Sunday, December 13, 2009
Holiday Cheer (REVISED FOR 2010)
I hate christmas music. It's obnoxious, cheesy, loud, repetitive, and overkill "jolly". Whether you decide to make up words in order to make your song rhyme with a cutesy Christmas feel (i.e. "O by gosh by golly, its time for mistletoe and holly") or a skanky seductive song to an old man who brings presents, Christmas music is usually my least favorite part of the season. Not to mention the quantity that we receive it in. Every store is playing it (and its usually the same 10 songs everywhere just different versions), everyone is whistling it, and it is stuck in everyone's heads. My friends call me a Grinch or a Scrooge. This is not the case. I love Christmas and most of its traditions. I love baby Jesus. Some Christmas music can get pretty deep and I like that. I just hate singing about jingling bells, I don't care how much they rock. But like every good rule, here are the exceptions to the rule (I made 12 to be more in the holiday spirit [parenthesis inside the parenthesis, the revised version is going to have 13 instead of 12. My true love would not be happy...]):
1.Jason Upton-"Glory To the Newborn King"
An original song thats my favorite Christmas song ever. Great lyrics, lots of truth, and Jason Upton is one of my favorite artists. It helps us brush aside all the junk that has come along with the Christmas season and brought it back to some real meaning. I know that Jesus wasn't really born December 25th so don't bother pointing that out, yet I think that what the season symbolizes is brought back to something bigger than ourselves. The song does a great job of changing from just a pretty song to sing on Christmas to something beyond it. There's a reason why we celebrate His birth, and this song brings it full circle. Here is a free download of it so you can hear it yourself because it's a pretty rare track. He's never technically released it. Just click DOWNLOAD after clicking on the link. Jason Upton - It's You Lord">
2.The Sufjan Stevens Christmas album, "Songs For Christmas" is the best Christmas album around. The way he does the old hymns is awesome. My personal favorite track of it is "Sister Winter". It's pretty epic. Here is a link so you can have a taste of what you are missing. Great build up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0AXpufpHug
3. Coldplay-This year they released a song called "Christmas Lights" that is quickly becoming a classic Christmas song in my book. I am probably going to be playing this song every Christmas for the rest of my life. Here is the link
They also do a great rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" but it's nowhere near as the greatness they achieved with "Christmas Lights"
4. U2 has two good Christmas tracks. "Baby Please Come Home" and "I Believe in Father Christmas". Neither are originally by them, but they are both great covers and not cheesy.
5. Death Cab For Cutie also does "Baby Please Come Home" on an album called "Maybe This Christmas Tree" that is pretty good. it also has Copeland doing "Do You Hear What I Hear"
6. Dave Matthews' "Christmas Song"
7. Ben Kweller-"Rock of Ages on The O.C. "Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah? Weird place to find a good Christmas song, but it's great nonetheless. Link:
8. On the Elf soundtrack, Zooey Deschanel does the best version of "Baby it's cold outside" I've ever heard.
9. The Fray singing Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is over)"
10. Pedro the Lion's "I heard the bells on Christmas"
11. Sting's recently released "If on a Winter's Night"
12. Rosie Thomas singing "Why can't it be Christmastime all year" is surprisingly good.
13. "Carol of the Bells" is a classic I can get behind.
...and a partridge in a pear tree.
Honorable mention: "O Holy Night" is an excellent song if done right. Good lyrics. It's just gotten butchered over the years by bad rendition after bad rendition. Everyone wants to sing it to try to showcase their singing talent, yet the song is about so much more than that.
There. I have just made your holiday season a lot more enjoyable. Most of these can be found on iTunes, so for a small price you can have the perfect Christmas playlist. Remember, this Christmas drink eggnog, watch "It's a Wonderful Life", love your family, friends, Jesus, and by any means necessary stay away from Celine Dion's Christmas album. Your ears will thank me. Happy Christmas!