I'm not the first Catholic blogger to discover the music of Pomplamoose (hat tip to Mark Shea on that), but I want to share one of their videos that I found lately, and which I've added to my list of Christimas songs.
Pomplamoose (French for grapefruit) are the musical team of Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn. I think it's fair to say that they are what used to be called song stylists. They have hammered out a sound and a style (which is not easy to do, by the way) and they apply it to well-known songs from other artists (these used to be called "standards") as well as to their own material. You either like them or you don't. On the whole, I and my whole family have been delighted with their covers of other artists and I have enjoyed their original songs, as well.
Pomplamoose have also made clever use of video and editing. Jack is a fairly accomplished and versatile instrumentalist and arranger, and Nataly has a vocal style that lends itself well to rich, layered harmonies. My first taste of their work was a cover of the old Chordettes song Sandman, which is difficult and which they made sound pretty effortless and joyful. Their arrangements are uncluttered and in general very successfully re-tool and update older songs for modern ears, while respecting the original. That's not easy to do, either.
When I first played their version of O, Come, All Ye Faithful, the opening measures made me think I wasn't going to like it. Nataly has a great voice, but there are certain songs wherein her particular style can sound flat or wooden. Their version of Michael Jackson's Beat It left me cold, for instance (...well, no one hits a home run every time, but I don't know what they were thinking trying to cover that one). I was thinking for a few seconds that this was going to be a very dull and maybe even unpleasant version of one of my favorite Christmas carols.
But it got better quickly. I can't speak for anyone else, but I find it a real Christmas treat. And, it's actually a Christmas song about Christ, as well. Who'd have thought?
Then, I find the video below just kind of fascinating. Here's John Lennon giving his thoughts on overpopulation. Makes you wonder what he might have thought of Global Warming.
Lennon has always bugged the hell out of me, but it's hard to hate the guy. One got the sense he was sincerely trying, even if he was sincerely wrong on a lot of things. He always seemd to be gracious and charming, as he is in this video. He sensed the absurdity of his own fame, and he was able to detect the odor of bullsh*t around the Overpopulation Myth. But sometimes, you just want to shake him by the shoulders to loosen up more of that common sense that was rattling around in his head with all the pop philosophy and fashionable Eastern mysticism.
Another hat tip to Creative Minority Report for bringing the Lennon video out of mothballs.