Forget George Michael’s Last Christmas. This year, to save you from tears, play something different
Where to hear it: Pink Martini’s Joy To The World Album
Why to play it: Because Pink Martini is clever with culture-mashup. Their version of the Hebrew
prayer (it means May God Guard My Tongue From Evil), sounds like a church choir staple, but with a foreign twist. Plus, it’s not in English so you can listen to it year round without people thinking you’re off-calendar. Do you hear what I hear?
Where to hear it: Orla Fallon's Celtic Christmas
Why to play it: The song, composed as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis, has been covered by everyone from Bing Crosby to Bob Dylan (even the peeps on Glee). But Olra Fallon’s version (she’s part of the Irish ensemble Celtic Woman) makes the tune magical.
Let It Snow
Where to hear it: Michael Buble’s Christmas (if you want a male version); Lady Antebellum’s On This Winter’s Night (if you want a female voice)
Why to play it: Because it doesn’t show signs of stoppin’/and I’ve got some corn for poppin’. And because you don’t need Handelic choruses to feel romantic at Christmas.
Baby it’s cold outside
Where to hear it: She & Him’s A Very She & Him Christmas
Why to play it: Because, despite its references to a spiked drink and the man ignoring the woman’s clear non-consent, this is not a date-rape song! This cover, with Zooey Deschanel taking over the cajoling male voice, while M Ward plays the coy partner, turns the idea on its head.
Where to hear it: Cee Lo Green’s Cee Lo's Magic Moment
Why to hear it: Because it puts a nice funky spin on holiday music without straying too far from traditional sounds. Your grandma will like. Plus the video has skanky women in Santa-suit bikins. Now, THAT grandma won’t like.
A Winter’s Tale
Where to hear it: Queen’s Made in Heaven
Why to hear it: Because Freddie Mercury’s repertoire spans more than your college playlist. He recorded this one when he knew he was dying from Aids. It’s more wintry than Christmassy, but with a dreamy feel and crisp lyrics.
Yeshu Paida Hua
Where to hear it: YouTube, search using the song’s name
Why to hear it: Arrey, because the birth of Christ deserves the dhinchak dancefloor action usually reserved for the office party. The vocals are simple and reverent, the music perfect for the loudspeaker and the tune appropriately catchy. After all it’s Jesus ka happy-budday, na?
Carol of the bells
Where to hear it: Pentatonix’s PTXmas
Why to hear it: You’ve heard umpteen version of this carol. It’s the one that plays in the background of Home Alone. Umpteen choirs have shivered their way through it. But Pentatonix does an a capella version that makes you wonder why everyone else bothers with instruments at all.
From HT Brunch, December 22
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