Christmas music watchtower

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

Post by succotash_54 » Fri Nov 24, 2006 2:07 am

Ah yes, it's that time of year, when radio stations and shopping malls alike will drive you nuts with the sounds of the season. Some stations started back at the beginning of the month, others will start today, ours started at noon yesterday. While you were saying grace, we were saying "Here's 'Jingle Bell Rock!'"

As a vigilant deejay, I feel it my duty to sift through the Christmas music, and be critical of it all. I invite you all to pick up your proverbial rifle and keep watch with me, with your own reports. So away we go, starting with the songs that I'll be playing tonight on my show.

"Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms There are three major versions of this song. This one gets the most airplay and pretty much is considered the best version. Also known as the quintessential rock and roll Christmas song. Smooth and fun, this is a crowd favorite. Look for this song to get overplayed by the Third Sunday of Advent. This song topped the Christmas Overkill list last year.

"Silent Night" by Mercyme They killed it!! Seriously, they honky-tonked a beautiful song and wrecked it! It needs to disappear quicker than tequila-laced eggnog.

"It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" by Andy Williams Andy's voice is a bit saccharine in comparison to the hitmakers of today. It's still an enjoyable song, but you'll get sick of it quickly. While this song is obviously about Christmas, it's as close to PC as Christmas music gets. The word "Christmas" only appears twice, both times in the same line that gets repeated.

"The Chipmunk Song (Please Christmas Don't Be Late)" by Alvin And The Chipmunks Fun fact: the ONLY Christmas song to top the Billboard Hot 100 during the Rock Era (1955-present). Billboard would later introduce a separate Christmas chart, so that has a bearing on it. It gets overworked and annoying early on.

"Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano Another standard that will get overplayed. The only thing that'll keep this song from getting played too much is the anti-illegal immigrant sentiment in the nation. Of course, that'll be offset by all the illegal aliens wanting to hear a song in their own tongue.

"This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway This song has a tremendous disconnect with it. A lot of people have heard this song, but don't know the title or the artist. This song will stay low on the radar for this reason, and the fact that it's a ho-hum song.

"Step Into Christmas" by Elton John Good Christmas songs have been hard to come by since the 60s. This is one of them. It gets played quite a lot, but seldom does anyone actually get sick of it. Look for this one to stay popular all the way to stocking the stuffings.

"Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee There are Oldies fans who can't name another song by Little Miss Dynamite other than this one. (Josh, I'm looking right at you, don't let me down). Even when she was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, this was listed as one of her high points, and I believe she performed it at the ceremonies too. You can't escape this song. It's a good one, but one that will get overplayed.

"Blue Christmas" by Elvis Presley It has been #2 on my Annual Overkill List for FOUR YEARS IN A ROW now. I do get sick of this song eventually. Enjoy it while you can. You're going to hear a lot of it. Also to note, I've heard a few versions of this song, and it really is the best version. If they could balance it out with a few other Elvis Christmas songs, we'd be ok. Don't look for that to happen. Sorry.

"Little Drummer Boy" by Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band Not the most famous version of this song, so this one is not gonna get stale. The drum solo in it does detract, but not a great deal.

"The Christmas Song" by Nat "King" Cole Better known by the first six words of this song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire), my mom actually doesn't care much for this song, if I remember correctly. I like it, it's the best version of this song for the same reason that people will still wanna hear it no matter how much it gets played: there is a genuine warmth in Cole's voice when he sings it. So much Christmas music is bereft of passion, especially nowadays when so much of it is recorded on a myriad of tracks, or it's practically taboo to sound like you're expressing joy in your music; that this song will continually be a low-key, but welcome alternative.

More to come before the end of my shift this morning....

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Fri Nov 24, 2006 5:26 am

More to report on from this shift.

"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" by Amy Grant Not completely hate-worthy. Amy keeps it relatively simple, vocally, not trying to fluorish too much. What's unforgivable, though, is she always wrecks the last line. Traditionally, the last line of every verse is the refrain "Hark! The herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn king!" Instead, she uses the previously sung line from the verse, or even a line from a Thanksgiving hymn. Bah, I say. It won't get played too much, but it's one that doesn't deserve a whole lot of airplay.

"Little Saint Nick" by the Beach Boys An excellent song by an excellent band. Which means it gets played too much, eventually. And in 2004, this topped the Annual Overkill List.

"Silver And Gold" by Vanessa Williams It's a sleeper. Slow enough to put a person to sleep. Supposed to be sentimental and emotional, but it doesn't work that way. Like "This Christmas," it's ho-hum and will lay low on the radar.

"Merry Christmas Baby" by Bruce Springsteen Overall, not one of my favorite Yuletide tunes, but the Boss makes it lively enough to be interesting. It won't get overplayed, either, since it's not as well known as the original single's A-Side, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."

"Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry Ok, but look for it to get vastly overplayed.

All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey Good Christmas songs from the '90s are REALLY hard to come by, but this one is. It's bright, upbeat, and one to clap along to the beat. Wild card as far as overplaying goes. It might, and it might not. Hard to tell. Probably in the malls more than the radio stations.

"Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney A fairly good tune, and I do love Paul McCartney's music, but this is one that everyone will be sick of by the second Sunday of Advent.

"The Christmas Shoes" by Newsong In my Musical Worsts thread, I called this the worst Christmas song ever recorded. That opinion is unchanged. 'Nuff said.

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by John Mellencamp. This isn't a bad version of this song. It's not great, but I can deal with it. This isn't a widely popular Christmas tune as a whole, and that it's from the 80s limits its chance of overplay. When you get sick of the early overplayed stuff, go for this.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by Fish Of Doom » Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:32 pm

The only christmas album I listen to is John Waters' christmas compilation.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by NWOWWE » Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:44 pm

For me nothing tops Bing Crosby's White Christmas album. He's the king of Christmas music.
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Christmas music watchtower

Post by G-Force » Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:45 pm

how can you not like the christmas shoes song!?

its so sad and cute :( :unsure:

and dont forget grandma got run over by a reindeer :D . ownage

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sun Nov 26, 2006 6:17 am

Yeah, Christmas Shoes is that pathetic sort of way.

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer topped the Annual Overkill List in 2003.


"The Twelve Pains Of Christmas" by the Bob Rivers Group What Christmas would be complete without parody songs? Not mine. The biggest plus of this song is that they don't drag it out, other than the shtick. Many versions, including straightlaced ones, stop and have little featurettes during them. This doesn't. It keeps moving. It still brings a smile to my face. Runs a chance of being overplayed, but not to the same extent as others.

"Deck The Halls" by Brian Wilson The genius of the Beach Boys released this album last year. As such, it won't get overplayed. His voice has not aged all that well, but he pulls it off festively with this one. Bonus: this is only one of two versions that I know of that actually include ALL THREE VERSES! (the other one by Jackie Wilson, from the sixties) Almost everyone knows the first, only about half know the second, and very few even know of the existence of the third, let alone the actual words.

"O Holy Night" by Mercyme Better than what they did to "Silent Night." Not a forced performance, but not terrific either. Rates a meh, and because this is a relatively new song, it won't get played too much.

"Song For A Winter's Night" by Sarah McLachlan She really does have a beautiful voice. This song has a boring moment or two, but listenworthy. Not one you'll see a lot of, though.

"Up On The Housetop" by Kimberly Locke The only good thing about this song is that someone actually remembered this song. This is one I sang as a kid, but other than this version, have NEVER seen recorded by a professional. Other than that, it's done as a reggae, corny delivery, cheesy ending. At least it uses three versions. It'll get a lot of play too.

"Christmas Through Your Eyes" by Gloria Estefan I used to love her music as a kid. Now, I can't believe I thought she was all that great. This song ain't that great. A love song that really doesn't have much to do with Christmas. Not one that gets played too much thankfully.

"Christmas Time Is Here" by David Benoit And Michael Franks Won't get played a lot, kind of a meh tune overall.

"Believe" by Josh Groban Make any gay joke you want, I think the man's voice is tremendous. You won't hear this song too much, but it's nice, though overproduced.

"White Christmas" by Bing Crosby What can I say about this song that hasn't been said a million times before? Other than Chubby Checker's "The Twist", the only song to hit #1 in two completely separate runs on the Billboard pop charts (1942 and 1944). Needless to say, you'll hear a lot of this song, but you won't care, because it's still good. Another fun trivia fact, until Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997", this was the single that had the most copies sold, ever.

"Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth" by David Bowie And Bing Crosby A song that bridged the generation gap, this was recorded/filmed for the 1977 Bing Crosby Christmas special. Bing died before the special aired, and never knew just how much this duet has been embraced. Reissued in the late 90s or so as a CD/ROM that would play in both stereos and computers (where you'd see the portion of the Christmas special this was featured), it has charted pretty much every year of the new millenium so far. Will get played a lot, but an awesome song

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by James Taylor I like what James Taylor did with this song. Most other versions use grandiose crescendo when delivering it. Taylor's version sounds like it was sung in front of the fireplace, with a mug of cocoa in one hand and his teddy-bear-clutching, drifting-to-sleep granddaughter in the other arm. Really delivers the sentiment sincerely. Fun fact (you know you love these!): the year it was released (2000, I think), it was only available as an MP3 purchase, and it still topped the Adult Contemporary charts that year. A sign of the times, mayhaps? Anyway, you'll hear it a lot.

"You (Holiday Mix)" by Jim Brickman and Jane Krakowski Any title that has "Holiday Mix" in parentheses should raise a red flag. Yup, a love song that was slightly altered to include the word "Christmas" a couple times. TEH LAME. Pretty enough, but meh on the lethargy. Fortunately, it won't be played enough to really piss you off.

"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John And Yoko And The Plastic Ono Band With The Harlem Community Choir Sorry, but I just felt I had to get the entire artist credit in on this one. Oh yes, you will hear this one a lot. About as much as the aforementioned song by his bandmate.

"Last Christmas" by Wham! One of those holiday songs that came after the 70s that mysteriously gets overplayed. I say "mysteriously" because I have yet to hear anyone say that they don't find this song annoying and mean it. In the musical and holiday worlds, this is the aural fruitcake. The only good thing about it is that if you're pissed with someone, just sing the first couple lines, and it'll be stuck in their head for the rest of the day. Just take care that it doesn't also get stuck in yours in the process.

"Something That Santa Claus Left Behind" by Peter Cetera From the "Are you serious?" department comes this one. Not to be played a lot.

"Christmas Eve Sarajevo" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra The rock group formerly known as Savatage would never gotten this song this popular if they hadn't changed their name to TSO. Too bad for them, with a name like that, it locks them into a typecast. Maybe if they do a Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines type of thing with it. Anyhoo, it will get overplayed. It's a passionate song, which is a grace of it, and it sure as hell beats the shit out of the abomination known as Manheim-Steamroller.

"Celebrate Me Home" by Kenny Loggins Our generation's version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas." This song actually irritates me, despite the nice sentiment. Lots of airplay for this one, especially because of the War in Iraq. A song the troops can dedicate to their families. They should use "I'll Be Home.." though, since that song came out because of and during WWII, while this one was borne out of Loggins own homesickness.

"Grown Up Christmas List" by Natalie Cole I'm sorry, but as much as I love the occasional didactic song, I have trouble taking this one seriously, mainly because it's pretty vague in the ideals (other than no more wars). Adult Contemporary radio will play the fuck out of this. No other kind of station will. Not even the malls.

"Same Old Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg It's a pun, get it? Another slow Christmas break-up song that makes me want to put a new hole in my head. And it's over 5 minutes long, so it feels like it's lasting as long as the singer's heartbreak. It's length will be inhibitive towards its amount of airplay. One reason Christmas music is so popular is that so much of it is SHORT! A deejay can throw in a extra song or two to adjust the fit of the station's hot clock for that hour.

"Mary Did You Know" by Kenny Rogers And Wynonna My mother loves this song, but she's also a huge Kenny Rogers fan. I don't like Kenny Rogers, and I think this is a brilliant song. It would have better without Wynonna, since her echoes are really more of a detraction and distraction. It won't become a standard, but this is one that we should hang onto anyway.

"Skating" by David Benoit Remember the Charlie Brown Christmas special? How the kids are skating on the pond at the beginning. This is a cover of that ambience song originally done by the Vince Guraldi Trio. Because it's an instrumental that isn't a cover of a traditional Christmas tune, there's a disconnect to it, and so it won't be played a lot.

"Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band-Aid The Christmas supergroup. From 1984 (and recharted in 1998), this synth driven song tends to get played quite a lot, to the point of excess. But it's an off and on kind of thing, so your guess is as good as mine. I still kind of like it.

"Little Drummer Boy" by the Harry Simeone Chorale A holiday standard that wasn't even written until 1957!! In fact, Simeone himself is one of the co-writers of this song! Beautifully deliverd by the female voices. Will get played a lot, but not too much, since there are quite a few other popular versions of it. This song charted every year on the pop charts until Billboard started its annual Christmas charts.

"Carol Of The Bells" by David Foster I like this composition. It's beautiful. Now if we could only get contemporary artists to stop wrecking it, with Muzak like interpretations. This one doesn't butcher it too much, but I'll stick the Carpenters' version and the Four Seasons' as well (the Four Seasons' version, btw, is the only one by a popular act that includes the words. Yeah! There are words to this song!) Doubt it'll get played too much, though.

"Do You Hear What I Hear" by Whitney Houston This version pisses me off. If you're going to record it, do ALL FOUR verses, and get them right! The night wind to the little lamb, the little lamb to the shepherd boy, the shepherd boy to the mighty king, the king to the people everywhere. Is that really too much to ask? This version will get played on radio stations. In the malls, it'll be Bing's version.

"Christmas Day" by Dido I like Dido. Beautiful woman, beautiful voice, beautiful brain, even. This song is one of the exceptions about non-peppy Christmas love songs. It's a good one, chiefly because of the way the story is told. Enjoyable. You won't hear it too often though.

"Hey Santa" by Carnie And Wendy Wilson The daughters of Beach Boy Brian, and two-thirds the groups Wilson Phillips, deliver this upbeat song about wanting Santa to bring them a lover. It must be the peppy part that makes this bearable. Not great, but ok. Medium airplay.

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" by Johnny Mathis Like Brenda Lee, Johnny Mathis had dozens of hits, but most can't name another besides this one. Also not a top ten hit. It won't get played as much as Brenda Lee's big hit, though, because there were several versions before Mathis's. It's ok. Not among my faves. Fun fact: Mathis is one of only two artists to top the Billboard Pop Charts in both the '50s and the '70s. Not even Elvis did that.

"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by U2 Originally recorded by Darlene Love and specifically written for Phil Spector's Christmas Gift To You. Love's version will always be the best, and that's saying something considering I'm a huge U2 freak. I love U2's version as well, and this one will see much more airplay than Darlene Love's. Good stuff.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:34 am

Manning the post again tonight. My rifle on my shoulder, and a flask of brandy to keep me warm. Tonight, the following new ones were identified so far.

"Frosty The Snowman" by the Ronnettes Not a song with too many versions. You may get burnt out on the sound of Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound, but I doubt it. Every song on that album, including this one is good. Oh, and the Ronnettes are one of 9 nominees for the 2007 Rock And Roll Hall of Fame ballot. Only 5 of the 9 will actually be inducted. Will one of those five be the Ronnettes? Stick around and find out.

"A Holly Jolly Christmas" by Burl Ives Best known as the singing snowman narrator from the Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation looking cartoon. Burl's is the only version you'll ever hear (most likely) Enjoy it. Moderately overplayed, but one that you'll be able to put up with until the 25th.

"Merry Christmas Darling" by the Carpenters Karen Carpenter's voice was magical. Especially as she delivered this love song. I normally don't care for love songs, but the Carpenters were skilled musicians, both of them. Listen to their two Christmas albums and you'll know this beyond all shadow of a doubt. Their skill plays wonderfully as this song comes off as heartfelt and slow, but not tedious and boring. May see some airplay, but not excessive.

"Winter Wonderland" by the Eurythmics Annie Lennox and co. apply their distinct style to the holiday tunes. And turn it to slush. Forget it. But this one will get a fair amount of airplay, so brace yourself.

More to come tonight...

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:40 am

The rest from this morning's shift:

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan This also includes bits from "We Three Kings Of Orient Are." This is done kind of jazz like. Upbeat, and something like a backbeat that Bill Haley used on his Essex recordings. This would be pretty cool except that both songs in this are in minor keys. You won't hear a lot of it. It'll be nice once in awhile, but nothing great.

"Carole Of The Bells" by John Tesh Carole who? Sheesh, Tesh, spell it right. Ho hum version of this classic. Won't hear too much of it.

"Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson Considered by many to be the definitive version of this song, despite being an instrumental, you'll hear this one a lot. It's a good one, though. Have fun with it. As a P.S., my sister absolutely hates this song because we played it in high school band, and as a French horn player, she got stuck playing the off-beats on this song. teehee.

"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by Wynonna My mom loves the Judds. I don't. This version isn't altogether bad, and the use of the children is nice, but this won't even compete with Springsteen's or even the Pointer Sisters' version.

"My Christmas Prayer" by Rob Thomas And Bebe Winans Another sentimental cry for peace. We need more of those songs, but not more like this. At over 5 mins length, it won't be played a lot.

"Santa Baby" by Madonna I've made it clear that I despise Madonna. She removes all the allure, charm, and even seduction that Eartha Kitt's version had. A friend once said this version sounded like Madonna was giving Santa a handjob while singing it. Well now.... Anyways, thankfully Ms. Kitts' version is still the more popular version.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:48 am

"I'll Be Home For Christmas" by Josh Groban I love his voice, but this one fell a bit short. I was hoping to hear homesickness in his voice, and it just did not come through. Also, too much emphasis on background singers and musicians. Won't hear it too much though.

"I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" by Gayla Peevey First off, that IS her real name. Second, this is a fun song. It'll get played a lot, but not too much.

"All Through The Christmas Night" by Brian Culbertson And Michael McDonald Big, soggy, steaming pile of crap. Michael McDonald usually turns out better material, but this bottomed out. At over five minutes, it's one you'll have to intend to play, and no one's gonna have the intention.

"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" by Daryl Hall And John Oates Ka-sucked! Sounds nothing like the carol I grew up singing, and the constant background singing chant of "Midnight, midnight midnight" is reminiscent of "One On One" which sucks horribly too. BOO!!!

"Jingle Bells" by Kimberly Locke Stop the presses. Whodathunkit? Kimberly Locke puts out a GOOD song. Kind of a boogie backing on this one, and it actually works nicely. It's currently on the Adult Contemporary charts, debuting at #17, so there's a good chance you'll hear a bit of it, this year and in years to come. P.S. I looked in the "Adult Contemporary Recurrent" charts, and the top ten or twenty are ALL Christmas songs. Shows you how fucking useless the Recurent charts really are.

"Happy Holidays/The Holiday Season" by Andy Williams This topped the very first Annual Overkill list back in 2002. It's ok to hear now again, but watch out, this one will creep up constantly if you're not careful.

"Baby It's Cold Outside" by Dean Martin And Martina McBride When the hell was this recorded? Isn't Dino dead? And what the hell was he doing dueting with Martina? Cheesy song, and not Dean's strongest performance. So-so, and will quickly be forgotten.

"Sleigh Ride" by the Ronnettes Another great cut from the Phil Spector Christmas album. Like I said, if all of Phil Spector's songs from this period are the same to you, you'll get sick of it. This album has 12 songs that ever get any airplay, all 12 have Spector's signature Wall Of Sound on them, and are good. So you'll hear these songs a lot, but probably not any one song too often. Good one though.

"Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" by Sarah McLachlan Frankly, I think it's sacrilege. I'm sure she did it to protest the war. Whatever floats her boat, but I will throttle the first person who says that this is yet another parallel between Vietnam and Iraq. "They both have versions of this song!! It's all so obvious!!" Yeah, both have versions, but one version smells a heckuva lot more like body order and stale tuna. Politics aside though, McLachlan's vocally lilting upturns do not work with this song. The children's chorus sound too rehearsed, which is normally a good thing, but it loses the innoncence of the voices when they sound trained. Hearing this version will be like drinking saltwater: you'll only be thirstier for the original version.

"Deck The Halls" by Mannheim Steamroller Let's make this perfectly clear: Mannheim Steamroller is the worst thing to happen to Christmas music...possibly ever. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. CRAP!! Supposedly this was supposed to be some avant-garde artsy type of interpretation of holiday music. I call it crap. Trans-Siberian Orchestra was hailed as saviors of Yuletide music compared to the horrors of Mannheim-Steamroller. And they still get played a lot.

"Seasons Of Love" by the Cast of "Rent" This song makes me want to bash my head with a nine-iron. It's know it's a Broadway tune, and all, but this is uber-gay. How do you measure a year? Try measuring it in love! Yeah, let me know when you have the device, fucktards! On the upside, at least I'll never forget how many minutes are in a year. So bad, that it won't get played too much.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by StarlessSoldier » Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:42 am

The song "James Penguin" (might not actually be the title) by Brad Paisley adds to the Cigar Song and The Fishin' Song as further evidence that he should kill himself ASAP...

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:24 am

lol it's 99.9% of modern country artists like him that give the rest of them a bad name.

"Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" by Aaron Neville Aaron's new songs sound very like each other. This is similar to his currently popular cover of the Impressions' "It's Alright." If you like Aaron Neville's voice, you'll enjoy it though. If you hate it, change the dial, cuz he's in usual form on this one.

"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band About time! I thought this song was NEVER going to appear on my playlog! This song has an amazing amount of energy to it, nothing shy of what we'd expect from the Boss. The only downside to this version is that when he belts out "Tooo Tow-own", he sounds a little flat. Seems like he can't quite hit that note. Other than that, crank this version up.

"O Holy Night" by Josh Groban O Holy Night seems to be the song that every modern act is doing a version of in the past couple years. The best of Josh Groban's holiday work so far. Really features his amazing voice very well. Won't be played a lot. I just wish our production team had done a better job of converting this to a wav file. Seriously, I can tell they did a shitty job just by listening to it.

"Jingle Bell Rock" by Daryl Hall And John Oates The least deplorable of all their Christmas music, this version of Bobby Helms' classic is actually tolerable. They don't drag it out, they keep it upbeat and does the job it's supposed to.

"Here Comes Santa Claus" by Elvis Presley This past week, I talked to my boss about getting more Christmas music to our library so we don't exhaust the current supply. This is one that he had saved up his sleeve for when we're all sick of "Blue Christmas." Good version of this song, and a song that there aren't too many versions of getting airplay. This year at least. This may become the next "O Holy Night" if we're not careful.

"Home For Christmas" by Daryl Hall And John Oates This is NOT "I'll Be Home For Christmas." This is a new, lousy song by the duo. And it drags on and on. Yeesh.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:05 am

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by the Pretenders The composition itself is a nice one, but many artists tend to ruin it by making too slow and dragging. Unfortunately, this is the case here. A normally well-performing group falls below the bar with this one. A sleeper.

"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by Chris Isaak And Stevie Nicks Another song that there seem to be too many versions of, and this one's hum-drum. It'll get lost in the shuffle.

"Don't Save It All For Christmas Day" by Celine Dion It's Celine Dion. Need I say more? Run and hide. Duck and cover. Change the station if this comes on. Quickly.

"Where Are You Christmas?" by Faith Hill At the risk of pissing off all the country fans here, I'll simply say that this song is so forgettable, I don't even remember how it goes. If it impressed me, I'd remember. It didn't.

"Hands (Holiday Version)" by Jewel Whoops! There's that red flag again!! "Hands" is a good song by itself. But there's really little difference between the holiday rewrite and the original. There's really not even any mention of Christmas in the new lyrics. The last track from Jewel's fun and good Christmas album really isn't much of a holiday song overall, but it is a nice prayer for peace, which is a common practice at this time of the year.

"Santa's Goin' To Kokomo" by Mike Love As Toxic could tell you, Mike Love is the bratty cousin of the Wilson brothers, a fellow member of the Beach Boys, and the man most responsible for aggravating Brian Wilson's bipolar condition during the 60s that caused his mental breakdowns. He's also the lead singer on the Beach Boys' 1988 #1 hit "Kokomo" (as well as a lot of other favs from the Beach Boys), so it makes sense that this song would come about. Other than being one of only three songs I know of that mention Mrs. Claus, there isn't too much going for this song. It's a novelty thing really. Supposed to be cutesy, right down to the children singing on it. Meh.

"It Doesn't Have To Be This Way" by Jim Croce A man we lost much too soon. This song is a popular one. I neither like nor hate this one. Which puts it in the upper echelon of songs I've reviewed on this thread, apparently. Anyhoo, since you won't hear a lot of it, turn it up when you do.

"Please Come Home For Christmas" by the Eagles Let me set the record straight with Chris, while he snickers at the thought of what I'll say. I don't hate the Eagles, just "Hotel California." Ok, as for this song, a respectable rendition of the bluesy Charles Brown tune. Though the Eagles make it a much more white, pop, straightlaced song, it's still worth a listen. Also, Beatles fans will perk up their ears at just how similar "Oh! Darling" is to this song.

"Someone Is Missing At Christmas" by Anne Cochran The title alone is a red flag. Drawn out, slow, and boring. Fahgeddaboutit.

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:07 am

So no new songs from tonight's playlist, but I know there will be on tomorrow's. In lieu of my bashing the living daylights out of what I play, I thought now would be a nice time to fill you in on some of my favorite Christmas albums.

Four Seasons Seasons' Greetings My all-time personal favorite Christmas album. One thing I love about this album is that the A-side features the traditional and sacred songs (including the then-new "Little Drummer Boy"), while the B-Side is purely secular and new tunes. A nice even divide. Their rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" made the Top 25 in the winter of 1962, and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" was released as a single later ('65 or '66 I think) on Vee-Jay after the Four Seasons had left Vee-Jay records, where it made the Billboard Christmas Charts.
Best song: "Carol Of The Bells" Seriously, one of only two version I know where the lyrics are included, and the only version by a major recording act that does so.
Least favorite song: "White Christmas" An ok version, but not as good as a lot of the other material on here.

Various Artists Phil Spector's Christmas Gift To You From the mad genius behind the Wall Of Sound comes this gem, arguably the greatest Christmas album of all time. Big time powerhouse energy from Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell, and all the other great session musicians, not to mention the wonderful singers as well: the Crystals, the Ronnettes, Darlene Love, Bobb B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans, plus a heartfelt sentiment from Phil Spector himself at the very end.
Best song: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love. Written specifically for this album, this song has become a latter-day standard, and Darlene Love herself can't do a show without having to perform this song. Doesn't matter if it's mid-August. People still wanna hear her belt this one out.
Least favorite song: "Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers" by the Crystals. This had to be a tough one to pull off. Hal Blaine does some of his best drumming on this one, but overall, this just sounds like they had trouble nailing this one down just right.

Booker T. And The MG's In The Christmas Spirit The house band at Stax-Volt, big part of the sound of Muscle Shoals, and oh yeah, Shaggy sampled their "Green Onions" for "That Girl." This funky instrumental album was recorded in mid-summer, so they decorated the studio to get the right mood. An underrated album altogether. I enjoy breaking this one out every year.
Best song: "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" I have heard so many versions of this song, but this is the ONLY one that actually sounds sincere, that they really DO wish you a merry Christmas. Maybe it's their special funk twist on it, but I believe them when they play it.

John Denver And The Muppets A Christmas Together You heard me. John Denver and the Muppets. Jim Henson was alive when this was put together. Some comic moments as to be expected from the Muppets, and some really touching stuff. Interesting fact: John Denver was NEVER actually in the studio with any of the Muppet voices. He recorded his parts, and the Muppets added theirs later.
Best song: "Silent Night" A mostly-spoken bit. Over the Muppets' humming, John Denver tells the story of how the most beloved Christmas carol ever written came about. At the end, the Muppets and John singing the first verse. John Denver really had a way of telling a story too. Absolutely touching how he does it.
Least favorite song: "Alfie: The Christmas Tree / Carol For A Christmas Tree / It's In Everyone Of Us" Kind of a thrown-together medley. Nice to listen to, but not completely cohesive.

The Ventures The Ventures' Christmas Album Another great instrumental album, this one is unique in that the Ventures incorporate the licks and riffs of other songs of the day into most of the Christmas songs. For instance, on their take of "Frosty The Snowman," don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to shoul "TEQUILA!" at the end of it.
Best song: "Sleigh Ride" This one incorporates their own big smash "Walk - Don't Run." It blends well, and they do it so well.
Least favorite song: "Scrooge" Seriously, I have no idea what this song is supposed to be about other than the miser of fable. A weird one altogether. It takes getting used to.

The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos Christmas Chants You heard me: monks doing chants. An actual order of French monks recorded an album of Gregorian-era chants in 1958. Sung entirely in Latin, of course. The studio they recorded in was right near a power plant too, so everytime the plant had a hiccup in their operations, the studio would completely lose power. Good harmonies, and beautiful artwork on the cover.
Best song: "Adeste Fideles" You and I know this as "O Come All Ye Faithful" Not quite done as you and I remember it though. This is the only song on here not from the Gregorian era.
Least favorite song: Well, let's be honest, other than "Adeste Fideles" they all pretty much sound alike. It's a great album, don't get me wrong, but unless you either know Latin or have studied music of the Middle Ages, you pretty much have to read the display on your CD player to know what track you're on.

The Beach Boys Christmas With The Beach Boys Get the 25 track special that encompasses their efforts in later years. You won't be disappointed hearing the 70's version of "Little Saint Nick" done to the tune of one of their other album tracks from that time.
Best song: "The Man With All The Toys" Little Saint Nick is good too, but this is the one that doesn't get overplayed, and is a good one
Least Favorite Song: "I'll Be Home For Christmas" One downside to this album is that the slower songs all sound sad, and this one's the corker. It's not a sad song, but it sounds that way. They borrowed a little too closely from the sound of the Four Freshmen on this one.

Brian Wilson What I Really Want For Christmas From the main man behind the Beach Boys comes this 2005 album. Already one of my favorites. Chock full of goodness, and some new versions of Beach Boys' Christmas classics.
Best song: "Deck The Halls" Very pointed and festive version of this song. I love the delivery on it.
Least Favorite Song: "On Christmas Day" One of the bonus tracks. A looped couple verses that just goes on for a little bit. Forgettable.

Jewel Joy: A Holiday Collection One of my favorite modern artists, I fell in love with her voice when I saw her playing on MTV, which is one of the few times I'll ever actually admit to having watched MTV (I was also a fan of "The Blame Game" but let's not go there). This is a fun and lively collection for the most part.
Best song: "Winter Wonderland" Odd combination of wintry delight with just a touch of Hawaiian style to it. I love Jewel's little yodel on it. Really makes it for me.
Least favorite song: "Ave Maria" Just one of those songs I don't care for altogether. Not even a big fan of Perry Como's version. Sorry.

Various Artists Yo! Ho Ho From 1990, this is a CD of the then-popular Christian hip-hop artists coming together. This really is a good album. I don't care if you hate rap, this is a listenworthy masterpiece, even M.C. GeGee performs well on this one. Artists on it: DC Talk, E.T.W., Stephen Wiley, Transformation Crusade, D-Boy, and M.C. GeGee
Best song: "Winter Wonderland" by D-Boy 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.
Least favorite song: "Little Drummer Boy [track]" by E.T.W. This is the second last track on it, and it's the instrumental backing that E.T.W. rapped to earlier on the album. Featuring all the sound bites they sampled. It's fun to rap along to, but in comparison the rest of this album, it's the least of them.

P.S. Coming soon: 25 Holiday Tunes You Don't Know, But Should!

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Christmas music watchtower

Post by succotash_54 » Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:40 am

Only three songs to add tonight from the watchtower..

"Welcome To Our World" by Chris Rice Same guy who gave us the nauseating "When Did You Fall In Love With Me." Obviously, this is a song being sung to the baby Christchild. Nice feeling. Ok delivery.

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Katie Melua Nicely sung, but I can't get over the fact that she sounds kinda like the empress from The Neverending Story.

"Why Can't It Be Christmas Everyday?" by Bianca Ryan No idea who she is. Someone from American Idol? Anyway, despite the title, this is an upbeat song. Kind of nice actually, but not one you'll hear a lot of.

Fish Of Doom
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Christmas music watchtower

Post by Fish Of Doom » Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:58 pm

John Denver and the Muppets sounds almost irresistable.

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