I mean, what could be better in these uncertain times than all those great classical holiday songs about love, togetherness, peace on earth, bdsm, non-consensual sex, and nuclear war?
Let's get to it before Santa crashes our party.
9. White Christmas - Bob Marley
Not much else to say about this one besides this.
8. Last Christmas - Q;indivi feat. Rin Oikawa
This indescribably sappy holiday track was originally written by the tight-jeaned duo Wham! (better known as the George Michael twins) in 1984 and has been featured on countless Christmas albums ever since it seeped out of radios worldwide like some Yak! that got covered in glitter and candy canes.
But this cover, by the unpronounceable Japanese trio Q;indivi takes that sappy track and makes it so much...weirder, without even trying.
Special thanks go out to their uncomprehendably translated Wikipedia page, for giving me this tasty bit of insight:
7. Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy - John C. Reilly & Will FerrellDavid Bowie & Bing Crosby, in one of the most successful duets in Christmas music history, sang "Little Drummer Boy / Peace On Earth" together in September 1977 for the horribly named television special: Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas.
Okay, wait a minute, I was wrong. This sounds awesome.
Anyway, Bowie hated the idea of performing "The Little Drummer Boy" when he was asked, either in or out of a tavern, so the "Peace on Earth" segment of the tune was quickly written and added as a counter melody to placate him before he started to rage and unavoidably turn into his glam alter-ego Ziggy Stardust and probably wreck the studio with a smile.
Crosby died of heart failure on October 14 1977 (and, surprisingly no one has looked to the "Kids had killed the man" as suspects), only five weeks after performing with Bowie. But can you blame him for shutting it all down after he reached what is unarguably the zenith of his life and career? (I'm talking about being in the same room as Aladdin Sane)
But number 7 isn't about David Bowie or Bing Crosby or any combination thereof...this is the Christmas gold that I'm after:
Well, you should probably watch the original as well, especially if you are a David Bowie fan:
6. Winter Wonderland - Cocteau Twins
The exquisite (and frequently not understandable) Cocteau Twins recorded their dreamy, relaxed and inexplicably understandable cover of the song to pair up with another holiday tune they had released, "Frosty The Snowman", packaging the two holiday tracks together on their 1993 EP "Snow".
While "Winter Wonderland" is commonly regarded as a Christmas song, the holiday itself is never mentioned in the lyrics specifically. This religious ambiguity is probably why it was chosen for the Cocteau Twins, because they would never want to offend somebody with their unintelligible lyrics.
5. Silent Night - Bela Fleck & The Flecktones
In addition to having no reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger whatsoever in the liner notes (believe me, I checked twice), the album is also unusual due to the inclusion of the Alash Ensemble, vocalists who specialize in Tuvan throat singing, which kind of sounds like Robert DeNiro if he wanted to break into the music business.
4. TIE: Carol Of The Bells - The Bird And The Bee / Muppets
The Bird and the Bee
Originally an Ukrainian folk song called "Shchedryk" (meaning "bountiful") about the coming of spring, the song was redesigned to fit in with the holiday season, because someone on the planet was thinking: "Man, we could definitely use some more Christmas songs!"
While Inara George & co. do an respectable job putting their own spin on the track (similar to their marvelous reworking of Hall & Oates oeuvre), The Muppets version is particularly notable because Beaker is crushed by a huge bell.
So, yeah, this was a tough choice.
3. Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night / Auld Lang Syne - Jimi Hendrix
While it's not quite on a Electric Ladyland level, "Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night / Auld Lang Syne" definitely has its moments, especially if you like your Christmas songs riddled with feedback and backed up by greats like Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, which I'm sure all of you do.
2. Silent Night á la Frippertronics - Robert Fripp
"Silent Night" showcases an extensive use of what Robert Fripp un-ironically calls Frippertronics, essentially a loop-delay system that uses two reel-to-reel tape decks to provide eerie tones. Another departure from the original is found in the source material itself; Fripp picks apart the arrangement, omitting the "Mother and Child" melody line for a more distinctive, and yet still moving, performance.
1. This Christmas - The Whispers
While the Whispers hardly got any recognition for this track, their number one single "And The Beat Goes On" from 1980, was well-known enough to be sampled for Will Smith's
I bet the mothers of The Whispers are proud, wiping away a single tear every time that song comes up on Fever 105 in their Blista Compact as they run over a dozen pedestrians in a wholly unnecessary street race on the way to slaughter a incompetent drug dealer with a chainsaw.
It just warms the heart.
Conclusion:I found out that there are over 74 different holiday songs, each one covered dozens and dozens of times by multiple artists (with new renditions every year), and it made me think of a brilliant idea: I wanna do that too.
I'm still better than Black Friday.
See you next month, and until then, have yourself some Happy Holidays.