[Thank you for visiting The Wrock Snob and reading this article! I'd love for you to jump right into the reviewy goodness, but first there is some unfortunate business to take care of. It is not in my nature to tell you specifically what or what not to buy and who to support - I tell you what I thought about an album, and if my tastes seem to align with yours, you might want to heed my suggestions. However, I must take this time to personally exhort that you do not monetarily support the bands The Remus Lupins or Ministry of Magic. The full reasons are unsettling and possibly triggering, so please proceed with caution, but if you want the full details click here. Simply put, it has been revealed that certain member/s of both bands did destructive, upsetting, and highly problematic things. While I can see the value of reviewing art no matter what the artist did on a grand society-level scale, I cannot morally allow myself to condone the financial support of these monsters, nonetheless exhorting people to do so. Now it is entirely possible this copypasta'd retroactive warning was placed on a negative review, making this sidebar somewhat moot, but I still feel it necessary to make these matters clear. Again, for full details and rumination click here, otherwise, please enjoy the article.]
So, here’s how I introduced this site to my muggle meatspace friends:
Me: “So, I became a celebrity.”
Muggle Meatspace Friends: “What?”
Me: “Well, an internet celebrity.”
Me: “A minor internet celebrity.”
MMF: “Still, how’d you manage that?”
Me: “A minor internet celebrity in the wizard rock community.”
MMF: “Aaaaaahhh. That explains it.”
Me: “A minor internet celebrity in the wizard rock community that is likely to become a flash in the pan. I mean, I’ll be so much of a flash in the pan, Apple will not allow me on their handheld devices, because they feel HTML 5 is a much more open format for being inside a pan.”
All this goes to show is that while I like to pretend to be self-deprecating, I’m actually extremely self-centered, which is why, for the second week in a row, one of the posts will be entirely about myself and how awesome I am, inasmuch that a review blog somehow isn’t entirely about oneself. Anywho, today, I am going to look through my 25 most listened to wizard rock songs (according to iTunes), and discuss each one. I really didn’t have any concrete idea what they would be until today, when I started writing this article. This is partly because I want to let people know what sort of wizard rock I actually do like, and partly because while I have other ideas for Friday articles, they take more forethought and planning, and I hope to spend most of today overhauling the site, and watching Battlestar Galactica. [Note: I actually ended up spending the day sleeping and being kidnapped by pirates.]
One small caveat before we begin: this is not in any way a list of my favorite 25 wrock songs of all time, just the ones I’ve happened to listen to a lot. Also, this is purely based on iTunes plays, on this computer. There are some songs that I know for a fact would be on here if play counts transferred over when I brought all of my music from my old computer to my new one, a couple years ago.
25. “Muggle Pants” – Potter Puppet Pals
If you haven’t watched the brilliant animation by the creator of Potter Puppet Pals of one of the funniest bits in the entire Harry Potter series, you should do so now. Now that you’ve done that, click on the button that reads “Supa Dance Mix”. The resulting song is my 25th most listened to wizard rock song of all time. Now, some could say that it’s not technically wizard rock, because it’s not by a wizard rock band, but the way I see it, it’s music about an even in the Harry Potter books. If that’s not wizard rock, then I don’t know what the hell is.
24. “Full Moon” – The Curse Breakers
The Curse Breakers is one of the bands I considered for last Friday’s list of cruelly defunct wrock bands. What’s great about TCB is that Jessie manages to do the nearly impossible – take GarageBand loops, and make them somehow sound fresh and original. “Full Moon” is a great example of that. I am intimately familiar with the loop used in this song, “Motocross” or something like that, in fact, I used it a couple times when I first tinkered around with making (terrible, terrible) podcasts back in the day. That and “Tour Bus Long”. Now THAT”S a damn fine loop.
23. “House Elf 4 Life” – MC Kreacher
Alone in the Dark was THE best EP from the 2009 EP of the Month Club, and will hopefully go down as one of the most influential albums in wizard rap. While this track is the second-weakest on the album, it’s still ear-fuckingly good, well, at least ear-gropingly good. The beat is probably my least favorite from the album, though I do like the piano arpeggio in there, and lyrically, it’s a nice cap on the album.
22. “Voices In My Head” – MC Kreacher
I told you, I love me some MC Kreacher. I do find it interesting that the first and last song on the album are right next to each other, and they’re a fair bit behind the other MC Kreacher song(s) on this list – I truly wonder what that says about my listening habits. Anyways, “Voices” may not be the best MC Kreacher track, but it’s up there, and my first experience with him at all. I had known that he was in the 2009 EP Club, but I did absolutely no research into him, and had no idea what to expect. This track blew me away, from the mysterious sound effects-laden opening that flows so beautifully into the beat, the exceedingly dark lyrics (for a non-Split Seven Ways song), and the great “internal rap” bit at about 2:05.
21. “All Bark, No Bite” – The Whomping Willows
This song was one of the big surprises for me when I first looked at this list. It wasn’t my favorite track on the album, and ironically, it was one of the songs I judged to be “Definitely NOT Meta-Wrock”. However, now that I think about it, I don’t listen to “Walk” and “A Conversation With Mark Jennings” as often because while they are awesome songs, they are definitely more dense songs, and not really fun one-offs you listen to to pep you up for a Sunday stroll or whatnot. And “All Bark, No Bite”, while note my favorite on the album, would definitely be my fifth or fourth favorite (third is “Don’t Let Me Explode”).
20. “On Thestral, We Ride” – The Hermione-Crookshanks Experience
I think that instead of listing what I love about this song, my pick for the best wizard rock song made in 2oo8, I will list the things I don’t like about it. That is, I don’t like the name – I think it should have been “Up and Away”. That is the only problem I have with this song. Well, there are very minor dosages of that squeaky guitar noise that I hate so much, but it’s masked pretty well (I mean, I didn’t notice them for the first 20 listens, and they usually jump out at me), and the whole song is just so awesome that it makes up for that. Seriously, this song should be a hell of a lot higher up. Go listen to it, right now.
19. “APWBD” – The Remus Lupins
This one also surprised me. Nevermind The Furthermore was a massively disappointing album for me (might review it at some point, and explain my opinions at length), but there were some songs I really loved on it. Oddly, “APWBD” (despite its cool name), is near the end of that short list. It’s also the only track from that album on this list, and I definitely would have thought “Seven Potters” would be on here, and definitely above this song. Still, despite an over-powering cymbal, it’s fun, rollicking little song.
18. “Albus Potter’s Lullaby” – Split Seven Ways
I have only two SSW songs on this list, and while the other one is no surprise at all to me, this one is. Not that it’s a bad song in anyway, and it is one of my favorites by Zoe (just imagine the umlauts are there), but it’s still fifth or sixth on my list of best SSW songs ever (a list that I will make at some point). However, it is a bit different from other SSW songs in that the instrumentation is very simple, just that one crystalline-sounding synth instrument that she likes so much, and singing. No guitar, no multiple passes, no extra synth instruments, just one simple instrument and a voice, and that really helps get across the lullaby aspect of the song. Also, this is one of the most hopeful SSW songs there are. The balance of light and dark in Love is the Answer is what makes it such a great album for me.
17. “My Dad Is Rich” – Draco and the Malfoys
This is probably the first non-Harry and the Potters wizard rock song I ever heard, and it’s definitely stuck with me. A lot of that is because DatM make such great counterparts to HatP, especially in the early years of both bands – their musical and lyrical styles really sort of mirrored each other, but DatM was SO much snarkier, and I dare say funnier. Especially since most of the humour of early HatP songs comes from the novelty of “Hey, look at us! We’re singing about Harry Potter! Isn’t that odd? Odd things are funny!” “My Dad Is Rich” is funny on its own merits, and is the tone-setter for the band. It’s their “Save Ginny Weasley”. Also, it led to the most epic cover all time, Swish and Flick’s “My Dad Is Rich (On A Boat)”.
16. “A Bad Case Of The Voldies” – The Whomping Willows
I bought III based on this song alone. It was a huge, massive departure from all of Matt’s previous work, both musically and lyrically. Musically, the big obvious difference is the ELECTRIC GUITAR (please read that in an as “metal” voice as possible). Even compared to the Rock n’ Roll Redux EP, this was a different beast entirely for ol’ Whompy, and it worked so fucking well. Also, lyrically, I was really struck by how Whompy was torn between the different sides of Draco and Hagrid, two people who’d I never really thought about as opposing factions before. I mean, they definitely are two people that are at odds, but they are hardly having people rallying around them or anything, and they both offer very subtle nuances to how they represent their sides. Lastly, I know that Matt is a frequent reader of this blog, so I’m going to take the time to publicly ask him a direct question. In the third line in the song, after “He’s living inside me / And I can’t do much about it”, Voldemort is planning his what for the next wizard war? His eruption? His election? His erection?
15. “Accio Love” – The Ministry of Magic
I first heard this song on the now sadly deceased Podcast of Awesome. I loved it so much, I went through the labor-intensive process (well, at least it was back then) of ripping an audio file of the song from the podcast, and before that, I listened to that podcast more than a few times, just to hear that one song. While I would say, from as objective a stand point as is possible when reviewing something (i.e. not very), that Goodbye Privet Drive is the best MoM album, The Triwizard LP is still, irrationally, my favorite. Part of what I love about this album, and this song too, is how much of the instrumentation is very “flighty” – the synth strings and whatnot all feel like they’re flying up, like the words are the house of a grumpy elderly widower, and the music is a fuckton of balloons. Admittedly, in this analogy, I have no idea what the talking dog or gullible kid represent.
14. “We Are Wizards” – MC Kreacher
This is not the last MC Kreacher song on this list, and that really surprises me. I mean, I’m not surprised there’s so much MC Kreacher on here, but I am surprised that this song isn’t the most listened to of his, because it was far and away the best song on the album. The only criticism that could be levied against it is that it’s more Myles’ POV than Kreacher’s, and the two POVs sort of blend together, and sort of ruin Kreacher’s voice by making him seem a lot more, well, not a maniac (a tragic maniac that gets some redemption, but still a maniac). But besides that huge bit of nitpicking, the beat is amazing, I LOVE the use of samples (just like I loved the use of stock footage in We Are Wizards, the documentary that Myles worked on), and it’s one of my favorite meta-wrock songs of all time, probably even my second favorite (first has to be “End of an Era”).
13. “Apologize” – The Ministry of Magic
This one also really surprised me. This is the last MoM song on the list, and it’s definitely not one of my favorites. I do love it (though I like it a lot less know that I’ve actually heard the original song, and seen how little of the lyrics were actually changed), but there are at least 10 MoM songs I like a hell of a lot more than this one. Still, it really shows off the boys’ beautiful voices really well, and it makes a catchy but inane pop song tolerable by making it possibly even more catchy, and all about Harry Potter!
12. “Black At Heart” – MC Kreacher
Okay, I promise this is the last MC Kreacher song on the list. You may have noticed, but I kinda sorta liked Alone in the Dark A LOT. This song surprised me, because I would have guessed its spot would be traded with “We Are Wizards”. However, it’s close (just one listen more), and it’s the song that definitely grew on me the most from that album, and I would definitely say it’s my second favorite. It also has the best opening on the album, even better than the wonderful sample-tastic intro to “We Are Wizards”. This song, as well as “We Are Wizards”, are both truly ear-fuckingly good. Since this is the last time I will talk about MC Kreacher in this article, let me just say that Myles Kane is the third coolest person ever to be called “Myles” or “Miles” – the second being Miles Davis (I really, REALLY hope I don’t have to link to his wikipedia page for you to know who he is), and the first being Miles Straume.
11. “Give Me The Moon” – The HMS Wolfstar
I’ve already talked at length about how awesome this song is, so I’ll spare you a rehashing. Suffice it to say, this song is absolutely fucking amazing, hands down in my top five wrock songs of all time, and it turned me into a Wolfstar shipper (though I’m also a fan of Remus/Book). Just listen to it, right now. You owe it to yourself to hear this song, and I’ll gladly wait before continuing.
Ready? Okay, let’s move on.
10. “I Wanna Be A Wizard (Featuring The Notorious NEV)” – Danny Dementor
I was really disappointed by Double D’s first album, mostly because it wasn’t a wiz-rap (I’m not a big fan of “wrap”) album like I was expecting. It was a wizard rock album with an inordinately high amount of wiz-hop songs (i.e. more than zero), but it had a lot of musical digressions and experiments. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn’t what I was expecting, and that made me judge the album harshly. However, I Wanna Be A Wizard, and especially its titular song, blew me away. Between this album, Alone In The Dark, and all of the great stuff Swish and Flick put out in 2009, wiz-hop is really starting to come into its own as a genre. Now, I love the FUCK out of MC Kreacher (okay, I lied, I am talking about him again), and I think “We Are Wizards” is a better meta-wrock song, but I think that this is a better song than “We Are Wizards”, and thus, better than any song on Alone in the Dark. Now, every other song on AitD with the exception of “My Precious” is better than every other song on IWBAW, but still, this is an amazing song, and has one of my favorite meta-wrock lines of all time: “Even when I go to work / Never breakin’ character!”
9. “Accio Hagrid” – Harry and the Potters
I… I honestly have no idea how this got on here, and so high. I mean, it’s not a bad song, and it definitely holds a lot of nostalgia and great memories for me (I once got the immense pleasure and privilege of getting to sing this song with an entire audience of people at a screening of Order of the Phoenix), but come on, really? I can think of at least 15 HatP songs I like better than this one, and plenty of them are even on this very EP (and what a damn good EP it is). The only explanations I can come up with are that this song is very short, and maybe that somehow gets it played a lot more, and that a lot of my listens to HatP songs that I racked up would have been counted over on my old computer, and while I still love me some HatP, I sort of burnt myself out on them a good while ago.
8. “All Is Well” – Split Seven Ways
This song is one of those songs that will probably stick with me until the day I die. I’d love to have it played at my funeral. It’s Zoe’s third best song, and one of her most beautiful. After listening to like, twenty-seven different Snape/Lily concept EPs, and then to go through the emotional roller coaster that is Love is the Answer, to end a note that is hopeful, yet also stubbornly reminding us of the last line in the series, and thus, of the fact that the series is over, caused me to break down into tears. I’m not the type to often cry over music, but Deathly Hallows song (and the book itself) really get to me. It’s still hard to come to terms with the fact that it’s over, but hey, that’s what fanfic and wiz-rock is for, right?
7. “Bellatrix, We Don’t Live In Azkaban” – The Band Who Must Not Be Named
Wow, is this song ever different from the previous one. Damn. I’ve also talked pretty extensively about this song before, but its awesomeness does bear repeating. My favorite bit is the verse that’s done in entirely death metal vocals. I really have no idea what’s going on during most of this song, but I do know that I am having fun. And that “life is sweet”. And OH FUCKING CRAP, I just noticed that that line is a BRILLIANT reference to the Harry and the Potters song “Song for the Death Eaters” – you know, “You feed on death, but life is sweet, have you tasted it?” Oh, wow. This song just got a whole lot more awesome.
6. “The Order” – The Remus Lupins
This one surprised me a bit. Firstly, I must say that this is the acoustic version, not the I Was A Teenage Werewolf version, but I do like this version A LOT more. Anywho, it’s a fine song, I guess, but there are so many more TRL songs that are so much better that aren’t on here. Again, I blame iTunes for not storing play counts in the meta tags for this sort of thing, but still, sixth place, really? I don’t even remember listening to it that often. Still, it’s a fun song, and it includes a reference to Remus and Tonks having sex (whether or not that was intentional), so that’s always fun.
5. “(never) Do What You’re Told” – The Remus Lupins
Now HERE’s a TRL song that deserves to be up here. This was hands down the best song on the free Rocking Out Against Voldemedia comp, and is one of my favorite TRL songs ever. It still sounds unique out of his whole catalogue, even with all the changes his band has gone through, and I love that it invokes the spirit of Order of the Phoenix so brilliantly – in that yes, it’s definitely a wizard rock song, but it could also be very easily taken as a political manifesto and indictment. Lyrically and musically, it’s absolutely brilliant from start to finish. If this song has slipped you by, you should definitely add it to your collection.
4. “Alone on Valentine’s Day” – The Remus Lupins
This one REALLY surprised me. Now, “Alone on Valentine’s Day” is a great song, and while I am not at all a Remus/Lily shipper in any sense, I love it when Alex does a song that’s from Remus’ perspective, because it doesn’t happen often enough. What surprises me about this song is that it’s the acoustic version, and not the IWATW version, the latter of which is definitely the superior one. Still, it’s a really good song, but 4th place? I don’t think so. Also, you’ll have noticed by now that there’s a lot of “classic” TRL weighted towards the top of this list, and that’s because 2007-era TRL is FUCKING AMAZING. Seriously. 2006? Lots of potential, but too much experimenting and fiddle-faddling, not enough quality control. 2008? Despite the appeal of the large band sound, a bunch of big mistakes, both lyrically and musically. 2007? A shit-load of shit was pumped out, and this shit was some fucking BRILLIANT shit. I mean, this human waste SPARKLED. I guess it was a vampire?
3. “Aragog Tonight” – Bella’s Love
Now HERE’S a song I can get behind. I’ve already discussed my love for this song in that article that I already linked to twice, but I’ll just reiterate that for how rough it is, it is catchy as all hell, has some really amazing guitar work, and is an absolute blast to sing along with in the shower.
2. “Snape” – The Remus Lupins
This is the last TRL song on this list, trust me. I mean, there’s not really much room left. Anyway, this song completely deserves its spot, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least. I mean, I know I’ve heard “Looking For Trouble” more times, but I’ve already explained the reasons for why that’s not represented on this list. If you know your wrock history, you know that “Snape” is the first wizard rock song Alex ever wrote, and it remains his second most iconic, and one of his best. I mean, I managed to find a copy of the original version of this song first uploaded to his MySpace, and that remains one of my most prized mp3s I have, purely as a piece of musical history. And, I mean, come on, how can you not like a song with the lyrics “Voldemort is a fuck face”?!?!?! Though I will say its always fun to see Alex play this at library shows, as you can watch him gauge the age of the audience on the fly, and decide if he’ll change the lyrics, or just sort of mumble them. You get the impression that he’s afraid one of the librarians will yell at him. And they probably would.
And my most listened to wizard rock song of all time is…
1. “Halloween at Hogwarts (D-Form Bass Mix)” – Ginny and the Heartbreakers
I bet you didn’t expect this one. In fact, I bet a large portion of you folks have never heard this song. There’s a good chance you’ve heard the original, and as good as it is, it doesn’t hold a candle to the insane awesomeness that is this song. It is sort of funny that this is my most listened to wrock song ever, because most of its awesomeness comes from the remixer, who is not in the wizard rock community, but every remixer owes a great debt of gratitude to their source material, and GatH definitely delivered on that front. You should go download the entire Old Nerdy Bastard: Geeky Music Remixed album right now, and give this song a couple hundred listens. It deserves it. In fact, if you’re incredibly lazy, here’s a direct link to the song. Also, I apologize in advance, Z, if this somehow pings the hell out of your site, but I highly doubt it.
Welp, another week draws to a close here at the Wrock Snob. I’m sorry for operating on more of a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule, and I hope to improve on that. Also, I will go through this article later, and add links to all of the bands and all that fun stuff, but for now, JFGI.