Fa L’Americano!

Italian language. Early 50’s pop-jazz music. Post-millennial dance beats. Genre-bending covers and remixes. Charlie Chaplin films. Affectionate homages. Cute girls in messenger-boy caps. These are a few of my favorite things.

Given that fact, I am pleased to announce that the following music video, to the best of my knowledge, the highest number density of “my favorite things” of any music video I’ve ever seen. Please check it out. You probably know the song already; it’s been on the radio for some time now. I’ve heard it. I liked it. But until a friend of mine sent me the video a few days ago, I had no idea I was actually in love with it:

The same friend, by the way, was corteous enough to send me the original song as well, which is Renato Carosone’s “Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano.” This also clears up an ambiguity about the lyrics. The song above is occasionally referred to as “Pa-Panamericano,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. But I’m quite sure that what he’s really saying is “fa l’Americano,” which is to say “Do the Americano,” as though it were some sort of dance move. It might sound like a “p” because they’ve clipped the track so that it comes in in the middle of the ‘f’ sound, but in fact it’s much more fun the real way. It’s a clever twist on the original lyrics, because the full form of the chorus, “Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano,” means something more like “you always want to make line an American,” or maybe more compactly, “you’re a Poser-American.” So the remix is a dance track exhorting you to dance like an American…or at least, like the stereotype of one!

A performance of the original song is below the fold, as well as my clumsy attempt to translate the lyrics.

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All I Want For Christmas is Old Coldplay Back

Sigh. Coldplay has released a new Christmas single:


It’s a decent song I suppose, if a bit predictable somehow and rather sappy. People who like to express opinions about pop music but who don’t listen to a lot of music (i.e., most college student) will say that’s to be expected, because that’s what Coldplay is all about. They’re wrong. Back in the day they had much more depth. Even when tackling a Christmas theme. As proof, I offer the following:

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Things I Saw Outside Stony Brook: Bridge Edition

Photographer’s note: for best results, view while listening to this song. Although for even better results, you should try doing it in person :-).

In Belated Memoriam

After a long chain of hyperlink-clicking yesterday, I learned that an entertainer who had been a fixture of my childhood passed away in 2007 without my knowing. It seems that Gary Rosen, formerly of the children’s musical group “Rosenshontz” had finally succumbed to ALS, after many decades of providing some of the finest, if under-appreciated, children’s entertainment.

I offer the following video from youtube as a small tribute. I have no idea where the video itself came from, since there aren’t very many Rosenshontz recordings floating around the web, it seems. Still, it features a song I always really liked (which will forever sound to me like a candy-fueled car ride down to see the Grandparents on Christmas morning) as well as singing stuffed animals, which also feature prominently into my memories from the elementary school era. Enjoy it. I dare you not to have a boppin’ good time and wind up wishing you were hanging out with your first-grade friends.

Mr. Rosen, wherever you are now I hope they have an absurdly large number of picnicking teddy bears, pterodactyl eggs, and rockin’ hippopotamuses.

A Playlist For The Week: Songs-Named-After-Girls Edition

I wanted to post my new playlist yesterday, but Grooveshark was down. Sorry I’ve kept you waiting so long since the last one. I love putting these together, but they’re time consuming.

So here’s the story: Elvis Costello was on both the Colbert Report and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me during the past week (man, I am such a lefty elitist sometimes, aren’t I?) and that led me to listen to “Alison” about a million times. This in turn led me to listen to a lot of other Elvis Costello songs (just love that guy) which led me to rediscover another favorite of mine, also named after a girl. You’ll see it later

The whole experience got me wondering two things: first, where can I get myself a hat like the one Costello is wearing in that picture above? And second, given how many songs are named after girls, is it possible I could make a whole playlist of songs named after girls, with one for each letter of the alphabet?

The answer is yes. The results are available for your listening pleasure in the link above. The comments are below the fold.

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Last Weekend and the Appearance of Music

Last weekend I spent some time in the big city again visiting some friends, which was every bit as much fun as I’d hoped for. I got into town mid afternoon and spent a little while hanging around in the fashion district staring at suits I can’t afford and breaking various coveting-based commandments before I headed up to meet up with my friends. Unfortunately, I haven’t entirely mastered the New York subway yet, so it took me longer than expected to get to where I was trying to go, and by the time our group had gotten together, we didn’t have much time left for dinner. At first, I was a little disappointed, but when we wound up grabbing pizza slices to go and I realized this was, in fact, exactly how I spent most of my summer in Italy: rolling in to town, taking longer than I intended to master the local mass-transit, and not getting out to dinner in time to do anything besides stop in at a pizza place. The pizza wasn’t as good as it was in Italy, but the company was better, so it all worked out in the end.

Anyway, the reason we were in a hurry to finish with dinner is that we were on our way to go hear the Takacs Quartet play a Schubert concert at the 92nd Street Y* in Midtown Manhattan.

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Hymn and Anti-Hymn

These two songs are like matter and antimatter. Wonderful songs, but I’m pretty sure that if you ever played them both at the same time, they would annihilate each other. Enjoy.