Thursday, December 15, 2016

Strange (Weird) Holidays: Light That Menorah

Phofo: Light That Menorah
[Here’s Phofo’s website where you can hire him to write music for your TV show, film or commercial]

We’ve occasionally dipped our toes into the shallow pool that is Hanukkah music here at SMM, in part, because as I noted last year, it hasn’t really inspired much good music. Confronting our new theme of Strange or Weird Holiday music, though, I found a contender, “Light That Menorah,” by Phofo, which fits the theme, even if it still isn’t a great holiday song.

In fact, other than the title, it is kind of difficult to tell that it is a Hanukkah song at all. It starts out as an electronic instrumental tune that sort of chugs along, until about a minute or so in, when some distorted vocals, buried in the mix, may be saying “light that menorah.” Or maybe not. At almost 2 minutes in, we get a bit of klezmer sounding music, and some more of the distorted vocals. A snatch more klezmer follows. It then rocks for a little while and then sort of peters out, like a dreidel before it stops spinning. It is, to my ears, more than a little weird.

But certainly interesting. There’s no “album cover” to use as the featured picture for this post, so, instead, in keeping with our theme, I used a picture of a Strange and Weird Menorah.

The song is credited to Phofo, and using my strong Google skills, I determined that Phofo is a composer who has written the score for Disney's Club Penguin, Sushi Pack (a Saturday morning cartoon on CBS), the animated feature film, Los Campeones de La Lucha Libre and Shep & Tiffany Watch TV (which was on Bravo). He is also a producer, has written for McSweeney’s and was a music consultant to PRI's This American Life.

But who is Phofo? That took a bit more work on the Google Machine. Turns out, he is a lawyer named Adam Weitz. Some of you may know that I, J. David, am also a lawyer, and that I blog as a creative outlet. Weitz also has a creative sidelight to his lawyer work, but he gets paid for it (presumably).

And that makes me jealous.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

STRANGE (WEIRD) HOLIDAYS : Santa Claus has got the AIDS this year/Tiny Tim

There, it is done. I have posted perhaps the worst, the least defensible holiday song ever. And, until this piece, I was the lucky one. I had never heard it. Don't get me wrong, it isn't so much the lyric, execrable though it is in its splendour of  political incorrectness, or even the tune, macabrely festive, more rather the vocal, grating by even the singers usual standards. And they were usually pretty low. I dare you to get through it all in one go.

In Tim's defence, he claimed it was about Santa eating an Ayds bar, a then available diet snack, becoming unwell thereafter, stating also it was nothing to do with recently outed, subsequently deceased film star Rock Hudson. Yeah, right. As if those 2 sentences might make the one rule out the other, rather than underline each other. (O, and Ayds, at least, had the prescience to change their name soon after.)

Mind you, the thrice married singer proved he was no homophobe, with the hilarious b-side, misogyny being also well within his gift. Bless! But, gallingly, maybe it is his very innocence in how Ds can be STed that is after all the key. Witness the lines about the cat then contracting herpes from the chair he had sat on. (Phew, that's a relief, just a simple misunderstanding then.)

Poor Tim, born Herbert Khoury, in 1932, he was always destined to be on the wrong side of public opinion, his brief window of fame coming more as the audience laughed at, rather than with him. So, by contrast, here is his high water mark. See which you prefer.

Don't bother!