Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bah, Humbug…

…No, that’s too strong, because there are a few really great Christmas pop songs out there. Here are a few that actually make me dawdle if they should come on just as I am getting ready to leave a store.

Christmas Rapping, by the Waitresses
When the song came out, I remember that the thing that impressed me the most was the fact that the song used the word “damn,” which I thought was very daring. But I was 11. Now, I realize that this was actually a group of very good musicians. Note: there is no actual rapping on the song.

2000 Miles, by the Pretenders
This is one of those not-so-merry-Christmas Christmas songs. Brillantly melancholy.

I Believe in Father Christmas, by Greg Lake
Perhaps because the holiday season involves a lot of overindulgance, things that I normally hate in pop music—strings, kettle drums, obvious classical influences, and British terminology—all seem to work here.

River, by Joni Mitchell
I always used to wonder what Christmas was like in warm places, like Los Angeles, and now I know. Kind of bittersweet.

Father Christmas, by the Kinks
The best song ever written about getting mugged while dressed up as Santa Claus. OK, actually the only song ever written about that, but it is really good.

Fairy Tale of New York, by The Pogues with the late, great Kirsty MacColl.
This is another song about dysfunctional Christmas, but this one is funny. The song gets extra points for being sung by a guy who was born on Christmas day.

Do They Know It’s Christmas, by Band Aid
Boy George, George Michael, Duran Duran…it’s the ultimate guilty Christmas pleasure.

The Christians and the Pagans, by Dar Williams
In all seriousness, this is possibly the best secular Christmas song ever. It’s about a family gathering that by rights should have gone horribly wrong. But instead, everyone realizes they have more in common than they ever realized and gets along great. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

No comments: