Episode 293: Earth, Wind, Fire, Trainor, Water, Heart

Do you remember? That’s right, it’s almost September the 21st, and to celebrate, we’ve got two Christmas songs by Earth, Wind, and Fire! The first is “December” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, and if you’re wondering – yes, that’s it, what you’re imagining, it’s that exactly! Then we discuss “Holidays” by Meghan Trainor featuring Earth, Wind, and Fire – and manage to say a lot about a song that wasn’t giving us much to work with.

This week’s ranking music is Demi Adejuyigbe’s remix of “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire circa 2017.

Episode 292: Pre-Ironic

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With Rosh Hashanah approaching, we endeavor to add more Hanukkah music to our long list of winter holiday songs! Join us as we travel back in time, revisiting early childhood memories and discussing two nostalgia-inducing tunes, “Dreidel Rap ’89” by Abraham and “The Rockin’ Dreidel Song” by Sha Na Na. Also: Ian debuts his new catchphrase!

Here’s the Chicago Reader article about Dreidel Rap ’89!

The ranking music used in this episode is “Latkes” by Meshugga Beach Party.

Episode 291: Jingle Horse 5: Ballad of the Horsey Folk

The Gold Cup Parade (???) is approaching, which means (???), but anyway, we’re doing a jingle horse episode. Maybe Dan Brown ghost-wrote this one because we go deep down some meaningless rabbit holes – beginning with “New Jingle Horse”, a revisit to the oeuvre of the Geeta Brothers Duet Group, and ending with cracking the case of “Jingle Horse” by Jerry Riggins (et al).

Episode 290: Jason Frost and Annie Rythmics

It’s a real Choose Your Own Theme-venture this week. Summer? Sure, it’s hot out, so we cooled off with two versions of wintery classic “Winter Wonderland”. Olympics? Yeah, let’s get back into the Very Special Christmas catalogue that benefits the Special Olympics, regardless of the fact that those games aren’t happening until next year. Jason Mraz’s last name means “frost” in Czech and Annie Lenox of the Eurythmics was born on Christmas day. Is that anything?

This episode’s ranking music is “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter. Not Jason Mraz, not The Fray, not Five for Fighting: just Canada’s own Daniel Powter.

Episode 289: The Most Exciting Holliday

It’s Ian’s birthday this week, so you know what that means – he’s selflessly gifting half of his Birthday Boy’s Choice to RJ!! What a sweetie. Ian and RJ exchange the gift of music – or in the case of “All I Want For Christmas” by Lil Jon featuring The Kool-Aid Man, the gift of post-ironic brand partnerships. Then we cleanse our palates with the new wave taste of “It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas” by the Pet Shop Boys. Bing Crosby!!!

The ranking music for this episode is “Always On My Mind” as performed by the Pet Shop Boys.

Episode 288: Original Takes on Death

We’re back, and we’re talking about death! To get back into the swing of things after our brief summer break, we listen to two requested songs – “Yes December” by Nerina Pallot and “Lost in the Snow” by Bruce Hornsby – about cooler weather. And also, it turns out, mortality! 

Thank you to Jenny and Daniel the Macy’s Elf for these requests!

Our ranking music in this episode is “Farmhouse” by Phish.

Episode 287: Jim’s Big New Year

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The summer solstice approaches (in this hemisphere), and we’re celebrating the new season with two New Year’s Eve/Day songs! By listener request, we add another song to our list from the genre we are hereby dubbing “TMBGcore “: “New Lang Syne (Thank God It’s Over)” by Jim’s Big Ego. Then by our own free will we add another song by Taylor Swift, “New Year’s Day”. When the genie that only lets you listen to one Taylor Swift song for the rest of your life visits, you can do better than this one.

This episode’s ranking music is “Stress” by Jim’s Big Ego!

The organization that we recommended supporting with a donation is the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

Episode 286: Fake Sinatra

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Hang on to your beep-boops, in this episode we returning to the world of neural-net-generated carols! OpenAI’s Jukebox performs an original song created by fellow neural net GPT-2, under the title “Classic Pop, in the Style of Frank Sinatra”. The Forever Now, a band composed of regular ol’ humans, puts their spin on the same lyrics under the title “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, King of All the Earth”. Man vs. machine! Will robots come out on top or trip on that uncanny valley?

The ranking music in this episode is “Jazz, in the Style of Ella Fitzgerald” by OpenAI’s Jukebox. You can read Janelle Shane’s post about Jukebox here and her post about creation of the Christmas carol lyrics here!

Thank you to Matthew for the request! RJ’s other podcast, Book Club For Masochists, can be found here.

Episode 285: Sword Tweets

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With Victoria Day approaching, we’re once again covering holiday songs from across the pond! By listener request, we discuss “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek” by The Go-Go’s, a British novelty song documenting the mid-1960s Daleks obsession, and “Arthur McBride and the Sergeant” as performed by Paul Brady, an Irish folk song documenting some British recruiters getting their asses handed to them on Christmas morning.

The ranking music in this episode is “Stop the Cavalry” by Jona Lewie.

Thank you to Myles for these requests!

Episode 284: Hard Jazz

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You ever hear a brass instrument doing its thing and you think: that’s jazz, baby! And then in another song you hear a brass instrument doing something, maybe not its thing, and you think: is this approaching the concept of jazz? For this International Jazz Day episode, we explore two songs’ proximity to the category of jazz. First up is “Mary Had a Baby” as performed by Wynton Marsalis, featuring vocals by Roberta Gumbel. It’s for sure jazz, but also, more! Then we make another visit to Bill & Gloria Gaither’s proverbial Christmas cabin with “He Drew the Line” featuring Woody Wright and Mike Allen. Is it jazz? Is it jazzy? Is it (jazzy?)? Well.

Our ranking music in this episode is “I’m Gonna E-mail Santa” by Billy Gilman. Thank you to Andrew for requesting “He Drew the Line”!