I’m always intrigued when I discover someone wrote or was a part of a movie or song and I had no clue. When watching Better Call Saul, I was excited to hear a Monkees song I didn’t know (‘Tapioca Tundra’). In reading about it, I also didn’t realize Mike Nesmith had written the song ‘Different Drum,’ made famous by The Stone Poneys/Linda Ronstadt.
It should be known that one of my first musical purchases was the audio cassette of the Monkee’s album Then & Now… The Best of The Monkees. I watched the show regularly, listened to my father’s copy of their first album on vinyl, and even watched the movie HEAD at far too young an age. While I (clearly) don’t know everything about the band, we’ve spent some time together.
Anyway, the song was offered to The Monkees, but rejected by producers and later released by a band called The Greenbriar Boys. However, it wasn’t until Linda Ronstadt sang the song with The Stone Poneys that it became a hit.
Below are all of the versions, including a short version from an episode of The Monkees, a full Mike Nesmith recording, and more.
You can read more about “Different Drum”on Wikipedia.
In preparation for the (rather interesting) Oscar ceremony this year, I watched several nominated films. This included the Jonathan Larson musical tick, tick,… BOOM! Knowing that I was going to see that film, I watched Rent for the first time as well. I didn’t really know Larson’s story going into it either musical.
I was impressed when hearing Andrew Garfield had not really sung before and learned a few songs on piano for the part. He’s come a long way from the first time I saw him – in an episode of Doctor Who (which included pig men in 1940’s New York).
One particular song and scene from tick, tick,… BOOM! was interesting to me for a few reasons. Although I’ve seen quite a few Sondheim musicals, Sunday in the Park with George was not one of them. Learning the song Sunday was homage to the identically named song from George made a lot of sense – the song felt different from others in tick, tick… BOOM! (and Rent, for that matter). (On a side note, I highly recommend Six by Sondheim, which I also watched after these films).
Not only was the Sondheim connection interesting to me, but also the number of cameos in the scene. This post from CBR.com gives a good breakdown of the cameos in the scene. Joel Gray, Chita Rivera, Bebe Neuwirth, Phylicia Rashad, original Rent and Hamilton cast members, and more all appear in the scene. Lin Manuel Miranda, who directed this version and has starred in past productions of TTB, also makes a cameo.
It must also be pointed out that the Moondance Diner makes an appearance in a non-Garfield Spider-man movie AND Jake Gyllenhaal (who plays Mysterio in yet another Spider-man movie) also has a connection here.
Additionally, I’m including renditions by Raul Esparza who sang both Sundays in productions of these shows.
If you’ve been paying any attention to The Weeknd for the last year you may have noticed a few things: the same red suit jacket and black clothes and a bloodied nose and face. You read right, he’s been making live appearances wearing the same outfit and with makeup and prosthetics to appear bloodied. He’s essentially been telling a story over the course of 10 or 12 music videos and live performances. I’m not sure I can think of a case where someone has sustained a character AND story arc across this many videos.
I’ve compiled those videos below in what I think is the correct order. Some are, uhm, explicit. I’m not sure if this is the last of the videos, but if any more are released I’ll add them to this post.
Want some new music for Halloween? I’ve been listening to this Kim Petras album a couple times a day since it was released earlier this month. There are some obvious homages to the theme from Halloween and Thriller (including Elvira stepping in for Vincent Price in the middle of the eponymous track).
I heard Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give it Up on the radio today. I’m still hesitant to say Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines was an intentional copy beyond Pharrell’s “woo!” noises. However, I’ve been listening to Shawn Mendes (what, it’s surprisingly good!) and think his song Nervous sounds A LOT more like Got to Give it Up (starting around the :33 second mark).
There are also some similarities to the Blurred Lines video, namely the white backdrop with strong pops of red, a slight sepia tone, and women as props (have you seen the uncensored version of Blurred Lines, for sure NSFW!).
What do you think, am I wrong? Will he be sued by the Gaye estate too?
My kids are obsessed with a short film included with “Moana” called “Inner Workings.” An important part of the movie is a song called “California Loco.” It’s one of those songs you can’t get out of your head, no matter how hard you try.
Looking into its background, the composer, Ludwig Göransson, is someone you may not know by name, but you’ve certainly heard his music.
I’d first heard of Göransson through his collaboration with Childish Gambino/Donald Glover. Genius has a great breakdown of their recording process of “Redbone,” which started with Donald playing drums and Ludwig layering many, many instruments to build the sounds they wanted.
Not a Gambino fan? Well he also scored Black Panther and Ryan Coogler’s other films, “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed.” Similar to his work with Gambino, much of the music was built by layering contributions from others, in the case of “Black Panther,” Senegalese artist Baaba Maal.
The Seeb remix of Mike Posner’s I Took A Pill in Ibiza is one of those ear worms, something you can’t shake – even if you want to. I’ve attended my fair share of Dylan concerts, own most of his albums, and have seen any movie he’s been a part of (yes, that includes ‘Hearts of Fire’). Because of this, the inspiration for video for the original version of Mike Posner’s the song was not unfamiliar to me. In my youth I remember buying INXS’s ‘Kick’, and more than a few ‘Weird’ Al albums on cassette. This prompted the need to have a little video marathon and I thought I’d share it here, too. Did I miss any others?
I have a bit of a confession; I’ve become a fan of pop and other forms of music I never thought I’d like. Here are some songs I’ve been listening to over the last few months. Keith Urban? Harry Styles? Miley Cyrus? Yup, I wouldn’t have expected these either, but there’s something there for me! It’s a byproduct of a few things; I’m married to a huge pop fan, we have kids, and I get a lot of my music via the radio. I don’t hear the same music I did even 5 years ago. That’s not to say there’s stuff on there I wouldn’t have listened to anyway. The tracks by Childish Gambino and Thundercat would probably be in heavy rotation for me no matter what (and The Weeknd/Daft Punk collaboration isn’t a million miles away from those). There’s the nostalgia pick of my time in Ireland with Ed Sheeran’s ‘Galway Girl’ and a song from the show Nashville. There’s more than just the songs I’ve mentioned, so give my little list a listen! What have you listening to lately? What else should I hear?