Thursday, December 12, 2013

More Songs for the Holiday Season, Part One

I did my first Christmas song blog post in 2009, then I didn't do another one for three years. That's just craziness. So this year, I'm going to do a two-parter. Plus, as a bonus – because Brandon asked for it – I've created a Youtube Christmas playlist with all the songs from all the posts. I may even throw a few bonus ones in there to see if you're paying attention. Part two tomorrow.

Happy Holidays (Andy Williams) – It's the holiday season... That one line is the most common refrain sung by my family whenever things start to get a little chaotic in December. On a good day, you might hear that belted out a dozen or more times a day by various family members. It wouldn't be the holiday season without it.

Carol of the Bells (The Carpenters) – I pretty much disdain on general principle any Carpenters' song that doesn't have Karen's voice attached to it, because Richard was such a control freak (by virtually all accounts) and I'm of the belief that his tyranny played into her anorexia. However, it's the holiday season... so I will acknowledge that he is an amazing pianist and I don't think I've ever once skipped this song when it has come up in the shuffle.

4 Carats (Kelly Clarkson) – Again, I usually loathe the sexy, breathy Christmas songs. And since this has a lot of similarities to the Christmas song I detest more than almost all the rest of them – Santa Baby – that by all logic I should hate it. But, it's Kelly (and it's the holiday season...) so none of that applies. I just listened to it five times in a row in the car on the way home and I'm listening to it as I write this. In fact, I just took a break to do a little chair dancing. It might end up making my list of favorite pop songs of the year.

It's Not Christmas Without You (Katharine McPhee) – Kat's Christmas album was released three years ago, but with her profile higher after she had two seasons on Smash I hoped maybe she'd get a TV Christmas special this year. I would totally have tuned in for it, and if nothing else, more people would have gotten to hear this song (which, according to Wikipedia, she co-wrote). I mean, com e on, it's the holiday season... Throw her a bone.

Mistletoe (Justin Bieber) – I guess I'm not the only person who thought this sounded like I'm Yours by Jason Mraz. Wikipedia says that one reviewer called it “I'm Yours goes Christmas.” Plus, I found this mashup on Youtube when I searched Jason Mraz Mistletoe. I suppose we could bash Justin for such a blatant imitation, but ya know, it's the holiday season... So let's just give him a break and chill with Shorty under the mistletoe.

The Christmas Song (Ella Fitzgerald) – I don't love this song. I know the Nat King Cole version is a classic. It's been recorded by scores of singers – from Aaliyah to Dwight Yoakam. It is pretty much the quintessential Christmas song. I just don't ever really get excited about it. But hell, it's the holiday season... so here's the one version that doesn't make me wish I was somewhere with my head in a bucket of shit.*

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (The Pretenders) – Until I heard the Ella Fitzgerald version in the mid-1990s, this was my absolute favorite cover of this song. It's one of the most perfectly sung Christmas songs ever. Once I hear this song, then it's the holiday season...

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Bing Crosby) – I can hear you saying, “Bing Crosby? Really?” And I'm sure you know what I have to say in response. It's the holiday season...

Underneath the Tree (Kelly Clarkson) – It's the holiday season... so just like every other season, you can NEVER have too much Kelly Clarkson. This is an original song from her new album, Wrapped in Red, but it sounds like at least five different other Christmas songs. I can't really figure out which ones though, so any help on that would be greatly appreciated.

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