Thursday, December 04, 2008
I have a totally inexplicable soft spot for Christmas music. I am a grade A pretentious music wanker most of the time, preferring obscure Iranian love-songs and quirky Brazilian bossa-nova groups and Japanese rap to more mainstream stuff. (Possibly just to be obstinate.) Sentimental music about troo wuv and finding the good in everyone and magical fairy kisses deeply distress me. I am deeply suspicious of grown adults who listen to Disney CD's. You get the picture.
However, Christmas music is my one weak spot, my good taste Achilles-heel. Christmas music evokes warm and fuzzy childhood memories in me, childhood memories that have not even had a good chance to macerate a bit as I am only twenty years old. I hear this stuff and immediately think of opening totally awesome presents under the tree, waking up at an obscenely early hour, and making convoluted Christmas laundry lists including ponies and carnivorous dinosaurs. Times was good and the stockings were plentiful. (I feel very sorry for today's recession kidlets who may never know the consumer spree kids of my generation did. Hint: it rocked..)
My favorite Christmas songs?
A Christmas Song - Jethro Tull
In which Ian Anderson sarcastically implores you think of the real reason for the seasonw while "stuffing yourselves at the Christmas dinner." I am possibly just amused by the notion of a whimsical flute playing rock star lecturing people on consumerism. But I DO think it's an authentically nice song. I listen to Jethro Tull constantly in the winter months. I think it's the solstice themes Ian Anderson thoughtfully incorporates into his musical stylings!
Jethro Tull and Anoushka Shankar just dedicated a concert to the Mumbai victims. Just one of the bazillion reasons why I love Jethro Tull 4ever.
The First Noel - Nat King Cole
I adore all of Nat King Cole's Christmas songs, but this one wins as my favorite by a very slight edge. I like the regal sounding entry, I like the gentle background voices, and I like the classic lyrics. Nat King Cole can make this godless heathen kind of buy into the whole thing and for that he should be commended. I think.
O Holy Night - Sufjan Stevens
I like the bare-bones, recorded in the backyard quality of this. It's religious music on a level I can stand. The part where he sings "Fall on your knees, hear the angel voices.." really affects me for some reason - it's just a beautiful and evocative lyric. I rarely find occasion in my own life to fall on my knees for much of anything and sometimes wonder if that should bother me.
Hawaiian Christmas Song - Bing Crosby.
50's kitsch doesn't get much better then this. My native Hawaiian is a bit rusty so I cannot verify if maliky-maliky-makah is actually how one might say "Merry Christmas" in Hawaii. I am sorry.
Can't you imagine this being played at a 50's office Christmas party at a tiki bar, and everyone is wearing fake leis and drinking Zombie's and eating rumaki and having a simply fabulous time? I want to go to that party.
Baby It's Cold Outside - Johnny Mercer, Margaret Whiting
I just love this song. It's mischievously romantic in a very retro way. It makes me smile. The interplay between the man and the woman is really nailed here by Johnny and Margaret, I think.
I also like anything Johnny Mercer sings. He could probably sing "It's A Small World After All" and I would listen to it a zillion times. Well, maybe.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby
"Next year, all our troubles will be miles away.." is a beautiful lyric and gives me hope for the new year. If there's any time of year to be comforted about the future, it's the holidays. Which we especially need right now.
I also love "Someday soon, we all will be together, if the fates allow"...also poignant. See, I told you I was a softie for Christmas songs.
Posted by Faine at 8:52 PM