This week, we take on an anonymous request (which is probably totally 100% from Mrs. Claus) for “River” by Sarah McLachlan, and decide to pair it with the original by Joni Mitchell. It’s not just ladies’ night: it’s Canadian ladies’ night.
Since February is extra-long this year, we cover some extra-long holiday songs for Leap Day! Are our lengthy selections from esteemed eccentrics Sufjan Stevens and Beck the hard-wrought work of master holiday music craftsmen, or just the product of some jolly screwing around?
By request this week, we add funny songs to the list by two comedy-music masters. But are they funny-ha-ha, funny-sad, or just funny-interesting? Ponder with us as we analyze “Christmas Is Interesting” by Jonathan Coulton and “The Night Santa Went Crazy” by Weird Al Yankovic. Thank you again to firehawk32 for this request!
As Valentine’s Day approaches once again, we break out two original holiday songs for the lovers. The always-sensual Boyz II Men offer comfort (and rebound sex) to the brokenhearted, while Destiny’s Child sing the praises of their boyfriends’ gift-giving game, which is, uh, all over the place.
In honor of Chinese New Year on February 8th, we’re reviewing holiday songs created in just the past year. Our selections are a bit preposterous – but are they dream, fantasy, or something in between? Ariana Grande’s “Wit It This Christmas” and The Wizards of Winter’s “Spirit of Christmas” are perhaps none of the above.
This week, we address the dearth of hymns currently on our list with the help of listener lavendernebula, who pointed us to “Night of Silence”, a modern companion to the classic “Silent Night”.
Last week was a tough week, and this episode starts out pretty heavy. To take our minds off of the real world, we listen to some Christmas music from two animated worlds – “Sailor Moon Christmas” and “I’m Giving Santa a Pikachu This Christmas”. We loved these characters as kids – do the Christmas albums hold up? Results are mixed.
While we readjust after the holidays to life back at our home in Vancouver, this week’s songs have us looking other cities. By request, we cover “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues and “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits, two songs of urban strife that aren’t so holly or jolly, but range from bittersweet to anxiety-inducing. Thanks again to Andy for the request! You can check out Andy’s blog, The Stopping Point, at wahwriter.wordpress.com.
This episode – marking the first full year of HARK! – arrives on Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. While not a big deal in much of North America, it’s celebrated to much fanfare in many places in the world, including Spain and Latin America – giving us a good excuse to add the first two Spanish-language holiday songs to our list, “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano and “Ocho Kandelikas” as performed by Pink Martini. Gracias por escuchar!
As the first year of HARK draws to a close, Ian and RJ take a moment to reflect on 2015, New Year’s resolutions, and years past – and the bands behind this week’s songs provide a perfect soundtrack for such navel-gazing. “New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie and “This Year” by The Mountain Goats are not exactly NYE party fare, but a lovely way to wrap up our last episode of the year.