All posts filed under: Strange Music

The Adele Thanksgiving Miracle

This Sunday marks the start of the great migration of sorts in the US, as families begin to travel to reunite for the Thanksgiving holiday. I myself have only made a few longer treks for Thanksgiving. One of them was about 9 years ago, when my husband and I traveled from Massachusetts to North Carolina to surprise my mom Thanksgiving day. We actually braved flying out of Logan airport the morning of Thanksgiving. Admittedly there was a lot of things that could have gone wrong, but we were fortunate that our flight left on time, and everyone else traveling on our plane was determined to board as quick as possible to get where we were going. It was pretty nerve-racking, but the look of surprise on my mother’s face when we walked through the door made it all worth it. Of course, my husband and I have had other Thanksgiving traveling experiences where things did not go according to plan. An attempt to drive up to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving a few years ago ended before …

Billy Joe Armstrong’s Ordinary World

When Billy Joe Armstrong made his debut in the leading role for a feature film in 2016’s Ordinary World, the movie was less then well received. The accompanying soundtrack however, included a poignant song by Armstrong that had many convinced that he could have a second career as a folk singer. Sharing the same title as the film, Ordinary World was also included as the closing track on Greenday’s Revolution Radio. In 2017 they re-recorded the song with Miranda Lambert for the band’s greatest hits album.

Chop Suey on a Baroque Baby Grand Piano

I love finding classical covers of rock songs. There’s something about putting the two contrasting music styles together that almost feels taboo or illicit. There are a lot of musicians giving their favorite band’s songs a classical arrangement, but this version of System of a Down’s Chop Suey, played on a white Baroque Baby Grand Piano in a Bosendorger Showroom by Ukrainian pianist Vika, is one of my favorites. Vika writes all of her own arrangements, and posts some on flowkey for other musicians to try. If your not familiar with the song, the original System of a Down video is below hers for contrast.

A Night on Bald Mountain

A few years ago I bought a Halloween compilation with a mix of movie themes and dark classical music. After it downloaded, I noticed that the recording for Night on Bald Mountain was actually titled A Night on Bald Mountain. I spent a few minutes trying to google whether adding “A” to the beginning of the title was correct or not (did not find a definitive answer) and didn’t think much of of it after. Until this summer, when I finally bought a car with a USB connection that lets me connect my phone to my car’s stereo system. By default, it will play the first song alphabetically listed in my music library, which is A Night on Bald Mountain. Mussorgsky’s tone poem is now what I wind up listening to while I back out of my driveway. Which is fine with me, since Night on Bald Mountain was my favorite part of Fantasia growing up. Leopard Stowoski‘s blending of the piece with Ava Maria is the reason why I chose to walk down the …

Mickey’s House of Horrors

Only in a Disney movie would the biggest fright in a horror movie be providing music for a skeleton dance party, and that’s exactly the position Mickey Mouse finds himself in Disney’s first horror themed cartoon. The cartoon had some difficulty getting passed censors, but was released in early December of 1929. My favorite part is the skeleton who plays himself like a xylophone and winces every time he hits his own head.

Dueling Banjos

On it’s own, the jangling banjo tune featured in the 1972 film Deliverance doesn’t have a hint of foreboding to it. But when it’s layered over the antics of it’s four main characters, it builds an increasing sense of dread. The movie centers around four friends, Lewis, Bobby, Drew and Ed embarking on a canoe trip down the Cahulawasse River, which is about to be dammed and turned into a massive lake. When the group arrives in the area at the beginning of the film, they stop to gas up and hire a few locals to drive their cars down to the end of the river, where they will meet them in a day. As the camera cuts from the musical exchange between a steely eyed local and Drew to the increasingly obnoxious antics of Lewis and Bobby, the audience, along with Ed, becomes increasingly unsettled. The whole scene provides foreshadowing for the conflict the group will face with a pair of locals later in the film, and the tune itself will bring a feeling …

The Apprehension Engine

If you ever wondered how some of the hair raising sounds in your favorite horror movie are made, they may have been created with this instrument. The Apprehension Engine was created by film composer Mark Korven and musician Tony Duggan-Smith in order to create all of the spooky sounds they wanted to hear in movies without relying on a limited pool of digital samples. Listening to the instrument in person is described as being especially unsettling. Brad Wheeler with the Globe and Mail noted during a demonstration by Kroven that “As Korven manipulates the thing, the room’s temperature drops about 10 degrees and the composer’s tiny dog retreats to an upstairs closet.” If you were interested in owning one of these nightmare sound machines, the base cost is a mere 10,000.00. Not in your Halloween budget? Then enjoy some of the videos below!

Casting a Spell with Screaming Jay Hawkins

When Screaming Jay Hawkins originally wrote I Put a Spell on You, he originally envisioned it as a ballad. After recording it as such, the original version wasn’t released, and Hawkins wound up in a studio a year later to re-record the song for Columbia records. This time, his producer showed up with fried chicken and beer, and at the end of the night, the wild, unhinged version we know today had been recorded. Despite being banned from the radio, the new recording sold over a million copies. The success of the song prompted him to take on a more wild persona, rising out of a coffin with a cape on, surrounded by smoke, for his performances. Snakes on stage and tusks in his nose were added later, completing what is considered one of the first shock rock performances.

Swept Up In Taylor Swift’s Riptide

Taylor Swift dropped by the BBC Radio One studio recently to promote her new album Lover, and while I loved her set, I don’t think it tops her cover of Vance Joy’s Riptide from a few years ago. Firstly, Swift’s country roots definitely allowed her to keep the performance emotional and personal, instead of turning it into an oversized pop cover. And there’s a certain slyness to her singing this song. When you listen closely to the lyrics, you could almost imagine it being written about her. https://youtu.be/6wyYucOEqV8 I was scared of dentists and the dark I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations Oh, all my friends are turning green You’re the magician’s assistant in their dreams Oh Oh and they come unstuck Lady, running down to the riptide Taken away to the dark side I wanna be your left hand man I love you when you’re singing that song and I got a lump in my throat ’cause You’re gonna sing the words wrong Is this movie that I think you’ll like …

I Miss You

Bandmates Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge may have exuded immature, goofball personas during their time in Blink 182, but underneath they were very serious musicians and songwriters. Take their hit I Miss You, for example. They discussed themes first, and then each wrote on of the verses in separate rooms. Barker wrote the first verse, and Hopper wrote the second. They then reconvended to bring the song together with the chorus and record it. Hello there, The angel from my nightmare, The shadow in the background of the morgue. The unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley. We can live like Jack and Sally If we want.   Where you can always find me And we’ll have Halloween on Christmas. And in the night we’ll wish this never ends, We’ll wish this never ends.   (I miss you, miss you) (I miss you, miss you)   Where are you? And I’m so sorry. I cannot sleep, I cannot dream tonight. I need somebody and always This sick strange darkness Comes creeping on so haunting every …