Some years ago (at least three, but probably more) the Disney behemoth began advertising its Hawaiian resort Aulani with this utterly enchanting version of “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. Even in the little bit they played in the commercial, I was in love with it.
I’ll be the first one to admit I don’t know much about Yuna, the singer who created this song (anyone who does can click here). But she gives me the general impression of being quite charming. I also believe she is a Muslim, which means she is persona non grata in Trump’s worldview; all Muslims are terrorists to him. Even the one’s who sing songs as wholesomely American as Disney songs. Of course, this particular Disney movie is now suspect in Trump’s vision of the world. It is, after all, set in an Arab country and features brown people as characters.
I didn’t mean to make this one political at all. The song is just an innocent romp meant to further the Disney-fied romance between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. And this cover is, as I stated earlier, utterly enchanting. I just wanted to share it with you. And to remind you that not all Muslims are out to get Westerners. Some of them just want to create music.
Not that long ago, I posted the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show as interpreted by Minneapolis Punk band Husker Du. Now I’m posting it because Mary Tyler Moore has left this plane of existence. (I hate saying “died.” Yes, her physical body has died, but her spirit and energy will always be a part of the Universe.)
I like this clip because it includes just a bit from the final episode. You can here the rest of the WJM gang singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” as Mary takes one last loving look at the newsroom before turning out the lights and closing the door. It was a great good-bye then, and it’s a great one now. So long, Mary. I’ll be sure to laugh as hard for you as your TV namesake did for Chuckles the Clown. (And please, jukebox listeners, for your own sakes track down the episode “Chuckles Bites the Dust” if you haven’t seen it. You will never be sorry.)
There are always a few different lists going around Facebook at any given moment designed to tell people who you are, what kind of person you are based on a handful of questions. Sometimes these things are thematic–like using only one word, or basing each answer on a consecutive letter of the alphabet, etc. I never take part in these things. It’s not that I’m all that closed off, although I can be. It’s not even that the questions are mostly irrelevant, although they often are. I just don’t think these things would really tell you who I am.
I think of myself as a private person, but given that I blog and am on FB, I’m not so sure that’s true anymore. I also like to think I have a pretty tight rein on my emotions, but if I’m being honest that is probably the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself. I have about as much self-control over my emotions as your average three-year-old. But I hate losing control of my feelings in public, so I guess that’s something. I do have trouble letting people in; intimacy and I are not exactly on speaking terms. I’m opinionated and I like to blast my opinions and thoughts (educated or otherwise) out there for the world to see. It’s actually something of a defense mechanism, though. I know that distracting people with my opinions on politics, etc. will get them to think they know who I am and stop asking about me.
So in the spirit of full disclosure, I will occasionally be posting songs I really relate to, that I can see myself in. There’s the me I project, and the me I see in my mind’s eye. The latter is the person these songs will let you all see, too. Maybe. Maybe not. I guess all that stuff really is in the eye of the beholder. My eye beholds this.
You ever get the sense that you’re waiting for something to happen? The feeling that there is something else in this world that is meant for you, but you have no idea what it is or how to articulate it? Not greatness or a great romance, necessarily. Just something. . . different. That’s me. That’s this song for me. I know there’s something out there but I haven’t found it yet. Maybe I never will. I’ve tried to define it in so many different ways but I can’t quite. It’s a search for peace and contentment, something that will finally allow me shut my brain off and let the anxiety and worry disappear. I also know by now that I’m probably never going to find whatever it is outside of myself. It won’t stop me from looking. But in the meantime, I have Jackson Browne to help me at least put a name to it. I’m a Hold Out.
Psst. . . over here. Wanna here something really cool? There’s this song called “Borderline” and it’s really awesome.
Oh, you thought I meant the original version by Madonna. That’s okay; totally natural mistake. And to be fair, Madonna’s version is a great song, one of her earliest and best hits. It’s an 80s classic. But in the hands of the Counting Crows, aka the Kings of Mope, “Borderline” turns into a loose, almost sloppy, Country Rock ramble. A different song, not quite as good as the original but still pretty damn good. Fun. It sounds a little bit like Adam Duritz and the boys had a few beers, maybe smoked a joint, and let it fly. Underwater Sunshine is the Crows’ cover album, released in 2012 to little fanfare (it also features their equally loose version of the Faces’ classic “Ooh La La”). The Crows have long since lost any cultural cache they had in the 90s, but they’re still an awesome band, and Underwater Sunshine one of my favorites. I like hearing musicians play the songs they like by other artists, the stuff they probably jam to when they’re hanging out in someone’s living room or backyard. And that’s exactly what this song and album sound like. It’s easy and relaxed, and you won’t be sorry if you listen to the whole thing.
One of the things I love most about music is that there is a never-ending treasure trove of incredible, wonderful songs to discover. While watching Jeopardy! today, I discovered this little gem from Husker Du. It might sound a little familiar to sitcom fans.
Yes, that’s the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show performed with fuzzy guitar and whipcrack drums by one of the darling bands of the post-Punk 80s. Husker Du, for all their rage and raging sound, could be surprisingly gentle and tender. This is one of the most optimistic songs ever about one of the most optimistic TV heroines ever, played by one of its most wholesomely appealing stars. But while Bob Mould and company manage to keep that optimism and wholesome appeal intact, they can’t help but add a slight edge of Lou Grant style curmudgeon. “You got spunk. I hate spunk.” There is absolutely nothing about this I don’t love.