Sesame Street is justifiably famous for a great many things.
Its still-necessary mission to educate the children of the world through bold and imaginative means, its hilarous parodies of all kind of pop culture moments (complete with rteachable moments) … and of course, “Manamana”, a catchy as all get out song, that debuted on the 47 season long show in just its 14th episode, way better in 1969.
The song very much reflected the spirit of the time with a heavy beatnik influence and an infectious folk vibe that caught on like crazy.
So popular was the song that the original version, featured beatnik Bip Bippadotta and two girls who riff around him, was updated for the first ever episode of The Muppet Show in 1976 where Bip became Mahna Mahna, backed by the fabulously-named Snowths.
You can see why the song was so catchy so quickly, and if you ever needed proof that Sesame Street had it all together and then some from the word go, I give you exhibit A.
Oh who are we kidding? It can be freaking impossible much of the time, and so, we look to those with wisdom, experience, special insights and well-earned truth to guide us.
As figures of authority go, you can’t do much better than Sesame Street‘s Cookie Monster, who knows a thing or two about making life a whole lot easier to get through, especially if, like him, you are more than partial to a cookie or two (or the whole packet; go on you know that’s what you end up eating).
In his advice-packed new book from Imprint, The Joy of Cookies: Cookie Monster’s Guide to Life, we are given sugar-filled (or nuts, you can have nuts too if you want) advice on all kinds of tricky life issues, all of it inspired by a recent commercial Cookie Monster did for Apple.
As you can see, it’s wisdom for the ages.
As long, of course, during those ages, you have access to eggs, butter, flour and all kinds of delicious add-ins such as chocolate chips or, yes, nuts.
With a cookie in your mouth, it’s way easier to duck and weave through the various slings and arrows of misfortune that befall us in life, and to celebrate all the good times too.
Does Cookie Monster have his blue furry finger on the pulse of life? Yes he does.
Is this book a must-buy purchase come April 2018. Like you even need to ask.
Now stop wondering what to do next, grab a cookie (or the whole packet) and hit the road, confident that all you need is Cookie Monster’s expert advice to get you through.
In the case of the catchiest song of the US summer, “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi (feat. Daddy Yankee), that means lots of airplay, remixes without count and the constant presence of the song on just about platform imaginable.
It also means, Sesame Street fans rejoice, an absolutely gorgeous remix of the song featuring Ernie and Rosita singing a song of devotion to the object of his longstanding devotion, Rubber Ducky, in a gloriously-good bilingual take on the song.
“The family-friendly version of the bop pays homage to the original song while Ernie sings about his rubber duckie, a.k.a. el patito: ‘Rubber Duckie, it is a connection/ It doesn’t have to be a tubby session, ya/ Take my day from zero to 11, ya.’
“Then comes the chorus in Spanish: ‘Oh, el patito, es mi favorito/ Donde quiera que vaya hace su sonido/ El patito es tu buen amigo/ El patito.'” (ew.com)
As you’d expect from Sesame Street, which has consistently proven itself adept at having fun and teaching great lessons at the same time, the song is a joy, even down to a typically curmudgeonly Bert moaning about “that song again”.
Ha! This is so catchy even Bert eventually succumbs … and yeah, so will you.
Done right, and thankfully so much of it is, music should move you deeply and completely and wholly.
Mind, body and sould should be engaged; you should never hear a song and just go “Oh … that’s nice.” Upbeat songs should move you to dance or turn a dark mood into something a little bouncier. More sombre songs should go into the very marrow of your being, articulating emotions you’re feeling in ways that might defy you at the time.
Whatever the song or genre or mood, it must have some effect on you or it’s just been-there-done-that ear candy of limited value.
These five artists have the ability to craft songs that actually affect you in a real, tangible way; no earworm filler, although the songs are undeniably catchy and listenable, but songs that matter, that evoke, that change you … and make your world a better place, even if only for 3 minutes or so.
Hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts, PVRIS (Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, Alex Babinski, and Brian MacDonald) – once known as Paris, they changed their name citing “legal reasons” – are a lush-sounding rock band with a synth-laden edge.
“Winter”, which you might expect to be dour, cold and, well winter-ish, is, in fact, a barnstormer of a song, picking up more and more pace on its full-speed, melodically-rich course.
It’s one of the lead-singles for their sophomore album All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell, due out 25 August, and it packs quite a punch, musically and lyrically.
It’s very much in the vein of the band’s music to date which is gorgeously epic, cinematic and drenched in what feels, winningly, like every emotion at once; if you got #allthefeels, then PVRIS are your band.
To be honest, my interest in the Goo Goo Dolls,until recently, came and went with their luminously-affecting song “Iris (City of Angels)” which provided the musical heart-and-soul of the 1998 film City of Angels.
While in many peoples’ minds, including truthfully my own, they were likely marked as One Hit Wonders, but as “Use Me” beautifully demonstrates, the Buffalo-New York formed, multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated band are still producing mightily good music.
In fact, so good is “Use Me” that it will be cycling in and around and through your earworm for days after you first hear it.
It’s giddily upbeat, harmonious as hell – the chorus alone is worth the price of admission – with a bit of ’60s-Roy Orbison-esque thrown in for good measure.
Fresh from wooing the hell out of the UK, festival appearances at the likes of Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Festival and with her first headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne since 2015 under her belt, Melbournian singer-songwriter, is making waves with “Running Second”.
Anchored by her pure, fresh vocals, enough emotionally-resonance to affect the hearts of anyone lucky enough to hear her songs, and lyrical insightfulness, Wills’s songs are deep, rich and accessible all at once.
“Running Second” is a stunning example of Wills’ craft, delivering up an important message – “The message within it, is dedicated to all of us who feel that for whatever reason, we aren’t good enough.” (source: Triple J Unearthed) – wrapped in sublimely-moving pop that can’t help but move you.
This is pop at its pinnacle and explains why Wills has become increasingly popular, not just in Australia but across the world where people are flocking to listen to real music that means something.
“Feel That” brings together two brilliant Australian musical talents – producer Akouo (pron. ah-kooh-oh), known for his exuberantly upbeat electronic masterpieces, and the captivatingly-good Montaigne, whose transcendentally-rich voice slips in effortlessly to this immersive piece of pop.
“Montaigne‘s vocals soar benevolently over Akouo‘s masterful, shimmering production, which elegantly pulsates in the background to create a wondrous sound floor. Carefully curated instruments, trumpeting riffs and beating percussion sets a feel for an exotic wilderness, with touches of echoing vocal samples to coagulate the ambience of this soundscape.”
You can well understand why Akouo is attracting so much interest – he pairs the oft-cold bleakness of electronica with a human warmth and analogue brightness that togetherness creates music both winningly ethereal and remote, and intimate and deeply personal.
NOW THIS IS MUSIC EXTRA EXTRA!
PINK, one of my favourite music artists in the world has a new song, “What About Us?”, a new album Beautiful Trauma out 13 October, and her finger right on the zeitgeist as Vulture points out.
Rejoice and be glad with insanely appealing attitude.
You know what you’ve been missing all this time? The gang from Sesame Street performing a series of ’80s pop hits. Hole in your soul remedied! (source: Laughing Squid)
Big Bird is one of Sesame Street‘s most beloved characters, the perfect embodiment of sweet childlike innocence, playfulness and an eagerness to learn.
For much of his time on Sesame Street, he was given life by Caroll Spinney, a charming man who devoted much of his life to his friendly feathered companion and who was responsible for the richness of Big Bird’s characterisation.
It gives us insight into what literally makes Big Bird tick and it will leave with renewed appreciation for the amount of work that went into making this delightful denizen of Sesame Street such a joy for children young and old.
Next to Grover, who is my favourite Sesame Street monster bar none, I have a huge amount of affection for Ernie (especially) and Bert, the two diametrically-opposite housemates who have long amused and delighted with their Abbott and Costello-ish antics.
Now Ernie is starring in a delightful musical number, which riffs beautifully on a running gag where Ernie wakes an exasperated Bert up in the middle of the night, where he recounts an animal-filled dream he had.
Monkeys playing in his bed, an elephant in his sock drawer, and a crocodile under his where the monkeys were having fun? What’s not to like?
Bert naturally wouldn’t be happy about turning their bedroom into a zoo or farm but hey it was all a dream so what are the odds of that right?
Sesame Street is the unquestioned monarch of parody.
From Game of Thrones to Harry Potter, True Blood to Pirates of the Caribbean and many more in-between, the parodies from the unquestioned originator of the gold standard in televisual children’s education have amused and instructed in equal measure, proof that teachable moments can be as silly as they are important.
The latest addition to this stellar line-up is Orange is the New Snack, a homage to the Netflix series which is about to enter its fifth highly-successful seasonOrange is the New Black, in which the inmates of Litchfield Aacdemy find out that oranges are far yummier and better for you than the usual snacks (Cookie Monster may disagree, of course).
It’s madcap, silly and makes frequent allusions to the show it is parodying and if you’re a fan of Orange is the New Black, or simply of Sesame Street‘s gift for silliness-based learning, you’ll find a lot to love about their latest effort.
It’s true what they say – you can’t keep a freaky good Teletubby down!
Actually no one likely says that at all, but they should with a brand new mash-up video, by YouTube user Robert Jones, giving the Teletubbies, who ran for 365 episodes in 1997-2001, before being revived for 60 episodes in 2014, a chance to get their freak on Missy Elliott-style.
The song was originally released as part of the soundtrack for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), a compulsively listenable song in a collection of similarly-strong songs. The movie, which I quite enjoyed in a pulpy switch-your-brain-off kind of way, may not have met with critical acclaim, but the soundtrack, which gathered together Missy Elliott, Nine Inch Nails, The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx among many others, was a resounding success.
Now 16 years later, the Teletubbies, who as noted have experienced a pop culture Lazarus moment of their own of late, are giving “Get Ur Freak On” a whole new brightly-coloured lease on life and we are all the better for it.
So you heard them – off you go and well, you know …
Step aside and let the King show you how it’s done. Grover is the King of ABC Disco and he is going to boogie oogie oogie through all twenty-six letter of the alphabet. Watch him get down!
I have long been a fan of the absolutely impressive, endlessly talented Grover who is rivalled in my Sesame Street affections, only by the engaging twosome of Ernie and Bert.
Suffice to say then that Grover doing pretty much anything enthralls and delights me, meaning of course that were he to hit the disco dancefloor as he does in his clip then I would have of course have to watch.
And sing my ABCs at the top of my disco-loving voice as I boogie with dear old Grover.
There is something incredibly endearing about Grover who never quite seems to get things completley right but who is nonetheless lauded for giving it a go and being willing to plunge on regardless of the likely, less than graceful consequences.
At least he tries … well until it all, rather sweetly and hilariously, becomes a little too much for him.
Even then he is unfailing polite, lovely and adorably Grover-ish.
Get on down but make sure you don’t tread on Grover OK?