Hippo Gnu Deer, everyone! It’s New Year’s Eve, and while I am going to put up a more serious post with a yearly wrap-up and natter on about writing (and dancing, because obviously) and such (probably tomorrow), I thought I’d offer up a little December silliness for all and sundry.
On Twitter (@frabjouslinz) and Facebook, I’ve been posting up a winter holiday song every day. Well, OK, I’ve been posting up a holiday song or six whenever I remember to do it. It’s ended up as quite a long list, so I’m gathering them all together (ha! Oh, I’m punny to myself (see first song title) and then I laugh out loud and everyone stares. Awkward.) for you, in case anyone following along really, really wanted to see all of them at once. If you didn’t, well, don’t look, is all I can say to that.
I had vaguely planned on posting Diwali songs, since that’s sort of a fall/winter holiday, but it was super early this year, I only know a few songs, and I wasn’t sure how disrespectful it might seem to do that. I know just a little bit about Diwali, and I want to learn more before I put that sort of thing out there. So although my list is Xmas-heavy, I’m adding more stuff in as I find it, and doing some research. I’m getting more Xmas and secular songs, too, from other cultures, mostly Mexican and Central and South American at this time. I do have some Hanukkah songs, and I’m learning more every year. I also am looking into Kwanzaa songs, but again, I don’t know much about it, and don’t want to be disrespectful. So – if you have info and songs you’d like to share with me about those or other holiday traditions, I’d be happy to listen! Otherwise I will keep researching on my own.
My informal and incomplete list of holiday songs you might not have heard of, but I think are awesome, as posted up during this month:
- We Gather Together – 16th century Dutch hymn celebrating beating Spain. Like you do. Called the Thanksgiving hymn among those who know it. My fam loves it.
- Candlelight – The Maccabeats. A cappella re-vamp of “Dynamite” and way more fun.
- Los Peces en el Rio – Mexican carol. Gipsy Kings or Tatiana are the versions I have. The fish are drinking and drinking and Mary is doing chores. Natch.
- The Rebel Jesus – The Chieftans and Jackson Browne. Jesus was a “long-haired brown-skinned homeless community-organizing anti-slut-shaming Middle Eastern Jew.” Among other things. It’s a really good, sort of mellow protest song.
- Pillsbury Cookie Dough – Paul & Storm. Because who doesn’t want to eat a whole damn tube of raw cookie dough? It’s holiday-ish.
- Fifty Kilowatt Tree – The Bobs. Lighting up my yard like downtown Las Vegas, baby.
- I Never Has Seen Snow – from House of Flowers, Audra McDonald singing. Because Audra. McDonald. And snow. It counts. Audra. McDonald.
- The Christians and the Pagans – Dar Williams. Who doesn’t love this song? I think everyone knows it but it’s one of my faves. And so is Dar.
- Christmas Island – Ella Fitzgerald. Who doesn’t love Ella? But the backup singer lyrics are kind of iffy. Just listen to Ella.
- Winter Swell Blues – Paula Fuga. All-holiday-encompassing island blues rock. Paula Fuga is so awesome. Dance it.
- Boogie Woogie Santa Claus – Mabel Scott. Great 40s dance song, great singer.
- The Wild Goose – Kate Rusby. It’s only on the list because of the tv movie “November Christmas,” which schmaltz might choke you. But you’ll like the song; Kate Rusby is quite good. And if you watch the flick, enjoy Sam Elliot’s mustache and scenery chewing. I did cry. (See: Schmaltz)
- Nutmeg – John Legend and Stephen Colbert. We eschew the subtlety of the double entendre and make a single entendre into a club to beat you with. John Legend is a minor deity, and I would listen to him sing the phone book. Should phone books still exist anywhere.
- Happy Joyous Hanukkah – The Indigo Girls. Fun and stompy Woodie Guthrie song, performed by one of the best bands ever.
- Una Noche Se Oyo en Borinquen – Puerto Rican presumably holiday song, sung by Lucecita Benitez. My Spanish is terrible, but I think this is about parades and cheating. …OK? Not sure why holiday…? But it is a lot of fun to sing.
- I’ll Cover You – from Rent, sung by William Jermain Heredia and Jessie L. Williams. Love. (It’s totally a holiday musical. Look at it.)
- Shalom Alenu – Hebrew folk song about peace. I like the folksy “everyone gather around the campfire” version I have.
- Chiron Beta Prime – Jonathan Coulton. Avoid robot overlords, I mean protectors.
- Ocho Kandelikas – Sephardic Hanukkah counting song in Ladino, performed by Pink Martini, because fun.
- Bogoroditsye dyevo – Russian carol by Arvo Part. King’s Singers are gorgeous, as always.
- Light One Candle – Peter Paul & Mary. Classic lovely Hanukkah protest song.
- Podsafe Christmas Song – Jonathan Coulton. Because mocking The Chipmunks is just as funny, or funnier, than the actual original Chipmunks.
- Must Be Santa – 60s American carol. The version by Bob Dylan is fun, and the ridiculous video gives you a working definition of random. Which is why I love it.
- What Do Bad Girls Get – Joan Osborne. Joan is So. Naughty.
- The Holly She Bears a Berry – 19th century Cornish carol. Makes no sense, like most carols. The Chieftans are best.
- Winter Song – Ingrid Michaelson and Sarah Bareilles. So mournful and hopeful at the same time.
- How Do You Spell Channukkah? – The Leevees. Hilarious.
- Glow Worm/It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Rockapella. Come on, it’s Rockapella! I think this is one of the most cheerful songs in existence.
- Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas – Carla Thomas. Queen of Memphis Soul. (For some reason, Angie, this song always makes me think of you and your dad. Did Russ have this one?)
- I’d Like to Hitch a Ride with Santa Claus – the Andrews Sisters. Very sweet harmony, as is their wont.
- Mele Kalikimaka – late 40s Hawaiian carol. Turns out Hawaiian doesn’t have Rs or esses, so it’s the way you say the words ‘Merry Christmas’ using the Hawaiian alphabet. News to me. KT Tunstall’s version is my very favorite version of this song.
- ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? – Louis Armstrong. Because Louis Armstrong. If you think Santa is creepy, here’s your song. Muppets Electric Mayhem version is also good.
- Aires de Navidad – Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe. As they tell us, whether you like it or not we’re coming to sing about Christmas. Good warning.
- St. Stephen’s Day Murders – The Chieftans and Elvis Costello. Finally GET RID OF THEM. Yes. Carcas of the Beast. Yes.
- The Wren in the Furze – Traditional Irish carol. Because Jesus is a bird, or something. But if you don’t kick up your heels a little bit you might be as dead as the Wren, and we’ll need a penny for to bury you.
- Una Limosna Para Este Pobre Viejo – the version I have is by Yuri. Why is Pancho Villa in a holiday song?
- Mambo Santa Mambo – The Bobs. Shake it, Santa!
- Good Morning Blues – Ella Fitzgerald. Because Ella is my favorite.
- The Christmas Blues – Dean Martin. Oh, Deano. So crooney, and so drunk.
- Santa Claus Baby – Joan Osborne. I find I like her more and more.
- The Princess Who Saved Herself – Jonathan Coulton. It’s not really a holiday song, but I put it on my holiday list anyway, because I forget why. There was a reason, though. And it’s a great song.
- The Hat – Ingrid Michaelson. Lost love, Xmastime, knitted hats. Much holiday. So Winter. Wow.
- What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve – 40s big band tune. I like crooney, so sue me.
- Christmas Everyday – The Temptations. I really like the bass guy. Hey hey hey hey. And what is a holiday without the Temptations? No holiday at all.
- Chad Ga Ya – One Little Goat – Uh, actually a Passover song. Turns out. Oh well?
- Hard Candy Christmas – Dolly Parton. I don’t care, I love this song and I love Dolly.
- Seasons of Love – Rent. I love all of these shnuggums, and I love this musical, and it’s a holiday show, so there.
- Winter Weather – 1940s Fats Waller big band non-holiday-specific winter tune. You can find it performed by just about anyone, from Peggy Lee to Vanessa Williams. I love Fats, and so do you. It’s a fun song with which to end my list.
- Ma’oz Tzur – thought to be from the 13th century. A liturgical Hebrew poem made into a song. The version I have is by Craig Taubman. Very pretty.
- Chocolate – The Smothers Brothers. Not a holiday song per se, but still. If you don’t laugh at the line where he yells “CHOCOLATE!” I don’t know how you merry. Hooray, Chocolate! (Lara, this one is totally for you. Because SB, and Chocolate.)
OK, 49 and 50 weren’t posted up, but I can’t end the list at 48! That would be weird! And not in a good way!
So there you have it – lots of songs you can look up, and add into your own lists if you liketh them. If you don’t, well, no skin offeth my nose. I liketh them. And tomorrow I will playeth them all one more time as I taketh down the few decorations we put up, and packeth things awayeth. Thus we finish the holiday season on New Year’s as is MY wont. Others can end on the 6th, but I’m not a 12th Night holiday person. At this time. Things change; you never know.
Happy New Year, my lovelies! I hope your next year is full of love and happiness, and boogie. And singing. And chocolate.
Title is from “Winter Swell Blues,” which may be obvious, but I thought I’d just make sure.