Happy by Pharrell Williams

Coming across this post by Greg of the blog I follow A Life in the Day on my Reader brightened my day so much more. Thanks to his iTunes Saturday feature, I have now been introduced to ‘Happy‘ by Pharrell Williams. Which I’m already infatuated with now. It’s been on repeat for a while. When I wake up tomorrow it’s probably going to be ringing away in my head.

screen capture Greg's website

For a while I was actually scatterbrained enough to snap a picture of my monitor screen with a camera. Even transfered the photo to my computer. Then I remembered the Print Screen. Duh. So, this is capturing the screen via that function…

Picture 01_reduced

… and this was the camera shot! hahaha!
I love the Print Screen. Such a neat feature to have.

I’m not very familiar with the work of Pharrell Williams, but I’m turning into a fan. This is the second song by him I’ve heard lately that I really like. The first being Get Lucky, a song by Daft Punk which features Pharrell.

***

This post is Day 4 of ‘100 Happy Days‘. Which, by the way, ‘Happy‘ would make the perfect theme song for!

Happy meter: boogying on office chair sliding here and there.

Advertisements

Ne me quitte pas, in Arabic! Swoon.

A quick check at Wikipedia shows that the 1959 French song Ne me quitte pas had been recorded by numerous singers, and in over 20 languages! That’s such an amazingly illustrious history that song has.

There is an Arabic version, beautifully done by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, called Ma Tetrikni Heik. When I discovered this the surprise was so great and wonderful it gave me goosebumps so to speak. I mean, firstly I love this incredibly beautiful song. Secondly I’m loving the band more and more, the more I listen to them. They have that certain something that speaks to my soul, in the same way that some other artists, say, Sade, Chris Isaak and Gipsy Kings, to name just three but diverse acts, have as well. And thirdly I have a special interest in Arabic as I’ve started learning it some months ago. So when I found these three things have come together, it made for a delightful surprise that just took my breath away.

The cover is a short one at just over 2 minutes, as the first part of the video below shows. I hope they’ll do a full version someday. This one is from their third album Raasuk (2013).

I found some translation of the lyrics I believe, as kindly shared by YouTube user lilychahine in the comments of a video here.

***

Original French Versions

I have loved this song ever since I first heard it, in the original French language and as sung by Nina Simone of course. I have written several times here how much I love her. Nina recorded her cover in 1965 for her I Put A Spell On You album.

The original singer though is the songwriter himself, the late Jacques Brel, who was from Belgium and first recorded the song in 1959 for his fourth album, La Valse à Mille Temps. Bonus in the video below: English subtitles! Brilliant.

  • Another French version I like is by Sting. Click the link here for a live performance of the song by the Englishman.

***

Some English versions (“If you go away”)

Here are the links to YouTube videos of some of the English versions I like.

  • Dusty Springfield
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Tom Jones – a bit of a different beat than the usual after minute 1:50. Makes it a bit more interesting.
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Patricia Kass – a refreshingly different version. And sexy. Bonus: video features a smolderingly sexy DAMN HAWT Jeremy Irons, shirtless and all.
  • Madonna – Yes, Madonna! Her style of singing here brought to my mind her Evita/Something To Remember period.

And finally… the incomparable Cyndi. The one and only.

***

Edit on 18 January:

Credit: Thanks so much to the following people who posted and shared the videos above on YouTube, that I may share them here on this blog,

as well as the other people whose videos I have the opportunity to link to.

شم الياسمين Smell the Jasmine, by مشروع ليلى Mashrou’ Leila

Last month I’ve noted a recent song of theirs للوطن Lil Watan in a post here, and this time it’s شم الياسمين Smell the Jasmine that I just have to feature from the Lebanese band, from their self-titled first album released a few years ago. Not just because it’s a love song between two men, but mainly because it’s so simply beautiful.

Thanks to Elhusseiny Ahmed for uploading the video to his Youtube channel.

One can feel the intense longing in his voice, the lead singer Hamed Sinno. To enjoy it even further though, there’s a translation of the lyrics I came across on the site arabislamblog, a news and analysis blog by Jordi Llaonart, a European Arabist and journalist who specializes in the Arab world.

I had requested Mr Llaonart’s permission to use the translation here and it was kindly granted.

شم الياسمين Smell the Jasmine
شم الياسمين و ذق الدبس بطحينه
Smell the jasmine and taste the molasses
و تذكر,تذكر, تذكر, تذكرني لك
Remember, remember, remember to mention me
يا اخي اوعه تنساني
Brother, just don’t forget me
يا حبيبي, يا نصيبي
My lover, my prize
كان بودي خليك بقربي
I would have liked to keep you beside me
عرفك عاأهلي تتوجلي قلبي
Introduce you to my parents, have you crown my heart
طبخ اكلاتك, اشطف لك بيتك
Cook your food, clean your house
دلع ولادك, اعمل ست بيتك
Pamper your children, be your housewife
بس انت ببيتك و انا بشي بيت لك و الله يا ريتك ما بعمرك فليت
But you’re in your house, and I’m in another I wish you never left
هل ياسمين
This jasmine
نساني
Forgets me
الياسمين
The jasmine
و شم الياسمين و تذكر تنساني
Smell the jasmine and remember to forget me

450px-Jasminum_sambac_'Grand_Duke_of_Tuscany'

Photo by Scott Zona. Click image to go to its source at Wikipedia.

Lil Watan للوطن, by Mashrou’ Leila مشروع ليلى

mashrou leila 800px-Demco1

Photo by Tania Trabulsi, taken in December 2009 during an album release concert. Left to right, the members are Ibrahim Badr, Hamed Sinno, Andre Chedid, Carl Gerges, Firas Abou-Fakher, Haig Papazian and Omaya Malaeb. From Wikipedia, click to go there.

Mashrou’ Leila مشروع ليلى is an indie-pop band that sings in Arabic and is based in Beirut, Lebanon. It was formed in February 2008 at the American University of Beirut.

Their lead singer is the handsome and openly-gay Hamed Sinno. The band has also released songs that feature gay love right from the beginning with their 2009 self-titled first album, such as Shim El Yasmine (Smell the Jasmine).

I am delighted to have just been introduced to the band via Gaybros, where redditor Larikush has provided a link to their song Lil Watan للوطن.

The info accompanying the video at YouTube states that the title means ‘For the Motherland’, and that it is:

a song that discusses the way we are taught to acquiesce to the status quo, and the apathy we are rewarded for in Lebanese politics. “Every time you demand change, they make you despair until you sell out all your freedom. They tell you to stop preaching and come dance with them.”

Shake them boobies and booteh, baybeh!

I love the groovy and laid-back yet catchy sounds of the song. For the gist of what the song means, click here for several versions of its Arabic lyrics’ translation. The video itself was kinda ‘meh’ to me at first. However, this is from someone who was ignorant of the intention and message behind the video. From what I gather from comments on YouTube and the band’s Facebook, I’ve learnt that the video expresses a lament on certain segments of society in Lebanon.

Comments about the video on their Facebook include:

  • We’am Hamdan: The video is very sarcastic. VERY. It’s a parody.
  • Asmaa Faris: To everyone complaining about the video. This might be Mashrou Leilas strongest conceptual music video ever. The belly dancing is not the point. It’s about our shallow middle eastern society; how we can be distracted easily.
  • Ahmed Al Tamimi: Obviously the video serves as a parody of the arab world. That’s how arabic musicians sing they stand on a stage and have a girl belly dance around their talent-less selves.
  • George Audi: Love it. The contrast of the band wearing black (mourning the sad state of the country?) contrasted with the disconcerted dancer (the government?) is very well played. The filter effects, low production feel and simplicity of the video only emphasize this point further.

Related:

Take me to church by Hozier

First seen via Gaybros.

A stunning music video by new Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier Byrne, known simply as Hozier. It was directed by Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson from Feel Good Lost, a visual arts production house based in Cork, Ireland, also where the video was filmed.

The song is really beautiful, and so is his voice.

One thing I don’t understand is that in the song the lover is refered to in the feminine, ‘she‘ and ‘her‘. Maybe I’m wrong, but my guess is that Hozier is not gay, he’s just pro-gay, like Macklemore and Cosmo Jarvis. Which is just an amazing thing to be. It takes an amazing person with a huge heart.

tumblr_mvlx4xc9T51rvqgxlo1_500

Singer-songwriter Hozier. Image seen on mytvisnotworking.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

According to Ireland’s online magazine State:

Hozier says the video “references the recent increase of organised attacks and torturing of homosexuals in Russia, which is subsequent to a long, hateful, and oppressive political campaign against the LGBT community. The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious organisations and those who would have us believe they act in its interests. What has been seen growing in Russia is no less than nightmarish, I proposed bringing these themes into the story and Brendan liked the idea.”

Related:

***

Update (15 Nov 2013) to include a video of Hozier and friends performing the song live, uploaded by Dublin’s RTÉ 2fm onto their YouTube channel.

Royals, covered by Puddles

When I first heard Royals by New Zealander singer-songwriter Lorde some weeks ago, it was, “Hmm, that’s nice.” I noted with surprise that she was only sixteen. She just turned seventeen a few days ago. The song has been atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for six weeks now.

Then recently I heard it again, and this time I really heard it properly. And the man who finally made me fall for the song is Puddles, the sad Clown from Puddles Pity Party.

It just totally blew me away. That incredible voice, the all-out passion he unleashed and the breathtaking melancholia, his voice, the gravitas he exuded. I was a bit disconcerted at being a bit turned on by a clown. That has never happened before and I don’t mind it never happening again. I mean, when he clutches his buttons in his intensity at 2:36, my breath caught, and my fingers wandered away from the keyboard to tweak my… oh, never mind.

No, please, no rabbit holes. I’d never recover and crawl my way out in one piece.

I love the two poker-faced ladies who sang backup too. The one on the right is named Robyn Adele Anderson and she sang a kick-ass vintage bluegrass version of Robin Thicke‘s Blurred Lines. Link to that video here.

The first video above is from the channel of Scott Bradlee, who arranged the song and also played the piano in the incredible performance, hidden behind the ladies. Puddles’s own channel is here. I love Puddles’ voice and the way he carried the song so much that suddenly I loved the song enough to want to note and ponder its lyrics. And now I appreciate Lorde’s songwriting. Royals was co-written with producer Joel Little. Love her voice too.

Andrew Huang

Caught this video via humour site Tastefully Offensive. Hugely talented Andrew Huang wrote the music and lyrics to this song I enjoyed, so he’s not just an excellent rapper but an amazing songwriter as well. And he’s sweetly good-looking as well!

tumblr_mu3k4vgI4M1qazvh3o1_1280

Image from his tumblr site andrewismusic.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

I first came across him some weeks ago with the following video where he was creating music with unlikely objects to the theme song of TV show Breaking Bad. That’s just incredible.

Checking out his YouTube channel this time, I’ve found this multi-talented guy has many other videos of original stuff. I’ve listened to some songs and am impressed by his talent and creativity and by how polished and professional he is. He’s got a great pleasing singing voice too, as heard in this lovely ballad.

Tightrope by Matt Alber

He just released his new video for ‘Tightrope‘ yesterday, and I’m loving the fun video.

The original version can be found from his second album Constant Crows. (Here’s a link to him performing it live.) The song in the video below is a remix, a catchy dancey version. I love that it’s so different yet Matt’s sweet voice and the spirit of the song is still strong in there, not lost in the beat.

He’s hot of course, absolutely oh so droolsome. I mean, that smile! Knees-melting inducing. Those puppy eyes. That boday. But his voice and delivery are just so lovely too. A good example is everything, but here’s End of The World, anyway.

Related: Matt’s site.

Jolene and Lilac Wine, covered by Miley Cyrus

I haven’t watched a single episode of Hannah Montana, and I don’t have any interest at all to do so. It’s a children’s show, I believe. Neither have I paid much attention to the recent controversy surrounding the star of said show, the all grown up yet still very young at 20, Miss Miley Cyrus. I catch glimpses of the ‘news’ of her racy clothes or performances or whatever, maybe on Dlisted or Yahoo! but I tend to scroll past that. Because, uhh, 20 year old pop star? This middle-aged guy can’t give a rat’s ass.

But.

I recently came across a video of her singing ‘Jolene‘, one of my favourite Dolly Parton songs, and wow, does the girl blow me away. I so absolutely love her rendition. And her voice! It’s amazing especially from someone so young.

The video was released last year in September, as part of her and her band’s performance called ‘The Backyard Sessions’.

tumblr_mijiylaXhY1s4596do1_500

I don’t know whether there’s an actual album, this might just be an artwork produced by a fan. This is from the tumblr site mileycyrusperu. Click image to go there.

I could find only two other songs connected to this, but gloriously one of them is ‘Lilac Wine’, one of my favourite Nina Simone songs, from her 1966 album Wild is the Wind. Not to nitpick, but I didn’t quite like the way Miley stretched out and belted out the word ‘love‘ in the line ‘lilac wine, I feel unsteady, like my love.‘ But it’s just part of her version, which overall is incredible. Especially the beginning. Her delivery of the intro part is just breathtaking. It quickly enraptures you and seduces you into hanging on to that voice for the gorgeous ride.

People should really leave her alone and let her twerk all she wants. Let her stick out her tongue to her heart’s content. She’s a real singer, a massively talented one.

Back to Jolene. I love how she sang that song, her voice, her band. I’ve hit ‘replay’ so many times.

Related:

  • examiner.com – Backyard Sessions: Miley Cyrus covers some of her favorite songs
  • huffingtonpost.com – Miley Cyrus ‘Lilac Wine’: Singer Releases Cover Of James Shelton’s 1950s Classic

Wut by Le1f

I’m loving this song. I was starting to go through Gaybros, and there was a post right at the top about the group Macklemore. In the middle of that, a user mentioned Le1f and provided a link to the video.

The lyrics are fascinating and can be found here on Rap Genius, with interpretations annotated by the website’s users.

According to Wikipedia, Le1f is the stage name of Khalif Diouf, an American rapper and producer from New York.

Related links:

  • His website
  • The Daily Beast: Too Gay for Hip-Hop? Le1f Takes On Traditionally Homophobic Genre (10 Aug 2012)