Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Top 10 Christmas Songs #2 of 2014

Merry Christmas Eve day to you all of my fellow music lovers and blog followers! Since I have some plans tonight and yes *sigh* have to work Christmas Day tomorrow for 8 hours and then go to another Christmas and hit the hay early because of work the following day this list is being delivered to you very early as well as my Christmas greetings. So let's just get right into as I present another 10 of my favorite Christmas songs for this 2014 season until next year.
#10. O Holy Night by Wynonna Judd
Now you were probably beginning to think I didn't like any country artists until I started discussing Christmas music. I don't know what it is but I guess being a Kentucky born girl it makes me miss home and being around my family. When it comes to classic Christmas music more of the secular or Christmas Mass choir variety, O Holy Night is my most favorite because the harmonies of members blend so beautifully and when a solo artist sings this song they truly get to shine. Now Wynonna Judd and her mother Naomi as The Judds were enjoyable being Kentucky natives and since Wynonna went solo, she's had some hits just as big on her own. Her version of this song is just one of many that takes my breath away...
#9.  Last Christmas by Ashley Tisdale from A Very Special Christmas 7 (2009)
Ashley Tisdale is one of my newer favorite artists that even though younger than myself she is very talented and goes to prove that being a Disney Channel child star is still a very lucrative way to selling albums. You could make this a very depressed and slow kind of song but most versions I have heard are very upbeat and full of cheer which is how I wish everyone could feel at Christmas time but I know is impossible with the way life can throw curves at you. Maudlin feelings aside, this is another Christmas song that is one of my favorites no matter which genre or artist decides to get their hands on it.
#8. Sleigh Ride by Ella Fitzgerald
I am first to admit that jazz is not a genre I listen to a lot except at Christmas time because jazz versions of Christmas songs are so lively and spirited to really keep you energized and bring that retro feel to any Christmas party. Ella Fitzgerald was one of the best and her swinging 1960 version of another favorite Christmas classic of mine is no exception.
#7. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo & Patsy
Now I have seen this on a lot of list for most hated or most annoying Christmas songs and I guess on a certain level I can see it but I have been hearing this song since I was really little and when it comes on the radio I can't help but smile and sing along but yes in real life your grandmother being hit by a reindeer would not be the joyful and jolly subject for a Christmas song. You know I kind of hate when people take songs too seriously when they are clearly written in fun and personally as someone who has lost a family member around the holiday it's not that you are being an awful person you just want to try an keep the joy of the holiday are you will just quit it cold turkey like it is a bad habit. Anyway, I think most people might not like this song anymore thanks to the animated special that comes on Cartoon Network every year but yet again I don't think it's that bad...*ahem*
#6. Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms
Yes yet another favorite Christmas song where I love almost every version I hear and have heard it so many times since being a very little girl. This original version recorded by Bobby Helms in 1957 so it's early rock and roll with a country twang which I guess makes it more rockabilly in flavor so when its covered it has many ways to go so it can be covered by a variety of artists.
#5. Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney
It goes without saying that Sir Paul McCartney is a musical genius. Most people like him because he was a Beatle one of the biggest band's of all time, then he had Wings with late wife Linda and many solo projects that are still going today. So when he plays all the instruments on one song and gives us a new modern Christmas carol that cements the whole musical genius thing.
#4. Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys
I love The Beach Boys pretty much everything they do so when Christmastime rolls around and this 1963 hit written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love comes on the radio I'm grinning and my head's bobbing along. I always wonder how Christmas was back in the 1950s and 60s mostly to see a time before commercialism and materialism were more important and hope it was as innocent and sunny as the music...well most of it.
#3. Silent Night by Charlotte Church
When I heard the voice come from this at the time seventeen year old girl I was just so amazed at how angelic and mature it sounds! When it comes to classic Christmas carols this is another one of my favorites and when you can make one artist sound like a whole choir of angels thanks to her soprano range which is so operatic you can picture yourself in a huge cathedral or opera house hearing this be performed on Christmas Eve or Christmas's glorious!
#2. Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano
Another fun Christmas song to sing in the car while out getting some Christmas shopping done even if you don't speak Spanish or sound horrible trying to attempt to even sing Spanish. Since releasing this in 1970, Jose Feliciano has become synonymous with cheerful holiday celebrations and the bridging of Latin and American cultures since Jose himself is Puerto Rican so even though some of us may not speak or understand Spanish we receive the same message of goodwill when he wishes all of us a Merry Christmas from the bottom of his heart.
So what tops this Christmas list of holiday songs and is the last song of the holiday I will be talking about until 2015?
#1. Shimmy Down The Chimney (Fill Up My Stocking) by Alison Krauss
Known primarily as a country artist, Alison Krauss sometimes steps out of the box into sort of pop and rock influenced ventures but this one I always thought it was very jazz, soul and R&B kind of tone and you known Alison pulls it off very well. There's an innocent sweetness and saucy groove to the song I have never heard in any other Christmas song which makes this song very unique. I admit I like singing this one and can imagine the background singers swaying and snapping fingers and even though it seems to put Santa in a very naughty position, I still think it's very nice.
Well I guess that's it for the Christmas music since the holiday is almost over so it looks we are going to have to put a DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS SEASON 2015 tag on the holiday vault. Since there are only 7 days left of the year I don't know if I will get another blog post in but if not I'll see you all again in 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top 10 Christmas Songs #1 Of 2014

Well I am back to spread some more holiday cheer with the gift of music for all of those who follow me. I'm kind of glad this isn't our last look at Christmas music. If this title is a little misleading it is not looking at Christmas songs just released this year but more like a random Top 10 of Christmas songs that I enjoy from all sorts of different artists, genres and decades. I have a lot of Christmas songs so I know I won't get a lot of them covered before Christmas is over at midnight on Thursday and the rest will have to wait for another year. Some of these songs will clearly be recognizable but some may also be overlooked or even lost classics but I have been listening to Christmas music since I was a little girl so I have heard a lot of different versions of traditional carols and Christmas penned originals so let's get this musical Christmas party started!
#10. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by The Pointer Sisters from A Very Special Christmas (1987)
The first in a series of compilation albums where popular artists of the time record versions of Christmas songs which the sales helped to benefit the Special Olympics is where you can find this 80s upbeat cover of the song first released back in 1934 and probably most famous because of the Rankin-Bass classic. I always enjoyed the harmonies of Ruth, June and Anita Pointer and the fun they seem to have singing together which is evident in this song.
#9. Winter Wonderland by The Eurhythmics from A Very Special Christmas (1987)
Okay I swear I am not cheating by putting this whole album up but it does have some very good covers and this one is exceptionally wonderful (pun intended!). The song Winter Wonderland was written the same time the previous song we discussed was also penned and even though not explicitly mentioning Christmas it is about discussing the beauty of winter and finding love which is probably why it is one of my favorite Christmas songs. This one is by Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox known to the world as The Eurhythmics is a very pop/jazz kind of number thanks to some of the scatting that Annie Lennox does in her very beautiful and powerful vocals to add some 80s flair to a very pretty song.
#8. Please Come Home For Christmas by Jon Bon Jovi from the album A Very Special Christmas 2 (1992)
While I will admit I am not a huge Bon Jovi fan, I do love the way he sings this song. He's not just a pretty boy rocker he does have a very nice voice that can handle this very soulful yet sorrowful Christmas tale about being alone during the holiday. Written in 1960, it's a more modern sort of classic and I think a lot of women remember Jon looking good in the video and well men remember Cindy Crawford wishing she was the gift under their tree that year!
#7. Here Comes Santa Claus by Elvis Presley from Elvis' Christmas Album (1957)
I don't think anyone can not like at least one song by The King and even though I like a handful the ones I enjoy the very most are his renditions of Christmas classics because the are either very beautiful to show off what a good voice he had and some of course are good for showcasing his fun side like this one. Written a decade earlier by country legend Gene Autry, it has such a whimsical charm that even Elvis doing that imitable drawl of his makes this such a happy song that I think even children will love it into adulthood just as much as I do!
#6. Silver Bells by Bing Crosby
A name almost always associated with the holidays thanks to White Christmas, Bing Crosby singing this song about the pretty decorations of bells during the Christmas season is spritely and jaunty thanks to Bing's whistling and reminds one of just the very simple reminders to the true meaning of Christmas: bells of the church celebrating the joy of Jesus' birth and even those of the Salvation Army workers dressed as Santa trying to earn money for those who have so very little.
#5. Jingle Bells by Frank Sinatra
Probably the oldest published Christmas song on this list (written in 1857) it always gets stuck in my head even when it is not Christmastime and if not the chorus of the original than the opening of this Frank Sinatra version does I mean it's so damn catchy!
#4. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) by The Chipmunks
Since The Chipmunks cartoon series was a big part of my childhood I have heard this song for many a Christmases and others have had even more since this song first came out in 1958. I use to have a Disney Christmas Carol tape that had this song sung by another pair of chipmunks you may know as Chip And Dale but the trio of Alvin, Simon and Theodore will always remain supreme and if you ever get a chance to find the special A Chipmunk Christmas with this song you will be moved for that version has less comedy and more charm than its original version. No matter what I know Christmas is truly here whenever the radio plays this little gem...
(I posted the Chip And Dale version in case anybody has never heard it because well this is nostalgia for me and I wish to share it which is why I created this blog in the first place.)
#3. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
Just thirteen years old when she recorded the song released in 1958, Brenda Lee's biggest hit has been a holiday staple ever since. Though she mostly became know as a country oriented artist in her later career that doesn't stop this from being played on different genre radio stations around Christmas time. This is perfect for any holiday get together with its upbeat lyrics, Brenda's cheery voice and a sax solo to get your feet dancing around your own Christmas tree!
#2. Santa Baby by Madonna from the album A Very Special Christmas (1987)
Okay I promise that for this list this is the last Christmas song from the first A Very Special Christmas release for now anyway. Of course being an 80s child I love Madonna's music from that era and her version of Santa Baby is so upbeat, cheery, coy and pouty that it kind of reminds me of Betty Boop which I think is what Madonna was going for because even though most of her early songs had a more breathy sound it's been evident that Madonna has a strong voice. It's a very recognizable tune during Christmas time and is on the radio a lot and personally it is one of my favorite versions of the song and even one of my favorites in general.
So what could top this Christmas list like an angel on the top of the tree? Well it is another one of my favorite Christmas songs a more modern one and the artists who have the honor of being number one are of course my favorite people of all time... 
#1. Blue Christmas by Ann and Nancy Wilson from the album A Very Special Christmas 2 (1992)
First of all are you even surprised or shocked? Of course you aren't but are you surprised that Blue Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas songs? Yes most of the time this song is performed to be very sad and depressing but I have heard some versions that are upbeat and soulful and this version by The Wilson Sisters falls into that soulful category. Ann is the lead vocal but Nancy's harmonies in the background are just as strong and when you can hear Ann belt out these lyrics it's like hearing a lounge singer doing a torch song in a bar on Christmas Eve. You know some people are alone on Christmas they don't have families or they just get depressed by the holidays so they go to a bar to drown their sorrows where normally if you heard this song you would just give up hope. I guess I'm getting just a small bit of personal or biased opinion but when I hear this song it's not depressing it's almost kind of hopeful.
(Almost always this song is just attributed to Ann Wilson but the cd credits both Ann and Nancy and I should know because I bought it just for that reason!)
So that's a wrap on this list and I believe I might be able to fit one more random Christmas song list in for Christmas Eve day and then well I guess it will be another 365 days before we discuss the Christmas music again. So until tomorrow enjoy this Christmas gift of music.