Friday, December 21, 2012

A Little Alternative Christmas


As I’m sure you guys are aware, we have four days until Christmas. At this point, I’m sure we’re all pretty tired of hearing “Jingle Bells” and that screechy Mariah Carey song every radio station seems to over-play. Since I strive to be your musical savior, this week I am highlighting five good renditions of these Christmas songs performed by alternative/indie acts.

Here we go…

5. Auld Lange Syne by Andrew Bird- Granted, this song relates more to New Year, but I’m including it because it’s in the same season and a solid song. Andrew brings a barebones feel to this typically flowing, heavily orchestrated song. I love that violin after the introduction and the light-hearted feel his vocals give the song.

4. Little Saint Nick by She and Him- It wouldn’t really be a Christmas post if I did not highlight these indie darlings who released a fantastic Christmas album last year. Typically, this song gives me a headache, partially due to the fact that this song has absolutely nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas and partially because the original arrangement is obnoxious and tries too hard to be cute. She and Him specialize in cute, so it works. Zooey’s vocals complement the twinkling strings section in the background and the harmonies are perfect.

3. O Come O Come Emanuel by Surfjan Stevens- Absolutely beautiful interpretation. Between the woodwinds, varying instrumentation, and his gravelly yet smooth vocals, I’m sold. He took a slightly boring Christmas carol and brought some depth and splendor back to it. Amazing.

2. Tonight It’s Christmas by Hey Ocean!- One of the few Christmas songs I can listen to all year. I love the strong, alternating vocals, different percussion lines, and surprising horn lines. Take out the Christmas lyrics and it sounds like your everyday Alternative hit. Love it.

1. Sleigh Ride by fun.- One of my favorite indie-now-gone-mainstream-bands. I hate to be a jerk, but I like to remind everyone when I bring fun. up that I knew “We Are Young” a year before it got big. Alright, hipster antics out of the way, this is probably the best cover I’ve ever heard of this lackluster Christmas song. It opens with a gentle, swaying orchestra section, in a typical fun. fashion, adds in distinctive percussion, sound effects, and eventually adds in Nate’s distinctive voice. This song is always stuck in my head, which means if you listen to it, it will be too. J

Next week, the 28th, will be the last Friday of 2012, which means it’s time to do a review of my favorite songs from 2012. I could pick the worst songs of the year, but my goal with this blog is to bring some positivity to the music industry, not add more negativity. Yes, I do like to highlight the flaws in the music industry, but my job is not to solely critique. So, that’s why I’m going to do a “best of” list, rather than a “worst of.” If you’re looking for a worst of 2012, click here to listen to one of my favorite guys on YouTube.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,


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