Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Five, Christmas Carol Edition

This week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five is all about Christmas carols...so indulge in a cup of cocoa with an Altoid chaser, and join me in pondering:

A favorite 'secular' Christmas song:
For me it's a toss-up between "The Christmas Song" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas."

Christmas song that chokes you up (maybe even in spite of yourself--the cheesier the better):
It isn't cheesy, but "Christmas in the Trenches," John McCutcheon's song about the World War I Christmas truce where English and German soldiers climbed out of their trenches and met on the battlefield to celebrate the holiday together before going back to the carnage of warfare, makes me boo-hoo every time; it's actually making my eyes water even thinking about it. Another non-cheesy song that makes me a little misty, I think simply because of the melody: "Lo, How a Rose is Growing"; ditto "Once in Royal David's City" -- both the sweet voices of the child sopranos who often sing the first line, and the "big ending" when the choir and congregation and organ and other instruments all join together. Okay -- this one is just a touch cheesy: Mario Lanza belting out "O Holy Night."

Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire:
So many songs...so little time..."Jingle Bell Rock" -- I think more because of the mind-numbing repetition in every Muzak-drenched public space than because of the song itself, which is fairly innocuous; "Do You Hear What I Hear?", which drips with lounge-lizard Cheez-Whiz ("Now, I hope this next song means as much to you as it does to me..."); most of the Christmas fare on the average country-music station.


The Twelve Days of Christmas: is there *any* redeeming value to that song? Discuss:
Well, I remember, as a young poultry grower, once trying to find out what kind of hen a "French hen" actually was...so it was educational. I know that this song is thought by some to be a kind of encoded Roman Catholic catechism that originated back in the days of Cromwell, but I admit to not really picking up on the metaphors...which I guess makes it a pretty good code.

A favorite Christmas album: That's hard. At the risk of being stuck firmly in my NPR-listening, Barnes and Noble shopping, cappucino-sipping rut, I enjoy George Winston's "December" album and the Windham Hill Christmas compilations. Anything by the St. Olaf or Kings College choirs. Familiar Christmas carols rendered by classical musicians. Any Christmas album with Frank Sinatra or Rosemary Clooney on it. I love Sarah MacLachlan's and James Taylor's new Christmas albums. And I kind of dig world-beat Christmas albums. I like Hannukah music too. Come to think of it, I'm pretty much describing standing inside a Barnes and Noble and listening to the canned holiday music.

14 comments:

Reverend Dona Quixote said...

I like the George Winston December album myself!

reverendmother said...

Love December as well. The Thanksgiving song has such a lovely melancholy to it.

Will have to check out James Taylor! Thanks for the rec!

Sue said...

Great Friday Five!

I'm enjoying Sarah MacLachlan's new CD - it's lovely.

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I just figured out that the satalite TV has XM radio stations especially for Christmas music. One of them is a Christmas satire station. Christmaszilla can eat it.

Susie said...

Ooh, Sarah. I love her.

Swandive said...

Um Ya Ya to the Olaf Choirs!

Anonymous said...

ROFL on the Cheez-Whiz song!!!!
:)

(o)
Deb

1-4 Grace said...

Oh. George Winston. Yeah. Love it!

chartreuseova said...

James Taylor has a new Christmas album? Off to go check it out...

Kievas said...

All of a sudden, I have a strong urge to visit Barnes and Noble...

Songbird said...

I'm on the James Taylor train, too!

Trish said...

I always liked the thought of the 12 days of Christmas being a tool to teach Catholic kids the faith... Until I found out it's not true (So sayeth Snopes.com) http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/12days.asp Thanks for sharing your thoughts though. I liked reading them

Mrs. M said...

A woman after my own heart, with the NPR listening and the Barnes and Nobles shopping.

Also, I haven't heard James Taylor's Christmas album, but he's darling, so that's something to look into.

hamletta said...

What?! No "Carol of the Bells"?! Frankly, I'm surprised that song hasn't yet inspired a holiday-season killing spree.

By the time they get to "MerryMerryMerryMerry Christmas," I'm ready to start lookin' for a rifle and a tower.