So this weekend, at a party we had a rousing conversation about Christmas music. I can be a bit of a humbug when it comes to Christmas. But I do love holiday music. Of course I am a huge snob about music and usually only like one or two versions of the classics. So I don’t buy new Christmas albums because I honestly don’t care. Your version of This Christmas isn’t better than Donny’s so why are we pretending. I get it. Holiday albums are cheap to produce, easy to market and great returns on investments, but so. Here my definitive list. You are welcome to buy the recent offerings from Kelly Price or Ledisi but not I. My list is my list.
- This Christmas. Donny Only! So when I was little I had no clue who Donny Hathaway was, so every time I heard it on the radio, I couldn’t figure out who made it and got sad.
- Joy to the World – Whitney Houston. This is a close second favorite holiday song. God, I love this song. As I have established, I only like pure singers, not the folks who remind you of you and your crew. I hate that stupid rationale for liking an artist. There are folks who can sing and folks who can’t. Your fave’s warbling can never match the beauty of this.
- Silent Night – The Temptations. Because in my heart, I want you to be free.
- A Christmas Song – Nat King Cole. I amazingly also like the Toni Braxton version.
- O Holy Night. I loved this song in church but had to wait until the 90’s to finally get a great recorded version. And there are two! Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.
- Winter Wonderland – Aretha Franklin. I like how jazzy she made this boring little Christmas song, because when your office carolers sing it, it is a dry little ditty.
- Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt. This has a message I can get behind.
- Every Year, Every Christmas – Luther Vandross. A good bit of melancholy that doesn’t make you want to totally slit your wrists – I’m looking at you “What Do the Lonely Do for Christmas.”
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland. Sinatra and Luther Vandross works as well. You really need a throaty voice for this song to work. Sorry countless others that have made this song.
- All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah. Look this song is fun and uplifting and really how many Christmas songs can say that?
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Jackson 5. So cute with young Michael!
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love. If it’s good enough for Dave Letterman every year, it should be for you too.
- Let It Snow – Boyz II Men. No mention of Santa or Christ though.
- Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto – James Brown. I like the begging.
- Christmas In Hollis – Run DMC. With an honorable mention to Back door Santa, as shameful as that song is.
- My Favorite Things – The Supremes. So bouncy and fun.
- What Child is This – Vanessa Williams. I always hated this song in choir, but she made it pretty.
- Carol of the Bells – Destiny’s Child. I don’t even know why I like this thing. Maybe because it’s weird.
I love a lot more but I think I will stop now. And apparently I am not allowed to like Baby, It’s Cold Outside anymore, so I left it off. But if I did like it — the Ray Charles / Betty Wright version.