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November 27, 2005

Christmas Music

By Ezra

I'm heedless. Reckless. Rash and unthinking. I shopped, ignoring the warnings, on Black Friday. And despite all the folks complaining about Christmas music, I thought it was great. Mostly because of all the Christmas music. I, after all, spend all year waiting for Christmas music. I spin Christmas Remixed -- which really is one of the best CD's you'll ever hear -- during all manner of non-Holiday seasons, but don't tend to take up the real Bing Crosby stuff till the Big Day is actually upon us. But once the carols become ubiquitous, I'm as stoked a jew as you've ever seen -- I go from mall-o-phobic to an eager shopper.

I write this, though, because I seem to be the only one. Everyone else I know despises Christmas music and wants to go all Seattle-protestor on every retailer who plays it. So, question of the day: where do you stand? Are you, like me, objectively pro-Christmas tunes, or just another scrooge?

Update: Dude! There's a Christmas Remixed 2! This is the best Christmas ever!

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I love traditional Christmas carols. One of our local TV stations does a program every couple of years called "The Gift of Music," in which local high school choirs and instrumentalists perform carols. It always chokes me up. I have to admit, I am not familiar with the "remixes" you mention, however.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, RN, PhD | Nov 27, 2005 2:02:20 PM

I dig the Christmas music, but I think I have burned out on "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." The radio stations somehow think that one is the coolest thing ever, and I am sick. of. it.

Posted by: Pepper | Nov 27, 2005 2:45:08 PM

I like Christmas music, but it can get to be a bit much when every store plays it exclusively for a month. This is especially true when they include more recent material by the likes of Mariah Carey, Destiny's Child, etc., who don't really know how to use their voices to convey anything besides octaves.

Check this collection out: http://pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/comp/dust-to-digital/where-will-you-be-christmas-day.shtml

Posted by: mark | Nov 27, 2005 2:48:47 PM

I like:

  • Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
  • A Fairy Tale of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
  • Carol of the Bells

I keep thinking there's one more, but apparently not.

Posted by: pansauce | Nov 27, 2005 3:02:39 PM

Okay, for the most part I can't stand traditional xmas music. On the other hand, some years back I managed to compile 120 minutes worth of xmas music I did like. Spinal Tap's Christmas with the Devil, Weird Al's Christmas at Ground Zero (back when Ground Zero referred to the place atomic bombs were dropped), The Ravers' Punk Rock Christmas.

I've gotten older and slightly less punk in my tastes and could actually imagine enjoying those Christmas Remixed albums.

This factoid disturbs me more than you might imagine.

(Oh yeah - Max Headroom's Merry Christmas Santa (You're a Real Swell Guy) was on there, too)

Posted by: Bishop | Nov 27, 2005 3:30:23 PM

I used to like Xmas carols, especially traditional ones. Then I spent a few years in Holiday Hell -- aka working retail during the Xmas season, when for 8 hours a day all you hear is bad covers of holiday 'classics' mixed in with crappy pop Xmas songs.

My tolerance of anything remotely related to holiday music is extremely low now.

Posted by: fiat lux | Nov 27, 2005 4:34:28 PM

The Croz? Hell, yes!
The Carey? Hell, no!

Posted by: Raf | Nov 27, 2005 5:48:33 PM

Here's another Christmas-music lovin' Jew.

Posted by: DonBoy | Nov 27, 2005 5:51:06 PM

John Fahey, acoustic guitar genius, did three classic albums. No "Jingle Bells" or "First Noel", I don't recognize the titles. Old old carols.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 27, 2005 6:22:41 PM

Count me as "pro". I like the stupid rock xmas albums. The "Maybe This Christmas" series is pretty good.

Posted by: tom | Nov 27, 2005 9:32:35 PM

I like Cheech & Chong's "Santa Claus And His Old Lady".

Posted by: Thlayli | Nov 27, 2005 9:48:21 PM

It's gotta be old and not available on CD.

For Christmas-lovin' Jews there's always the classic LP, "Have A Jewish Christmas" which may show up at my site this year....

Posted by: King of Jingaling | Nov 27, 2005 11:16:23 PM

I think the right thing to say for me is that I like intelligent Christmas tunes that aren't overplayed -- Ella and Eartha Kitt and Mel Torme, early music or other stuff I haven't heard before -- and the occasional bit of big giant brass-and-organ top of your lungs stuff (though that's more fun to sing than to listen to). What tends to get me down about Christmas music is the stuff you hear over and over again: I could go another ten lifetimes without one more version of the one arrangement of "Carol of the Bells" everybody on the planet does, five without Bing, and probably at least one away from the quiet triteness that malls live by.

Posted by: Dennis | Nov 28, 2005 12:48:53 AM

There are tons of great Christmas albums; three more:

Jethro Tull's Christmas Album: All Music Guide calls it their best album in 25 years;not much Jesus or Santa, just chestnuts roasting on a psychy flute.

Rotary Connection & Phil Spector's:60s soul. Minnie Ripperton of RT could do seven octaves in 4 beats, and shatter a windshield at a 100 yards. Really. Would I lie about Christmas?

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 28, 2005 3:24:55 AM

I love Christmas music, but mostly secular stuff, and not the boring stuff you hear all the time. Rhino had a couple of great compilation albums about 20 years ago (Rockin' Christmas - The '50s and Rockin' Christmas - The '60s) that had all kinds of great semi-obscure stuff, including some truly bizarre novelty tunes. There was also an awesome Christmas album from ZE Records, with songs by Suicide, Was/Not Was, August Darnell, etc. Not available anymore, sadly.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Nov 28, 2005 10:33:25 AM

"Not available anymore, sadly."

Umm, almost everything is available, if you have patience (sometimes years) and know where to look.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 28, 2005 1:14:03 PM

I too love the Christmas Remixed CD's. I started an Internet radio station for music like this. You should also check out a CD called Merry Mixmas. Or a series of three CD's called The Reindeer Room. These are great!

Posted by: Yelo Snoman | Nov 29, 2005 1:10:41 PM

Dude, I love Christmas and the music associated with it. I must say that I have found the conglomerate stations all over the place that call themselves "lite" seem to have adopted the all-Christmas format between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so maybe it's a ClearChannel thing? But it made my 6-hour drive home from mom's after Thanksgiving extremely enjoyable.

And I don't care what anyone says, "Last Christmas" is a great song.

Posted by: ajw93 | Dec 7, 2005 1:13:20 PM

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