City of Stars (Humming) from La La Land

My boyfriend rented this movie for me when I last visited him, and we found it an intriguing film. Hardly perfect to say the least, but I found the two leads very charming and this song an absolute treat. I love the hummed version best, but I’ll include the original version below as well. It’s such a haunting, heartwarming melody!

~Jamie

My Favorite Film Overtures

You never see overtures at the beginnings of movies anymore, and I think that’s a real shame. A film’s musical themes are often pulled together for an overture making for a beautiful mashup, a quick taste of the movie you’re about to watch. I wish they were still used in modern films, and they add real class to the older gems. Here are a few of my personal favorites!

Ben-Hur (1959) It’s personally one of my favorite movies of all time (in my top ten favorite films to be precise.) I do believe that one of the reasons I value it so highly is because it has one of the strongest film scores I’ve ever heard. The film opens with powerful brass, followed by delicate harps, and a glorious orchestra of instruments after. It is quick to carry you into an ancient time and land with its rhythms, before settling into its sweeping themes filled with romance. And it manages to always be epic.

The Sound of Music. This is one of the best examples of an overture giving a sample of several notable themes in about four minutes tops. Lovable songs that so many of us know are given their moment to shine. I love this movie to death, but the opening credits here is actually one of my favorite parts of the movie to watch…just to hear this. ❤

The Ten Commandments. This is much like Ben-Hur’s overture, in which power and epicness and romantic themes all blend together. This overture, however, for most of its runtime, does focus on the strong brass. Which I think is magnificent. It truly captures the raw power of one of history’s greatest exoduses and most humble princes.

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. This overture is a little different because it multitasks.  It plays recurring themes while ALSO scoring the film’s beginning, like the train’s arrival and Gladys glimpsing the military in the distance. I really do love the man theme, and it sounds so beautiful here.

El Cid. This is an example of a film I have not yet seen (shame, I want to!) but who’s overture I very much love! SO. MUCH. BRASS. AND. POWER. I love the more military vibe to this overture with the use of the drums. This overture is quite aggressive and fun; really draws my interest to what this story could be about.

101 Dalmatians. You will probably never hear a more energetic and unique overture like the one that begins Disney’s 101 Dalmatians (a huge personal favorite film of mine.) It makes for one of the most interesting beginning credits as well, which you can witness here if you wish. The use of the different instruments, like the xylophone, drums, cymbals, wind instruments and brass are so playful and delightful!

The Jungle Book (1969). This seems like a different one to include, but I’m doing so because this portion of the film captured my attention even as a very young child. I remember starting this VHS film and as simple scenery and text rolled by, I was COMPLETELY drawn in. That mystery, that ethnicity: it was so alluring and captivating! It says a lot when simple music can completely settle a very energetic child, like myself once was, to hold still during simple credits. That’s power.

But that’s music.

~Jamie

The ABC Challenge || “R”

pop/contemporary

Roar by Katy Perry. This song has SO MUCH meaning to me. Definitely, hands down an all time favorite. It’s my anthem; it’s what I strive to do more and more every day: roar. The first chorus especially summarizes my past, which makes it feel even more personal. But it’s such an empowering, triumphant song! I love it!

Rise by Selena Gomez. DANG Selena has been putting out quality songs lately. This is one of my favorite uplifting songs from her. The music style is awesome, and the lyrics are just amazing. I loved biking around the park to this song in the dark late at night; I felt like I was floating and it kept my muscles going. I just love this song so much.

Remember the Time by Michael Jackson. I didn’t grow up listening to his music, but I remember seeing the original music video playing in a Carls Jr and it caught my attention. I thoroughly educated myself on Michael Jackson afterward and after listening to his music I definitely think he deserves the fame he has. This is one of my very favorite songs by him; i love dance power it exudes.

Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Ahhhhhhh, I really like this song. I heard in the Scream film franchise (a movie series I FLIPPING LOVE) and it made me fiercely love this song. I love tempo and darkness and playful edge. ❤

soundtrack

The RV Park from Bolt. I remember friends lending me their copy of the Bolt OST a long long time ago; and while there were many great themes, I flipping loved this one the most. It’s even inspired very specific book scenes from my novels. I LOVE the playfulness, slight mysteriousness, and then that romp of adventure at the very end.

independent/instrumental

Rise of a Kingdom by Brunuhville. I sure do love my fantasy music. Here’s an excellent track with excellent throwbacks to medieval ancient times through harpsichord, percussion, and recorder. I love the tinkling, dangerous bit of the piano at 2:10. It takes my breath away.

alternative

Renegade from Gangsta. RENEGAAAAAAADE, ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS OF ALL TIME, JUST HECK YESSSSSSS. This energized dubstep/electro song is one of my favorite pump songs, especially when I remember what a great story and characters “Gangsta” had when I watch the synched animation. ❤

The River Sings by Enya. This is a looooooong time favorite of my from Enya’s selection and it’s paired perfectly with some Lord of the Rings footage. I’ve listened to this song a repeat since I was maybe fifteen, and I’m twenty-two now. It’s so atmospheric, hopeful and even dark at the exact same time.

Royal Road, Paradise by Susumu Hirasawa. ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE COMPOSERS. It’s so creepy and unsettling; Hirasawa’s vocal work is wonderful here; he can use such emotion and reach such wonderful notes when he sings. I feel so much even though I can’t understand Japanese. I love how it starts off more brooding and settled; then at 2:19 IT ESCALATES DRAMATICALLY. It’s pounding and soulful and urgent. IT’S FREAKING AMAZING.

musicals

Rock Island from The Music Man. It’s the first song from this wonderful classic; my sister had it memorized at one point. It’s one of the most unique songs I’ve ever heard in a musical, and just PLAIN FUN. I’ve never seen a movie, musical or not, give such a great set up to its film in such a creative way. ❤ The Music Man is just the best. ❤

~Jamie

The ABC Challenge || “P”

pop/contemporary

Problem sung by Pentatonix. I took a couple weeks off from this do to sickness and crazy work hours and all the sleeping I needed to do inbetween. But tonight I actually felt like I had time to to this! I’m starting us off with a BANG with Pentatonix’s cover Arianna Grande’s song “Problem.” Boy can Mitch rap, and they just sound incredible. I really like the original song, but this blows it out of the water.

soundtrack

Power to Progress from Life is Strange. I almost get chills. The strong percussion and chorus work; it conjurs up blinding sunlight and tension and running into the wind.

Portrait of Solitude from The Boy and the Beast. This song is an adventure to listen to!! Such wonderful orchestra! The brass, the cymbol, the strings, wind instruments, they just all play together in such a marvelous way. You can taste the adventure and speed.

classical

Promenade (Walking the Dog). I’m not sure which is the title, but I’m putting it here. This TOTALLY makes me think of walking a dog, though, traipsing down the street, curious and wobbling along. It gives me some mild detective theme vibes too, which I LOVE.

independent/instrumental

Prophecy by Adrian von Ziegler. To call this a favorite song would be an understatement. I’ve loved this song since it was first uploaded in 2012 and have written many novel scenes and wandered my imagination countless times to it. It’s noble and dramatic and epic. I love the speedy violin that comes into play, too, and the gorgeous bagpipes and percussion make my ears bleed from the majesty. Especially when the second half doubles in speed. I will ALWAYS love this song. ❤

Panda Power by Adrian von Zeigler. I was actually torn between two different ‘panda’ songs Adrian had written, but I opted for this one because it’s just pure epicness and it’s simplicity works to its advantage. I love rich oriental themed songs like this, I have a hard time finding songs such as this. So I hold this song near and dear for its mind-blowing percussion and theme. ❤

alternative

Potato Head Blues by Louis Armstrong. I remember when I first heard this: I was a little kid clicking through music genres on a PC encyclopedia software game, and a clip of this song, which starts at 1:50, played through my cheap headphones. I remember being spellbound at the magical trumpet and how happy it made me feel. I never forgot the title because it was so funny, and years later when I finally got access to Youtube, I looked up Potato Head Blues to hear the full version. This era of music continues to remain one of my very favorites still. ❤

musicals

Pick A Little, Talk a Little from The Music Man. I just rewatched this film, and this sure is a little gem of a diddy. And incredibly amusing, comparing gossiping middle aged women in their feather hats to pecking chickens. XD

~Jamie

ABC Challenge || “N”

pop/contemporary

Never Never by Korn. I don’t know if this is pop but its my number one pick for this letter. This song has a strong influence one several important book scenes of mine, so it’s actually quite personal for me.

Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. No you weren’t just rickrolled. I actually really do STILL love this song! It’s just so catchy and memorable and classic!

soundtrack

Newcomer from Lost and Delirious. This is a rare soundtrack but I absolutely love it. Very very airy and haunting; gorgeous piano, rhythmic percussion, and use of synthesizer. It’s quite memorable and even moving!

independent/instrumental

Nara by E.S. Posthumus. I’ve had this on my writing playlist forever, so I figured I’d include it. XD But dang it, those strings at 1:20. ❤

alternative

Nil Se’n La by Celtic Woman. So so beautiful!!! That violin!!! Just everything. I love the Celtic Woman. ❤

musicals

No Place Like London from Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The opening to the Tim Burton’s Demon Barber. We get Sweeney’s tragic backstory and complete loathing for his origin hometown in one song called No Place Like London, it’s perfect.

~Jamie

ABC Challenge || “M”

pop/contemporary

Move Your Body by Sia. I just love Sia so much; her songs are just so memorable and powerful to me. This is another one of my biking songs, too. Such a great tempo and beat!! ❤

Me & My Girls by Selena Gomez. This is such a unique song from Selena Gomez and it sounds so raw and teasing and fun. I love her Spanish origins coming through in this song; it makes me want to go wild with a bunch of a good girlfriends for the night.

Magnets by Lorde. At one point I couldn’t stop listening to this song; the beat and tempo are RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING. I absolutely love beats Lorde can create in her songs.

soundtrack

A Man For All Seasons Theme from A Man For All Seasons. This is actually a really good film and I remember being really spellbound by the music a child for whatever the reason. I just really love this theme; the harpsichord is just beautiful; it’s so haunting and medieval.

Mirror’s Edge Theme from Solar Fields. I WROTE A SHORT STORY TO THIS SOUNDTRACK. I love it so much. It really gave me the underwater vibe I was needing to immerse myself into the dreamscape setting I was writing. Just so beautiful and airy!

Makoto Kowata from Flying Witch. Screw this anime for actually being so enjoyable. This has become one of my favorite relaxing, comfort songs! Beautiful piano, guitar, and flute! ❤

independent/instrumental

Merchant Prince by Thomas Bergerson. Hands down one of my favorite songs of all time. I generally don’t care of slow songs, but this one builds up to a epic finale and I’ve never grown tired of it in over five years of listening to it. Just a pure epicness.

Morrigan by Adrian von Ziegler. I love how this song starts off more steady and soft, and then swells into more rhythm adventure/quest/mountain conquering like music with the swell in tempo and instrument usage. Such a rich, dark celtic song. Also the bird cry throughout is a fantastic addition and adds excellent atmosphere.

alternative

Misbehavin’ by Pentatonix. This song is actually very personal to me; the words hold a lot of meaning to my personal life and my personality and stance on loyalty. Besides this just being a really enjoyable song by PTX, its just a incredibly relevant song to me. I love songs like that! <3<3<3

Meadowland by Amethystium. I remember the first time I heard this when it began on Pandora and I loved it immediately! Just UGH. I LOVE IT.

Mama by EXO. Hands down on the best KPop songs ever, at least in my book. Everything about this music video and song is stellar. I love the unique monk-like chanting throughout especially. This is such a powerful song with POWERFUL vocal work and it’s just amazing to listen to. Everything else is just fantastic: sets, costumes, dancing, special effects, power. Just wow. ❤ In so many ways, Kpop blows western music videos WAY out of the water.

musicals

Maria from The Sound of Music. Classic. Classic. Classic. My childhood. Ugh. I can still sing this without missing a beat. Ugh. Just classic.

Marian the Librarian from The Music Man. Ahhhhh this musical. And this song is great; sadly I can’t find a good full version; in its entirety there is some AMAZING choreography with the dance number, but the song by itself is almost just as good.

~Jamie