Category Archives: Music

A definitive ranking of Hallelujahs

I had a hankerin’ for some Jeff Buckley “Hallelujah” the other day, so I fired up the ol’ Amazon Music machine and played it. And then it played everything titled “Hallelujah” forever and ever amen, and I listened to every “Hallelujah” cover until it hit Panic! At The Disco’s “Hallelujah,” which isn’t a Leonard Cohen cover at all. Listening to nine different covers of “Hallelujah” in a row may not be a particularly productive use of one’s time but it is not unpleasant.

  1. The Canadian Tenors
  2. Kelley Mooney
  3. Tori Kelly
  4. Pentatonix
  5. Rufus Wainwright
  6. Leonard Cohen
  7. Brandi Carlile
  8. KD Lang
  9. Jeff Buckley

In our final analysis, Jeff Buckley’s version remains My Favorite Version of “Hallelujah.” KD Lang and Brandi Carlile are awfully close, though. “Hallelujah” needs to have a little grit and gravel to it. The Canadian Tenors are lovely singers, but they do not bring the grit nor the gravel. See also: Tori Kelly or Pentatonix.

I still don’t get Bergman films

I didn’t exactly shine as a student in high school. I was pretty average, and my general policy was to put in the least amount of effort that would get me a B or better. So I’m not sure how I tumbled into being friends with the Straight-A Smart Kids crowd, but tumble I did and that’s how I first heard Paul Simon’s “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War.”

“Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog, Brussels 1967.” (Lothar Wolleh)
My high school friend Beau is probably the smartest person I’ve ever known. He took math and science classes at the nearest university when we were in middle school, and now he researches philosophy and metaphysics at Oxford. Something of an unusual career path for a kid from rural western North Carolina.

When we were in high school he’d invite friends over to watch Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick movies and then he and Rockford would discuss them and I’d pretend I knew what they were talking about. Beau tried to make sure his friends were always expanding their horizons, and when he learned that I loved “Graceland” but hadn’t heard “Hearts and Bones,” he put on the CD.

I didn’t love Bergman or Kubrick so much, but “Rene and Georgette” had me at hello and is still one of my favorite songs. It was inspired by a couple of photos of the artist, his wife and their dog taken in Belgium in the late ’60s, and Rolling Stones think it’s one of Paul Simon’s best songs. I agree. I love the image of Rene and Georgette dancing alone in their living room to The Orioles and The Five Satins, and I love the little echoes of doo-wop in the song. I’ve always wondered, though — and before you judge me for wondering this, please know that I also judge myself because it’s pretty dumb thought — could it be, possibly, that the dog’s name is After The War?

That doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility for Magritte, but it’s probably not the case. If I ever get a dog, though, I’ll consider naming it Après La Guerre, and I’ll call it Gary for short, and I’ll sing Paul Simon songs to it all the time.

“Jazz Loves Disney,” and I like jazz, and I like Disney. This ought to work out just fine.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post from Disney Music and One2One Network. Nichole was compensated for this post. All opinions are her own.

We were at Disney World when I got the email from One2One Network asking if I’d like to review “Jazz Loves Disney” from Verve Records. I immediately said “Yes Please,” because I like jazz, I like Disney, and I knew I was going to need something to help me ease back into real life after our vacation. It was obviously meant to be. I’m going to tell you what I thought about the album in a minute, but first let’s talk about

Nichole’s Top Five Disney Movies

5. “The Little Mermaid”

Ursula is my second-favorite villain, and I will sing along to “Part of Your World” and/or “Under the Sea” every single time. And Sebastian? Always dropping truths.


4. “Beauty and the Beast”

Belle’s love of books and Beast’s library are enough to get this one on the list. But then there’s also Every Single Song in the movie. And it’s beautiful, and it stars the greatest duo of all time, Lumiere and Cogsworth.

Lumiere and Cogsworth

3. “101 Dalmatians”

I don’t think I can properly express how much I love the “dogs who look like their owners” scene in this movie. It cracked me up when I was a kid, and it cracks me up to this day. I love the jazzy soundtrack, and of course Cruella de Vil and her song are beloved as well. But the guy that clinches this spot for “101 Dalmatians” is Rolly, because I am him and he is me, forever and ever amen.


2. “Sleeping Beauty”

Maleficent is my favorite villain, because she scared the daylights out of me when I was a kid and she is also a dragon. I love the animation and the font and styling of the credits in “Sleeping Beauty.” The scene where the fairies are making the cake and the color-changing dress are still pure magic to me. And of course, there’s “Once Upon a Dream.” I sing it often enough to make “Sleeping Beauty” likely nowhere near the top of Rockford’s list of favorite Disney movies.


1. “Inside Out”

I was dubious when I first read about the premise of “Inside Out.” Then I saw it. It’s so beautiful and inventive, and Poppy was just starting to head into the age Riley is in the movie. And that abstract thought scene? My jaw dropped. “Inside Out” isn’t just one of my favorite Disney movies, it’s one of my favorite movies in general.


So about that album.


You might have noticed a common thread in most of my Disney favorites. If it has a great soundtrack, chances are I’m going to love it. I’m thrilled that my kids have inherited my love for a good Disney tune — even if they don’t appreciate it when I “cover” their favorite tunes. Pete frequently puts the “101 Dalmatians” soundtrack on while he’s playing, and sometimes he’ll even dance to “I Wanna Be Like You” with me in the living room. He draws the line at the “Frozen” soundtrack. I suspect that has something to do with the number of times Poppy has listened to “Let It Go” on repeat.

Regardless of whether Pete is telling me to stop singing “Let It Go” or Poppy is squashing my dreams of luring chipmunks in to fold the laundry for me by gently and whimsically humming “Someday My Prince Will Come,” the Butterscotch Sundae household is thoroughly saturated in aural ephemera of the Disney kind.

“Jazz Loves Disney” is a compilation of musicians giving classic Disney tunes a big band jazz twist, and it works very well. For the most part. There are a few songs on the album that don’t especially shine. The nonsense words in “Bibbidi Bobbodo Boo,” for example, don’t quite translate well as scat — especially in contrast with The Hot Sardines’ version of “I Wanna Be Like You” — and Anne Sila’s “Let It Go” doesn’t quite measure up to Idina Menzel’s original.

That said, the rest of the album is a delight. Grammy nominee Melody Gardot lends a smoky note to “He’s a Tramp” from “Lady and the Tramp,” and Italian singer and pianist Raphael Gualazzi brings a little extra zing to the already infectious “I Wanna Be Like You” from “The Jungle Book.” Jamie Cullum’s high-energy version of “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” had Pete and I dancing through the living room, I love Laika’s silky smooth and appropriately dreamy take on “Once Upon a Dream,” and Nikki Yanofsky’s “Un Jour Mon Prince Viendra (Someday My Prince Will Come)” is soaring and tender.

My favorite track on the album, though, is Gardot & Gualazzi’s “The Bare Necessities.” Their voices play off one another perfectly, and this version is so bouncy and fun you can’t help shimmying when it’s playing. (I’m chair-dancing as I type!)

“Jazz Loves Disney” would be a great gift for the Disney-phile in your life. It’s available November 18 from iTunes or Amazon, so you have plenty of time to order it for the holidays. Here’s the full track listing:

  1. Jamie Cullum, “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat” from “The Aristocats”
  2. Melody Gardot, “He’s A Tramp” from “Lady And The Tramp”
  3. Stacey Kent, “Bibbidi Bobbodo Boo” (French version)” from “Cinderella”
  4. Gregory Porter, “When You Wish Upon A Star” from “Pinocchio”
  5. China Moses, “Why Don’t You Do Right” from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
  6. Raphaël Gualazzi, “I Wanna Be Like You” from “The Jungle Book”
  7. The Rob Mounsey Orchestra, “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” from “Cinderella”
  8. Hugh Coltman, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” from “Toy Story”
  9. Anne Sila, “Let It Go” from “Frozen”
  10. Melody Gardot & Raphaël Gualazzi, “The Bare Necessities” from “The Jungle Book”
  11. Laika, “Once Upon A Dream” from “Sleeping Beauty”
  12. Nikki Yanofsky, “Someday My Prince Will Come” from “Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs”
  13. The Hot Sardines, “I Wanna Be Like You (French & English version)” from “The Jungle Book” (US release only)

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