I caught an interesting discussion on CBC Radio this morning about the power of music as therapy. Music can be used to soothe and revitalize those suffering from dementia, for example.
A popular example of this can be seen in this clip of Henry that made the rounds a few years ago.
The music therapist said they were experiencing the most success with the music one enjoyed most as a young person in their late teens. For me, that would be the very early 90s. In the very early 90s, my go-to musical acts were:
The Tragically Hip
Even today I feel a sense of revitalization when I hear a tune I was cranking on my Walkman back in '92. Start a cut from Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet and I'll finish it for you. Play me the opening chords from Pearl Jam's Porch and I become Eddie Vedder.
It's December, and that means you'll likely need to assemble a Christmas party playlist for a holiday party or two.
A great deal of Christmas music is awful, but there are a few dozen or so I can stomach. Here are my personal favourite Christmas songs if you need a little help building your playlist. To make things extra fun, I'm going to mark my top 7 by making them bold.
Christmas Don't Be Late - Alvin and the Chipmunks
Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
Green Christmas - Barenaked Ladies
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Mary Had A Baby - Bruce Cockburn
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
Merry Christmas Baby - Chuck Berry
Joy To The World - Clem Snide
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay
First Noel - Crash Test Dummies
Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Death Cab For Cutie
Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
I Believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake
Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto - James Brown
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John & Yoko And Plastic Ono Band And The Harlem Community Choir
Honky The Christmas Goose - Johnny Bower
I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas
Father Christmas - The Kinks
Christmas Night in Harlem - Louis Armstrong & His All Stars
Carol Of The Bells - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole
Merry Christmas, Baby - Otis Redding
Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
2000 Miles - The Pretenders
Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - The Ramones
The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes
Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles
Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
Song For A Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
What Christmas Means To Me - Stevie Wonder
You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft
O Holy Night - Tipitina's Foundation
Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis - Tom Waits
Baby Please Come Home - U2
Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Greensleeves - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
Welcome Christmas - The Who's of Whoville
If you're interested in hearing about the worst Christmas song ever, there's more on that here.
When listing "rain" songs on Saturday, I included a gem by Melanie. "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" is a great tune, but it's not my favourite Melanie tune. I'm partial to "Brand New Key".
You don't hear much about Melanie these days, likely because she seemed to withdraw from public life in the early 70s, but she had a string of fun hits including "What Have They Done To My Song Ma".
Here's "What Have They Done To My Song Ma" for the unfamiliar:
In a great example of irony, my first exposure to this tune was when it was used in a Quaker Oats Oatmeal Raisin Crisp ad in the early 80s. I remember this ad well, because I thought the song was catchy. I had no idea who Melanie was or that it wasn't an original tune.
So Melanie wrote a song called "What Have They Done To My Song Ma" and without her consent (because she didn't own the rights) had her song purchased and used by Quaker Oats to promote cereal.
It's been raining cats and dogs all morning in Toronto and it doesn't look like it's going to let up for hours yet. That was the perfect excuse for me to assemble a brilliant 25 song "rain" playlist. Every song had to have "rain" in the title.
I didn't include songs with "rainy" or "raincoat" or "raindrops", just "rain. If I'm missing a "Rain" song you think just has to be there, let me know in the comments.
Only Happy When it Rains - Garbage
Purple Rain - Prince
Have You Ever Seen the Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Rain-O - Chilliwack
Who'll Stop the Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival
After taking my daughter to see Selena Gomez last week, I started thinking about bands I've seen live. Here's a list of bands I've seen live. It's possible I'm missing an act or two, but I think I've got most of them.
Last night, I took my daughter to her first concert. We saw Selena Gomez at the Air Canada Centre.
It was a beautiful Saturday in Toronto, so we went to Buskerfest on Yonge first before grabbing dinner and heading to the show for the opening act.
The first performer was Christina Grimmie. She played for about 30-minute and was pretty good. It turns out I just enjoy live music, whether I'm a fan of the artist or not. I was sincerely digging it, especially the title track of her new album, "With Love", which you can hear here.
Then, the young female screaming began. Emblem3 hit the stage and it sounded like the Beatles had landed at JFK. A sign of the times, Christine Grimmie was discovered on YouTube and Emblem3 were discovered on The X Factor. The 20,000 girls in the crowd really, really, really like Emblem3 and weren't afraid to show it.
Then, right on schedule, it was time for Selena Gomez to play for her adoring faithful. She's not my cup of tea, but I got right into it. When in Rome...
Michelle had a blast, standing proud and belting out every song with Selena. Highlights included "Who Says", "Love You Like a Love Song" and her encore crowd favourite, "Come & Get It".
It was amazing fun and I'm so glad I got to be Michelle's date for her very first concert.
When my power returned yesterday evening, I blurted out "I've got the power!". I was channeling Snap! who had a hit with the song in 1990.
The Power made me think of similar pop-rap hits in the early 90s. Naturally, I remembered that time two songs shared the same chorus...
In 1993, 95 South released "Whoot, There It Is". One month later, Tag Team released "Whoomp! (There It Is)".
Here's 95 South's "Whoot, There It Is":
And here's Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There It Is)":
Despite the fact the choruses are almost identical, they're otherwise completely different songs. Interestingly enough, both songs charted on the Billboard chart at the same time. "Whoot, There It Is" peaked at #11 and "Whoomp! (There It Is)" peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.