Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hey, Carol

It seems that people have pretty strong feelings about Christmas Carols. There's the "start listening clandestinely in October and then start playing out loud all month of November and December" (Spoiler: I fall into this camp.) And there is the camp that feels it is a sacrilege to listen to Christmas music before December 21st.

I kinda don't get that camp. I LOVE Christmas Music. I love that it is fun and festive. I love that it can cross all musical genres - it can be classical, choral, jazz, folky, poppy, whatever. So if you don't like Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and Jingle Bell Rock (and let's be honest: I dare you to find a single person who doesn't think listening to those songs in the equivalent of having a sharpened candy cane stuck in your ear) then you can go for something different. Maybe a little Lower Lights or a little Sufjan Stevens.

I was going to make a list today of the most hated Christmas songs. (Christmas Shoes, Santa Baby and Jingle Bell rock all featured prominently.) But that seemed too easy. And too annoying. Who wants to be reminded of the songs you hate? So I present to you a Christmas playlist of awesome Christmas songs. This is a good hour that should get your through wrapping a big stack of presents or baking a mess of sugar cookies (feel free to drop off said sugar cookies at my house.) And there are 25 of them (See what I did there?)
  1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by James Taylor. I love you, James.
  2. Carol of the Bells by the bird and the bee. This is one of those weird Christmas Songs you hear a lot when you work in retail (this is for sure on the Anthropologie Christmas mix. Amirite, Patrick?) It's a little odd but it has totally grown on me and I love it.
  3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Neil Diamond. Nothing says the love of the Savior like Neil Diamond. This is a Christmas classic. Westward leading, indeed.
  4. I Saw Three Ships by The Lower Lights. If you don't have the Lower Lights Christmas Album (or their Hymn Revival albums) do yourself a favor and GO GET IT!! It's one of my favorites. Folky, twangy, amazing. I could have included their whole album on this list, but I was trying to be choosy.
  5. O Come All Ye Faithful by Amy Grant. When I was growing up and CDs were a new thing, my family got the Amy Grant Christmas Album on CD and I think it was the only one we owned for about 7 years, because I swear it was all we listened to. So now no Christmas is complete without Amy. 
  6. In the Bleak Mid-Winter by Shawn Colvin. Remember Shawn? She's not just for Dawson's Creek anymore. This is one of my favorite Christmas Songs. So haunting and gorgeous.
  7. Hark the Herald Angels Sing by the MoTabs. You can't have Christmas without the MoTabs and this is just the kind of song you want. It's Choraltastic and has trumpets and gongs and such. Amazing.
  8. O Little Town of Bethlehem by Sarah McLachlan. Gorgeous.
  9. Mary's Little Boy Child by Harry Connick Jr. I'm not usually a big HCJ listener, but his Christmas albums are kind of awesome and delightful. 
  10. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Brian McKnight. My wife is in love with Brian McKnight, and I am in love with this song. 
  11. The First Noel by David Archuleta. Am I a 13 year old girl, do you ask? Why no. But I unabashedly think that David Archuleta (Elder Archuleta?) has some pipes and rocks out this First Noel. 
  12. Do You Hear What I Hear by Kristin Chenoweth. When I was a kid this was my favorite carol. And who doesn't love Kristin Chenoweth? Remember when she found Leo McGary dead on The West Wing? Anyway. That was a tangent. 
  13. What Child is This? by Josh Groban. Josh Groban was genetically engineered and grown in a test tube in the north pole to sing Christmas carols. 
  14. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Sufjan Stevens. If you are a 30-something hipster, you can only listen to Sufjan Stevens Christmas music. And I have already professed my love of Come Thou Fount before. Maybe not traditionally a Christmas song, but I ask you why not? WHY NOT?!
  15. Angels from the Realms of Glory by Annie Lennox. Oh, Annie. Sing to my soul. This whole album is awesome and weird and amazeballs in only the way Annie Lennox can be. 
  16. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Keyshia Cole. I know nothing about this song or this artist. But it has a kind of 90s R&B feel that is pretty great.
  17. The Christmas Song by Diana Krall. Jazzy.
  18. Baby, It's Cold Outside by Darren Criss and Chris Colfer. Yes, this is from Glee. Yes, I know this song is about date rape. Yes, I know Topher just died and rolled over in his grave that I mentioned Glee on this blog. But don't we all need a little gay love song at Christmas time?
  19. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joni Mitchell. Why didn't Joni Mitchell record a whole album of Christmas music? I think it so suits her voice. And I think technically this song is about the Apocalypse and the end of the world, but it says "Bethlehem" so go with it.
  20. Silent Night by Rhonda Vincent. This is a little bluegrassy Christmas song that I think is lovely.
  21. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by The Civil Wars. Are you as obsessed with the Civil Wars as I am? I am in love.
  22. Ding Dong! Merrily On High by Chanticleer. Don't you need a classical vocal ensemble on your Christmas mix? Thought so.
  23. Happy Christmas by Maroon 5. If you are a baby of the 80s you need this song on your mix. And isn't Maroon 5 the U2 of our generation? (I just offended Ken.) Also, their guitarist is super nice.
  24. Your Holiday Song by the Indigo Girls. It makes me feel happy.
  25. We Three Kings by Rod Stewart, featuring Mary J. Blige. Who know the Stewart/Blige combination could rock my world so? I think pretty much anything featuring Mary J. Blige is going to rock. The DMV, featuring Mary J. Blige? I'm there. Root Canals, featuring Mary J. Blige? I'll take 3. 

And, since I won't post again until after Christmas, let me say thanks to all of you. This blog has been a fun adventure this year. We didn't really know what it would become when we started (and frankly still don't) but we love writing it and appreciate all of you reading it and telling your friends about it and liking posts on Facebook. Have an amaizing Christmas, and play this mix in the background.
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