Unlike most of my fellow leftist, Jewish, New Yorker, America-haters (“Happy Holidays” indeed, Bill O’Reilly!), I’ve got nothing but love for Christmas. Sure, the hubbub over flashy things gets a bit tired after wading through yet another group of dazed tourists staring at anything and everything shiny, but in terms of music, it’s the best holiday of them all. So I figured, what with the music blog and all, I’d share some of my favorite Christmas songs (not counting the ones from last year) and call it a consolation to all you folks who got crappy presents this year. Hopefully these will cheer you up and help you forget about the bright green snowflake sweater from Aunt Gertrude — the one that burns the retinas if you stare at it straight on for too long…
Patton Oswalt – My Christmas Memory (Buy It)
Not a song, but there’s a little singing on it. Plus, Oswalt describing his family’s Christmas tradition is hilarious.
Sid ‘N Susie (Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs) – You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch (Buy SnS music)
Along with “Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” Chuck Jones’ version of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” is definitely one of the best things about the holiday (forget all that claymation nonsense). Listen close to this version of the theme song for some clever Queen references.
The Band – Christmas Must Be Tonight (Buy It)
One of the better songs on The Band’s last studio album for Capitol Records, a B-Sides collection called Islands. Rick Danko sings the lead vocal on this really sweet tune that Robbie Robertson wrote after the birth of his son.
Tom Waits – Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis (Buy It)
This song always gets me, gives me goosebumps every time. Definitely one of my favorite Waits songs, I like the studio version (with the great organ) better than the live one with “Silent Night” that’s floating around, but it’s a brilliantly sad and beautiful song, no matter what version. And don’t forget to head over to Aquarium Drunkard to pick up Neko Case’s fantastic cover. Consider it a bonus.
The Flaming Lips – Christmas At The Zoo (Buy It)
Sometimes when it doesn’t snow on Christmas, you just have to go set all the animals free at the zoo. Wayne Coyne’s bizarre allegory about helping humanity even manages to include some the staples of a traditional Christmas songs (jingle bells!).
Carmen McRae – The Christmas Song (Buy It)
And speaking of traditional songs … Everybody’s favorite version may be the Nat King Cole’s, but Ms. McRae makes a pretty great case for her own. I’m just a sucker for bells in any song really.
So a very peaceful and Merry Christmas everyone — fellow non-Christians included.
posted by Adam