Today is the first Sunday of advent. In many of the more traditional churches all over the world, a candle will be lit on an advent wreath to mark the passage of the first week of the season.
I’m going to do the next best thing and share with you the songs that I’ve been enjoying so far this month for #EdisXmasCountdown. A social media shout out is basically the millennial equivalent of lighting a candle in respect, anyway.
For those who don’t know, for advent, I’m counting down 25 of my favourite Christmas songs and carols as we wait for the momentous day to arrive. Instead of a centimetre of poor quality chocolate, every day I’ll be tucking into a a Yuletide audio delight and saying a little about why I like them and what they mean to me.
Follow all the action on Twitter at #EdisXmasCountdown. Where possible I’ll put a link to Spotify and I’ll embed a Youtube clip if it’s available so everyone can enjoy this. Except people on Apple Music or Tidal. You’ll have to search it yourself. You made your choice.
And just to clarify for the purists, I’ve only gone with ‘Xmas’ rather than ‘Christmas’ to save characters on Twitter. Don’t worry, Christ is still very much at the centre of my Christmas.
White Christmas – Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain
I have always had a completely undeserved, completely irrational dislike for Michael Buble. Call it jealousy, call it spite, whatever, he just kind of annoyed me.
This isn’t about you, Michael. It’s about me. And I’m working on it.
Anyway, this song went some way to my reluctant acceptance of Mr Buble. Obviously the most popular version of White Christmas is the Bing Crosby one, but this is a fun update of the classic.
Country queen Shania’s and classic crooner Michael’s voices fir perfectly together. Also, I’m glad that they played around with the track a little and had some fun, managing to bring it into the 21st century without having to resort to dubstep or a verse from a popular rapper.
Covering a well-loved song is always a bit hit-and-miss, but I’d say they definitely hit this one. With vocals so smooth that they lead you to believe that he personally lubricates each syllable, this song is a triumph for the self-proclaimed king of Christmas.
You win this round, Buble.
You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch – Jordan Smith
Perhaps an odd choice, but I absolutely love this song. There’s just something about the threateningly non-threatening lyrics that gets me.
Written for the 1966 cartoon film The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (obviously), this track describes Dr Seuss’ hairy green Scrooge endeavouring to ruin Christmas for a town.
What I’m loving about #EdisXmasCountdown is finding interesting versions of classic tunes. There are loads for this one. Glee did it (to be fair, Glee do everything), Fight Song singer Rachel Platten gave us her take. Even Cee Lo Green covered it, because Christmas doesn’t need to make sense.
I’ve gone for this version from 2015’s winner of The Voice US, Jordan Smith, who manages to keep the cute Christmas charm of the classic while giving it a bit of big band boost. I’m absolutely killing the alliteration today.
Obviously the moral of the story is that Christmas isn’t about presents, food or stuff, but about love, family, forgiveness etc. A beautiful message, but I’m going to take it a little further, and remind us (myself included) that yes, that is what Christmas is about, but so is life.
Goodwill to all people shouldn’t begin and end at Christmas. Let’s try and be loving, forgiving, kind and generous all year round.
*Steps down from soapbox*
Santa Baby – Ariana Grande ft. Liz Gillies
Like any song that’s been consistently popular for over 60 years, Santa Baby has spawned a lot of covers. From Eartha Kitt’s original to Madonna to The Pussycat Dolls to Glee (they cover everything) to Colbie Caillat, it feels like everyone’s had a go.
One version I’m not in love with is the Michael Buble one. As discussed previously, I have my issues with Mr Buble, so this is perhaps unsurprising.
Giving credit where it’s due, Michael took on for himself the very arduous task of making a song that describes Santa Claus as a sugar daddy sound vaguely heterosexual.
He butches things up by replacing many of the “baby”s with “buddy” and with talk about K’nex and Mercedes. Even the ’54 convertible is changed to a manly “steel blue” instead of the previously feminine “light blue”. Obviously it’s quite tongue in cheek but I just wonder why he bothered.
Anyway, this cover from Ariana Grande and Liz Gillies modernises the tune a little but maintains the playful provocative nature of the song. At the time, both Grande and Gillies were fresh off Nickelodeon’s Victorious so this cover features fewer suggestive squeals than that of seasoned temptress Kylie.
While it does nothing to show off, for example, Grande’s impressive vocal range, their voices blend beautifully with each other, though the vocals are overly soft at times, and almost lispy, probably in an attempt to be soothing and seductive.
Regardless, this is genuinely one of my favourite Christmas songs. Odd I know, but the heart wants what it wants. Which in this case is a ’54 convertible. Light blue, please.
So that’s where we are at the moment. Feel free to join the conversation here, on Twitter, follow the playlist on Spotify, whatever. Just do you.
The good news is that we’ve got another 21 days to enjoy some great songs. Well, at least average songs. Christmas music is a mixed bag, to be honest.