YOU ARE HERE is an exploration of diegetic music

Nov 30, 2012

"Little Saint Nick"

  In honor of today being St. Andrew's Day -- a fete of Scottish nationalism -- here's Andrew Gold (not Scottish but from the San Fernando Valley), with "Little St. Nick", yet another Beach Boys ode to a car but with a Christmas flavor. The Brian Wilson charmer gifted the oeuvre with the over-obvious lyric:

"Christmas comes this time each year"
and performed with more guts here by L.A. Guns.

Gold has a great pedigree, son to an Oscar-winning composer (for Exodus") and the top dubbed-in singing voice in movies (Marni Nixon).

"Best Christmas Ever"

K-Pop (that's "Korean pop" for the uninitiated) doesn't stop at Psy and his earworm "Gangham Style" (a video perhaps you haven't seen). Among that cultural tsunami is The Wonder Girls, and included here for their version of "Best Christmas Ever" -- a remake of the Ronnie Spector tune from her 2010 EP of the same name, a much grittier but scratchier song. This catchy K-Pop'd treatment has all the edges buffed off from the original but none of hip-hop stylings which put the Wonder Girls on the map, and consequently on the Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary collection (the entire series is worth investigation).

Not to be confused with the alt-rock supergroup, the Wondergirls.

Nov 29, 2012

"The Coventry Carol"

In this season of joy and giving, love and charity, it may be a bit discordant to learn that a traditional seasonal carol is about genocide. "The Coventry Carol" is a Middle Ages lament for the executed children of ancient Israel at the behest of King Herod: Wikipedia entry.

Sufjan Stevens has a version here: "Coventry Carol" -- because he is remarkably proficient and has a couple of Christmas compilations (two 5-EP sets each), at this pace, he'd have gotten around to this infanticide jeremiad eventually.

It ain't "Jingle Bells":
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
 It's also called "Lully, Lullay" or some variable thereof. Regardless, versions tend toward the traditional, like this from the Eurythmics' Annie Lennox "Lullay Lullay (Coventry Carol)". Consequently, this song is one the few songs to get posted that is not updated, rebooted, or tweaked in much of any way at all. Yaz' Alison Moyet turns in a good version too, here "The Coventry Carol".

Nov 28, 2012

"Que Verdes Son" ("The First Noel")

"Que Verdes Son" is a mashup of tradition and reinvention of a holiday standard from the surf/latino-billy rebooted remakes from behind Mexican wrestlers' masks and out of Nashville, Los Straitjackets on their cool  Yuletide Beat Christmas record.