Songs Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music lately (obvious). So I thought I would do a post about my top ten favorite Christmas songs. I got halfway through the list when they said we could leave work early so I chopped it to five so I can get out of here.

5. Dean Martin - A Marshmallow World

This is the most famous version of this song recorded by the coolest man to ever live. No real significance to this tune. Nothing profound about it. It’s just a fun, bouncy song performed by a funny old drunk.

4. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Red Norvo with Mildred Bailey

Here’s a nice version of this song from 1937. Known as Mr and Mrs Swing, Red and Mildred were highly influential to Depression-era Jazz. This is more of a winter song than a Christmas song so you don’t hear it too much around the holidays, but Mildred’s vocal expressiveness here makes it a classic.

3. Poklon Jezusowi – Poznanskie Slowiki

I have a soft spot for chorale music. Poznanskie Slowiki is a chorus I discovered about four years ago that is not only from Poznan, which is my ancestral part of Poland (the name translates to “The Poznan Nightingales”), but is an accomplished choir with a rich history of Christmas arrangements. Poklon Jezusowi, which means “bow down before Jesus”, is my favorite song on their Christmas album “Za Gwiazda”. I had to place it high on this list.

2. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl

They sobered Shane MacGowan up long enough to record this classic from the Pogues album “If I Should Fall From Grace With God”. The song is about an Irish immigrant sleeping one off in the New York City drunk tank on Christmas Eve who is reminiscing about a failed relationship. The song becomes a duet between MacGowan and the late British singer Kirsty MacColl as the two alcoholic lovers who blame each other for ruining their lives and crushing their dreams. I love this song because it isn’t afraid to admit that, for many, Christmas is a time of regrets.

1. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid/ Band Aid II/ Band Aid 20

Since 1984, the proceeds, vendor profits and VAT from all versions of this record have been donated to The Band Aid Charitable Trust which has handed out over £93 million to famine relief projects across Africa. While it isn’t the catchiest tune and it doesn’t have the most profound lyrics (although I use “clanging chimes of doom” a lot in everyday conversation), I can’t think of a Christmas song that has done more good for the world.

Other songs that might have made the list if I had to work a full day:

- Celia Cruz – El Cha Cha Cha de la Navidad
- Cocteau Twins – Winter Wonderland
- Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas
- Run-DMC – Christmas In Hollis
- Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas
- Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)
- "Weird Al" Yankovic - Christmas At Ground Zero
- Bing Crosby & David Bowie - Little Drummer Boy

Unfortunate Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This year, the poor kid in the picture almost didn't get a birthday cake. Anyone care to guess his name? Click here for the answers to all of your questions.

Screaming Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tonight was my nephew Simon's Christmas pageant at his school. He is in Kindergarten this year and something that I have learned about Kindergartners is that they love to perform. For your entertainment, here is my cell phone video of the whole screeching performance.