I love Christmas music. I might love it too much, so I treat it like summer tomatoes: Gorge for the six weeks I can, and then pine for it longingly the other 46 weeks of the year. What I love about it is that it isn’t just me. Everyone loves Christmas music. Case in point: Eazy-E has a carol, and it’s great. (Filthy, but great.)
So in the interest of embracing my favorite season for overdoing everything (and to get everyone’s mind off of the never-ending election from hell) I have decided to share my favorite Christmas Playlist with you people. Virtually all of these, should you not have the good fortune of being familiar already, can be sampled via YouTube.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews
Every time I hear this song, I renew my surprise that it’s considered holiday music. Particularly this fantastic incarnation.
“Jingle Bells,” arranged by Duke Ellington, remixed by Robby Hardkiss
I am a huge sucker for modern remixes of classic Christmas songs. Don’t know why. In that vein:
“The Nutcracker Suite,” Bas Kuts Breaks Mix
Before I die, I need to see the Nutcracker re-set at a rave.
“Frosty the Snowman,” Fats Domino
I love the way this begins, plus Fats always sounds like he’s having more fun than any other three singers combined.
“Blue Christmas,” Seymour Swine
This song has sentimental significance, plus I can no longer hear any version of the song without stuttering when I sing along.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (Instrumental), from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The music, just the music, free of context or comment, is still on my Ten Most Wanted Songs list. It would also make an excellent holiday ringtone.
“Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum,” Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band
The images this conjures of a vacationing Santa are unspeakably wonderful. Think jetskiing … throwing craps … walking on the beach, wearing sandals with socks, sweeping the sand with a metal detector … missing a 2-footer for par and hurling his putter into the ocean. …
“Dominic the Donkey,” Lou Monte
The title really should be “Dominic the Christmas Earworm.” But there aren’t nearly enough Christmas songs that make you want to dance with your elbows out.
“Sleigh Ride,” the Ronettes
The Talented Mr. Roto has a nice compact description of picks like this: “Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”
“Winter Wonderland,” Bootsy Collins
You can think of at least three people you need to tell, immediately, that Bootsy Collins has a Christmas album, can you not?
“Mele Kalikimaka,” Bing Crosby
I like to think about what Christmases were like when this tune was exotic.
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
See Sleigh Ride.
“Jingle Bells,” Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine
Possibly the most inventive cover I have ever heard.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Lynyrd Skynyrd
I can’t quite work out which is more surprising, that Skynyrd has a Christmas album, or that it’s pretty good.
“All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey
I could not name another Mariah Carey song. But this song, once you get past the first 45 seconds, is a killer carol. (Side note: She’s hot, she can rock, and she’s been known to take the occasional sanitarium weekend. I just realized that Mariah Carey is the preppie Courtney Love.)
“Feliz Navidad,” Mr. Fred
Any song that begins with the command “PAY ATTENTION!” is going to be a winner, really.