The Fourth Day of Mellowmas: Spektormas

Written by Mellowmas, Music

On the fourth day of Mellowmas, Jeff and Jason wander into a dark, cold place where pitch, intelligible lyrics, melody, and steady tempo have ceased to exist.

Before we kick off today’s round of exquisite Mellowmas torture, how about some discount music and a contest? Our friends at Rhino are celebrating the Twelve Days of Chri — er, Rhino, and for the fourth day, they’re not only offering a whopping 40% discount on Heaven & Hell’s limited edition Live from Radio City Music Hall CD/DVD set, but they’re giving away a $25 promo code to one lucky Popdose reader! Here’s what you need to do to enter:

Visit the Rhino site and find out how much you need to spend to get free shipping on your order. Then email the answer to Dw. Dunphy with the subject line “I am the Rhino contest winner.” Our winner will be chosen at random, and all entries must be received by noon PST tomorrow. Good luck!

Jason: Hey, another Christmas compilation from Warner Bros.! Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In.

Jeff: A sequel! With Roman numerals, even!

Jason: There were some good songs on Gift Wrapped – 20 Songs That Keep On Giving!

Jeff: There were? I don’t recall.

Jason: Yeah, the live Buble “Let It Snow” was good. A good version of “Silver Bells” by Meaghan Smith.

Jeff: Who’s Meaghan Smith? Never mind, I don’t care. I used to love Warner Bros. Records. Then they got rid of all their best executives in the mid ’90s.

Jason: So what does that mean for this compilation?

Jeff: Mainly that I have no idea who’s even on Warners anymore, other than the Goo Goo Dolls, who — of course! — are on this. Singing the classic carol “Better Days.”

Jason: What the hell is “Better Days”?

Jeff: Oh, wait, “Better Days” isn’t a Christmas song, it’s THEIR MOST RECENT SINGLE. And that, my friends, is Mellowmas in a nutshell. How fucking crass!

Jason: Oh. And here I was hoping it was a Citizen King cover.

Jeff: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That would be perfect.

Jason: And yes, I totally had to look up the song to find out who sung it.

Jeff: I want a whole album of covers like that. Mediocrity Meets Mediocrity: Covers of Songs You Barely Remember by Artists You Can’t Stand.

Jason: All by the Goo Goo Dolls?

Jeff: Train could cover, I don’t know, Stroke 9 or something.

Jason: I’ve been dying to hear the Goo’s version of “Sex and Candy.”

Jeff: snort

Jason: So what shall we listen to from this steaming pile of coal?

Jeff: We shall listen to the Regina Spektor track “December,” which was apparently recorded just for this compilation. Such a wintry title! Candy canes and hot cocoa!

Jason: Maybe it’s inspired by the George Winston album! Just Regina Spektor playing piano, barefoot. Bald and with a beard, too.

Jeff: Oh, I hope so! And not singing.

Jason: You don’t like Regina Spektor?

Jeff: Isn’t Regina Spektor something that fell off Tori Amos?

Jason: I thought it was shitty that she changed the spelling of her last name to hide that she’s Phil’s daughter.

Jeff: Well, you know. That hair is embarrassing.

Jason: After this track, that might be the least of the problems. We can hope, anyway. She was on the last Gift Wrapped compilation.

Jeff: Which I apparently have on my hard drive. The Mellowmas pain, it all blurs together.

Jason: “My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year) [iTunes Live Session Performance].” I gave it three stars.

Jeff: Three stars, eh? That’s a lot to live up to.

Jason: Nah, only the four and five star songs remain on my playlists. There are helicopters on the track, which bummed me out because I thought it was going to be a “Goodnight Saigon” cover.

Jeff: Now I want to hear a holiday mix of “Goodnight Saigon.”

Jason: I think there’s already triangle or something on that song. They just need jingle bells.

Jeff: Let’s listen.

Regina Spektor — December (download)

From Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In

Jeff: Hey, this does sound like George Winston!

Jason: Out of tune George Winston, yes.

Jeff: Oh, wait, no it doesn’t. This sounds like…motion sickness.

Jason: What the fuck is this? She’s singing like she has a bunch of Big League Chew in her mouth.

Jeff: This is what Regina Spektor thinks of when she thinks of December.

Jason: “Come on and say you’re sorry, real sorry for the trouble that you caused.” Wasn’t this supposed to be on Warner Bros’ Yom Kippur compilation?

Jeff: I think she stole this melody from an ancient Hebrew song. “We ah not evacuatin’ this ‘ouse!”

Jason: Ha ha ha ha! “We don’t believe you, we don’t believe in you.”

Jeff: Who does she not believe in? I’m not understanding this at all. Is she talking to Santa?

Jason: I think she does not believe in pitch. She also does not believe in happiness.

Jeff: Or actual time signatures. Oh, thank God. It’s over.

Jason: Wow, that was quick.

Jeff: DON’T COMPLAIN. I think that was something she made up on the spot in a single take.

Jason: I’m not complaining. Actually, what I’m doing is picturing the Warner Bros. execs’ faces when they received this track for the compilation.

Jeff: Ha!

Jason: “GOD DAMMIT, REGINA, JUST FUCKING SING ‘SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN.”

Jeff: Lots of pinched nose bridges, I imagine. Imagine actually being snowed in with Regina Spektor?

Jason: No. I won’t do it.

Jeff: I think by night one, I’d start trying to convince everyone else that we needed to eat her to survive.

Jason: cackle
I’ve taken to looking up meanings of this song on the Internet.

Jeff: There’s stuff about this song on the Internet?

Jason: Yup.

Jeff: I assumed you’d send me a link to http://whyreginaspektorwhy.com.

Jason: “This song is beautiful, then again..what song of her’s isn’t beautiful?” The spelling isn’t the only thing wrong with that statement.

Jeff: I’m just blinking in silence.

Jason: There are 37 comments on the meaning of this song. And not one of them is “First!”

Jeff: To quote our friend Billy K. Harmony, I hate this world.

Jason: “The second verse is God trying to talk to the human. He’s telling the human and all of human race to apologize for all the war and hate they brought to the world, along with all the sin and stuff. He’s asking how they don’t see all his love for them and the world.”

Jeff: “Along with all the sin and stuff.” What the hell?

Jason: THIS SONG IS ON A FUCKING CHRISTMAS COMPILATION

Jeff: Yeah, and it’s like two minutes long!

Jason: I can’t wait until 2011, when Judy Collins and Regina Spektor do their long-awaited collaboration. Wait, here’s another comment: “The final verse baffles me. Why does she start singing like a ruddy old Cockney? Is that how we sound to God, when we cling on to our houses in the face of ‘You and Your wrecking crew’? ”

I’ll take this one, Jeff. THE REASON SHE SOUNDS LIKE A RUDDY OLD COCKNEY IS BECAUSE SHE’S AN ASSHOLE.

Jeff: “A ruddy old Cockney”! Ha! Oh, wait, I know!

Jason: Lay it on me.

Jeff: It’s because this song is being sung from the perspective of Dick Van Dyke’s character in “Mary Poppins.” THE END. And you know what? Regina Spektor is fucking insane, so I lay even odds that my interpretation is the right one.

Jason: Are you sure? Because I have another interpretation.

Jeff: Go on.

Jason: If the Sabbath is the depths of winter, that suggests a profound bleakness attached to spirituality, maybe newfound atheism. To lose your religion would ‘turn your down upside’ – cause your darkness to surface. To find you have fallen out of love with the Creator is painfully captured in those lines about rumours of romance, where any playful tone is overtly and deliberately disowned by the singer.

Jeff: taps screen

Jason: What, that doesn’t make sense to you? Because it SURE MAKES SENSE TO ME. SHUT UP INTERNET

Jeff: Hold on, I’m busy forging power of attorney so I can have you committed.

Jason: I want to send every one of these commenters a copy of Fred Schneider’s “Fruitcake.”

Jeff: I feel like they’re already living it. Although it might be fun to watch them try to analyze it.

Jason: This is a truly awful track. And you suggested it for Mellowmas.

Jeff: Naturally.

Jason: …Thank you, old friend.

Jeff: Well, it’s like I said going in. This is the meaning of Mellowmas.

Jason: I can’t remember anything before Regina Spektor’s out-of-tune piano. If you said that, I’ll have to take your word for it.

Jeff: And if I ever meet Regina Spektor, I’m totally cow-punching her in the uterus. Note: I don’t know what a cow-punch is. I just made that up. But it makes as much sense as anything in “December.”

Jason: I think if you cow-punched her, it would speak to how the world has fallen down around us, and maybe the pain of a broken home has overtaken everything we know about the holiday spirit. And then something about the Sabbath, too. I don’t know if that last sentence makes sense. I just quickly threw together a bunch of words.

Jeff: And a melody that sounds like a broken shofar’s horn.

Jason: It made as much sense to me as anything else I’ve heard today. Thanks for ruining Christmas, Regina Spektor!

Jeff: applause

Jason: Or should I say REGINA SPECTOR.
Wait a minute.
Hold on.
Remember one of those lyrics?
“We don’t believe in you and your wrecking crew.”

Jeff: gasp

Jason: SHE’S TALKING ABOUT PHIL SPECTOR!

Jeff: Play it backwards! Play it backwards!

Jason: REGINA SPEKTOR DOESN’T BELIEVE IN HAL BLAINE! Man, Regina. What did Carol Kaye ever do to you?

Jeff: Played actual music?

Jason: I can’t believe I figured it out.

Jeff: Hey, what do you know? If you play this backwards, it turns into “My Pal Foot Foot.”

Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha!