Episode 279: Más Idiomas

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In honor of International Mother Language Day on February 21st, we’re increasing the linguistic diversity of our list by covering two songs in languages that haven’t been featured on the show before! First up we enjoy “Elu Agogo”, a cheerful Christmas song in Yoruba performed by Ife Ogunwumiju. Then we experience “Marie Te Po”, a Te Reo Maori translation of “Silent Night”, performed by Lucky Boy^ – who brings some delightful surprises to the old standard.

The ranking music in this episode is “Betelehemu” as performed by the African Children’s Choir.

Episode 278: Reluctantly Flopping Into Christmas

As Lunar New Year approaches, we’re looking back at one very specific year – the only year between 1943 and 2020 that has never had a song featured on the podcast! We discuss two of 1972’s strange and sometimes haunting holiday songs: “The Gift of Giving” by Bill Withers and “Slipping into Christmas” by Leon Russell.

This episode’s ranking music is “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers.

Episode 277: The Feast of St. Groundhog

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In anticipation of Groundhog Day, a holiday that is as much about repetition and time travel than it is about anything else, we’re doing our most repetitive episode yet – two requests by a repeat requester, featuring two versions of songs we’ve discussed before, performed by two artists we’ve discussed before! We discuss “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” AGAIN, this time as performed by Louie Armstrong and Velma Middleton. And then we reluctantly dig back into the big steaming pile of Bob Rivers’ parody tracks, and unfortunately experience “Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire”.

The ranking music this week is the theme song of the 1980s Chipmunks cartoon, which was initially called “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and later simply “The Chipmunks”.

Thank you to Tom for these requests!

Episode 276: Two Princes

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It’s Epiphany, aka Three Kings Day – but instead of three kings, we’ve got two princes! That’s right, we’re abandoning our format to talk about the Spin Doctors’ 90s hit!

No, just kidding, we’re talking about Prince. Join us as we reflect on the apocalyptic New Year’s anthem “1999” and the strange, gloomy “Another Lonely Christmas”.

This week’s ranking music is, in fact, “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors.

Episode 275: Say It Isn’t So

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Our final episode of 2020 marks another 25 episodes of HARK and another 50 songs on our list, so as per tradition, we’re aiming to unseat the songs at the top and the bottom. For Ian’s best-of-the-best pick, he selects a song that leans into the philosophical questions Christmastime poses and also our early-00s-indie-bullshit wheelhouse. For RJ’s bottom-of-the-list pick, they select a scalding hot take on a classic Christmas character that physically hurts to endure.

The ranking music is “Grinch 2000” by Busta Rhymes and Jim Carrey.

Episode 274.5: Christmas Swapping

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Ian and RJ are forgoing the usual episode structure this week to instead deal with an appeal! Er, of sorts – using a testing method devised by Ian, our co-hosts finally decide whether or not they will act on their long-standing threat to switch the places of two songs on the list: “Ipod Xmas” by Hello Saferide and “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses.

Episode 274: Dragon Mysteries

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Dragon Tuesday. And to celebrate, we listen to two draconic Christmas songs! First is “Darcy the Dragon” by Roger Whittaker, which leaves some questions unanswered regarding both Darcy himself and the events of his Christmas errands. Then “Fly On Christmas Dragon” by Robby Grant splits open our brains – not because its lyrics pose any deep or complex quandaries, but for reasons we can’t quite put our fingers on.

The ranking music this week is the Peace Keepers homeworld theme from Spyro the Dragon.

Episode 273: All the Lights, Some of the Laughs

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As Diwali approaches, we listen two winter holiday songs by Desi artists. Our first song, “All of the Lights” by Vivek Shraya, is a blend of elements lovingly arranged into a beautiful whole. Then we say as much as we can say about “Desi Jingle Bells” by Lilly Singh.

Shraya’s essay about her Diwali/Christmas EP All of the Lights can be found here!

The ranking music in this episode is “New Jingle Horse” by Geeta Brothers Duet Group.

Episode 272: Sandy Claws Conquers the Fishmen

It’s time for our annual Halloween-Christmas crossover episode, in which we listen to two spooooky winter holiday songs! This year, in recognition of the 5-year anniversary of our first Halloween episode, we’re revisiting the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s musical offerings with “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fishmen,” and then dipping into the Nightmare Before Christmas well again with “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” as performed by Korn.

This week’s ranking music is “It’s Halloween (A Christmas Song)” by Randy Brooks!

Episode 271: The Challenging Music Video Awards

We’re back after a short autumn recess, and we’ve got a lot to say, apparently. You know what else is back after a brief delay? The CMT Music Awards. In celebration(?), we’re listening to Christmas songs by some of this year’s nominees: “What Time Is It?” by LoCash (or maybe LOCASH), and “You Make It Feel Like Christmas” by Gwen Stefani featuring Blake Shelton.

This week’s ranking music is “Heaven Let Your Eent Shine Down“.