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Wildcard Wednesday: WRock vs. Filk

wizard-rockAt the Shore Leave convention I attended a particularly disappointing panel on the last day which went a little off topic and then became people sitting around complaining about the fandom community and their creations in general.

In specific, one young woman complained about Wizard Rock, and how WRockers think they’re so clever and unique but don’t realize filk has been around for decades upon decades.

And that got be a bit riled up, not that anyone was in the mood to listen to me rather than continue complaining. So I’m going to complain about the complaining here. Because I can. And because, in my book, WRock is NOT filk. They are extremely similar in a whole lot of ways, but anyone who’s spent time around both knows that they’re also pretty different.

The Music: Filk songs mostly (but definitely not exclusively) are parodies of existing songs with the lyrics changed. That takes some clever rewriting and often results in hilarity. WRock songs mostly (but definitely not exclusively) are original creations of music and lyrics. That takes a whole different kind of skill and creativity.

Subject Matter: While there are definitely filk groups that sing about only one fandom, many of the groups are non-fandom specific and jump around in subject matter as their muses dictate. WRock is Harry Potter. Sure, some of the groups sing the occasional song about another fandom, but it’s pretty rare on actual albums or at concerts during the “golden age” of Wizard Rock.

Groups & Perspectives: Filk singers and groups usually have amazing names and personas, but not many of them go to the extent that WRockers do. Wrockers not only name themselves based on the fandom but often write and perform songs specifically from that perspective. Listen to a Draco and the Malfoys song and you know you’re getting the wizarding world from Draco’s perspective in almost every song, for example. That’s one of the things I find most appealing about WRock. It’s a deeper investigation of the canon.

Culture & Community: This is the big one. Filk has its own culture and community. Filk concerts and circles are amazingly fun and unique to the genre. But Wizard Rock concerts have a different, unique feel to them. Though both are all about sharing the music and love of fandom, the cultures are different and the communities separate. While filk is supported in the Wizard Rock world and probably Wizard Rock supported in the filk one, they seem to consistently choose to be separate entities. Which, to me, makes them DIFFERENT THINGS. Both are places where one can be creative without judgement, but the communities are still separate.

I just did a quick search and found this interesting article that says much the same thing: Identity and authenticity in the filk community by Melissa L. Tatum

So, yes, they’re very similar in nature but they are different. Which anyone would know if they’d been to as many WRock concerts as I have.

Top Ten: Thought-provoking WRock Songs

It’s simply impossible to put together short lists of Wizard Rock. There’s just too much out there I love. So here’s a list of ten that I think are good examples of songs that expand the Harry Potter universe by making me think about things I’d not thought about before.

Top Ten Thought-provoking Wizard Rock Songs

Thank you to Delma for helping me feel better about one of the songs on my list and suggesting a good thought path for me to get my last one on here. *hugs*

Thing Thursday: Raised by Nerds

Because I am not a millionaire by any means, there are few artists out there in the ‘verse whose albums I will buy sight unseen (hearing unheard? That doesn’t make sense…). But the Blibbering Humdingers are one group form whom I will always immediately press that “Buy Now” button.

RaisedbyNerds

Their newest album, Raised by Nerds, is a multifandom delight. As always, the quality is top-notch and the humor is in full force. There are some great new-to-me songs, some songs I’ve heard them perform at concerts over the past year or two that hadn’t been previously released, and even some clever covers of other WRockers’ songs. In all, it’s a great collection of songs for anyone with an appreciation for fandom. The only downside of the album I’ve found so far are the painful grammatical errors in several of the song titles *shakes fists at apostrophes that just shouldn’t be apostrophing there.* Oh, actually, I’m still a little sad Battlestar Galactica was left out of “O Captain! My Captain!” but that’s a minor complaint, because the song is still pretty damn epic at over 6 minutes long.

Again, I’m still new to the album, but my current favorites are definitely “Engines Make Me Hot” (I still love Lauren’s version, but more Kaylee everywhere is NEVER a bad thing), 99 Death Eaters in the original German (so freakin’ clever, man), “Key to Your Hearts” (awwwww; who doesn’t want a TARDIS, seriously?), “Hot Girl in the Comic Shop” (I’m not hot, but sometimes even I get looks at the comic book store… though I’m much more the kind of person who would be having that Hulk vs. Spiderman debate internally and not notice being noticed; so I can relate on both sides LOL), and “Dark Mark in the Sky” (so clever and catchy… and I don’t even like westerns…).

I really appreciate the Humdingers representing my generation through music because it gives me a chance to actually get all the references, even fun older ones. And, not to get all deep or anything, but it’s fun thinking about the significance of the title song (and album name). My parents are certainly not at the level of nerddom that I feel I have achieved, but they did make sure I’d listened to Lord of the Rings on audio before I turned 5 and had seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail at least a dozen times before my 12th birthday. I was allowed to watch very few shows as a child, but was always encouraged to watch every episode of Star Trek (they probably wouldn’t have minded me watching Doctor Who with them either, but I saw a baddie in an episode at an early age and was scared of that show until 2005). But I definitely fangirl harder than my parents do/did. Which makes me wonder about the next generation. Does the pendulum swing back a little or does the fandom appreciation grow even more extreme? I hope for the latter. And, given the examples I’ve seen in my friends’ kids, I hope that’s the case for many of them. I see nothing wrong with raising one’s children with a strong appreciation for the good stuff :-) Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have kids, though. I can’t even imagine having to sit down and have a frank and honest “special” conversation about Highlander 2.

Thing Thursday: The Longest Road

Is it possible to honeymoon (play on repeat with obsessive love) just a single song and not seem crazy? I’ve loved this song about Settlers of Catan and life when I heard Sarah sing it in concert last year and, finally, it’s available for purchase online! Kristen S. found it for me in part of one of the Doubleclicks’ livestream concerts (Halloween 2014) but downloading it is a much more convenient way of enjoying it. Plus I always like being able to support the people who make songs that make me so happy!

I’ve only played Settlers of Catan a few times (the first time in college, many many moons ago) and I thought I was the only one single-mindedly in love with building the longest road to the detriment of the rest of my strategy. Not only is there a song about it now, but it’s an amazing and beautiful song (metaphor!).


The Longest Road by Sarah Donner


LongestRoad-smallSo you head to the hills and the forest, but still
You’re just building the longest road
The mountains are far,
but you know where you are
When you’re starting the longest road

Buy it…

Thing Thursday: Wand & Card

This year for my birthday, my coworkers appealed to my fandomy nature and gave me this great Star Trek-themed birthday card. They also gave me this great glowy wand because I eyed some of the glow wands that the little girls (who were, we presumed, going to Disney Princesses on Ice) in Minneapolis had.

Birthday-2015

So it’s Elsa meets Star Trek. Oh, wait. Jared TWG did that already, didn’t he?

Top Ten Tuesday: Original NES Songs

On Sunday, I hooked up my childhood Nintendo (yes, my original one from 1988/1989; it still works perfectly, as do all the games). I popped in Dr. Mario at once and started playing. It really took me back. Last year, I found a nice website dedicated to video game music. Without further ado… Oh, but keep in mind I pretty much had to buy my own video games and I didn’t have a lot of money as a kid; so there isn’t very much variety ;-)

NES

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The End of Another Era

Up and down and up again, we finally have the final title credits song for the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit franchise, sung by none other than Billy Boyd. What a fitting end to a great set of movies.

If you don’t mind being spoiled musically, you can listen to the song right now on Billboard:
http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6319735/the-hobbit-song-premiere-billy-boyd-the-last-goodbye

This song reduced me to tears the first time I heard it (when it was up briefly a few days ago on YouTube), and it does the same to me each time I re-listen to it. I suspect that I will be a puddle by the end of the final Hobbit film.

The soundtrack is available for preorder online (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) and will be released December 9 (standard) and December 16 (2-CD special edition).

Top Ten: Fandom Songs I Can’t Listen To in the Car

My friends IRL know that I’m a crier. I cry not just at sad movies but at their movie trailers before the sad movies are even out.

There are also some fandom songs I cannot listen to without at least tearing up. I learned the hard way that I had to uncheck these songs in iTunes at work (I’ve had coworkers walk in on me as I was bawling) and I cannot listen to them while driving (twice I’ve had to pull over to the side of the road because I was crying too hard to drive/see). But these are also songs I love so very dearly. In fact, it was easy to come up with this list in just a few minutes because some of these are among my favorite fandom songs ever written. I just… can’t listen to them while driving.

Note: There’s a MoM song that belongs on this list, but given the recent… yeah… I’m choosing to leave that song off. That’s all right. There are enough Snidget songs to make up the difference ;-)

Additional Note/Warning: Massive spoilers for Harry Potter, Supernatural through season 7, His Dark Materials series, Torchwood Children of Earth, and the first Hunger Games novel/movie

 

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Top Ten: Christmas Wizard Rock

There’s a whole lot of Harry Potter Wizard Rock out there for the holiday season. There are even a few songs about Hanukkah and Ramadan out there. I managed to cut my list of over 150 songs down to, um, ten favorites. The first seven or eight were easy. After that… how do I choose just a few more? The songs I chose are a wide variety, but mostly ones that evoke strong emotions in me. Also, for someone not so fond of the latter Jingle Spells albums, I sure did pick a lot from JS4. Surprise!

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Magical Music

DracoandtheMalfoys-CheattoWin Draco and the Malfoys released a new single today and the promise of their first new studio album in almost five years. I’ve only listened to the single six times now ;-) There’s something so thrilling about the prospect of new Wizard Rock. I don’t like to say that it’s dead, because art doesn’t ever die. But it certainly isn’t as popular as once it was. Only a couple touring groups came to my town last year, for example.

“Faced with two choices–To die or to sin–
You know we would all cheat to win.”
~Draco & the Malfoys, Cheat to Win

 

Cheat to Win isn’t necessarily my style, musically, but I really like it. It’s catchy and, well, speaks a bit of truth. I’m a rule-following Hufflepuff. Not all Hufflepuffs are as anal about rules as I am, but I hold the concept of fairness to all above almost everything else in this world (note to self: remember to grab that Nelson Mandela book out of the car before the next snow/ice storm hits tonight). So, no, I would NOT cheat to win at most things. But if it’s a matter of cheating or dying, heck year I’m going to choose cheating. But it brings up the question: why do I like this song so much, even if the underlying Slytherin concept in it is against the core of who I am as a person?

“We’re not always well-behaved, we don’t always do what’s right
We’re really good kissers, but I must warn we bite.”
~Swish and Flick, SLY in Slytherin

 

And it’s not just this song, either. I’m completely guilty of jumping up and down and shouting “Gryffindor” at Ministry of Magic concerts when Gryffindor Rally Cry is played. I could not have bought Swish and Flick’s album fast enough and I listen to its Slytherin songs far more than the Hufflepuff in me is willing to admit. So, yeah, my WRock playlist has its fill of JFF and Oliver Boyd songs. But you’ll also find Draco & the Malfoys and the Parselmouths popping up just as often. Why is that?

“Fools underestimate me; I am a woman.
I’m more pure than you’ll ever contemplate
There’s no denying fate.
You’re just jealous about my purpose.
It’s not my fault that your blood
Leaves you second-rate.”
~Snidget, Bella

 

One of the things I like most about fan creations is getting to see someone else’s interpretation and passion for something I love. We all come at fandom with a shared understanding of canon. But the way individuals and fanon interpret it is not just fascinating but appealing to me. I love reading fanfic that shows me a brand new angle on characters I already love. I love going to meetup discussions with people who have different thoughts, viewpoints, and interpretations. And I adore fandom music that makes me feel different things. Most WRock is just plain fun–not deep, not life-changing. And I have a special place in my heart for the music that speaks right to me, completely in-line with my thoughts and favorite things about the characters and story. But when a song is actually able to convert me for 2-5 minutes into another person, to let me see things from a different point of view, and to let me rejoice in some of the values I don’t even share, that’s true magic right there.

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