Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Dec 13

7 Modern Christmas Songs I Love

River – Sarah Mclachlan

I’d only vaguely heard this song before I bought Sarah’s Christmas album. It’s melancholy but somehow not in a bad way. I don’t even know how that works. Her version of “O Little town of Bethlehem” is also worth a listen or twenty.

Gothic Christmas – Within Temptation

This song is cheesy and ridiculous, and I love every moment of it. Let’s talk about evil Santa and Rudolph (not Krampus). Let’s make everything sparkly and green

Leroy The Redneck Reindeer – Joe Diffie 

Speaking of cheesy, there’s this one that’s about 20 years old. It’s got that Christmassy feel but it’s totally got that dated 90s country sound, too. And it’s going on my iPod as I type!

Deck the Halls – SheDaisy

Slightly less redneck is SheDaisy’s version of “Deck the Halls,” which might be the only version I actually like. It sounds so grown up, and it’s crazy to think I first heard this when I was in high school!

Winter Dreams – Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas album is one of the better modern Christmas albums in my opinion. There are some classic covers, but the new songs manage to capture the feel of Christmas and the jazzy tempos match Kelly’s powerful voice so well. “Winter Dreams” could be my favorite Christmas song of all time, but “Underneath the Tree,” and “4 Carats” are excellent, too.

A Mad Russian’s Christmas – TSO

It’s all really hard for me to pick a single song by TSO that I like. I know that most people only like Christmas Eve in Sarajevo, and it’s good, but they’ve  got multiple Christmas albums! “Wizards in Winter” is a song that I keep on my iPod all year long, so I think that shows you how much I like it. But “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” ugh. It’s everything, guys!

Sufjan Stevens – Christmas In The Room

If you want coffee shop indie music, then this last track is the one for you. It’s not my favorite on this list, but it’s definitely enjoyable and festive/

May 11

6 Things I Learned From a Rock Music Festival

I spent my Saturday at the first-ever Northern Invasion. It was an amazing time and surprisingly educational as you’ll see below!

1. Bands Don’t Give A Fuck About the Rules

..and it’s kinda cool! Although crowd surfing and sitting on peoples’ shoulders might be “strongly discouraged,” bands are still going to tell you to do it anyway, and you may just! Of course, if you’re the chick who fell and had to be hauled away in the ambulance, you take full responsibility — financially and otherwise — for your actions.

2. People Will Find Anything to Bitch About

Lines for merch, food and bathrooms? Bitch. Parking? Moan. Weather’s too hot when the sun is up? Bitch and moan. Too cold after sun sets? More damn bitching and moaning. When you’re told there are no re-entries but you expect you’ll be able to leave and come back? You guess the crowd’s response. I mean, seriously. Are people actually that stupid? Oh, right. Yes. Yes, they are.

3. But It Is Impossible to Dress for the Weather in Wisconsin

I wore jeans and a tank top for a day that wasn’t supposed to get warmer than 70. It was 10 degrees warming with the sun blazing, no shade and just a hint of wind. I was sweating standing still let alone while rocking out. But a few hours later, the wind picked up and it dipped to the 50s. Since we weren’t allowed to go back to our vehicles and most people didn’t want to carry layers, there was a lot of jumping going on just to keep warm during the later shows.

But we all forget about it when Slipknot was playing!

4. Everyone Loves Don’t Stop Believin’

It might be a hard-hitting heavy metal and rock fest, but when that infamous Journey song came on, every damned person in the place sang along.

5. You Don’t Have to Love a Band to Love Their Performance

Listen, I like Slipknot. I don’t love the band, but I like them. However, after that single performance, I might be a convert. It wasn’t just how crazy the crowd went, how hard the music was, how amazing the show was with fire, giant LED-light goats and spinning drumkits or how Corey Taylor showed amazing amounts of love and appreciation to the fans. It was none of that, all of that and more.

And the band I went to see — Halestorm? Rocked with amazing energy and a sadly-too-short-show because they were sticking to the schedule and relegated to second stage. They didn’t miss a beat, though. Singing along to the songs from their new CD that I’ve already memorized and rocking out next to a dude who looked surprisingly like a young NPH was awesome!

6. There’s Serious Demand for Rock and Metal in the Area

The Upper Midwest has sadly been looked over by big concert venues, with little coming further north than Chicago or Milwaukee. However, a venue just an hour out of the Twin Cities makes sense. People drove at least 4.5 hours, if not more. All tickets sold out, and there were thousands there.

I’m not quite sure what the final numbers are, but I’m so excited turnout was this good because I can’t wait to do it next year! I’ll have to work on my core for next year, though. I wasn’t prepared to be that sore absolutely everywhere. My legs, my hands, my ankles and feet, my neck and my throat. But that’s what you get for rocking so hard and screaming so much you nearly puke!

And that’s why I love rock ‘n’ roll!

Oct 18

On Consuming Media with Problematic Messages

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about things that I enjoy and how they’re problematic in some way. Typically, this means the music I listen to and messages that may be racist or sexist, but those certainly aren’t the only mediums or messages that are problematic. I probably just notice it in music more because IO am almost always listening to music.’

For example, I love the beat of the new Nick Jonas song “Jealous,” but the lyrics are fucking terrible as he sings about his right to be jealous of his beautiful girlfriend and to act “hellish” because of it. While Nick plays it like it’s normal, Meg Myers has no qualm about talking about her obsessive desires are pretty far out there. I just discover Meg and both “Monster” and “Desire” are like this. They’re fantastic songs, though!

Another song that I can’t help but dance along to is “All About the Bass.” Megan Trainor has landed on the scene in a big way, and her leading anthem about how the boys love her(and dislike thin women for their lack there of) for her curves just rubs me wrong. It’s not body positive to call a slender people “skinny bitches” no matter how she might follow it up with a quip about how they’re beautiful. It just doesn’t come off as genuine.

I checked out a few more Megan Trainor songs, and I have to say her writing skills — or at least her choice in lyrics as a whole — tend to be problematic. She focuses so single-mindedly on “finding and keeping a man who will treat her like a lady and pay for her lavish lifestyle. She’s fallen prey to a society who says she is only worth something as long as she is useful (read: owned by) a man, and it just makes me.. sad. Because she seems like she’s HGH pretty fuckin’ awesome. She doesn’t necessarily have to be a feminist fighter, but there’s so much more to life and music than what she’s chosen thus far. In fact, I think that Mary Lambert does a great job of this!

Before I wrap up this post, I’ll talk about everyone’s favorite love-to-hate singer and songwriter: Taylor Swift. Taylor recently release a fun pop anthem titled “Shake It Off.” I cannot help but get up and dance when I hear it. The beat is amazing, and it might be causing me to lose weight — kidding, though! I can’t believe it only has 1 million views.

But “Shake It Off” has been on the receiving end of a lot of flack. Perhaps most notable is the idea that the video combines one part definite cultural appropriation and perhaps another part racism, depending on how you view it, thanks to concepts that are reminiscent of ye olde minstrel shows.

I also have a bone to pick with the lyrics, which suddenly show Taylor demanding her right to have fun (and potentially sex) with whoever she wants. This in and of itself isn’t problematic. You get it, girl! But she has spent much of her career slut shaming the other girls for being to promiscuous. The sudden change could perhaps be in relation to her growing up. Taylor has even recently has explained how she has come to realize what feminism is and wishes she had understood early so she could have sooner called herself a feminist.

I think there’s two overreaching thoughts here. I still enjoy these things despite their problems. Critical thinking about music and other things we so passively enjoy is an important part of growth. Secondly, even people and creators who have been problematic are starting to see the fact and coming around to the other side, which is kind of inspiring.

Apr 02

My Heart Wants

I have long been a fan of Lennon Murphy, a chick rocker who, yes, is named after that Lennon. She had a solo career, and I discovered her on MTV Rock (remember when that was a thing?!) in high school. I bought her first album and a few later, but she never achieved that same success.

I would eventually go on to start a Lennon fanlisting, which I deleted when I removed the rest of my fanlistings shortly before I switched Web hosts. But her career didn’t keep up. I was sad because I like chicks who rock. It’s also the same reason that I had a Pat Benatar fanlisting — and tattoo!

I had created a Google alert to be updated whenever Lennon popped up because I needed to update my fanlisting, and I must have forgotten to delete it when I deleted my fanlisting. You can imagine my surprise today when I signed in to my email to see that alert, which I had completely forgotten.

But it was awesome!

Lennon is back with a new band and this is their first single and I love it!

So I’ll post about it so you can love it, too!

Skip to toolbar