Christmas Songs I Love

Wow.

Two posts in one month.

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It’s almost like I’m a responsible blog-writer that updates on a regular basis again.

Anyway, for my last entry I wrote all the Christmas songs I hate, so I’ve decided for the sake of fairness, to write a post about the Christmas songs I enjoy the most.

Carol of The Bells

It doesn’t matter if it’s played with lyrics or without, this song blows my mind every time. It’s busy without being overwhelming and so energizing it makes me want to snatch that violin right out of Lyndsey Stirlings hands and play it myself.

It just gets me pumped in a way that’s hard to explain. It’s one of the few holiday songs that would go well with a car chase or shoot-out. If they played this in the background of Die Hard, it honestly wouldn’t feel that out of place. Especially if it was this version.

Unlike other Christmas songs, I have yet to find a bad cover of this particular ballad. In fact, it was hard to find a sample of this song to use for this post because there are so many brilliant ones to chose from. It’s like it’s so phenomenal that it’s impossible to screw up.

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch- Thurl Ravencroft. 

Even without the positive memories I have of listening to this song while watching The Grinch on VHS at the tender age of three, I would still love this song.

It starts as pretty basic, claiming The Grinch is “mean” and “a heel”, etc. But then the insults snowball into brilliantly crafted slights that they would make a middle school bully ugly-sob.

It goes from accusing him of having “garlic in [his] soul to having “termites in [his] smile” to having “all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile.

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Food for thought…

There are a few covers out there….including this one–

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But you can’t beat Thurl Ravencroft’s ocean-floor level bass in the original ballad.

I mean, come on, his name is Thurl Ravencroft.

You might as well quit now.

Oiche Chiuin- Enya

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I‘m leaving the link here because WordPress won’t let me upload it for some reason. 

I love Silent Night in general, but hearing it sung in Gaelic with Enya’s hauntingly gorgeous voice is nothing short of magical. The ethereal quality of her singing makes it seem as if the notes are being carried on a soft winter wind, winding through a snowy landscape. Every time I listen, I’m instantly awed by its majesty. At the risk of sounding corny, it genuinely feels like you’re listening to an angel.

It’s so peaceful it makes me want to curl up my the fireplace and fall into a deep Christmas sleep.

My Favorite Things

Alright….so….

Truth be told, I honestly don’t know why it’s even considered a Christmas song.

The only references that could be vaguely tied in with Christmas are the mentions of “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes“, “brown paper packages tied up with strings” and “sleigh bells.” Even then it’s a tenuous connection at best.

Regardless, it’s played at Christmas time (for some reason) so I’m including it.

From a writer’s perspective, it’s a veritable feast for the ears. The language is so rich and vivid you can practically taste those crisp apple strudels yourself.

For me, it’s less like listening to a song than it is rereading one of my favorite poems.

It creates such brief but impactful visuals like “wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings” and “Silver-white winters that melt into springs.

Even if it’s not “technically” a Christmas song, at least it has more clever word-choices than most pop-holiday slog being excreted these days.

Hark The Harold Angels Sing

It’s hard for me to pin-point exactly why this song holds such sentimental value to me. Maybe it’s the arcane language or the chills I get from a tabernacle choir belting it out, giving the words weight and power.

Perhaps it’s the mental image it invokes of a congregation of angels spreading good news for all men.

Or maybe it’s because it’s one of the more overtly religious Christmas songs so it doesn’t suffer from being over-played on the radio as many seasonal tunes are this time of year.

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Me to the DJ that plays Last Christmas for the 30th consecutive time in one day

Regardless of the reason, it is and always has been one of my favorites.

Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairies- Tchaikovsky

This song is wonderful at telling a story without using any words. The tinkling notes at the beginning really do make it seem as if there are small, magical creatures prancing around under the nose of humans.

There’s such an element of mystery that permeates throughout the entirety of the song. Every time I listen to it, it gives me that giddy feeling of being a kid again and spying on something amazing.

Do You Hear What I Hear? 

I love songs that tell stories and this song’s story is perhaps one of the most uplifting Christmas songs out there. What makes it so wonderful in my eyes isn’t necessarily the diction or the melody, but the powerful message behind it.

It’s not just a catchy ditty to sing on the radio, it’s meant to be a harbinger of hope that transcends class division. It promises good news to everyone, not just the privileged and wealthy.

There are plenty of other cheesy songs out there that preach about peace and love and blah, blah, blah, but this songs comes across as earnest and heart-felt. There’s a weight to it that just isn’t there with most other songs.

The Little Drummer Boy

There are many songs that try to come across as heart-felt and poignant, but there are few that achieve that goal, especially Christmas songs. In most cases, they are overly sentimental or saccharine with their “Christmas is for giving, blah, blah, blah.”

Not this song.

It’s about a boy who is so dirt poor that the only item he possesses, other than the clothes on his back, is a drum. However, when he’s approached by men of great stature and fortune who tell of a newborn king and all the extravagant gifts they’re going to give them, does he shrug and go home? No. Does he go to the manger and say “Yo, Baby-J, I’m broke. Think you could hook me up?” No.

He gives Him the gift of his music. Literally the only thing he can give him, and it’s enough. He plays with his heart and soul and his efforts are appreciated by everyone.

It’s a song about giving what you can even when you feel as though you don’t have anything of value to offer.

If you don’t find that moving, you need to check yourself for a pulse.

A few others 

I didn’t want this list to be too long, so here are a few honorable mentions:

O Come, O Come Immanuel

Come All Ye Faithful

Feliz Navidad

We Three Kings

Blue Christmas

So there you go! I actually posted something positive for once!

Don’t get used to it.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday!

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Christmas Songs I Hate: UPDATED

What better way to kick off the holiday season than by being a total curmudgeon and discussing Christmas songs I actively despise.

Honestly, I am not creating this list for you. I’m doing it for myself and for the sake of my sanity. I work in an office where Christmas is piped in at all hours of the day and so I can’t merely “turn it off” if I don’t like it. I’m stuck with it.

I’m trapped in a snow-globe of Christmas cheer.

So why not share the pain?

Where are you Christmas?- Faith Hill. 

I think Faith Hill is an amazing vocalist with incredible range and heart, however, I can’t get behind this song. I know a lot of people love it because it’s nostalgic value, but it’s a very meh song when you listen to the actual lyrics and message it’s trying to convey. If anyone besides Faith Hill sang this, it won’t be listenable at all.

“My world is changing/ I’m rearranging/ does that mean Christmas changes too?”

Uh. No? Why would it?

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)-anyone. 

My main gripe with this one is the fact that it sounds like the tail end of a much better song for the entire song. You know what I’m talking about, the point where the song is almost over and the singer is basically just riffing off nonsense to stall for time. Only in this case it’s the entire ballad.

The snow’s comin’ down
(Christmas) I’m watchin’ it fall
(Christmas) lots of people around
(Christmas) baby, please come home

I’ve yet to come across a Christmas song that is as lyrically uninspired as this one. I will say if it weren’t for the backup singers constantly reminding us it’s Christmas, it probably wouldn’t be as annoying, but as it stands, it’s irritating to be told over and over that, oh yeah, this is a Christmas song.

 All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth- Spike Jone & and His City Slickers 

On the whole this song is relatively harmless. But when sung by this guy…it gets stuck in your head like plaque to your arteries. It builds up and builds up until you have a heart attack and you die. Or wish you were dead, whichever comes first.

I know he’s supposed to sound like a kid when he sings this, but it’s not very effective. It’s more grating than anything else. And disturbing.

I think a much better song is I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas. At least the singer in that ditty doesn’t have a creepy Herbert The Pervert lisp.

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time-Paul McCartney

Look, Paul McCartney is a wonderful singer/song-writer…..

This is not a good song.

It’s like someone wrote a song with boring and repetitive lyrics over the sound of a Microsoft Powerpoint dissolving effect. One wonders if they even wanted to sing this song in the first place or if the producers just put the pressure on them to make something holiday related.

All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carrey. 

I’m going to confess that I have a hard time getting into most couple-related Christmas songs, but I find this ballad particularly unlikeable.

Is it the lyrics? Maybe. Although I think one of the major issues with this particular ear-worm is that the message doesn’t match up with the melody when you really think about it. The lyrics–when you read them rather than listen– are pretty forlorn and earnest.

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas
Is you
You

That’s very sweet. However, the music itself is very upbeat and fun which totally contradicts the emotions the lyrics seem like they are trying to convey. It’s like if you played The Sound of Silence to Madonna’s Like a Virgin.

It doesn’t help matters that it is constantly being piped in at shopping centers and offices around the country either….

The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)- Alvin and The Chipmunks 

Hey, what’s better than a Christmas song with sub-par lyrics? A song with sub-par lyrics sung in high-pitched voices. I guess there are worse tunes out there, but lyrically it’s a pretty weak song.

Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We’ve been good, but we can’t last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast
Want a plane that loops the loop
Me, I want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don’t be late.

It’s not a unique story either as it’s basically just children whining about wanting Christmas presents. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I prefer my Christmas with a bit less helium.

And the Christmas song I hate the most is……

Last Christmas by Wham! 

Words cannot express how much I hate this song.

But I’ll try anyway.

The lyrics aren’t too bad (certainly not as bad as Christmas; Baby Please Come Home), but the fact that the chorus is repeated over and over and over makes it nigh impossible to enjoy.

We get it, dude. This chick hurt you and now you’ve moved on.

….except you haven’t because you saw it fit to pen a song about how you’ve moved on, which would suggest the exact opposite. Maybe she left you because you write trite lyrics to horrible holiday-pop songs and she wants to hear something original for once in her fleeting existence.

Not to mention the melody is so dead and lifeless it makes me want to fall asleep.

I’ve listened to multiple renditions of this song and none of them could make it work.

I suppose the only solution is to tough it out until January.

If you have any Christmas songs you can’t stand, feel free to share.

I will be posting a list of Christmas ballads I actually do like soon so I don’t come across as a total Scrooge.

Happy Holidays and I will see you soon!