Happy New Year.
Let’s celebrate with some music. I considered a video of Auld Lang Syne, but couldn’t find really good video, so instead I’ll present a music video by a Swedish group who is one of the few winners of the Eurovision Song Contest that lots of people have heard of.
I think that the Civilization series is one of the best series of computer games ever. Don’t ask why, but for some reason, it seems to go better for me when this song is repeating endlessly in the background:
Inspired by the Arbourist, I present this quote from Corey Robin, writing in The Nation:
St. Petersburg in revolt gave us Vladimir Nabokov, Isaiah Berlin and Ayn Rand. The first was a novelist, the second a philosopher. The third was neither but thought she was both.
Why Liberalism (US definition) works.
I’m most definitely not the first to notice this, but people borrowed from themselves centuries ago. Consider these two annotated Mozart incipits:
The first two bars of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 7 K. 309.
The first two bars of the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11 K. 331
The one on top is the first two bars of the first movement of Piano Sonata No. 7 K. 309; the one on the bottom is the first two bars of the second movement (the minuet) of Piano Sonata No. 11. K. 311 (that’s the one with the well–known Rondo alla Turca). As can be seen, perhaps even by someone who cannot read music, they begin with almost the exact same phrase. Indeed, they start with the same pattern (ignoring the acciaccaturas) of scale degrees (the annotations above the staves). They also have basically the same pattern of “long” and “short” (ill–defined terms) notes. Just about the most significant difference is the key, as C major and A major are not closely–related.
After these two bars, the two movements diverge significantly.
France and Slovakia qualified for the next round of the 2013 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship. The main tournament is takes place in Finland and starts December 29.
Chantal Kreviazuk is one of my favourite singers.
This is so much a song for New Years’… or the singer’s birthday.
The Arbourist’s partner, The Intransigent One, is a choral soprano who has received some vocal training. She has even taught herself arias. The Arbourist himself sings in a choir but mostly plays the piano. With that information in mind, I wonder they think of this video, another incarnation of the “Sh*t people say” meme:
It’s Sh*t Opera Singers Say, and is brought to you by mezzo–soprano Jennifer Rivera and Tenor William Ferguson.
Some trivia: The song sung when she puts on all those scarves is not a made up, but rather is a few measures of what is arguably the best–known opera excerpt sung by women, the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, also known as Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen. The fact that she doesn’t reach F6 shows she’s no coloratura soprano.
Over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars there is a long comment thread about the Worst Song Ever Made.
Now, there is much music I don’t like. I don’t like country, and don’t really care for opera, which you would probably find surprising if you knew which songs in school band I liked the best. With a few exceptions, I really, really dislike rap and hip–hop.
The songs I listed at Dispatches, plus some additions (in no particular order and not an exhaustive list):
- “Drift Away” by Uncle Kracker: This is cover, but I’ve never heard any other version, so I can’t comment on them. However, it would be hard to be worse than this version.
- “Big Yellow Taxi”, especially the Counting Crows f. Vanessa Carlton version: I know I’ll probably be attacked for picking this one, but I won’t back down. Does a cover of an awful song qualify as being one of the worst covers or not?
- “Who Will Save Your Soul” by Jewel: Isn’t it amazing that the author of one of the best love songs ever also wrote this appalling drivel?
- “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes: I used to really like this song. It made me think of someone climbing a mountain, with the climax of this song coming on as soon as they reach their destination. Since then, this song has gone downhill with me.
- “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael: The title says enough about this.
- “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera: Pure, unadulterated gimmickry.
Besides the above, I really can’t stand Mariah Carey’s recent (post–Daydream) stuff. Her old school music is like a million, million times better than her newer songs. The old and the new Mariah Carey might as well be different people. I miss the old Mariah Carey.
At the Dispatches thread, “Foster Disbelief” mentioned “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. Now, I have a copy of Jagged Little Pill, and while not the best song on the album (that award is a toss–up between “All I Really Want” and “Head Over Feet”), it is nowhere near the worst song. And to quibble, a song you expect to be ironic, but isn’t, clearly is the opposite of what you expect;)
As for the best popular music–type songs (some of my picks), those are after the jump.
Near the beginning of April, my mother accidentally broke the network card on my computer (don’t ask; it’s a long story), and I was cut off from the internet for a month. But now, I’m reconnected. Here’s a month’s worth of posts, all rolled into one:
- Canada’s general election was yesterday and the Harpercons and Reformatories won a majority. Fuck. I feel like my country just died, its beating heart ripped out by the grimy hands of a reactionary. Women will suffer under the new regime. I’d like to be wrong about that and hope I am.
- If it’s any consolation, the Bloc–headed separatists were basically blown away by an orange wave in Quebec. Good.
- The Green Party has now entered the club of “serious” political parties as it won a seat.
- Premier Christy Clark is running in a by–election in Vancouver–Point Grey. I predict that she will crush the NDP candidate and gain a seat in the legislature. Various governing parties’ by–election losing streak will finally come to an end.
- An Epic FAIL for wingnut economics.
- O RLY? Barack Obama released the long form of his birth certificate. To the surprise of no rational person, the birthers were wrong. He really was born in Hawaii. Of course, to conspiracy freaks, all evidence is created by the New World Order™, so this won’t really sway them. I wonder why such a conspiracy theory ever managed to gain hold. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of Obama, and therefore conspiracy theories ought to be beneath the dignity of everyone.
- The same reasoning as above applies to Parentism involving Trig Palin.
- Team USA won the 2011 Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships. Congratulations to them. This is their third consecutive title and fourth overall. Just like in every other final, they faced Canada. Just like in every previous tournament, Finland played in the bronze medal game. They won, beating Russia who had their best showing since 2001. My prediction from last May was correct. Despite beating Finland, Switzerland didn’t medal.
- In the Division I tournament, China was relegated. For a team that played in the last Olympics and at one time was a medal contender, it truly is the Great Fall.
- Osama bin Laden was killed by an American special forces team. Good fucking riddance.
- I wonder if my absence has caused a frequent commentator here to finally leave. Part of me kind of hopes so, as he commented semi–on topic on virtually every post, resulting in threadsurrections and endless discussions, sometimes with dozens of comments. Real people have a life outside of commenting and blogging. If you are still here (you know who you are), please, shut up a little.
- I really like this picture (hat tip: Blag Hag).
- Many people here in BC are boycotting Carrie Underwood. This is because her husband, Mike Fisher, plays hockey for the Predators. Seriously, folks? Ms. Underwood has minimal control over which team her husband plays for. She is in no way responsible for the fact that our local team is playing her husband’s team, and as a matter of fact has nothing to do with it. I’d like to think that we live in a civilized society where a woman is not seen as subordinate or lesser than her husband.
- Just before I was cut off, I downloaded music composition software called MuseScore and since then have been loads of fun with it.
- Also a note to this guy. MuseScore is free, so there’s no need to shell out hundreds to get the next version of Sibelius or Finale.