SotW: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by She and Him Thursday, Dec 8 2011 

Unlike PJ, I’m not a big She and Him fan. I love M. Ward, but Zooey Deschanel is a little too much for me. So, I was surprised when I heard a bit of their new Christmas album and immediately loved it. I ordered a copy of the CD ostensibly for PJ, but I probably love it even more than he does.

I love the album’s quiet simplicity, which really works on a song like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the old Judy Garland classic:

The album also features “The Christmas Waltz,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Blue Christmas,” all of which are great! I highly recommend it.

SotW: What the Water Gave Me by Florence + the Machine Sunday, Nov 13 2011 

I am now officially obsessed with Florence + the Machine. I started listening to their new album, Ceremonials, on iTunes the other day and then I purchased it. It’s definitely a great album. So far, my favorite track if “What the Water Gave Me“:

I love the video for this song too. I’m fascinated by how different Florence Welch looks from different angles and in different clothes. Sometimes she looks like a teenager; sometimes she looks like a middle-aged Joan Crawford. She’s actually 25. I love the way she plays with her image in this way — sometimes seeming to be an innocent girl and sometimes being an amazonian woman. Her visual sense is even more impressive to me than Lady Gaga’s (who I also love).

While “What the Water Gave Me” is my favorite track, I also love several others: “Only if for a Night,” “Shake It Out,” and “Spectrum.”

Here’s the video for “Shake It Out”:

And here is a live performance of the song on The X Factor, just to show her visual aesthetic:

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SotW: Dance me to the End of Love by the Civil Wars Saturday, Nov 5 2011 

I recently came across The Civil Wars, a due made up of singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White, while browsing iTunes. I was immediately attracted to their music and downloaded their first album, Barton Hollow, which was released in February.

It’s a great album, and I’m enjoying listening to it, but one of my instant favorite songs on the album is a bonus track, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love.” Here’s a live version of The Civil Wars singing it:

[youtube+http://youtu.be/ED97KMfm8O8]

I love this version of the song. It’s romantic, beautiful, and haunting — I’ve been singing it and playing it in my head all week! I also love one of the comments on this video: “these two need to get a room.” I love the playful sexiness going on in this performance. Having watched a few other YouTube clips of them singing live, I can say that it’s not always this incendiary, but it’s always great! (Note: since Williams is married, I assume this sexiness is part of the act rather than a reflection of them having an off-stage relationship.) I’ll have to keep an eye on their concert schedule — I’d love to see them live sometime.

The Leonard Cohen version is quite different:

[youtube+http://youtu.be/7pA5UhNaYw0]

PJ loves Cohen’s music and really likes his version of this song, but I think The Civil Wars’ version is wonderful. To his each own, I guess!

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SotW: Animal by Jenny & Johnny Wednesday, Oct 26 2011 

PJ recently recommended that I listen to Jenny & Johnny’s “Animal,” which he thought that I would like. He was right!

It’s a great song, one that we jokingly have deemed our older, female cat’s theme song. Now I can’t get it out of my head!

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SotW: The World as I See It by Jason Mraz Wednesday, Oct 19 2011 

Jason Mraz is one of my favorite singer songwriters. He has a new album coming out in 2012, and clips of him performing new songs have hit YouTube.

One of these has become one of my recent favorites: “The World as I See It.” Here’s a clip of Mraz singing it live:

I like its positive message, and Mraz is always dreamy. He’s one of my favorite straight men — and like so many gays, I agree that, if there was any justice in the world, he, Brandon Flowers, and Adam Levine would all be gay. Such a shame that they’re not! Regardless, I can’t wait for his new album to come out.

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SotW: Stop! by Against Me! Wednesday, Sep 14 2011 

I heard this song on Alt-Nation recently. It’s been in my head ever since, so I’ve¬† adopted it as my get-your-book-done inspirational song!

Now when I’m deciding what to do with my time, I’ll just play this song in my head (or on my iPod) and I’ll know what to do: stop and take some time to think, ’cause I’ve got to make a serious decision about whether I’m really going to commit to getting the book done!

Here are the lyrics:

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SotW: Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win by the Beastie Boys Thursday, Aug 4 2011 

I’ve never been a big Beastie Boys fan, but Alt-Nation has been playing this song, and I can’t get it out of my head:

The video is very creative and fun, but that’s not why I love this track. When I first started choosing songs of the week they were meant to be inspirational to me in some way. Some reminded me of my yearly goals; others just reminded me of how much I love PJ.

“Don’t Play No Game that I Can’t Win” isn’t exactly inspiration, but it has gotten me thinking about my job a lot. There are a lot of ways that institutionally things are stacked against me being able to do the things I want and should be doing — like not having a development officer. As I enter the hump year of appointment, I need to decide if this is a game that I can’t win. And, if so, do I want to play it beyond my initial five-year appointment?

As I decide, I’ll sing along with Santigold!

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SotW: Fade and then Return by William Fitzsimmons Wednesday, Jul 13 2011 

I love that one can find almost anything using Google. I recently heard a song in the background of an online video and really liked it. I only heard a few of the song’s lyrics, so I googled them. Sure enough, within 10 minutes I had fund the song and downloaded it from iTunes!

The song turned out to be William Fitzsimmons’ “Fade and the Return,” which is now one of my favorite songs. Here’s a live version I found on YouTube:

This song piqued my interest in Simmons’ other work, and after listening to snippets on iTunes I downloaded his most recent album, which is also great. I love the quiet beauty of “Fade and the Return.” The rest of the album is equally moody (in a good way) and contemplative. It’s quickly become one of the favorite albums of the year so far.

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SotW: So in Love by Jill Scott Thursday, Jul 7 2011 

Before leaving to go to Peru, I downloaded Jill Scott’s new album, The Light of the Sun. I LOVE her music, and this album is no exception. “So in Love” immediately became one of my favorite songs of the year:

Anthony Hamilton is also a great musician — I’ve long loved his song “Do You Feel Me?”, which was featured on the American Gangster soundtrack.

Another song from Scott’s new album that I immediately love is “Shame”:

Both songs are great examples of Scott’s empowerment message and fun groove. I think she’s one of — if not the — best singer/song writers working today.

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SotW: Darling Buds of May by Brother Thursday, Jun 2 2011 

Alt-Nation has been playing “Darling Buds of May” by Brother a lot lately. It’s a really catchy song, and I can’t get it out of my head. Here’s the video:

Brother is a British group from Slough, the same town that The Office is set in. They have an album coming out in August. It will be interesting to see if they’re able to follow this single up with a strong LP.

Pictures of the group bring to mind a question PJ and I have often asked: “Why is the drummer always the hottest member of every group?” Frank Colucci is Brother’s drummer; he’s definitely hot!

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