30-day song challenge (21-30)

Here are all my selections in a Spotify Playlist

And here’s a YouTube Playlist, since I started to encounter things that weren’t on Spotify.

Here’s my post of days 1-10

And here’s 11-20

Day 21: Jolene (Miley Cyrus)

For this one, I decided to go with one of my runners-up for a cover.

I considered “Where is Claire,” a song by Buffalo Celtic Rock band Jackdaw (no longer together), but it doesn’t seem to exist online and I didn’t want to go through the effort of making it exist online.

So, today’s selection is “Jolene,” as covered by Miley Cyrus.

(I couldn’t find this one on Spotify, so here’s a link.)

Day 22: Break My Stride (Matthew Wilder)

Runners up: I’m On My Way, by the Proclaimers
Up! by Shania Twain
Send Me On My Way, by Rusted Root
Day 23: Dirty and True (Hawksley Workman)

So. The more vague these things are, the more I struggle with my choice. What song do I think everybody should listen to? ALL THE SONGS I LIKE. 

I’ve tried to narrow this one by setting myself some arbitrary rules. For example, I’ve decided not to repeat an artist (which eliminated “Boat on a River” by Styx).

I’m going to go with this odd little song by Canadian artist Hawksley Workman. I love it. I hope you enjoy it!

Day 24: My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors (Moxy Fruvous)

By the time I moved to Western New York, Moxy Fruvous had long stopped performing. I used to hold out a tiny shred of hope that maybe, one day, they would reunite for some performances. Alas, that is never to be.

I was going to go with “King of Spain,” which is a song that never fails to make me feel a little bit happy. (And never fails to make me furious when I see it show up on “Worst Canadian Songs Ever” lists), but I went with this one instead…it’s one of the covers Rand and I performed in our first concert together. (I think I have video of that, but we did not upload it to YouTube.)

Day 25: Starman (David Bowie)

Gotta admit, I thought about using a Prince song, but there’s no way to post/share a Prince song, so…

Today’s choice is “Starman.”

He’d like to come and meet us
but he thinks he’d blow our minds…

(oh, and please enjoy this ridiculous cover from “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”)

Day 26: Safe in the Arms of Love (Martina McBride)

Martina McBride has the voice of an angel.

This version of the song came out in 1995. (It was recorded and released earlier by other artists, but didn’t become a hit.) I had the album and liked the song, but I really latched onto it a couple of years later, after my first “real” relationship fell apart and I was hitting that mid-20s stage where you’re sure you’re going to be alone forever.

This song picked me up and let me hope.

“My heart’s not ready for the rocking chair
I need somebody who really cares
So tired of livin’ solitaire
Someday I’m gonna be
Safe in the arms of love…”

Day 27: I Dreamed a Dream (Les Miserables, performed by Anne Hathaway)

After thinking way too long about this one, I’m going with “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis, which is just one song of many I could have chosen from this musical in particular, never mind all the other musicals I could have chosen songs from.

Day 28: O Holy Night (performed by Collin Raye)

Because it’s Christmas Eve, I’ve chosen my favorite version of my favorite Christmas hymn. In addition to Collin Raye’s lovely tenor, I like this version because it includes what Rand and I call the “social justice” verse:

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and his gospel is peace
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name, all oppression shall cease

There were several runners-up for “artist whose voice I love.” Some of them (like Michelle Dockrey, Murray Head, and Martina McBride) have already appeared on this list. Others, like Jodi Krangle, I’ve mentioned in other comments (Check out Starsoul, or The Lady.)  And of course, how could I not mention my own darling husband, Rand Bellavia. (Here’s a link to Hollywood’s Ending, from Oh Okay LA)

Day 29: Total Eclipse of the Heart

I remember listening to this in the car with my mom. I’m pretty sure she had a cassette with Bonnie Tyler on one side and Air Supply on the other, which gave us two Jim Steinman tracks on the same tape!

Day 30: Belle (Beauty and the Beast)

Okay, so it ended up taking me longer than 30 days to finish this, but I finished it. Nothing terribly profound to share here, but Belle has always been the Disney princess I most identified with. Books! Brown hair and eyes!

30 Day Song Challenge (11-20)

Here are all my selections in a Spotify Playlist

Here is my post of days 1-10

Day 11: Single Ladies (Beyonce)

So, I did actually start doing this yesterday, but I got distracted. I had an unusually hard time making up my mind. I decided it should be a song that, by all reasonable standards, I *should* have gotten tired of at some point. So here’s my selection.
Also considered: Bad Romance.

Day 12: Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)

I was in 6th-7th grade in 1986. I loved Bon Jovi. I never really got over it. Deal with it. 😉

Day 13: (Jesus Christ) Superstar (Murray Head)

I really struggled with this one. It turns out I like a lot of songs from the 70s. 🙂 I decided to go with this song, from one of my favorite musicals. Here’s “Superstar,” as performed by Murray Head (and the Trinidad Singers, apparently).

Day 14: Easy Silence (Dixie Chicks)

So, I posted about this one a while back, choosing “Follow You, Follow Me” by Genesis. but looking over my list, I see that it’s really male-dominated, so I decided to pick a different song from our actual wedding playlist (which was also rather male-dominated. Hm.)

So today’s choice is “Easy Silence” by the Dixie Chicks, from their fantastic album Taking the Long Way.

Day 15: Red Right Hand (Vixy & Tony)

So, there are a number of artists that I appreciate WAY more when they are covered by someone else. Tom Waits. Lou Reed. Even, to some extent, Bob Dylan.

I fell in love with this song when I first heard Vixy & Tony perform it…I was previously unfamiliar with it. And since I knew it was a cover, one day I thought I’d check out the original.

And oh. Oh yes. Go ahead and put Nick Cave in that category.

(This post was nearly a tie between Every Little Thing (He) Does is Magic by Shawn Colvin and Jolene by Miley Cyrus. Maybe someday I’ll make a whole list of cool covers I like.)

Day 16: Alone (Heart)

So, I pondered a bit about what “classic” means. Since it’s not really defined, I figured it could mean whatever I wanted it to. I also figured that 1987 is long enough ago to be “classic,” much as it pains me to admit it. 😉

Anyway, I’ve posted about this song before. I’ve joked before about Heart’s cheesy 80s power ballad material, but every time I hear this song, I’m struck by how good it is. It is so. good.

(we shall not speak of their 1990 #2 hit. *shudder*)

Day 17: Friends And Lovers (Carl Anderson & Gloria Loring)

Truth be told, I don’t have the pipes for this, but I can dream a little…so, as you may know, back in my preteen and teenage years, I was an avid viewer of Days of Our Lives. Gloria Loring played lounge singer Liz Chandler, and she performed this song with Carl Anderson in…1985, I think? The song charted in 1986.

You may also know Gloria Loring as the vocalist for the theme from “The Facts of Life.” (She was, at the time, married to Alan Thicke, who composed the theme.)

My runner-up response for this one was “Islands in the Stream.”

Day 18: Waterloo (ABBA)

I love ABBA. I love this song. I don’t know what else to say about this one. 🙂

Day 19: Under the Carlaw Bridge (Lowest of the Low)

The Canadian band Lowest of the Low–in particular, their album Shakespeare, My Butt–got me through my 20s.

Here’s the last section of the song:

Well, now my coffee’s gone cold
But my heart’s gone colder
I think I’m reading too much
It feels like twenty below
And it’s a kick in the nuts
When your vision clears up
And you realize you’ve only been playing with change
There’re people more together than you’ll ever be
And it makes you want to ask yourself, “What’s happenin’ to me?”
Because it ain’t clear
No it ain’t clear
What the hell am I doin’ here?
No it ain’t clear
But it rings in my ears
Somewhere under the Carlaw bridge
(My friend Jen and I once drove around Toronto looking for places mentioned in Lowest of the Low songs. We hit a bunch of them, but never did find the Carlaw bridge.)

Day 20: Nasty (Janet Jackson)

I was about to publish this post without an entry for day 20–I just couldn’t come up with anything. And then this came to mind at literally the last second.

30 Day Song Challenge (1-10)

Here are all my selections in a Spotify Playlist

Day 1: Mr. Blue Sky (ELO): Literally the first song that came to mind when I read the prompt.

Day 2: Bubblegum 45s (Jim Boggia/Jonathan Coulton): Jim Boggia is a singer-songwriter Rand introduced me to. This one’s interesting in that Jonathan Coulton has a songwriting credit. I think the story is that Coulton wrote a song that he ended up not using for anything, and Boggia took it and wrote new lyrics. (I don’t know if he rewrote the melody.) I’m going to share the album version, and then in the comments, I’ll post a live version of him performing it with Coulton and Paul & Storm.

Day 3: Fantastic Voyage (Coolio): There were a number of ways I could have gone with this…but I thought back to songs that remind me of a specific summer. (I dug up an old blog post about this.)

I spent a lot of time driving around in cars, forced to listen to the radio in the summer of 1994. Here’s one of the songs that reminds me of that summer:

(I also considered posting “Here Comes the Hotstepper”)

Day 4: More than Words (Extreme)

This song reminds me of my high school boyfriend, and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Day 5: Renegade (Styx)

Despite having grown up in Steeler country, my selection of this song has nothing to do with football. I just like it.

Day 6: Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars)

I never, ever get tired of this song.

Day 7: Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas)

I knew day 7 had to be classic rock. I wavered on my specific choice, but settled on this.

Day 8: The Old Black Rum (Great Big Sea)

Day 9: Just Can’t Get Enough (Depeche Mode)
So, this is hard. I have an entire playlist on youtube that’s titled “BE IN A GOOD MOOD” that’s meant to be a pick-me-up when I’m feeling down. And this list is far from complete.

When I replied to Rob’s post on this day, I chose “Wandrin’ Around” by Carbon Leaf. And that’s a good choice. It always makes me happy. But today, I think I’m going to go off list and choose a song by a group people don’t usually think of when they think “happy.” 🙂

Day 10: Cranes Over Hiroshima (Fred Small)

Well. There were certainly a number of songs I could have chosen for this. I actually browsed a list of the 50 saddest songs of all time, and no arguments from me, for the most part. I considered choosing their #6 choice, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” by George Jones, which may just get my vote for saddest song ever.

But instead, I chose this one. The first time I heard it, I just cried and cried and cried.

Fighting the Black Thing

lyrics by Erin and Rand Bellavia, music by Rand Bellavia

(inspired by A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle)

There’s a battle being fought across the universe
Who and why and where and what and when
Weak and strong or right or wrong
It’s been going on so long
Feels like we’ll never find our way back to the light again

There’s a lesson being taught across the universe
And all we have to do is imitate
It’s not who we are or what we say
It’s what we do: the Imago Dei
We were created to create

Not everything is black and white
But I know the wrong when I’m in the right
Sometimes even angels fight
Gotta dig through the dark until you find the light

So stand with me and fight with me
Dance and sew and write with me
We can’t win unless we all take part
Paint with me and cook with me
Make a comic book with me
We fight the Black Thing best by making art

There’s a refuge being sought across the universe
From desperation and despair
Grab a pen and find your voice
Find a tool and make your choice
It’s the only immortality we share

There’s a battle being fought across the universe
But there’s more of us who love than those who hate
Fear and anger feed the dark
But empathy can be the spark
That lights the light that shines so bright when we create

So build with me, invent with me
Conduct experiments with me
Engage the world with head and hand and heart
Sing with me, compose with me
Write poetry and prose with me
We fight the Black Thing best by making art

Day 7: Creativity

Been away from the posts for a few days, but I knew this was one I wanted to tackle.

Creativity has always been important to me. When I was younger, I thought I was going to be a fiction writer. I’ve had a bit of success, here and there, at short fiction. Thing is, there’s not much of a market for short fiction, and I’m not sure I’m a novelist at heart. I don’t have BIG IDEAS. I’m kind of lousy at plotting.

My creativity manifests in other ways, though. I’ve been doing calligraphy since I was in high school, and I maintain an Etsy shop where I sell my calligraphy and paper crafts.

Lately, though, it’s been coming out in the form of songwriting. Well, lyric writing. I’m not a musician, but I am married to one. 🙂 And being married to one has brought me into a whole community that has nurtured and supported this creativity.

The past two years, I’ve participated in something called February Album Writing Month. (That link goes to my profile.) The idea is to write 14 songs-an album’s worth-in 28 days. Now, I haven’t made it to 14, or anywhere near, but it’s been a useful exercise anyway. This year, I posted three things…one of them, a lyric that’s been around for a while that has finally been set to music. I ended up adding two lyrics that aren’t quite finished. In my drafts I also have a Peggy Carter song (tentatively “Do as Peggy Says”) that I’ve been trying to write this for a year now. I’ve made a little bit of movement, but It’s giving me a rough time. There’s also a chorus inspired by a FB post conversation that still doesn’t have a song, and two brainstorming lists that I’m hopeful will turn into something at some point. I call that a win.

All of this is moving toward an album that Rand and I are going to record this year. (eep!)

All of this is to say that, while I’m not doing what I once thought I would be doing, I’m really happy with my creative life right now. I love being able to create and collaborate and feel supported and enriched by it.

(The poster imaged above–designed by Karen Paddison–features lyrics from the song “Take it Back” by Kathleen Sloan. It’s based on a speech made by Barry and Sally Childs-Helton when they were inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame. I am proud and humbled to count these people among my friends.)

Day 2: Heart

(Yes, I am a day behind. I’ll catch up eventually…maybe…) 😉

I sometimes make fun of Heart a little bit for going all ballad-y (and less rock-y) in the 80s. But this song. Is. So. Good. The ultimate power ballad.

Album meme (expanded version)

So, I did the facebook “10 album” meme that’s been going around, but I had some additional thoughts. And I thought, “Oh yeah, I have a blog! So here goes.

First, a repost of the 10 (okay, 11) I posted to facebook, covering roughly the years 1987-1993.

True Blue–Madonna

Licensed to Ill–Beastie Boys (Yeah, I know the many ways this album is, uh, problematic. I also know it’s not the best Beastie Boys album. But I was 13, and I listened to it A LOT.)

Batman Soundtrack–Prince Well, y’know, Prince. 

Faith–George Michael

Appetite for Destruction–Guns ‘n Roses

New Jersey–Bon Jovi I loved Bon Jovi so, so much, you guys.

Hysteria–Def Leppard

Rhythm Nation 1814–Janet Jackson

Blacks’ Magic–Salt n Pepa

River of Dreams–Billy Joel

Bat Out of Hell–Meatloaf This obviously did not come out while I was a teenager, but my high school years were when I got into it. Also, It’s a miracle that it took me so long to figure out that the man responsible for these songs also wrote “Making Love (Out of Nothing at All)” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

My taste in music could best be described as “mainstream.” 🙂

Here are some albums that were important to me earlier in life:

Annie–Original Broadway recording When the movie version of Annie came out, I had been listening to this album for a couple of years. I was kind of a tiny hipster, annoyed by how different it was. The songs that were left out. The songs that were created/added. I still prefer this version. Oh, and as a side note, we’ve been re-watching 30 Rock, and it tickles me how much Tina Fey (or someone in the writers’ room) loves Annie. The songs come up rather frequently.

Grease soundtrack (movie)

Just Sylvia–Sylvia My mom had this album, and I was obsessed with the song “Nobody.” I would pretend that I was going to sing it on a gameshow. (which I think might have been the 80s version of The Gong Show?)

*honorable mention: “Eye in the Sky”–Alan Parsons Project…it doesn’t get a full spot because I only bought the 45, but it was the first music I purchased with my own money*

Air Supply–Greatest Hits  I had originally stayed away from including greatest hits collections, but this one was a huge part of my childhood. My mom had it on cassette…in my memory, it was a copy, and it had Bonnie Tyler on the other side.

The Other Side of Life–The Moody Blues My dad was a huge fan of The Moody Blues, and I remember listening to many of their albums on cassette, in the car. I know not everyone is a fan of this record, but I liked it quite a bit (and was kind of obsessed with the single, “Your Wildest Dreams.”)

Hi Infidelity–REO Speedwagon I really, really liked this album when I was 9. In fact, I got in trouble for bringing it to school once, due to the risque cover.

She’s So Unusual–Cyndi Lauper

Hangin’ Tough–New Kids on the Block I went on a trip to the beach with my friend Heather and her family the summer I turned 14. We had a tape that had Hangin’ Tough on one side, and Appetite for Destruction on the other. It’s really kind of hilarious.

Dirty Dancing soundtrack So, who else can sing the Kellerman’s anthem?

And a few later (college/after college) offerings:

Pop! (The First Twenty Hits)–Erasure This is just one of the greatest hits albums that was a very big thing for me when I was first building my CD collection–which didn’t happen for me until early college. Billy Joel. Journey. Styx. Queen. REO Speedwagon. etc.

Jesus Christ Superstar–Original London recording

Les Miserables–complete symphonic recording

I never would have discovered my love for these musicals if it hadn’t been for my roomie/bestie Jen…

Jagged Little Pill–Alanis Morrissette I admit, I wasn’t on board the Alanis train right away. I was, in fact, kind of put off by the aggression and what, at the time, I felt was vulgarity of “You Oughta Know.”  Then, I don’t know, a year or so later, I went through a bitter breakup and was all “AND I’M HEEEEEEERE TO REMIIIIIIND YOU…”

Shakespeare My Butt–Lowest of the Low This is the quintessential album for surviving your 20s. It’s about being broke, getting fired, falling in love, breaking up, and trying to figure out your place in the world.

Fight Like a Girl–now with video!

(lyrics in previous post)

Fight Like a Girl

This is a new song Rand and I have been working on…we’re trying hard to have it ready to debut in a circle at this weekend’s FilKONtario. We also plan to perform it in our concert at Marcon in May.

UPDATE: we now have video, thanks to the awesome Tom and Sue Jeffers. 😀

I can roar like a lion, though I look more like a lamb
And I know I’m so much stronger than you all think that I am
I’ll stand up for every person in the world who’s ever heard
Someone say, “You’re not a fighter, you’re just a girl”

I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight until I’ve won
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll show ’em how it’s done
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll make them all eat their words
And fight like a girl

I’ve taken down vampires, zombies, Sith lords, reavers, and spies
I’ve escaped from countless supervillains without the help of the guys
I’ve destroyed evil empires and cheated death like a pro
With my stake, my katana, my battle staves, and my bow

(Repeat chorus)


My name is Kamala, Natasha, Michonne
It’s Katniss, it’s Zoe, it’s Sarah, the clone
Buffy, Veronica, Bobbi, Barbara, Diana, Melinda, and Rey
Call me Leia, or Sydney, or Peggy, or Carol, or Kara or October Daye

I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight because I’m right
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight all day and night
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight the dark with the light
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll punch, kick, and bite
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight with all my might
I’ll fight like a girl
I might even decide to not fight

I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight until I’ve won
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll show ’em how it’s done
I’ll fight like a girl
Til everyone in the world has heard
I’ll fight like a girl


(Storybook) Love Story

Hey, I forgot to post my most recent lyrics. No video of this one, at least not yet. 😉 We performed it at FilKONtario. Those of you coming to ConCertino will have a chance to hear it this weekend. 🙂

(Storybook) Love Story

Music: “Love Story” by Taylor Swift

I’d torment you whenever I saw you
You were my farm boy and I was in love
I saw you there, sunlight dancing on your golden hair

What could I say, you looked just like a picture
I just pointed saying, “Fetch me that pitcher”
‘Twas foolish
But you said, “As you wish”

Then you had to go, you were seeking fortunes,
But you swore you would always make it back to me
Then I was kidnapped by some pirate
Why did you have to go?
And I said…

Humperdinck took me, I thought you’d left me all alone
Now I’ll never doubt you; here they come, we’d better run
You’ll be the pirate and I’ll be the princess,
It’s a love story, baby, just say, “Yes”

So I ran out to the fire swamp with you
Tried to keep quiet ’cause we’re dead if they knew
I’ll close my eyes… avoid the rodents of unusual size

But at the other end the evil Prince was waiting
Humperdinck said, “Get away from Buttercup”

But you were everything to me,
and I was begging him, “Let him go”
So I said…

Humperdinck, take me and leave him alone
I’ll come quietly; promise you I’ll never run
You are my prince and I’ll be your princess
It’s a love story, baby, I’ll say “Yes”

Westley, please save me, I just don’t know what to do
I don’t love Humperdinck, I’m so screwed
I’m so afraid, will we make it out of this mess?
It’s a love story, baby, please say, “Yes”

I got tired of waiting
Wondering if you were ever coming around
My faith in you was fading
Then I saw you in that bed, lying down
And you said…

“Buttercup, gently, I’ve been mostly dead all day
I came for you, all you had to do was wait
Help me out of bed, this jerk has got to go”
You picked up your sword and stood on your own
and said…

“To the pain, Humperdinck / You warthog-faced buffoon”
The prince dropped his sword, he won’t be getting married soon
We tied him to a chair and rode off in the sunset
That’s our love story, baby, we said Yes