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Archive for the ‘Bon Jovi’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS (1987).

I remember when this album came out.  I think it was one of the first Christmas albums in which a lot of very popular musicians contributed to it. Of course proceeds went to charity.  By now, 30 years later, many of these songs are deemed classic enough that you will hear them regularly at Christmas.

Suffice it to say I hated this when it came out.  Now, I have grown to appreciate (some of it) it more.

THE POINTER SISTERS-“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
I really didn’t like this song back then.  I think it has grown on me enough that I just don’t mind it any more and it is certainly a staple.

EURYHTMICS-“Winter Wonderland”
I really like Annie Lennox’s own Christmas album.  This song is fine, it’s a little too 80s sounding, but over all its enjoyable.

WHITNEY HOUSTON-“Do You Hear What I Hear?”
People really like to overdo this song.  This version is okay.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E. STREET BAND-“Merry Christmas Baby”
This is a classic Christmas song by this point, but boy do I dislike the sax.

PRETENDERS-“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
This version I don;t thin I hear too much.  Probably because it’s understated and quite nice.

JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP-“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
I don’t particularly like this song.  I love the musical style that JCM plays, although I don’t like the way he sings it.

STING-“Gabriel’s Message”
I don’t know this at all, I guess everyone skips it.  It’s rather pretty if you can get past the fact that it’s Sting at his more pretentious.

RUN-D.M.C.-“Christmas in Hollis”
This is an all time favorite.  The song is fantastic and must be heard every year.  I live that I write a Christmas card that goes to someone in Hollis.

U2-“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
I’ve heard this a million times.  I don’t particularly like this song, but I do like this version.

MADONNA-“Santa Baby”
My most hated Christmas song, done by Madonna at her most grating.  Ugh.

BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND-“The Little Drummer Boy”
Can Bob Seger ever do anything that doesn’t sound like him?  I don’t really like this song, but this version is kind of fun given how over the top it is.

BRYAN ADAMS-“Run Rudolph Run”
Never liked this song either.  It’s a lame lyrics to make into a rock n roll Christmas song.  All versions sound basically the same to me.

BON JOVI-“Back Door Santa”
I do not know this song at all.  Is it always skipped because it’s so bad?  Man the synths are awful.  Although it makes me realize just how unfair it was to both Bon Jovi and heavy metal that they were lumped into the same category.

ALISON MOYET-“The Coventry Carol”
I think Alison Moyet is the only artist here who most people probably don’t know today.  Her voice is really great though and this song is very cool.  Not exactly my favorite here, but certainly the most interesting.

STEVIE NICKS-“Silent Night”
It’s entirely possible that Stevie Nicks forgot how to sing on this song.  She seems really flat and then doesn’t even do most of the lead vocals half way through the song.  The “grace notes” are appalling too.

So it seems that the songs that were pretty good have stayed with us, the rest have faded away.  And there are a couple that need to be brought into rotation again.

[READ: December 23, 2017] “How to Be a Slut”

Once again, I have ordered The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This year, there are brief interviews with each author posted on the date of their story.

Hello. Welcome. It’s finally here: Short Story Advent Calendar time.

If you’re reading along at home, now’s the time to start cracking those seals, one by one, and discover some truly brilliant writing inside. Then check back here each morning for an exclusive interview with the author of that day’s story.

(Want to join in? It’s not too late. Order your copy here.)

This year I’m pairing each story with a holiday disc from our personal collection. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MAYBE THIS CHRISTMAS (2010).

This is one of my favorite Christmas discs.  There’s not a lot of traditional Christmas music on it, but the originals are all either spot-on Christmas songs or at least work nicely for this time of year.  The only song that doesn’t fit is Ben Folds’ which is funny and vulgar.  It is not safe for Christmas and should be skipped in a family setting and saved for the drunken debauchery part of the night.

PHANTOM PLANET-“Winter Wonderland” Back in 2010, Phantom Planet was a kind of buzzy, talked about band (you’ll have to look up why).  But this is a great version of the song, I especially love that it’s kind of rocky and slightly dissonant but still really pretty.

RON SEXSMITH-Maybe This Christmas.
It’s a shame that this series of records is named after this song, which is so forgettable.  I usually like Sexsmith’s stuff, but I can’t keep this song in my head at all.

COLDPLAY-“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
Unlike Phantom Planet which was all buzzy when this was recorded, Coldplay had yet to take off and had a small hit with “Yellow.”  It’s interesting to hear this spare version (just Chris Martin singing and playing piano) and how he modifies the words in small ways.

VANESSA CARLTON-“Greensleeves”  This is a lovely version of this song, even if Carlton’s voice is a bit affected (and its technically not a Christmas song in this lyrical version).

BRIGHT EYES-Blue Christmas
This is a nice version of this song, mellow and catchy.

SENSE FIELD-“Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” The more I listen to this song, the more I think it’s really weird.  “The yellow and red ones” (?).

JIMMY EAT WORLD-“12/23/95”
This is a very catchy Jimmy Eat World song (once again, before they got huge for a time).  It’s hard to realize its Christmas-related until late in the song when they mention the holiday.

JACK JOHNSON-“Rudolph”
I love this version of “Rudolph” so much because Johnson tacks on an ending where the other reindeer feel bad of making fun of Rudolph.  And Johnson’s vibe is just always so mellow and chill.

BARENAKED LADIES & SARAH McLACHLAN-“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
This recording is quite old–from 1996.  The artists work very well together and Sarah’s voice sounds great.

BEN FOLDS-“Bizarre Christmas Incident” [NSFC]
Ben played all of the parts himself on this song.  I love Ben and I love when he is funny and vulgar.  But this song which is very vulgar and mildly funny is so out of place on this disc.  You can’t play this for the kids, whereas everything else is totally fine. I might like it on a vulgar CD collection bu I dislike it a lot here.

DAN WILSON-“What a Year for a New Year”
Dan Wilson always writes pretty, catchy songs.  This is a lovely song that seems (possibly) even more appropriate in 2017 than it did in 2002 when he wrote it.

NEIL FINN-“Sweet Secret Peace”
This is a very pretty, delicate song with a wonderful chorus.  It’s not necessarily a Christmas song, but it works at this time of year.

LOREENA MCKENNIT-“Snow”
McKennit’s voice is amazing, and this song is hauntingly beautiful.  It’s a stark and lovely ending to this disc.

[READ: December 14, 2017] “Lady with Invisible Dog”

Near the end of November, I found out about The Short Story Advent Calendar.  Which is what exactly?  Well…

The Short Story Advent Calendar returns, not a moment too soon, to spice up your holidays with another collection of 24 stories that readers open one by one on the mornings leading up to Christmas.  This year’s stories once again come from some of your favourite writers across the continent—plus a couple of new crushes you haven’t met yet. Most of the stories have never appeared in a book before. Some have never been published, period.

I already had plans for what to post about in December, but since this arrived I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.

This story was pretty bizarre and really wonderful.

There’s so much going on.  And much of it is pretty weird.  The story is set in 1995.  The narrator, Edwin, has had a run-in with a man called “The Narrator.”  And that has set all of the action of the story in motion. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_3_23_09_09.inddSOUNDTRACK: DEAR MR. PRESIDENT-Dear Mr President (1988).

dearSo, I mentioned these guys in a previous post about The Airborne Toxic Event.  I said maybe I’d listen to the disc again (it’s been at least ten, maybe fifteen years since I listened to it).  Sarah walked in and said it sounded like Bon Jovi, which may or may not be true.

The band is a weird amalgam of things.  They look like Ratt, almost exactly like Ratt, in fact.  And yet musically they are all over the place.  The opening, rather cool, track is “Hey Daddy Have You Ever Been Arrested?”  It starts slow with the singer’s weird, sort of whiney, but almost bitterly angry voice reciting some lines over bass.  A distorted guitar comes in and the chorus rocks out.  There”s some heavier stuff as the song ends, including a rocking solo.

What’s most notable about the song, and the disc though is the lyrics.  Certainly not the first or even the most “political” band, but for the supposed genre they are in, lyrically they are thoughtful if not thought provoking.  And, even with doses of humor, they’re a lot more than a sex drugs and rock n roll band.

But after that first track the album diversifies.  “Fate” is a ballad, with the singer’s hesitant voice opening the track.  “Love and Violence” sounds like a late 80s metal song, but with a twist: the singer’s voice is just off-kilter enough to keep it interesting.  Meanwhile “Where is the Love?” is positively funk-filled, with a slapping bass line and big horns.  And then there’s “Flesh & Blood” which has something of a smooth jazz trumpet solo as it winds down.  It also seems to get more mellow as the track progresses.  Keep a mental note about this song title.

As the disc continues, things get really weird: horns start featuring in the songs with more and more frequency.  And at one point there’s something of a disco vibe.  There’s even a song about wanting to dance like Fred Astaire. (full of sizzling keyboard blasts!).

“Reality” is  slow ballad with era-appropriate keyboard splashes in the chorus.  And “Fatal Desire” sounds not unlike a Pearl Jam track (except for the vocals of course). The last three tracks on the disc have their track number in red (the others are in white) which leads me to think that maybe they were bonus tracks?  They include an 8 minute song “Get It Together” that sounds like it could be a background soundtrack to a 80s show like 21 Jump Street, especially the atmospheric guitar washes.  This disc ends with a weird little 1 and a half minute thing called “Who Killed Santa Claus?”

Whats amazing is that even with the internet’s omnipotence, there is virtually no information about this album, or even the band, anywhere.  Nor what happened to them (I discovered that two of the members played on other bands’ records).  You can’t even find anything about their other band name.  For some reason, the powers that be didn’t like the name Dear Mr President, and they had to change the band’s name to Flesh & Blood.  They released the album as Dead White and Blue.  I’ve never actually seen that disc though.

But after some searching around, I found one article about the band.  It answers some questions, like about their name change.  And evidently I have one of the few copies of the original disc.  Huh.  And to think that I bought it on a whim back in college when I bought bands without knowing anything about them.

So, for all of your Dear Mr. President needs, check out this article.  There’s even two downloads, too!

[READ: March 27, 2009] “She’s the One”

This story is one of the few stories I’ve read that is about writing and writers in which the main character isn’t a writer.  Ally works at a writer’s workshop as the secretary.  She encounters all kinds of writers, but in this particular term, she encounters a Canadian woman with short, white hair named Hilda.  Hilda is in her late fifties, has lived a pretty full life, and since most of her faimily is in England, she has settled down there too.

Ally runs into Hilda at the supermarket and casually asks how her novel is going. Hilda is very guarded and quite rude, until a few minutes later when she apologizes and takes a keen interest in Ally and her life.  Ally, caught off guard, reveals a family secret that she never feels comfortable talking about.  And, she soon finds comfort in this off-putting stranger’s cozy cottage.

Ally also learns more details about Hilda’s novel, and her fascinating family story about a Canadian folk singer’s impact on all of their lives.

I really enjoyed this story both for its unconventional look at writers, and for its interesting dealing with family crises.  A very strong story.  Although I have a quibble.  Ally and her coworkers can only think of one Canadian folksinger: Robbie Robertson.  Now, I realize that I’m a Canuckophile and all but, come on.  At least include Neil Young in the list.

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