Dec 17, 2007

it's the most wonderful time of the year (for music)

I think one of the keys to making your holiday season "just right" is to fill in the blanks with holiday music. Times when you'd normally listen to your regular music, that's when you should bust the holiday stuff. I mean, it sits on your shelf (or more aptly, the wasteland that is known as your hard-drive) gathering dust for eleven months, you might as well bust it out and really get sick of it right?

Lately I've been in the mood for some new stuff, while still paying tribute to the classics. I've come to get your input on what you feel are the Absolute Necessities for Holiday Music. Here are some of my favorites (which I'll be sharing with you in the following week).

Last Christmas, Wham
Christmas Don't be Late, The Chipmunks
Frosty the Snowman, Fiona Apple
Blue Christmas, Elvis
O Holy Night, Sufjan Stevens
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy, David Bowie & Bing Crosby

What is on your Christmas Essentials playlist, and will you share it with me/us?


Ryan said...

I love Sufjan Stevens Christmas music box set. Even his "original" Christmas songs are quickly becoming holiday classics for my family which is a huge step up considering I was raised on Andy William's Christmas albums.

Another Ryan said...

It's not music but I love Sedaris' stories. My wife thinks I'm kind of scroogy so maybe it fits.

Josh Groban's new album, that she's been playing for the past 4 days, has a nice finisher with Mo Tab. Good stuff.

O Holy Night by just about anyone is great.

david said...

josh... groban?


Jonah said...

Gotta stick with the classics:
Run DMC - Christmas in Hollis

clyde said...

Ever since our Christmas in Peterlee I can't think of Christmas music without Elvis's, Blue Christmas, and the other one that we herd everywhere "last christmas I gave you my heart but the very next day you gave it away..."
Good times.

mj said...

I really need to update myself but for the past several years I always stick in the "Its a Cool, Cool Christmas" compilation CD put out maybe six years ago by Jeepster records. I sometimes bring it to my family's house and my Dad really hates it, which is part of the fun. The Flaming Lips do a space-odyssey-like version of "White Christmas" that he can not stand. More palatable to more people is the very sweet Belle and Sebastian version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," and the fun jangly "Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas" by the Eels (with the slightly irreverant line "Baby Jesus: born to rock"). I pretty much listen to that and Handel's Messiah, though I do miss some of the classics, so one of these years I really need to expand my collection.

Liz said...

I, too, am a huge fan of "Last Christmas" by Wham. I spent the last two Christmases in Malta (look it up... jackpot). I think "Last Christmas" is the Maltese Christmas anthem. There are speakers playing Christmas music pratically everywhere you go, and that song came on about ever 30 minutes. It was the repitition that really made me love it.

My absolute favorite Christmas song is "All I Want for Christmas is You" by none other than Mariah Carey. Don't get me wrong, I can't stand Mariah. She bugs the hell out of me. But the song is so cheesy that it is perfect for Christmas.

Alison said...

my future in laws asked me, "Alison, what are your favorite Christmas Albums?" I scratched my head, and then I said, "Honestly, the only album I actually listen every year is the NSYNC Christmas album." They looked concerned, so then I said, "Oh and I love the Mo Tab." Which is true, but I don't own one album.... it seemed to make them feel better.

Blythe said...

This sounds a little cynical, but sometimes the answer is "stuff that isn't played too much when you work retail." Right now, I could really get into a discussion on "Christmas songs that should never be played again, and why Paul McCartney's 'Simply Havin' a Wonderful Christmastime' heads the list."

But to answer the question, I actually love the Chipmunk Christmas Song and the Bare Naked Ladies version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

I also have a friend whose husband works for a music magazine. He makes a Christmas mix cd every year and sends it, and it's always great.

Dawn D. Lion said...

My very favorite is an album put out by Verve called "Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas." All the great voices - Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington. I think I got it 15 years ago and have been playing it every year.
Our more recent family addition is "Christmas with John Denver and the Muppets." Yes, on vinyl, what else?

david said...

dang dawn, mj, blythe... i'm all jealous of your christmas compilations.

alison... it's ok to admit to you have a HUGE soft spot in your heart for jc chasez.

liz, i just downloaded your favorite song by ms. carey. at the behest of ashley... ;)

i was also reading d. sedaris in borders the other day, i got about halfway through the elf story. methinks i want to read more of that, great suggestions you guys

MF said...

kudos to holidays on ice.
i would like to add to blythe's list of songs i could do without, rather, artists i could do without when it comes to their holiday renditions. first, james taylor. for some reason, he is bugging me. that nasally sound that is so much his own really makes me want to gag when it comes to "santa claus is coming to town." i second the paul mccartney idea. i'd simply like to have someone put me out of my misery after the second time i hear that song each year. sorry sir paul. jose feliciano's "feliz navidad". no mas por favor.
no for my picks. i'd probably consider myself a traditionalist when it comes to this stuff, though, keep in mind. i really dig bing crosby and adding david bowie (who i have only recently been able to stomach due to a severe distaste from labyrinth) to the mix, it kicked it up another notch. this was quite possibly the forerunner to cmt's crossover series. I like harry connick jr. john denver and the muppets is a hit. i'm fairly fond of just instrumental ones (not kenny g, not the siberian group, and only a tad of the steamroller since they seem to do what their name implies) but just straight up piano. amy grant has a few tasteful renditions, although she apparently hates mormons and supports anti mormon groups so i should hate her. and surprising enough, *nsync has a surprise o holy night that shows their actual singing talent. jimmy eat world does a good last christmas cover. now i am done. i think i just wrote more than your whole entry, david. merry christmas.

david said...

only a tad of the steamroller since they seem to do what their name implies

mike, that is the zing of the season!

great freaking comment, i couldn't agree more.

meghann said...

Oh yay! My favorite christmas song (actually maybe favorite ever song) is The Pogues "Fairytale of New York". It is the saddest most beautiful song you've ever heard that starts with the words "It was christmas eve babe, in the drunktank"

honorable mention to:
The Ramones - "Merry Christmas (I don't want to fight tonight)"
Low - "Just like Christmas"
The Weepies - "all that I want"
The Waitresses - "Christmas Wrapping"
and the entire Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack
oh and the Nutcracket Suite

okay yep that's it. I love christmas.

Blythe said...

MF, we have very similar taste (distaste?) in Christmas music, because right after the Paul McCartney song on the Christmas songs I hate list is that exact version of Feliz Navidad. When he gets to the part where he sings, "I want to wish you a Merry Christmas," he sounds like he is drunk. And has marbles in his mouth. I don't know why anyone likes it.

mj said...

oh, also my brother sent me his "christmas greetings" cd this year which is actually one of the better things i've heard in a long time. he does a sort of david sedaris meets jack handey meets some indie guy thing. his cd has two original tunes (one called "one angry who" with the chorus "you better not come back to my house for christmas"--it's about grudges) and six other tracks of spoken word, a few of which are non-fictional tales of christmases past and a few of which are fictional, all with music playing in the background. i am sure he recorded the whole thing with 'garage band' using the built in microphone on his laptop. just to give you an example, one track is called "twelve possible endings to a story entitled 'the christmas bunny.'" i feel like i need to distribute this thing. maybe i'll get him to put it on myspace or something and then give a link to it.