Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Christmas All Over Again.

The countdown is on until the most beautiful day of the year...my birthday. Kidding! That's on it's way also, but I'm talking about the 25th, the day big ol' St. Nick pays us a visit, Christmas. A day of family, (hopefully) billowy white snow, friends, food, happiness, love, etc. If you can't do or say it at Christmas, when can you?

Now, I love the classic Christmas hits and carols as much as the next gooey, obsessed Christmas lover. However, I prefer my own spin on the top 40 Christmas playlist. I like it all, combined into one Christmas-cake sized music conglomerate that has bits and pieces of all sorts of holiday sounds. It's like Christmas dinner - your best bet to make the most of your extravagant meal experience is to fork a little piece of it all,  and enjoy the big bite.

Here are my absolute favourite Christmas essentials - I highly suggest you get ahold of each one pronto to accompany you through your holidays:

1. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Death Cab for Cutie: This beautiful re-make is full of all the right things - Ben Gibbard's sweetheart croons alongside an atmospheric guitar, powerful piano and percussion ensemble. The upbeat classic is turned into a slower and more memorable heartwarming plea, to be sung to the special person in your life this season.

2. White Christmas - Otis Redding: A personal favourite of mine, this Motown Christmas jewel shines the brightest during the weeks leading up to the big day. It will illuminate your home with each organ key drone and soulful word sung. When this is played, I smell holly, see lights and feel at home. Like everything he sings, you can picture Otis twitching and squirming as the horns build and sway together, cueing him to howl: "May your days/ may your days be so merry, merry and bright/ And darlin' may all your Christmases be white."

3. The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes: Meant for 1950s sweethearts dancing in front of the fireplace, this sleighbell dialogue between boy/girl lead singers Sune Wagner and Sharon Foo of the Raveonettes is delect. Cozy up with the swooping guitar twangs and doo wop rhythm, and you'll immediately sympathize while they sing "I wish that I could walk you home."

4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay: Coldplay's dinner jazz piano is both soft and romantic in this old-time lullaby. Chris Martin's gentle Brit-pop voice is soothing and genuine, making this modern-day take on a Frank Sinatra serenade up to par.

5. Merry Christmas Baby - Bruce Springsteen: This song here is just about the most fun you'll have this holiday season. Put this on as you decorate the house, dance around in Christmas-themed underpants, and before long you'll find you've a) baked enough Christmas goods to feed a small country and b) drank your weight in spiked eggnog. THAT is how much fun this song is. Something about The Boss taunting the impatient, screaming crowd with his sultry rasp while Clarence Clemons honks his sax at them is about as addictive as it gets.

6. Just Like Christmas - Low: The second most fun you'll have this holiday season. This is a Christmas travellin' tale, your roadtripping ditty of the year - a tune that's perfect for a snowy car ride to the relatives with presents piled high on your bundled lap. The jangling sleighbell punctuation and marching band percussion quaintly matches singer Mimi Parker's falsetto storytelling. Listen to this to feel warm, young, happy - as if it was just like Christmas.

7. Donna and Blitzen - Badly Drawn Boy: Put this on your indie-hipster friends' Christmas mix, and you'll have them hooked. A beautiful jukebox beat dotted with sporadic finger-snapping and snatches of shrill violin, this piano-driven story is sweet and uppity. Damon Gough (the boy that is badly drawn) has the voice of a perfect Lancaster gentleman narrating an adorable reindeer love story.

8. Please Come Home For Christmas - The Eagles: A bluesy ballad of melancholy and longing, put this on if you desperately feel the need to stare out a frosted window pane on Christmas eve, willing your lover to make it home.

9. Maybe This Christmas - Ron Sexsmith: If you haven't already caught on, I never leave unimportant song suggestions to the end. In fact, this is one of the most important of them all. If you ever need a Christmas pick-me-up, this is sure to do the trick. The message in this song is exactly what the season is about, and the truth and good will spoken in Sexsmith's hum is something everyone can stand to take in at this time of year. The pretty acoustic melody and xylophone chimes manage to put a little cheer and hope in my heart every year.

"Snowy Drive" - Peter Harris

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