Every year, at about this time, I'm asked to blog about the best/worst Christmas songs. Some years I do - sometimes I've skipped it entirely. Recently it's been raised a couple of times as a potential topic when I've cast the, erm, net out to seek suggestions for topics. So this year I can't really avoid it. Besides there's this.
That's right - you have to see Pentatonix' Christmas slaying of Little Drummer Boy. This band is serious man! Check out their faces. They shoulda been called PentUpColonix. And there's a female in the group and people from different races and everything. Some of them even wear hats. And when they sing they make faces to tell you the only thing that keeps the alien probe off their mind - while it's happening - is to sing. Sing! And while they sing they think back to when they tasted that lovely Moonie Kool-Aid. In fact they're tasting it all over again right at that moment. Ah, refreshing! Mountain Top Breeze refreshing. Clearly.
That this video has gone viral - has some ten million hits and has made it onto all the blogs that post silly content under hyperbolic headlines - is further proof we are, on the whole, a species of arseholes.
I no longer hate Christmas music. I loathed it once. In fact more than once. But that's because I did my share of Christmases working in retail. I did my share and yours and Pentatonix'. But I'm out of that game now - so if you can choose the music, and choose when to play it you're okay. If you're not ramming it home, having it rammed right up the old Pentatonix day and night, then it's okay. You can be selective. You pick your moments.
We seem to have created a bit of a (new) tradition in our house now. We have a tree putting-up day. And when the tree's being made up we play a bit of Christmas music - something good. Last year it was the Phil Spector Christmas album - a definite winner. This year it was a Frank Sinatra (and friends) one - maybe not quite as good, but no issue; nice enough.
And that'll be - pretty much - that. Until Christmas Day and possibly (part of) Christmas Eve. I always like to think I'll sit down with Handel's Messiah on Christmas Eve. A nightcap, close family, a bit of reflection. It never happens. Usually we get stuck watching crappy TV and having a political argument around the table. Buy hey. So be it.
Last year we watched Ted, ffs.
Christmas Day gets Christmas music rammed home for the morning - but over those awful years in retail I found a few good Christmas albums. Mojo magazine even released a really good freebie one a couple of years ago - all blues and funk and soul artists - and so I've hung onto that one. Handy.
I don't loathe Christmas music anymore - because I only hear it a couple of days of the year. I'm the parent of a toddler now too, so anywhere I walk is usually in a punch-drunk, browbeaten daze. I listen only for the sound of breathing. His, then mine. In that order. That's all I need to hear. So Christmas music on the car radio and around town shan't bother me this year. I'll be oblivious.
Right, so since I make a few playlists up and post them on Off The Tracks from time to time - random record crate ones, for example, or just the other day, one featuring songs about birds - I decided this year to pre-empt this list-making best/worst Christmas songs palaver and make an ultimate Christmas playlist. It's got anti-Christmas songs and joyful, jubilant Christmas songs. It's got tear-jerkers and nice surprises. It has the obvious staples - it starts with Fairytale of New York because everyone recommended that song when I was asking for suggestions. And it ends with The Pretenders.
And in between it's got funk and soul and blues and jazz and cheesy Christmas covers and heartfelt renditions and pisstakes and the best thing about it? No f**king Pentatonix.
So, here's my Christmas playlist. Feel free to add to it with further suggestions below. And vent your spleen in general regarding Christmas music: are you a Christmas music fan? Or can't stand it? Any tips for coping with having it rammed down your throat? Beyond being spiritually crushed by a two-year-old?
And for those that have never asked for a Christmas music blog consider this my first and last word on it for 2013. Back to the "real" music from tomorrow...
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