Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Music of My Christmas

Two weeks ago, I pondered the animated Christmas specials; this week, now that I'm in the mood to hear it, Christmas music is on my mind.

There are songs I like, songs I love, songs I hate.

There are the songs I want to hear at least once every year, songs that I crank the volume on every time I hear them on the radio*, songs that I shrug at but will listen to, and songs I could happily never hear again in my life.

*Five minutes apart of different stations? Singing every word each time.

There are whole albums I love (Muppets, Charlie Brown, Nutcracker), songs from the cartoon specials that earn their favor through sheer sentiment, and artists who charm me with almost anything (Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole ... who am I forgetting?). The lists so far:

  • The Bruce Springsteen version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Not only do I love the singer (I'm a big Bruce fan, especially Early Bruce [Born to Run!]), but when he's singing the refrain and Clarence starts ho-ho-ho-ing behind him and Bruce is cracking up as he sings, I laugh Every Single Time. (This isn't the same recording, but it's the right era.)
  • Christmas Canon, Trans Siberian Orchestra
  • Do They Know It's Christmas, by Band Aid. Child of the 80s alert!
  • Father Christmas, by the Kinks. Haven't heard it yet this year! Danger, Will Robinson! (Whew.)
  • The Twelve Pains of Christmas
  • Little Saint Nick, by the Beach Boys. Of course, the Muppet version of this is priceless, with Animal "encouraging" the reindeer to run.
  • All I Want for Christmas is You. Probably because I associate the song with the scene from Love, Actually, which is a good movie to watch this time of year, incidentally. Though much as I love the version from the movie, I laughed until I cried at the latest hockey phenomenon, which is a video of the Belfast Giants team lip-syncing to Mariah's version. Hysterical! Props to the whole team for a sense of humor as well as quite well-executed choreography, and extra props to the guy who was willing to do it while dressed as an elf. Now I wish I could go to one of their games.
  • Mary's Boy Child
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside. This is on the list due to another one of those good rendition/association instances. Are you a fan of the TV show Glee? I've never seen it, but when I saw some clips on a blog I read recently, I watched them and really enjoyed them (which, hello 20th Century Fox, why do you revoke the clips? Don't you want me to be enticed into watching your show? Fine, here's another listing of Hey Soul Sister). I'm borrowing season one from a friend after the holidays, but in the meantime, I have a soft spot for the song because of this.
  • 12 Days, by the a cappella group Straight No Chaser. I heard this for the the first time this morning, and it was on my list before the song was over. Fantastic! It's not new, so how have I never heard it before? (This is why it's worth listening to the Christmas-music-playing-stations, despite the many-times-a-day repeating of those songs on the next list.) Awesome mash-up of multiple Christmas carols, plus Toto's Africa. I don't have time now to listen to every other song they've done, but it's something to look forward to after the holidays.
Also, in the not-Christmas-but-holiday category, Adam Sandler, naturally.

Hate (at least after the first hearing of the season)
  • Feliz Navidad
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  • A Wonderful Christmas Time
  • Step into Christmas
  • So This is Christmas (sorry, John, but it's depressing)(and overplayed)
  • Santa Baby
  • Last Christmas
  • anything by the Jackson 5
Perplexed by:
  • Mr Santa, to the tune of Mr Sandman
  • Give the Jew Girl Toys (that Sarah Silverman, eh?)
  • Dominic the Donkey
What music is your Christmas?

1 comment:

Kate P said...

THAT's why everybody likes the Mariah Carey song! Thank you for explaining that!

And ITA about Wonderful Christmastime. Synth torture. I can't believe I forgot to mention that one on my (non)hit list.