This year I’ve managed to find two really great Christmas albums. They’re both more in the pop-vein than some of the ones I mentioned yesterday, but like I said, when it comes to Christmas music I couldn’t care less about genre
Relient K: Let it Snow Baby…Let it Reindeer.
I know pretty much nothing about Relient K other than their name always sends my spellchecker into a tizzy. I can’t even name a song of theirs I think maybe I might have heard one time somewhere. All I know is one morning – one of those rare occasions in which I listen to the piece of shit that is Pandora – I heard a quasi-punk version of Handel’s “Messiah” and thought it was pretty cool. I got the disc from the library and was pleasantly surprised. There’s some great background vocals, nice arrangements, and the album itself moves from soft points to punkish moments and aback again. And their version of “Sleigh Ride” is pretty great, especially for such a tough song to cover.
MercyMe: The Christmas Sessions
I just found this one last weekend. Driving back from the store, I heard an excellent version of “O Holy Night” on the radio…but of course the DJ never said who performed it. So when I got home I pulled an old-school move: I called the radio station.(1) I hopped on iTunes meaning just to buy “O Holy Night” but after I previewed three songs and found them all pretty amazing, I downloaded the whole thing.(2)
Again, I know nothing about this band. I suspect they’re a country band, and actually even a Christian band. Their version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” is every bit as intense as TSO’s “Christmas Eve Sarajevo, 12/24” and even more musically intricate. And they boast the only version of “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” that actually rocks. So genre-be-damned. This is a great album.
- This is how we used to roll back before Al Gore invented the internet.
- Back in those pre-internet days we couldn’t buy music by the song. we had to buy the whole album except for really popular singles. So to justify the expense of a cassette, or, especially, a CD, I made a rule for myself that there had to be three songs that I liked on the album.