Monday, November 26, 2012

MY ANNUAL CHRISTMAS MUZAK RANT

About this time each year, I post my usual rant about - you guessed it - all those little ditties that the music industry of today passes off as Christmas music.  Very little of it good.  Lots of it garbage.  My other pet peeve that many have read about from CV - the BLOG! is those radio stations who play Christmas music and muzak (mostly muzak) 24/7 starting six weeks before Christmas.  Think about it.  During the 12:00 hour you get "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in the mix.  At 1:00 you get someone else's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and an "O Holy Night".  About ten past two, someone else's "O Holy Night", then at three, a third rendition of "Rudolph".  Do you get what I speak?

Anyhoo, Instead of posting a Scheiße-Liste or a Top 10 Worst List, let's just explore certain pieces.  There are some versions of some songs I don't mind - in many cases, the only version of said songs I'll tolerate.  Yes, most of these are secular, because you hardly hear any sacred versions on pop radio, and the ones that are sacred are usually thrashed by the "artists" singing them.

Let's see.....This portion is mostly positive!

Blue Christmas - Elvis only!
White Christmas - The Drifters only!
Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms or Hall and Oates, both fine
Sleigh Ride - orchestral arrangement only (the way Leroy Anderson intended, made popular by the Boston Pops).  I know the lyrics, but for some reason I could only find ONE sung version with the original Anderson arrangement.  All the other sung versions I've heard are way too tacky for my liking.
The Twelve Days of Christmas - almost anything.  The Chipmunks and Muppets have the coolest versions on the air, as does Straight No Chaser (Bear-i-tone just reminded me of them!  I had totally forgotten!).  On record, this version I mentioned last year from the Firestone records of the 1960's, and one by Tennessee Ernie Ford (he has a really cool basso profundo!).  I also have high appreciation for the "Redneck Twelve Days" and Bob Rivers' "The Twelve Pains of Christmas".  The one I avoid at all costs: the rendition by Ray Conniff.
Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano only!  (Celine Dion KILLS it!)
Do You Hear What I Hear - I'm not a big Jim Nabors fan (in terms of his singing - I liked him as Gomer Pyle, though), but his big bass rendition fits it nicely, I have to admit.  The version I avoid like the plague: the one by Whitney Houston.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - any of the versions from those old cartoons we watched as kids are always cool.  Autry and Ives have this tune mastered.  As for versions recorded in the last decade or so, the honor has to go to Ringo Starr.  The two I avoid are: 1) the jerk who sings "Rudy the red-nosed reindeer" every other line (his name eludes me at the moment, and hopefully will for ever) and 2) the version Billy Gilman sang before puberty.  Even before the voice change, he sounded more like a girl than a boy!
Silver Bells - Larry the Cable Guy's parody only (I won't post it here)!
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - The Beach Boys arrangement is killer!  The Ames Brothers has a cool jazz version.  Also, Larry the Cable Guy's parody (You'd better watch out.  I think she's a guy.  I ain't quite sure, but somethin' ain't right... Hillary Clinton's comin' to town!)  The ones I avoid: "SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTA Claus is comin' to town!   SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTA Claus is comin' to town!"  This one is mainly done by Motown artists, and by Bruce Springsteen.
All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey solo only!  Not the "duet" with Justine Bieber.  Heard that once last year.  It's not a new version either.  Just some of Mariah's vocal tracks got replaced by Miz Bieber's vocal tracks.  It's horrible!  Bieber cannot sing.  She is tone deaf!
'Twas the Night before Christmas - Only non-parody rendition I like is that written by Ken Darby, arranged for choir by Harry Simeone.  It is really fun to listen to, even for the most serious of musicians.  Watch this rendition below as performed by the combined choirs of the University of Utah.



As for the rest of the negatives:  Click here for my Scheiße-Liste.  I will add:
O Holy Night (or ANYTHING by Josh Groban).  His voice, in this snark's opinion, is depressing.
ANYTHING by Johnny Mathis!
ANYTHING by Josh Groban!

Oh, and an act I do NOT want to see anytime soon: Santa Baby by Honey Boo Boo!  (My wife and I both loathe that song as it is!) That said, I must also remind the common citizen that the Holyday that falls on XII-25 is called "Christmas" and not merely "Holiday".  Governor Gump got his WTF award this time last year for the lighting of his "Holiday Tree".  I have yet to put up a tree on the Fourth of July, but if I do, I will decorate it with live fireworks and ammo.  Bring matches, friends!   I still remember the time last year when a cashier at Christmas Tree Shops in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, told my wife and me to "Have a nice holiday."  I asked her, "Which one?"  The name of the store says CHRISTMAS!  Doesn't this damn cashier have any common sense?  Apparently not!

I'll be looking forward to the classical stations' and their truly joyful renditions of Christmas works by the Masters, when that time comes!  In the meantime, Advent is drawing near.  I can't wait till I can pull out the "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel".

Peace and joy!
BMP

4 comments:

Bear-i-tone said...

What? YOu don't like the Straight No Chaser version of the Twelve Days of Christmas?

Brian Michael Page said...

I forgot all about them! OOPS!
BMP

Al said...

2 small disagreements with your list.
There are 2 musts I would add:
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Silver Bells - Bob Hope

Brian Michael Page said...

Al, is that to the positives, or to my "Scheiße-Liste"?
BMP