Christmas greetings, my little elves! As promised, I’m back with a December…to remember…mix, just for you and your pointy little ears. Much like the wise men, you are about to embark on a (musical) journey, through just about every genre and also through every emotion one might feel in this merry month.
A few highlights…
This year I bought one new Christmas record, It’s a Holiday Soul Party by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and that is where I first heard “Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects.” It’s difficult to write a new Christmas classic (we can’t all be Mariah!) but this one is getting added to my regular rotation. Along with the Soul Christmas compilation, B.B. King’s A Christmas Celebration of Hope, and OF COURSE Bootsy Collins’ Christmas Is 4 Ever, the soul/funk Christmas canon is stronger than ever.
I mixed in a few songs from an ever-expanding genre, “songs that happen to take place during Christmas but deal more with the emotions that are present throughout the year, and also are heightened because it’s Christmas.” “Alone on Christmas Day” is a great example of this (see also: “Christmas in the Room,” “Blood Bank”). It has the three things I now realize every great song should have–Phoenix, the Beach Boys (it’s a cover of an unreleased BB song), and Bill Murray–and also, apparently, Jason Schwartzman, who can’t hurt.
I’m also including another song of Jon & Valerie Guerra’s It’s Almost Christmas, because they are wonderful people who made a wonderful album and I listen to it at least once through every day. This mashup of “The Way You Look Tonight” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is apparently the one that caught Amy Grant’s attention, OH YEAH HAVE I MENTIONED THEY ARE OPENING FOR HER CHRISTMAS SHOWS?! Oh right, yes, I definitely have, multiple times. RECOGNIZE.
And of course, there would be no other way to end this mix than “Christmas Unicorn.” For more of my thoughts on this perfect party of a song, see “We Are Christmas Unicorns.”
I got to the end of this and realized that all four songs I highlighted here are secular Christmas songs. Which I love! But I also REALLY REALLY love all the traditional Christmas songs, about the waiting and the hope and the setting in motion of something so huge we’re still talking about it and building our lives around it today. There are plenty of those here, too! I promise!
May your December days be merry and bright and may this Christmas be especially tight.