Category - Music

Monday Media: Music Video Fun


Hello all! Welcome to this week's Media Monday. Today I thought I'd share some music videos from artists I enjoy. I love music almost as much as I love movies, and listen to pretty much anything that catches my ear. I listen to everything from 20s Jazz to Lady Gaga, and everything in between. (Please note if you're reading this on Goodreads, the videos won't show up. Thanks)

Many times, I use music to write to, sometimes to set a mood. It certainly inspires me. Sometimes I just sit listening to something, and scenes start forming in my head, dialogue begins to flow, or that brick wall I'd hit starts to crumble.  Sometimes it just relaxes me. When I have my headphones in, there's nothing but me and the music, I'm in my own little world and all is right.

I also love being introduced to new artists. When I was younger, I worked for Virgin Megastores and HMV, so I was always surrounded by music and movies. It was a lot easier at the time to keep up with new artists, especially since so many of the folks I worked with were either musicians themselves or part of the going to gigs scene, plus there were always bands being promoted who came to play at the stores. Now I mostly rely on the internet, radio, or friends, but I try to keep up.

This first artist, the lovely Hayley B. James introduced me to recently. She liked this video and thought I would too. I absolutely love it. I'd seen the artist's name here and there, saw a picture on someone's tumblr somewhere, but didn't think to investigate. As you can imagine, I'm all over videos that have a 40s or 50s vibe to them. This one happens to be an awesome video and equally awesome song.

Kimbra: Good Intent Kimbra: Cameo Lover. I love the fella at the desk(s). The colors!

The lovely C. Zampa sent me a link to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. I enjoy swing music, lots. I'd listened to fellas like the Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Brian Setzer Orchestra (and of course there's no one like Benny Goodman and Glen Miller), but I hadn't heard much from these fellas. Their videos are a bit tough to find, but I found this one. I love the sound of his voice, and the beat is just infectious.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Mr. Pinstripe Suit

Paloma Faith: Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful. I love her voice and her style. She's just awesomesauce.

Paloma Faith: Picking Up The Pieces

Scissor Sisters: Any Which Way. Lots of fun and plenty naughty. Also, Jake Shears is fit. That is all.

Fun: We Are Young ft. Janelle Monáe

Mumford & Sons: The Cave. Love his voice, love the sound.

x Charlie x

Charlie's Top 20 Musical Films

Growing up, there was always music playing in our home. My mom enjoyed listening to Spanish musicians while my dad loved pop and classic rock. Usually you could find the Spanish music in the kitchen, which was my mom's favorite room. It was bright, sunny, painted yellow and white, with flowered tablecloth and matching curtains. It was cozy and warm.

In the living room which was my dad's favorite room, consisting of all browns and wood, you could hear Abba, the Monkeys, Elvis, the Beatles, and countless other great bands. I grew up watching the Disney channel when it played nothing but cartoons and musicals, MTV when it played only music videos. When I got older, I worked for Virgin Megastores both in the US and then again in the UK. It's safe to say that movies and music have always been a part of my life. So it's no surprise I love musical movies. I've been to see several onstage in Miami and London. My hope it to one day catch a Broadway show in NYC, because although I've been to NYC a few times, I never got the chance.

I thought I'd share with you my favorite musical films. Some are classics, most you may have heard of, but these are my all time favorites. They're not in any kind of order because when it comes to movies there are too many different aspects to love from each one for me to narrow it down to just one. It's impossible for me. Still, hope you enjoy the list!

42nd street 193342nd Street (1933) Busby Berkeley, the king of musical choreography. I love everything about this movie, from the gorgeous dance numbers to the classic songs like "You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me" to "Forty-Second Street".

My favorite quote from Director Julian Marsh to Peggy Sawyer:

"Sawyer, you listen to me, and you listen hard. Two hundred people, two hundred jobs, two hundred thousand dollars, five weeks of grind and blood and sweat depend upon you. It's the lives of all these people who've worked with you. You've got to go on, and you've got to give and give and give. They've got to like you. Got to. Do you understand? You can't fall down. You can't because your future's in it, my future and everything all of us have is staked on you. All right, now I'm through, but you keep your feet on the ground and your head on those shoulders of yours and go out, and Sawyer, you're going out a youngster but you've got to come back a star!"

Ugh, gets me every time. Hollywood passion, and drama, and need! I love it!

blues brothers 1980The Blues Brothers  (1980) This is one of those films I can watch over and over and never get tired of it. Aside Princess Leia playing a psycho ex-girlfriend trying to blow Jake up, the music is awesome, it's funny, and just a load of good old fashioned crazy fun. I admit that every time I go to Universal Studios, I have to watch the Blues Brothers show and you can bet I'm out there shaking my tail feathers.

It's directed by John Landis (Animal House, American Werewolf in London, Trading places, Coming to America) , so no surprise of its awesomeness there. And the music! Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles! Let's not forget the Bluesmobile, which is on my list of cars I would own if I were a millionaire, right after Dean Winchester's Impala and Doc Brown's DeLorean,

bugsy malone 1976Bugsy Malone (1976) This is one of those films I'm very nostalgic about because I saw it when I was a kid in the early 80s. Aside the fact that the music was fantastic, it was a 1920s gangster movie but with an all-kid cast. I highly doubt we'll see anything like this again. The singing was obviously done by adults. The music was arranged, synthesized, and sometimes sung by Paul Williams who I personally love. Custard shooting 'splurge guns' and amazing songs like, "So You Want to Be A Boxer", "Down and Out", and "You Give a Little Love".


cabaret 1972Cabaret (1972) Ah, Fosse, what's not to love? I know the film and the musical differ vastly, and I've had the pleasure of watching the stage version which was phenomenal. I can't get enough of this soundtrack, much like pretty much any Bob Fosse musical. And who can forget the Emcee? Sometimes in a musical there's one or two songs you aren't as keen on, but not in Cabaret. "Money, Money", "Mein Herr", "Cabaret". Heartbreaking and beautiful. Not to mention stellar acting, impressive costumes, and just a must have.


chicago 2002Chicago (2002) Come on now, are you really surprised? Any movie that's set during the 20s or 30s is going to draw my attention. Make it a musical and I'm all over it like teens at Beiber concert. This was just so much fun. I haven't had the chance to see this on stage (and believe me I've kicked myself over it a hundred times for missing it while I was in London). I love the costumes, and of course, the music. "All That Jazz", "Cell Block Tango" (one of my personal favorites), and "Mister Cellophane". The corruption, passion, bright shiny things. Gimme gimme!


chitty chitty bang bang 1968Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) A staple of Britain. I'm a sucker for anything with Dick Van Dyke in it. When I was a kid and saw him in Mary Poppins, I just wanted to hug him. Watching this at Christmas time has become a tradition for me. I love the songs and general adorableness of it. With characters like Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious, how can you not fall in love? Then there's Chitty of course. "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" is an addictive song you can't help but sing along too (which this film is just perfect for). Then there's granpa and I know several Brit friends who were terrified of the Child Catcher when they were younger. I found him pretty terrifying too!

grease 1978Grease (1978) Of course this was going to be on here. I LOVE singing along to Grease. A lot of folks complain about the end and what Sandy had to become to get her man, but it's a realistic story about teenagers (just play along here) and I can put aside certain story elements because it's Grease and it's just frickin' amazing as a musical. Travolta was hot, the cars were cool, and the music, well, don't sit there and tell me you don't know the words to "Summer Nights", and if you don't, why not?? I might be a little biased, as Grease was one of the first soundtracks I ever owned as a youngster and I played that thing out. I'm not even sorry. hairspray 2007Hairspray (2007) Now, in my mind, John Waters' Hairspray with Ricki Lake will always be the best version, and I have never ever forgotten Tracy's dress with the bugs. The new film is sweet, funny, and I admit, I sighed over Zac Efron's baby blues, and James Marsden as Corny Collin, ooh, I just wanted to reach out and-- ehem, anyway, the musical numbers are catchy and so much fun. My parents loved this one.     mary poppins 1964Mary Poppins (1964) I've lost count how many times I watched this when I was a kid, and like so many others, wished I had my very own nanny like Mary Poppins. Julie Andrews was stunning, her voice beautiful, and the whole thing is touching and a great adventure. Of course, when I was kid I had no idea what the hell a tuppence was nor did I understand half of what Bert was saying, but as I grew older I learned to appreciate the film even more.    

moulin rouge 2001Moulin Rouge (2001) I'm a fan of Baz Luhrmann. Though Romeo & Juliet didn't really do it for me, visually, I really liked it. If it'd had a different soundtrack, it might have been a different story. I'm not a fan of No Doubt (I heard several of you gasp). I know, perish the thought, but during the 90s I was in high school, not my best years, so a lot of 90s music gives me sad puppy face. I won't listen to most of it. Anyway, I LOVE Moulin Rouge, it's right up there as one of my fave musicals. First of all, it looks gorgeous. The reds, the golds, the lighting, beautiful. I love the songs, and thought the remixes were grand. From David Bowie (a personal fave) to Queen. Despite the ending and all the angst, I love this film. The drama, the pain, the spectacular... well, spectacular!

my fair lady 1964My Fair Lady (1964) What list would be complete without Miss Eliza Doolittle? Personally, I thought Henry Higgins was a jerk. Poor Liza! That signature white dress she wore in the film? *sigh* All the songs were beautiful and wonderful and how can anyone not love this film? Audrey Hepburn was sweet and you wanted nothing more than to see her happy. "Wouldn't It Be Loverly", "With a Little Bit of Luck", and "I Could Have Danced All Night". A true classic.


phantom of the opera 2004The Phantom of the Opera (2004) When I first saw this film, I had no idea who Gerard Butler was. I thought he played a pretty damn fine Phantom. Later on when I saw him in other films, mostly action, I was like "say what?", and of course quickly went back to watch him again in this. I had the pleasure of watching the stage version, and just like in the film when the music booms at the beginning and the chandelier is getting raised, I get goosebumps. Without fail. The music is just so epic, so sweeping, and well, it's Webber. If I made a list of stage musicals, pretty much most of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals would be on there. My favorite song and scene has always been "Masquerade", though I love every song from The Phantom, it's just incredible.

Phantom of the paradise 1974Phantom of the Paradise (1974) This one, some folks may not be familiar with because it was considered a box office flop--except in Winnipeg, Canada, during the time of its release. When I first saw it, I was obsessed with the music. Phantom of the Paradise is a musical horror film, which is described to be a mix between The Phantom of the Opera, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Faust. What it is, in my humble opinion, a great big ball of awesomeness. It was directed and written by Brian De Palma ( a great--and at times underrated, film director, Carrie, The Untouchables, Carlito's Way) The music is by Paul Williams who also stars as the record producer of Death Records. I can't even describe what kind of musical this is. It's a little bleak, kind of gaudy, horrific, very much of its time, but sooo good. You can hear some of the music here.

rock of ages 2012Rock of Ages (2012) Don't roll your eyes at me. Yes, it has Tom Cruise playing a booze-guzzling, sex-addicted rocker, but it's filled with 80s songs! I grew up in the 80s and next to the movies, it was the next best thing to come out of that era. I openly admit, I love 80s music. Yep, Debbie Gibson, Queen, Michael Jackson, Eurythmics, Cindy Lauper... Hall & Oates. Anyway, Rock of Ages was fun and the clothes, well, they obviously avoided the most horrific wardrobe pieces thankfully. Alec Baldwin was funny and I really had no idea Tom could sing, but he pulled it off. Go on, you know you want to. singin in the rain 1952Singin' in the Rain (1952) Classic of the classics. There isn't one song on here that isn't fantastic, and Gene Kelly, oh yum. The man was just gorgeous from head to toe, and talented beyond belief. Sweet, funny, and wonderfully romantic. "All I Do Is Dream of You", "Make 'Em Laugh", and "Good Morning". You don't get more feel good than this, folks.       sweeney todd 2007Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) A Victorian horror musical? With Johnny Depp? What are we waiting for! I wasn't familiar with the story of Sweeney Todd before this film, but I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this version, the story, the costumes, the colors, and the music.      

sweet charity 1969Sweet Charity (1969) Another great Bob Fosse film, and like most of his musicals, it's pretty tragic and heart-breaking at its core, but the music. Well, the man's not a legend for nothing. "Big Spender" (a personal favorite) uh, that scene is just fantastic. "The Rhythm of Life", very much a 60s scene, but love it. The 60s is one of those eras I'm still trying to wrap my head around, and the musical numbers in this film fascinate me, along with the fashion.  Any one of you ever do any of these dances?


the rocky horror picture show 1975The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) One of my top favorites! The epitome of musicals, a cult classic, and just over all amazing! This is one of the musicals I am dying to catch on stage. Tim Curry is sexy, sassy, heart-breaking, and just the best thing ever in this film! I love each and every song. It's fun, you can't help but sing along, try and tell me you haven't done the Time Warp somewhere at some point. "Over at the Frankenstein Place", "Time Warp", "Sweet Transvestite", "I'm Going Home". Pure perfection.


west side story 1961West Side Story (1961) Do I really need to explain this one? One of the best if not the best Romeo & Juliet inspired piece. The whole film is just beautiful, the songs gorgeous. The music buries itself in your heart and makes a home, Maria and Tony break you heart. The Jets and the Sharks will forever be part of musical history. "Something's Coming", "Maria", "America".


wizard of oz 1939The Wizard of Oz (1939) When I was a kid, I loved this. Now I'm all grown up, and I still love this. When I was little, I thought Judy Garland was the prettiest girl I'd ever seen. The Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys scared the pants off me. When it goes from black & white to full technicolor, I'm still in awe. "Over the Rainbow", it tugs at your heartstrings, and of course I dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween! I'm pretty sure I was in my teens, and I'd do it again!

Well that's my list and believe me it was tough narrowing it down. I didn't include any Disney animated films because that's a whole other list. There are some classics that were left out like the Sound of Music and The King & I because I could only pick 20.

Do you have a favorite? What do you like most about musicals?

Monday Media: MTV Memories

MondayMediaCCochet180It's funny how when you're little, all you want to do is grow up, and when you're grown up, you think about when you were little. I wouldn't want to live in the past, but I do enjoy looking back on fond memories. As an author who writes historical, it's a given that I find history fascinating, and that includes looking back at the eras I grew up in.

I was born in 1978, so I didn't get to experience the 70s outside of the photos of my parents dressed in bell-bottom pants, huge sunglasses, colorful neck scarves, and psychedelic shirts.  I do remember the 1980s very well. They were my childhood. What I remember most were the cartoons, the movies, the toys, the fashion, and of course the music.

MTV launched in 1981 with The Buggles Video Killed the Radio Star, still one of my favorite songs of the 80s, though technically, the song was their 1979 debut single.

In 1983 MTV debuted Thriller--all 14 minutes of it, and how awesome had it been?

Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, The Who, The Police, David Bowie, Huey Lewis and the News, Madonna, Billy Idol, Mick Jagger to name but a few whose videos aired during the early years of MTV. I remember being glued to the screen waiting for my favorite videos to play, excited when a video came on that I hadn't seen before. A-ha's Take On Me was another favorite. We've all seen the animated version, so here's the original from 1984.

And of course, what would be the 80s without Cyndi Lauper? I adored her music. I remember jumping and dancing around the living room whenever this came on, and then of course I had my cassette. Let's be honest, I still jump and dance around the room to this.

I LOVED the Eurythmics. Still do. At the time, I didn't understand the video (the cows especially) or what the song was about, I just knew I loved the sound. No list of 80s videos can be complete without Peter Gabriel. *sigh*

When I think about MTV, I think of it as it had been when I grew up. When it was all about amazing music videos. As much as I love Teen Wolf, I don't think MTV can ever recapture those amazing years. We weren't called the MTV generation for nothing, and it saddens me to see all the music videos replaced with drivel like 16 and Pregnant and Jersey Shore. I think t he Dire Straights had it right! "I want my MTV!"

What were some of your favorite music videos of the 1980s or 90s?

Listen to the Hell & High Water Playlist!

Hello all! With only 5 days to go until the Hell & High Water cover reveal, I thought I'd share the Hell & High Water playlist!

1. What Makes a Good Man – The Heavy (Radio Edit) 2. The Walker – Fitz & the Tantrums 3. The Phoenix - Fall Out Boy 4. Eyes On Fire – Blue Foundation 5. A Light That Never Comes – Link Park x Steve Aoki 6. Inevitable - Scissor Sisters 7. Do I Wanna Know – Arctic Monkeys 8. My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark – Fallout Boy 9. Filthy Gorgeous – Scissor Sisters 10. Counting Stars – One Republic 11. Be Mine – The Heavy 12. The Pit - Silversun Pickups 13. How You Like Me Now - The Heavy 14. Hell & Back - Airborne Toxic Event Link: Hell & High Water, THIRDS Book 1

Rack & Ruin Playlist

Dex's Mix tape300

Hello all! I know I dropped the ball on this. Things have been a little crazy. But I finally managed to get it up. The Rack & Ruin playlist is now up on Spotify and THIRDS HQ! Woot! I'm working on getting the Rise & Fall one up before release. Happy Listening!

Rack & Ruin Spotiy Playlist at THIRDS HQ: Rack & Ruin Spotify Playlist on Spotify:  Rack & Ruin (THIRDS, Book 3) Playlist

THIRDS Thursday - 7/20/17 Pick the Wedding Playlist

Hello, THIRDS Nerds! As I work on revisions for Tried & True (THIRDS, Book 10), I have a select number of songs picked for Dex and Sloane's wedding that will be in book 10's official playlist, but I also wanted to put together a wedding playlist. Then I thought it would even more fun if I let you guys pick the music! You get to be the wedding DJ's!

Now the official playlist can only have so many songs (I'm thinking twenty at most), so the songs that aren't chosen for the wedding album will go into the Tried & True Fan Playlist.

I'm sure it won't surprise you that Dex and Sloane's first dance as husband and husband will be to Journey's "Faithfully". I also have some fun surprises in store for the reception. I mean, it is Dex's wedding after all. So what songs do you think should make it to the official wedding album? Place your song choices in the comments below!

I'll be taking songs until midnight (Eastern US time), August 30th to give folks plenty of time to enter. The chosen songs will be posted on Thursday, August 31st.

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