Saturday, December 24, 2011

What's your favorite Christmas song ?

I've come to the conclusion that the Title Question of this post is absolutely impossible for me to answer.  There is NO WAY I can even limit my favorite Christmas songS to even just a "Pick 6" list as I have done in prior blogs.  But I have gone through a personally painful process of elimination to come up with my top 3 songs per Christmas Genre.  You might think that "Christmas" IS a genre, but I've broken the mold and made multiple categories of it!  :)  Enjoy!  And comment below with your own ideas.

(If you only listen to ONE SONG from all that I linked below, make it "I Cannot Find My Way / Three Kings" from the Forgotten Carols.  You WILL NOT be disappointed!)

Traditional Favorites:
By Nat King Cole
The real "King's" smooth, soulful voice combined with the opening words of this song ALWAYS conjure up a cozy, mountain cabin with a warm fire glowing and the companionship of friends and family.  Literally every singer or group has performed a version of this song, but NONE will ever be as good as this one.  It is as classic as classic can be!
By Eclipse
I love MANY different versions of this song (which is why it qualifies as a "traditional favorite" even though this version is less than a decade old and not a "favorite" of everyone ... yet).  The California Raisins had the first one that I really enjoyed, but in recent years I've heard versions from Barenaked Ladies and the one linked above, which have made it one of my favorite songs ever.
By The Drifters
Made even more popular when it was featured in the movie Home Alone, this version of this song has always been one of my favorites.  I love doo-wop music and this song combines that style of singing with a classic Christmas song.  Other versions of White Christmas are very good, but this is the best one IMHO.

New should be Classics:
by Eclipse
I am only slightly biased toward this group by my cousin being one of the members in it.  I LOVE their version of this song.  The melody is just so upbeat and the refrain "It's Christmastime!" is so fun to sing along with.  Oh how I wish they'd play music like this on the radio!
By Josh Groban
What I like best about this song is that it was written for the movie Polar Express and with the intent to encourage belief in the "Santa Claus" side of Christmas.  But I believe it is much more powerful if you metaphorically place our Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father's eternal plan for us as the message of the song.  He knows our needs and will give us wings to fly ... if we just believe!
Written By Michael McLean
If you have never heard "The Forgotten Carols" then you are totally missing one of the best Christmas traditions around.  Although several of the songs have very similar (and simple) refrains, this one song ALWAYS gives me an overwhelming feeling of the Holy Spirit and brings tears to my eyes!  To anyone looking for the true meaning of Christmas (and more importantly, the true meaning of LIFE), it is the Lord Jesus Christ!  This song makes that point beautifully!  (Bonus: The song "Homeless" is a phenomenal a capella tune that causes equal amounts of chills and inspiration!)

Spiritual Hymns:
By the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Of all songs that are both spiritual and LOUD this one has got to be my favorite!  When you picture the "heavenly choir" singing praises to celebrate the Savior's birth, is this not exactly how you would expect it to sound?!  I find it amazing that so many people can sing together the very first word of this song so powerfully!
By Amy Grant
Okay, so it's not a "hymn" ... but it should be !!!  This song is haunting but also uplifting and if you can find a version with Amy's husband (the very talented Vince Gill) singing harmony along with her ... it will give you chills.  I can almost understand what Mary might have been feeling like when tasked with the responsibility to bear and raise the Christ Child.
From Handel's Messiah
You can find hundreds of versions of this online but the music itself is beautiful regardless of the performer.  Handel was inspired by God when he wrote this!

Funny or Silly songs:
By Bing Crosby
No, I did not become a fan of this song because of the pool scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  It's just a great tune to sing along with!  I love Hawaiian-style music and combining it with Christmas is just a brilliant pairing!
By Cheech and Chong
My mom sent me an audio-cassette tape with this song on it while I was on my mission in Los Angeles, CA.  That was the first time I ever heard it and I loved it immediately.  Despite the overwhelming drug-heavy theme, it's still just ... funny!
By Bob and Doug McKenzie
Any song that includes "Four pounds of back-bacon" has to be a WINNER !!!  This is some classic 80's comedic humor from two of the worst singers ever!

"Non-Christmas" Christmas songs:
by the Vince Guaraldi Trio
I absolutely love the simplicity of this music and it was made popular in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special ... but it has no other real tie to the holidays.
By Boyz II Men
This song is on their Christmas Interpretations CD.  It is related to Christmas, but is not a traditional Christmas song ... so it goes here.
by John Williams
The beginning and end of this song are just beautiful and instantly recognizeable, but it just happens that the movie takes place around Christmastime and so the song reminds you of that time of year.  Otherwise, there's no reason for it to be a Christmas song.


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