Christmas music watchtower

Get with the beats, the riffs, the harmony, or if you wanna go to hell, Phil Collins.
succotash_54
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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:50 am

"I'm Coming Home For Christmas" by Joe Louis Puerta Who the hell is this? The song's ok, but nothing special about it.

"Virgin's Lullaby" by the Nativity Voices Um sure....ok.... it really is a little late to be introducing new stuff to the catalog, but whatever. Another one that's easy to dismiss. Not horrible, but more of just a meh.

"Everybody Loves Christmas" by Eddie Money And Ronnie Spector Spector is the lead singer of the Ronnettes, a couple of whose songs I've reviewed already. This one is very Eddie-heavy. It's alright. I suppose it's supposed to remind us of "Take Me Home Tonight", but it doesn't.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sat Dec 23, 2006 5:11 am

50 Holiday Songs You Don't Know, But Should!

Unlike the album list, which coincidentally turned out to be 10, I'm actually going to number this list. I couldn't keep it to just 25, though, as promised. Man, I had trouble stopping at 50! The order doesn't really matter, though, I'm actually trying to go chronological with this list, if anything.


1. "The Friendly Beasts" A relatively unknown hymn. Most psalters don't include this, but one I grew up singing, somehow. The animals that were in the barn with the baby Jesus, and the gifts they gave Immanuel. This one actually makes me tear up.

2. "Hey Santa Claus" by the Moonglows From 1953, this song came out before the Moonglows were even popular with the R&B audience. This is a jumpin' thing!! I mean it. This thing is HOT! It moves and grooves and just rocks.

3. "A Christmas Carol" by Tom Lehrer The crafty and twisted mind of Lehrer gives us this off-the-cuff sounding gem. Always a laugh.

4. "Silver Bells" by Elvis Presley I know, how could anything by Elvis be obscure? Well, unless you collect Elvis, you just won't hear this one, and it's so beautiful. Elvis's voice really lilts on this one. Smooth, unpretentious, gentle and pleasant.

5. "Christmas In Jail" by the Youngsters A funny song about getting caught DWI. The only downside to this song is that they downplay the real tragedies that drunk driving causes.

6. "Santa And The Satellite (Parts 1 & 2)" by Buchanan And Goodman One of the great Christmas novelty songs. The cut and paste sampling style of Buchanan And Goodman was not a widely popular trend, simply for all the work it takes to do just one of these records. But, what if Santa were abducted by extra-terrestrials? In one of their last collaborations before Buchanan quit, this faux newscast makes a great skit.

7. "It's Christmastime" by Marvin And Johnny Recorded in 1958, this treasure was lost in the vaults of the record company until it was unearthed in 1976. Such a beautiful thing.

8. "Mary's Boy-Child" by Harry Belafonte A touching song about the message of salvation that came to us on that blessed morn. Harry's voice really does this song well.

9. "There's Trouble Brewing" by Jack Scott One of the lesser known novelty songs of Christmas, this is about a guy who doesn't know who Santa is, and gets jealous when his woman comes home saying she was out with Santa. It's a cute one. Trust me.

10. "Yulesville" by Edd Byrnes The night before Christmas done '50s hepcat style. Kookie himself delivers it. A strange one that makes me smirk. Not really a song, but it belongs on this list.

11. "White Christmas" by Alvin And The Chipmunks The character of David Seville actually does the singing on this one, with comments from the Chipmunks here and there. What I love about this rendition is that it takes the "I'm dreaming" motif here. David really sounds like he's lost in the daydream of a white Christmas. It works really well.

12. "Jingle Bell Rock" by Chubby Checker And Bobby Rydell One of the lesser known versions of this song. Kind of a swinging pop feel. Chubby and Bobby were the big artists on the sister labels of Parkway and Cameo, respectively, so in that sense, it's not unexpected that they'd team up for this, but think of this...an interracial duet in 1960? This is before the Civil Rights Act was signed by Johnson... when this came out, Kennedy had won election but hadn't been inaugurated yet. This was pretty groundbreaking when you think about it, but it wasn't controversial really. Plus, the song itself has a nice feel. I get the mental image of these two with smoking jackets on, just having fun with this song in a relaxed atmosphere.

13. "Twistin' Bells" by Santo And Johnny Hard to believe the same guys who gave us the dreamy sounding "Sleep Walk" would rock and roll their way through Jingle Bells. But they did it, and it sounds great.

14. "Deck The Halls" by Jackie Wilson A nice, short quick version of it. Jackie whisks through all three verses without much extras added to it. Nice and simple.

15. "Carol Of The Bells" by the Four Seasons I've given this song a bit of praise already. Just to reiterate: a great version of this song. The harmonies are nice, tightly performed, Frankie's execution is unbelievable on it.

16. "Here Comes Santa Claus" by Bobb B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans From the same album as a lot of songs mentioned in the watchtower thread (the Phil Spector Christmas album), this one is overlooked because the group wasn't too huge in their day, but this song is smoked right through. Powerful accentuation in all the right places, nicely sung, it's underrated.

17. "The Marvelous Toy" by the Chad Mitchell Trio Another song great in its gentleness, this folk song is about an enigmatic toy that gets handed down to the next generation.

18. "A-Soalin'" by Peter, Paul, And Mary The tradition of soaling comes from the Middle Ages, but this song was written by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, And Mary. It sounds like an olde English song though. Hauntingly beautiful.

19. "Light One Candle" by Peter, Paul, And Mary Both PP&M songs here come from a live album, and are ended by applause, and with good reason. This is the only song on this list not about Christmas, but rather Channukah. It hails the heroes who survived the massive siege upon the Jews, and the lighting of candles that has become tradition because of it. Very impassioned performance. Breathtaking.

20. "Christmas Auld Lang Syne" by Bobby Darin Those familiar with Bobby Darin's work know that when he did a cover of a song, he reworked the lyrics for his own fancy. He does so hear, but in doing so, he echoes the sentiment of the spirit of the holiday, and conveys forth his own wishes to those listening. A reverent combination of two holidays.

21. "Amen" by the Impressions Actually, this song covers the life of Jesus altogether, but often considered a Christmas song. It's not hard to understand how intricately soul and gospel music are intertwined with each other after you hear this one.

22. "I've Fallen In Love With A Snowman" by Millie Small Done with the same effervescence of her big hit "My Boy Lollipop," Small delivers this quirky, smirkworthy song about wintertime romance.

23. "All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle" by Dora Bryan Back in the '50s, the Holly Twins put out "I Want Elvis For Christmas." This song is in the same spirit. Bryan's distinctive accent makes the humor on this one, plus the punchlines in the song ("Don't tell Dad, I don't think he'll agree/To a Beatle hanging on our Christmas tree")

24. "The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas" by Allan Sherman How the twelve days might be done with tacky modern day gifts. "An indoor plastic birdbath" 'Nuff said.

25. "Wintertime" by the Belmonts After Dion left, the Belmonts carried on. From 1964, this spritely tune is worth a listen. I think this song really embodies the inner giddiness the holidays ought to give us.

26. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Manfred Mann I am not a fan of Manfred Mann. Most of their stuff is trite crap. But this instrumental, featuring the flute and vibraphone as the lead instruments, is a solemn and moving yuletide blessing. I was not expecting this when I heard it. It blew me away.

27. "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" by Booker T. And The MG's As I said earlier, probably the only version of this song where I feel the wishes are genuine, that they really do want us to have a merry Christmas. A wonderful close to the album, too.

28. "Sleigh Ride" by the Ventures I discussed the merits of this song earlier in the thread. This one incorporates their own big smash "Walk - Don't Run." It blends well, and they do it so well.

29. "7 O' Clock News/Silent Night" by Simon And Garfunkel If you have the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme, then you know this one. Otherwise, it never gets played. A haunting protest song that juxtaposes the beautiful Christmas carol with an actual news broadcast highlighting the horrors that mankind is capable of.

30. "Sock It To Me Santa" by Bob Seger Recorded while he was still with Cameo records, Seger does this fun take on the styles of James Brown and Mitch Ryder, and turns out this interesting result.

31. "Presents For Christmas" by Solomon Burke Solomon expresses his yen to play Santa Claus in this one as he just sings about the blessings he wishes upon us all.

32. "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" by the Ray Conniff Singers What I like about this song is that not only are the harmonies exquisite, but also the fact that this isn't dragged out too much. A little embellishment on the last couple verses, but it doesn't really hold things up. Almost as simplistic as one could wish for.

33. "Dear Mr. Claus" by Paul Revere And The Raiders The same brains that rock out to greats like "Steppin' Out" and "Hungry" turn sideways for humorous gems like this one. Spoiler alert: at one point it sounds like it's skipping, but it's really not.

34. "Snoopy's Christmas" by the Royal Guardsmen This one used to get a fair amount of airplay, but I never hear it anymore. This is a good one. The continuing saga involving Charles Schulz's popular beagle, and the bloody Red Baron. Offers a nice slice of holiday sentiment.

35. "Christmas Day (I'm Coming Home)" by Bobby Sherman One of only a couple really good home-for-Christmas songs other than I'll Be Home For Christmas. This one says, celebrate, because I'm on my way home. Well delievered, too.

36. "Santa Claus And His Old Lady" by Cheech And Chong Ok, so I've been borrowing a bit from the Dr. Demento album. If you have it, you know a lot of these songs. Otherwise, you don't. This is Cheech And Chong telling the story of Santa Claus as only they could. On a side note, as far as I know, this is the first holiday recording to make mention of Mrs. Claus. I hope one day that can proven factually.

37. "Listen (The Snow Is Falling)" by Yoko Ono This was the B-Side to "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". Whatever your feelings about Yoko Ono, this song deserves a listen or five. It's beautiful.

38. "Ding Dong; Ding Dong" by George Harrison Nowhere do the lyrics mentin any actual holiday, but the spirit of this song is so festive, that it's become part of the holiday catalog, and in some way does embody the New Year's spirit. Not one that gets a lot of airplay though.

39. "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" by the Carpenters A musical rendition of the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A great finale for their second (and unfortunately last) Christmas album. A message of hope amidst hardships.

40. "Some Children See Him" by Perry Como Perry Como recorded a lot of great Christmas songs, but this one is relatively unknown, and I believe it's from later in his career, too. A nice song about how children perceive the Christ-child.

41. "Father Christmas" by the Kinks Ray Davies is my favorite songwriter, and this song about poor kids who try to rob a mall Santa is a weird but good reminder that not everyone is as fortunate as we are.

42. "You're My Christmas Present" the Jimmy Beaumont And The Skyliners 1960's group the Skyliners come back with this one. Very nicely written, and sung.

43. "O Holy Night" by Lou Christie And The University Of Pittburgh Men's Glee Club This version floored me when I heard it. Reverently and beautifully sung. Simply magnificent.

44. "Christmas In Heaven" by Monty Python From the movie Meaning Of Life and on the album Monty Python Sings, this is a surprisingly profound song. Part of me secretly hopes the afterlife is somewhat as described by this song.

45. "Gabriel's Message" by Sting I do not like solo Sting, and I don't care for the Police all that much either, but this is a unique song. A lot of echo on this, but it works with the theme of a messenger from another plain of existence.

46. "Winter Wonderland" by D-Boy As earlier described: the late great Danny Rodriguez pulling this one to use the chorus. The motif behind this one is a party at his house, and with his friends singing like they do, the motif is executed wonderfully. The usually hard-hitting man himself lightens the mood while still getting down to earth about the true meaning of Christmas.

47. "Thanks For Christmas" by Three Wise Men (XTC) A new wave song, but very pop-sounding. Really good. This is one I love listening to during the holidays.

48. "Santa Claus Is Coming In A Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train" by the Tractors There are some fun ones from modern country artists. I also like Alan Jackson's take on Holly Jolly Christmas and Randy Travis's cover of Jingle Bell Rock. This one, for its sheer novelty factor, doesn't get a lot of play, which is sad, because musically, it's a mover and a groover.

49. "Come On Christmas" by Ringo Starr As a whole, the album this comes from is not that good. But the opening track is a fun one, and the pounding percussion conveys the earnestness for the arrival of the Day of days.

50. "I'm Coming Home For Christmas" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers The modern swing group put out the album Christmas Caravan a few years ago. This one is a tender song. Slow and very moving, this song, more than any song of our generation expresses the pain of being away during the holidays, and the hope to come home. It has a little bit of an old-tyme country feel to it. So beautiful.

succotash_54
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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sun Dec 24, 2006 5:37 am

Final report from the watchtower for this year. My duty has been fulfilled. Four last songs to report on:

"All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Vince Vance And The Valiants The group name alone smacks of gimmickry. A cutesy little ditty. Not too special, but not hateworthy.

"Joy To The World" by Jim Brickman The new-age pianist does the Isaac Watts composition. Decent enough. Nothing to hate here other than it's not mind-blowing.

"Silver Bells" by Kenny G Surprisingly tolerable. Got nice background instrumentation to it. Kenny sounds gay as ever, and I always find it ironic when Jewish artists do Christmas songs, but at least this one's a secular song that deals with the very pervasive reality of the culture of Christmas. This is one I could see myself calling a guilty pleasure.

"We Need A Little Christmas" by the Percy Faith Orchestra I like Percy Faith's style, really. The New Christy Minstrels also do a version of this song. It's a nice folksy ditty, and Faith's version is upbeat and cheerful. Nice, actually.

And that'll do it for my report from the Christmas Music Watchtower this year. Thanks to those who contributed and those who read. Christmas music is a phenom in its own right for me, and it's always fun to analyze what's out there. Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. And with that, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:41 am

And once again, time for me to report from the Christmas Music Watchtower. I've re-read the thread to remind me of what I've reviewed and haven't (and holy shit, a lot of typographical errors. D'oh!). I'll only add the songs not yet reviewed.

"You Make It Feel Like Christmas" by Neil Diamond I love Neil's voice. Great singer. The downside is this is a later song of his. So it has the style of his Barbra Streisand duets. Still, just for his voice alone, and the fact that it won't get overkilled, it's worth listening to.

"Do You Hear What I Hear" by Bing Crosby I even triple checked to make sure I hadn't reviewed this one already. It's Bing, it's awesome, and I believe it even has the verses in the correct order. Booyah.

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" by Perry Como He's like Bing in that his Christmas catalog is better known than his other stuff, which is sad because the man recorded so much great stuff. A man we lost in 2001, and I love his voice. This song is a more fun version than Mathis's, meaning Perry sounds like he's smiling when he sings it, whereas Mathis doesn't. Brings a smile to my face.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by Area51Escapee » Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:27 pm

Ah yes, this time of year is such a mixed bag. On one hand, it's Christmas. On the other, the music makes me want to shoot myself in the face. I can't stand Christmas music. Especially when it pollutes the airwaves for a good month and a half.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by NWOWWE » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:06 am

Awww... come on Scrooge, Christmas music is pretty cool. I keep a few Christmas CD's around for the season.

I just wish they'd wait till December to start it on the radio though.
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It sucks going 0-5. You lose all 4 of your bot fights for the week and you also lose at life.

succotash_54
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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:25 pm

I myself refuse to break out any of my CDs, tapes, MP3s, etc. until the First Sunday of Advent..... which isn't until the 2nd this year.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:36 am

"Do You Hear What I Hear" by Carrie Underwood Those who love the country side of Carrie will be disappointed. This is more like "Inside Your Heaven" as she sounds like she's returning to her American Idol roots. Not a great rendition. Just overworked, and drawn out, that you're sick of it by the time it's over.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Manheim Steamroller Better than what they did to "Deck The Halls," but still pretty bad. Not one to get played a lot though.

"Frosty The Snowman" by Kimberly Locke Okay, so Kimberly Locke actually does a good job with Christmas music. I'm seriously considering buying her Christmas album. This is a good, fun, upbeat version of this song. I like it. Won't be played too much either, thankfully.

"Mistletoe" by Colbie Caillat The last name rhymes with "ballet" by the way. A ho-hum love-in-the-blizzard kind of song. Not too special, but not overly annoying.

"Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" by Michael Buble You know, I hated "Home," and I think he wrecked "Save The Last Dance For Me," but since then, I think he's done some good stuff. He's got a good voice, and he does this song justice. Nice and short too: under two minutes. Look for deejays to use it as filler in their hot clocks.

"Home For The Holidays" by Perry Como This isn't the rendition I'm familiar with. The version by Como I know is from 1954. Same song, just delivered differently. I like the 1954 version better, but this one still has a nice feel to it, too.

"Plan For Peace" by Trueheart Utter crap. Doesn't even mention any holidays in it. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap.

"You're My Christmas" by LaReau Oh yeah, you can tell by the title that red flags are raised. Cheesy, and not to become a standard. You'll find it at the bottom of the $0.99 bin at Wal-Mart.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:29 am

"Christmas In America" by Kenny Rogers Patriotic, but not jingoistic. Not great either, though. My mother will probably love it. I'll play it under duress, but not one you'll want to hear a lot of.

"That Time Of Year" by Kelly King Kinda sweet, but nothing noteworthy. To soon be forgotten.

"On Christmas Day" by Nazanin I have no idea who or what Nazanin is, but based on this song, I'll bet they're one of those mainstream Christian pop groups that makes the rest of the music community puke, including many Christians who think that kind of music lacks quality both lyrically and compositionally. This song sucks out loud.

"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" by Nat "King" Cole Looking at the artist, you know it's good. And a nice alternative from "The Christmas Song." So yeah, go for it.

"Coming Home For Christmas" by Jim Brickman & Richie McDonald After listening to this song, I'm led to believe Richie is a country singer. You know what I think of modern Nashville pop/country, and I know what you guys think of it. I'll pass the platter to you guys, and select something else for myself.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 5:00 am

"You Are Christmas To Me" by Katrina Carlson Ok, having trouble remembering, but I believe she was another American Idolator. And yeah, as you guessed from the title, it's a love song. Ho-hum. Don't look for this one too much.

"It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" by Amy Grant Seriously, I didn't know there was another version besides Andy Williams' that got any airplay. Unlike her rendition of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," she doesn't take liberties with the lyrics. Still in the Contemporary Christian style, which means it isn't that great.

"The Gift" by Jim Brickman With Colin Raye And Susan Ashton Let's pretty much have this rule: Jim Brickman doing Christmas instrumentals are decent to good. Jim Brickman playing behind vocalists are sappy pieces of drivel. This rule holds fast here.

"Feliz Navidad" by C-Note The jury's still out on this one, actually. It's Muzak-jazz, with some rap-like vocals, all mixed in with remaking Jose Feliciano's. It's not as bad as it sounds, and for that I have to give them credit. But it isn't great. So it hangs somewhere in the middle. I think once the sheer novelty factor of it wears off, it'll become more annoying. Still, I could stand to hear it another time or three.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:41 am

"Take Christmas Back" by Daryl Hall And John Oates The title is somewhat misleading. This is not about putting Christ back in Christmas. This is about taking the childlike innocence, wonderment, and joy back into it. Well, you can't do it with this song. Disappointing like the majority of their catalog. Blech.

"Marshmallow World" by Dean Martin Alright, some Rat Pack Christmas. Fun song with a little bit of a martial beat to it... kinda like his version of "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You." Good song.

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Barry Manilow Despite being the butt of many a musical joke, Barry Manilow is still a very high selling artist, and a big concert draw. Who's laughing now, right? This is ok, but like a lot of Barry's new material, which is just cover albums, this hum-drum and nothing that wows you over. From a technical perspective, he's darn near flawless, but there's no warmth to his voice as he sings this one.

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" by Bing Crosby Not the best rendition of this song, but it's still good. I think it's better than Mathis's, but not as good as Como's. But that's just me.

"O Tannenbaum" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio For those who don't know, this is also known as "O Christmas Tree"... and this is the version in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, where Charlie Brown feels the puny little tree needs him. What a blockhead!! Sorry, someone had to say it. I like this song, and the TV special, except I feel a little bad for Snoopy whose decorations are swiped for the trimming of the tree. But it all works out in the end, and even Snoopy's happy in the end, so I get warm fuzzies too. Hurray! So yeah, listen to this song.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:33 am

"I'll Be Home For Christmas" by Josh Groban The same song as earlier reviewed, but not the same! This has been "remixed" if you will, with messages from soldiers serving abroad, to their loved ones back in the states. I'm kinda split on this one. It's nice, and I remember when servicemen in Desert Storm had their messages home mixed into Winger's "Miles Away." Still, it's something that will get sickening fast. Enjoy it this year, but don't rehash it the next.

"Winter Wonderland" by Wynonna Not too bad, but not terrific.

"Angels We Have Heard On High" by Josh Groban And Brian McKnight More Josh than Brian, but another beautiful rendition. Brian's contributions are somewhat marginal, but still adds to it decently.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:53 am

"Christmas Canon" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra A lesser known cut of theirs. The main tune used in this one is not a Christmas song necessarily.... it's Pachelbel's Canon. Still, it's a good song, nice touch to it.

"Home For The Holidays" by the Carpenters Trying to be careful making sure I'm not doing a song more than once. A nice cover of the Perry Como original, and once again, Karen's voice does the trick. Not one I'd listen to too many times though. It can get sickening quickly.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by i think i got my cat preg » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:24 am

hot damn thats alot of songs

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:33 am

"Someday At Christmas" by Stevie Wonder From the world of Motown comes this Christmas gem. A forecasting that one day, humanity will grow up. A good song, and well-arranged, not too didactic or emotional. Nice blend. This is some pretty early Stevie, too, around 1966 or so.

"2000 Miles" by the Pretenders An okay song... I'm just not sure what the point of the song is. Sounds kind of like a love song, but not necessarily a lover-beloved type of love song. Could be seen as a parental or otherwise familial, or a friendship kind of love. Kind of slow, but still ok. Better than their version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

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