Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Music -- the Sad Songs

During the holidays, my mother often says: "Put on some Christmas music."

Except she doesn't really mean it.

She means put on something festive while we cook, or put on something amusing for the guests, or whatever. She has something specific in mind, even if she doesn't know what it is until she hears what it's not.

This year, I am out-smarting her. I am over-categorizing everything and doing multiple smart playlists so I can accommodate her on the fly. For example, The Pogues' "Fairy Tale of New York" is punk/celtic genre and grouped by both holiday and sad. (Any song beginning: "It was Christmas evening in the drunk tank" is sad.)

So many great Christmas songs are also very sad, or at least melancholy. Many of my favorites are World War II-era:"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and "White Christmas. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" can be a jaunty tune, but it's very, very sad. It was first performed in 1943, and it is very much a war-time song, aside from singing about our "troubles" in each verse, it also gives us the uplifting: "Through the years/We all will be together/If the Fates allow." "I'll Be Home for Christmas," also from 1943 contans the classic: "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams." Sad.

For Your Listening Pleasure:
The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, Fairytale of New York
Bing Crosby, I'll Be Home For Christmas
Luther Vandross, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Death Cab for Cute, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Currently listening to:
The dulcet tones of the broadcasters for Green Bay Packers vs St Louis Rams, while I cook a roasted carrot puréed soup.

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