Episode 11: Marcus the Christmas Moose

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Mount your noble Christmas steed and join us on this long, winding journey through two bizarre Christmas songs about festive animal companions. We review and rank the unfortunate earworm “Dominic the Donkey” and the inexplicable but eminently enjoyable “Christmas Unicorn”. Mentioned in this week’s episode: Sufjan Stevens’ 100 Christmas Songs Ranked from Best to Worst: http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/9/7333319/sufjan-stevens-christmas-songs-ranked and Gunnarolla, creator of YouTube gems such as Canadian Please: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWQf13B8epw.

Episode 10: F-Bombs and High School Flashbacks

It’s a very oughties x-mas this week as Ian and RJ cover two listener requests that are new to their ears, yet remarkably recognizable. A love song by Paper Route and a break-up song by Hello Saferide have us reminiscing on the musical trends of the recent past and feeling embarrassed about high school. Thank you to Time Machine for the request! You can follow Time Machine on tumblr at timemachineyeah.tumblr.com.

Episode 9: Have Yourself a Campy Little Christmas

Things get a little dark, a little bright, and more than a little musical theater-y. Ian and RJ get some more Christmas classics into the mix this week with two songs about looking on the bright side during hard times – “We Need A Little Christmas” from the Broadway musical Mame and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from the film Meet Me In St. Louis.

Episode 8: Blossom Dearie and her Vocal Opposite

In this somewhat sentimental episode of HARK, Ian and RJ discuss songs from Christmases past, inspired by a song request from Ian’s sister Emma. Find out why Blossom Dearie’s honey-voiced rendition of “I Wish You Love” evokes thoughts of Christmas cards for Ian and Emma, and how the at times bewildering soundtrack of a 1994 box office bomb became synonymous with the Christmas season for RJ. Check out Emma’s website for travel, tea, and great writing!: http://anopportunemoment.com/ In this episode, we used the term “talent bomb” to describe Mixed Nuts, which we lifted from our favorite biweekly internet movie show, Welcome to the Basement: http://welcometothebasementshow.com/

Episode 7: Roomful of Goyim

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So far all of our holiday music has been mostly about one holiday… but any song that you would basically only hear between November and January are songs we will review throughout the year! Today we add our first Hanukkah songs to the list, “I Have A Little Dreidel” as performed by The Barenaked Ladies and “Dreidel Bird” by The Macaroons. We discovered “Dreidel Bird” through this list, 11 Great, Modern Hanukkah Songs: http://www.reformjudaism.org/11-great-modern-hanukkah-songs

Episode 6: Creepy Valentine’s Day

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Ian and RJ offer their thoughts on two “Christmas” classics that never actually mention Christmas at all. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Let It Snow” don’t get much play beyond December, but they’re both better suited to Valentine’s Day! One of these wintery tunes romances us, while the other leaves us feeling cold. The thinkpiece we referenced was Marya Hannun’s “‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ was once an anthem for progressive women. What happened?”: http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/19/baby-its-cold-outside-was-once-an-anthem-for-progressive-women-what-happened/

Episode 5: A Sudden Nosedive in Quality

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Here at HARK, we’ve committed to reviewing and ranking to EVERY holiday song… even the bad ones, especially the bad ones. But as our list hits its first milestone, we’ve got a lot more good songs than bad. In this episode, we aim to remedy that. This week, the Hanson brothers and Billy Gilman offer up two obscure Christmas duds, “Everybody Knows the Claus” and “I’m Gonna Email Santa”. We attempt to convey the listening experience to you in our most mystifying, exhausting episode yet.

Episode 4: Non-sequential, Santa

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Is the deed to a platinum mine a sound financial investment? And how much cash is actually in a five pound box of money? Could that song about talking sexy to Santa Claus so he’ll bring you a yacht actually be a feminist anthem in disguise? We (sort of) answer these questions in this week’s episode, in which RJ and Ian review and rank “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt and “Five Pound Box of Money” by Pearl Bailey. The Hairpin article mentioned is “The True Cost of Santa Baby”: http://thehairpin.com/2013/12/the-true-cost-of-santa-baby Thank you to Andy for requesting “Five Pound Box of Money”! Check out Andy’s blog where he talks about literature, film, comedy, podcasts, and other things: http://wahwriter.wordpress.com

Episode 3: Paul McCartney’s Awkward Dad Dancing

Which Beatle are you, and what does it have to do with Hogwarts? In this episode, RJ and Ian review and rank two popular Christmas tunes by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with mixed results. If you want to see the Cracked: After Hours video we reference, it can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtsmluPK7Ug. If you want to find out what member of the Beatles you are, take one of the MILLIONS of internet quizzes about it.

Episode 2: Santa Is Our President

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In this second episode of HARK, the holiday music podcast, Ian and RJ talk about socks, ska, Fox News and extraterrestrials. And, of course, we add two new songs to the list! Or is it one song? Two versions of the new wave pop Christmas classic “Christmas Wrapping” get reviewed and ranked, Hanukkah gets its first bit of representation, and RJ rants about hegemony. Check out our tumblr at harkpodcast.tumblr.com for the powerpoint slides mentioned!