21 December 2011

At The Expense Of Christmas.

'Tis the Season and so I figured what better time to share my Top 10 Christmas Songs!

10. SNOW MISER/HEAT MISER SONG
from A Year Without Santa Claus
Start it off right with an oft overlooked Christmas song. I'm really surprised that no one has ever really lifted the sample from the 'Heat Miser' part as it loops really well. This is a song that gets stuck in your head at all times during the year.


9. GABRIEL'S MESSAGE
Sting
From the first 'Very Special Christmas' album. I didn't care for it when I first heard it, but this year it's really grown on me. It definitely sticks out from the usual lot of Christmas tunes.


8. STARÁLFUR
Sigur Rós
OK, technically not a Christmas song, but you know I couldn't have a list without at least one Sigur Rós song. This of all their songs feels like the holidays, the early darkness and cold weather. That may be a regular day in Iceland but it feels like Christmas to the rest of us.


7. TENNESSEE CHRISTMAS
Amy Grant
I went to a Christian school from junior high on and during the holidays this album was inescapable. It's definitely a large piece of my history and I still feel very much in the holiday spirit when I listen to any song off this album.


6. DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS?
Band Aid
Again, another junior high school song and the first in the trend of the mega-stars getting together for a charity record. This was the pinnacle of 1980s Pop Music--it was all pre-fab music, Madonna, cheese Rap, and hair Metal from here on out through the rest of the decade.


5. THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Stuck at the end of an already personally revelatory album ('I Love Rock 'N' Roll') this was quite a surprise when I first heard it. Plus, it has that enigmatic line that replaces 'Mary nodded'; I still think she's saying 'joie de hadash' but I have no clue.


4. MUST BE SANTA
Bob Dylan
Another favorite of my youth (the Mitch Miller version rules!), but this one is covered by one of my favorite musicians...and a wig...in a video that involves a chase...and a listing of the reindeer in an interesting way...as a polka. Awesome.


3. CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE
Vince Guaraldi Trio
I don't even know the words, but we all know it from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Anything by Vince Guaraldi exudes Christmas, and this album is one of the best to put on at this time of year.


2. WE THREE KINGS
Traditional
Like 'O Come Emmanuel' or 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' (neither of which are favorites), this one has a very minor key start, but it's that glorious refrain that makes the difference. This was a favorite as a child, perhaps it was being intrigued by the 'Star of Wonder' line. A great caroling song.


1. O HOLY NIGHT
Robert Guillaume
TV's Benson (and an eventual Phantom, but most of you know him as Rafiki) stunned all the viewers with this rendition of my all-time favorite Christmas song. Until then they hadn't really showcased his beautiful voice on the show so it was a big surprise. This version still gives me chills. When asked to sing a Christmas song, this is the one I always choose.


------

Honorable Mentions:

2000 MILES
The Pretenders
A beautiful track and a favorite of theirs, but it's never really evoked Christmas to me.


CHRISTMASTIME
Larry Norman
I used to like this song when I was in high school, but I'm surprisingly less pessimistic now.


------

Merry Christmas all!

-N.

No comments: