Episode 282: HSM:TM:TS:THS:TS

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This week we’re forgoing our tradition of covering more religious songs for the Easter and Pesach seasons in favor of lighter fare. We dig into two 2020 Hanukkah songs brought to you by that one company that owns most of the things! You know the one. “Hanukkah Medley” performed by Julia Lester of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series packs three traditional Hanukkah songs (including one that we assumed was an original during recording) and several costume changes into just two minutes. “Puppy for Hanukkah” by Daveed Diggs also has a lot going on – including, you know, being a bop.

Our ranking music this episode is “Puppies are Forever” by Sia.

Episode 281: Fun-Fun, Bad-Bad

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so for this episode we’ve got… well, one mildly relevant song. By request, we listen to “The Season’s Upon Us” by Dropkick Murphys, a Celtic-punk entry in the “I hate my family” subgenre of holiday tunes. Then we hear No Doubt’s rendition of “Oi to the World”, evoking both nostalgia and regret.

Our ranking music in this episode is “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys. The scene-by-scene breakdown of the “Oi to the World” music video we mentioned is here.

Thank you to Scott for these requests!

Episode 280: She’s a Lady (Reindeer)

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we’re listening to two songs that bring women to the forefront of the Christmas character canon! Uh, sort of. “Good Queen Wenceslas” by Goldstein is an odd take on the classic carol that leaves us feeling conflicted, while “Red Nose, Red Dress” by Christmas Aguilera has us completely hooked. So much so that it’s also the ranking music for this episode!

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.