Christmas With a Country Twang! [25 Days of Holiday Songs]

(This was written by Kelly who runs The Peppermint Pixie. Please check out her blog!

I just love Christmas! One of the things I really like is the festive music. When ai love music wanted people to be part of her “25 Days of Holiday Songs”, I just knew I had an entry to offer. So, the song I have chosen is one that really gets me in the Christmas mood. It`s Lady Antebellum’s “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

Christmas with a country twang! Perfect!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Celebrate ☆ai love music☆’s 100th post with Queensberry!



It’s the 100th post at ☆ai love music☆! I never thought that I would reach this milestone as I didn’t think I would be continuing to blog after my long hiatus in 2009. It’s all thanks to the readers and my evolving music library both on my computer and in my CD shelves that keeps me going even during difficult times. I hope that I can reach my 200th very soon.

To mark this occasion, I want to use a song that involves the word “celebrate” as this a joyous occasion. I was looking through my iTunes and found a little gem from the German girl pop group Queensberry. The band was formed in 2008 during season 8 of the German version of the hit TV talent show Popstars. The original members were Leonore Bartsch, Gabriella De Almeida Rinne, Antonella Trapani, and Victoria Ulbrich.

Hoping to be as successful as Popstars alumni bands No Angel and Monrose, Queensberry released their debut album, entitled Volume I, in early 2009 with great success. It was certified gold.The group was quick to release singles from the album as well as work on what was supposed to be their US debut album. However, that plan never came about as their contract with Warner Music dissolved at the end of 2009.

What made matters worse was that Antonella and Victoria decided to call it quits by July 2010. Queensberry’s managers were quick to find their replacements, who were Selina Herrero and Ronja Hilbig. Queensberry didn’t release any material, just appeared on a song by rapper KittyKat and did live performances. However, Selina Herrero left the group two years later as she wanted to go back to school.

The group released their last album as a trio in 2012 with little success. Leonore Bartsch decided to leave the group soon after, leaving Queensberry with only Ronja and Gabriella. The group eventually disbanded completely in 2013.

It is currently unknown what the girls are doing now. It is presumed they are either out of show business or focus on their solo careers.

“Celebrate” might feel like a generic synthpop song. It features a high-pitched synthesizer, a clapping machine, and an air drum kit. I think the keys to the song are the vocals and the feel-good meaning behind the lyrics. You can say that the girls vocals are the standard pop vocals you hear from any pop tune. However, I feel like these vocals fit the song perfectly. It isn’t too deep nor high and the vocals are really smooth with a clear tone. They actually make you feel good and relax.

One other thing that makes the listener feel good is the lyrics. Who doesn’t want a friendly reminder like “Celebrate, we made it through the day Celebrate, good times are here to stay Celebrate, dreams come to life today” throughout their day, The song is filled with upbeat lyrics that tell you that you shouldn’t give up because you can celebrate your victories at the end of the day.

Add Some “Salt & Pepper” by Marie Serneholt to Your Life

Marie Serneholt-saltandpepper

Did you know that food lyrics always spice up a song? The producers behind “Salt & Pepper” knew it when they helped Marie Serneholt to release it.

Many may recognize the name Marie Serneholt from her youthful days as a member of the Swedish band A*Teens. The group formed in 1998 with Serneholt and three other teens had hopes that they could be the new millennium’s ABBA. They started off by purely covering ABBA hits like “Mamma Mia”, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”, and “Dancing Queen”. A*Teens didn’t start releasing original material until 2001 when they released the Gold-certified album “Teen Spirit”.

However, the group broke up in 2004 after their greatest album hit stores. The band slowly parted ways as each member wanted to pursue their own careers. Furthermore, their last original album, “New Arrivals”, had slow sales and promotions for it was cancelled as their label went bankrupt. This gave Serneholt a chance to take a break and enjoy a life she couldn’t have while in A*Teens.

The break didn’t last long as Serneholt began to appear as a model in various magazines and host various shows a little while after. During this time, she wanted to make a pop album with songwriter Jörgen Elofsson, who wrote countless hits like Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy”. Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This”, and Namie Amuro’s “make it happen (feat. AFTERSCHOOL)”. The duo created their own sublabel Planet Six, a part of SonyBMG, so they could work without any disruptions. The fruit of their labor came in the spring of 2006 when Serneholt released her first solo album, “Enjoy the Ride”. The album was solid at first, reaching #9 on the Swedish charts. But, quickly vanished from the charts soon after.

Serneholt later went on to appear on Melodifestivalen, a Swedish music competition that would help to decided Sweden’s entry for Eurovision. She made her first appearance in 2009 with the song “Disconnect Me” and later in 2012 with the song “Salt & Pepper”: Although she didn’t pass the wildcard stage in 2009, Serneholt made better progress three years later when she reached the semifinals.

“Salt & Pepper” starts off very upbeat with the backup vocals, who sound like they are from Britney Spear’s songs, heralding the song’s title in a rhythm pattern full of possible eighth-notes. Marie Serneholt then joins in by singing the first verse with robust mezzo-soprano voice. While her vocals aren’t exceptional or diva-quality, they are very pleasant to the ears with a clear, crisp tone. Because of this, it’s when moments like the pre-chorus (“My hearts goes Boom-boom-boom”) and the chorus that makes the song enjoyment.The digital alternation of the voice is also adequate as they create a type of edginess in her vocals.

As for the musical side, the instrumentation doesn’t cause any inconveniences for the song or Serneholt. The song reminds me of big band music but with a modern twist. The song’s backbone comes from a firm trombone timbre that is supported by a up-stand bass and acoustic guitars. On top of those, the main instruments are an articulated tambourine with a synthesizer that goes from a 60s’ sound to a deep, electronica one.

The lyrics are  generic in the sense that the theme is too common in a lot of pop songs. But, the use of allusions is not. The song is about a girl, who might be as pure as “salt”, being attracted to a bad boy, who is characterized as “pepper”.  Spice allegories are used throughout, especially in the song, to convey the girl’s feelings for the boy. The lyrics are not as appeasing as the vocals and instrumentation as they are repetitive and really basic. Nothing really special.

This song is filled with memorable moments with it’s instrumentation, lyrics, and vocals. Even though it came in at #6 at the 2012 Melodifestivalen, “Salt & Pepper” is a notable, enjoyable song that you can listen at anytime. It might make you wanna break out into a little song and dance from time to time.