Jules’s Jukebox: I’m Getting Re-Wired–It’s a Kasabian Kind of Night

Kasabian, the hard-punching guitar band from Leicester, England, is priming to release their 6th album, For Crying Out Loud, on April 28th. They tantalized me when they released the first single, “You’re in Love with a Psycho,” and played new music live in Australia last week. Guitarist Sergio Pizzorno has hailed this album as being about saving rock music and making a guitar record that is relevant (he is joined in the band by vocalist Tom Meighan, bassist Chris Edwards, and drummer Ian Matthews). I enjoy the band because of their ability to create a consistent sound that is distinctly theirs. I can hear a song and know it’s Kasabian. This ability to create an unmistakeable sound is what sets great bands apart from mediocre, dime-a-dozen bands. That’s what set bands like Oasis and The Verve apart from other bands formed in this same era (Kasabian formed in 1997, Oasis in 1991, and The Verve in 1990)–they weren’t grunge or indie knock-offs.

So tonight’s jukebox selections highlight how I discovered and fell for Kasabian’s easily distinguishable sound.

“Julie and the Moth Man” by Kasabian, the B-side to “Underdog.”

The 2011 Jason Statham/Paddy Considine movie, Blitz, introduced Kasabian to me with the hard, reverb-y, industrial guitar riff pounding over the end credits (yes, I know, I came to the Kasabian party a little late, but better late than never with this band). The song’s violent and seedy lyrics served the mood of this British serial killer/police procedural well. But suffice it to say, I like the music far better than the lyrics of this song–I guess the facts that my name is Julie and I don’t like the idea of f’n in alleys or getting hit by frying pans contribute to my dislike of the lyrics. One can argue, and I struggle with liking this song for this reason, that the lyrics glorify physical and sexual violence against women. That may or may not be Pizzorno’s intention. Lucky for him, I still like the song despite despising the lyrics…

“Re-Wired” by Kasabian, from the 2011 album Velociraptor!

“Re-Wired” is probably my favorite song by Kasabian because of its groovy, funky almost disco sound for the verses juxtaposed with the hard-rocking chorus. While the song most certainly alludes to drug use–again, I ignore the lyrics for the music’s aesthetics, the video is a fun ride through a high-speed car chase with the band that pays homage to many classic films, including Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

“You’re in Love with a Psycho” by Kasabian, from their upcoming album For Crying Out Loud.

The band released this song last week. This fun first single reads almost like Jabberwocky-style jibberish, but makes more sense as the song progresses with random references to Axel Foley (we’re not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe) and Charles Bukowski (“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead”). But the music is more “Re-Wired” than “Julie and the Moth Man.” It sounds almost like a mashup of Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boys stylistically.

Bonus Song: “Put Your Life On It” by Kasabian, from their upcoming album For Crying Out Loud.

This song was premiered live last summer by the band and is the closest thing to a power ballad I’ve heard from the band. I love that this song departs from their traditional sound and stretches into new territory for them.

Jules’s Jukebox: Musing about Muse & Politics in the Age of Resistance

When the Lollapalooza line-up was released today, I nearly fell out of my seat at the opening day’s line-up: MUSE, Liam Gallagher (Fuck Yeah!), Tritonal… so many I’d love, love, love to see. But tickets sold out before I could act–and I understand why. What a great way to spend a Thursday–and then catch a game at Wrigley on Friday. Talk about a perfect slide into the weekend.

Seeing the line-up took me back about a decade to when I really fell in love with MUSE. So tonight’s twofer (plus an extra for fun) features a couple of classics from Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme, and Dominic Howard.

“Citizen Erased” by MUSE, from the 2001 album Origin of Symmetry.

The first song I heard from this album was Paul Oakenfold’s remix of “New Born” from the soundtrack to the 2001 Hugh Jackman/John Travolta movie Swordfish. The remix prompted me to seek the original version, which led me to this hard-rocking reverb fest.  Finding this album sparked my interest in the trio from Devonshire, England. The song’s lyrics show Bellamy’s struggle with being constantly questioned by those around him. His allusion to Orwell’s 1984, particularly in the title and the lines “Wash me away/ Clean your body of me/ Erase all the memories/ They will only bring us pain,” remind us all that citizens can be erased and that lies can rule supreme, that innocence can be lost to experience only to be erased back to innocence. (Here is a great blog explaining this song much better than I.) The dichotomy and the dissonance in this song are compelling to listen to.

“Map of the Problematique” by MUSE, from the 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations.

This song continues to display the band’s ability to write layered lyrics that can be seen through a variety of critical lenses. While one person may read the lyrics to this song as being about a man’s inability to move on from a failed relationship, another reads a far more political message (which the band is known for) about war and world chaos that causes us to lose ourselves–like The Lost Generation of WW1. In the verse “Life will flash before my eyes/ So scattered almost/ I want to touch the other side/ And no one thinks they are to blame/ Why can’t we see/ That when we bleed we bleed the same” I can read both of the above interpretations. But my surface reading is this: We wreak havoc on each other, accept no responsibility or blame for our abuses of each other. We want to see the other side’s perspective. We want to reach out to the other. But we have so enabled ourselves that we can only see how right we are rather than find our common ground–that we bleed the same regardless of right and wrong.

“Uprising” by MUSE, from the 2009 album The Resistance.

This song has particular meaning for me right now in light of current world politics–the move toward nationalism, isolationism, authoritarianism. Bellamy has long been a critic of collectivism, but it’s interesting that this progressive liberal finds common ground with his more libertarian views–we both want to be free of mind control and manipulation in an information age rife with propaganda and fake news, kleptocratic rulers, and over-reaching, profiteering, capitalist elitists; we both want the world to be free from tyranny. And if any song is an anti-tyranny song, it is this song. This song is an anthem for resisters. The chorus reflects how when we stand together and rise up, we will win against the tyrants. “They will not force us/ They will stop degrading us/ They will not control us/We will be victorious.”

Ok. I’m throwing a Liam Gallagher song in for fun. Just because I love Liam Gallagher and am anxiously awaiting his new album…

“Rockin’ Chair” by Oasis, the B-side of “Roll with It” (“Roll with It” is from the 1995 album What’s the Story, Morning Glory?, but “Rockin’ Chair” did not make the cut for the album); featured on the 1998 album The Masterplan, a compilation of B-sides not featured on albums. “It’s hard enough sitting there/ Rockin’ in your rockin’ chair/ It’s all too much for me to take/ When you’re not there…” I just love LG’s voice. Here’s to hoping he’ll add more U.S. dates besides Lollapalooza in the near future.

DJT’s Short Reading List: Aliteracy Abounds

President Donald Trump doesn’t read books. At least that’s what everybody says. I don’t trust what everybody says anymore because everybody seems to be wrong all the time. Everybody said that Donald Trump would never be president, but everybody was wrong about that. That’s one thing I’ve learned recently; everybody is an expert, but nobody […]

via Donald Trump’s Reading List — Dysfunctional Literacy

*Jules’s Note: I would not disavow a book because someone I don’t like read it and liked it. As for All Quiet on the Western Front (yes, I just linked the entire text for you to read if you haven’t yet), I teach it every year to sophomores. It is a well-written, even poetic, piece of melancholy that anyone contemplating war (starting one, joining up to fight one, etc.) should read. Regardless of whether President Obama’s lists were pretentious or not, the lists promoted works of literary merit worthy of consideration for anyone’s nightstand–alongside the JK Rowling and Stephen King. I can only hope that DJT does read. Research shows that people who read fiction have more empathy. Now if only our POTUS believed in science, but that if for another post (about my next round of marches and resistance–Earth Day, here we come!).

Jules’s Jukebox: Lady Gaga’s Subtle Protest Rocked Super Bowl LI

Tonight’s jukebox is dedicated to Mama Monster!

Lady Gaga took to heart the fact that she was performing for all of America in her halftime show for Super Bowl LI, but her message of support for immigrants and the LGBTQ community still rang loud and clear.

Her opening with “God Bless America” segueing into Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” spoke to all of us in organized labor, but it also spoke volumes to those who have spent the past week resisting the Muslim Ban. Guthrie’s lyrics highlight that our land and freedom to roam it belongs to all of us–even immigrants and those enslaved by poverty and hunger, not just those who are wealthy or have plenty.

“This Land Is Your Land”
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Coupling the few lines from Guthrie with her own song, “Born This Way,” added a little gravitas to her set of dance favorites. Singing “Born This Way” in front of VP Mike Pence, a pro-conversion therapy politician, paid direct homage to the LGBTQ community along with the immigrant communities of our nation. (Here’s the official video:)

“Born This Way”
[Intro:]
It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
’cause you were born this way, baby

[Verse:]
My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir

“There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are”
She said, “‘Cause he made you perfect, babe”
“So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far,
Listen to me when I say”

[Chorus:]
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

[Post-chorus:]
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way
Oh there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t be a drag ‒ just be a queen [x3]
Don’t be!

[Verse:]
Give yourself prudence
And love your friends
Subway kid, rejoice your truth
In the religion of the insecure
I must be myself, respect my youth

A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M (Hey hey hey)
I love my life I love this record and
Mi amore vole fe yah (Love needs faith)

[Repeat chorus + post-chorus]

[Bridge:]
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re Lebanese, you’re orient
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
’cause baby you were born this way

No matter gay, straight, or bi,
Lesbian, transgendered life,
I’m on the right track baby,
I was born to survive.
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made,
I’m on the right track baby,
I was born to be brave.

[Repeat chorus + post-chorus]

[Outro/refrain:]
I was born this way hey!
I was born this way hey!
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way hey!
I was born this way hey!
I was born this way hey!
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way hey!

[Fade away:]
Same DNA, but born this way.
Same DNA, but born this way.

Lady Gaga managed to stage a mainstream, prime-time show for a wide audience while embedding a subtle, but clear message of acceptance in the face politicians who would work to strip rights from Americans. Her entertaining performance will long be remembered for its nonpolitical skin with a political heart.

Here’s her entire Super Bowl LI performance:

Jules’s Jukebox: Richard Ashcroft

This evening I splurged on a weeknight out for myself come April by purchasing a ticket to go see Richard Ashcroft in concert. I rarely venture from the Beach Cities to go to LA/Hollywood proper on a weeknight because traffic + late nights make for a cranky morning at work the following day. But when I heard that Ashcroft, former lead singer of The Verve, would be playing The Wiltern, I threw caution to the wind. I’m going to have an epic Monday night to carry me through that early April week.

So here’s a pair of Ashcroft’s solo songs for tonight’s jukebox picks:

“Hold On” by Richard Ashcroft, the second single from his 2016 album These People.

This single speaks to my current political mood as I resist in today’s post-US inauguration landscape. These lyrics, originally written about the Arab Spring uprisings, particularly stood out to me:

“…Until you get some pepper spray
And water cannons on the way
Fighting on your own
Can turn your heart to stone

And truth is on the march again
Wipe those tears away
Apocalyptic mind…”

 

“Words Just Get in the Way” by Richard Ashcroft, the third single from his 2006 album Keys to the World.

This ballad holds a touch of symphonic melancholy that gives way to hope as Ashcroft velvety voice offers to support during stormy times. Magnificently penned lyrics are the highlight of this song.  It connects thematically to the first song for me in that it is easy to lose hope in a world so full of chaos and despair. It is easy to feel that we may have outlived our usefulness in this mess of a world, but this song speaks of friendship, lending a helping hand, of finding that human connection that gives hope when words just can’t explain or make meaning for us.

The lines that stand out mid-song pointing out just how devoid of hope the person he sings to has become. His refrain of “if you want it/ you know I’ve got it” closely follows to show his commitment to being that silent rock of support:

“When you’re feeling like you’ve lost
When all your hope is gone
And the bridge above the river
Is only the beginning of your fall…”

I highly recommend giving Ashcroft a listen if you’ve not listened to anything other than The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.”

Jules’s Jukebox: “Getting Over the Flu” Music Medicine

I’ve spent the last two weeks holed up with a viral respiratory infection that just seems to enjoy hanging around and partying in my lungs. So in honor of my slowing beginning to feel human again, I’ve selected a few songs with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

“Bad Medicine” by Bon Jovi from 1988’s New Jersey. The first hit off of their fourth album starts tonight’s healing music. “And I got all the symptoms count ’em 1, 2,3…”

“Sick of You” by Lou Reed from his 1989 album New York. It’s just coincidence that the two selections today come from albums named for neighboring states, but this song just seems so fitting considering that a) I am sick and b) this next week’s political activities make me sick at heart, and c) Reed even mentions the PEOTUS by name in this song. How prescient, except the Mt. Sinai part… 😉  “They ordained the Trumps/ and then he got the mumps/ and died being treated at Mt. Sinai…”

Being Sick Sucks! But I’m Ready to Rumble for Inauguration.

Today is the first time in two weeks that I’ve mustered the energy to sit at my computer rather than hack up a lung while lounging miserably on the couch ignoring the toxic DJT feed streaming from my flatscreen. It feels good to feel well enough to actually think about something other than when I can take my next dose of medication in the hopes of breathing without setting my chest on fire. I still have a thriving case of laryngitis, but I don’t have to talk to write, computer-compose, stretch the old fingers. Yay, me! So instead of being totally miserable, I’m starting to feel good enough to plan for next weekend’s inaugural festivities. I know I’ve written about my plans before, but now that I am counting down the days into literally hours, I can’t help but give these events another shout out.

I will be among the #Resistors (yes, the spelling is intentional) on Thursday, January 19th, for National Resist Day (to learn more click here).

join_the_resistance_rectangle_magnet

Later that evening, I will travel to Las Vegas, NV, to stay in a hotel/casino run by non-DJT supporters. Plus, I just really like staying on the south end of the Strip in MGM Resort Properties.

mgm-resorts-logo

Inauguration Day will be an official #Blackout (for more info click here). I will be wearing my black. I will not be watching any televised coverage of the Inauguration or news coverage of it. Any social media in which I feel compelled to engage will be showing resistance…but frankly, I’ll probably be drinking myself stupid–if I feel well enough to do anything other than stare aimlessly at the crowds around me.

bacon-bloody-mary-940x626

I will cap off the weekend’s #RESISTANCE activities by participating in the Women’s March on Washington at the Las Vegas affiliated march on Fremont Street. Of all of the Resistance Activities, this is the one that I am most excited to be a part of–standing side by side with people who also believe that women’s rights are human rights. This organic event that quickly organized into a nationwide force has been amazing to watch the past few weeks.

womens-march-2

Ultimately, I want DJT to be successful–with the caveat that his policies serve ALL Americans, not just his few billionaire friends and supporters. Everything that I have witnessed to date leaves me with more than reservations about his willingness or ability to do so. Everything from his cabinet choices to his unwillingness to divest from his businesses to his openly hostile chilling of the free press is beyond worrisome. He leaves me no alternative but to stand with the 68 million others who did not vote for him to work at ensuring his hears our voices.

This week the #RESISTANCE gets real.

In the meantime, here’s my medicinal regimen:

damitol

fukitol

imbicillin_meds_1

Jules’s Jukebox: Year in Review, Pt. 2 –The Fabric of My Childhood Unraveling

Tonight’s Jukebox will look and sound a little different. Tonight, rather than songs we will have a combination of words, video, and symphonic music as we celebrate the lives of some of the pop culture icons who left us this year. Most of these people have been part of my pop culture consciousness since I was old enough to remember. With a heavy heart, I look to a future world that has progressed beyond my memories. My generation, the X’ers, are quickly coming to the days where we will attend more funerals than weddings. And this year was a stark reminder of that fact of aging.

  1. Gene Wilder–Wilder died on August 29th at age 83 from complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. Wilder was a mainstay of my childhood. I was lucky enough to have a mother who loved movies. When my brother and I were 4 and 5 years old respectively, my parents went on a date night to the drive-in theater with us in tow in the back seat. We sat in our pajamas eating popcorn and M&M’s and playing with our toys as Blazing Saddles started projecting across the screen. We didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the film other than the bean fart scene and the Waco Kid’s lightning fast hands. We fell asleep, but always remembered laughing at the movie. So when we had opportunities in junior high to watch the film we did. It became a favorite just as much as Young Frankenstein and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. For my birthday this year, my brother took me to see the stage musical of Young Frankenstein–partly for us to pay honor to my mother (whose birthday was four days after mine) and her love of theater/movies/the arts and partly to pay honor to the late Wilder.

from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

from Blazing Saddles

from Young Frankenstein

2. Sports heroes Arnold Palmer and Muhammad Ali: Both men were constants in my childhood in very different ways. Both were from sports that were not commonly watched in my household–golf and boxing– but both were trailblazers with loyal followings. Whether being “The Greatest” & “stinging like a bee” and protesting against injustice or being everyman’s hero while having a drink named after him and meeting presidents, these icons top the heap in bringing their sports to the mainstream. Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74 on June 3rd after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for three decades. Arnold Palmer died on September 25th at the age of 87.

3. Sir George Martin: The Fifth Beatle died in his sleep on March 8th at the age of 90. Ringo Starr announced his death via Twitter. John Lennon expressed that they worked and learned together. From Sir George’s Rolling Stone’s obituary: “George Martin made us what we were in the studio,” John Lennon said in 1971. “He helped us develop a language to talk to other musicians.” Memorably, Martin played the Bach-esque piano solo on the Beatles’ hit “In My Life.” The solo showed how the producer and the band innovated in the studio–the instrument was a piano recorded at half-speed and then played back at normal speed sounding rather Baroque, like a harpsichord. The song was also one of the first of Lennon’s songs to focus on his personal experiences. “In My Life” is one of the more renowned Beatle’s hits. My brother, who is a huge Beatles fan, selected this song as his first dance with his bride at his wedding reception. Saying good night to the fifth Beatle is like losing our past inch by inch.

4. Alan Rickman: I have loved the man with the most distinctive voice ever since his break-out role as a terrorist falling from Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve in 1988. Learning of his passing on January 14th from cancer at age 69 was an unexpected blow–especially on the heels of David Bowie’s death a few day earlier. Rickman’s versatility and exceptional talent allowed him to play the most dastardly of villains and the softest of lovers. Whether he was terrorist Hans Gruber or loving suitor Colonel Brandon or magical double agent Severus Snape, Rickman chewed up and owned every scene in which he appeared. And even better, he’s one of the British Men Reading Poetry with his interpretation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130. So we will not belie with false compare…

from British Men Reading Poetry/Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130”

from Sense and Sensibility

from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2

5. Carrie Fisher: Fisher’s death, so fresh in my heart and mind, is so hard to take. Carrie Fisher was the first damsel in distress that really wasn’t a damsel in distress. She created the role of Princess Leia as a strong “soldier” (her word) setting an example for me and my generation as young girls. I still have my original Princess Leia action figures, which she hilariously speaks of in her one-woman show Wishful Drinking (based on her memoir of the same name). I fell in love with Carrie Fisher the author in my college years when I bought her first novel, Postcards from the Edge. Her sarcasm, her wit, her frank and open capturing of life in all of its glory and gory conflict spoke to her exquisite talent as a wordsmith and opened up a whole new career path for her as a novelist, screenwriter, and nonfiction memoir writer. I own three of her books and plan to read the remaining. When I heard of her heart attack on December 23rd as she returned on a flight from London, I feared the worst. Having lost a friend a year and a half ago to similar circumstances, I feared that she would not recover. Despite my fears, I hoped. But when the news came this morning, that she passed away at 8:55 a.m. at the age of 60, though I was not surprised, I was still immensely saddened. My first heroine inspired me to find confidence, to write, to not be afraid of people who may suffer from addiction or mental illness. She was the complete package–someone who grew up in the glare of the spotlight (as the daughter of Hollywood royalty Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds) but was always giving back to the world around her. Rest in peace, Princess.

from The Blues Brothers

from Wishful Drinking

from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back

“Princess Leia’s Theme” from the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope OMPS

Jules’s Jukebox: Year in Review, pt. 1–The Lost Artists

The year that was 2016 will long be remembered for the music artists that we lost. With so much talent taken by the hands of time, tonight’s Jukebox will celebrate a small handful of the superstars whose lights were dimmed in 2016.

  1. David Bowie: Bowie died on January 10th after a long battle with cancer. He did gift the world one last album in the days preceding his death. Blackstar was released on his 69th birthday on January 8th to overwhelmingly positive reviews (Rolling Stone called it an anti-pop masterpiece; Pitchfork ironically opened their review with “David Bowie has died many deaths yet he is still with us. He is popular music’s ultimate Lazarus: Just as that Biblical figure was beckoned by Jesus to emerge from his tomb after four days of nothingness, Bowie has put many of his selves to rest over the last half-century, only to rise again with a different guise.”) But rather than focus on Mr. Bowie’s final opus, I’m going to go back in time to the 80’s–the playground of my adolescence–and pick the song of his that I loved forever and a day: “China Girl.”

“China Girl” by David Bowie, from the album Let’s Dance.

2. Glenn Frey: Frey, one of the founding members of The Eagles who went on to have a robust solo career as well, succumbed at the age of 67 to a combination of rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, and pneumonia on January 18th. While the Dude Lebowski wasn’t an Eagles fan, I grew up loving songs like “Hotel California,” “Desperado,” and “Lyin’ Eyes.” Frey and Henley were the face of The Eagles for me, and they both peppered my high school years with great solo songs, including this jukebox pick.

“You Belong to the City” by Glenn Frey, written specifically for Miami Vice.

3. Keith Emerson and Greg Lake: Keith Emerson, age 71,  died on March 11th (self-inflicted gunshot wound, depression, nerve degenerative disease) and Greg Lake, age 69, (cancer) followed his long-time band mate on December 7th. In less than nine months, two-thirds of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer was gone. And while I wasn’t a huge ELP fan, I find their music influential–and I do like their ballads. So here’s my favorite ELP song.

“C’est La Vie” by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer from Works, Volume 1.

4. Merle Haggard: Growing up in central Oklahoma with a country music-loving father, the “Okie from Muskogee” was a mainstay on rides in the truck with my dad. My dad considered Haggard one of the greats. He died on his 79th birthday on April 6th from complications with pneumonia, but this member of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame made a lasting impact on the genre. Toby Keith even played with the Country Legend in one of his last concerts in Las Vegas, NV.

“Today I Started Loving You Again” by Merle Haggard from his album The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde.

5. Prince: Prince Rogers Nelson featured regularly on the soundtrack of my high school years. My cousin loved Prince so much that he bought all his music on vinyl, cassette, and CD, as well as going to see him multiple times in concert. My friends loved Purple Rain (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Song Score) and 1999 so much that we the words to the songs by heart. I liked some of Prince’s songs, but I was never the fanatic that my friends and cousin were. I still appreciated his talent, his influence, and his energy. I honored how he would always push the envelope innovating along the way. And I was utterly shocked when he died at age 57 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs on April 21st. “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss” are among my favorites, but my first favorite song of his was this one.

“Little Red Corvette” by Prince from 1999. (Not the original sexy video…sry.)

6. Leonard Cohen: Leonard Cohen has been featured on my jukebox before. His influence reaches far and wide, and his lyrics are incomparable in their beauty and complexity. The folk legend died in his sleep after a fall in the middle of the night on November 7th. He was 82 years old. For tonight’s jukebox, I’ve selected a song from 1967 that was originally published as a poem and has been covered by many artists like Judy Collins and Nina Simone.

“Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen from Songs of Leonard Cohen.

 

7. George Michael: Another icon from the soundtrack of my high school years has fallen too soon. At only age 53, George Michael died in his sleep from heart failure on Christmas Day. I vividly remember “Careless Whisper” from my sophomore year of high school–it was the first Wham! song I liked. And then my sophomore year of college, he blazed new trails with his solo efforts “I Want Your Sex” and “Faith,” not letting controversy stand in his way. Despite his trouble with drugs and the law over the years, his music transcended conflict and strife. For tonight’s final jukebox selection, I’ve selected his song that spoke most to me (and no, it’s not “Teacher” even though that’s what I am).

“Freedom! ’90” by George Michael from Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1.

 

We lost many, many more artists through the year, but the few represented here show just how devastating the losses have been to the world of music. May they all rest in peace, and may 2017 be kinder to our icons.

Jules’s Jukebox: I Guess It’s Time for a Christmas Tune

I’ve put off posting Christmas tunes simply because they are so overplayed. Now that we are only a few hours from Christmas Eve, I will relent and pick a couple of tunes to spread some holiday cheer:

“Mele Kalikimaka” by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. I’m a huge fan of the Andrews Sisters. And I have plenty of memories of Bing and videos of The Sisters on variety shows when I was little kid (all those old Bing Crosby Christmas Specials and Dean Martin shows…). But this song has a special meaning to me since I live in a place where it doesn’t snow and palm trees sway (SoCal can easily be a substitute for Hawaii in this song–especially with the large Polynesian community here). Plus, it’s just plain fun to say Mele Kalikimaka.

“A Marshmallow World” by Dean Martin. No Christmas list is complete without at least one member of the Rat Pack represented, so I stick to my favorite Rat, Dean Martin. This song reminds me of playing in the snow as a kid, making snow ice cream, building snowmen. I can remember looking out my bedroom window at the puffy, white, beauty of the snow and knowing that my brother and I were about to stomp tracks all through it, smearing it in each other’s faces and throwing snowballs until we couldn’t feel our fingers from the cold.

And now for something completely different…

On a non-Christmas side note, I wanted to include something that just deliciously fun (and to send love, support, and prayers for strength and healing to Carrie Fisher and her family):

“Seagulls! (Stop It Now)” A Bad Lip Reading of the Empire Strikes Back