There are a few reasons we’ve been listening to an assload of Christmas music lately:
a) Tessa rediscovered the Sirius XM radio in her car and has it tuned to channels 4, 17, and 75
b) The Apple TV also has Xmas radio stations (although you have to wade through the “Religion” section to get them)
c) there’s an app called Christmas RADIO that has a pretty good worldwide selection of holiday music feeds.
As such, I will not bore you with the usual kvetching or fawning over certain songs, but simply add these thoughts to the conversation:
1. There’s more to “O Holy Night” than you might think. Bombastic, eye-rollingly over-the-top, and served up perfectly by “South Park”:
And yet, there I was at Lucy’s choral Christmas show, trying to force back tears as the entire chorus stood up at the precise moment they got to “Fall on your knees…” I suppose some drama is just unavoidable.
This song wasn’t allowed in French churches for decades because the writer of the original French lyrics actually disavowed Christianity and this song in particular. When I told that to Tessa (who loves this carol), she said “That makes sense – it was far too emotional to last.”
2. Depending on the version, “The Little Drummer Boy” is both the best and worst Christmas song there is. Whenever any normal version of TLDB comes on, I will find a way to change channels or mute the fuck out of it – my dad couldn’t stand it, and I can’t either. It’s just so goddamn twee, and brilliantly recalled in “Raising Arizona” when Evelle tells Gale, “He smiled at me!”
But the duet between David Bowie and Bing Crosby show you what a counterpoint melody and a bridge can do to an otherwise dreary ballad:
Just for kicks, here’s a picture of Tessa’s dad Blakey after a round of golf with Bing:
3. The best instrumental Christmas song arrangement is still the same. It’s the Camilli String Quartet’s version of Ah, Bleak and Chill the Wintry Wind and nothing comes close to its beauty.
4. The best instrumental Christmas song that had words grafted onto it later? It’s still the original Sleigh Ride from the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1949. Words were added a year later, and you can tell by the weird cadence of “These wonderful things are the things we remember all through our lives.” It’s a little like Bill Murray singing “Star wars, nothing but Star Wars…”
5. I think I like Amy Grant. I said it. It’s right here. I can no longer back away. I may have always liked her. Does that negate a year of Rumplemintz shots?