Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas To You

As the wise philosopher Bart Simpson once said, "Hey, since when is Christmas just about the presents? Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of this day? The birth of Santa."

He's not wrong folks, this time of the year should not be about presents or who has the fanciest cookies or biggest group of folks sitting around the table with them, it's about Santa.  Poor old guy, we take him for granted and we shouldn't.

Over the past couple of weeks, you have indulged my small-ish obsession with "Last Christmas." Each day I mentioned that it was one of my top 3 favourite Christmas songs of all time.  This is a true fact.  My Christmas gift to you (although again, today should not be about gifts) today is the other two songs which round out my top 3.

The first one is by Chris Rea, Driving Home For Christmas.  The song was originally released 30 years ago, in December of 1988.  Apparently, he wrote the song about 10 years before recording it.  The inspiration for the song came from being stuck in gridlock traffic, it was snowing lightly and he noticed that the drivers around him looked pretty unhappy.  He started singing "we're driving home for Christmas" to his wife in the car, the rest, as they say, is history. 

The final song in my holiday top 3 is no surprise to folks who have been reading my blog for years.  Of course, in my opinion, the very best Christmas song ever written and recorded is, was and forever shall be "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues with the namesake of this blog, Kirsty MacColl.  Originally released in 1987 (can you see a theme here, I'm such a child of the 80's), this song, with it's accompanying video (beautifully shot in black and white) instantly appealed to me.  I wasn't the only one, in the UK, it is apparently the MOST played Christmas song of the 21st Century.

Some folks find the lyrics offensive.  Those folks can just fuck off.  It's art, it's a song, it's a story about a messed up couple, trying to drag each other through the holidays when they are down on their luck and not too sure what the future will hold.  I think it's a lot more honest portrayal of what some families go through at Christmas than any Norman Rockwell picture might.  Don't get me wrong, I like Christmas just as much as the next person (although I really just like the acts of charity, the spending of time with loved ones, the lights, music, food and fun stuff, as you know, the religious elements are lost on me) but it's a really tough time for some people and we shouldn't forget about that.

I hope you have enjoyed my little holiday music detour the past couple of weeks. I will be sharing some of my favourite stuff from 2018 over the next week.

Happy Christmas to you and yours xo

Monday, December 24, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 12

So here we are, Day 12 of the 12 Days of Last Christmas.  It's been fun for me (not sure about you) to find and listen to so many different interpretations of one of my top three favourite Christmas songs.

Today, I'm sharing the one, the only, the original, Wham!'s Last Christmas.

There isn't a lot for me to say about this song which hasn't been said before.  Last year, the Guardian did a great article on the song which, if you didn't see at the time, you may want to check out now:

Still Saving Us From Tears:  The Inside Story of Wham's Last Christmas

Hopefully any crazy holiday related running around that you needed do is done and you're at home, toasty roasty warm, spending time with people you like or, perhaps spending it with yourself, doing something awesome, just because you can.  I think folks should focus less on the hub bub of the gift giving and racing around like mad men and enjoy the time off (if you have some), enjoy each other, find some peace, have some laughs, treat yourself (and others) with kindness.  If nothing else, I think you should tease your hair, find a big can of Aqua Net and enjoy the original video for 1985's Last Christmas xo

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 11

We are getting pretty close to the end of the 12 Days of Last Christmas.

Today is day 11. I could have actually done about 3 months worth of these posts.  I have found over 100 different versions of one of my top three favourite Christmas songs of all time as I've been doing this.

The version I'm going to share with you today is an older one, by Darren Hayes.  I remember seeing him perform this on the Rose O'Donnell show back in the day.  Savage Garden were always a guilty pleasure of mine and I really loved his take on the Wham! Christmas classic.

The video quality on this clip isn't great but I thought it would be fun to actually watch him perform it (well more fun than just listening to a clip anyway).  I hope you enjoy this as much as do! xo

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 10

Happy Saturday!

Can you believe that it's the Saturday before Christmas already?

It's also day 10 of the 12 days of Last Christmas.  Bet you're curious about today's song huh??  As you know, I've been sharing covers of one of my top 3 favourite christmas songs of all time, the Wham Christmas Classic, Last Christmas.

Today's artist is the indie folk pop duo Fortunate Ones from St John's, Newfoundland.  I'm sort of impressed by how many Canadians have covered Last Christmas.  I really like what the Fortunate Ones did with the song.  The arrangement stays very true to the original but I dig that it's a duet.  Well done Fortunate Ones!!

So, without further adieu, here is today's cover of Last Christmas, enjoy xo

Friday, December 21, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 9

I first heard Barbra Lica early one morning while I was getting ready for work.  It was December 2015 and the folks at CBC's Ontario Morning were playing a cute holiday song of hers, "Christmas On the Beach."  She had just released an album of seasonal songs and "Christmas On the Beach" was getting played pretty regularly on CBC (hey, CanCon AND Christmas, not hard to figure that out). Barbra is an accomplished jazz singer and since hearing that first song, I've become a fan of hers. 
Today, because it is Day 9 of the 12 Days of Last Christmas, I'm sharing her version of one of my top three favourite holiday songs.  I really like this sort of bossa nova-y cover of the Wham Christmas Classic. 

Also, in case you were curious, today is my first full day of Christmas vacation.  I am on a lovely break and don't have to return to the office until January 7. 

Yay me and yay for Barbra Lica, enjoy xo

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 8

So we're up to day 8 in the 12 days of Last Christmas.

Today's version of one of my top three favourite christmas songs of all time was a surprise to me.  I knew very little about Genevieve Leclerc other than she was a French singer (and I had NO idea that she was from Canada until I started looking for a bio about her).  I thought that her version of Last Christmas would be sung in French...  I was wrong. She sings this Wham Christmas Classic in English.

It's a little jazzy, a little sexy, her voice is just lovely.  This song is less about Christmas than it is about the disappointment of a lost love.  I think this version captures that better than most of the covers I've heard.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful video and really great interpretation of Last Christmas xo

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 7

Okay, I think we have all had enough of the weird froggy / electronic versions of one of my top three favourite Christmas songs.

Today's version of the Wham! Christmas Classic, "Last Christmas" is a kinder, gentler one.  Today I am sharing a lovely acoustic interpretation by Dan Berk.  I wasn't not familiar with Dan Berk prior to hearing this.  I stumbled upon it on Spotify earlier this week so this wasn't one of the original 12 I was planning on sharing. Dan has a really nice voice and this is really quite sweet.  It's got that sad longing in it and is missing the strange sound effects and thumping bass of other versions.

For day 7 of the 12 days of Last Christmas, I think this is a good choice.  I enjoyed it, hope you do too xo

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 6

You have to admit that it's a little bit amusing when a fictional character has a hit record.

Crazy Frog's original name was "Annoying Thing" and I don't think you have to work too hard to figure out why.  It's a CGI character which was created in 2003 and apparently had a hit with a cover of Axel F (of all things)!

So, it makes sense that a hit record making CGI Frog would eventually cover a classic Christmas tune.  In 2006 Crazy Frog released their version of one of my top three favourite Christmas songs of all time.  In some places, the b-side of the single was Jingle Bells. This particularly video has been viewed almost 200 million times, that seems a bit nuts to me but then it is an animated frog bungling up an attempt to rescue Santa so, some folks would enjoy watching that I suppose.

On the 6 day of Last Christmas I give you Crazy Frog! xo

Monday, December 17, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 5

Today's version of one of my top 3 favourite Christmas songs of all time is very sweet.  I don't mean that in a good way.  This is sugar grating against your teeth sweet.  You may want to take some metformin sweet...

Until I watched the video for this version, I had never seen anything to do with Glee.  I was aware of it at the time it was a big hit.  Most of my friends who had children of a certain age watched it because the kids loved it.  The idea of it never appealed to me and while it was super popular, it was never on in our house.  Watching this video I realized that you didn't have to be able to act to be on the show.  I guess you had to sing, acting wasn't necessary.

From what I could find out, this aired on December 7, 2010, in the second season of the show, in an episode called "A Very Glee Christmas."

It's poppy and sugary so consider yourself warned.  It's the cast of Glee performing the Wham Christmas classic, Last Christmas.


Sunday, December 16, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 4

The 12 Days of Last Christmas continues, this time with a Canadian singer's version of one of my top three favourite Christmas songs.

Admittedly, I don't really know a lot about Carly Rae Jepsen.  I remember seeing her on Canadian Idol, Mark liked her but I don't remember either of us caring particularly if she won or not.  I think early on I'd been "cheering" for Khalila Glanville but we only really liked to watch the Idol shows in the beginning when they showcased the really horrible auditions.

Just in time for Christmas 2015, Ms Jepsen released her take on Last Christmas.  It's not particularly memorable but she is technically Canadian and it's got A LOT of sax in it so that's sort of noteworthy.  Also, this performance was from the James Corden show and he has been a part of my own person Christmas Traditions for a few years now. 

"Hey Peggy, how is James Corden a part of your holidays every year?"

Funny you should ask. 

James Corden, along with Ruth Jones (they were brilliant together in Fat Friends), created and starred in one of my all time favourite TV shows, Gavin and Stacey.  Every year since it originally aired, I rewatch the entire series over the Christmas break.  My favourite episode is the Christmas special.  It's so sweet to see Nessa and the Wests making that trip from Wales to Essex, Dave Coaches at the wheel, Neil The Baby being cute..meanwhile, back in Essex, Smithy (Corden's character) is singing "Do they know it's Christmas" with Gavin over the phone... Stacey is talking about how she can sell Smithy "some lovely bath shit" ...it's silly and sweet and funny and it sort of makes you want to stand in the kitchen in the middle of the night, in your underwear, drinking milk.

Hope you enjoy Day 4 of the 12 Days of Last Christmas xo

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 3

Whigfield, otherwise known as Sannie Carson is a Danish pop singer I only had a passing awareness of until Last Christmas.  Seriously, last year, around Christmas time 2017, I discovered that she too had covered "Last Christmas."

Apparently she covered it in 1995 but I wasn't really paying any attention to folks like her at that time.  This version is quite different to yesterday's Good Charlotte take on the Wham Christmas Classic.

This is not mopey at all.  It's some kind of trashy Europop take on it.  The video is super cheesy.  I can't tell what her deal is.  There is a cute doggy in the video though, and plastic snow and ice and a snowman that everyone seems to like.  Santa is either drunk or possibly homeless.  The random dancers are interesting... Not my favourite version by far but it's a good to compare and contrast the variety of interpretations which exist, of one of my top 3 Christmas songs.

If you enjoy this, please let me know.  xo

Friday, December 14, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 2

So, Christmas albums.

Seems like most folks, if they stick around long enough, put one out.

Have to say, not a follower or fan of Good Charlotte.  Don't really have an opinion on them one way or the other.  I did discover that they put out a Christmas album last year and they covered "Last Christmas."  So, I'm sharing that with you today, on Day 2 of the 12 Days of Last Christmas.

It's a little mopey.  The song is actually quite mopey, I mean, it's not a happy song but it usually sounds that way.  It's sort of nice to hear a non-disco-y version of this, one of my top 3 Christmas songs.  I hope you enjoy today's version of "Last Christmas."  xo

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The 12 Days of Last Christmas - Day 1

On Christmas Day 2016 the world lost George Michael.

I was always a fan of his music, some of it was guilty pleasure stuff but most of it was just good.  He had the voice of an angel and he wrote some pretty biting stuff.  He was political and not shy about expressing his opinions.  I always respected and admired that about him, using his celebrity to do good works.

As those of you who know me are already aware, "Last Christmas" by Wham is one of my favourite Christmas songs.  This year, to save me from tears, I'm going to do something special...I'm going to share with you a whole bunch of different versions of "Last Christmas" on the days leading up to December 25.

Some of these versions are by folks I don't actually like or care about but they all have a lovely cheesy holiday thing going that is just fun.

So, let's start this off on the First Day of Last Christmas with Cascada's version from 2007.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Way Back Wednesday - Drugs In My Pocket

Do you remember when you were a little kid, hearing a song on the radio, liking it, singing a long but not really "getting" it?

I know that there are a lot of songs that I didn't get as a child.  Once I grew up and realized what some of them were about, I remember mostly being amused and not at all embarrassed.  I mean, you don't know what you don't know sometimes right?

A song that would definitely fall onto that list was pretty popular when I was in grade 7 or 8.  I went to a catholic elementary school and I seem to recall that we were not allowed to play this song at our dances (possibly because of the content of the song, more likely because of the cover art from the album "Bad Habits").  Ironically, they had no problem playing Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" at our elementary school dances.

Honestly, I didn't know much about the Monks.  I just knew that they were from the UK and that I liked a couple of their songs.  A friend's stepdad was a fan of Strawbs but I had no idea that some of the guys in the Monks had been in Strawbs.  I just liked "Drugs in my pocket" (the song, I was a good girl, I didn't actually have drugs in my pockets) and listened to it a lot.

Pretty sure that we wouldn't have suffered any permanent damage if the powers that be at Our Lady of Mount Carmel school in Amherstview had allowed us to play it at our dances.  You have to take the music of a band who would have a song called "Nice Legs Shame About Her Face" with a serious grain of salt!! 

Take a listen and let me know if you agree.  Enjoy xo

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Because It's Tuesday - week of December 11, 2018

The original version of  this song was released in the UK the day before I was born.

So yeah, it's old.  Just like me kids.  An artifact from 1967.

It was a pretty big hit, spent 6 weeks at the top of the charts.  It was one of those songs that, as a small child, I heard it often but had no clue what any of it meant.  Didn't really matter much to me at the time, not understanding what a song meant, still doesn't matter much to me, if I like it.

Because it's Tuesday, it's a cover today.  I'm sharing Annie Lennox's version of Procol Harum's 1967 hit, "Whiter Shade of Pale."  Annie has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard.  I could literally be happy hearing her sing Barney songs.

Later this week, I'm going to depart a bit from my usual daily themes and try a holiday experiment.  I hope you, at minimum, find it amusing.

For now, I leave you with the lovely, Annie Lennox.... enjoy xo

Friday, December 07, 2018

Not Guilty, Just Pleasure - What Do I Get

I've been having just a shitty couple of days.  Usually, I find this week pretty rough, partly because of all of the memorials around what happened on December 6, 1989 and partly because it's the dark time of the year, it's cold and a bit dreary.  I'm not the most enthusiastic person in the world when it comes to Christmas anymore either.  I wasn't joking the other day when I talked about hibernating for December. I'd love to do it.

Yesterday, I had a spectacularly shitty day.  One of those days where you figure that nothing else could go wrong.  That was a mistake, thinking that.  I found out that Pete Shelley died yesterday.  It sounds like it was sudden, his heart.  I am so sad about this.  I keep thinking about his friends and his family and the shock of a sudden death (I know a little bit about that) and I also thought about how much joy his music brought so many of us over the years.  He's gone, way too soon but at least we still have the songs he left us.

Here is "what do I get" by the Buzzcocks.  Enjoy it kids and raise a glass to Pete xo

Well, let me tell you now
(What do I get?)
(What do I get?)
(What do I get?) I get no love
(What do I get?) I get no sleep at nights
(What do I get?) I get nothing that's nice
(What do I get?) I get nothing at all, at all, at all, at all
At all, at all, at all, at all 'cause I don't get you


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Cancon Thursday - Your Daddy Don't Know

If it is actually Thursday (it is), I'm supposed to be sharing some Canadian music with you (I will).

Back when I was in grade 10, this band was touring with Bryan Adams.  At the time, they had a really popular album out.  I remember hearing someone on the radio comment that it was pretty much a tie for who was more popular.  When my friends and I went to see the show here in Kingston (winter of 1983 I think), Bryan Adams commented that they had tossed a coin to see who would open the show that night.  He won the toss, just fyi.

The opening band that night, Toronto, rocked.  It was probably the first time I had seen a band play live with a female singer (although she was American, Toronto was a Canadian band).  It left quite an impression on me and my girlfriends that night.  I don't remember bothering to keep up with Toronto beyond the end of tenth grade.  In the years since, I have seen many many female led bands but this one was the first so that's sort of cool.

Their songs weren't deep, insightful or particularly clever but some of them had a good beat. 

"So shake it up
Turn it on
Shake it up
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah"
For Cancon Thursday, I'm sharing this early 80's gem of a video for "Your Daddy Don't Know."

Rock your mullet and enjoy xo

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Way Back Wednesday - The Other Side of Summer

Ever since elementary school, I've been a fan of Elvis Costello.  I can pretty much use his discography to describe what I was doing and where I was in my life at the time of each release.

For Way Back Wednesday, I'm going to share something with you which is from the early 1990's.  Not as way back as I could have gone but I realized that it's well over 25 years now since "Mighty Like The Rose" was released.  I was going through a bit of a rough patch when it came out.  My personal life was a huge mess and I was underemployed at the time.  Somehow though, I'd always be able to scrape together the $10 or $12 I needed for a new record and could also always find $5 for a pint.  It's the little things that get  you through isn't it?

The first single from Mighty Like The Rose was the impossibly catchy and super cynical pop song, "Other Side of Summer."  It's about as "anti" a summer song as you can get.  On a day like today, where the wind is chilly and the snow is falling, it fits my mood.  Like most Elvis Costello songs, the message is timeless.  What he's describing in 1990 / 1991 could be used to describe the world today.  Sadly, not much has improved in all of that time.

The automatic gates close up between the shanties and the palace
The blowtorch amusements, the voodoo chalice
The pale pathetic promises that everybody swallows
A teenage girl is crying because she don't look like a million dollars
So help her if you can
Because she don't seem to have the attention span

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Because It's Tuesday - week of December 4

Now that we're into December, the insanity that is the holiday season has descended upon us.

I sometimes think it would be a good idea to spend the entire month of December in bed, with some spinach dip and wheat thin crackers, binge watching the west wing and basically hiding out until the New Year.  Sound like a plan?

Anyway, in honour of it being Tuesday and the holiday season, I'm sharing a non-holiday cover tune with you today.  This song is an old favourite from  high school.  I remember listening to it on a turntable in the backyard of a high school friend.  She didn't have a boom box  so we hauled the turntable out into the yard, pool side, such an 80's thing to do.  Anyway, we loved us some Pretenders back in the day.

I stumbled upon this version of it the other day, by the incomparable Morrissey.  It's a bit of fun, hope you enjoy it kittens xo