Music Discussion #21: Xmas Albums

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This week’s prompt (courtesy of phillysportsfan): Let’s talk about Xmas music. Which albums or songs do you like? Are some very different from your usual listening preferences, and if so what do you like about them? To what extent does nostalgia affect your holiday music choices? Are there any seasonal favorites that you simply can’t stand? Do you have any album recommendations for us? Any titles that you feel ought to best be avoided? Let us know in the comments.

In my case, when it comes to Xmas music I pretty much limit myself to December 24 and 25 (at least as far as voluntary listening is concerned). Some holiday favorites include:

  • A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (timeless classic from the legendary producer and convicted murderer)
  • Bing Crosby – Merry Christmas (timeless classic from the late crooner and abusive alcoholic)
  • Blue Christmas (cover-mount CD from Mojo Magazine of mostly downbeat Xmas-themed songs; a couple missteps, but on the whole an excellent compilation)
  • Hardcore Holiday (pretty much as described – hardcore punk bands performing Xmas classics and holiday-related originals)
  • Imagene Peise – Atlas Eets Christmas (Flaming Lips side project and probably my second favorite Xmas album ever)
  • Just Say Noel (1996 compilation from Geffen Records featuring among others Beck and Sonic Youth)
  • R.E.M.  – Christmas Fan Club Album (unofficial compilation of fan-club-only Xmas singles – inessential and not strictly Xmas music, but lots of fun)
  • Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas (favorite Xmas album ever)

For anyone who hasn’t checked out Imagene Peise yet, I highly recommend it. I know that only the most dedicated Lips fans have kept track of all the various releases, side projects and shenanigans in recent years, but this album (initially released by the band anonymously in limited quantities, complete with an elaborate backstory of the supposed origins of the recordings) is truly a gem. I only just discovered it a few years ago, but it’s already a firm favorite.

This year I’m looking forward to finally checking out this Xmas mixtape compiled by the late, great Lux Interior.  I didn’t get around to downloading it until early January, so outside of a few songs that popped up on shuffle throughout the year (all of which have been choice) I have yet to hear it in its entirety. For anyone who’s interested, the links appear to still be active so grab it while you can!