Thursday, December 11, 2008

christmas music

i get a little nostalgic at christmas time ... each year i look forward to the familiar old choruses:

jingle bell rock ... the same version. 3 times an hour. on every station.
christmas in the northwest ... a local, um, favorite.
santa baby ... sung by the immortal marylin monroe - i promise, no overdose puns.
last christmas ... i gave you my heart, and the very next day, you gave it away ...
and of course, that one about the kid buying shoes for his dead mom ...

ok, so maybe i look forward to these choruses about as much as you do.

christmasophile that i am, i am forced to find alternative sources of seasonal auditory enjoyment. from my extensive research (trust me, it's extensive - ask my husband and coworkers) i've developed a few favorites.

here's to quality christmas music!
  • "holiday best" ~the blenders: hands down, the best a cappella jazz christmas cd out there, by a relatively unknown group.
  • "majesty and wonder" ~phil keaggy: one of the best guitar players in the world + one of the best orchestras in the world (london festival) + contemplative, beautiful arrangements = an auditory nativity scene.
  • "christmas classics: redneck style" ~various artists: kicks off with "the redneck 12 days of christmas" ... oh yeah. if you like this one you might also enjoy it's a cow christmas (featuring the ever popular halle-moo-jah chorus).
  • "the nativity story: original motion picture score" ~mychael danna: the soundtrack to the nativity story movie is a powerful mix of original work and christmas hymns.
  • "christmas songs" ~jars of clay: there's a lot of less-than-quality ccm out there, especially when it's labeled "christmas." jars of clay manages to engages artistically with both new and old music, without losing the nostalgia or resorting to gimmicks.
  • "messiah": pick any version! you have handel's young messiah - an update on the the classic that came out in the 80's (but it's not too 80's!), the new young messiah - early 90's - i don't really recommend it, a new 2006 version of young messiah that i am trying desperately to get my hands on, and my favorite: handel's messiah: a soulful celebration. it's an african american take on the classic - again, hope you don't mind a little 80's synth-o-rama. if you prefer to stick to the original, my fav is handel: messiah (1751 version), performed by the acadamy of ancient music and conducted by edward higginbottom. i am not making this up. it also sports period tuning for any music snots who care.

so what's your favorite christmas album?


Tim and Heidi Thomas said...

to be honest....the "I gave you my heart and the very next day, you gave it away...." haha!

lani said...

yep, i knew you'd protest on that one! ;P

Amie said...

You forgot "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"!

Amie said...

No, seriously, I absolutely love Michael W. Smith's first Christmas album, simply entitled "Christmas".

I especially love the piano instrumentals on it.

lani said...

lol amie - nope, i didn't forget grandma! there's a version of it on redneck christmas.

yeah, michael w's got some good stuff. my fav of his is freedom - not christmas, but so nice!

Tim and Heidi Thomas said...

I am really sick of K103 right now. I really need want to hear the Jars album again but could pass on the cows. :)


lani said...

yeah srsly, and it's about the best out there. it seems the only difference between secular and christian stations is that the christian stations boycott the line "if the fates allow" ... lol

we'll have to turn on jars at the reading group party tomorrow. :)