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Books by Brandon James Benson

Kyrie Eleison. Tenebrae non importo. Export tantum lumen.

A Mariah Care(y) Free Christmas – A review of Christmas Radio

 

It’s time we review Christmas music that gets way overplayed.

I love Christmas music. I love a lot of it. There’s a lot I also don’t care for. I do think there is more good Christmas music than bad. I finally realized it’s not so much there’s bad Christmas music, it’s the frequency that many of the same songs are played over and over again. With so many great Christmas songs out there why does it seem the same ones get played over and over again? I thought I would take a look at all of these dynamics, as I see them. I would love to conduct an official study one day over all of this. I realize being my opinion there’s likely to be mixed reviews and objections to my thoughts on Christmas music. That’s fine. I’d love to hear your thoughts. One thing I’ve learned when discussing Christmas music is there’s a lot of opinions and a lot of passion to it. With that in mind all of this is just for fun.

#MariahFreeChristmas

Let’s start with Marey Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You”. This song likely now gets more airplay than Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. Let me start by saying it’s a very good song. My issue with it — it’s played all the time! There is a 25% chance that if you turn on your radio to your local station playing Christmas music right now you’ll hear this song. This has been a running joke of mine on my Facebook page for several years. This year on Facebook and Twitter I did a #MariahFreeChristmas with a daily post of a Christmas song I would like to hear over “All I Want”. If I get in my car…there is Mariah. If I turn on the radio at work there is Mariah. If I fire up some streaming Christmas music…there is Mariah. It seems to me this song is played at least twice per hour on the radio. I get it, there’s been some studies done on this song that suggests scientifically our minds love it because of something to do with the chords and melody involved. Fine. But it’s not the only good Christmas song! It seems to me we could back off the Mariah Carey and let a few other good ones get their day in the snow.

Here’s 15 thoughts I have on Christmas music including overplayed songs.

  1. Country Christmas Music isn’t all that good. I’m a huge country music fan. But when it comes to country Christmas music, there isn’t much I like. I’m not sure why that is. Country Christmas music is the home of blah to mediocre ranged Christmas music.
  2. Christian Christmas Music could be better. I’m a huge fan of Christian rock and contemporary music. I have sort of the same feeling though with Christian music as I do country Christmas music. However, unlike country Christmas music I think there’s plenty of GREAT Christian Christmas music.
  3. Wham! “Last Christmas” gets played enough as it is. (Why is this? It routinely shows up on most hated/annoying Christmas music lists) We don’t need any more covers of this song! In addition to hearing Wham! on repeat, we now get to hear Taylor Swift’s version repeated over and over again. There’s plenty of other covers as well. Enough!
  4. Accuradio has the best online Christmas music set up. Accuradio is a little known free streaming service. It’s not popular like Pandora, iHeart, Amazon Music, Apple Music, or Spotify. Accuradio provides a unique set up much different than all the rest. It seems like there are fewer commercials, you’re able to have more ratings/skips than the others, and the holiday preset stations are amazing. Jazz, kids, country, rock, instrumental, oldies, Celtic, Brazilian, oldies, standards, Gospel, indie, old-fashioned, Broadway Christmas, listener top 100, and the list goes on. On top of all of this, they feature channels dedicated to certain songs with 100’s of versions of that song. The O Channel, for example, features “O Holy Night”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, and “O Tannenbaum”. Other song specific mixes include “Let It Snow”, “Chestnuts Roasting”, “Blue Christmas”, “Joy To The World”, and several others. Check out Accuradio!
  5. All versions of “Santa Baby” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” are horrible. Both of these songs are just creepy to being with. I could do without hearing any version of these ever again.
  6. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is as creepy as the two mentioned above. I’m sort of surprised this song is still played as frequently as it is with the entire #MeToo attention and sexual harassment scandals going on. Could we just stop sexualizing Christmas, to begin with? These three songs are awful.
  7. In general traditional and classics are the best and still deserve plenty of airtime. Give me Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Ray Conniff Singers, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Vince Guaraldi Trio, and Gene Autry anytime over anything else.
  8. Why does anyone enjoy sad depressing Christmas music? Here are the songs I am talking about. Where Are You Christmas (Faith Hill), Christmas Shoes (nice message, but depressing and I’m not buying the story), Grown Up Christmas List, Same Old Lang Syne (Dan Fogelberg), Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Merry Christmas Darling (The Carpenters), Please Come Home for Christmas, and there are a dozen others. I don’t understand the love for any of these songs.
  9. Angela Lansbury’s “We Need A Little Christmas” is nails on a chalkboard to me.
  10. “Feliz Navidad” can’t possibly be the only catchy Christmas song in Spanish.
  11. If you like Stevie Nicks version of “Silent Night” I don’t think you know the difference between singing and a goat crying. I understand the love for Stevie Nicks. I don’t understand the love for this song. It’s terrible. She sounds like a goat. Here’s a challenge for you. Line up both of these and listen to them side by side at the same time. I’ve pointed this out before on Youtube and I’m lucky to be alive. We’re all just going to have to disagree here. I like artists who don’t sound like goats.

Stevie Nicks Silent Night https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFxxQnhT5XQ

Goats singing Silent Night https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9_YXGVmco4

12. The most underplayed artists with Christmas music right now are for King and Country and Lauren Daigle. Their Christmas albums are amazing. Their live performances of their Christmas music are impressive and among the best shows, I’ve seen in general.

Tell me these aren’t awesome!

fK&C Little Drummer Boy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l1CS0Jhk90

Lauren Daigle O Come All Ye Faithful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZn59OrLNYU

13. Mannheim Steamroller and Trans Siberian Orchestra are still awesome. I would love to hear more great Christmas rock music. I would love to hear more instrumental Christmas music. I would love to hear more instrumental rock Christmas music. Someone step up and fill this void. We need more stuff like this. Piano Guys, not really rock, but are amazing, I put them in this category. Give me more please!

14. Who is deciding what gets played the most on the radio? Put a little effort into your playlist! Everyone in charge is mailing this in. You’re failing!

15. 20 some songs dominate Christmas radio. Some of these are fine they are just played way too much, and some just don’t make any sense as they are annoying. Here are some of the repeat offenders. Again, some of these aren’t bad, they’re just way overplayed. (I like some of these!) You will hear these songs today if you’re listening to Christmas music (whether streaming or on radio), and likely you’ll hear them more than once.

Xmas Radio

Mariah Carey of course.

“Last Christmas” by Wham!

“Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney

“Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by Jackson Five

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love

“Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt, the Madonna version is especially bad.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas Time” by Band Aid

“Merry Xmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Dean Martin

“Grown Up Christmas List” by Amy Grant

“Where Are You Christmas” by Faith Hill

“Winter Wonderland” by Johnny Mathis

“The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole

“Christmas Canon” by Trans Siberian Orchestra

“Run, Run, Rudolph” by Chuck Berry

“Santa Claus is Coming To Town” by Bruce Springsteen

“Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” by Gene Autry

“Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives

“Carol of the Bells” by David Foster (instrumental)

Hated Christmas SongsChances Hated Song will Play
Here are some suggestions I have for other songs that could be played more often.
Christmas Suggestions.jpg
Enjoy your Christmas soundtrack, whatever it might include!
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Snow Angels

Last night when I put my girls to bed I made up a story to get them calmed down. Instead, it made my oldest laugh. They both did settle down ok and went to sleep. Greta, our oldest turned 4 today. With that in my mind and how much she enjoyed the story, I did my best to recreate what I made up on the spot. I am certain the first version was different, but now they both have a version written down I can tell them again.

❄️Snow Angels❄️

One Christmas a short time ago
Santa’s sleigh couldn’t move
Because it was stuck in the snow

So he called his friends Greta and Clara
He told them to come help
And move the snow from the area

So Greta and Clara began on the snow cover
They shoveled and scooped, and scooped and shoveled
They even shoveled snow on top of each other

Shoveling snow on each other was fun
But back to work they needed to get
Or Santa would have a fit because he needed to run

They piled up the snow
They shoveled it higher than high
They shoveled that snow so high it touched the sky

Finally, the snow was all cleared away
And they smiled and cheered
As Santa grabbed his bag to go up in his sleigh

“Thank you for the helping me
For being kind this Christmas Eve you’ll find
Extra presents under your tree”

“Now I’m out of here! I have to go
Merry Christmas Greta and Clara down there below,
Be good now, see you next year when you help me again with the snow!”

Yukon Cornelius is the real hero in Rudolph!

The real hero in the Rankin Bass Rudolph special is Yukon Cornelius

A lot of people point out what a jerk Santa Claus is in Rudolph. Rightfully so. Santa Claus is a big time jerk throughout the animated classic until he finally sees a need for Rudolph. Let’s talk about another character who is lost in between the Burl Ives Snowman, Santa the Jerkface, and lovable Rudolph. Have you ever noticed the real hero of the tale is Yukon Cornelius?

1. This prospector has no connection to any of the other characters. He’s busy making a living but stops to take in and protect two rejected misfits wandering around in the cold. In fact in their first encounter he literally pulls their butts out of the snow so they don’t get frostbite. Rudolph and Hermey are so out of their element their response to a perceived fear is to dive head first into a snowbank like ostriches in the sand. Fortunate for them the threat is this good natured prospector.

2. While on the run from the Bumble it’s Yukon dragging everyone else. Literally. His dogs, Hermey, and Rudolph are too scared to even run so they pile on the sled while Yukon straps on the harness to pull these helpless beings to safety. His sled is also loaded down with gun powder, ham hocks, and guitar strings. (According to him)

3. When they get to a dead end facing the sea or the Bumble it’s only Yukon who is able to save the group by carving out a floating safety vessel with his pick ax. Keep in mind floating off and protecting this bunch is likely taking him off his track for gold and silver to make a living.

yukon

4. Later on after Rudolph has run off and Yukon and Hermey come across the Bumble cave where Rudolph, Donder, Mrs. Donder, and Clarice are captured just sitting around putting up zero fight or plans for escape. (BTW what kind of mother is Mrs. Donder to just embark with some other parents little doe to find her son?! She seriously didn’t tell Clarice to go home. Nope. “Great idea sweetie, let’s find my lil buck! Screw your parents.”) Anyway once again it’s Yukon picking up everyone else’s slack. He formulates a plan using Hermey as a diversion oinking like a pig to coax Bumble out of the cave and then he drops on Bumble from above.

5. Later in this fight Yukon goes over the cliff with Bumble to save these strangers. Let’s also recognize during these Bumble encounters he never fires a single shot even though he is visibly armed and by his own words has gun powder. He could have just shot the beast making things easier and quicker. But perhaps he has other ideas for Bumble?

6. We later find out Yukon is so resilient he survived due to Bumble being able to bounce. But that’s not all he’s able to reform Bumble into a kind caring creature.

7. Due to Yukon’s efforts the reformed Bumble puts the topper on Santa’s tree and everyone rejoices and its a merry old time.

8. Yukon asked for zero and as far as we can tell he gets zero out of this other than some strange new friends who couldn’t find their way out of Walmart if the greeter was pointing at the exit sign let alone survive in the arctic.

The hero of this story is Yukon. Without him Rudolph doesn’t survive, it’s also likely Donder and his wife, a little doe, an elf, and a team of sled dogs all die. Bumble would still be a threat to the North Pole. The outcome of this is the misfit toys stay stranded and Santa cancels Christmas without Rudolph’s nose to guide the way.

BONUS: Capitalism saves the day. Without wealth there is no cheerful forward thinking prospector to save Rudolph and friends, and therefore save Christmas that year. Think about that next time you’re doing your Christmas shopping!

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