Christmas Music Manifesto

Since yesterday was Gaudete Sunday, I’ve personally lightened up and have actually had the radio on the “all Christmas music, all the time” station a few times yesterday and today. In that brief time, I’ve already heard all I want to hear of most, if not all, of the deeply secular works out there. I’ve also formulated, and will now share with you, this humble (OK, semi-humble?) Christmas Music Manifesto:

  • Except for church-hymn type Christmas songs (“O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” etc.), most Christmas songs on the radio are essentially novelty songs, which means they don’t improve with multiple versions. In other words, once Andy Williams recorded “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” we didn’t need any more versions, ever. This especially includes Amy Grant’s remake with the cringe-worthy faux English accent that she stole from Carrie Fisher in Star Wars.  Bing Crosby gets “White Christmas.” Remakes don’t add anything.
  • LDB:  Everyone knows I’m not a big fan of The Christmas Song That Must Not Be Named, but for Christ’s sake (literally), if you’re going to sing it, at least sing it right.  It’s “Baby Jesu,” not “little baby.”  It’s “Mary nodded,” not “then he nodded.” Do you want people to think this is just about some random baby out there instead of Baby Jesus?  Don’t answer that.
  • “Sleigh Ride” was originally conceived as a miniature tone-poem depicting (wait for it) a sleigh ride through the snow, complete with clip-clop effects, sleigh bells, the sound of a whip crack, and a horse’s whinny effect on the trumpet. It was written by Leroy Anderson, who wrote many other such tone poems, including “The Typewriter” and “Jazz Pizzicato.” It’s delightful, as an instrumental. ONLY as an instrumental.  The words came much later. The words are stupid. “Sleigh Ride” should not be done with words.
  • Especially if the stupid-words version of “Sleigh Ride” is being sung by Air Supply.  I’m pretty sure that’s one of the signs of the Apocalypse.
  • Aaron Neville should never be permitted to sing anything, ever. Even in private.
  • If you’re going to record a church-hymn type of Christmas song, please leave the American Idol-style melismas at the recording studio door. We do not want to sing  along with your vocal acrobatics, and Baby Jesus is crying more about what Whitney and Mariah are doing to these songs than he is about the fact that some kid is playing a drum in his face while he’s trying to sleep (as if the cows aren’t distracting enough).
  • “My Favorite Things” is not a Christmas song. Neither are “Let It Snow,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Marshmallow World,” or “Frosty the Snowman.” So stop it already.
  • I meant what I said about Aaron Neville.
  • The arrangement of the Pachelbel Canon with a boy choir singing about Santa Claus is both stupid and creepy. Singing about Santa Claus with an air of religious devotion is nauseating.
  • At least Aaron Neville isn’t singing along with the boy choir.
  • At this very moment, Aaron Neville is probably entering a recording studio to overdub some egregious melismas over that boy choir Pachelbel Canon Santa hymn.
  • “Linus and Lucy” and “O Tannenbaum” by Vince Guaraldi are not the only jazz recordings associated with Christmas. Miles Davis’ “Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)” is pure gold, as is Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross’s “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie,” yet these never get any airplay. Fix that, right away.
  • No, Aaron Neville does not count as jazz.
  • Any song that is based on email glurge should be permanently outlawed. You know what I’m talking about.
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About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
This entry was posted in Fun, Holidays, Humor, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Christmas Music Manifesto

  1. Chip says:

    Love it. A comment or two about grandma getting run over, please.

  2. RevJATB says:

    I think that one is a timeless classic, as is the dogs singing “Jingle Bells” and the Chipmunk Song.

  3. Johnny says:

    I’ve played the whip crack on Sleigh Ride.

    I want to write a carol about Santa ho-slapping Arius.

  4. garver says:

    You left out comments on “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” and “Dominick the Donkey”. An accidental oversight, I’m sure.

  5. cap'n says:

    Amen, brother! Random additional thoughts . . .

    I’m waiting for Aaron Neville to hyperventilate through “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas .” That would be amusing.

    You left out Justin Bieber. And Archie with the Mormons will be on PBS soon.

    I want to hear Ralph Stanley do “Grandma Got Run Over'” then launch into “O Death.”

    Handbell arrangements of selections from “Nutcracker” give me a headache.

  6. PaulB says:

    I would beg to differ on one point. While Bing’s version of “White Christmas” is the standard bearer, I am quite partial to the Drifters’ version- a worthy cover, in my humble opinion.

  7. RevJATB says:

    I will grant you that about the Drifters, especially the animated version that has Santa and the reindeer singing it.

  8. RevJATB says:

    The best thing about Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is his whistling. Mighty good whistlin’ there.

  9. cap'n says:

    And there is the fine art of medleyization of novelty songs. Who can argue that the Sweeney Sisters own not their “Bells Medley!”

  10. RevJATB says:

    Joel: I had never heard the hippopotamus one until we moved here. But this year, the local station that used to play that one every year has switched formats and is not doing Christmas music at all. The station that is doing Christmas music doesn’t have that song in their repertoire, it seems. I have yet to hear Dominic the Donkey. I fear this means a link will ensue.

  11. RevJATB says:

    Cap’n: The Sweeney Sisters’ Bells Medley is indeed a Christmas sine qua non!

  12. Sarah says:

    …and what about the horrendous song about a donkey that includes many, many donkey-like noises. UGH!

  13. RevJATB says:

    Must … not … click …
    Can’t … hold … on … much … longer!

  14. cap'n says:

    I like my new verse:
    Deck us all wil Boston Charlie,
    Rama Jama abracadabra, Alabamamabala!

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