12 Days of Christmas Music That Doesn’t Suck, 2014 Edition (Day 4)

Dear readers, I apologize. If you follow me on Facebook, you already know that I’ve been without a lot of reliable computer access for most of this week because of some home renovations we have going on. Oh, and it was finals week. Great timing, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I haven’t been able to post to my blog the last several days, which meant my 12 Days series got interrupted. Never fear, though; I’ll make it all up by Monday.

A few years ago, I heard this song on the radio and absolutely fell in love with it. It was played — and still is — on Houston’s Official Christmas Music Station, which is proof that their station’s programming director has at least some taste and a few brain cells to rub together. When I first heard it, I recognized the voices immediately as being the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah MacLachlan (two musical acts I rather like, especially the first), and it’s a clever blending of two very cool songs: “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (which always reminds me pleasantly of Charles Dickens for some inexplicable reason) and “We Three Kings” (a song I loved when I was a kid).

Enjoy!

 

Advertisements

12 Days of Christmas Music That Doesn’t Suck, 2014 Edition (Day 3)

So the last couple of days I’ve brought you some fun and goofy fare, but today we’re getting a little more serene, a little more toward the heart of the holiday — which has its roots in religious celebration. (And I’ll leave you to argue, if you must, over which religion or religions I’m talking about.)

Although I was raised a devout Catholic, that didn’t end up being my true path. But spirituality is very important to me as a feature of the Human Condition and as something which matters deeply in my own life. And so while I don’t necessarily share the same beliefs or faith of some Christmas carols, I can certainly appreciate them, either in a function of nostalgia or simply because they are beautiful. One of my favorite religious songs is “O Come, Emmanuel.” Some might accuse me of loving any song in a minor key, and that might be true. This particular song is one I used to sing regularly when I was a child, and it always made me feel peaceful, calm, centered. This version of it by ThePianoGuys is lovely, and the setting of the video is quite pretty, even if some could suggest the video feels mildly bombastic in tone.

 

12 Days of Christmas Music That Doesn’t Suck, 2014 Edition (Day 2)

When today’s song came out in the 1980s, I was nonplussed. I was a fan of the band who sang it, but I didn’t love them as much as I loved Duran Duran. And this song was…okay. But it has persisted. And in very recent years, several covers of it have been recorded which just are not very good. They’re faithful enough to the original not to be clever or interesting in themselves, and they don’t have the unabashed panache and chutzpah of the original, either. But these milquetoast covers have accomplished one surprising thing: they’ve made the original better by comparison.

So today I bring you “Last Christmas” by Wham! Even though I grew up watching MTV in the 80’s, somehow I’d missed this little cinematic gem, and I just saw it for the first time last week. It celebrates everything you’d expect from an 80’s-era pop music video: ambiguous storyline, big hair and bigger shoulder pads, extravagant socializing, late-night ennui, melodrama. Good times, good times. Enjoy.

 

 

 

12 Days of Christmas Music That Doesn’t Suck, 2014 Edition (Day 1)

Yes, it’s that time of year again. “Houston’s Official Christmas Music Station” — which has been broadcasting Christmas and winter-themed songs since the Friday night before Thanksgiving — has once more conformed to the belief that they must play the same dozen tired crap songs over and over again, with only an occasional good one thrown into the mix.

Thank goodness for my iPod.

Since this series on my blog was such a hit last year (click here to see the first post and then follow the “next post” links to see the rest), I’m doing it again! And while I’ll be sharing a lot of different stuff with you this time around, I’m going to kick things off with what is still one of my all-time favorites, “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses. Perhaps there will come a time when my life isn’t insanely busy, and then I won’t be able to relate to this song as well or enjoy it as much, but honestly, I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen.

Happy Holidays!

12 Days of Christmas Music That Isn’t Awful (Day 12)

I have saved my favorite for last.

Straight No Chaser may be the first a cappella group to have signed with a major recording label.  These guys started singing together in college back in the 90s and have been doing it ever since.  They’ve managed to make a career out of singing, even all these years later.  And next month, one of these guys (Mike) is going to become my cousin-in-law when he marries my cousin Zoë.  Yay!  They make an adorable couple.

This video is how she introduced him to the family — well, those of us in the extended family who didn’t live in the same part of the country as they did.  (That includes me.)

If you’ve been keeping up with this series, thank you.  Happiest of holidays.  🙂