30 Day Song Challenge #14

Day 14: a song you’d love to be played at your wedding.

Claudia de Breij — Mag ik dan bij jou

There’s a thin line between being emotionally invested in what you’re singing, and drenching it in pathos. Covers of Claudia de Breij’s “Mag ik dan bij jou” almost always cross that line. Which, is understandable. It is a beautiful little song, which would have been totally unremarkable if not for the lyrics.

It is a series of hypotheticals: if we end up in a war, and if somehow I then need to hide; when a little group of people emerges which I don’t want to belong to; if there is new rule enacted which I cannot meet — if any of that happens, it asks, well, may I then stay with you?

Imagine how easy it must be to take that way too far. And then, then this song instantly unravels into an unlistenable, saccharine parody of itself.

April 1st, 2014. We’re waiting for the wedding guests to arrive, and this song comes on. I know it is a pretty song, I heard it a gazillion times already, and then at the end of the second verse, I am a blubbering mess.

Als de liefde komt,
En ik weet het zeker,
Mag ik dan bij jou?

Goshdarnit, het mocht.

30 Day Song Challenge #13

Day 13: a song from the year you were born.

Bruce Springsteen — Point Blank

Happy birthday to me.

Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” was a shoe-in for this category, until I realized that Bruce Springsteen’s The River also was released in 1980. Sure, “Point Blank” had been around for a couple of years by then, but those earlier live versions do not have the same magic the album version has.

30 Day Song Challenge #12

Day 12: a song from your preteen years.

Kinderen voor Kinderen — Ik ben toch zeker Sinterklaas niet

As a kid, I was totally not that into music. The only things I can clearly remember listening to were typical kiddie-things like Kinderen voor Kinderen and Ministars.

“Ik ben toch zeker Sinterklaas niet” is a stone-cold classic. Written by Henk & Henk of Het Goede Doel and featuring Edwin ‘Ome Willem’ Rutten (two 1980s institutes in The Netherlands), there is little that could go wrong. And the lyrics are spot on as well. The kids sing about what they want: a little brother, a beautiful red bike, a very large teddy bear, a racing track, a new box of magic tricks, a walkmen (hey, very cromulent wish at the time), a diary with a lock, a turbocompactdiscodrive, a computer and a homework making machine. Little things, really, but their father always gets mad. He starts to turns red, and then he turns redder until he almost explodes: surely he ain’t Santa Clause (paraphrasing here), he does not have a money tree out back but a negative fortune. When banknotes start growing on his back, you’ll be the first to know. See you then.

Years later, Kinderen tegen Kinderen made an awesome mashup with Rammstein and Rage Against the Machine.

30 Day Song Challenge #11

Day 11: a song you never get tired of.

Bonnie Tyler — Total Eclipse of the Heart

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” is one of my all-time favorite songs. Despite having heard this song a gazillion times (in countless cover versions, in Dutch, Hungarian, Japanese, German, Portuguese, Russian, Finish, French, and Polish), I cannot ever get enough of the original. It is just too damn perfect.

The problem I have with most covers is that they don’t go all the way over the top. If you don’t do that, you get a limp, insipid, uninspired mess. But when you do take it over the top, the result can be glorious.

30 Day Song Challenge #10

Day 10: a song that makes you sad.

Dusty Springfield — Anyone Who Had a Heart

On a nice summer morning many years ago, I was cycling to work. By the time I arrived, I was depressed as hell. The reason? I had been listening to a Dusty Springfield compilation. I love Dusty to bits, but she cannot seem to catch a break when it comes to love songs. It heartache upon heartbreak upon disillusion upon abandonment upon desire upon terrible choice in (wo)men.