Major Versus Minor Key: A Case Study

 Posted by on 31 January 2013 at 2:00 pm  Emotions, Music
Jan 312013

I’ve never had a firm grasp on the emotional differences between major and minor key. Amazingly, I just learned a heck of a lot about it by listening to a version of R.E.M.’s song, “Losing My Religion” changed to a major key.

Here’s the original version in its minor key:

Now here’s the modified version in a major key:

It’s titled “Recovering My Religion” for good reason. As one commenter said, “I’ve never been so happy while losing my religion.”

Also, here’s another version.

Cultural Imports

 Posted by on 21 November 2012 at 10:00 am  Business, Culture, Free Trade, Music
Nov 212012

One of the best features of American culture, I think, is our willingness to adopt anything from other cultures that we like. Apparently, we’re doing that in spades with “Gangnam Style,” a catchy Korean pop song with a crazyawesome video:

The video has spawned countless imitations, including this fabulous Klingon version:

My favorite derivative work, however, is this video of the toddler who will only eat when the “Gangnam Style” video is playing:

NPR has a fascinating article on how that happened. It wasn’t dumb luck, but the product of years of careful effort. As the article concludes:

“Gangnam Style” is what happens when a developing country becomes developed. An infrastructure to make and export culture can develop just like an infrastructure to make and export anything else.

Yes, and we’re all better off as a result! Hooray for sillycrazyfun K-Pop videos!

Japanese Ode to Joy

 Posted by on 17 October 2012 at 2:00 pm  Art, Business, Culture, Music
Oct 172012

This 2011 Japanese performance of my absolute favorite segment of music — Beethoven’s Ode to Joy — was dedicated to the survivors of the tsunami. I don’t think that the ginormous crowd of singers works well musically — at least not in this recording — yet I still appreciate the power of the performance.

Initially, to see Japanese singers performing in German was a bit strange, but then I realized that such is the fruit of the globalization of culture. Japanese singers and musicians can recognize the beauty and power of a German symphony written in 1824, then perform it spectacularly. Then, I, wholly American, can enjoy it from the comfort of my home in Colorado.

So many people decry the globalization of culture, thinking that it means nothing more than McDonalds and Starbucks on every corner. In fact, that’s good too, for the same reason as this performance. Globalization enables each individual person to pick and choose what he values most from around the world, rather than being limited to the cultural and economic products of his own culture. We might not always agree with other people’s choices, but we’re free to make our own.

Metal Cat Music Video

 Posted by on 15 October 2012 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Cats, Funny, Music
Oct 152012

From Aux.TV:

The problem with webcams? Mixing them with alcohol tends to allow things like this to take shape.

Here’s what happened when Give Zombies the Vote singer Shaun Callaghan had a few too many, started cuddling his cat—named Bill Murray—and decided to toss together a makeshift music video for their song “Black Hole.”

Naturally, he did this in secret, but as soon as his bandmates found the video they wasted no time posting it on reddit because what are friends for, if not humiliating you in front of thousands of total strangers?

Now, without further ado:

The combination of looks on the singer’s and the cat’s face are just priceless. Plus, I loved that he was bouncing the kitty like a baby toward the end. Clearly, all metal bands should promote their songs with cat videos from now on.

Flashmob: Beethoven’s Ode to Joy

 Posted by on 1 August 2012 at 2:00 pm  Cool, Music
Aug 012012


The description reads:

On the 130th anniversary of the founding of Banco Sabadell we wanted to pay homage to our city by means of the campaign “Som Sabadell” (We are Sabadell) . This is the flashmob that we arranged as a final culmination with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs.

Hooray for stuffy corporations doing awesomethings! (That was a typo… but I like it!)

New Mika: Elle Me Dit

 Posted by on 16 July 2012 at 2:00 pm  Music
Jul 162012

Mika — the singer I’ve blogged about before — has a new album coming out soon: The Origin of Love. Here’s the video for one of the songs, Elle Me Dit, which I already love. (Yes, the song is in French.)

Here are the lyrics in French:

Elle me dit “écris une chanson contente,
pas une chanson déprimante,
une chanson que tout le monde aime”.
Elle me dit “tu deviendras milliardaire.
T’auras de quoi être fier.
Ne finis pas comme ton père”.
Elle me dit “ne t’enferme pas dans ta chambre,
vas-y, secoue-toi et danse
dis moi c’est quoi ton problème?”
Elle me dit “qu’est ce que t’as t’as l’air coincé,
t’es défoncé au peket
Tu finiras comme ton frère”

Elle me dit,
Elle me dit “c’est ta vie
fais ce que tu veux tant pis
un jour tu comprendras
un jour tu t’en voudras”
Elle me dit “t’es trop nul,
sors un peu de ta bulle.
Tu fais n’importe quoi
on dirait que t’aimes ca.”
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Danse danse danse danse elle me dit danse”. x2

Elle me dit “fais comme les autres garcons,
va taper dans un ballon,
tu deviendras populaire”.
Elle me dit, “qu’est-ce que tu fous sur internet,
ca va pas bien dans ta tête.
Regarde le temps que tu perds.”
Elle me dit “pourquoi tu te plains tout le temps?
On dirait que t’as huit ans.
C’est pas comme ca que tu vas plaire”
Elle me dit “un jour je ne serai plus là
et c’est quand elle me dit ça
qu’elle me dit un truc que j’aime.


Elle me dit, “t’as pas encore des cheveux blancs,
mais t’auras bientôt 30 ans,
faudrait que tu te réveilles.
Elle me dit “tu es toujours un enfant,
tu ne seras jamais grand.
Et moi je suis déjà vieille
Elle me dit “regarde un peu tes amis,
qu’est-ce qu’ils vont faire de leur vie,
y’ a de quoi se foutre en l’air.
Elle me dit, “oui un jour tu me tueras”
et c’est quand elle me dit ca
qu’elle me dit un truc que j’aime.
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Danse danse danse danse elle me dit danse”. x2

My friend Pablo the Tenor translated the song thusly in my Facebook comments:

She says to me “Write a happy song,
not a depressing one
a song that everybody’s going to love!”

She says to me “you’ll be a millionnaire
You’ll have something to be proud of,
Don’t end up like your father!”

She says to me “Don’t lock yourself up in your room
Go out, snap out of it and dance!
Tell me, what’s the matter with you?

She says to me “You’ve got a sullen air,
You’re wasted on Peket!*
You’ll end up like your brother!”

She says to me,
“It’s your life
Do as you please, alas,
One day you’ll understand,
One day you won’t be mad”
She says to me “You’re too bland,**
Come out of your bubble a little
You don’t do anything,
It’s as if you love it!
Why are you wasting your life?
Why are you wasting your life?
Why are you wasting your life?”
“Dance! Dance!” She says to me, “Dance!” x2

She says to me “Do like other boys,
Go kick a ball around,
You’ll become popular!”

She says to me “What are you doing on the internet?
That’s not good for your brain!
Look at the time you’re wasting!”

She says to me “Why do you whine all the time?
One would say you’re eight years old!
You’re not going to please anyone like that!”

She says to me “One day I won’t be here anymore.”
And when she says that to me
It’s the same old song:


She says to me, “You’re not grey yet,
But you’re going to be thirty!
You need to wake up!”

She says to me, “You’re no longer a child,
You’ll never grow up,
And I’m already old!”

She says to me, “Look at your friends,
What are they going to do with their lives?
They’re wasting their lives!”

She says to me “One day you’re going to kill me!”
And when she says that to me
It’s the same old song:


* Specialty alcoholic drink from Belgium.
** Normally “T’es nul” would be translated as ‘You suck’, I think this fits the phrase more.

Street Violin Virtuoso

 Posted by on 6 June 2012 at 8:00 am  Music
Jun 062012

This performance is phenomenal:

Here’s the web site of the violinist, Bryson Andres.

I Can’t Go for That

 Posted by on 2 April 2012 at 1:00 pm  Music
Apr 022012

I loved this cover of Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That” by Nicki Bluhm and the Gamblers:

The Seikilos Epitaph

 Posted by on 28 March 2012 at 1:00 pm  History, Music
Mar 282012

Seikilos Epitaph – Song of Seikilos:

The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, near Aidin, Turkey (not far from Ephesus). The find has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100.

That’s pretty darn awesome. You can read more about it here.

More Tim Minchin

 Posted by on 27 June 2011 at 1:00 pm  Funny, Music, Religion
Jun 272011

On Sunday, I went on another Tim Minchin viewing spree. Once again, I loved them all.


I Love Jesus:

My Neighbor’s Ass:

The Good Book:

Fat Children:

Fuck the Poor:

If I Didn’t Have You:

I’m now determined to see him live at some point. That would be a blast!

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