Last Christmas

Nope, not the Doctor Who episode. The song! And yes, I blogged about that tune already. But what I didn’t tell you was that the original Wham! version is not the only one! (Though it’s still my fave.) I’ve run across a couple other versions that I quite like.

I adore Jimmy Eat World. They do some of my favorite songs ever ever. (Oh GOD, the HARMONIES.) They also do a passable version of “Last Christmas”. It’s not my favorite because it’s too mellow-emo for my taste, but it is pretty, I’ll give them that.

The best cover version of this tune I’ve come across is the one by Taylor Swift. I’m not the biggest fan of her as a celebrity/media-personality, but damn, that girl’s good at makin’ good tunes. This version has just the right amount of energy, pathos, and pretty guitars.

The final “Last Christmas” I have for you is not a cover of the Wham! song at all. It’s another punk tune to follow off the couple I posted earlier this week. It’s about the last Christmas we get because we’ve screwed everything up so bad it’s all over, and humanity isn’t getting another. Call me morose, but I feel like 2016 is the perfect year to break out this tune.

Sorry to end on such a downer. Hmm. What else can I toss in to lighten the mood? How about a 36-second punk song about a kitty knocking down a Christmas tree?

Perfect.

More (Modern) Christmas Music

The other day I posted about some of the holiday music I love hearing on the radio in Edmonton during November and December. Today I’ll share a few tunes I love that I don’t get to hear on the radio (but would be THRILLED if I did).

First up is a Christmas tune by one of my favorite bands of all time. Fountains of Wayne have pretty much perfected the art of writing catchy pop songs, and this holiday effort, “I Want an Alien for Christmas”, is no exception.

If someone was designing a Christmas song for me, this would be damn close. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy, it’s got great, tight vocal harmonies, and it’s just barely over two minutes long. Spend the two minutes and give yourself a bit of silly Christmas cheer.

Weezer has a whole Christmas EP, but the next couple tunes are from their earlier EP, The Christmas CD. First is “The Christmas Song”. No, not the one by Mel Torme. This one is quite a downer in that particularly Rivers Cuomo-style. It’s still catchy with good harmonies, so I’m a fan.

I know the picture is the cover of The Green Album–they did write this while they were doing demos for that album, but it doesn’t appear on the album itself.

The next Weezer tune is back to the upbeat pop-punky less-than-three-minutes stuff I love. It’s still a pretty cynical song lyrics-wise, which I must admit makes me like it even more. Songs that sound happy but have angry lyrics is a thing I Quite Like.

So yeah. I’m a fan of this particular “Christmas Celebration”. Even the guitars do sweet sweet harmonies.

If you want some proper punk in your Christmas, this last one is for you. It’s one of my favorite Madison bands doing an original Christmas song they wrote for the Madison music scene compilation CD, MAXMAS volume II. Please enjoy “Drunk for Christmas”–because that’s how it (often) works in Wisconsin!

Full disclosure, Tim Budziszewski (the lead singer/songwriter for Government Zero) is a very good friend of mine. But I also think his ridiculous gift for crafting catchy, pop-punk tunes means he belongs here with Rivers and Adam and Chris.

If that’s not enough Xmas punk for you, here’s another. In classic punk tradition, this one comes with a healthy dose of social commentary. I leave you with “Christmas Made in China”. (I’m afraid you’ll have to click through to that one. It’s not on YouTube, and the embedding isn’t working.)

Cheering Sounds of My Season

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Chicago TARDIS reminiscence for a quick note about Christmas music. Steven and I always look forward to the holiday season because it’s the one time of year when Edmonton radio doesn’t play all the same old crap over and over. It plays entirely different crap over and over for a couple months. The important difference is, I quite like a lot of the Christmas crap.

If you want to hear a buncha people go in-depth about Christmas music (and nearly drive two people—myself included—completely mad), I can’t recommend this episode of The Incomparable enough. (Or if you like torturing yourself with unedited episodes, the full-length train-wreck that was that recording is also available in its full glory here.)

On the way home from dropping Steven off at a potential new part-time gig tonight (yay!), I heard one of the more annoying, but to me, beloved, tunes…

I know a lot of people who hate this, but it makes me happy every time. And hey, the chorus is easy to learn!

Our current favorite is this gem from Andy Williams. It’s the one song that for Steven and I really says “It’s Christmas!” They started playing Xmas music really early here, and with no snow on the ground and only-just-freezing temps, it didn’t feel like Christmas yet, so we hadn’t dipped into the holiday stations (yes, plural) yet. But when we arrived back up north after visiting Chicago, we got into the car in the parking lot of the airport and turned on the radio. There was frost on the car, and this was playing. We cranked it up, and the holiday season officially began!

The other song that we immediately crank up the volume for is this version of “Sleigh Ride”. We do chair dancing in the car and everything. Though we’re not allowed to play it around my brother-in-(everything-but-)law because he spent years working in a shopping mall, and this song makes his sanity leak out his ears within seconds. Not sure why this is the tune that puts him over the top but it really REALLY is.

The “Last Christmas” song I’ll share tonight is one that’s my personal fave. Steven likes it fine, but it doesn’t capture his heart the way it does mine.

I’m trying to focus on positivity this December, so I’ll probably share a few more of the songs we regularly hear that bring me great joy as December rolls along. Feel free to disagree with me (nicely!) in the comments. Or tell me what you’d put on your list!

New Christmas Memories

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m far, far from my family and all the things that make up most of my Christmas memories. Happily, my Edmonton family, my wonderful spouse Steven, helped make this year’s Christmas Eve Day lovely. Christmas Eve was always the big day for my family. We spent it together cooking and eating and playing games and opening presents. Christmas Day was nice, but it was for seeing what Santa brought and then spending the day playing with all the presents. Presents are nice, but nothing compared to a day of family time when it comes to making memories.

My new Christmas Eve Day memories include going out to eat at our favorite Indian buffet, New Asian Village.* I ate more than I should have and indulged in naan and gulab jamun because I’m taking a holiday from avoiding gluten.** When we were good and stuffed, we headed to the movie theatre to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the third time. This time I tried to purposely draw my eye to the parts of the frame I don’t normally look at. I tried to focus on the backdrops and the action in the distance. It ended up being a really Zen way to watch the movie. I felt less caught up in the action, but more immersed in the world, if that makes any sense. I loved it. And I can’t wait to see if a fourth time, when I’ll decide to focus on something else. Continue reading

Random Christmas Memories

E-Christmas

Happy holidays everyone! Thought I’d jot down some random Christmas memories that always bring me cheer. I’m killing time until Steven gets home. Apparently having Christmas Eve off isn’t a thing in Alberta. He’s working a half day. In some ways, I am still getting used to Canada. Then again, Boxing Day is a holiday here, so that’s a nice bonus. When he gets home, we’re going out for Indian buffet and then to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens again. Third time will almost certainly be a charm!

Anyway, on to the random Christmas memories! (And this is me trying to stay cheery, even though the folks involved in these memories are 1500 miles away.) Continue reading