Thursday, August 1, 2019

Magical Musical Myster Tour: Intermission's been 3 months since I've written anything around here- the reasons are about a million-fold, but mostly consist of: Summer (ALL the outside fun time!), work (worky work, busy bee!), foster care (aka: FOUR tiny humans in this house!), The 100 Day Project! (that's ONE HUNDRED entire days!) and tiiiiiiired (see: aforementioned list of activities/responsibilities). Basically, life has been jam packed and flying by, so I've been doing my best to hold on and enjoy the ride...which hasn't left much time for contemplation or documentation. So any sharing I have managed to do has been on Instagram (big thoughts, tiny squares).

But amidst all the crazy-goodness, our family has been having fun with a little side project. Remember The Magical Musical Mystery Tour? Well we've made it through nearly 4 months of melodic madness and it's been so GREAT. I've been sharing little bits on my IG stories each week, but I thought it'd be worth an "official" check-in here, as we move through the second half of our quest.

If you recall- there were 38 total groups of artists (which- by my super rough calculations- when selected weekly, will take us to sometime in mid-November). We've been blindly selecting one group of artists each week since February, have completed 22 weeks, and have 16 to go. Our Spotify playlist is just shy of 500 songs (over 30 hours of jaaaaamz!) and we've rocked everything from Dean Martin to Guns & Roses (with a whole lot in between).

I had a rough plan for the project, but (as with almost all things we embark on around here) I wasn't exactly sure how it would play out. I didn't know if the kids would get it, if the song selection would be overwhelming (or limiting), or if we'd get busy and get behind (or abandon it all together). But honestly, it's been the BEST. The work was really all done up front, so it's been super easy to keep up with. Each Sunday, one kid gets to pull one group of artists from the jar (they take tuns, and always know whose turn it is). Then I look up the artists' best songs (it's a pretty loosey-goosey system- no firm number needed, pretty much I pick whatever I want) and add them to our Spotify playlist. It usually works out to be around 20 songs each week, give or take... As we've gone on, I've realized there are quite a few artists that probably should have made the original list, so I've just been throwing those in there where they seem to fit best (tying to stick with loose "themes" of similar artists). Some weeks have felt a little light so it's been good to have a few extra artists to round things out a bit, but for the most part, it's all sort of worked out pretty even.

Then we just...listen. Often in the car, but also with some dance party action in the living room, or in the kitchen (our Google home and Amazon Echo have been feeding us requests pretty much non-stop) We don't exclusively stick to this project/playlist (we still have a lot of worship music in the rotation, and we let the kids have goofy kids songs etc.) There are some weeks when we're SUPER excited to rock out, and there are some weeks when I doubt there's going to be anything anyone likes. But honestly- there hasn't been a dud yet. Even on weeks that I'm hesitant about, there always seem to be a least a few hits we can all get down with. The kids have latched on to different favorites throughout the project- Abba (week 1) was a crowd pleaser, and they're still requesting songs by The Who (which they were introduced to in week 2!) It's been fun to teach them a bit about different genres, bands and songs...we hype things up to get them more interested ("this band is Grandpa's favorite!" or "this band is called you!") and if there is a goofy lyric they're sure to hear it, and scream-sing it every time after. (They're especially fond of Free Fallin' by Tom Petty). Our goal wasn't to make mini-musical savants...I just needed a break from the constant demands for Gummy Bear! Again! and wanted to see if perhaps we could expand their musical palates a bit. far so good. They still don't know a Righteous brother from a Doobie brother, and they still get the most excited when they hear something they can identify as "that song from Sing!" (uhhh...yeah...also: Stevie Wonder) but they're retaining a little bit here and there, and are at least a teeny bit more pop-culturally aware, so I'm considering that a win. We've still got some really good stuff ahead of us (I miiiiiight have rigged next week to have some beach-themed artists in honor of our vacation!) so I'm excited to see how the downhill slide treats us.

If you're interested in jumping in with us, you can check out the playlist...or you can see the full updated list (in the order we've pulled them...with my additions in bold).
  1.  ABBA, Donna Summer, The Bee Gees
  2. The Ramones, The Who, Pink Floyd + The Clash + Steppenwolf
  3. Kool and The Gang, Run DMC, Sly and The Family Stone, The Beastie Boys 
  4. Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Barry White, Marvin Gaye
  5. Elvis Presley
  6. Commodores (and Lionel Richie), Stevie Wonder
  7. Janis Joplin, The Doors + The Byrds + Jefferson Airplane + Big Brother and The Holding Company + Norman Greenbaum (Spirit in the Sky)
  8. R.E.M., U2
  9. James Taylor, John Denver, Tom Petty
  10. The Mamas and The Papas, The Everly Brothers, The Four Seasons (and Frankie Vallie) + The Righteous Brothers
  11. Queen, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix
  12. Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong
  13. Crosby Stills Nash and Young (and Neil Young), The Doobie Brothers + Boston + Steely Dan
  14. The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Drifters + Otis Redding
  15. Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams + Randy Travis
  16. Bon Jovi, Van Halen (+ Sammy Hagar), Motley Crue
  17. Foreigner, Def Leppard, Guns and Roses + Poison
  18. Creedance Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac (and Stevie Nicks) 
  19. Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, The Police (and Sting), Bryan Adams
  20. The Bangles, The Go-Go's, Pat Benetar, Blondie
  21. Fats Domino, Smokey Robinson, Chuck Berry + Buddy Holly + Little Richard
  22. Wham! (and George Michael), Hall and Oates, Duran Duran + Captain and Tennielle
Still to come:
  1. The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald
  2. The Rolling Stones
  3. The Beach Boys
  4. The Beatles
  5. The Shirelles, Diana Ross (and The Supremes) The Crystals
  6. Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield
  7. Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline
  8. David Bowie, Elton John, Billy Joel
  9. Bob Marley
  10. The Grateful Dead, Steve Miller Band
  11. Michael Jackson (and The Jackson Five)
  12. The Eagles, Chicago, Simon and Garfunkle (and Paul Simon)
  13. James Taylor, John Denver, Tom Petty
  14. Madonna
  15.  Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel (and Genesis)
  16. Journey, Aerosmith, AC/DC

Now time for you to chime you have any special musical memories from your childhood? Any favorite bands you think my kids need to know? An upcoming artist you'd be looking forward to? (Looking at the list again I'm excited for...literally all of it!)
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