CELEBRITY LISTS

As the end of 2007 approaches, Harvard’s head honchos dish on the top artistic contributions of the year. Do you agree or disagree? Read on to find out.

STUFF I LIKED IN 2007
Weezer Frontman Rivers Cuomo ’98-’06

1. Glenn Gould’s performances and interviews on youtube.com. He sways around in circles, conducts an imaginary orchestra with his free hand, and brings much clarity to Bach’s incredibly complex music. His concentration is unreal.

2. “Sound Opinions”—A Siskel and Ebert-type radio show for music. Lots of spirited discussion, record reviews, interviews, and music news. You realize how subjective musical taste is when you hear them argue so passionately and articulately. Download the podcast from iTunes.

3. Music:

a. Peter Bjorn and John: “Young Folks”.

b. Akon: “Don’t Matter”—Reminds me of Bob Marley.

c. T-Pain: “Buy You a Drank”—May have the most unusual chord progression ever to hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Also has beautiful, Brian-Wilson-Pet-Sounds- style background vocals. (T Pain and Akon have brought a spiritual sound to pop music these past couple of years. Interesting that they’re both Muslims.)

d. Carrie Underwood: “Before He Cheats”

e. Lil Mama: “Lip Gloss”. Just a drum beat and a vocal. No other instruments. When was the last time a production so sparse became a hit? Even “We Will Rock You” had a guitar come in at the end.

f. Hannah Montana: “Nobody’s Perfect”. This song contains many different flavors: pop chords in the chorus, synth riffs, classical strings, and hip-hop vocals in the intro [“everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days”], rock guitar in the verse, and a charming vocal performance.

g. Arcade Fire: “Rebellion (Lies)”. Many great things about this song. I’ll only point out how interesting it is that the first chord of the chorus pattern is the same as the first chord of the verse pattern, only minor rather than major. It seems counter-intuitive to switch from a major verse to a minor chorus when you’re trying to give your song a lift but here it works like a charm. I also love the melody at the end of this song. Majestic.

h. Soulja Boy: “Crank That”

i. “Anthology of American Folk Music” (Edited by Harry Smith)

j. BoA: “Meri Kuri”

k. Rihanna: “Umbrella”

4. Books:

a. “The Basketball Diaries, Jim Carroll

b. “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” Dave Eggers. Big waves of emotion, like “King Lear.”

c. “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert

d. “The Glass Castle,” Jeannette Walls

e. “Scar Tissue,” Anthony Kiedis. Made me laugh as I was reminded of stupid stuff I have done.

f. “The Road,” Cormac McCarthy

g. “Consider the Lobster,” David Foster Wallace

h. “Disgrace,” J.M. Coetzee

5. Bodyboarding. You can catch a wave and ride it to the shore without knowing how to surf at all.

6. Making my own bread and ice cream. I hope it’s cheaper, healthier, more eco-friendly or better in some way to make these foods myself because it’s quite psychologically satisfying to do so. I’m not sure it tastes any better.

“Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo” comes out on Dec. 18.



TOP 10 VICTORY SONGS
Undergraduate Council President—Elect Matthew L. Sundquist ’09

1. “10,000 Men of Harvard”—This is a classic jam for any Undergrad, and well worth knowing for any sporting event.

2. Tupac’s “Untouchable”—Tupac takes a few moments to describe various ways in which he will prevail over his rivals and other combatants.

3. “We Are the Champions”—This classic is appropriate for any victory. Enough said.

4. “Eye of the Tiger”—See response for previous question.

5. Darude’s “Sandstorm”—A versatile tune, good for a dance party with friends, but also good for exciting occasions.

6. John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire”—A simple classic.

7. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”—See response for songs three and four.

8. Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping”—In middle school I used to play this song on repeat. I still do sometimes-it has an unforgettable beat.

9. Jurassic 5’s “What’s Golden”—One of my favorite songs by a great group.

10. Baby Boy Da Prince’s “The Way I Live”—Baby Boy Da Prince describes an exciting method of lifestyle, which could help anyone more festively celebrate a victory of some type.



TOP TEN FROM "I'M NOT THERE"
Bob Dylan Aficionado and Classics Professor Richard Thomas

—Jude Quinn (Cate Blanchett) horsing around with The Beatles in a hilarious riff on “A Hard Day’s Night.”

—African-American, eleven-year old Woody Guthrie (Marcus Carl Franklin) and Old Man Arvin (Richie Havens) singing “Tombstone Blues”.

—Billy the Kid (Richard Gere), dog Henry, Mr. and Mrs. Henry, and all the other Basement Tapes and other characters in the town of Riddle, MO.

—Moving, sad, beautiful “Idiot Wind” (the New York version) over the marriage break-up and divorce of Robbie Clark (Heath Ledger) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg).

—More upbeat “I Want You” over getting-together of Robbie and Claire.

—Carny Gorgeous George, seen by the young Zimmerman, according to “Chronicles, Vol. 1,” helping Woody up when he falls in the mud and ends up half black-faced, in nice allusion to “‘Love and Theft’” and “Masked and Anonymous.”

—Many disapproving fans (“He’s not the same as he was at first.”), one positive fan (“I kind of liked being blasted out of my skin”), following “New England” Folk Festival electric performance of “Maggie’s Farm.” Appropriate “Positively Fourth Street” follows.

—Jude’s encounters with Michelle Williams’s Coco (aka Edie Sedgwick).

—Great version of “Goin’ to Acapulco” from Rolling Thunder-alluding white-faced Jim James and Calexico.

—The title song, improved from the great old 1967 bootleg thanks to Neil Young, and also excellent in the Sonic Youth version. Come to think of it, the music in general.



FAVORITE DRINKS
Interim Dean of the College David Pilbeam

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and Fuller, Smith, and Turner Extra Special Bitter (when I can afford them).



TOP FIVE FOOTBALL MOVIES I'D LIKE TO SEE TURNED INTO OPERAS
Harvard Fullback and Aspiring Opera Singer Noah Van Neil ’08

5. “Rudy”—because it’s an underdog story, and Opera and Football both love an underdog. Plus it’s got an easy but powerful chorus part: “Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!” Classic story of blue-collar people that is fueled by raw human emotion? Puccini.

4. “Remember the Titans”—would have been a Verdi Opera because of all those political undertones. And because Opera should be about social change. Coach Denzel needs to be a tough, uncharitable Bass.

3. “Varsity Blues”—because Opera should also be about delinquent teenagers and delectable costumes. Show stopping aria: “I don’t want you’re life”. Probably by Mozart because of the complicated love relationships.

2. “Any Given Sunday”—because it’s just outrageous enough a story for the Opera stage. (Specifically, I’m thinking that party scene where Lawrence Taylor takes a chainsaw to Jamie Foxx’s Hummer, as well as taking other things not mentionable in this publication. I mean, Opera’s been screaming for this stuff.) Plus that Al Pacino pre-game speech would make for a heck of an aria. Heavy subject matter, outrageous scenes, and extremely long? Wagner.

1. “Little Giants”—because it’s the greatest football movie of all time. Imagine a lead soprano named Ice Box, and a huge finale entitled “The Annexation of Puerto Rico.” Instant classic. A feel good story for the whole family.



MY TOP FIVE FAVORITE MOMENTS OF 2007
Emmy-award Winning Actor Alec Baldwin

1. When Martin Scorsese won the Oscar for “The Departed.”

2. When “30 Rock” won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series.

3. When Brett Favre passed Dan Marino for the NFL career touchdown record.

4. When Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize.

5. Going to see Tanglewood’s performance of Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe.”



TEN THINGS THAT MAKE ME SAD
Psychology Professor Daniel Gilbert,

Author of “Stumbling on Happiness”

1. Happy Republicans.

2. Weak coffee.

3. Thelonious Monk is still dead.

4. Darfur.

5. People who say “bald” when they actually mean “shaved head.”

6. Smooth jazz.

7. No more polar bears.

8. The fact that my wife makes me watch “Titanic.” Will somebody just push the lovebirds overboard already?

9. Frozen tortillas.

10. Shoes and the person who invented them.



FAVORITE "STICK-IT-TO-THE-MAN" ART
Writers Guild of America Strike Leader Jeffrey D. Melvoin ’75

Song: “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” written by Peter Townshend, performed by The Who

Television Series: “The Prisoner,” created by Patrick McGoohan and George Markstein

Book: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” by Ken Kesey

Movies: “Network,” written by Paddy Chayefsky, directed by Sydney Lumet

“Absence of Malice,” written by Kurt Luedtke, directed by Sydney Pollack



TOP FIVE MARRIAGES
True Love Revolution Co-Chair Janie Fredell ’09

1. Sarah and Abraham—because they kept the spark alive for nearly a century.

2. Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander—because they kept the spark alive for nearly 3 days.

3. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy—because their love endured both pride and prejudice.

4. Bill and Hillary Clinton—because their love endured.

5. Dark Chocolate & Shiraz.