Thursday, December 18, 2008

The But Not Unhappy Holiday Playlist

To be honest (and we're all about honesty here), there is a lot of holiday music that makes me nuts. I do not like "The Twelve Days of Christmas". If I have to hear "Feliz Navidad" one more time--whether it's the original or Los Lonely Boys--I think I'll scream. Oh, and don't get me started on "Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer."

Bad Christmas songs are blog fodder for a lot of people (checkout Musical Fruitcake for some truly pitiful songs and be sure to check out the worst Christmas song EVER. According to their list it's only number 2, but really, it's the worst.)but, while that is entertaining, that's not what I'm going for here. No, what I'm aiming to provide is a playlist that brings a little quiet to your mind and a little sanity to the sounds around you. A playlist that doesn't exacerbate your mood swings. Here's my depressed (but not unhappy) Christmas playlist:

*"Where are You Christmas" sung by Faith Hill. Hated the movie it came from but loved the song. Seriously, where is the Christmas I remember? Why can't I find it? Okay, it might be a little melodramatic but it works for me. If you're a country music fan, the sweeping emotionality of her new song, "A Baby Changes Everything", will really work for you.

*"River" by Joni Mitchell. The version I have is the live version sung by the Indigo Girls and I love it. There are plenty of days I wish I had a river I could skate away on. And just hearing those chicks croon it out makes me feel a little bit better.

*"Winter Song" sung by Sarah Bareilles. That's right, that feisty chick who won't write you a love song is happy to write you a haunting winter ballad that asks the question we all want an answer to: Is love alive? In my mind that's what Christmas is all about. Is love alive in my heart? Is the Spirit of Christ working within me so that I can share that love with those around me?

*"December" by the Counting Crows. This is actually a Christmas song but it is about December (duh, Laura)which makes it tangentially related to Christmas. And it's moody. So, you know, that works.

*Sarah Mclachlan's album Wintersong seems pretty good. I've only heard a few snippets but I really, really like it. Oh and it's not jaunty or bouncy and there are no sleigh bells. The only problem: it's so soothing it might make you want to get back into bed and never get out again--and don't we have enough problems with that already? *wink*

Those are just a few of my favorite Christmas songs--besides the standards like "O Holy Night" and "I Wonder as I Wander". Hopefully these will help you de-stress a bit during the last week before Christmas. And then, maybe, just maybe, you'll be ready for another round of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You".

What's on your playlist this year?

Oh, and for extra giggles (especially for you, TJ! All those nightmares you gave me from blasting this song in the middle night are forever gone!), here's a little Metallica Magic from the dude that brought you a truly awesome Star Wars/John Williams tribute:


Th. said...


Currently I'm wishing I had already pulled out my Barenaked Ladies holiday album.

Charlotte said...

Great list!! I'm burning you a Christmas CD at this very moment! ;) Hopefully it'll get to you before Christmas, lol!

Kelly said...

OK, my playlist would be quite a bit different, but different is good!

I like Betelehemu, by the BYU men's chorus. I am also a big fan of Mack Wilberg's arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High (not his Angels From the Realms of Glory, which is nearly the same song, but the lyrics and the overly repetitive melody just don't do it for me). I am also a sucker for the old "Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire" which is "The Christmas Song" for you purists out there. But my all time favorite Christmas song ever is "Silent Night." That song can bring a spirit of peace into the room that no other song can match. I also love "O Holy Night" and "What Child is This" but they have to be performed really really well.
All right, also the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah.
And, and, and, and....

I really could go on forever. Christmas music is the best!

Heathie said...

I've been listening to the local radio station that plays all Christmas all the time starting December 1st. They play a LOT a lotta duds. But they also play a ton of the good stuff, too. I love the way Mannheim Steamroller and Neil Diamond (separately--but wouldn't it be cool if they got together?) perform my favorite Christmas songs.

Misty Lynne said...

Mannheim Steamroller is one of my favorites. It's great for background. I also really like the Nutcracker Sweat, Handel's Messiah (to many favorites to list individually), "What Child is This", "Angels We have Heard on High", and Bing Crosby's White Christmas".

Coffinberry said...

um,I've got 320+ on my playlist, which is pathetic, I know.

Mannheim Steamroller is spotty, but fully represented on the list. Favorite album is probably the soundtrack from Charlie Brown Christmas. In a bargain bin I once grabbed a "retro christmas" album, which has a piece by Billy Eckstine called "Christmas Eve" that I have become quite fond of. And I've got a whole string of Karen Carpenter (who I cannot listen to without thinking about the tragedy of her death). And I always stop whatever I'm doing for "What Sweeter Music."

Coffinberry said...

Oh, and I can't listen to Betelehemu without thinking of Longmont HS choir, because that was their closing mass choir number all the years Adam Cave was the director (I was very bummed it wasn't sung this year). It was always stirring when there were some 100+ kids on stage.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Laura, you have touched on something I am truly passionate about. All through the month of December, I have spent LITERALLY DAYS creating the world's most amazing, non-cheesy, non-crappy Christmas mix ever. ;) I now have over 10 hours of rare tracks from indie rock, brit pop, and modern folk artists, as well as some oldies but almost unheard of goodies from the likes of Mae West and Willie Nelson.

I actually sent a special sampling of that mix to my sisters as their holiday gift, and I believe the download link will still be active for 3 more days if you want to download a zipped file with about 20 of the better tracks (all MP3s).

I love nothing more than sharing great music. Merry Christmas to you and much love!


Laura said...

Um, don't know what Betlehemu (sp?) is, but I now wish I did! Love the Barenaked Ladies.

Thanks for all the other recommendations :) I'm so downloading Katie's playlist!