Our list of the best and worst holiday music is rapidly expanding, but mostly from the middle. In this episode, we aim high… and low. Two artistic collaborations covering the semi-classic “Little Drummer Boy” provide a roller coaster of quality that bring RJ and Ian to edge of euphoria and despair. Also, Justin Bieber raps about Jesus.
Listen! Hark! Sh’ma! HARK is back, and HARKier than ever! We’re celebrating Easter and Passover with two religious holiday songs, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Mi Y’malel”.
Due to technical difficulties, Ian and RJ are unable to bring you the totally great, insightful, hilarious, avant-garde, award-worthy episode that they recorded this week. Instead, please enjoy this minisode, in which we explain the situation and review a pair of RJ’s Christmas socks. We also introduce a very special new intro and outro for minisodes! Thanks for listening, and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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
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/
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.