My Burden Is The Weight of a Feather

Sufjan Stevens is an incredible artist who takes common experiences and cracks them open, showing the beating heart of emotion within. “Pleasure Principle” is a song about a relationship where one partner wants so much more, while the other merely wants pleasure. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking. Enjoy!

I See Fire

The Hobbit movies were regrettable. How someone who did such a great job with the Lord of the Rings movies so completely screw up The Hobbit is beyond me. Wait…no, no its not, because I’ve seen the Star Wars prequels. Ah, Peter Jackson, you just went full-on George Lucas, didn’t you? What a shame.

Indeed, for my money there were only two good things about those movies. One is the awesome Smaug voiced by the inimitable Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, I know, I’d listen to Cumberbatch read the phone book). The other is this song. Ed Sheeran really knocked it out of the park. When it reaches its climax, it gives me chills.


Too Sexy!

All you 90’s kids out there will remember Right Said Fred and his one hit wonder “I’m Too Sexy.” I’m always reminded of waiting for a table at the Hard Rock Cafe in Paris in 1996, and watching the guy behind the souvenir counter dancing every time this song came around on the music loop. Even though he had doubtless already heard it hundreds of times that day, it still brought him joy. High praise for a bit of 90’s fluff. Enjoy!

Love Karaoke!

Happy Friday, everyone! Here’s an awesome dance song you might not be familiar with, which is a shame because it is awesome. This is Love Karaoke by Blaire Reinhard. I love the lyrics, particularly the idea of going to a club to pick up a guy can be like karaoke…you’re playing a role, singing a song that’s not yours. Meaning aside, though, it’s got one hell of a hook. Enjoy!

I Heart Pomplamoose

When I was in college, I was involved with the Yale Children’s Theater as an actor, director, producer and costume designer. One of the goals of the YCT was to demonstrate to kids that they too could put on shows. To that end, our plays were simple. They were adaptations from children’s books, such as Where The Wild Things Are, Winnie the Pooh, and The Stinky Cheese Man. They were performed in a room on the kids’ level, not up on a stage. The props, costumes and scenery were constructed of simple materials. We involved the audience as much as possible. And you could see the results: the kids were eager to play with us, to be part of the show, to come up to us afterwards, excited to ask us questions about our characters. I like to think some of those kids went home, put together costumes from their closets, painted scenery on old sheets, and performed their favorite stories for their parents and friends.

Pomplamoose (the musical duo of Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte) operates under a very similar premise. Musically, they mostly do imaginative covers of popular songs (although I also recommend their original music! Check out “Bust Your Kneecaps” and “Don’t Stop Loving Me.”) But it’s their videos that really set them apart. In most of them, they make a point to show the viewers exactly what’s going on. If you hear it, you see it. Dawn’s layered vocal tracks are represented by multiple windows of her recording the tracks played at the same time. Conte is shown playing the keyboard, or the guitar, or a rhythm instrument, whatever is heard. Sometimes there are shots of Dawn laying down an instrumental track as well. The resulting quirky videos are entertaining and inspiring. The musically inclined can feel like they can DO this, and may well fire up their computers and pick up their instruments to give it a shot.

The video above takes all that one step further, and adds visual magic to the musical. It’s a clever trick, projecting the images onto foam boards and other white surfaces. The fact that they show you, step by step, how they do it, doesn’t detract from the awesomeness. It just inspires you to go and create your own. It’s wonderful.