Gift-Giving by the Zodiac
The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac offer clues as to what a person would really enjoy as a Christmas Gift.
Inexpensive, thoughtful, somewhat off-beat? Or der now, as there’s still plenty of time to order before the target day. Links provided are a convenience with instant gratification in mind.
Gift-Giving by the Zodiac
Ozzy. Blizzard of Ozz. The single song that made me think of Aries, what with the way this next year will unfold? Screaming guitars, and, and, that’s all I’ve got. “Crazy Train.” It’s really old-school, none of this newer “metal,” and no, it’s not Ozzy’s recent material. No, this is about classic metal. It has a basic 4/4 beat, and the earlier work was that excellent guitarist. The years ahead for Aries includes some throwback images and distant recall. Think Retrogrades, and with that? Classic metal, from a time when there was only one. This next year, for Aries? Feels lke a ride on the Crazy Train. So the perfect musical accompaniemnt? Blizzard of Ozz.
I’m going to dive deep on this one, as it has worked before, and it might be the perfect stretch for Taurus. I was looking for something that was artful, lyrical, had some rhythm to it, and then, some kind of back story, too, that works. Music with depth, for Taurus. This album, picked for Taurus, is from an era when the music was called AOR, Album Oriented Rock. Soaring vocals, early melodical use of synthesizers, mostly a Moog, with hooks in both classical and rock camps. Unlike too much of the modern offerings that are all sound-byte sized? It’s a whole album, more than half an hour of music that’s linked. Concept, execution, sheer musical ability, and rock-star performers with stellar instrumental delivery? Harmonies that were “in harmony?” Perfect combination for a Taurus. Something that can be listened to, over again, and enjoyed.
Special shout-out to one Gemini buddy, not named Bubba, but thanks for asking. As a gift, have to check, see if the Gemini in question has a copy of anything, or everything, by Norman Cook, a.k.a., Fatboy Slim. While a number of the artist’s full sets (Cook himself is a July Leo) are available online, the Greatest Hits puts it all in a convenient, easy-to-handle spot. The advantage of a greatest hits volume? All the good stuff, no filler. The style, alternatively called, “Big Beat,” or “Hip-hop,” or “Trance-Dance,” is particularly alluring for the Gemini as this is nothing more than a remix of a remix, and it’s all about, fast-moving, quick, upbeat, with enough musical allusions to keep a Gemini head in the game. Which is what this is all about. Great hooks, keeps almost any Gemini happy.
The Dead were best known as a performance band, an event, even, more than just a rock band. They recently played their alleged final gigs, so what’s that mean for this selection? Why pick a clearly early studio album for Cancer? There’s a genre-bending, cross-cultural set of references in this music, the songs on this album, that appeal to more sensitive nature of the Cancer Moon-Child. There’s roots, rock, blues, country, hillbilly, Americana before there was terms for such. Lyrically rich enough to satisfy the most discriminating Cancer, the album was a high-water mark in terms of studio work by one of the hardest-working bands to emerge from that great musical era. Historically, but more important, audio-wise, it might be the best of what’s available.
Gift-Giving by the Zodiac
Beethoven? Yes. All nine symphonies, might make it easier. I won’t promise that they all speak to the majestic Leo, but there’s a link, a hook, an earworm, plus, there’s the added benefit: Leo, The Leo needs some kind of way to unwind. Beethoven’s 9, in part, in whole, however you slice up this enchilada? This is the way to go. Give is a spin, and I’m sure The Leo will find solace and comfort, plus a little relaxation, in one or more of the symphonies.
Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies (Tin Can)
There’s a serious disconnect from some versions of reality, but then, over the years, as I’ve discovered, my people are just a little different. Virgo is a Mutable Earth sign, and really, quite sensuous in its own right. To embrace some of that raw and unbridled sensuality? Old-School Punk. The DK are legendary anarchists from the Left Coast, I guess, and the album is almost a sell-out, but after years of tortuous punk-touring, give the band a small break. “The DK’s greatest hits?” Yes, in a word. It’s good, and there’s moral fabric to the band’s drive, clearly visible in this album. Virgo, just one step on the wild side. I suggested the album, maybe not going to the show. something a Virgo can listen in the privacy his or her own home, where prying ears can’t hear you rock out to this thrash.
It’s an almost sacred “album” to me, as I purchased it not as an album, but a CD. In a big-box, warehouse-type store. I was amused and a little affronted to see Jimmy Buffett, Capricorn, the renegade country-beach whatever, seeing his stuff in the big box store, that first time. Bought it steeply discounted – on a whim, with vague memories stretching 20 years or more of “Parrot-head” songs and events. Some the earliest recollections are still soaked in rum (and other) fumes. This is even more important as a touchstone for Libra, as it’s mostly songs about the good times, the past times, the future. This particular collection brings in the artist’s early career “hits,” and makes it delightful, and only slightly irreverent, because, deep down, every Libra has a little bit of a naughty side.
Gift-Giving by the Zodiac
One of my favorite Scorpio performers is Lyle Lovett. I’ve seen him a number of times with his Large Band, and I’ve seen him almost solo, just him and another performer, playing guitars and swapping stories. While he was embraced as a “country,” he’s sometimes Americana, sometimes Texana, an homage to Big Band, possibly Rock’n’Roll, maybe jazz? “Western Swing?” In person? He’s all Scorpio. One of his best releases, it’s a double-album, “Step Inside This House.” Lyle Lovett bravely covers close to a dozen of the Texas singer-songwriters in a loving, but discernible Lyle Lovett-imprinted songs. Not all of them are greatest hits, and this offers a historical retrospective, and a fresh take on older material.
Regeneration? Isn’t that a strong Scorpio strong suite?
There are two, that I know about, Sagittarius listed in the musical selections, Gift-Giving by the Zodiac, Ozzy and Billy, at the beginning in Aries and at the end in Pisces. But what would a Sagittarius like to receive? What gift speaks to the mighty Archer, with arrows of truth, and the heavy burden of Saturn weighing on his or her soul? Given that Saturn imposes a heavy load, and even though the Sagittarius spirit is always buoyant and ebullient, there needs to be a something that is alternately soulful and rejoicing, perhaps with a touch of the blues, and then, just a tad odd, poetry, yes, the lyrics have to be good, but there’s an extra layer of meaning that Saturn requires. There’s a local, a November Scorpio who is perfect for this Sagittarius sentiment: Ray Wylie Hubbard. Just about every album released in the last 20 years is good enough for a Sagittarius, with Ruffian’s Misfortune the most current. Song on it for every Sagittarius mood. Hint: this isn’t really “country.” It’s Blues. Folk. Rock. Sad laments and hopeful outcomes. Lyrical sound for Saturn and Sagittarius moods.
The heavy German “Opera” of Richard Wagner comes to mind as a suitable, even appropriate, musical material for the Capricorn. Capricorn’s planet is Saturn, currently in Sagittarius, and Pluto, currently in Capricorn, lends a weighty flavor to the times. To properly embrace this sense? Wagner’s Ring Cycle. In total, not just parts , but all four of the operas with their incredibly beautiful orchestration and Norse mythology, “End of the World,” plot. Perfect for Cappy brooding. The bonus to this music? Some of Wagner’s most impressive symphonic music. Music that moves us.
Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen [16 CD/DVD Combo]
This is for one Aquarius, who, I hope will appreciate the symbolism. Band’s name is Kraftwerk, and the single song in mind as the perfect gift? Oldie but a goodie? “Trans-Europe Express.” The musical history is almost more important than the song, a belated dance hit from the last of the New Wave, or possibly, some of the very first Techno/EDM/Etc. Use of samples and heavy electronics with a mesmerizing vocal track, but the important part, for Aquarius? It was “digital” music, produced with analog tools. The prefect gift for an Aquarius? The, possibly historical, blend of technology and art. Think: it was digital music done on analog instruments. Perfect combination for Aquarius.
I don’t recall if I’ve written about this album or not, but the new musical offering from that venerable Texas Sagittarius, Billy Gibbons, that album seems to hit the mark for Pisces. It’s got signature guitar riffs, easily identified as ZZ Top, then it’s got bluesy, Latin, Caribbean, maybe even some essence of a smoke-filled bar in old Havana. The blend and lack of specific direction makes the album, in its entirety, perfect for the Pisces.