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Music recs: Lorie, Marc Almond, Michael Stanley [Band] September 24, 2019

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Lorie: fun, catchy, energetic ’00s teen pop (mostly French). She’s also the French VA for a bunch of animated characters, so you can imagine any of these being sung by, say, Tinkerbell or Violet Parr. (Lorie playlist.)

This first one is a cheesy bilingual song about a cross-cultural romance:


Marc Almond: synthpop, new-wave, drag-show cabaret. He was the lead singer of Soft Cell (i.e. the Tainted Love guy); this is mostly the solo stuff he did afterward. (Marc Almond playlist.)

This last one is a heartfelt song about the drag scene:


Michael Stanley [Band]: classic ’70s and ’80s rock with a working-class Midwestern heart. It’s like if the E Street Band was from Ohio. Their highest-charting single even got Clarence Clemons on sax. (Michael Stanley Band playlist.)

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Music recs: Kansas, Laura Branigan, Lifehouse September 13, 2019

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Kansas: classic rock with complex symphonic arrangements. All we are is dust in the wind, man. (Kansas playlist.)


Laura Branigan: pop-rock, synthpop, dance, heartfelt hurt/comfort love songs. (Laura Branigan playlist.)


Lifehouse: Post-grunge alt-rock. Some of the songs have spiritual overtones, but they’re not a religious band. (Lifehouse playlist.)

This first one is an eerily-perfect “Stephen Colbert” theme song.

Music recs: Jean-Jacques Goldman, Julia Ecklar, ABWH September 4, 2019

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Jean-Jacques Goldman: pop-rock, currently the highest-grossing French-language artist alive in the genre. (Jean-Jacques Goldman playlist.)


Julia Ecklar: filk (SFF-themed folk music produced by fandom), in between being a sci-fi writer. Covers the gamut from “earnest odes to space exploration” to “comedy songs about tribbles.” (Julia Ecklar playlist.)

(See also: To Touch The Stars playlist, a multi-artist album of space-exploration tribute songs.)


Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe: progressive rock, four former members of Yes that released a single album as their own group. No specific homages (that I know of), but IMO it has the same general weird/hopeful/cosmic vibe of ’70s-’80s SF. (ABWH playlist.)

Music recs: Icehouse, Jack’s Mannequin, Jann Arden August 23, 2019

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Icehouse – new-wave synth-pop, lots of romantic ’80s earnestness. Originally known as Flowers, published an album titled Icehouse, then changed their band name to Icehouse, because why make things easy. (Icehouse playlist. The end has a bunch of videos with lyrics, but apparently-random instrumental audio.)

Jack’s Mannequin – 2000’s California alt-rock. Touching, melancholy/hopeful — the frontrunner retired the name in part because these albums were “wrapped up in a whole lot of turmoil and tumult in a very difficult time in [his] life.” (Jack’s Mannequin playlist.)

Jann Arden – romantic pop, lot of yearning ballads. (Jann Arden playlist.)

Music recs: Gregorian, Hayley Westenra, Heart August 17, 2019

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Starting with a multi-artist cover band.

Gregorian – Gregorian-chant-inspired covers of pop/rock songs, full choir and all. They record in churches and only pick songs that are “translatable into the 7-tone scale,” which I assume is more historically authentic. (Gregorian playlist. Switches to non-cover-music Gregorian chanting around track 175.)


(Pink Floyd)


(Sarah Brightman)


(Celine Dion)


(Simon & Garfunkel)


(anyway here’s Wonderwall)


Hayley Westenra – operatic new-age classical-pop singer. Apparently has songs in over a dozen languages — including Maori, Japanese, Spanish, and (since she did a version of “May It Be”) Quenya. (Hayley Westenra playlist.)


Heart – classic ’70s rock, lots of big hair and power ballads. (Heart playlist.)

Music recs: Full Blown Rose, Genesis, Giant July 27, 2019

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Well, this post came together fast. Mostly because of the first artist….

Full Blown Rose — polished, dramatic pop/rock. Turns out they never released a whole album, just 14 disparate songs (only a few of which got official releases on soundtracks). Surprisingly good songs for that track record! (Full Blown Rose playlist…such as it is.)

(Including good cover songs.)

Genesis – soft prog rock, vocals by Phil Collins, with a range from “mainstream romantic pop” all the way to “nightmare from the POV of a mouse.”

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is a deeply surreal fantasy/dream/psychosexual/anti-consumerist single continuous story that’s worth listening to in full. (Genesis playlist.)

Giant – eighties glam-rock power ballads. (Giant playlist…with some songs from similarly-named bands mixed in. They run out of glam-rock Giant by track 55.)

Music recs – Delta Goodrem, Emmy Rossum, Fefe Dobson July 24, 2019

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A string of female solo singers this time around. Didn’t plan it that way, it’s just how the alphabet lined up.

Delta Goodrem – contemporary piano pop-rock. My favorites are her wilder, more evocative songs, but she does more traditional-type love songs too. (Delta Goodrem playlist.)

Emmy Rossum – dreamy new-age hurt/comfort pop. Sadly, she’s only released one original album, along with one Christmas album and an album of cover songs. Apparently she’s too busy being an award-winning actress to do more.

Her voice sounds oddly processed in a lot of the original songs — not in a bad way, it gives them a distant ethereal quality, I just wish I knew what it was called. It’s not present in the cover songs, and her vocals do fine standing alone, so it’s more than just autotune. (Emmy Rossum playlist.)

Fefe Dobson – punk/rock power pop. She’s got a running thread of songs about “young woman’s anger about gender politics and how they screw with her relationships.” Mostly from a clear straight/cis point of view, but “if I was a guy, here’s all the [obnoxious] things I would do while dating girls” sure works on a lot of levels. (Fefe Dobson playlist.)

Music recs: Dan Fogelberg, Darren Hayes, Delain July 12, 2019

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Okay, I’ve decided, I’m doing four songs per artist now.

Dan Fogelberg: soft folk rock, soft pop/country, lots of melancholy ballads. Nobody does wistful nostalgia better. (Dan Fogelberg playlist.)

Darren Hayes: pop with a boy-band-y vibe (though it’s only the one guy), sometimes with dubious electronica tangents. Previously the lead singer of Savage Garden — I’ll do recs for them later. (Darren Hayes playlist.)

Delain: symphonic metal, featuring a keyboardist who left Within Temptation. Not as deep into fantasy-goth, more inclined to dramatic-realism-goth. (Delain playlist.)

Music recs: Alan Parsons Project, Aldo Nova, Anggun May 30, 2019

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I’m running out of time to fill up my library’s monthly music-borrowing quota…so naturally my soundtrack for this afternoon was “YouTube playlists of singers I already know I like.”

Alan Parsons Project — soft prog rock. Lots of sci-fi-inspired songs, lots of songs about emotions you don’t hear put to music often. (Alan Parsons Project playlist.)

Aldo Nova – eighties glam rock/metal. (Aldo Nova playlist.)

Since the ’90s he’s been singing his own songs less, and working more behind-the-scenes…on tracks including Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory”, Celine Dion’s “A New Day Has Come”, and Clay Aiken’s “This Is The Night.”

Anggun – emotional, rich-voiced pop. (Anggun playlist.)

Indonesian-French, she sings in both those languages plus English. Sometimes she’ll do translations of her own lyrics; sometimes she’ll take the original tune and release it in another language with a new, unrelated set of lyrics.

She represented France (with a bilingual French/English song) in Eurovision 2012:

And she was in the end-credits version of Let It Go for the Indonesian dub of Frozen:

Things I will pay extra to avoid having to do myself December 8, 2018

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  • Put together furniture
  • Shred my own cheese
  • Rake leaves, shovel snow, cut grass
  • Wash dishes
  • Transcribe audio, and/or text in images
  • Move a lot of boxes
  • Replace a hard drive
  • Walk any distance to do laundry

(This list brought to you by, though not limited to, my next impending move.)

I may not have house-buying money, but at least I’m still managing to make the Life Transition into “willing to outsource minor annoyances rather than spend the time.”

I also pay for a lot of digital music now. Although I do it with the gift cards Bing gives you for using their search engine, so that may not be quite the same category.

(December talking meme.)