Chris is a digital producer based in Toronto, but don't worry, he's American. He enjoys karaoke and video games that are old enough to cost under $20. He used to be a master of the pit and live shows but can hardly keep up with anything new nowadays, so he usually goes to his happy place of media from his wayward youth.
Chris is still trying to figure out what to be when he grows up.
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I was doing a search for rock-ish versions of Christmas songs, and found this pretty comprehensive list. I’ve also got a few random Christmas songs by bands I like in my library. I didn’t listen to all the songs on the page, but generally – meh (and to be clear, I have a serious addiction problem to collecting Christmas music). Give me my favorite band doing a Christmas song and I will still pick Bing Crosby or John Denver and the Muppets any day.
At the very end of this list, however, was this gem, which is new to me. I don’t know why Bryan Adams was the person picked to sing about “Reggae Christmas”, but what I do know is that Pee-Wee Herman has dreadlocks, and so all is right in the world.
by When In Rome
from the album When In Rome
1988 Buy the album on Amazon
Aaah, one of my favorite songs ever, and a must-sing entry in the Chris/Chrance karaoke playlist. This is a song I listen to when I need a pick me up, and a song I sing when I need an ego boost and want to get the crowd in a good mood. Most people don’t know it by name, but as soon as that intro piano tinkle comes on, everyone of at least a certain age has their synapses fire with happy recognition.
from the album Out of Time
1991 Buy the album on Amazon
Damnit. I wanted to start off Monday morning with a good rocking pick, and then this came up (actually, “Jane Says” came up but it’s already been posted, and so did “Under the Bridge” but I feel like karaoke rules sort of apply to MNP as well, so I may let Lance post that one). I couldn’t hit skip forever though, so here we are.
by Nine Inch Nails
from the album Natural Born Killers Soundtrack
1994 Buy the album on Amazon
Not necessarily what I was hoping for, but a great track nonetheless. This was originally released on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack (one of the picks I ran out of time to do for October Soundtracks), and is also on the deluxe edition of The Downward Spiral. There were bits of NIN woven throughout that soundtrack, but this was the only new NIN song, and it’s fantastic. If you need a song to listen to when you’re feeling pissed at the world, or even just need a workout song that will get you moving (just try not to run faster at the 2:30 mark), this is the one.
Violent Femmes by Violent Femmes
1983 Buy the album on Amazon
I was planning on a different Album of the Month, but then my friend new Kelsey and I were talking about our top 5 bands. I had mostly not heard of hers (because I’m old) and she had mostly not heard of mine (also because I’m old). Violent Femmes were on my list, and though my main thought was trying to hold back from screaming out on the subway “how do you not know who the Violent Femmes are?!”, my other thought was “if their first album is not a perfect album, then brother, I don’t know what the hell is.” So Kelsey, this is for you.
“The City That Day”
by Matt Skiba and Kevin Seconds
from the album Split
2002 Buy the album on Amazon
I was really hoping this album would come up on the 5-star shuffle this week. I was hoping for one of the other songs I’ve got in this playlist, because they’re more like 6 or 7 stars, but this is the one that came up, and them’s the rules.
I don’t have any idea how I first got turned on to this album, but man, do I love it (I think I used to think I should give 7 Seconds a try, and saw this and picked it up). Half of the songs are 3 stars for me (meaning good but not something I listen to all that often, and they’re not portable), and one is 4, but the others are all 5 stars, which is not normal for me.
by Face to Face
from the album Big Choice
1994 Buy the album on Amazon
In my first year of college, I met my friend Brendan, and in between watching boat loads of horror movies and drinking boat loads of cookies and cream shakes at Village Inn, we listened to and talked about a whole lot of music. We already had some crossover favorites, but he also got me into a bunch of punk (or punk-ish) bands – NOFX, Blink 182, Pennywise, Propagandhi, and, you guessed it, Face to Face. Though there’s certainly a time for the lightheartedness of the first two bands, I always appreciated that Face to Face was more sincere without being super hardcore, and I love the singer’s voice.
“The Wrong Child”
from the album Green
1998 Buy the album on Amazon
Sorry to disappointment our adoring fans, because I know I am one day late on my 5-star entry for last week, so getting it in now. And what a punch in the gut depressing entry it is. I think I’ve mentioned before that I was a big R.E.M. fan in my youth, probably up until around Automatic for the People. I don’t remember if Green was their first album I had, and I might argue that Document or Life’s Rich Pageant are better albums, but Green is still the pinnacle of their albums for me. The one that had the most impact and stuck with me the most. In fact, thinking about it now, I should probably do it as an Album of the Month at some point, so let’s get to the song.
by They Might Be Giants
from the album Flood
1990 Buy the album on Amazon
This is probably my favourite TMBG song. There’s something about it that’s so simple and so beautiful and so catchy. I actually made Lance try this with me once or twice at karaoke, acapella, looking at the lyrics on my phone, when there was a lull in songs in the queue, because I just want so badly for it to actually be in the book. It never ever will be, but this is one of those songs that we would totally add if we ever opened a karaoke bar, and that if we actually lived in the same city (or country) we would practice together until we could nail it. It’s such a fun song to sing (I can never decide which part I would prefer to do), even if it’s just doing it loudly in the car. If I’m in a place where I’m alone and can sing this, I will almost always do it a few times in a row when it comes on shuffle.
“Why Would I Want to Die”
from the album Concrete Dunes
2002 Buy the album on Amazon
I love the idea of a monthly theme based on shuffling, and not being able to skip, but the problem is for me my 5 star playlist is only has 122 songs on it (vs. 2448 4 stars), so all of them are going to be things I love and almost never skip. I’m very restrictive about what makes 5 stars, whereas there are plenty of moments of potential embarrassment (if that’s what Lance was hoping for) in the 4 star list (I’m not entirely positive Lance and I use the same criteria for our rating system). But, this month is about the best of the best, so onward.