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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Songs’

Christmas

There is nearly universal consensus that Christmas is overly-commercialized.  Every year the same complaints surface, decorations are up too early, stores should wait until after Thanksgiving, “You Can’t Have Christmas Without Christ.”  However, the criticisms have become as tiresome to me as the commercialization and secularization of something sacred.  I am no more inspired to keep Christmas holy by shrill,self-righteous lawn signs than I am by the constant pressure to buy and consume in the name of December 25th.  Both miss the mark. Both are rooted in cultural norms far removed from Christ.

With that in mind I invite you to listen to the following Christmas songs that, for me, re-imagine, re-invent, and re-capture something holy, quiet and special.

Listen:

Download: (Imagine! Christmas)

Aimee Mann

Calling On Mary

Aimee Mann and Christmas would seem, on the surface, to be a toxic mix.  And yet her somber honesty makes her Christmas album one worth owning.  On this song she mourns for something lost that she never had.

The Staple Singers

There Was a Star

I don’t see this album included very often when people talk about the ‘Best Christmas Albums of All Time.”  It should be.  This had to be what the Three wise men were singing.

Dr. John

Il est Ne, Le Divin Enfant

Voodoo for Christmas?  Check your gris gris bag.

Sufjan Stevens

The Friendly Beasts

I am not sure if you have ever listened to Sufjan Stevens before.  I like what he does but many of his songs irritate me…especially in the car.  Some of his songs sound overly manufactured and cheesy in an un-ironic way.  But several of his songs are remarkable and unforgetable.  Much of his work injected with a distinct Christian voice and vision.   Joy and wonder permeate his Christmas album.

The Trail Band

Dancin’ Round the Christmas Tree

Remember Quarterflash?  This is what they are doing now.

Jack White

Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over

As I have said before, Jack White can do no wrong.  He is my vote for Artist of the Decade.  This gem comes from the soundtrack to a decent film adaptation of the “it’s too good to be a first novel” novel Cold Mountain by Charles Fraizer.  Buy the book and crank up the White Stripes as you read it.

Roger Miller

Old Toy Trains

Miller wrote this in 1967 for his son.  A beautiful and simple song.

Elvis Costello and the Chieftans

St. Stephen’s Day Murders

This is my favorite Christmas album.  It is the first one I play as we head out to get our tree and the last one I listen to as we put the decorations away on the Epiphany.

The Pogues w/Kirsty MacColl

Fairytale of New York

Shane MacGowan only made one more album with The Pogues after this masterpiece before he became a parody of himself.  “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse I pray God it’s our last.” What a great line.

Ryan Adams

Hey Parker, It’s Christmas

I don’t have a link for this song.  It is another Christmas song about absence, about the yearning for what is missing.

Neko Case

Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis

Her voice, his lyrics.  It doesn’t get much better.

Robert Earl Keen

Merry Christmas from the Family

For all of you with less than perfect families, this is a Christmas song for you.

Paul Kelly

Making Gravy

You probably have never heard of Paul Kelly.  It is a damn shame that he has not been able to cultivate an audience here in the states.  Sometimes referred to a the Australian Bruce Springsteen, he is responsible for a stunning number of exquisite songs.  This is one of his best.

Steve Earle

Christmas Time in Washington

I first heard this song ten years ago while listening to the Christmas edition of KFAT’s Chewing the Fat.  I didn’t like Steve Earle before I heard this song.  He is now one of my favorites.

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds

Christmas Song

It’s pretty simple:  Love.

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