By William Hoffman | @Wilbur_Hoffman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you hear it? Sleigh bells and carolers abound as we ramp up the Christmas season with an oversaturation of Christmas songs. Yes, it’s some people’s worst nightmare but Christmas songs don’t have to be nails on a chalkboard if you have the right selections. So while your families are bickering over end of the year congressional budgets or who’s doing the dishes after the family meal, sneak off and pop some of these tunes in and celebrate the holidays the right way.
Barenaked Ladies: Barenaked For The Holidays — This is my all time favorite Christmas album. It plays non stop in my house while I’m helping my mom in the kitchen or opening presents Christmas morning. The musicality and of these talented artists really comes out with wacky arrangements and pitchperfect harmonies. It’s a poppy upbeat album in a genre of often slow and repetitive music. The best song is “Elf’s Lament,” which humorously chronicles the plight of elfs working for Santa under bad conditions, forming a union and going on strike. The album even has a number of Hanukkah songs so no one feels out of place at your ornament party.
Frank Sinatra: Christmas Songs by Sinatra — You know Frank Sinatra, he’s that guy that totally ripped off Michael Buble. These are just classic Sinatra arrangements that have become iconic for its use in numerous holiday movies and shows. His crooning voice sounds like it was recorded around a fireplace and makes for the perfect setting for any Christmas event.
Donny Hathaway: “This Christmas” — I fell in love with this song early in High School when our jazz band played it for the yearly holiday concert. It has a lot of soul and that bass grooves like no other holiday song out there. There are a lot of good versions (Chris Brown’s is not one of them) but nothing beats the original.
Lady Antebellum: On This Winter’s Night — Last year one of the brightest and most talented country bands today, Lady Antebellum, put out a great classic Christmas album. It may seem like an oxymoron to have a southern country band singing about the snow covered streets, but it is easily overlooked. There’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary on this album but it sticks to those traditional holiday tropes and makes it work well.
Bob Dylan: Christmas In The Heart — Okay this might be more for a good laugh than a serious suggestion. However, if you’ve never heard it before I highly recommend a listen. That gritty smokers voice just screams holiday cheer as Dylan struggles to hit those high notes scratching and wailing all the way. But if you’ve always wanted a religious inspired followup to his 70’s gospel records, then this is the album for you.
Various artists: Holidays Rule — This collection album features a ton of well known modern and time-honored artists such as Fun., Paul McCartney, Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico, The Civil Wars and many more. It’s a good way to feature the contemporary musicians without having to put out a full CD with 90 percent crap and one good single. And with so many artists featured just about anyone will find someone they like on there.