Episode 23: Hug Your Loved Ones

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With the summer solstice approaching, Ian and RJ take this new dawn as an opportunity to discuss two songs about a thus-far neglected winter holiday – the New Year! Ella Fitzgerald undersells herself in the charming “What Are You Doing New Years Eve?” while Sufjan Stevens’ “Auld Lang Syne” sounds as Sufjan Stevensy as you expect, complete with banjo and theremin (or perhaps a saw). Also, Prince is issued a lifetime ban from the podcast. Your move, Prince.

Episode 21: Miracles and Ill Reindeer

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RJ & Ian review two holiday hip-hop songs. While the genre hasn’t got a lot of love on the show so far (Busta Rhymes’ collaboration with Bieber notwithstanding), we have a lot of good things to say about these two – one an endlessly endearing Christmas classic, the other a surprising Hanukkah romp. You can read the NPR article we reference, “Light a Fire for Hanukkah Music”, here: http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2010/12/02/131699442/matisyahu-light-a-fire-for-chanukah-music

Episode 20: The Elf on the Shelf Works for Big Brother

You know the tune: the one in which we tell children they are being watched while they sleep. You probably also know the beloved Bruce Springsteen version of it. But which version do we think The Boss might have been inspired by? Listen in to learn about Springsteen’s cover, its antecedents, the Elf on the Shelf conspiracy, and much more.

Episode 19: The Baffling Wilburys

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How do we follow an episode of two fun, charming, wonderful songs by legendary musicians? By reviewing and ranking two weird, dull, mystifying songs by legendary musicians, of course! RJ and Ian try to decipher the how and why of Tom Petty’s “Christmas All Over Again” and struggle to understand anything at all about Bob Dylan’s “Must Be Santa”. Many thanks to our friend Andy for requesting “Must Be Santa”! You can check out Andy’s work at wahwriter.wordpress.com, or follow him on twitter @ DeputyMasterWAH! For links to all the stuff we talked about in this episode, check our tumblr: harkpodcast.tumblr.com!

Episode 18: Welcome to my Christmas Podcast

In honor of the uniquely Canadian upcoming holiday, Victoria Day, RJ & Ian review and rank two holiday songs fit for a queen. And thank God, they’re the best songs we’ve heard in weeks! These two under-appreciated Christmas tunes by truly legendary artists have us in high spirits – won’t you join us? The admission is free!

Episode 17: Cuckolded by Santa Claus

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Of the vast multitude of things one could choose to write a holiday song about, a surprising (i.e. non-zero) number are about women cheating on their significant others with jolly old Saint Nick. We tackle two songs on this theme – one a charming but baffling classic, and the other a somewhat explicit song about Santadultery from the short-lived swing craze of the 1990s. It is… really something. Uh, this kind of started out as a Mother’s Day episode? We’re sorry.

Episode 14: Spooky Feminine Power

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Ian and RJ get back to their list of requests in this episode and review two idiosyncratic Christmas songs by masters of the keys, “Star of Wonder” by Tori Amos and “December Will Be Magic Again” by Kate Bush. While trying to interpret these haunting seasonal tunes, the conversation turns to vampires, ghosts, sexism in the music industry, and RJ’s personal Tori Amos Moment. Thanks so much to Sarah for requesting “Star of Wonder”! You can check out Sarah’s creations on soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/jatfa) and youtube (https://www.youtube.com/user/excepttheweasels)!