Tag Archives: Christmas

Wham – Last Christmas (1984)

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wham

R.I.P. George.  A last Christmas.

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The King Cole Trio – The Christmas Song (1946)

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the-king-cole-trio

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” The Christmas Song’ was written in 1945 by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé. The King Cole Trio first recorded the song early in 1946. Happy Christmas my blog-reading friends.

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John Cale – Child’s Christmas In Wales (1973)

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John Cale

In 1973, John Cale released a personal and unusually accessible album Paris 1919. Its opening track ‘Child’s Christmas in Wales’ is a reminiscent short story about the wonder of childhood Christmases. Have a great weekend.

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Run-DMC – Christmas in Hollis (1987)

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Run-DMC Santas

This year’s Christmas day highlight is Run-DMC’s ‘Christmas in Hollis’. It samples Clarence Carter’s “Back Door Santa” and features the frosty cool declaration: “My name’s D.M.C. with the mic in my hand/And I’m chilling and coolin’ just like a snowman”. Merry Christmas everyone!

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Julian Casablancas – I Wish It Was Christmas Today (2009)

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Julian Casablancas

‘I Wish It Was Christmas Today’ was originally a Saturday Night Live skit featuring by Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan et al. back in 2000. A decade later, it was given an indie makeover by hero Julian Casablancas. The result sounds like a Strokes song with jingle bells and more than a hint of rebellion: “I don’t care what your momma says, Christmas time is near”.

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James Brown – Santa Claus, Santa Claus (1968)

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James Brown as Santa

Good Christmas music is an oxymoron, but if you look hard enough, you can find. And so I serve up another slice of melancholy with James Brown’s 1968 cut ‘Santa Claus, Santa Claus’. Brown is someone that invested in the festive season with a trio of Christmas-themed albums James Brown Sings Christmas Songs (1966), A Soulful Christmas (1968) and Hey America It’s Christmas (1970) during a time when he was reinventing soul. “Santa Claus, Santa Claus/Please, don’t make me suffer so.”

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Palace Songs – Christmastime In The Mountains (1994)

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Will Oldham

Before be became Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Will Oldham recorded under many pseudonyms. As Palace Songs, he released Hope in 1994. The EP includes the fans’ favourite ‘Agnes, Queen of Sorrow’ and the melancholic ‘Christmastime in the Mountains’. The latter opens with the heartbreaking lyric “Should I play ball with the dogs, or should I walk away?”. It’s a forlorn start to the festive week, but it’s a beautiful piece of music and I’m spending Christmastime in the mountains.

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Mew – She Came Home for Christmas (2002)

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Mew Christmas

Mew is not the most obvious band to release a Christmas single, but they did. Their sound – Sigur Rós gone Smashing Pumpkins – is dominated by Jonas Bjerre’s vocals. His choirboy antics is about as Christmassy as ‘She Came Home for Christmas’ gets, but it’s a perfect indie-pop end to the festive season. Have a good week.
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Sufjan Stevens – Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (2006)

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Sufjan Stevens Christmas

In 2006, Sufjan Stevens went several steps further than the F’lips when he released his ‘Christmas gift to us all’, the five-volume Songs For Christmas. On Volume 4 ‘Joy’, he features his whimsical banjo-laden song  “Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)”. It sounds like the sad end of a relationship, but the brackets hint at something else. “I didn’t mean to yell, I said I couldn’t tell. I only grabbed your wrist, or would you rather we kissed?”

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The Flaming Lips – A Change At Christmas (Say It Isn’t So) (2003)

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The Flaming Lips

Let’s push on through the weekend. It’s a decade since The Flaming Lips released the Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell EP as an interim between the full length Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and its follow-up At War With the Mystics. It was late November, and at the end of the extended play, they snuck out a festive track. Unlike ‘Christmas at the Zoo’ off Clouds Tastes Metallic and anything off their freakout film Christmas on Mars, ‘A Change At Christmas’ mixes the trademark synthesizers, drum machine and heart-swelling positivity with sleigh bells and chimes. It all culminates in some joyous sentiment: “I think it’s all going to work out just fine”.

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The Pro Letarians – Dream Catcher (2012)

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The Pro Letarians

Now for something a little more removed from the traditional, Sufjan Steven featured The Pro Letarians’ ‘Dream Catcher’ on Chopped and Scrooged, a Christmas mixtape of his from last year. Enjoy the weekend.

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She & Him – Baby It’s Cold Outside (2011)

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She & Him

Another Dean Martin track, and I plump for another cover. Nothing against the King of Cool, I just like the minimalist production. The gender swap amuses too.

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Tom Waits – Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis (1978)

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Tom Waits

Written and performed by Tom Waits, this festive song uses his trademark whiskey-soaked growl to its fullest. ‘Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis’ is off his 1978 album, Blue Valentine. The opening line “Hey, Charlie, baby, I’m pregnant” kicks off a storytelling masterpiece of americana. “Hey Charlie for chrissakes, if you want to know the truth of it/I don’t have a husband he don’t play the trombone/I need to borrow money to pay this lawyer and Charlie hey/I’ll be eligible for parole come Valentine’s Day.”

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Y La Bamba – Señor Santa (2012)

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Y La Bamba

It’s Christmas! First up, Latin neo-traditionalists Y La Bamba give The Chordettes’ classic whimsy ‘Mr. Sandman’ the full accordion-and-Spanish-guitars treatment. The result is dreamy, sultry and fun. Have a great week everyone. ‘Señor Santa’ will know if you’ve been good (or not).

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