Monday, December 21, 2015

The holiday approacheth... and there *is* listenable music (plus: bonus Xmas misery!)

I posted a few weeks back about the misery that accompanies the Yuletide each year – the salesmanship (on many levels), the creation of an American mythos of the holiday, and the music... oh yes, the music. I of course first and foremost want to draw your attention to my “Xmas misery megamix” here, but I also wanted to add a few “footnotes” and draw some attention to some older pieces you'll find on this blog.

First, there's the question that some folks might've asked themselves after reading my celebration of the imaginative ways that songwriters have celebrated/chronicled the emotional underside of the holiday: “well, what DO you like in terms of Xmas music?” Four years ago I celebrated three brand new (well, they were then) Xmas songs. I still love all three of these tunes – one by Tim Minchin, one by the mighty “Sherwin Sleeves,” and the last by Andy Ditzler (with a no-budget music vid by Funhouse deity George Kuchar). Watch them here.

Each year there's generally one new Xmas song that I do enjoy, usually because it's catchy or amusing. This year I'd nominate a tune by “Loose Tapestries,” the band headed up by the Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding and Sergio Pizzorno (of Kasabian). The gent doing the midsong rap is none other than actor Idris Elba. The whole thing is damnably catchy (even if the video is unashamedly “Gilliam-esque” – perhaps to promote Terry's new autobio?):

I also direct your attention to another blog post I put up in 2011 (a busy holiday that year!), concerning Jewish comedians doing songs about Xmas: the Albert Brooks (his track wasn't a song but it was a 45!), Marty Feldman, and Jerry Lewis. I uploaded to YT the Feldman and Lewis songs. Listen to 'em all here.

Now for a few “footnotes” to my Xmas misery playlist. First, a “glitter” pop band doing a Fifties-sounding “I'm sad during the holidays” ditty. I didn't want to include “Blue Christmas”-esque items in the misery megamix but was intrigued to find this sucker after I wrote the piece. The band Mud were best known for their hit “Tiger Feet” (in which the singer praises his gal's “tiger feet” – I have no idea....). Here the lead vocalist does his impression of a classic r'n'r singer (in 1974) as he laments his upcoming solitude:

For a lovely statement of purpose, we have the British indie band Denim (whose leader formerly ran Felt – material jokes should be inserted here). Their Xmas tune was the wonderfully mopey “I Will Cry at Christmas." The song has the singer rejecting his lover, so he's not as innocent as the title suggests. Catchy, poppy misery:

And because everything I've offered up thus far in this entry is pretty damned upbeat and catchy, here's a song that is mostly gloomy atmosphere, Suicide's “Hey Lord” from 1981. This is some heavy Yuletide depression, truly the antidote to (I summon its sprightly soul again) Andy Williams' “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”:

Please do check out my original, extremely entertaining Xmas misery megamix post here.

As the merry-bells keep ringing, Happy Freakin' Holidays to you! 

Thanks to Steve Korn and Merry Brosnan for two of the musical suggestions above.

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