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December 6, 2013 Posted by | Photo, Photography, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Christmas music

Christmas music

What I always find interesting about Christmas music, is that people are willing to listen to genres that at any other time of the year they wouldn’t touch with a barge poll. People who hate crooners will slap on a Bing Crosby record. People who aren’t normally country fans will put A Garth Brooks Christmas on the CD player. People still have CD players, right? I don’t, but I assume people do. I’ve always found it interesting that people will forgive a genre or artist they don’t normally like, because of a Christmas song.

Let’s be clear on this, I’m the sort of person who people look at and say “Of course, you WOULD listen to Manhattan Transfer.” But I don’t actually listen to them. Except, of course, I have their Christmas album. There is nothing so remarkable in that. I have about 200 Christmas albums, all told. Don’t judge me. I went through what can only be described as a period of my life. I made so very many, many Christmas Mix Tapes, and I needed A LOT of material for those tapes. You don’t know what hell is until you find yourself trying to sort 2300 songs looking for THAT ONE that fits perfectly, only to find Neil Diamond staring back at you.

It’s just odd, that during the month of December, everyone walks around with an expanded idea of what music should be and men open their shut up hearts freely to accept music genres that died out before they were even born.

OTHER THINGS I FIND ODD!

Now these are obviously self-selecting things, and none of them are set in stone or being handed down as rules. They’re just trends I’ve noticed. I probably have an exception to each of these in my collection.

If you’re listening to a country singer, the secular songs will be the bouncy “Fun Country” style song and the religious one will be the slow, reserved song. And there is usually only one or two religious songs on a country album.

Only Jazz or R&B singers sing the song “This Christmas” like it’s been set aside for them. Same with Christmas Time Is Here, no one else will cover it. Also, 7 times out of 10, Jazz songs that are religious are instrumentals. They’ll sing the secular songs, but not the religious ones. There are a lot of religious songs though, more than most other genres.

New Age musicians (By which I mean adult contemporary instrumental) LOVE them some obscure Christmas songs. Mannheim Steamroller, for example introduced me to several songs I had never heard and only rarely hear now. While contemporary Celtic musicians go for songs so obscure, I’m not always convinced they’re really Christmas songs. But since most of them are in some form of Gaelic, I can hardly call them on it. Also, since the songs are almost painfully beautiful, I don’t feel inclined.

Rock and pop tends either to go for the very traditional or a complete opposition to the idea of traditional. You either get Smashing Pumpkins on their very best behavior, or Blink 182 talking about going after carolers with a baseball bat. Quite frequently this is because a Christmas Album is an easy way to fill out a contractual obligation. Sometimes you’ll get someone who fully makes the music their own. See Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets for an example of this. Some people are trying, some people aren’t. Look for the group albums, where people are contributing one song and you’ll have a better time for the most part.

ANYWAY, just some thoughts I’ve been having.

EDIT I forgot to mention. If someone wants to do an intense, rocking number, it’s probably going to be Carol of The Bells. That one has a repetitive beat like tune that can easily be adapted to that purpose.

December 6, 2013 Posted by | VEWPRF | , , | 2 Comments