Dueling Nights, Or the Internet Amateur Outdoes the Celebrity

As you know, I’m a big Minecraft fan. Now, something most non-Minecraft people don’t know is that the Minecraft community (for lack of a better word) loves to come up with songs about the game. Usually these are parodies of popular songs, but occasionally we get original ones. I’m serious; there are a lot of Minecraft songs out there: on YouTube you can find “Top 20” or even “Top 50” countdowns.

One that almost always shows up in the top ten of any countdown is called Don’t Mine at Night, which is a parody of Miss Katey Perry’s Last Friday Night. Meaning no offense to Miss Perry, but I actually think it’s a better song than the original.

Here’s the original:

Now here’s the Minecraft version:

See, I think Don’t Mine at Night is just a better song. It has stronger lyrics: it’s less repetitive, it flows better, and it doesn’t stretch for rhymes as much. The original version is basically a series of random thoughts set to music: Don’t Mine is also a little random, but more coherent and better structured. One lyric transitions into the next better than in Miss Perry’s version.

Anyway, that’s what I think, possibly influenced by the fact that A. I heard Don’t Mine at Night before I heard Last Friday Night and B. I’m more comfortable with a song about the disasters that befall in Minecraft than I am with a song about how much fun it is to do really stupid and degrading things, be it oh so catchy.

Heavy Metal Goes to War

My tastes in music, as I’ve mentioned before, are very eclectic. I love Country, but I also enjoy some rock and heavy metal (I’m particularly a fan of Mr. Alice Cooper, but that’s a story for another day).

Sabaton is a Swedish heavy metal group that I particularly enjoy. Their shtick is songs about war and historical battles, which they often describe with surprising feeling and pathos, but I couldn’t detect a hint of the shallow pacifism that often mars modern war stories. Rather, they simply tell the story without regard to politics and their advocacy seems to amount to simply “remember this.”

It’s frankly a higher cause than most rock bands can aspire to, and I salute them.

Here are a few of their songs: first is “The Price of a Mile” about the Battle of Passchendaele, July 31-November 6 1917, which was a suicidal and pathetic attempt by the British army to accomplish something in the bloody stalemate that was the Western Front. Well, they accomplished something alright: they captured the small, meaningless town of Passchendaele (which they lost a few month’s later) and suffered 450,000 casualties (reading The Last Lion, I learned that Winston Churchill begged the army to abandon the scheme and wait for the American troops to arrive before attempting any assault, but, as often happened, he was ignored to Britain’s sorrow).

Next is “40 to 1” about the Battle of Wizna, from September 7th to 10th during the invasion of Poland, in which 720 Polish soldiers faced 42,200 Nazis and held their ground for three days, delaying the German assault and giving other Polish forces time to regroup and escape. The battle was led on the Polish side by Captain Wladyslaw Raginis, who swore that he would hold his position as long as he was alive. He held his position until his men ran out of ammunition, then permitted them to surrender before (already seriously injured) committing suicide with a grenade.

Finally is “In the Name of God,” which is pretty much a broadside “the reason you suck” against contemporary Muslim terrorists. And that’s always a good thing.

The Last Plane Out

So, I stumbled on this song earlier this week by a music group from the 1990s called ‘Toy Matinee,’ whom I’ve never heard of, but that’s not a surprise, since I’m no expert on 1990s rock groups. Anyway, I really liked it; I thought it was a catchy tune, with actually really good lyrics and an uncomfortably appropriate theme for our times. It’s basically a catchily sarcastic song about living in a completely hedonistic society (don’t worry; there’s no objectionable content).

See what you think:

Meditating on the Good

I don’t know about you, but I find I have an unfortunate tendency to focus too much on evil. I read crime stories, books by criminologists and cops, blogs about self-defense and that’s not even counting the fictional evil that I find so unnervingly fascinating. I know I’m not alone in this either; how often have you heard people quoting the Joker from The Dark Knight over the past few years?

And yet, what we take into our minds has an incalculable effect on us, which means that a steady diet of evil cannot possibly be healthy. As Emerson said, “We become what we think about all day long.”

As a way of counteracting this unhealthy mental diet, I try to make myself spend time each day focusing on good things. I don’t just mean God, or Jesus, or Mary or the saints, though that’s of course part of it. I mean things that a beautiful, or honest, or innocent. Things that showcase real talent used well. Things that uplift rather than subvert.

So, I’m going to regularly post these things here as they strike me, in the hopes that they’ll uplift my readers as well (and so that I can have a chance to gush about things I like).

For this first entry, I’ll just go with something obvious; one of the most beautiful, haunting, and enigmatic songs of the latter twentieth century: Don McLean’s American Pie (The Day the Music Died).

I don’t have time right now to attempt to delve into the song, so just sit back and let the words and music wash about in your head.