Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Easter Anthem

April 20, 2014

Background by P. L. Brayfield to accompany a YouTube video:

Sacred Harp singers are among the most enthusiastic and energetic vocalists anywhere! Here they express their joy in singing a favorite shape note song for the Eastern season: William Billings’s 1787 composition [Easter Anthem] also known as ‘The Lord is Risen Indeed.’ Recorded at the Kalamazoo all-day singing, July 20, 2009. NOTE: on the video, the number for Eastern Anthem is mistakenly given as 238. If you start to sing from that page, you will still be singing Eastern Anthem, but you will be two pages ahead of everyone else ;) The correct page, of course, is 236, as several viewers have reminded me!

The music, spread over four pages:


Pun time

March 29, 2014

Passed on by Rod Williams on Facebook, this image from Radio Nova 100


A pair of interlocked puns: Fleetwod Macchiato, a POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) combining Fleetwood Mac and macchiato, plus the allusion to Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” (from the Rumours album) in the form Foam your own way. Impressive: easy if you have the sociocultural knowledge, but impenetrable otherwise. (Another piece of cleverness I doubt my 10-year-old grand-daughter would get.)


Peanuts alliteration

January 21, 2014

Another Peanuts, this time with a pile of alliteration:

Who wouldn’t resent being called a tiny tot?

Meanwhile, the girls seem to be musically informed.


More for Xmas

December 16, 2013

An annual feature on this blog looks at Christmas music — from the sacred and serious to the trashy. Now John McIntyre, on his Baltimore Sun blog, invites opinion:

Tell me what Christmas music you find most loathsome.

McIntyre asks whether there is anything worse than “The Little Drummer Boy”. That song gets lots of other votes (including mine), but there are other candidates, like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”.

Lou Reed

November 17, 2013

From the New Yorker on the 11th, a touching reminiscence of Lou Reed, who died on October 27th, by Patti Smith: “Mourning Lou Reed”:

I didn’t understand his erratic behavior or the intensity of his moods, which shifted, like his speech patterns, from speedy to laconic. But I understood his devotion to poetry and the transporting quality of his performances. He had black eyes, black T-shirt, pale skin. He was curious, sometimes suspicious, a voracious reader, and a sonic explorer. An obscure guitar pedal was for him another kind of poem. He was our connection to the infamous air of the Factory. He had made Edie Sedgwick dance. Andy Warhol whispered in his ear. Lou brought the sensibilities of art and literature into his music. He was our generation’s New York poet, championing its misfits as Whitman had championed its workingman and Lorca its persecuted.

First there was the Velvet Underground, then solo careers. And, eventually, marriage to Laurie Anderson.

Here are Smith and Reed in 1970, looking impossibly young and cool:

Briefly noted: tv film noir

October 29, 2013

(Mostly not about language.)

Seen on Smallville this morning, an episode (centered on character Jimmy Olsen) that switched into film noir style for most of its time. This is a trope — duly noted on the TV Tropes site — that has appeared in episodes on other tv shows: Charmed, Moonlighting, Monk, Castle, plus some shows that drew on the style throughout (Peter Gunn, Angel, Veronica Mars). A borrowing of a characteristic visual style and thematic content from one (historical) medium into another, intended affectionately rather than mockingly.

Brief notice: jazz haiku

October 13, 2013

In yesterday’s NYT, an obit, “James A. Emanuel, Poet Who Wrote of Racism, Dies at 92″ by William Yardley, concluding:

In his later years, Mr. Emanuel claimed to have invented a new form of literature: the jazz haiku, stanzas of 17 syllables he read to the accompaniment of jazz music. Like the music, they felt improvisational even as they respected structure:

Four-letter word JAZZ:
naughty, sexy, cerebral,
but solarplexy.

Googling on “jazz haiku” pulls up a considerable number of haiku about jazz.

New words for new times

September 26, 2013

In the NYT yesterday, “Rutgers Updates Its Anthem to Include Women” by Ariel Kaminer:

No one song could ever capture all the motivations that bring students to a college campus, all the experiences they have there or all the ways those experiences changed their lives.

But “On the Banks of the Old Raritan,” the alma mater of Rutgers University, is particularly inadequate. “My father sent me to old Rutgers,” the song proudly began, “And resolved that I should be a man.”

Women were first enrolled in Rutgers in 1972 and now make up half the student body. It was time for fresh words.


Colander song

August 31, 2013

From Frank McQuarry on Facebook this morning:

“I love, I love, I love my little colander tool….”

An allusion to the song “Calendar Girl” — and a lead-in to Pastafarianism and recent politics in Russia.


Twerk time

August 28, 2013

A New Yorker cartoon by Emily Flake:


The reference is to Miley Cyrus’s performance at the recent Video Music Awards.



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