The day after Thanksgiving is, natch, the start of the holiday season and thus, the thoughts of a young, music-loving sexy beast turn to seasonal music. And let me just start by saying that whilst most Christmas music is well-intentioned and gets one in the correct mood, there are a few offenders out there who... well, let' snot mince words, suck. Mannheim Steamroller, I'm looking squarely in your direction.
I'm sorry, I'm sure there are a few weirdoes out there who like to think it's still 1978 and that electronic synthesisers sound "really awesome, man", but I'm here to tell you that the rest of the world moved on and what sounded new and futuristic back before Reaganomics now sound like prime shite. If I hear their wanked up Emerson Lake and Palmerish version of "Deck The Halls" ever again, it will be five hundred billion years too soon.
Another offender is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, an outfit who specialises in taking simplistic little holiday tunes and making them sound like Queen, The Darkness and Guns and Roses all rolled into one. That's three strikes right from the get-go as far as I'm concened. Electric guitars at christmas? Oh sure, that sounds festive. 15-minute wanky guitar solos at christmas...? No thanks. Keep it.
Other offenders include the Harry Simeone Choir, who can shove their shrill "pa rump pa pum pums" up their pa rump a pum bums, any version of the hideous song "Santa Baby" which epitomises everything that's wrong with some women, Roy 'warbling' Orbison who I can't stand at the best of time and who, I hope, chokes on his "Pretty Paper", that insipid Christmas Shoes song and any version of "Auld Lang Syne" that manages to mispronounce two thirds of the lyrics. It's neither "Old" nor "Zyne"; it's 'Auld', as in 'balled' and 'Syne' as in 'sign'. I realise it's essentially in a foriegn language, but get it bloody right or don't bloody sing it. You don't hear me siging "Vel-eesh Navee-did", do you?
So, rage suppresed, what's good this time of the year? I'm a cheese-ball, I love the cheesey ones so although "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Step Into Christmas" are hardly major musical achievements, they are affiliated with the season and with my festive childhood memories enough that they can still stir a smile. Same goes with the so-called 'crooners' whose music I can barely tolerate during the other 11 months of the year but whose festive efforts I love. What's good that's ignored? Chris Rea's "Driving Home For Christmas" is a personal favourite of mine that never seems to get airplay on this side of the pond. Find it. Check it out. Enjoy it.
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