As I say on here every year, I love Christmas music. Well, not just Christmas music, but music appropriate for listening to at this time of year. Winter music. As Smith & Burrows put it on last year's "This Ain't New Jersey", we hear "those same old songs, every single year": Slade, Shaky, Cliff, Jona bloody Lewie, Lennon, the Pogues, Wizzard.... They're okay, I suppose, and I used to love listening to them when I was kid, but I'm sick of them now as it's pretty much all you ever seem to hear.
It was something of a revelation to me to discover that there's plenty of other festive songs out there, and some of them are absolutely fantastic. There's the Phil Spector classics, of course, but there's some great new music too. Last year in particular was a bumper crop, with "This Is Christmas" by Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler, "A Very She & Him Christmas" by She & Him and "Funny Looking Angels" by Smith & Burrows. I bought them last December, and they sound even better this time around. That Smith and Burrows album, in spite of the distinctly unpromising premise that it's made by a bloke out of the Editors and a bloke out of Razorlight (but not THAT bloke), is really excellent and I've actually been listening to it all year. The album I've been listening to most this month though is the Emmy the Great one. What's not to like about a song about a Christmas zombie apocalypse?
Well I don't want to have my last Noel
We'd better kick those zombies back to Hell
If we want to live to tell the Zombie Christmas
As I've done over the last few years, I've put together a seasonal compilation for myself. There's a bit of overlap with other years (I just can't leave off Joseph Spence or Peter Broggs) and I've actually included the Pogues this year as I want to remember that it's a great song, not just a song that is being ruined by over-exposure.
Anyway. If you're interested, here's the list I've put together this year.
1. Baby It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin & Doris Day
2. Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys
3. I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You - Claudine Longet
4. Gaudete! - traditional (thanks Leesa!)
5. Sleigh Ride - The Ventures
6. Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing) - Tim Wheeler & Emmy The Great
7. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Joseph Spence
8. Sleigh Ride - The Ronettes
9. White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes
10. Did I Make You Cry on Christmas (Good, You Deserved It) - Sufjan Stevens
11. Marshmallow World - Darlene Love
12. Santa Baby - Kylie
13. Goodbye England (Covered in Snow) - Laura Marling
14. Silver Bells - She & Him
15. O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Belle & Sebastian
16. Here Comes Santa Claus - Wayne Newton
17. When The Thames Froze - Smith & Burrows
18. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - The Ronettes
19. (Don't Call Me) Mrs. Christmas - Tim Wheeler & Emmy the Great
20. A Great Big Sled - The Killers
21. Come On! Let's Boogy To The Elf Dance! - Sufjan Stevens
22. Twelve Days of Christmas - Peter Broggs
23. I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas
24. Zombie Christmas - Tim Wheeler & Emmy the Great
25. This Ain't New Jersey - Smith & Burrows
26. River - Joni Mitchell
27. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
28. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - The Crystals
29. Home For The Holidays - Tim Wheeler & Emmy the Great
30. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
31. Jingle Bell Rock - The Ventures
32. The Christmas Song - She & Him
I listen to it on shuffle. I skip different songs on different days, but mostly it's working pretty well for me. I ran to it only this evening. Medieval carols surprisingly good for a 5 mile run in the freezing cold. Who knew?
Word up too for the Eye in the Sky who pointed me in the direction of Fire, Sleet & Candlelight for some more traditional, medieval style carols, and also to Leesa, who encouraged me to attend her BeVox concert last night where I (re)discovered the delights of "Gaudete!". That's pretty much the Fleet Fox's act, right there.
If anyone else has any tips for some decent seasonal music, then let me know. I'm also still after a copy of the Trojan Christmas box set, so any leads on that much appreciated....
My favourite seasonal song? Probably "River" by Joni Mitchell. It's beautiful. Sandy Claw is next, mind. Do check out This Ain't New Jersey, though. It's a cracker. Yeah. Surprised me too. The guy from the Editors!
What's your favourite?