Saturday, November 29, 2008

Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and...Well, Friday I'm in Love: Weekly Mix #45



I really don't enjoy Christmas and haven't done for about fifteen years. It's pretty much one long capitalistic wank, and considering I only usually buy gifts for my immediate family, I avoid the whole shopping mall extravaganza as much as possible. Sure, there's all that supposed "Christmas spirit" about, making people do and think things they don't for the rest of the entire year. And there's that fantastic family time where you are forced to hang out with relatives who don't really know you at all and don't care to, and who inevitably have nothing to talk about. The only part of Christmas I tend to enjoy is watching the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but without fail, I miss it on TV every year, which only serves to make me more grumpy. I should just get a proper copy of it and be done with the whole thing. (My family has also created a Christmas tradition of searching for our copy of the Claymation Christmas special with the California Raisins, camels in sneakers and bells with faces - we swear we taped a copy, but we have never found it. Again we should just get a new copy, but no one can be bothered.)

One of the most abysmal things about Christmas, though (aside from fruitcake) is the music on offer. When I worked retail for five years, I heard the same loop of Christmas songs for two months out of each year until I wanted to stab my eyes out with candlesticks. The particularly horrendous one that still makes me twitch to this very day is that Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime song from Paul McCartney. It's difficult to find decent Christmas music - I generally grin and bear the traditional family Christmas music like Boney M and Mannheim Steamroller (we usually only play it during our four-Sundays-before-Christmas-German-advent tradition when we light another candle on the wreath each Sunday evening leading up to Christmas). The only Christmas music I have ever purchased is Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Sufjan Stevens' four-disc set. However, over the years, I've built up a small collection of songs that I find bearable and I've assembled a chunk of them here for the weekly mix. So, when you have to do Christmassy tasks of any sort (wrapping gifts, decorating the tree, baking cookies, running people over in the parking lot), you can have something to listen to. There will be no Band Aid, no Elvis, no Frank Sinatra, and definitely no *twitch* Paul McCartney.

As with my Halloween mix, I've only provided links to every second track, but the full mix is available to download at the very bottom. The mix kicks off with a little rock, including the brilliantly satirical Christmas Number One from last year done by the geniuses of Black Box Recorder and Art Brut. Then there's a little bit of electronic with The Knife and Dandy Warhols before you eventually hit some retro Spectorish songs by The Raveonettes, The Long Blondes, The Hives and Cyndi Lauper, and of course The Ronettes themselves. I've included Stars' cover of The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl classic because I had already used the original Fairytale of New York for a duet mix earlier this year - don't fear, the Stars version is pretty great. Then it goes rather gentle into the good night with Kate Bush, Goldfrapp, Mogwai, Momus, Okkervil River and that duet with David Bowie and Bing Crosby, which must be included - despite its awkward bit of cringe-inducing dialogue - because I love David Bowie. It all finishes up with Kermit the Frog because I love Muppets as much as David Bowie (which explains why my favourite film is Labyrinth). Also, as an exercise in craziness and kicks, I would suggest you take a look at the Last Christmas Web site, where all known covers of George Michael's contemporary classic are gathered. I stumbled across it last year when I started realizing just how many covers of that song I had come across - apparently someone else had already beaten me to the wondering and took that one extra step toward OCD. For this mix you'll get the Manics version from an appearance on TFI Friday (much better than the strange Christmas Ghost song they came up with last year). So, this mix is called Better Than Fruitcake. Bah, humbug!


Christmas Number One - The Black Arts

Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) - The Ramones

Father Christmas - The Kinks

We Three Kings - Reverend Horton Heat

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Bright Eyes

Little Drummer Boy - The Dandy Warhols

Christmas Reindeer - The Knife

Can You Hear What I Hear? - Bodies of Water

Frosty the Snowman - Cocteau Twins

Christmas Fire - The Deer Tracks

She Came Home For Christmas - Mew

Put the Lights on the Tree - Sufjan Stevens

Child's Christmas in Wales - John Cale

Fairytale of New York - Stars

The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes

Christmas is Cancelled - The Long Blondes

A Christmas Duel - The Hives and Cyndi Lauper

White Christmas - The Pipettes

Sleigh Ride - The Ronettes

Baby, It's Cold Outside - Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews

It's Christmas Time - Yo La Tengo

Carol of the Bells - The Polyphonic Spree

December Will Be Magic Again - Kate Bush

Winter Wonderland - Goldfrapp

Christmas and Train Trips and Things - Trembling Blue Stars

It's Xmas So We'll Stop - Frightened Rabbit

Merry Christmas (I Love You) - Hawksley Workman

Listening to Otis Redding At Home During Christmas - Okkervil River

Last Christmas - Manic Street Preachers

Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Christmas Song - Mogwai

Christmas on Earth - Momus

The Christmas Wish - Kermit the Frog


Weekly Mix #45 (Megaupload)

11 comments:

M said...

what a great list - thanks for posting! I see some favorites, and a bunch I don't know. Now I have something to counteract the rest of the family holiday music ...

elliusbellius said...

Holy crap, this is one of the best mixes I've seen. :) Thank you so much for knowing how to rock. ;)

Ed said...

Great list - still trying to download Manics version of Last Christmas. Been having my own Christmas thing over at 17 Seconds too...

30daysinthehole said...

You need "Christmas Ghost" by the Manics on your list. Pretty good though!

Brittany Anne Myers said...

can you re-up kate bush's song?

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