Being the Holiday Season, and working retail, I’ve had to hear a lot of Christmas music. Now I’m not against Christmas music per se, it’s just that I get sick of the bland stuff that everyone puts out this time of year. When I had to pick the Christmas CD at the store I chose the newly re-released Joan Baez’s Noel. We had this album when I was a kid and I remember being obsessed with it. Well there go my fond memories because, well, it’s painful to listen to. For one thing, JB sings the songs kind of operatically, but she’s not an opera singer, so it just doesn’t work. Plus, you can’t understand any of the words. Plus, it goes on FOR FREAKING EVER.
So dear Santa, here’s my wishlist for the Perfect Christmas Album:
I’d like one where
- you can understand the lyrics
- It have no guitar solos
- it have no slow jams, though those are kind of funny, especially when Mariah Carey is involved.
- it have a minimal amount of original songs unless they are sufficiently funny as to be entertaining.
- There are no children’s choirs present
- “Santa Baby” is not included
- there is a minimal amount of bells, chimes, glockenspiels and music box noises.
- If you’re going to sing in a foreign language, please make an attempt to pronounce it correctly. If you don’t know French, just don’t sing “Un Flambeau, Jeannette Isabelle!” It’s simple as that! “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella” may not sound as good, but it will be less painful than you mangling French.
- Avoid the token Hannukah song. Let’s face it, good Hannukah songs may exist, but the average non-Hannukah celebrater only knows “I have a Little Dreydl” which kind of blows unless you are 5 years old.
When people try to make Christmas carols RAWK!, it usually fails miserably. This may be because most “traditional” carols (i.e. those written before 1900 or so) are written in 6/8 time. A lot of them, like “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” are lullabies, and lullabies are often in 6/8 because it lends itself to more of a rocking motion. Ironically then, that it doesn’t RAWK!, since most rock music is in 4/4.
Anyway, that’s my wish list for listening to X-mas music this season. So far, She and Him’s christmas album is OK. That is, when it was playing I completely didn’t notice it was on which is a good sign!
My favorite Christmas albums:
Firestone presents Your Favorite Christmas Carols Volume 5 with Julie Andrews
I had this album when I was a kid and was completely obsessed with it. Yes, it’s cheesy and overblown, but I keep hearing tracks from it in various stores and Julie Andrews still holds up. The other volumes (I had a green one and a gold colored one and maybe a red one?) just weren’t as good.
Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors “Horny Holidays”
This is awesome, especially “Good King Wenceslaus” where Mojo admits nobody actually knows the words to this so everybody just sing “la la la”– a classic! They also sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.
Jim Jones, “A Dipset Christmas” — come on, who could resist a song called “Ballin’ on Christmas?”
2 Live Jews “Christmas Jews”– I used to have a collection of Jews with Christmas Albums (i.e., Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow), but I had to abandon it because I realized I would have to actually purchase Kenny G’s album, and even I have limits to my kitschy compulsions. Anyway, 2 Live Jews’ album was the crowning glory of this (or any holiday) collection. Anyway, sing “Bagels and bagels and bagels and lox” to “Jingle Bell Rock” and it’s just awesome times a million.
Bootsy Collins, “Christmas is 4 ever” – Bootsy is just awesome.
Various Artists: “A John Waters Christmas”– this one is almost cheating. It’s supposed to be awesome in that kitschy way, and it totally delivers.
I’m sure there are a couple more Christmas albums that don’t make me homicidal, but I can’t think of them right now…