[ Song of the Week ] John Williams – “Rey’s Theme”

from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

For the last weekend of 2019, I went and saw Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, so I thought it might be nice to end the year with the theme for the main character of the final trilogy, and one of my favorite Star Wars characters overall.

Here is Rey’s theme from The Force Awakens, performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2017, conducted by none other than John Williams himself.

[ Song of the Week ] Vince Guaraldi Trio – “Christmas Time Is Here”

from A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

My favorite piece of Christmas music of all, from the best Christmas album ever recorded. As proven by science. Probably. 🎄

[ Song of the Week ] Michie Tomizawa – “Last Christmas”

from Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Merry Christmas! (1996)

Yes, I’m a day late. The weekend went by too quickly and I didn’ t have anything ready for Monday. Anyway…

I am a fan of Wham!’s “Last Christmas”. I have heard several cover versions of it over the years, and don’t care for any of them. Except this one. This one I like. And it’s from a Sailor Moon Christmas image album of all things! Rei Hino (Sailor Mars) puts her own spin on the famous song.

(Incidentally, I’m not a fan of AMVs either, but this being a Christmas song, it doesn’t lend itself to deviating far from the intent of the source. Plus, it compiles some good winter scenes from Sailor Moon.)

[ Song of the Week ] Daryl Stuermer – “Little Drummer Boy”

from A GRP Christmas Collection (1988)

The closest thing to a Christmas song from anyone in the Genesis family is this contemporary jazz take on “Little Drummer Boy” by Daryl Stuermer, the band’s on-stage second guitarist and bassist. (At least until Steve Hackett played on Chris Squire’s 2007 Christmas album.)

In fact, A GRP Christmas Collection is one of my overall favorite Christmas albums, with great contemporary jazz interpretations of many well-known songs, and Daryl’s contribution opens the collection.

[ Song of the Week ] Imagine Dragons – “Birds”

from the album Origins (2018)

So, like… I’m not even an Imagine Dragons fan. I’ve heard a few of their songs, and they make for some decent casual listening, but it’s not like they’re going to be my new favorite band or anything.

One day last week, I happened to randomly see this music video on a free TV streaming service which had just recently debuted a music video channel. I was curious so tuned in to see what they were playing, and after about ten minutes, this video began. It was animated, so that made me pause to take notice right away. And then I quickly got caught up in the story the film was telling, and thought it was really good. It didn’t quite have the gravity of, say, a Jess Cope film, but this short animated story was compelling and moving nonetheless.

On a side note, I wasn’t paying much attention to the actual lyrics in the song and how they might work with the images, but I rarely pay attention to the lyrics of any song until long after I’ve gotten familiar with it musically. So I don’t even know what the words to this song are. All I know is that the story the images were telling was enough to keep my interest, and the music seemed to fit.

[ Song of the Week ] Peter Gabriel – “With This Love (Choir)”

from the album Passion (1989)

Peter Gabriel has made an impressive amount of quality music since leaving Genesis in the mid 1970s. My favorite album of his is one which may be his least accessible: 1989’s Passion. It is an album which also serves as the soundtrack to a film which I still have never seen. It is a fusion of Western music and traditional Middle Eastern music, with the sound weighted heavily towards the latter. Passion is a very exotic and exciting album, and one which has aged incredibly well due to the traditional nature of the music.

One of the many highlights for me is this choral piece. Mysterious and beautiful, it transports you to another time and place. Hard to imagine that it came from the same mind which wrote “Sledgehammer” only a few years earlier.