Thursday, December 15, 2011

MEL's 12 PICKS FOR XMAS: The Classics

If you knew me in the Real World, you'd be well aware that me and Christmas music usually don't mix. I'm not one of those folks who starts blasting Holiday Music before Thanksgiving. I don't know all the words to most Christmas Carols. I actually find most Christmas commercials utterly irritating (especially ones that involve singing marketing copy to the tune of classics). That being said, once we hit mid-December, I stop being such a Grinch and give in to the madness (a little bit), finding myself blasting a select few tunes ad (relative) naseum. I'm realizing that in the three year existence of this blog, I haven't really discussed Holiday Music on Melismatic. So today, this changes via my 3-Part Mel's 12 Picks for Xmas special. There. Are you happy now? (::wink::)

My favorites in the Christmas vein usually lean toward the more contemporary rather than the traditional, but the following four songs represent 'The Classics' that tend to re-appear again and again on my Christmas Playlist over the years...

BOB RIVERS - "12 Pains of Christmas"
I've already stated my penchant for Grinch-like behavior, but there's something about this oldie but goodie that whenever it came on the radio growing up, you had to turn it up. Not only did we laugh everytime (at the same places), the song was utterly relatable and true. Admit it. Check out a "music video" for the song by an ambitious YouTuber. Fave Moments include: the Lights Guy ("One light goes out, they all go out!", the Christmas Card Guy ("Oh, I don't even know half these people!") and the Frazzled Wife hosting her in-laws ("She's a witch; I hate her.")

THE NUTCRACKER SUITE - "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"

I think many people associate Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite with their Holidays growing up. Whether you associate it with the gorgeous ballet or with the music itself, it's not really Christmas without any of the songs that make up this incredible score. I was fortunate enough to take part in a live recording of this song at the New York State Oneida All-County Symphony Orchrestra when I was a kid (not to toot my own horn or anything...although I did play clarinet in those days) and it's been a holiday-must ever since. "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is most commonly associated with the holiday, although "The March of the Toy Soldiers" is also a common alternative. If you have the chance to see the ballet performed live, go. It's truly a spectucular experience.

THE JACKSON 5 - "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
You could count on Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and little Michael to take a classic and make it even more relevant. I loved this version so much from day one, I was convinced this was the definitive version and all others were just lame covers. Michael Jackson was just 12 years old when this was recorded back in 1970, complete with a slew of other Yuletide classics on the group's Christmas album.

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA - "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24"
This is undoubtedly my favorite Christmas jam of all time. Of all time. It's the one holiday song I cannot overplay, no matter how many times I want to listen to it again and again, and I often get lost in BlackHole Repeat once it comes up on my iPod, even if it's August. This was originally released in 1996 and has been a radio mainstay ever since. It's one of those Christmas Classics that everyone knows upon hearing it, but might not necessarily recognize the artist. It's unfortunate. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is basically a metal rock opera orchestra, and any metal head that is best known for their Christmas music, is A-OK with me.

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