Shanah Tovah! The High Holy Days are here, and as per tradition, we’re adding some Hanukkah tunes to our list. We appreciate the sophisticated indie-rock elements of “I Won’t Be Home for Chanukah” by TeamMate, such as the claps, and the beep-boops – and while “(When is) Hanukkah This Year” by Mêlée may have a catchy hook, it asks more questions than it answers.
In honor of the upcoming Autumnal Equinox, we listen to two songs of exactly equal length! “A New Year” by Stars has a hopeless sort of hope, while “Sunshine” by Sia perhaps overshoots on the optimism. And also Santa’s elves are involved somehow?
A note: our pre-song banter contains some bummers this week!
This week on HARK, we tackle two requests for which the requester provided very little context. The resulting episode includes discussions about mass incarceration and toothpaste jingles. “Everybody Deserves a Merry Christmas” by Ronnie Fauss is a type of twangy jailhouse rock, and “I’d Like You for Christmas” by Julie London has old-timey musical theatre vibes. You can guess which one prompted which discussion.
September is here and you know what that means: somewhere in Canada, cartons are being filled with eggnog. Soon these cartons will make their way to grocery stores, and the eggnog within, to RJ’s tummy. But for now, we quench our nog-thirst with two songs about this holiday treat. Unfortunately, “Give the Gift of Egg Nog” by Samantha Bee (featuring a full Do-They-Know-It’s-Christmas-style chorus of celebs) turns out to be pretty eggnog-negative – luckily, “Nutmeg” by John Legend (featuring Stephen Colbert) delivers all the sweetness and spice we were looking for.
Everything is fine. Nothing is ruined. This week’s episode sees our stressed-out hosts taking comfort in the company of some old friends from Free Country, USA. “Santam’n is a Blade Man” by Homestar Runner and “The Decemberween Thnikkaman” by Strong Bad are both vestiges of the internet of our youth, and also, y’know, vaguely related to winter holidays.
Some corrections: Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People was definitely on the Wii. Christmas Tree Shops still exist, and are owned by Bed Bath & Beyond. “Inparsable” is probably not a word. As aforementioned, Homestar Runner and his companions live in Free Country, USA. Cut us some slack; we’ve had a week.
With a Home Alone reboot apparently on the way and Macaulay Culkin’s birthday falling this week, we’re feeling nostalgic – and so we’re celebrating this classic torture-porn Christmas franchise with two requests from the soundtrack of Home Alone 2: Lost In New York! “All Alone On Christmas” by Darlene Love is a memorable jam that features assistance from the E Street Band, while “Somewhere in My Memory” by John Williams is a suitable score performed by the Boston Pops and American Boychoir.
This week, we tackle some requests for songs belonging to that most 1980s of genres: Hair Metal. And yet, the two songs we’re covering were recorded in this millennium. Could it be that the artists who performed them did so less than 100 percent seriously? It’s kind of hard to tell, which is kind of the charm of both “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Twisted Sister and “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” by The Darkness.
This week, in honor of International Cat Day, we’re covering songs for our two cats: Kurt and Heidi. “Snow Falls on the Patio” by Heidi Happy is a sweet, strange, slightly spooky song that matches our sweet, strange, slightly spooky new daughter. And “Santa Claus is Back in Town” as performed by Kurt Russell in the Netflix original holiday production “The Christmas Chronicles” is full of bombast and bravado, just like our large son, Kurt.
As July draws to a close and the hottest days of summer (so far) hit the northern hemisphere, we return to that perennial source of bottom-of-the-list material: songs about spending the holidays in a warm place. But this year, there’s a twist: The songs we listened to are actually good, it turns out! First, we enjoy the silly “(I’m Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica” by Tom Lehrer. Then, we discover an absolute jam in “Christmas in L.A.” by Vulfpeck.
Ian has aged yet again which means it’s BIRTHDAY BOY’S CHOICE TIME!!! For his selections, Ian has gone with two songs that some may say barely belong on our list – but perhaps do belong on a mix CD curated by a moody teen. “A Long December” by Counting Crows has been a long time coming, and “The First Song” by Band of Horses provides a fitting complement from a decade later.