Friday, December 05, 2008

Yo Ho Ho

It's that time of year, kids! Here are a few suggestions on what to listen to as we hit the holiday season -- in other words, here are all the holiday albums I own:
  • The Carpenters - Christmas Collection (1996 - 2 CDs). The late, great Karen Carpenter could sing Coors Light commercials and make them sound classy. This collection contains their 1974 and 1978 Christmas releases, and they both are really top notch.

  • Various - Now That's What I Call Christmas! (2001 - 2 CDs). I feel like a complete fraud for owning this, but you just can't argue with the songs on this comp: Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Burl Ives... and those are (in order) tracks 1-10 of 36 total! There are some clunker artists/tacks (*NSYNC, Britney Spears), but it's otherwise an absolute classic and a great collection.

  • The Reverend Horton Heat - We Three Kings (2005). This one is tough to find but worth the effort if you are a fan of the good Reverend. Rockabilly Christmas, surprisingly conservative in their covers overall, but definitely off the beaten path. Throwing the riff from the "Batman" TV show theme into "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" borders on pure genius.

  • Sufjan Stevens - Songs for Christmas (2006 - 5 CDs). As with all Sujan albums, there's brilliance and peculiarity here, often all wrapped up in the same song. 42 songs, containing Stevens' five Christmas albums from 2001-2006. You're sure to get the same amount of big fans as well as quizzical looks with this one. I love it, although it does have its up and down moments.

  • Various - A Very Special Christmas (Vol. 1 - 1987, Vol. 3 - 1997). Volume 1 is a classic -- with Bruce Springsteen's "Merry Christmas Baby," Run D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis," and U2's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," how could you go wrong? A must-have for the 80's hipster or alt-reveler. Volume 3 -- well, I really got it for No Doubt's "Oi to the World," but the rest of the album is surprisingly decent and definitely worth a listen.
Happy Holidays!

- Snilch

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