Ah the magic, the wonder, the teeth-grating annoyance of Christmas, specifically the kind of sentimental musical fare that verily drips with peppermint flavoured sugar syrup. Usually I like a bit of tackiness but by the time Christmas Eve rolls around I’m generally fed up to the eye teeth with insipid covers of Christmas “classics”. Why the very mention of Cliff Richard or Mariah Carey is enough to make me tense up.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The only way to go is to pick some Chrissie tunes of your own that don’t turn your stomach. Here are my suggestions for a Merry (but not too merry) Christmas.
- Christmas with Soul – This album is 80% gold. My pick would have to be Chuck Berry’s “Merry Christmas Baby” and The Moonglows with “Hey Santa Claus” but there are a couple of tracks on this that veer a little too far from soul into schmaltz…but that’s what the skip button’s for isn’t it? Don’t be tricked into trying out Gospel Christmas with Soul (like I did), as it has only one gospel track and very little in the way of soul either.
- Christmas puddin’ – Kiwi laidback jazz arrangements of a few select tunes make up this fruity treat by Twinset. My favourite track? “Oh little town of Bethlehem” with a touch of a bossanova beat. This might be the most chilled out part of your Christmas day.
- Silent Nightclub – Prefer your Christmas albums to feature lounged-up covers of nineties rap hits like “Ice, ice baby”? Sure the Christmas connection is tenuous, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere but there are more “traditional” tunes on this lounge album to keep you in a festive frame of mind along with those of the “Like a virgin” variety.
- New Orleans Christmas – You really can’t go too wrong with a Putumayo Christmas album and this Big Easy offering is no exception. If there’s any kind of music in the world that says “party” it’s this. Top-tapping good times.
- DVD it – Don’t go past the music DVDs this festive season. Earlier this year we got the Johnny Cash Christmas specials 1976 to 1979 providing retro nostalgia aplently. Choose one of these or perhaps Chris Isaak’s 2008 yuletide offering to keep you safe from whatever ickness they decide to put on TV on Christmas day.
Any suggestions for audiovisual delights to help you keep your sanity this Christmas?