It was an ugly year, right? That’s the word that keeps resurfacing for me. There was ugliness in the streets, ugliness in the corporate offices, and seemingly nothing but ugliness coming from the Oval Office. The meaning of Christmas is that ugliness doesn’t get the last word, but with each year it seems like it’s a little harder for Christmas songs to work their way into my brain. Does this holiday have to be ruined along with everything else?
Thankfully, no. But this collection of songs may be a little more ambivalent than usual. I loved the junkyard folk, Tom Waits-ish feel of “Our Rest Has Come” and the Argentinian band Queridas’ gorgeous version of Yoko Ono’s “Listen, the Snow is Falling.” I included a reading of G. K. Chesterton poem, one of my long-time favorites. I had more fun with the found audio than the actual songs. But I still love how it came out. So enjoy it in the player below, download it for yourself while it’s here (a few of my other Xmas mixtapes are on Mixcloud as well), and… Merry Christmas.
(the cover is a ripoff – sorry, homage – of a handmade card by Lithuanian-born American printmakers William and Marguerite Zorach that I stumbled on on the interwebs.)
Filed under Christmas, music
I don’t need to recap all of the ways that 2016 was horrible. Forget just a little – we need a lot of Christmas now.
Summoning the holiday spirit was difficult this year. Traditions somehow feel less comforting. I wondered if I should take a radical departure from my typical mix and do something completely different. In the end, I stuck to the same formula, because Christmas doesn’t need a reboot. Christmas is the reboot: God entering the world as an infant.
So business as usual, more or less, with the exception that I tried my very first actual mashup – with admittedly mixed results (but at least it’s short). The great artists that we lost this year are represented here – Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen. Because we’re a nation of misfits I included the Inflatable Men cover of the familiar song from the classic TV special. There are a few fun new songs, some great takes on classics, and other stuff not represented on the tracklist. So – enjoy!
If you like this one and want more, you can still hear my mix from last year:
Here is a quieter, more reflective mix to soothe your soul, which I did in 2014:
And here’s Xmas in Space, if you like your Christmas music with beeps and boops and sound FX and recordings of alleged UFO eyewitnesses:
Lastly, here is a link to a folder with every mix I’ve made going back to 2007, available for download. Get busy and Merry Christmas!
Is it ever actually going to get legitimately cold out there? It almost feels like the wrong time to be uploading this.
I’m back with another mix of Christmas music, what else? The art for this is an homage to Sister Corita Kent, the pop artist whose work had a breakout year. Corita was a nun, an active member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles, but her work was full of wit and visual inventiveness. I’ll write more about her in my year-end list, but that’s the same kind of thing I’m thinking about when I choose Christmas music. That, and maybe what St. Etienne said here recently about how Elvis fits Christmas (although they are wrong in disliking this classic Pogues Christmas song).
Anyway, here it is. Play or download. Merry Christmas!
I realized as I was uploading this that it’s the 10th one I’ve done. Not the 10th year, because I did two of them in 2014, just the 10th mix. So here they are. If you click on the thumbnails you’ll be able to download each individual one.
See what I did there? I added a fourth Ho just because this is that much better.
Last year my yearly Christmas music mix – yeah, the outer-space themed one – intentionally jumped the shark. It was fun to make, but kind of an ambitious mess, in the end. But the holidays are not supposed to be that challenging, so this year’s is back to just being fun again. I’m not trying to be eclectic just for it’s own sake here. Whether it’s a soulful doo-wop recording or a batty Major Lazer mashup banger, I want a Christmas song that will stand the test of time, so that this can be listened to now and also in the future. And I’ve got some other unlisted surprises including a Lou Reed greeting from the 80s mixed in here, so play away.
All my previous mixes are here – the 2010 one might be my favorite, with some stuff I snagged before it apparently disappeared forever – and this year’s can be listened to or downloaded below, or direct from Soundcloud. Enjoy, and happy holidays.