Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tunesday: The Christmas Jams

Here at Tunesday HQ, Christmas is coming a week early, y'all. See, I figure some of you are putting together a shin-dig at your home — spending an inordinate amount of time acquiring the proper libations, getting your decor just so and reminding the kiddos to act right because Santa will be watching. I realize that leaves very little time to put together a fly-ass, festive playlist.

Even though it would be much more fun writing about terrible Christmas tracks, I am opting to help you with your soundtrack situation (hey, Santa's paying attention to me, too) with the following, can't-miss musical selections. My qualifications? Years of playing and singing holiday songs at schools and churches and listening to looped carol collections during my stints in retail.

In no particular order, here are 5 of the dozen-or-so faves I could listen to year-round:

Your Christmas album collection is sorely incomplete if it lacks "The Ultimate Motown Christmas Collection." There are some half-baked items and cheesy greetings from artists, but, overall, the record is one of my favorites. The traditional versions of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" are completely ruined after you hear The Jackson's cut. After just one listen, you'll realize the genius of starting the chorus on the offbeat. It just doesn't get much funkier, friends.

I appreciate how the exploits of Kevin McCallister may have ruined this track for many; but I love its simplicity. And, I especially love how Chuck Berry made up a completely new flying reindeer called Randolph. I like to think Chuck's cousin, Marvin, gave him the idea — initially recommending that he name the 10th reindeer either Marty or Gandalf.

On paper, this unlikely pairing sounds like an awful idea. I get the sense Bing wasn't quite thrilled to perform with Bowie, but it's undeniable the two created a classic duet. The same can't be said for Bing and Twiggy.

Not unlike The Jackson 5's contribution, Mariah Carey's now classic Christmas song swings way more than what we've come to expect of holiday songs. Dope bass line, solid bridge and a silly video. What could be better? Perhaps The Roots and Jimmy Fallon taking the classic in a new direction.

If you ask me, I think there are quite a few similar elements between Mariah's song and this one. I wouldn't be surprised if the songwriter was a fan of Darlene Love, who first recorded "It's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)."

So, what tracks did I miss?


That Pink Girl said...

I'll ignore the obvious, that you overlooked Christmas Shoes. Ahem.
Christmas music, even that which we may not typically listen to, draws us nigh with an emotional pull unlike any other genre of music.
I love them all, good and bad alike, but Silent Night, in its many versions, holds a most special place in my heart. Specifically, John Denver & the Muppets. Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.

Michelle K said...

Well done, sir! This list is spot on!! I must add another, however, I recently re-stumbled upon White Christmas by The Drifters -- also on the Home Alone soundtrack. Take a listen and I dare you not to smile...go ahead! Also, be sure to YouTube Rudolph as sung by DMX....again, dare ya not to smile!

Merry Christmas, Robert!!