New Music Through Old Ears: Xmas Music Edition

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Aah, Christmas music. You either love it, hate it or try to tolerate it until it goes away. Entertainment editor John Turnbull provides some alternatives to whatever is playing on Elf Radio right now…

A Punk Christmas, because why not?

Bad Religion — Christmas Songs

Based on their name alone, you might think that Bad Religion aren’t the most likely band to make a Christmas Album.  Add to this the fact that punk music isn’t exactly known for respecting the classics (Sid Vicious singing My Way springs to mind) and you might think that this album is all about taking the piss…

But you’d be wrong.

Bad Religion’s Christmas Songs contains punk renditions of classic songs like O Come All Ye Faithful, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Little Drummer Boy. And with the exception of a few cheeky pronunciations, the songs are played straight.

The only non-carol included is a remix of American Jesus, which sounds pretty much the same as the original (not necessarily a bad thing). This is a great album for anyone who enjoys punk rock and is getting a tiny bit sick of traditional Christmas carols…

Best tracks: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Little Drummer Boy

Sample lyric: ‘Christ the son of righteous niece’ (O Come All Ye Faithful)

A Classic Christmas Song that my Kids seem to Love, For Some Reason

Santa Baby — Eartha Kitt

You might remember Eartha Kitt from songs like C’est si bon and Love For Sale. I prefer to remember her as Catwoman in season 3 of the classic 1960s Batman series, opposite that manliest of men, Adam West.

A true woman of substance, Kitt was a singer, actress, dancer and cabaret performer. In her later years, she provided voices for animated films and TV series including The Emperor’s New Groove and The Emperor’s New School, for which she won five Emmy Awards.

Released way back in 1953, Santa Baby has been covered by dozens of artists including Kylie Minogue, Faith Evans, Taylor Swift and Miss Piggy, but for my money the Eartha Kitt original remains the best…

Sample lyric: ‘Santa baby, I wanna yacht, and really that’s not a lot…’

The best Atheist Christmas Song Ever

Tim Minchin – White Wine in the Sun

The comedy of Tim Minchin isn’t for everyone. The Australian singer/songwriter/actor has forged a career out of making people laugh by making them think, a concept that offends and scares some people.  For those individuals, here’s a link to Dean Martin singing Let it Snow.

For everyone else, I present Tim Minchin’s six-minute plus ode to Christmas.

Gets to me every time.

Another beautiful track with an atheist bent is I Don’t Believe in Christmas by George Hrab, which goes to show that you don’t have to believe in an invisible friend to enjoy the season…

Sample lyric: ‘I don’t believe just because ideas are tenacious, it means that they’re worthy.’

Christmas Album I Expect To Suck

Human Nature — The Christmas Album

 This album is everything that is wrong with Christmas music.

Where Bad Religion take seasonal standards and make them awesome, Human Nature manage to turn classics into faux-Motown cheese-fests. It may just be my low tolerance for this sort of crap, but I honestly found this album hard to listen to.  It’s just so f**king bland and inoffensive. (Angry swearing self-censored in the spirit of the season).

Recorded in LA and Las Vegas, and featuring guest stars including Smokey Robinson and Jessica Mauboy (who provides a brief spark of personality on Sleigh Ride) The Christmas Album is guaranteed to please your grandmother, as long as she’s partly deaf and doesn’t really like music.

Sample lyric: ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas, make the Yuletide gay.’

Thanks to all the regular readers of this column, and I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus or Debauched Saturnalia.  Whatever floats your boat, really…

See you in 2014!



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