There’s a “holiday” sub-genre in my iTunes that gets pointedly if not fervently “un-selected” before the stroke of midnight on December 25th – here are some kind exceptions…
“jesus christ” – big star –
A no-brainer here, but the coffee’s just kicking in…if you haven’t had your coffee yet you may enjoy this quieter demo version…
“long way ’round the sea” – low
Okay, so it’s been said that “low” is just the last three letters of “slow”, but the Duluth, MN natives give a simple, lovely and eloquent retelling of the story of JC’s birth…
“solstice song” – sputnik
Shameless self-plugs aside, this song was inspired by a first grade astronomy lesson about why the seasons change; the turn from diminishing daylight to increasing seems like a pretty good reason to celebrate, I believe – a slightly different take of this song appears on the recent jehova waitresses release Rt. 5 here.
“riu chiu” – the monkees
Performed live on a 1967 Christmas episode of their TV series, the song itself, by accounts, originated in 16th century Spain or Portugal – you can hear another lovely, perhaps more “classical” take here.
“need a little christmas” – This is the ONLY song in this collection that features the word “Christmas” in it (no link, go figure) – though first written and performed during the 1960s (originating from Jerry Herman’s Broadway musical Mame), the song was set in the Depression-era 1930s, when many of the popular songs like “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” (written in 1936 by Irving Berlin for the Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers film “Follow the Fleet”) projected a gauzy veneer of gaiety masking a sublime undercurrent of uncertainty and desperation – “because I’ve grown a little leaner / grown a little colder / grown a little sadder / grown a little older / and I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder “. This song will most likely be played nearly endlessly through December 25th, so instead let’s watch as Fred and Ginger face the music and dance!
“thank you very much” – albert finney & “scrooge” film cast – Again, what appears to be an upbeat song at first belies its apparent meaning within this scene – as you may see this for the first time, hang with this for a minute here and you’ll see what I mean…wait a little longer and you’ll hear its somewhat more merry reprise (not to give away the ending or anything).
Happiest of holidays to all – feel free to post your own year-round holiday songs here – thank you (very much!)