I am obsessed

Harry Potter-mania has struck again. What? July isn’t so far off! On Friday the 13th of that month, we will get to watch Dumbledore’s Army tear up the Ministry of Magic on the big screen, and eight days after that, Book Seven arrives to end this saga once and for all (*cry*/*YAY!*). So what am I doing in the meantime to get my Potter fix? I’m rereading all the books, hopefully rewatching the movies at some point, and listening to wizard rock.

Wizard rock is music created by Harry Potter fans, usually about the books. The musicians often sing from the characters’ point of view, and dress up as the characters at their shows. (This is a lot cooler than it sounds.) As many of the bands’ MySpace pages proclaim, wizard rock has two aims: to further kids’ love for reading, and to get kids interested or involved in music. The founding band, Harry and the Potters, never intended this to be a big thing when they wrote their first seven songs back in 2002, though they’ve certainly become famous since then.

I love wizard rock. Not all the bands are great (or uniformly great), but their creativity demonstrates how easily we Potter fans identify with the books and their characters. My favorite bands write catchy songs whose lyrics I can easily imagine the characters singing. Try this song by The Hermione Crookshanks Experience, “Ronald Weasley,” sung wistfully (I imagine) by Year Six Hermione in one of her more vulnerable moments:

Ronald Weasley
I never thought we could be
But now I see
You’re the only one for me
If you would stop acting so mean I
Could explain everything
I don’t care for McLaggen
Or Krum
Oh you are so
So tiresome

Wizard rock isn’t canon, but the best of it really captures the books’ essence, so that listening to the songs is like hearing what the characters say and think when Jo’s camera isn’t on them (to mix my metaphors). What I love about this song is that the sensitive side of Hermione, which we see so infrequently in the books, just rings out in the music and Kristine’s lovely voice.

I also love the anarchic spirit of this song by The Remus Lupins, “Loosen Your Tie”:

Going to Hogsmeade
Going to have some fun tonight
So what if he is back and nothing’s gonna be the same again
I’ve got my good friends and we know how to rock
Stocking up on love potions, well, that’s just fine if you know how to dance
Come outside these castle walls and let’s enjoy ourselves…
So loosen your tie ’cause it’s time to get crazy
We’re gonna make mischief and drink firewhisky…

Both the music and lyrics of this song sound a little more adult than a lot of wizard rock; I imagine it sung by a more rebellious, naughty side of Harry and his friends than Jo reveals in her rated-G books (though allusions to such mischief are certainly there, if you go looking). Another Lupins song, “Remember Cedric,” is also very believably Harry — plus it’s just a really wonderful song, so give it a listen (#3)!

I’m firmly on the side of the Order of the Phoenix (though Book Six softened my attitude toward Draco Malfoy somewhat), but I can’t help but laugh at the bad-boy lyrics of Draco and the Malfoys. I first got to hear these Slytherins at the Central Library concert last summer, and they’re really a better band than Harry and the Potters, though both have a high-school garage-band feel (in a good way). They’ve clearly got more experience; one of the Dracos has even played with the Violent Femmes. Have a listen to “My Dad Is Rich”:

My dad’s always there
To open all my doors
You have to call a Patronus
Just to catch a glimpse of yours

My mom says she loves me
She tucks me into bed
How’s your mommy doing
In the mirror of Erised?

My dad is rich
And your dad is dead
My dad is rich
And your dad is dead

Can’t you just imagine Draco taunting Harry with these words? “Potions Yesterday” is even more vindictive, funnier, and catchier:

You messed up in potions yesterday
But everyone still thinks you’re really great
‘Cept Snape
‘Cept Snape…
And me

We see you for what you really are
Stupid little dork with a stupid dorky scar
And it’s okay
It’s really great
‘Cause I hate you
And so does Snape…

When they played this at the concert last summer, the audience sang along, gleefully.

But my favorite group, ever since Daniel first turned me on to them a few years ago, is still Harry and the Potters. They started the whole wizard rock movement, and they still seem to have the most homegrown energy (and the most albums, maybe, and most tour dates?). They sing/play just like I imagine Harry would, if he had time to start a band in between classes and defeating Voldemort.
One of my favorites, “Wizard Chess,” comes from Harry’s feelings in Year One:

I don’t want to go home for Christmas this year
I don’t want to see my family
I just want to stay at school for this winter break
I just want to stay at school with my best friend Ron

Oh oh, oh oh oh
We’ll spend our Christmas playing wizard chess
Oh oh, oh oh oh
We’ll play wizard chess this Christmas…

Another wonderfully catchy song, “The Human Hosepipe,” takes on Harry’s disastrous date during Year Five:

We went to the coffee tea shop
On our first date
And it started off great

We made with the talking
And it was just fine
But it soon turned into that awkward silence
And I didn’t know what to do next

So we sat there with all the couples kissing
And soon things began deteriorating
And you began turning into the human hosepipe
And then the next thing I knew
You were storming out just leaving me wondering

Cho Chang, what have I done?
I don’t care where you and Cedric were snogging
Cho Chang, what have I done?
I just want to replay this Valentine’s Day…

So maybe I’m crazy to be so involved, but I’ve ordered three new CDs from the Potters, the Malfoys, and the Lupins, and I’m SO excited.

Give these bands a listen. They’re great.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]