I Am Begging Singers To Stop Releasing Christmas Covers

I listen to a lot of Christmas music. I love it, which should not be a surprise to anyone who’s been following this blog for a year or two. Though I can and will listen to the holiday radio stations for hours on end, there isn’t a huge variety of songs like there should be. It’s a lot of repeats, just by different singers. And that’s because every time a singer releases a Christmas album, it’s comprised of mostly classic covers, so the radio has eight different versions of ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘White Christmas’.

Singers, it’s time to stop. I am begging you to not give me another album of covers. I already know the songs, and chances are, your cover will not be as good as the original, no matter how great of a singer you are. So why don’t you instead add to the holiday by contributing a new, fun, memorable classic of your own? Make your own mark on the genre instead of getting lost in the other covers? I always love the new additions to the rotation every year, because if I’m being honest, I’m getting a little sick of some of the really really old ones that I’ve heard thousands of times.

you can do better gif.

And you know, it’d be one thing if these singers were doing really fresh arrangements of classic songs (like Kelly Clarkson did with ‘Run Run Reindeer’ or Michael Buble did with ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’) but it’s not happening as much.

I hate to think of these Christmas albums as just a cash grab, but when they’re rather basic and not offering me a lot to get excited about…well, the proof is in the (figgy) pudding.

Here’s my proposed solution: no Christmas albums unless they’re 50% new songs. The other 50% is for covers, and I want at least 30% of that to be new arrangements. With the last 20% if they really want to give us basic covers, fine. I do understand that there’s maybe a song or two that is really meaningful, and they want to do it the way they know it. If a singer can’t commit to this format, then they shouldn’t do an album. They should release a single or two of their bland covers and admit it’s just a cash grab instead of a meaningful mark on Christmas music.

'These are my demands' Spock meme.

Overall, I’m glad that so many singers want to use their talents to make my December jams that much better, and it’s not that I don’t like covers (I mean, I watched Glee for all six years. Covers are fine.) but I feel like they’re not reaching their potential. I want the Christmas albums to shine. Thrive. Become classics for years to come. And that’s not going to happen if they’re mostly comprised of dime a dozen simple covers.

But that’s just my opinion. I’d love to know yours, even if you aren’t a Christmas music aficionado.

Image result for christmas music

That’s all for now!

 

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DC Stars Have Musical Abilities Too

A few months ago, I wrote a post about Marvel actors who have/had music careers that no one really knew of. And then I asked on Twitter if I should investigate any possible music from DC actors, and I got more yesses than nos, so here we are. With Marvel, most of the actors I found were from the movies, whereas with DC, I knew it’d be the many TV stars that I’d spend more time looking up, and I really underestimated how many actors there were. I’ve organized it by show, so you’re welcome. This post is very long, but there were some interesting results. Here is what I found:

Barry and Kara dancing in the Supergirl/Flash musical crossover.

The Flash

  • Grant Gustin starred on Glee before he became the Flash, so we knew there was singing ability there. In the Flash/Supergirl musical crossover, he sings. Before Glee, he was in a touring cast of West Side Story.
  • Carlos Valdez, who plays Cisco on The Flash, was a part of Team Starkid at UofM with Darren Criss, so he helped with music for some of those shows. You can see him in the background of A Very Potter Musical. He also has music of his own, very jazzy stuff, and you can hear it all on Bandcamp under his music name Tha Los. My favourite song of his, though, is this cover of ‘Open Your Eyes’.
  • Jesse L. Martin not only sings in the crossover as well, but his most iconic role is Collins in RENT, both on stage and in the movie. He also sang on a concept album called Bright Lights, Big City, which is on Spotify.
  • Keiynan Lonsdale left the Arrowverse to pursue his music. He’s got a bunch of singles and features on Spotify.

Arrow

  • Colton Haynes has two singles on Spotify, including a Christmas song(!) and a handful of features.
  • With several full solo albums, several cast recordings, and songs in the Flash/Supergirl crossover, John Barrowman is one decorated entertainer, but he’s more well-known in the UK, where he’s from.
  • Colin Donnell has no solo original music but has been on Broadway many, many times. In fact, he’s going back soon to star in a stage production of Almost Famous.
  • Though I can’t find any of it on Spotify, Rick Gonzalez made music for many years. It’s rap, and not very remarkable or recognizable at that, but not awful. Listen to some of it here.
  • Kat McNamara apparently started her career on Broadway but then quickly moved to TV/film. She has one single from 2017 called ‘Ember’ that I thiiiink had something to do with that show she used to be on, Shadowhunters.

Supergirl

  • Under the name King Gvpsv (like ‘gypsy’, I think), Mehcad Brooks has several singles and an album from the last few years. It’s r&b/hip-hop, and pretty catchy.
    king gvpsv single art.
  • Melissa Benoist was on Glee for a few years and sang in the Flash/Supergirl musical crossover. She also starred as Carol King in the Broadway musical Beautiful during a Supergirl hiatus, but she wasn’t the original Carol so she isn’t on the soundtrack.
  • Jeremy Jordan doesn’t have solo stuff but he’s starred in several musicals (Newsies is a favourite of mine) and was in the musical crossover.
  • Chyler Leigh sings her with musician husband Nathan West under the name WestLeigh, but she’s also been a part of his solo stuff. They sing covers, but also have a few original songs.

Legends Of Tomorrow

  • Arthur Darvill has a rather impressive musical history including being on both Broadway and the West End, writing songs for some shows, and being in an old indie band called Edmund. Their presence seems to have been wiped from the internet save a few YouTube videos. Their lyrics are kind of repetitive but the songs slap, and I’ve been listening to the whole album on repeat for a several weeks now.
  • Ciara Renee has been on several Broadway soundtracks.
  • Broadway has also featured Victor Garber. And he sang in the crossover. And he was in a Canadian folk/pop group called The Sugar Shoppe. They even performed on TV.
  • Caity Lotz was in a girl group! Called Soccx, they released a few songs between 2006-2008, and got really popular in Germany. It’s just mid-2000’s generic pop, but it’s wild to see young Caity. Only one song is on Spotify, but others can be found on Youtube.

    Soccx.
    GIRL!!!!! That hair!!!!!

Black Lightning

  • China Anne McClaine sang a lot during her Disney days on various shows/movies, and then sang with her sisters in a group called the McClaine Sisters, but the group hasn’t done anything in years.
  • Marvin Jones III is also known as Krondon and has been rapping for over a decade as a solo artist and in a rap group called Strong Arm Steady. Spotify has all that music.

Smallville

  • John Schneider was a successful country singer in the 80’s and has continued to release music through the 2000’s and 2010’s.
  • Michael Rosenbaum is in a new band called Left On Laurel and they have a debut album that came out a month ago. It’s got 90’s country/pop vibes.
    Left On Laurel performing.
  • Annette O’Toole has written songs with her husband for over a decade. The songs have usually been for movies, and one was even nominated for an Oscar.
  • Cassidy Freeman has a band with her brother and their friend called The Real D’Coy where she sings and plays piano, but it’s been several years since they had new music, so I don’t know if they’re still active.

Other – TV

  • New addition Ruby Rose has one single with someone named Gary Go, and you can listen to it and a bunch of remixes on Spotify.
  • Alan Ritchson, who plays Hawk on Titans, apparently auditioned for American Idol way back when, and Wikipedia says he has an album from 2006. I couldn’t find it at all, but what I did find instead was a debut single of his called ‘Mojito’ and it’s probably one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. But he sang recently on Titans with costar Minka Kelly, so we know he has a decent voice.
  • Matt Bomer, voice of Larry on Doom Patrol, can sing, but doesn’t really do it often. He sang when he guest-starred on Glee, he sang on the Magic Mike soundtrack, and he sang in that one episode of Doom Patrol.
  • Powerless was short and forgettable, but it was still a DC show, so I have to mention that Vanessa Hudgens obviously sang in High School Musical and had a small solo career in the following years. She performed as Rizzo in Fox’s Grease Live a few years ago.

Other – Movies

  • Ezra Miller, the movie Flash, is in a band called Sons Of An Illustrious Father, and their music is pretty indie, bordering on alternative. He plays the drums and sings.
    Sons of an illustrious father.
  • Zachary Levi, Shazam star, has a small singing past including the Disney movie Tangled and a few Broadway shows like She Loves Me.
  • One of Christian Bale’s earliest roles was in the original movie version of Newsies in 1992 as the lead, the same character that Jeremy Jordan played on stage two decades later.
  • OG Catwoman Anne Hathaway has sung in movies like Rio and Les Miserables and more recently in the TV show Modern Love, but Spotify also lists her featured on a few other songs.
  • Michael Caine has sung a little bit for some roles, but more notably, he has released a compilation album of slow, jazzy music called Cained which I couldn’t find on YouTube or Spotify, but here it is on Amazon, to prove it exists.
  • Gary Oldman, who played Commissioner Gordon, has never ventured into solo music for a career but he plays several instruments and has played music for some movie roles and even sang with David Bowie.

I think I looked up everyone from the past few decades, but I’m sure there’s some I missed. If you know of any other DC stars’ music, let me know! Like with my Marvel post, there were some surprising finds, but that was the point! DC may not have the same reputation as Marvel when it comes to box office smashes, but they’ve got some real talent in their arsenal. And hopefully I’ve introduced you to some new music that you actually get in to.

That’s all for now!

 

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3 Dances If I Could Dance

I don’t dance. Very occasionally do I go to a club, but I wouldn’t say that the jumping/swaying that goes on there is dancing. It’s rhythmic bouncing, and it’s certainly not attractive. I haven’t done a choreographed dance since elementary school when it was part of our phys ed grade. Unless you count the ‘Cha-Cha Slide’ and I do not because that is such an annoying routine that I will almost always partake in.

But I am a human being with eyes and as much as I don’t dance and have no plans to, I for some reason have a small running list of my favourite dance routines. The ones that I’d, in theory, love to know and be able to do, if I was dedicated and flexible. But I’m content to just watch them, really.

And I figured I’d share them. Because why not. Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want. So here are 3 dances that are on this list. Feast your eyes on some fantastic footwork:

1. The dance at the end of the ‘Stage Fright’ video

One hit wonder Blake McGrath released this bop eight years ago, and in the video, for like twenty seconds at the end, there’s this dance routine that I always liked watching. It’s quick but fun and simple, and I like her shiny dress. I wish it were longer.

2. The whole dance sequence in ‘King Of New York’

Newsies has so many wonderful dance numbers but ‘King Of New York’ is a favourite of mine. Something about Katherine hiking up her skirt and joining in an amazing tap dance number with the boys always gets me going.

3. The dance break in ‘Days Of Summer’ from A Very Potter Sequel

As an amateur production, the choreography of this show wasn’t anything thrilling, but I loved the fun simplicity of this dance in the middle of such a fun and heartwarming song.

 

I like dance numbers where everyone is doing the same steps. The synchronicity is always so pleasing to watch. It’s why I always like when there are big dance numbers in musicals. It should be a rule that every musical has to have at least one.

What are some dances you like to watch? I realize you probably don’t have a list like I do, but take a second and think about it and then let me know because I’m always ready to watch some cool dancing.

Andy Bernard from The Office dancing gif.

That’s all for now!

 

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Did You Know These Marvel Stars Made Music Because I Sure Didn’t

A few weeks ago I was browsing Spotify’s new Friday releases when I spotted Jeremy Renner’s name (aka Hawkeye in the Marvel movies). Once in a while on social media he’ll post some image of him playing an instrument so I knew he had an interest in music. I just didn’t know he professionally records things and has several songs on Spotify.

So of course I had to listen (and you can too here). He has six songs, all singles, and I recognized a few as covers. Apparently, some of them were done as a campaign for Jeep… Anyway, he’s got a raspy voice that works well for the country/rock genre the songs are in but it isn’t very recognizable as him. Still, it’s not bad to listen to at all. I don’t know if he could ever have a thriving music career, but if he’s having fun releasing songs just for kicks (and that Jeep money), then okay! They’re good! Of course, this will forever be his best song.

And then I clicked related artists. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson.

Surprised gif.

I knew RDJ sang. Every Christmas I hear his cover of ‘River’ a lot on the radio and I love it. But I thought that was just a one-time thing. I did not know he also has a full album of songs from 2004 called The Futurist. He got out of prison and his plan to reinvent his career was with music, apparently. He’s a pretty good singer, but the music on this album just isn’t for me. It’s a little jazzy and a little slow, kind of like background restaurant music. Plus I found that often the melody he was singing didn’t really match with the instruments, but I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be. I’m not surprised the album didn’t thrive and he chose to not pursue music further. That being said, I can definitely see him in like ten years doing a better, more upbeat jazz album just for fun. He’s classy now and I think he’d be able to do it and not take it too seriously because he’s RDJ.

RDJ's The Futurist album.

ScarJo’s music was…something else. In 2008 she did a solo album called Anywhere I Lay My Head and listening to it was rough. It’s slow, sad, folksy music and you can barely hear her voice over the music. She doesn’t have a bad voice, but this album just was not doing her any favours. I don’t know if she really intended to have a music career, but I just don’t know who would really really enjoy that music enough to see it in concert or something. A year later, though, she did a duet album with some dude named Pete Yorn and it’s still indie music, but it’s way more upbeat and cute and you can hear her a lot better. I kind of liked it. And you know what? She had another album in 2018 with Peter Yorn. Yes, 2018 as in last year. Did anyone know this? She did all that press for Marvel and never once decided to share this? Anyway, the second album is a short EP and I liked it better than the first. Fun poppy indie music that I didn’t mind listening to.

Scarlett Johansson Anywhere I Lay My Head album.

And through clicking related artists again, I then found Brie Larson’s album. In 2005 when she was 16, she released a full album called Finally Out Of P.E., and it’s exactly the kind of music you would expect from a young girl in the mid 2000’s. In the same vein as Avril Lavine and Hillary Duff, it’s just pop music but I kind of dug it, and between her, ScarJo, RDJ, and Jeremy, I liked it the best. If you are into that very specific era of music, I’d even recommend it.

Brie Larson Finally Out Of PE album.

So after hearing all this, I needed to know if there were other Marvel stars with secret music out there. I began searching everybody’s name on Spotify. And wouldn’t you know, several others have dabbled in music to some extent, though only some of it was new to me. Here’s what I found:

  • Zendaya sang a bit during her Disney days, and she sang in The Greatest Showman, which we all knew. But I did not know she also had her own album in 2013, a duet with Chris Brown (which I refused to listen to, he doesn’t deserve my stream), and a few other smaller features on songs.
  • Gwenyth Paltrow sung on Glee and sung in that very forgettable movie Country Strong. She clearly has no desire to make a music career, but if RDJ ever were to do another album, I could totally see her being on it.
  • Samuel L Jackson sang on one single song for his movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The song is called ‘Nobody Gets Out Alive’.
  • Tom Hiddleston sang in a movie called I Saw The Light as he played the main character, real-life singer Hank Williams. (Though apparently Hank’s real-life grandson thought Tom didn’t do the singing well…)
  • The following people have sang a few times for the show/movie they were in, but that’s essentially it: Chris Pratt (Parks And Recreation), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), and Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • Tom Holland was in Billy Elliot in London, so though he’s not on an album, he can at least presumably sing enough for the West End.
  • And Marvel TV people are talented too: Chloe Bennet was a teenage pop star in China, Rosario Dawson was in the movie version of Rent, Iwan Rheon is an indie singer with a full album and a handful of singles, and Olivia Holt has made some music over the last four years (you can even hear her on a cover in Cloak And Dagger).

Where I come from, we call that talent gif

We all knew that Marvel roped in some mega talented people, but this just really solidifies the fact. As I said, I knew of a bit of this, but overall, I was very surprised to see multiple full albums. Made for one interesting morning as I listened to it all. I’m willing to bet a lot of you are in the same boat I was, so go listen and be as surprised as me!

That’s all for now!

 

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A Review Of Ed Sheeran’s No. 6 Collab Album By Someone Who Isn’t Into Hip-Hop

I haven’t done a post about music in a while because my music habits are a bit weird and lately I haven’t listened to anything new and popular (aka worth talking about here). But just on Friday the 12th, Ed Sheeran released a new album, and it’s different than what you expect because it’s a collab album. It’s called No. 6 Collaborations Project and every song features one or more people.

I like Ed Sheeran. He’s had some great songs, and his last album ÷ was so good. I must have listened to it easily ~50 times. Just on repeat for days. I think he’s talented and has a nice voice, and though I’m sure it’d be filled with screaming 12 year olds, I would go to a concert of his if it was a good price.

Ed sheeran gif.
An icon

But the thing about No. 6 Collaborations Project is that almost all the artists on it are hip-hop or rap artists, and I really don’t vibe with that genre too much. I don’t mind a rap verse in a good pop song and you know I love Hamilton, but overall, it’s not my style. Is it because (in my opinion) rap these days is all about sex and drugs and money? Maybe. Is it because (in my opinion) a lot of the artists sound the same and the music is more about beats and computers rather than lyrics and talent? Maybe. Either way, I was hesitant to see what this album is about because I really want fun pop music and nice guitar ballads, but I knew that wasn’t what I’d get. And I also worried that the enjoyable Ed Sheeran aspect would get lost in the hip-hop. His single with Justin Bieber was decent, but it was more of a Justin song than an Ed song, in my opinion. Ed can ‘rap’ and all, but his music isn’t rap music by any means.

No. 6 Collaborations Project album.

So who better to give a review of a hip-hop album than me, someone who doesn’t really like hip-hop?

Overall, I was impressed with the album. I thought I’d dislike more songs that I liked, but that was me underestimating the power of Ed Sheeran. I listened to the whole album several times (in part for this post) and I didn’t mind doing so. I didn’t LOVE any of the songs; I thought there’d be at least one I’d immediately want to play on repeat, but that’s okay. I didn’t hate any songs either.

Ed Sheeran did a great job of using his singing voice to balance out the hip-hop/rap parts so I think the songs are tolerable for everyone. And I think if anyone was to do a collab project like this, he’s a good one. He fits in well with the genre despite it being different from his norm. Because he does rap a little, it works even more. And when he raps, he’s not trying to emulate anyone else, it’s literally just his style. It’s good rap for me because it’s got a musical aspect rather than a monotone reciting of bars (I’m sorry, I don’t mean to roast rappers/people who like rap). Also Ed didn’t lose himself in the songs that much at all. Or even in the album. There is one song (‘Best Part Of Me’ featuring YEBBA) that isn’t rap/hip-hop at all and it very much sounds like the kind of music we like from him.

This guy's good gif.

Maybe it’s because of all the artists, but all the songs do sound different from each other, and I really respect that. And they’re all pretty catchy and have fun sounds/beats. It’s definitely a more upbeat album, so it’s something you can have on at a party and it’ll work. A lot of rap can sound angry and aggressive, but there wasn’t much of that. ‘Antisocial’ featuring Travis Scott was probably the angriest, but it wasn’t even that bad at all.

I would have liked to see more collabs with artists of different genres, though. Some country, some older artists, a band, ect (I know Chris Stapleton is country, but their song was a rock song). Unless Ed really set out to have most of the songs hip-hop, some more variety would have been nice. But at least he got big names in, making it more appealing. In 2011 Ed had an EP called No. 5 Collaborations Project and all the artists he featured are people I’ve never heard of. Maybe they were all UK artists. I haven’t listened to that album; it was before I knew him or his music.

My favourite songs are ‘Take Me Back To London’ featuring Stormzy, ‘Beautiful People’ featuring Khalid, and ‘BLOW’ featuring Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars. Most of the song ‘Way To Break My Heart’ featuring Skrillex is good too, but I really dislike the EDM-style editing on the chorus. Ruins it for me.

If you’re like me and don’t particularly enjoy hip-hop or rap, I wouldn’t advise paying money for this album. It’s worth listening to on Spotify for sure, though, especially if you like Ed Sheeran. And if you do enjoy these genres, then I think this album will do you well. I hope Ed returns to his regular pop music in the future, but No. 6 Collaborations Project was pretty good and I’m sure it was fun for him to make with everyone. You can listen here on YouTube or here on Spotify.

Have you listened to this album? Do you like it?

 

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