Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Records I Buy's Pretty Obvious Top 5 Christmas Albums of All Time List

With just 12 days left until Christmas (11 if Christmas Eve is your big day, like it is in my family), I thought I'd take a second to explain how each year I spend countless hours trying to discover new bands and then, once December hits, I hardly listen to anything less than forty years old.

While Jen has spent her evenings in the living room watching various holiday movies - White Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (old and new), Miracle on 34th Street, even the putrid Christmas with the Kranks - I have pretty much worn out my stylus listening to the first of what I consider to be the most essential Christmas albums:

1. Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song

I could listen to nothing else but this every December and not feel like I'm missing out. Every song on this record is the definitive version. I put this record on and I am aged in single digits again and can remember when waiting for our guests to leave on Christmas Eve was interminable.

There are tons of songs I need to hear on Christmas - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, Fairytale of New York, Blue Christmas, Carol of the Bells, Santa Baby - but when it comes to records, this is my go-to.

The rest of my list, therefore, is almost an afterthought, mostly for shuffle mode use. But since I like five as a number, here are four more to round out what I will call Records I Buy's Pretty Obvious Top 5 Christmas Albums of All Time List:

2. Bing Crosby - White Christmas

When people around me get tired of Nat King Cole and force me to switch it, this is what goes on. It's a notch below The Christmas Song, but it's still great and you can't go wrong with Bing.

Plus, what would Christmas be without White Christmas and a few others that aren't found on TCS?

Still, when people turn their backs, I put Nat back on.

3. Burl Ives - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

A Holly Jolly Christmas. Silver and Gold. Stop-motion animation. Gotta love it.

Okay, you don't actually have to love it, being that some of these songs - like We're a Couple of Misfits - are like Chinese water torture (or like waterboarding, to use a contemporary term).

Still, I am trying to churn out five here and this is only the third.

Moving right along...

4. The Chipmunks - Christmas with the Chipmunks

Depending on my mood, this is either slightly more or slightly less annoying than Rudolph.

But my father laughs every time someone puts this on. He's nearly sixty years old, but I suspect that every time this is played, he feels the same way I do when I hear Nat King Cole.

5. Sufjan Stevens - Songs for Christmas

Officially released this year, I had a bootleg of the original EPs last year and it's starting to become a Christmas tradition. Not every song is great, but who writes brilliant new Christmas songs nowadays besides Sufjan? That Was the Worst Christmas Ever! and Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance! are highlights.

Will it have the lasting power of The Christmas Song? Probably not, but at least it's something fresh to add to an increasingly cobwebby mix.

Sufjan Stevens - That Was the Worst Christmas Ever! [mp3]


Anonymous said...

I tried to post this earlier but I must have hit the wrong button. I agree with most of your picks but you left off my most favorite album, The Cabbage Patch Christmas album. This is the one that brings me back to the Christmas Eves of old when I used to ride in the back of my parents car coming home from my grandparents and watch the sky hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer. The song I like most was about Mrs. Clause and how all of her hard work is overlooked this time of year:)

Geoff G. said...

Excluding "John Denver and the Muppets" is a sin I shall not soon forget.

Geoff G. said...

PS - i miss the old, funky looking RIB font

Matthew said...

you mean the font from the banner? do you think that would look better with the new photo?

Matthew said...

your wish is my command!