Well, the commercials started weeks ago, the Santa Claus Parade has come and gone and the malls are pumping out the Christmas playlists on repeat. And by God, if there's one thing that annoys people it's the 1000th time they hear "White Christmas" over a fuzzy intercom. (some things are better in moderation )
So let's add some variety to the usual Christmas fare with a couple tracks and albums from some lesser-known Christmas collaborators!
Here’s our top 5 picks to keep you grooving and chillin’ through the holidays.
Best Chillout Album -Christmas Island: Leon Redbone.
This is the Canadian vaudeville revivalist's classic take on Christmas. When was there a vaudeville revival, you ask? Couldn't tell you, but the iconic Mr. Redbone is clearly the elder statesman. Soulful, relaxing and totally genuine, he croons his way through 10 covers and 3 originals on this album, joined by Dr. John for what is possibly the coolest ever rendition of "Frosty The Snowman." Perfect for floating away in front of a roaring fire on a quiet December night.
Best Album to Drink Egg Nog to - Christmas In The Heart: Bob Dylan.
Not many people saw this coming from the seemingly unstoppable Dylan, but an album (his 47th) full of raspy Christmas magic was just what he gave us. Bob and his band tackle a list of carols and classic Xmas pop songs that, on paper, should be anathema to a crotchety old folk iconoclast like Dylan. But he pulls it off with gusto, approaching each song from a different angle and giving us an album that mixes the Victorian with the Nashvillian. The rousing (and immediately danceable) version of "Must Be Santa" is highly recommended. Watch this video and you’ll see why!
Best Tell Christmas Like It Is Album - Funky Christmas by James Brown.
Oh baby, this is not your momma's Christmas album (unless she was really, really cool). Brown, as always, gives his all on a record that blisters through 17 soulful tracks of pure Christmas feeling. From the fun ("Go Power At Christmas Time") to the serious ("Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto") each second you get with Mr. Superbad is a gift itself. He'll make you dance and smile, shout and sing, stop and reflect, then dance and smile again! So get down, get busy, get thankful, get giving.
Best Impress Your Friends With This Obscure Band’s Christmas Song - Elvis Costello Saves Christmas by Teenage Reverse Minds On Fire.
Elvis Costello Saves Christmas-Who else could you count on? This one is pretty weird; an offbeat but catchy Christmas tale of danger, excitement, kidnapping and Costello, with warbly (Costello-esque?) vocals and a video possibly made by a high-schooler. Yet it has a certain je ne c'est quois to it that is hard to resist. Or maybe I'm just strange. Either way, this one-man-band is hard to forget and definitely entertaining.
Best Asian Christmas Craziness 5-Space Christmas.
Shonen Knife-Space Christmas: Sitting side-by-side to Johnny Cash on the Dutch Christmas compilation "Christmas Cover Up" comes a track from everyone's favourite Japanese girl trio (whether you know it or not), Shonen Knife! Feeling the Xmas blues? Can't see the true meaning of Christmas behind the crush of parents trying to kill you for the last IPhone in the store? Not for long. Shonen Knife does what they do best here: getting bouncy and happy and infecting everybody with a chorus you'll end up singing till January. Happy Happy Happy Happy Christmas.