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At great risk to my reputation as a total curmudgeon, I'll disclose that I’m actually a big fan of much of the holiday music.
Despite the fact that all Hanukah music is in a minor key, I’m a sucker for the furious energy and joy of klezmer music which harkens back to the days of itinerant musicians roaming Europe looking for something to celebrate between the pogroms.
I'm unaware of any noteworthy music for the solstice, Dec 21st. It’s kinda too bad.
There has been enough Christmas music written and performed to choke a horse and much of it is bad enough to actually do that. I've recently given thought to see what it would take to get the "song" Santa Baby" made illegal to perform in this country. This celebration to both greed and misogyny is truly the tip of the spear in the War On Christmas. Oddly, it was written by a woman, apparently at a time when it was deemed ok to celebrate the birth of the Christ child by trading sexual favors (or at least, the inuendo of such) for presents. It’s a disgusting little ditty.
For my money, the Carol of The Bells is at the top of the A list, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad rendition of it (including the parody that goes "Ding, Fries are done. Ding, Fries are done"). I'll also not let the season pass before listening to Handel’s Messiah in its entirety. THIS is what music is about!! Stirring the emotions and senses, and stimulating the mind-bone.
I’m also a fan of people that can take some of the better old Christmas standards and do something unique and worthwhile with them. The head of the band Bad Religion is not a christian, but I think he has done something noteworthy (and certainly toe-tapping) with http://albumstreams.com/s/bad-religion/christmas-songs.
I’m one of about 3 people that like the Bob Dylan Christmas album he did a few years ago. It is so unlike him but he seemed to be having fun with it and everything it earned went to charity. One critic (accurately) said "When Dylan sings that He'll be Home for Christmas, he makes it sound like a threat". Nonetheless, I’m a very big fan of the very unDylan-like "(It) Must Be Santa" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002R4M3MU/ref=dm_mu_dp_trk10; why this song doesn't get more airplay on the airwaves this time of year is a crime/mystery.
As far as new holiday tunes I’m a BIG fan of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P37xPiRz1sg. I think it captures the eternal timeless essence of "celebration”, "family", "little sisters' new mexican boyfriend", "singing Silent Night of the front lawn" and "margaritas".
Dec 27 is the little known celebration of Yatesmas which is mostly celebrated by Paul Yates and the Yatesmen, (http://www.amazon.com/Merry-Yatesmas-Paul-Yates-His/dp/B000QPQRR4) and despite its dirge like approach, I find it catchy enough to have actually paid a dollar to download it.
New Year's music is mainly a wrap-up of whatever schlock the music industry has tried to push the rest of the year. New Year's also pretty much concludes that which we call "The Holidays" which kind of leaves Orthodox Christmas (Jan 7th) out in the lurch, but I'm unaware of any noteworthy music about it anyways. It’s kinda too bad.
So what about YOU?? What tuneful ditty do YOU look forward to this time of year??
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