Something to listen to: The 5 best “Christmas” songs

Because how could I not use this?

Because how could I not use this?

I don’t generally like “Christmas” music. I don’t generally like Christmas. Not because I hate Jesus or Santa or presents or family or various nogs, but because I don’t like the winter and crowds and Josh Groban. I don’t like how Christmas, in spite of the massive war we are apparently waging on it, stampedes into every store sometime around Halloween and has completely destroyed the appeal of Thanksgiving by turning that holiday into a fuel-intake session for confrontations over discounted TVs and electric shavers. And seriously, Christmas music is fucking terrible…let’s just be real here. It’s a God damn travesty. But there are some exceptions, and these are they:

5) Patapan

The Little Drummer Boy is stupid. Patapan is essentially the same idea only significantly less stupid and significantly more exotic-sounding. Also, whoever did this arrangement for the MoTab is a champion.

4) Do You Hear What I Hear?

A beautiful song that you didn’t know had the potential to be played at a mellow Mexican party. And if you don’t know Cantus…know Cantus. They’re the shit.

3) Coventry Carol

The birth of Jesus is a miracle and all that, but don’t sleep on the part about King Herod and the Massacre of the Innocents. It’s haunting and profound, which is really what Christmas is supposed to be if you strip everything down to its essence.

2) In the Bleak Midwinter

Items 2 and 3 are a bit of a toss up for me. Why does In the Bleak Midwinter get the nod? Because it has two different settings that are both awesome. Above is the setting by Gustav Holst, who you may have heard of. Below is the setting by Harold Darke, who you may not have. The Darke setting is supposedly preferred by choirmasters in England. They’re not correct, of course, but what can you expect…if you disregard Byrd, Tallis, Purcell, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Zombies, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Queen, David Bowie, and Radiohead the English have proven that they don’t know shit about music!

1) Sleigh Ride

Leroy Motherfucking Anderson. End of discussion.

Merry Christmas, y’all. Enjoy it and be careful, not necessarily in that order.


2 thoughts on “Something to listen to: The 5 best “Christmas” songs

  1. I’m just wondering when Pachelbel’s Canon became Christmas music? I’ve heard it three times today in three different arrangements. Once every three years is plenty, thank you very much.
    Also, Why in the name of all that is sacred and profane is Justin Bieber’s cover of “Here comes Santa Claus” not included in this list? Have you no taste? Have you no soul?

  2. I was wondering the same thing. But you have to remember that a lot of people who listen to Christmas music consider what they are listening to to be “classical music,” so your average Wal-Mart shopper (that’s where I heard the Pachelbel the other day) allows anything familiar to fall into the mix. Just use some nice chimes on the ground, and add a few sleigh bells, and the world’s most popular wedding processional becomes an instant Christmas hit!

    Just think! 35 years ago nobody even knew the Pachelbel Canon.

    And that Boston Pops “Sleigh Ride” is great. Tom Gauger is the brilliant percussionist. Don’t forget that the Pops was the orchestra Anderson wrote for!

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