mellicious: pink manicure (Dr Who - Wilfred)
(Look, this actually makes four icons with Star Wars references that I've found. I have close to 200 icons so it's possible there's something else in there that has escaped me.)

If you haven't been following this all along, by "alternative" I mean the stuff that I didn't actually pick for Music Advent. Part 1 is here.

(Here's what I actually picked for N-Q)
So picking up again with N, the only thing I wrote down was "Nothing Compares 2 U" - which I think was just in case I completely didn't find a video for "Never Stop," to tell you the truth. Because that's just one of those songs that I have strong and ancient emotional ties with, you know?
So here's Sinead's version of that, in case you only know it from "The Voice" or something):

(Lyrics are useful for this song, I think - I always had trouble understanding her, at least.) This song was written by Prince, incidentally.

O: I think I mentioned somewhere along the line that I had "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" written down for O - that's always been one of my favorite old carols. (I have a weakness for the minor-key ones, generally.) What I actually used was Dishwalla's "Opaline" and I did have a couple of things besides those two written down: The Eagles' "Ol' 55" and also "One Headlight" which I think is the Wallflowers.

P: I used Radiohead's "Pyramid Song" but I had several other things written down. One was "Pat-a-Pan" which is most generally famous in this Mannheim Steamroller version. (Gawd, I just listened to that, & I didn't remember it being as boringly repetitive as it sounds to me at the moment. I suppose that's because it's one 30-second melody which they then proceed to repeat about 10 times.) Then there was "Psallite" which is also something I know from choir - it's not generally something you hear around at Christmas because it's too obscure for that, but from what I remember of the (Latin) lyrics it does seem to be a Christmas song.

That's a nice version of it. Much better than my 7th-grade choir one was, I bet!

The two non-Christmas songs I had written down were "Purple Rain" (speaking of Prince) and Jackson Browne's "The Pretender."

For Q, I had "Queen of Hearts" written down (which I know somebody else did use in Music Advent, because I looked) and something called "Queen of the Air." - I don't have easy access to my iTunes list right now so I'm not entirely sure what that is. (Possibly Everclear, because it's a song on an album I know I had.)

(R-U picks here)
R songs other than "River" which I used: Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" - one of my old favorites. Here's David Byrne in a 2002 performance:


Other R's: Radioactive, by which I'm sure I meant the Imagine Dragons song, not any of several older ones. (One thing I've noticed about the Imagine Dragons song: it's one of those songs people sing along with. Pay attention the next time you're in the supermarket or somewhere and it comes on, I bet you'll notice it.) Also Real Fine Place To Start, which is one of those country-ish songs that I picked up somewhere along the line.

I better quit talking so much about every single song or I'll never finish this.

S: I used the cheesy 80s song "Stone Cold" but my alternatives were Fixx, "Saved by Zero"; "Superstar" by which I think I meant the old Carpenters song rather than the musical; and "Second Chance" - the Shinedown song from a few years back. (All I wrote down were titles, which is why I'm going through my list and trying to decide which version of a song I meant.)

T: I used the 80s song "True"; my alternatives were Dan Fogelberg's "There's a Place in the World for a Gambler," Pearl Jam's "Tremor Christ" (but I used Pearl Jam twice this year as it was) and that old cheeseball classic "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

U: I used Simple Minds' "Up on the Catwalk" because neither one of the other songs I had written down had a video I liked. In the case of "Under Your Spell" from the Buffy musical - and that seems sort of odd (that I didn't like the video, considering that it was the original video), but it didn't appeal at the time, that's all I know. The other one was "Unwritten" (Natasha Bedingfield).

(V-Z videos here)
V: I used "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" (i.e., "O Come Emmanuel" in Latin) for my actual pick, but I also threw another V song into this entry, Ultravox's "Vienna." I also had "Valotte" (Julian Lennon) and Vasoline (Stone Temple Pilots) on the list.

Possibly my favorite thing that I skipped is "Wig in a Box" (movie version) (but again, I had already used a Hedwig song):



other W songs, besides the Wassail Song which I used: another musical song, the "Watch Dog Theme" from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and also Amy Obenski's "Words on a Page"

(Best Little Whorehouse is another thing that I have a weird emotional reaction to - or maybe it's more accurate to call it a heavily nostalgic reaction. The Chicken Ranch story broke in the summer, one of the years that I was a teenager, and we used to watch Channel 13 all the time and saw all of Marvin Zindler's posturing about it. I think we thought it was all pretty stupid even at the time, but I also remember being oddly riveted by the whole thing too. - Ask anybody from Houston: there was just something about that man you couldn't turn away from, possibly like a trainwreck.)

(I'm running out of steam here, so I'll be brief.) The Y alternatives were Coldplay's "Yellow" which I have always been unaccountably fond of, and another 80s song, "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record.) For Z, the alternatives I had were "Zat You, Santa Claus?" (if anybody actually used that, I didn't see it) and U2's "Zoo Station." (Frankly, I was at my aunt's house late on Christmas Eve after everybody had gone to bed, and I think the one I used was the first one I looked at, "Zydeco Stomp." I think I used it mostly because I was tired and I didn't want to look at any more videos. "Eh, I like that song, what the heck.")

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mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas light gif)

I don't seem to be much into talking about our Christmas and stuff right now - maybe later, if I get in the mood - so I guess I'll do this instead. Then - again, assuming I get in the mood, which is pretty chancy these days - I'll do one more post like I did before about the stuff I didn't choose. That seems to be what I'm most reliable about wanting to talk about these days.

The first two are Christmas songs (which is another reason to get these up sooner rather than later) and then I gave up on Christmas for the year (although I did listen to a Pandoria "holiday music" channel in the car on Christmas Eve). Both of the Christmas songs are old favorites of mine.

I had the first one on the list twice: I skipped it at O (in English: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel") since I had more options there, and saved it for V, where there were fewer. I knew there was an Enya version (which I think is in both Latin and English, on successive verses), but I went with a full-Latin version by Hayley Westenra. So this is "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" instead. (Note that the translation in the video is a more literal English one, but there's a link under the video that has the traditional one.



This is the one I was talking about in this entry, the Wassail Song (specifically, Ralph Vaughn Williams' arrangement of it. c.1910):

And then we skip X (#musicadvent's official decision, to fit into the advent-approved 25 days) (plus, y'know, how many X songs are there?) and go on to Y.

So now we're out of holiday mode, and while I would like to be able to say I'd been a bit more creative about this, I went with classic Pearl Jam, "Yellow Ledbetter" - just because I love this:


And for Z, a little Zydeco Stomp for Christmas:

mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas - pink aluminum)
I used this icon because I drove down the beach this afternoon. The water is so pretty in the winter. (I was distracted a bit from that, though, because the powers that be have built new beach where there used to be no beach - it was just rocks - in the 7 years or so since we lived in Galveston, and it startles me every time I see it.)

I said I was going to do four more installments of three Music Advent songs, but actually four days have done by since then so I think maybe I'll do three installments of four instead. Next week's likely to get crazy anyway, so that's probably better. So this post will have N, O, P, & Q. (and this post has all the links to the first half of the alphabet)

N: Never Stop, Echo & the Bunnymen
This was my very favorite song in 1984, as I recall.


O: Opaline, Dishwalla
Dishwalla was never very famous for any song besides "Counting Blue Cars," but I really like this one.


P: Pyramid Song, Radiohead
Because I love the song and this video goes so well with that sort of eerie vibe.

I'm fairly certain that I first head this song and saw the video at the same time, on the computer, when it first came out. In 2001, that was pretty radical. (YouTube didn't come along until 2005, remember.) I noticed watching this - on YouTube, of course - just now that it looks pretty pixellated in full-screen mode. I'm pretty sure that's because it wasn't really meant to be watched that way. Almost 15 years is a long, long time in internet time, and back then, you could usually barely get a small-sized video to download in a couple of hours, and usually when you did it was really stuttery. (I remember watching this at work, where the connection was much faster.) I believe it was a big deal at the time that Radiohead released it this way, too. Now that I think of it, the song has a sort of stuttery sound anyway - maybe it's meant to match!

Q: "Quelle est cette odeur agreable?" Clare College Choir
(I like this, but mostly I was trying to pick something that hadn't been picked already. "Queen of Hearts" which was also on my list was long-gone.) The official translation of that - presumably because it has the right number of syllables - is "Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing?" but I think a more modern, syllables-be-damned translation would be more like, "What smells so good?"

Here's a translation, and I have to say it doesn't make much sense to me. It starts off talking about fragrance and shepherds and then in the second verse it starts talking about light - the light of Christ. Which I guess smells good? I don't quite understand. (I don't think it's just a bad translation, either, because my French is good enough to get the gist of things, usually, and the French version seems to be along the same lines.)

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mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas lights pink)
We're basically halfway through Music Advent, and I thought it might be a good time to talk about the songs I didn't use in the first half (A-L, so 12 of the 25 days. Actually I've posted the 13th one on Twitter but haven't talked about it here yet, so it occurs to me that if I throw it in here that will make me come out "even" on the LJ posts (with four more sets of three songs left to do), so I'll do that.

For M, I picked Midnight Radio from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and I picked this version largely because others I found were missing one part of this song that I really love, and that's the descant part at the end where Lena Hall's voice (in this version) comes in. (I'm not completely sure whether what I have on iTunes is the Broadway version or the movie version, and I didn't go re-check to see.)

The Hedwig here is Andrew Rannells; he's very good.
(And I'll get to the other M songs at the bottom.)


What I did, when I finally decided to do Music Advent a little belatedly, was go through my iTunes library and pick a few songs for each letter of the alphabet; the least was two and the most was maybe five. Down toward the bottom of the list it got to be more songs for each letter, but M is the only one here with more than three. But in any case, each day I've been going to YouTube to see what I could find for each song. (The more songs, though, the more likely I am to just pick a couple and not look at the others. So there was a sort of longer version of the shortlist for some things and then an extra-short one, effectively.) Anyway, so I've been picking partly by the song and partly by what I could find a video of, and in a lot of cases here, I'm picking from several versions of the song.

(For reference, here's the link to the 1st three videos).
A - picked Across the Universe (Michael Johns, from Idol) - of course I could also have picked the Beatles version, or I think there's possibly some solo George versions around too, but Michael Johns has died (in 2014, I think that was) and that's mostly what made me think of this version. He had a beautiful voice and he hovered around on the verge of breaking through for a long time, it seemed like, but except for his moments of glory on American Idol it never really happened. (Not that that's an unusual story, at all.)
The only other song on the shortlist was
After the Gold Rush (Neil Young) - and I didn't pick it partly because it didn't have an interesting video that I could find. A lot of 70s songs seem not to (pre-MTV, see). Some days I'm in the mood to pick a video that's really just audio and a picture of the album cover, and other days I'm not. There's at least one of those that did get picked here.

B - I picked Bad (U2 bad lyrics version) - it was late and I might have chosen more carefully between the available videos, but I love the song. The other song I had was Beds Are Burning - another of my favorite 80s songs - and here's a version of that:
C - I used Chrome Plated Heart (Melissa Etheridge, 90s live version)
alternatives: "Cold Ground" which is a sort of country-rock song that I only know because it's on the "True Blood" soundtrack, but I really love it. I couldn't find a video that suited me though. And I also had Counting Crows, "Colorblind" which is a semi-obscure song of theirs that I'm particularly fond of.

(Here's the D-F set of videos)
D - Down To the River To Pray (movie version); I looked at the video for Dance Hall Days, another old 80s song, and it was boring. So that's why it didn't get picked, mostly.
E - Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen (King's Singers), because it's a song I love, and this is a really good version of it. I had Edge of Seventeen written down but I didn't go look at the video.
F - Fortress Around Your Heart; I also looked at Taylor Swift's "Fifteen" because I like the song, but the video didn't grab me.

(G-I videos here)
G - Given To Fly (2000 live version); I think I mostly picked this one because it was the least-known of the three unless you're a Pearl Jam fan, and because I did like this performance video a lot. I don't think I looked at Pink's "Glitter in the Air" because it seemed like a more boring choice. I love Bush's "Glycerine" but rejected it for similar reasons: it felt more like sort of an alt-rock standard to me. It's too famous. - Come to think of it, though, I love that version of "Glitter in the Air" where's she's twirling around in the air (which apparently was something she did on tour, as well as at the Grammys) so here is that from the Grammys five years ago:
It's great showmanship, and actually I remember hearing her say that it's not as hard to sing like that as you might think!

H - My pick was Handle With Care (the Traveling Wilburys) but there's also a version of Heart Like a Wheel at the link above. The other thing I wrote down was "Hodie Christus Natus Est" which is an advent sort of song so it would have been appropriate, but I didn't get around to looking at that. (I think the Trinity College choir version is the one I have - see here.)
I - Interstate Love Song; I Alone (Live); I Believe in Father Christmas (Emerson Lake & Palmer, what I call an anti-Christmas song); I Drove All Night (Cyndi Lauper) - I had Scott Weiland's death in my head and didn't look at any of these others.

(J-L videos)
J - Jolie Blon (actually the version I used is called Sweet Jole Blon'); John Barleycorn (the old Traffic song); Jar of Hearts (Christina Perri) - the main thing I have to say here is that the version of Jolie Blon' that I first remember is Jo-el Sonnier - here's a two-minute clip with both Sonnier and Doug Kershaw, who is the one that I actually used:

K - King Tut; the others I had on the list were Kashmir (Led Zeppelin, of course), and Culture Club's Karma Chameleon, but much as I love both of those songs, I had for some reason committed in my head to "King Tut" (it just makes me laugh, I guess that's why).
L - Genesis' Land of Confusion is what I used, mostly because I remembered I liked the video, from years ago. I knew there'd be numerous versions of "Lady Marmalade" out there if that didn't work out. (I also assumed somebody else would use "Lady Marmalade" although nobody did that I saw.)

...and back around to M - Material Girl" was the only alternative to "Midnight Radio" where I got as far as looking at the video. This was kind of a big thing at the time, because it was the point where Madonna first sort of gave public notice that she was somebody to be taken seriously. She had been around before this, and had some pretty big hits, but this was where she started to stand out from the crowd of girl singers. I also had "May It Be" from the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack on the list, and it was something I really used to love. (I went to see Fellowship of the Ring a whole bunch of times in the theater; I really had a thing for it for a while, so that probably figures into it.) The others I had were another movie song, "My Declaration" (which is from the movie Inkheart, and I only thought of this because I happened to listen to it the other day); and "Mr Golden Deal" which is another one of those somewhat obscure songs that I just like, from the 90s band Tonic.

Here's Material Girl (with a youngish Keith Carradine, and Robert Wuhl in a little cameo at the beginning):

mellicious: pink manicure (winter trees)
Well, since I declared in the last installment that three videos are enough for one entry, and it's already the 6th, here are another three, D-F. (It's almost the 7th already, but I'll worry about that later.)

For D, I picked "Down in the River to Pray," which is from the movie O Brother Where Art Thou? and sung by Alison Krauss (& a chorus). I thought I remembered seeing a video for this song which featured Krauss herself, but I couldn't find that one, if it actually exists.

I have a choir background and a definite fondness for old hymns, which may also account for the next one.

"Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen" (or, in English, "Lo how a rose e'er blooming") - The King's Singers

This is the first holiday song this year but probably not the last.

And I know it doesn't particularly go well with the other two, but for F, I remembered how much I used to love "Fortress Around My Heart" from Sting. This video has a weird little wrap-around that I don't remember seeing before. (Maybe by 1985 I had mostly stopped watching MTV, though.)


(Expect the next three along about Wednesday, I guess!)

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