Friday, November 27, 2015

Sounds of the Season 2015

This is the ninth year I've managed to put this together and, I'd like all six of you readers to know, every year has gotten harder and harder. To that end, I start with a bit of an announcement: this will be the last "new" list for a while. I think next year, the 10th anniversary of my list of songs you can stand to keep listening to, will be something of a "best of" compilation. Then... I dunno. I kinda feel like we need to let five years of new stuff get recorded before revisiting. Honestly? The well isn't dry, but it's to a level where rationing is advised.

That said, if you don't think I couldn't find 10 songs this year, think again!

You might need Amazon Prime to fire up this year's list as three songs are from a playlist Amazon put together last year for Prime members and they are, sadly, not for sale. Maybe you Spotifyers have them, too. Not sure (comments are a good place to help people find these songs if you can). Anyway...

1) Carly Rae Jepsen - "Mittens"
Right so, when you're know for "Call Me Maybe," I don't even consider putting you on this playlist. Then you put out an album like Emotion and... yeah, you get a deserved second look. This one is a pop earworm that is great for when it's cold outside and you won't like only if you, yourself, are cold inside.

2) Liz Phair - "Ho Ho Ho"
Hey! Liz Phair is alive! And on this Amazon playlist from last year. It's kinda the perfect song for this playlist. When I first did this for fun in 2007, it was all about finding the irreverent Christmas tunes and this fits the bill, noting how their house is the lest decorated on the block while the others are (insert "100" emoji here). No one gets a perfect Christmas, Liz sings, but sure sounds like that doesn't mean it can't be fun.

3) Blondfire - "Christmas Lights"
Also from the Amazon list, this is actually a really good song. Might be the best one on here, really. Just the right mix of catchy and melancholy for me!

4) The Killers - "Joel the Lump of Coal"
I owe these guys a thank you note for helping anchor this list every year. If you don't already know, they do an original Christmas song every year for charity and they're almost all fantastic (the high bar being set by "Don't Shoot Me Santa" a few years ago). This is pretty fun little song about how a good-natured lump of coal ends up in a naughty boy's hands and, well... I'll let you hear the happy ending.

5) Bad Religion - "Father Christmas"
This is a nice pop-punk rager for all you folks out there that wish Santa's sleigh carried an ATM that just shot large-denomination bills at you from the sky rather than delivered American Girl dolls. Seems timely given the whole income inequality discussion out there right now.

6) Rogue Wave - "Jingle Bell Rock"
I'd been sitting on this one the past few years and finally had the right spot to put it in a playlist. It is exactly what you think it is: a simple cover of the classic song.

7) OneRepublic - "Christmas Without You"
I got a bit lazy here. Look, it's been a busy year. I usually start this list on Labor Day. This year? I started about two weeks ago. Nothing particularly remarkable about this song other than it's something fresh. It might be the one to skip.

8) Kelly Clarkson - "Please Come Home for Christmas"
Another thank-you note to send out as her "Wrapped in Red" album together with a Killers song every year basically knocks out at least a fifth of this playlist every year. Girl can sing, yo.

9) Fucked Up - "Do They Know it's Christmas?"
This song features EVERYONE. Tegan & Sara. Ezra Koenig. GZA. Bob Mould. Andrew WK. I mean, good lord. If that's not bringing the heat, I don't know what is. This might actually be better than the original.

10) The Klezmatics - "Spin Dredyl Spin"
There is a huge spot in the market for pop Hanukkah songs by national acts. I think most of the good ones have appeared in past years' lists. This is great though. No lyrics, just three-plus minutes of instrumental madness.

Happy listening and, as always, no matter how and what you celebrate, enjoy the season!

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