music recommendations for Advent and Christmas

These are the songs getting a lot of play on the old iPod right now.


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What can I say about Sufjan Stevens? We only discovered him last year about this time, and last Advent was pretty much All Sufjan, All The Time. His "O Holy Night" fills me with merriment. Typically I prefer a more operatic treatment of the song, in keeping with the imperative, "Fall on your knees!" But somehow the mad plinkery of this version is just right.

I've liked Barenaked Ladies ever since my senior year in high school (1994, which feels like about two weeks ago), when we studied "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" and our teacher played "If I Had $1,000,000" for us in conjunction with that. Their collaboration with Sarah McLachlan on "God Rest Ye Merry/ We Three Kings" is both groovy and spine tingling, especially when McLachlan belts out, "Glorious now, behold Him arise/ God and King and sacrifice/ Alleluia! Alleluia! Worship Him, God most high!"

Yes, ma'am.

I know almost nothing about Steeleye Span, but I do know that there are few activities more pleasurable to me than driving alone in the car and singing along in Latin at the top of my lungs to "Gaudette."

"When I Get Home For Christmas" has all sorts of emotional resonance for me. Maybe I'll tell you some stories sometime. Not now. I will say I love the imagery of "We'll open presents between kisses/ Your eyes burn stronger than the fire."

Does anyone NOT love Vince Guaraldi's Christmas music?

Not included on this playlist are two selections from Kemper Crabb: "Down in Yon Forrest" and "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent."

Also, Sufjan Stevens' "O Come O Come Emmanuel," which is my favorite Advent carol ever ever of all time ever, no matter who is singing or what the instrumentation.

What are you listening to this Advent and Christmas?

5 comments:

M. Robert Turnage said...

For one, I am NOT listening to Sir Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" which is BY FAR the WORST song ever imagined. And if you play it backwards, it is still bad. THAT IS HOW BAD IT IS!

Having said that, Starbucks put out a Christmas music sampler I quite enjoy. Plus there is the Anonymous 4 "On Yoolis Night" album as well as Christmas by the Tallis Scholars which I happen to like as well.

Kimberly said...

So, I posted about O Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus on the COA Advent blog today.

http://www.adventcoa.blogspot.com/

That is the one that runs through my brain right now.

Julia said...

We are big fans of Sufjan Stevens at our house as well; I just LOVE his Christmas album. (Although not really Christmas-y, his version of "Come Thou Fount" on that album might be one of my favorite recordings of sacred music EVER.) Something else we added to the collection last year that I've been enjoying is the Bebo Norman Christmas album. It's much more conventional, pop, mainstream, and (shudder) sort of contemporary Christian, but despite all that, I like it a lot.

happygeek said...

I had never heard the BNL/ Sarah Mc rendition before, but man is that ever good.
They've grown up a bit since million dollars eh?
Being hearing impaired I rarely listen to music because most just sounds like blah blah blah, except worship songs which sound like blah blah Jesus blah blah amazed, blah blah worship forever.
My friends tell me that sometimes this is not far from the truth:)

Beck said...

LOOK WHAT HAPPENS when I don't check up on my bloglines often enough! I inadvertently copy posts. Yes, I do.

(and I was fixing the adieu/a DO thing right when you commented, I think. But yes.)

I love all of those songs, too. I find getting the right emotional note difficult this time of year - O Come O Come Emmanuel is a BEAUTIFUL song and one of my all-time favorites, too.