Illustration by Lorraine Nam
When I worked in retail I found that the Christmas cd was despised. It was locked away, the repetition of the jingly notes, a killer. I’ve hated the horrendous error of the repeating (SOLITARY) 90s ‘joyful’ cd myself. Is it laziness, the desire to inflict pain on co-workers, a smug middle management decision, or because without it shoppers would be confused and think Christmas aint on?
Choir by Daria Hlazatova
I guess I am talking about pre-i pod years without choice and 20 plus tracks. The cd was awful kids! Possibly the worst case of ‘play…play’ I’ve experienced, incidentally not at Christmas, was whilst I was working as a ‘Visitor Operations Team Member’ at a Cornish Castle in my summers. I’d avoid working in the gift shop because the Shop Manager was so hideously obsessed with the children’s films soundtrack. It was on all day – nine hours, “because the kids love it.” I would try and absolutely fail (she was like a caffeinated swooping bird of prey) to put on the ‘Tudor’ cd, or if there was a wedding on: ‘Romance’, or even ‘Classical/Sweet/Explosive Dreams’… If I was trapped in the gift shop all week, that was 45 whole hours of tying sashes back to their wooden swords, polishing fudge and listening to Harry Potter prancing about. Awful.
Illustration by Matilde Sazio
However I digress, back to CHRISTMAS. This blog post is a round up of Christmas songs that are jolly good to listen to whilst wrapping the beloved’s gifts with the Muppets Christmas Carol on in the background, or a frivolous Christmas night with the drinks cabinet… or simply trying to get home.
Last year I couldn’t get enough of the Christmas music (not sure why), and as a child it absolutely shaped my Christmas. The films, the carols, the fight to number one. East17 Vs Take That was a pivotal moment when I was ten – “Stay now, stay now…” Whilst 2003’s Mad World was a dramatic number one for a (dramatic) nineteen year old on the brink of a year long world trip. Admittedly I don’t care who is number one now (Matt Cardle – blah), but bands still make some marvelous Christmas music that should not be overlooked. I speak of tunes like 6 Day Riot’s 2000 Miles from Home and Marshmallow World by Kotki Dwa.
And just how sweet is Snowman by Esperi? Take it as my first recommendation:
Bing Crosby’s; I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas has to be this high in the post, because the dreaming looks like it’s over. Every year as a child I would look to the skies and ask Mr Sky whether he would make my garden white. Pre the last two years, snow was rare in the South East. Only a few semi snow sessions in the 80s, the occasional snow flurry in March throughout the 90s, and a few days of snow splats in the noughties. Now, aged 26 it is finally here and blimey, it’s beautiful. And awful. However, the song is legendary and is the best selling single of all time according to the Guiness Book of World Records. Irving Berlin wrote the classic in (approximately) the 1940s. He was looking back nostalgically to an old fashioned Christmas setting – awww. With a nice mix of melancholy and comfort, it’s a beauty.
Next comes Louis Armstrong: Zat You Santa Claus? Naughty and strutty, that voice is incredible.
Louis Armstrong by Mina Bach
Marshmallow World by Kotki Dwa plays on ‘The Weather Siituation’. With lighthearted, cheeky and sweet lyrics, it’s fun “the world is your snowball…go out and roll it along… In winter it’s a marshmallow world.” The video shows news footage of everyone trudging through the snow, attempting to shop and travel (horrendous) to smiley sledging. It ups the sprits and the electro bubble sound throughout makes you feel like your in an actual snow and marshmallow factory!
Jingle Bells Rock by Bobby Helms. Makes one jive for some reason. Move the hips, pout and hands halfway up in the air. Always good at the office Christmas party. Put those bellinis down!
Illustration by Daria Hlazatova
The Carpenters: There’s something about Karen’s voice that creates an urge to sing, the simple rising and falling notes…she puts her arm around you with her voice and runs up a hill with you. In starlight. Add to this a Laura Ashley dress flowing about, knitted tank tops and pineapple and cheese on sticks and you have yourself a thoroughly 70s Christmas shindig. The Carpenters cracked out a few Christmas tunes, but Merry Christmas Darling is a corker. They’re apart but in her dreams, they’re ‘Christmassing’ together. Everyday is a holiday when she is near to him… HEART.
Illustration by Matilde Sazio
Who hasn’t rocked around the Christmas Tree? Another song that get’s the majority on the floor: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee. It’s the slightly straining voice, the upbeat screeching and the having fun with wild abandon feel. I’m listening to it now and I literally can’t stop the need to put in exclamation marks and use capital letters- CHRISTMAS!!
Illustration by Chloe Cook
iliketrains is a slowed down version of Last Christmas. It’s a dramatic and sentimental with a wink. Brooding and beautiful – listen to this whilst you look in the mirror and pretend to be a femme fatale in a 30s silent movie.
Illustration by Avril Kelly
Elvis the King etc. Blue Christmas is a great one. So Here Comes Santa Claus. He just makes me want to morph into a stereotypical 50s gal with a husband who’s hair is permanently fixed with gel. And his man body in a perfectly fitting suit. Elvis is H.O.T. and full of a variety of indulgences!
Illustration by Claudia Fumagalli
6 Day Riot, 2000 Miles From Home is thriller of a tune – in that it’s goosebump perfect. If my (currently flu ridden) boyfriend wasn’t here, I’d be pining with this song on repeat. Soft voice, delicate notes and simple sweetnesses.
Slade, Merry Christmas Everybody. The song that people roll their eyes to and seems to be in every gift shop, everywhere. It was in my post office this morning. Standing in line, it was belting it out. When I was at the counter with my parcel ‘going’ to Jersey, the man behind the counter said “Is it for this Christmas, or next?!” Then proceeded to chuckle (hahaha). I saw the mince pies and Quality Street in the background of the post office crew’s quarters. They were having fun, the staff, which makes a change from grumpy staff with an inability to smile or look you in the eye at all. Combined with Slade’s music, I chuckled with the chap. They can be cheeky because nice people are best. I still have no idea why they sporadically play music throughout the year in there though.
This had to go on, Carol of The Bells. The version from Home Alone, when Kevin goes into the Church. He’s alone and the fun’s over. Kevin wants his family back. Have a listen:
The Snowman, We’re Walking In The Air. I don’t feel I even need to use words to accompany this. Raymond Briggs wrote and illustrated the book in 1978, whilst the film was created in 1982 by Diane Jackson. Howard Blake composed the wonderful music. I particularly like the fact they go past Brighton Pier (near my heart home) and that they see whales.
Finally, Mariah Carey. Puppies in knitwear. Red jumpsuit. “All I want for Christmas” So catchy and sounds amazing on Karaoke.
6 Day Riot, Avril Kelly, Chloe Cook, Christmas, Claudia Fumagalli, Claudia Matilde Sazio, Daria Hlazatova, Elvis, Esperi, films, George Michael, Helen Martin, Home Alone, I Like Trains, iliketrains, Kotki Dwa, Louis Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Mina Bach., music
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