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Posts tagged ‘Music’

Time

Chantal Kreviazuk is one of my favourite singers.

This is so much a song for New Years’… or the singer’s birthday.

No fat lady in a horned helmet over here

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.

Best and Worst Songs

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.

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I’m back

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.

Music under the dense canopy of flowers

This is a good arrangement of the most famous duet in classical music. I really like it because it’s instrumental (and therefore non–sung, making it a billion times better than the sung version), because this number is one of my favourite pieces of classical music, and because I played the flute in school band.

If you cannot see the video, click here.

If you recognize the music, you’re in good company. “The Flower Duet”, also known as “Viens, Mallika” and “Sous le dôme épais“* has been used in gazillions of commercials to sell all sorts of different things.

And what’s with this number having all these titles, some of which look like French phrases?† Any what do I mean by being better because it is “non–sung”? To me, that raises an unsolvable issue with (some of the) classical music I like. I like lots of classical music, but I don’t like the singing that does with some parts of it. Basically, I don’t like the sound of the voices in that style of singing. In other words, I don’t like opera, cantatas, etc. The unsolvable problem is that several of my favourite pieces of classical music, happen to have singing in their “complete” versions. “The Flower Duet” comes from an opera and I like the music, so long as Lakmé and Mallika aren’t singing to it; I like playing the Queen of the Night’s vengeful call for murder on my flute, but not the Queen of the Night herself; “Sheep May Safely Graze” is Bach’s best work, so long as Pales isn’t singing in it; and so on. And sometimes it’s hard to find good–quality instrumental versions of such music, unless you play it yourself.

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Do you hear what I hear?

Click over here, if you dare. It’s at CBC, and it has a video of Prime Minister Stephen Harper singing (slightly out–of–key) rock songs at a Christmas party for the Conservative Party.

With the hope that your ears are safe, we can ponder CBC’s question: “Stephen Harper: Does seeing his musical side improve your impression of him?”

Seeing his musical side will not impact my view of him because whatever musical side he has, has no impact on how good his policies are. If his policies were close to my own political preferences, his musical side would not impact my view of him. Ditto for reality. In effect, would you take the same view of the person if they promoted and enacted the exact same policies, but had no musical ability? That’s what you should do. Musical ability will not make bad policies good, and good policies bad. I’ll concede that Harper’s musical side may give him a folksy appeal, but that is irrelevant to whether his policies are good or not. Certainly, doing this is an effective electoral tactic, but it’s a bad idea to vote for someone solely because they are charming, in your in–group, from your area, and so on. Doing so could result in the election of a legislator who is inimical to your interests. I will never use those criteria when deciding who to vote for, and neither should anyone else.

So, in short, hell no.

Invincible

Chantal Kreviazuk is one of my favourite musicians. As a bonus, she’s Canadian.

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