends were listening to; country, classic rock, even some christian rock. I enjoyed their music but never really identified to it the way they did - how angsty of me.

After high school I stuck with alternative but went into a different direction with it. I was finished with the angsty, anti-authority music that Green Day and co. had to offer; I moved toward a more mellow branch in the alternative world. I've pretty much stuck with this style although I really do listen to a bit of everything these days. My favourite artists from this genre are, without a doubt, Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper.

I'm sure that as I continue to grow up my tastes will change at least a few more times. I'll listen to less pop/hip hop and more soft rock, I'll forget the lyrics to songs that I related to so well as a teen. Who knows, maybe I'll start listening to heavy metal...not likely.

Looking for Caller No. 9!

I'm sure we've all done it - tried to be that certain caller to win that amazing prize from the local radio station. Some of us have been lucky, some not so much.

I've been lucky a couple of times; I've won CDs, passes to local events, but my best and most memorable prize was concert tickets! It was quite a long time ago now - 2004 I think - and 93.9 Bob FM (in Ottawa, ON) was giving away REM tickets every time they played one of their songs. I'm not a huge REM fan but I do really enjoy their music and I was determined to win! I had the radio on in my room almost 24/7 and anytime an REM song came on I'd call the number. Most of the time I got a busy signal, once I was caller number 2 (they were looking for a different caller, though I don't remember which anymore). Finally, on the second or third day of the contest, I made it through and I was the right caller! I had one the tickets! I did it! I remember being so excited to have won!

After winning the tickets I called Jeff and told him. He said "you're kidding right?" I was a little miffed at his answer, why wouldn't he think that I could win a simple contest? He came over later that day and asked me again, "you really won the tickets?" I told him that yes, I had won the tickets and he looked disappointed. I asked him what was wrong and he pulled out a piece of paper. He had bought me tickets to the concert that morning, knowing how much I'd wanted to go to the show!

I was so thankful that he'd bought me the tickets, really it was so sweet of him, but at the same time I kind of shook my head, "why would you buy me tickets when you knew I was trying to win them?" I'd asked. He just shrugged and said he didn't think I'd actually win. Silly boys.

In the end it all worked out; I took a friend and we used the tickets I won and Jeff took a friend and they used the bought tickets. We all had lots of fun and it's one of those stories that I'll never forget!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hip Hopping Through Summer

As the days of summer start to trickle away and turn into the cool breezy days of automn, I take a look back at the past few weeks. What has kept me so busy? What have I enjoyed? What do I wish I'd gotten to do?

Life has kept me busy! Between being back to work, taking care of Jude, cleaning the house, visiting friends and family...time fills up quickly! I've enjoyed going to the cottage, reading quite a few books, spending some quality time with the people I love. I wish I'd gotten to do a bit more travelling, even around the area, just get out and explore the world around us. I made it out to Upper Canada Village last weekend and we got up to the cottage for Canada Day, but that's it. Hopefully during my holidays next week we'll manage to go somewhere. Maybe to Calypso Water Park or to Montreal for a day trip.

As for summer music, what do you listen to? I usually like something musically interesting; Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews Band, etc. This year, however, I have really been enjoying more of a dance beat; from Nicki Minaj to Ke$ha, Cee Lo Green and Bad Meets Evil. I think this is because I'm driving a lot - to and from work - so I need something to keep me going on my commute.

So enjoy the rest of your summer. Listen to some good music. Read some good books. Try to do at least one more thing that you wish you'd done this summer!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Cold

What a miserable feeling; a head full of phlegm and razor blades in your throat, all while having to deal with sweltering heat which causes sweat to just pour from your pores.

The summer cold is just a nasty thing, isn't it?! Really, colds should be limited to the cold months...October to April. That still gives 6 months to attack and multiply and to cause general grief among co-workers, friends and family. Everyone wants you to feel better but at a good distance. "Get better soon," they say, when what they really mean is "stay away until you're no longer diseased!"

I get it though, I don't want to catch a cold, even in the winter, but still...I'm also not going to shun anyone who has one like they have leprosy or SARS (you all do remember SARS, right?).

Oh well, I'll just drink my honey-lemon tea and try to relax and kick this cold.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sir Elton!

I am so excited! I get to stroke something off my bucket list: seeing Elton John in concert!

That's right, Sir Elton is coming to Oshawa (which is about 4 hours from here) and I managed to get tickets! Though I just heard about the concert this morning I was thrilled to see that the tickets didn't go on sale until this morning at 10:00. I sat on the website watching the clock in the bottom right corner of my monitor and as soon as it struck 10:00 I had submitted my request for tickets!

The last time Elton John was in Ottawa he was joined by Billy Joel. I begged my dad to give me his ticket (it sold out before I got the chance to buy tickets) but to no avail. I can't say I blame him, what an amazing show it would have been! The Oshawa show is Elton John on his own, I don't think he's even going to have a band with him. Despite the fact that the concert is in a big arena setting, I think that the fact that it will just be Elton and his piano is going to make it very intimate.

Alright, enough about the concert...what are some of my favorite Elton John songs?

Top of the list is probably Levon followed closely by Tiny Dancer. Then there is, of course, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Rocket Man/I Think It's Going to be a Long Long Time, and (my personal guilty pleasure) Bennie and the Jets! Now of course those aren't the only Elton John songs I like...the man has been making music for over 40 years!

I leave you with some lyrics to Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting, have a great weekend!

It's getting late, have you seen my mates
Ma tell me when the boys get here
It's seven o'clock, and I want to rock
Want to get a belly full of beer

My old man's drunker than a barrel full of monkeys
And my old lady, she don't care
My sister looks cute in her braces and boots
A handful of grease in her hair

Oh, don't give us none of your aggravation
We had it with your discipline
Saturday night's alright for fighting, get a little action in
Get about as oiled as a diesel train
Gonna set this dance alight
Cause Saturday night's the night I like
Saturday night's alright, alright, alright

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hello, Goodbye

You say yes, I say no / You say stop and I say go, go, go / Oh, no

You say goodbye and I say hello / Hello, hello

I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello / Hello, hello

I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello

Ever since I was a little girl I have been listening to The Beatles. From Penny Lane down The Long and Winding Road, The Beatles have been there. As a hardcore fan, my dad used to play them all the time; in the car, in the house, everywhere. We watched the movies (Help! being my personal favorite), we did singalongs. One particular childhood memory comes to mind; we were driving somewhere, listening to The Beatles Anthology and Strawberry Fields Forever came on. Later we drove past a field with big hay bales wrapped in white plastic. My brother and I looked over at the field and together started to belt out "marshmallow fields forever!" in perfect harmony. To this day I still think of those bales as huge marshmallows and I often find myself humming the tune to the infamous Beatles song.

I thought I would start up this blog with one of my favorite bands. They have influenced me, comforted me, been there when I just needed to sing and dance (nobody can resist Twist and Shout, not even Ferris Bueller). I even named my son after an iconic Beatles song; Hey Jude.

While some bands come and go, The Beatles will never leave, will never become irrelevant. They are a part of music history and will forever be cited as inspirations and shapers of today's music (yes, even the bad stuff).