Musical Interlude, Part 4

The holiday cheer just keeps coming. This is part four of my look at my new Christmas music.

Album: Gregorian Christmas
Artist: CantArte Regensburg & Hubert Velten

I'm a sucker for a bargain: Amazon was selling all 49 tracks of this for 99 cents. That's two cents a track. Granted, I don't really need more chant in my Christmas collection... but still: TWO CENTS A TRACK.

The music's good, but certainly not essential.

Album: Joy of Christmas
Artist: Giovanni

Pretty decent piano music. There are a handful of tracks I like quite a bit.

Album: Country Christmas: A Christmas Welcome Thomas Kinkade
Artist: Various (country)

The only thing that pisses me off more than this album's existence is the fact I kind of enjoyed listening to it. See, here's the thing: it's got Thomas Kinkade's name on it, so I was all excited that I'd be able to hate it out of spite (no, his death wasn't enough).

At any rate, the CD's a collection of country Christmas tunes, a genre which still represents a minority of my Christmas collection. I don't think Kinkade had anything to do with any of these songs; as far as I can tell, this is all marketing. I'm happy to have these tracks, even if it means seeing Kinkade's name on the album title whenever they come up.

Album: Merry Christmas [2 disks]
Artist: Riga Boy's Choir

It's... choir music. Two whole disks of it, in fact. Cost me a dollar. And 1.7 hours of my life. Guess which I miss more....

Album: Merry Christmas to You
Artist: Reba McEntire

I've said several times now that I could use more country music in my collection, but I'm not loving this particular album. I don't think it's especially bad; just not my taste.

Album: More Twisted Christmas
Artist: Bob Rivers

Christmas parody is a tricky subgenre. For my purposes, it's a good way to sneak some alternatives to traditional holiday music into rotation. Nothing on this disc approaches the quality of Rivers's own "I am Santa Claus", but there are a few decent tracks. Toy Sack's lyrics aren't particularly inspired, but it's basically just Love Shack, so you can be damn sure it's going in a few of my playlists. Same with Sled Zeppelin: not especially clever, but I'll take it. Holidaze (a parody of Purple Haze) is probably as close to clever as the album gets (also my favorite track). Most of the rest aren't worth your time.

Album: The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas
Artist: The Muppets

This a collection of relatively recent Muppet Christmas music. Is it as good as their older stuff? No. Is it still pretty damn great? Of course: it's the Muppets.

Album: Christmas with Nana Mouskouri
Artist: Nana Mouskouri

I had to look Nana Mouskouri up: apparently, she's a Greek singer. I bought this on a whim, and I'm glad I did: there's good stuff on here. My favorite track is a version of Old Toy Trains, a nice little Christmas lullaby.

Album: Now That's What I Call Christmas (2 Disk Set)
Artist: Various

I've got another compilation in this series called "The Essential Now That's What I Call Christmas". Yeah - real creative naming conventions there.

The concept is fairly straightforward: collect a ton of "essential" Christmas pop music in one package. To their credit, they certainly pulled it off. The first disk is the classics: Elvis, Crosby, Sinatra, and so on. I've got a lot of that, but I'm no longer even trying to weed out the duplicates - it's far easier to just accept a margin of error on my estimates for how much Christmas music I've got.

Disk two is more recent material: Celine Dion, Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Boys II Men... you get the idea. Most of this is pretty bad, as you'd expect, but there are a few stand out tracks.