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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Year of the Dark Horse - A Chinese Zodiac Playlist
Thursday, February 06, 2014

On January 31st we entered the Year of the Horse on the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, and in a fairly awesome coincidence, Katy Perry's “Dark Horse” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the same week. At least I think it was a coincidence. There's still a chance she could be a wizard, or something of that nature. She DOES squirt whipped cream from her breasts.

Inspired by this clearly being the Year of the Dark Horse, I’ve decided to take a look at the songs that could, and perhaps should, represent the years of the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, starting with Miss Perry’s latest hit.

Year of the Horse: Dark Horse by Katy Perry - Yes, this is what the entire intro to the article was about, but I know a lotta people skim articles, and I didn’t want someone to say, “Hey, you forgot the Year of the Horse!” Also, this gives me the opportunity to once again say how much I absolutely love this song. It’s one of my favorites from Katy Perry, and with it being #1 at the start of the Year of the Horse, I really do believe she might have magical powers.

Year of the Goat: The Goat Song by Adam Sandler - Adam Sandler’s weird tale about an abused talking goat probably isn’t the first thing people want to think of when celebrating a new year, but, and I know this may be shocking, with the exception of LL Cool J once calling himself The G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), the pop world is really lacking in goat songs. So an abused talking goat is what we’re going with next year, during the Year of the Goat.

Year of the Monkey: Monkey by George Michael - There are quite a few classic monkey related songs I could have gone with here, including Peter Gabriel’s “Shock The Monkey,” and Skid Row’s “Monkey Business,” but this oft-neglected George Michael hit that was reportedly about drug addiction takes the cake. Why go with “Monkey?” How about the amazing line “Do you love the monkey, or do you love me,” which, oddly enough, isn’t a euphemism for penis.

Year of the Rooster: Rooster by Alice In Chains - Yeah, I know, this one’s pretty obvious, right? One of the greatest grunge songs of all time, “Rooster” is a six minute Vietnam war inspired anthem that, thanks to Jerry Cantrell’s writing, and Layne Staley’s incredible vocals, sticks with you long after you hear it. Once again, it’s not exactly a happy go lucky song, but don’t worry, this won’t become a theme of this list.

Year of the Dog: Atomic Dog by George Clinton - Pop culture has been replete with songs having “dog” in their title since, seemingly, the beginning of time (or at least since “Hound Dog”), so picking a song for the Year of the Dog could have presented a challenge... that is, until you remember the greatest dog song of all-time, George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog.” Not only is the song a classic, it’s a nice, funky, break from goat beating, drug addiction, and Vietnam war, this list just featured.

Year of the Pig: Three Little Pigs by Green Jelly - There are really only two reactions people had when they first heard Green Jelly’s “Three Little Pigs,” a hard rock parody of the children’s tale. They either absolutely loved the song and video, or thought it was an affront to mankind. Personally, I loved it, and still love it, and I think it’s the perfect theme for the Year of the Pig. The video may also be the last great utilization of claymation, which, let’s face it, has become a lost art.

Year of the Rat: Splinter’s Tale 1 & Splinter’s Tale 2 by John Du Prez (producer) - Rats are usually thought of in a negative light. They were the main carriers of the plague, they roam around the subways of NYC like they own the place (because they basically do), and they don’t just “live” in places, they “infest” them. This is why I chose the most heroic rat of all to represent the Year of the Rat – Splinter. “Splinter’s Theme 1” and “Splinter’s Theme 2” are off of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie soundtrack, and they were the b-side to Partners In Kryme’s “Turtle Power.” In other words, they are replete with awesomeness, just like Splinter.

Year of the Ox: The Ox by The Who - Do you know how few songs there are that reference the ox? Sure, there are a handful that use the phrase “olly olly oxen free,” and Cannibal Ox was a prominent millennial underground hip-hop duo, but in general, nobody seems to want to sing about the ox. The good news is The Who’s debut album, My Generation featured an instrumental named “The Ox,” which is what we’re going to go with for the Year of the Ox. Rolling Stone referred to it, and “My Generation,” as “sonic marvels of the time,” so even though the choices were limited, at least we have something great to represent the year.

Year of the Tiger: Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor - There are plenty of tiger themed songs out there, but when you’re talking about tigers and music the first that always comes to mind is Survivor’s inspirational hit “Eye Of The Tiger.” We’ve all heard it a million times and it never gets old! It inspired Rocky, it inspires us, and it is undoubtedly one of ten best movie soundtrack songs of all-time, so it’s really the only choice for the Year of the Tiger. (Special Year of the Tiger shout out to Bootsy Collins and the Cincinnati Bengals for the glorious mess that is “Fear da Tiger”)

Year of the Rabbit: White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane - Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” is one giant, fantastically beautiful, drug reference, and although I’m not sure that’s what goes on during the Year of the Rabbit, I don’t think anyone would be all that upset if that was the case. A classic in every sense of the word, “White Rabbit” features Grace Slick’s incredible vocals, and enough psychedelic innuendo to get trippy off the lyrics alone. Don’t believe me? Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.

Year of the Dragon: Unleash the Dragon by Sisqo - When most people think of dragons, giant fire breathing creatures of flight come to mind (or adorable trainable cartoon creatures if your sole knowledge of the mythical beast comes from the movie How to Train Your Dragon). If you were listening to R&B in the late 90s, however, you may also think of Sisqo, the diminutive, silver haired, lead singer of Dru Hill, whose first solo album was titled Unleash the Dragon. The title track of the album features Beanie Sigel, and seems like a fine way to mark the Year of the Dragon.

Year of the Snake: Cold Hearted by Paula Abdul - OK, perhaps this isn’t the kind of snake the Year of the Snake is referencing, but who freakin cares, Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted” was one of the best songs, and sexiest videos, of 1989. As she warns of a man who she describes as a “cold hearted snake,” and showcases her Laker girl dance moves and choreography, it almost makes you completely forget she was ever on American Idol.

Now that my Chinese Zodiac playlist is complete, I can't wait for Beats Music, or Spotify, to come knocking at my door, asking me to work this kind of magic for them.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
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