Monday Earworm: Crowded House

I’m teaching Ray Bradbury’s short story “All Summer in a Day” in my sophomore English classes. Ever since I put it on my assignment sheet this song has been stuck in my head, no doubt triggered by the similarities in their titles and maintained by my fondness for singing this song. There are many videos of Neil Finn (and others performing this song live), but I couldn’t decide which one to post, so I’m just going with this abstracted art piece because it is beautiful and slightly melancholy just like the song is both beauitful and melancholy.


Monday Earworm: Matthew Sweet

In 1991, Matthew Sweet released an album which got enough fanfare for music’s casual fans to take note of its titular single, “Girlfriend.” The video showed Sweet singing to the camera in the dorkiest, most self-conscious way imaginable and a lot of footage from the anime film Space Adventure Cobra. I haven’t seen the whole film, but from the music video, it appears that SAC, like a lot of anime, isn’t probably meant for children. What the video utterly fails to capture is the impressive fact that Sweet played all the instruments on the album himself.

In 1991, I loved this song. I still do like it a lot, but my perhaps less exuberant feelings about it now are less from the song’s not holding up after a quarter-century — because musically it absolutely does — and more from probably reading too much into the lyrics, into the situation, into Sweet’s socially inept deadpan singing during the video, into the dramatically excerpted clip of the anime cartoon, and from being unable to escape this world which is too much with us.

Regardless, the song is kind of catchy, and the music itself is fantastic.


Monday Earworm: Trent Reznor (and friends)

I have now seen Thor: Ragnarok twice. My husband and I saw the first weekend it was out, and we took our kids to see it this weekend. Wow, it’s entertaining. But one of my favorite elements is the use of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” The two scenes in which this song is used are worth the price of admission all by themselves, but the movie is also really, genuinely funny.

It was a little hard to find a good video of Led Zeppelin doing this song. (I found one live version which I didn’t love.) But here’s a really good one from Trent Reznor which features Karen O and Atticus Ross.

Little fun fact, too: apparently Led Zeppelin is really stingy wth their songs, not letting very many people use them. It took the entire time of the movie’s production to get permission to use this song. And with the song’s lyrics being arguably all about vikings and laced with Norse mythology, it’s such a perfect fit. I’m not sure I could think of another song that would have worked better, especially for the scenes in which it was used. It was like they were choreographed to fit the song. (And maybe, optimistically, they were.)


Monday Earworm: Ani diFranco (I know, she’s one of my favorites…)

Tomorrow is Election Day. It’s not a presidential election year or even a Congressional mid-term, and so not a lot of people are likely to show up. When I early-voted last week (halfway through the early voting cycle), I was one of only 1.9% of the eligible voters in my district who had done so.

I cannot stress enough the importance of showing up and participating. Especially if you want change. Please.

If you know me, you know Ani diFranco is one of my very favorite artists, so you’ll get to see a fair bit of her on this blog when I feature music and poetry. This one is not only beautiful, it’s important.

Monday Earworm: Michael Jackson

You had to know this one would show up sooner or later.

Shortly after this video came out, an hour-or-so-long documentary, The Making of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” came out on cable, and my mom recorded it for my siblings and me because, of course, we were huge Michael Jackson fans, just like most of the rest of the industrialized world in the 1980s. We watched it repeatedly, learning the behind-the-scenes awesomeness of the creation of this mini-movie. In it we saw the multiple layers of make-up and special effects required to transform him from himself to the various creatures he becomes in this video, and we also got to see just how exuberant and hyperactive his personality was in rehearsal. He was like a kid.

Anyway, this is a Hallowe’en staple. I hope your holiday is wonderful.


Monday Earworm: KT Tunstall

So, the Space City Weather blog — which, by the way, is a competent, no-hype, really enjoyable source for meteorological information pertaining to Houston — is declaring this Fall Day, because somewhat cooler weather has finally arrived, and it’s likely we have seen the last of the summer-like weather for this year. (Let us hope so!)

I could not find the original music video for Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” which has meant, in my mind, the end of the summer ever since the song first became a hit in 1984. If you ever do find the original video for it, check it out, because it’s quite a fabulous thing. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it, and they’re not wrong:

The music video to “The Boys of Summer” is a French New Wave-influenced piece directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Shot in black-and-white, it shows the main character of the song at three different stages of life (as a young boy, a young adult and middle-aged), in each case reminiscing about the past relationship. This is shown during the line “A little voice inside my head said don’t look back, you can never look back” at which point, each of the three people look back in turn. The young boy in the video, played by seven-year-old Josh Paul,[12] resembles a young Don Henley. The girl in the music video is played by Audie England.

Interspersed with these scenes are segments of Henley miming the words of the song while driving in a convertible. At its conclusion, the video uses the post-modern concept of exposing its own workings, as with a wry expression Henley drives the car away from a rear projection screen.

The video won the Video of the Year at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards (leading Henley to comment at the Awards the following year that he had won for “riding around in the back of a pickup”).[13] It also won that year’s awards for Best DirectionBest Art Direction, and Best Cinematography. The Best Direction award was presented to Mondino by Henley’s then-former Eagles bandmate Glenn Frey.

But like I said, I couldn’t find that, and in looking, I found this instead. It’s wonderful. Do enjoy its being made utterly new again by KT Tunstall.