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50 minutes | Oct 13, 2021
Episode 295: I Dunno Kid, Maybe He's At The Player's Ball
While we bide our time between the first and second phases of Eggnog Watch 2021, we're covering a request that's been languishing for years! And it offers plenty more blasts from the past - "Donde Esta Santa Claus" by Augie Rios is a 1958 novelty hit, and uh, you know how those are. Thankfully, "Player's Ball" by Outkast is a refreshing (so fresh) palate cleanser (so clean). Thank you to Dave for these requests! Our ranking music in this episode is "So Fresh, So Clean" by Outkast.
52 minutes | Sep 29, 2021
Episode 294: Quirky Aunt Energy
This week: listener requests! First, we unpack the time capsule of the mid-sixties that is "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night" by Simon & Garfunkel, and then interrupt that program to do some PSAs about the dangers of ornament consumption as we discuss "Tinsel in the Tea Leaves" by Kathy Lowe. The ranking music this week is "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon. Thank you to Eben for these requests! The resources mentioned for Indigenous folks who need culturally safe support are the KUU-US 24 Hour Crisis Line and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. These are also great orgs for settlers to support with donations.
55 minutes | Sep 15, 2021
Episode 293: Earth, Wind, Fire, Trainor, Water, Heart
Do you remember? That's right, it's almost September the 21st, and to celebrate, we've got two Christmas songs by Earth, Wind, and Fire! The first is "December" by Earth, Wind, and Fire, and if you're wondering - yes, that's it, what you're imagining, it's that exactly! Then we discuss "Holidays" by Meghan Trainor featuring Earth, Wind, and Fire - and manage to say a lot about a song that wasn't giving us much to work with. This week's ranking music is Demi Adejuyigbe's remix of "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire circa 2017.
49 minutes | Sep 1, 2021
Episode 292: Pre-Ironic
With Rosh Hashanah approaching, we endeavor to add more Hanukkah music to our long list of winter holiday songs! Join us as we travel back in time, revisiting early childhood memories and discussing two nostalgia-inducing tunes, "Dreidel Rap '89" by Abraham and "The Rockin' Dreidel Song" by Sha Na Na. Also: Ian debuts his new catchphrase! Here's the Chicago Reader article about Dreidel Rap '89! The ranking music used in this episode is "Latkes" by Meshugga Beach Party.
56 minutes | Aug 18, 2021
Episode 291: Jingle Horse 5: Ballad of the Horsey Folk
The Gold Cup Parade (???) is approaching, which means (???), but anyway, we're doing a jingle horse episode. Maybe Dan Brown ghost-wrote this one because we go deep down some meaningless rabbit holes - beginning with "New Jingle Horse", a revisit to the oeuvre of the Geeta Brothers Duet Group, and ending with cracking the case of "Jingle Horse" by Jerry Riggins (et al).
51 minutes | Aug 4, 2021
Episode 290: Jason Frost and Annie Rythmics
It's a real Choose Your Own Theme-venture this week. Summer? Sure, it's hot out, so we cooled off with two versions of wintery classic "Winter Wonderland". Olympics? Yeah, let's get back into the Very Special Christmas catalogue that benefits the Special Olympics, regardless of the fact that those games aren't happening until next year. Jason Mraz's last name means "frost" in Czech and Annie Lenox of the Eurythmics was born on Christmas day. Is that anything? This episode's ranking music is "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter. Not Jason Mraz, not The Fray, not Five for Fighting: just Canada's own Daniel Powter.
58 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
Episode 289: The Most Exciting Holliday
It's Ian's birthday this week, so you know what that means - he's selflessly gifting half of his Birthday Boy's Choice to RJ!! What a sweetie. Ian and RJ exchange the gift of music - or in the case of "All I Want For Christmas" by Lil Jon featuring The Kool-Aid Man, the gift of post-ironic brand partnerships. Then we cleanse our palates with the new wave taste of "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas" by the Pet Shop Boys. Bing Crosby!!! The ranking music for this episode is "Always On My Mind" as performed by the Pet Shop Boys.
53 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
Episode 288: Original Takes on Death
We're back, and we're talking about death! To get back into the swing of things after our brief summer break, we listen to two requested songs - "Yes December" by Nerina Pallot and "Lost in the Snow" by Bruce Hornsby - about cooler weather. And also, it turns out, mortality! Thank you to Jenny and Daniel the Macy's Elf for these requests! Our ranking music in this episode is "Farmhouse" by Phish.
61 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
Episode 287: Jim's Big New Year
The summer solstice approaches (in this hemisphere), and we're celebrating the new season with two New Year's Eve/Day songs! By listener request, we add another song to our list from the genre we are hereby dubbing "TMBGcore ": "New Lang Syne (Thank God It's Over)" by Jim's Big Ego. Then by our own free will we add another song by Taylor Swift, "New Year's Day". When the genie that only lets you listen to one Taylor Swift song for the rest of your life visits, you can do better than this one. This episode's ranking music is "Stress" by Jim's Big Ego! The organization that we recommended supporting with a donation is the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
49 minutes | May 26, 2021
Episode 286: Fake Sinatra
Hang on to your beep-boops, in this episode we returning to the world of neural-net-generated carols! OpenAI's Jukebox performs an original song created by fellow neural net GPT-2, under the title "Classic Pop, in the Style of Frank Sinatra". The Forever Now, a band composed of regular ol' humans, puts their spin on the same lyrics under the title "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, King of All the Earth". Man vs. machine! Will robots come out on top or trip on that uncanny valley? The ranking music in this episode is "Jazz, in the Style of Ella Fitzgerald" by OpenAI's Jukebox. You can read Janelle Shane's post about Jukebox here and her post about creation of the Christmas carol lyrics here! Thank you to Matthew for the request! RJ's other podcast, Book Club For Masochists, can be found here.
54 minutes | May 12, 2021
Episode 285: Sword Tweets
With Victoria Day approaching, we're once again covering holiday songs from across the pond! By listener request, we discuss "I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek" by The Go-Go's, a British novelty song documenting the mid-1960s Daleks obsession, and "Arthur McBride and the Sergeant" as performed by Paul Brady, an Irish folk song documenting some British recruiters getting their asses handed to them on Christmas morning. The ranking music in this episode is "Stop the Cavalry" by Jona Lewie. Thank you to Myles for these requests!
47 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
Episode 284: Hard Jazz
You ever hear a brass instrument doing its thing and you think: that's jazz, baby! And then in another song you hear a brass instrument doing something, maybe not its thing, and you think: is this approaching the concept of jazz? For this International Jazz Day episode, we explore two songs' proximity to the category of jazz. First up is "Mary Had a Baby" as performed by Wynton Marsalis, featuring vocals by Roberta Gumbel. It's for sure jazz, but also, more! Then we make another visit to Bill & Gloria Gaither's proverbial Christmas cabin with "He Drew the Line" featuring Woody Wright and Mike Allen. Is it jazz? Is it jazzy? Is it (jazzy?)? Well. Thank you to Andrew for requesting "He Drew the Line"!
50 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
Episode 283: O Christmas Weed
This was supposed to be our annual 4/20 episode, but it also turned out to be a sleeper Halloween episode - though I suppose an anxious, paranoid vibe is not wholly inappropriate. Our first song, "Pudsy's Christmas" by Jonathan Coulton, manages to give RJ a serious case of heebie-jeebies due to its origin story. "California Christmas Trees" by Mila J doesn't provide quite the come-down we're looking for, but it is at least, you know, not cursed. Our ranking music this week is "Christmas in LA (Instrumental)" by Vulfpeck.
55 minutes | Mar 31, 2021
Episode 282: HSM:TM:TS:THS:TS
This week we're forgoing our tradition of covering more religious songs for the Easter and Pesach seasons in favor of lighter fare. We dig into two 2020 Hanukkah songs brought to you by that one company that owns most of the things! You know the one. "Hanukkah Medley" performed by Julia Lester of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series packs three traditional Hanukkah songs (including one that we assumed was an original during recording) and several costume changes into just two minutes. "Puppy for Hanukkah" by Daveed Diggs also has a lot going on - including, you know, being a bop. Our ranking music this episode is "Puppies are Forever" by Sia.
60 minutes | Mar 17, 2021
Episode 281: Fun-Fun, Bad-Bad
It's St. Patrick's Day, so for this episode we've got... well, one mildly relevant song. By request, we listen to "The Season's Upon Us" by Dropkick Murphys, a Celtic-punk entry in the "I hate my family" subgenre of holiday tunes. Then we hear No Doubt's rendition of "Oi to the World", evoking both nostalgia and regret. Our ranking music in this episode is "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys. Thank you to Scott for these requests!
49 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
Episode 280: She's a Lady (Reindeer)
In honor of International Women's Day on March 8th, we're listening to two songs that bring women to the forefront of the Christmas character canon! Uh, sort of. "Good Queen Wenceslas" by Goldstein is an odd take on the classic carol that leaves us feeling conflicted, while "Red Nose, Red Dress" by Christmas Aguilera has us completely hooked. So much so that it's also the ranking music for this episode!
53 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
Episode 279: Más Idiomas
In honor of International Mother Language Day on February 21st, we're increasing the linguistic diversity of our list by covering two songs in languages that haven't been featured on the show before! First up we enjoy "Elu Agogo", a cheerful Christmas song in Yoruba performed by Ife Ogunwumiju. Then we experience "Marie Te Po", a Te Reo Maori translation of "Silent Night", performed by Lucky Boy^ - who brings some delightful surprises to the old standard. The ranking music in this episode is "Betelehemu" as performed by the African Children's Choir.
46 minutes | Feb 3, 2021
Episode 278: Reluctantly Flopping Into Christmas
As Lunar New Year approaches, we're looking back at one very specific year - the only year between 1943 and 2020 that has never had a song featured on the podcast! We discuss two of 1972's strange and sometimes haunting holiday songs: "The Gift of Giving" by Bill Withers and "Slipping into Christmas" by Leon Russell. This episode's ranking music is "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers.
50 minutes | Jan 20, 2021
Episode 277: The Feast of St. Groundhog
In anticipation of Groundhog Day, a holiday that is as much about repetition and time travel than it is about anything else, we're doing our most repetitive episode yet - two requests by a repeat requester, featuring two versions of songs we've discussed before, performed by two artists we've discussed before! We discuss "Baby, It's Cold Outside" AGAIN, this time as performed by Louie Armstrong and Velma Middleton. And then we reluctantly dig back into the big steaming pile of Bob Rivers' parody tracks, and unfortunately experience "Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire". The ranking music this week is the theme song of the 1980s Chipmunks cartoon, which was initially called "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and later simply "The Chipmunks". Thank you to Tom for these requests!
51 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
Episode 276: Two Princes
It's Epiphany, aka Three Kings Day - but instead of three kings, we've got two princes! That's right, we're abandoning our format to talk about the Spin Doctors' 90s hit! No, just kidding, we're talking about Prince. Join us as we reflect on the apocalyptic New Year's anthem "1999" and the strange, gloomy "Another Lonely Christmas". This week's ranking music is, in fact, "Two Princes" by the Spin Doctors.
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