Musical Interlude, Part 1

Oh, what a long, strange year it's been. Lindsay and I now find ourselves in a new city and a new time zone. And, thanks to a ridiculous number of clearanced CDs we found used and a few targeted purchases from Amazon, we've got a healthy serving of new Christmas music.

At the time I'm writing this, my playlist of new music includes approximately 1000 songs (an exact count would be extremely difficult, since there are likely duplicates appearing on various compilations). Keep in mind this is in addition to the music we had last year - all told, we're now over 2,000 tracks of holiday cheer.

Last year, I went through my music collection alphabetically by song to make sure I got to experience the love and joy inherent to each and every one of those goddamn songs. Ah, the memories. This year, I thought I'd try something a bit different and try to go through the new music album by album.

This... might take a while.

Album: An American Christmas
Artist: Folk Like Us

A fine, if generic, album of instrumental pieces. It's pretty, but pretty is a dime-a-dozen when it comes to Christmas music. It's a solid album, but there's not much here to really it apart.

Album: Barenaked for the Holidays
Artist: Barenaked Ladies

In general, I'm not a huge Barenaked Ladies fan: I don't mind their music when I hear it, but I don't generally seek it out. In general, I find most of what they do kind of bland.

Fortunately, I'm having an entirely different reaction to their holiday album. I was already familiar with Elf's Lament, of course (I'm pretty sure it's got a place on everyone's list of favorite Christmas tunes). I was pleased to discover it wasn't an outlier: this album has quite a few tracks I'm loving.

The album seems to extend in a few different directions. There are a handful of high energy reimagined songs, several somber tracks, and a surprising number of Hanukkah songs mixed in. I expect more than a few of these will find their way onto various playlists.

Album: Baroque Christmas
Artist: Various

I picked up this collection of classical Christmas music cheap. While there's not much setting it apart from other classical albums, it's bit more energetic than average.

Album: Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics
Artist: Bing Crosby

It's actually possible I already have every one of these songs, but I really don't care enough to check. Either way, there's nothing all that surprising about the content. It's the sort of stuff I wind up hating by the end of the year, but early on it's just nostalgic. Well, except for Crosby's rendition of "The Littlest Angel": that's always painful.

Album: Care Bears: Christmas Eve
Artist: The Countdown Kids

I'm sure Lindsay will have more to say about this album, but I thought I'd offer my two cents. I actually bought this for Lindsay last year as a stocking stuffer, so I really have no one to blame but myself. I'd assumed it was the soundtrack to some crappy holiday special, or possibly an album of Care Bear characters singing, but I was mistaken. It's actually an album of Christmas music, about a third of which is ostensibly about the Care Bears with the rest simply being traditional holiday songs.

Remarkably, I think it's a little worse than I'd expect a studio album remotely tied to a toy franchise from the 80's to be. As an experience, listening to it is similar to how I imagine it feel to have a pastel alien parasite burrow through your skull. Also, I find it oddly disturbing that they included, "Away in a Manger". I don't know what Care Bears are, but I feel secure saying that they were never part of God's design.

Album: Christmas All Over the World
Artist: New Edition

This is the kind of Christmas music I truly, deeply hate. Cheesy 80's pop music at its worse: this is just painful to listen to.