Friday, December 05, 2014

New Christmas Classics (1)

Did you see Mariah Carey disgracing her Christmas classic, earlier this week?

Website Deadspin isolated her vocals for all to hear how bad her pipes are doing: HERE.

In 2013, Chris Klimek wrote this article on asking: why aren't there any new Christmas classics since 'All I Want for Christmas is You'? Hold your horses, he's not asking why there aren't any new Christmas songs written, he wonders why none of the newer tracks (from 1990 until now) have grown to canon status.

If you, like me, check out new Christmas music every year feverishly, you'll find that covers of 'All I Want for Christmas' and Wham's 'Last Christmas' are on almost every new, 'alternative' Christmas music compilation. To be honest, I don't need another version. I've made a Spotify-list with a little over 70 versions of Last Christmas (HERE), and trust me, if you've listened to all of them, YOU don't want another version too. I'm waiting for someone else to compile versions of 'All I Want for Christmas' to prove my point. UPDATE: How 'bout this guy, eh?
I should make clear that I don't hate 'AIWfC' or 'Last Christmas', I think they're wonderful Christmas pop songs, I just do not need to hear your acoustic, metal or reggae-fied version of it. Because somebody else already made such a version. Together with 20 other bands.

So how 'bout suggesting a few songs that have the potential to be canonized to 'AIWfC'-status? That can be covered, versioned, mashed-up, etc for the next few years? Songs with bells on (literally), songs written in the last 20 years, that has been covered a few times already, by various artists? I think these three have canonizing potential:

1. Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas (2002)

Good Christmas songs, in my book, have bells, mention Christmas and have a sense of saudade, that Portuguese word for 'a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves'. Maybe This Christmas has that. It was covered by Tracey Thorn (of Everything But the Girl), by jazz hero Nils Landgren, by Rumer, by The Parkington Sisters (here), by a big band and several singer-songwriters. I can imagine a screamo-version. You can electrofy it easily.

2. Low - Just Like Christmas (1999)

This sounds like a Shangri-La's song, which is always a good sign. When it comes to good Christmas songs, the words 'Phil' and 'Spector' loom around the corner - because of his 'A Christmas Gift for You' album from 1963, arguably the best Christmas pop album ever released. Very economic lyrics, but they catch both the Christmas spirit and the saudade mentioned earlier very well. Hasn't been covered that much Was covered a whole lot more than I thought, even translated to Swedish and French. See HERE

3. Mary Margaret O'Hara - Christmas Evermore (1996)

OK, I know this is a stretch. Mary Margaret isn't a household name and although this song is on several compilations, where it rubs elbows with the big crooners, it's a hidden diamond. I heard about it first when it was covered by Cold Specks. The original nor the cover version are on YouTube (EDIT: it is now), that saying a lot. So you have to go to THIS Spotify playlist to hear it, and other versions mentioned.

So, whaddya think? Did I miss a track that has better credentials? Love to hear from you. Love to hear your version!


D-No said...

Remember this version?

Lie In The Sound said...

Over The Rhine's – All I ever get for Christmas is blue, has already been covered a couple of times.

I have no idea which indie Christmas song could become a new classic. Take any and a superstar and make it the new Coca-Cola Christmas advert song?

Anonymous said...

I agree on Ron Sexsmith, have my doubts at Low, although it has my sympathy, but MM O'Hara is certainly not a potential classic. Personally I'm very fond of Joy by Tracey Thorn, my favorite for the last years. Not an everybody-happy-christmas song, but it leaves you with the right feeling.