Days 18 – 25 #EdisXmasCountdown

christmas, EdisXmasCountdown, music

It’s the big day.

Christmas day 2017.

We’ve been on a journey, haven’t we. We’ve seen highs, lows, and a whole lot of Christmas clichés, but we’ve made it through, and here we are on the last day.

How has it been for you?

For the few among you who still somehow have no idea what I’m talking about, over advent, I have been sharing some of my favourite Christmas music. A mix of carols and pop songs, and old and new music, alongside reimagined classics, I have tried to share what Christmas has sounded like to me this year.

All of the action has gone down on Twitter and previous blog posts can be found here. Also, you can find the complete Spotify playlist here, as well as last year’s list here.

But now, without further ado, let’s look back over the last 7 days of Christmas.

Day 18

Can’t Wait For Christmas – TobyMac

We’re starting off the week with some cheerful pop from TobyMac. Hearing this one a few days ago really put me in the mood for Christmas. Yes it’s kind of cheesy, but I am willing to overlook that because you can tell that this man genuinely loves this time of year.

This song is taken from his seasonal album (Light Of Christmas) which also features a song with Owl City, who you might remember featured on day 12 of our countdown. I genuinely never thought that I would be able to make a non-ironic list of music in 2017 that includes Owl City twice and, quite frankly, I’m delighted.

Day 19

I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Ingrid Michaelson

You’ve definitely heard Ingrid Michaelson’s music, but you probably don’t realise it. She has some success with her indie acoustic music in the early noughties and you’ll definitely remember hearing Be OK or The way I Am on adverts on TV shows at the time.

Today’s song is a modern cover of the Irving Berlin’-written classic, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm. Michaelson’s guitar brings some warmth to the classic song, as well as a simple, yet lively modernity.

This is  a very, very sweet song about love. But let’s face it, the couple in the song are very clearly in the honeymoon stage. A few months and a few fights on, it’ll be something along the lines of “my love keeps me warm because it’s like being in hell”.

Sorry, I’m an old cynic at heart….

Merry Christmas!

 

Day 20

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve – Tori Roper

The first time I heard this song was when Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (take a moment to appreciate how posh those names sound) shared an adorable acoustic cover on Youtube in 2011.

Annoyingly, they didn’t record their version properly so, instead, I just Googled ‘what are you doing new years eve acoustic’ and this version from, up and coming singer, Tori Roper appeared.

While lacking the duet element of Joe and Zooey’s version, it retains the song’s vulnerability and openness. We can all relate to feeling out of someone’s league, but the singer here decided to go for it anyway and shoot their shot.

I’m almost certain that they were immediately shot down after posing this question to their crush, because that’s how life is. But this is still a lovely, lovely song. Enjoy Zooey and Joseph being cute below.

 

Day 21

Carol Of The Bells – Libera

This is one of my favourite Christmas songs of all time. Last year, the a capella Pentatonix version featured on the list, but today I have decided to keep things slightly more traditional with a version from boys choir Libera.

It cannot be denied that this song is at least a little bit creepy, and the music video below which features the boys singing ominously in a forest does little to dispel that image.

Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful song about being excited for Christmas – something that I can definitely relate to today.

 

Day 22

I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Michael Bublé

Try as you might, it is pretty much impossible to compile a list of Christmas music without somehow involving Micahel Bublé. This man has somehow positioned himself as the King of Christmas and his covers of classic Christmas songs have gone on to eclipse the originals in modern day popularity.

If you read the blogs on last year’s countdown, you may remember that I have a, shall we say, interesting relationship with Mr. Bublé. To cut a long story short: I don’t like him (or at least, I don’t want to like him). I should note that this is through no fault of his own, and in fact exists despite his immense talent and the beautiful music he makes that I begrudgingly enjoy.

One thing I can proudly hold against him is his ill-advised cover of Santa Baby (that basically amounted to a series of ‘no homo’s), which I imagine must have been intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but in my opinion, just turned out uncomfortable.

Regardless, I can’t argue with his catalogue of work, especially the Christmas stuff which truly is some stellar stuff. There is a reason why he is trotted out every year at Christmas time with his non-threatening good looks and almost aggresively smooth voice.

At this point I’ve run out of space to talk about today’s actual song, but rest assured that, much like the other Sinatra-esque covers in the crooner’s canon, it is a heartwarming treat for the ears.

 

Day 23

Gloria – Josh Garrels

Our countdown started off with a song from Josh Garrels, so it is only fitting that he appears again toward the end to sandwich in our playlist. I hesitate to call this song a cover, as it sounds miles apart from the Gloria In Excelsis Deo hymn that we know, so let’s just say that today’s song was inspired by the centuries old song.

I enjoy the indie folk vibes and Garrels’ earnest vocals, as well as how the music builds into a joyous chorus of “gloria”s that sounds thoroughly modern but still echoes the same spirit of people singing the original hymn hundreds of years ago.

 

 

Day 24

Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

‘Twas the night before Christmas… I think I actually enjoy Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day. Anticipation is almost always better than the things itself.

Some of the more organised types will have their presents all wrapped up days, even weeks, before the big day, but I love wrapping gifts on Christmas eve, knowing that, in a few short hours when they’re opened, I’ll be able to see my family’s faces of delight, shock, horror, revulsion, and eventual acceptance. (You really don’t want to receive one of my gifts…)

Fittingly, I chose this iconic 80s jam for today’s song, but I have come to realise that this song has little or nothing to do with Christmas wrapping, but instead focuses on a woman who is unable to take hints as to when someone isn’t interested.

 

Day 25

O Come All Ye Faithful – Pentatonix

It’s the big day. I LOVE Christmas! I really hope you have had a delightful day, wherever you and whatever you’ve been doing.

I contemplated putting a sombre song that contemplates the deep, intensely theological ideas, but today is a day for celebration. So instead, here is a lively gospel cover of Joy To The World from everyone’s favourite a capella group, Pentatonix.

So there we are. 25 days of music. i hope you guys have enjoyed it as much as I have.

 

 

 

My little brother has the misfortune of being born on December the 26th. So for him, Christmas is just a warm-up for his big day, but a warm-up that (let’s face it) will always eclipse his birthday.

To try and and combat this, my parents would always buy him a big present on his birthday. A huge remote-controlled car, or a bike or something large and ostentatious, so he would feel special.

One year in particular when he was very young, I remember he got something really big. Ironically, I can’t actually remember what that thing was, and I don’t think that he can either, because what he really enjoyed, what he really valued in that gift was the box.

He loved that box. I vaguely remember playing with him in it. We probably pretended it was a spaceship or something like that. And, as much fun as it was, we can’t escape the fact that he had wasted a wonderful gift.

I wonder if sometimes we can be like my little brother, getting caught up in the packaging of Christmas, but ignoring the amazing gift that’s right there.

Christmas isn’t about the presents, or the food, or the Christmas music (as much as that pains me to admit). It isn’t even about seemingly noble things like spending time with loved ones, or being kind to strangers, as great as those things are.

Christmas is about God loving us so much that he refused to be aloof and disconnected so came to earth as a human. Born in abject poverty, forced to seek asylum in a foreign country as a toddler, persecuted as an adult, and eventually killed, he most definitely experienced the lows of human life.

But this means that it can’t be denied that Jesus is for everyone. Young peasant couples raising a child born out of wedlock (Mary and Joseph), poor outcasts (the shepherds), rich, wise intellectuals (the Wise Men), even people who work in hospitality but aren’t very good at their jobs (the innkeeper). Everyone.

So when you think about it, Christmas is actually, dare I say it…

about you.

And me.

It’s about all of us. God thought we were worth coming to earth in poverty, scandal and shame, and ultimately worth dying for. So really, we’re the meaning of Christmas.

God thinks we’re worth knowing, so isn’t it mabe worth trying to get to know him?

So I implore you this Christmas. Have a think about all of this. Please feel free to message me, comment or whatever if you want to chat more.

But whatever you do, don’t just play with Christmas’ packaging. I can tell you from experience, the gift is so much better than the box.

 

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Days 11 – 17 #EdisXmasCountdown

EdisXmasCountdown, music

Contrary to what has become a popular understanding, the Wise Men – or Magi, if you’re feeling fancy – weren’t actually present at Jesus’ birth. If you were to ask a historian or just read the bible, you would find out that the Eastern travellers only came along by the time the little Baby Jesus had become the slightly bigger Toddler Jesus.

So they missed it. They missed the birth of our saviour. They missed the shepherds, missed the stable, they missed it all.

Poor form, Magi. Poor form.

The world’s most celebrated group of travelling mystics of all time were late.

So as you bear that in mind, I would like to very humbly offer an apology for the lateness of this post. Due to a combination of me being busy and of the dates of Christmas this year, I thought it would be best if I share days 11 – 18 today on Christmas Eve, then days 19 -25 tomorrow on Christmas day to round off the series.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, over the advent season, I have been sharing 25 of my favourite Christmas songs. There have been old songs and new, pop songs and carols, as well as some new versions of classic tunes.

Follow all the action on Twitter and read the previous weekly blog posts here, including last year’s entries.

So let’s get into it. Here is another week of Christmas cheer from me to you.

Enjoy.

Day 11

What Christmas Means To Me – Paul Young

“Candles burning low, lots of mistletoe…” Despite apparently growing up in the 1800s before electric light was commonplace, Paul Young’s Christmas memories are very sweet and are guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. The standout from his 2nd Christmas album, unsurprisingly titled A Very Special Christmas 2, this old school song brings a cheerful sense of nostalgia about the holiday season.

 

Day 12

Dear Santa – Mr. Little Jeans

Bringing things back into this decade, here is the oddly named female vocalist Mr. Little Jeans with Dear Santa. In this song, the Norwegian sings about the challenges of spending Christmas apart from her significant other. Unlike many other older or old-fashioned songs about lonely Yuletides, I like that today’s song does admit that “I wouldn’t need any presents at all, if I had my baby on a long-distance call”.

It’s perhaps a smidge less romantic than walking 1000 miles, but a cheeky Facetime with your long-distance partner on Christmas might be the best present you could get.

 

Day 13

Santa’s Beard – The Beach Boys

With a back catalogue that includes songs with titles like The Baker Man, Barbra Ann and Bull Session with the Big Daddy (and that’s just the B’s!), today’s song continues the Beach Boys’ seeming commitment to sing about literally anything.

This one details the disappointment of a little boy who visits ‘Santa’ at a shopping centre and promptly realises that the man is an imposter upon tugging on his beard. Traumatising stuff.

Sung in their distinctive surfer/barbershop style with their effortless harmonies, this song is a whimsical look into Christmas from the eyes of a five (and a half) year old.

 

Day 14

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Tenth Avenue North

This song featured on last year’s playlist, but I can assure you, Nat King Cole’s version sounds miles apart from today’s tropical house cover. This track features on their creative Decade The Halls, Vol. 1 album – an anthology of popular Christmas songs, but with each sung in the style of music from every consecutive decade from the 1920s onwards. It shouldn’t take a genius to work out that today’s song is the last on the album as tropical electronic music is peak 2010s.

As you might have noticed from the playlist so far, oftentimes even the newest Christmas songs have retro influences – Sia’s Santa’s Coming for Us, Bonnie McKee’s California Winter, or even Dear Santa above spring to mind. This song however, bucks the trend, bringing a truly modern take to this centuries-old song.

And luckily, this is only volume 1 of the Decade the Halls album so hopefully we can expect more next year.

 

Day 15

You’ll Know It’s Christmas – Deacon Blue

Like many festive songs, this one is little more than a list of things that the writer enjoys about Chrsitmas. This time it’s snow, singing, people believing in each other and babies in manger nativity scenes.

Despite the hackneyed Yuletide motifs, this song presents a cheerful, optimistic and inspiring message, rather than merely the focus on gift-wrapping and icicles that much of Christmas music can have. I specially like how the song builds from a sombre contemplative start to the euphoric final chorus.

“You’ll know it’s Christmas when the snows are beginning and someone’s singing a song.”

Sounds about right to me.

 

Day 16

Up On The Housetop – Pentatonix

The Pentatonix love Christmas. Having released a festive album every year since 2014, this a capella  group take the whole ‘bringing glad tidings of great joy’ thing to the next level. Admirably, despite their sheer volume of output, they are still able to maintain the level of quality that got them noticed in the first place.

After a cappella music’s spike in popularity in the early 2010s, thanks to the likes of Glee, flashmobs, the Pitch Perfect films, and of course the band’s own viral sucess, it can be easy to forget just how much effort goes into all of their music. Every sound you hear is made by their mouths, yet each song plays like a fully produced studio track.

A testament to their skill, they even somehow managed to turn this quite frankly ridiculous Christmas ditty into a bona fide jam that makes me want to move my body.

Looks like this year, Santa’s bringing another kind of slayyyyy!

Enjoy their cool VR video below. The future is now.

Day 17

My Gift Is You

To this day, I still have literally no idea what a hollaback girl is. Thankfully, in this new song, Gwen Stefani uses only standard English words.

Riffing on an admittedly now overused ‘all i want for Christmas is you’ trope, Stefani croons in her distinctive voice how her significant other is the only gift she needs, rather than money, a ring, or any of the myriad yuletide clichés.

Stefani reportedly wrote this song about her boyfriend – country music star Blake Shelton. Shelton recently received some stick for being chosen as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive with many suggesting there were perhaps more deserving candidates.

Regardless, with this song, it is clear there’s only one winner in Gwen’s heart.

 

@ediadegbola

Days 4 – 10 #EdisXmasCountdown 2017

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We’re well into December now and Christmas is very much on its way. I have already bought two secret Santa gifts and am looking forward to my work Christmas party i.e. my only opportunity to wear a suit until wedding season rolls around next year.

I love this time of year – the cold winds, the over-excited children, the dangerous hazard of icy roads. Ok, those definitely aren’t the best things that the season has to offer, but maybe below I can suggest seven of Christmas’ finest products.

If you didn’t know (literally, where have you been?), for advent, I am compiling a list of some of my favourite Christmas songs. I’ll be counting down to the big day with 25 of the best Yuletide tunes – old and new, Christian and secular.

Check out all the action on Twitter and follow the playlist on Spotify which I will update daily. And if you just can’t get enough, listen to last year’s playlist and read some of last year’s blogs too.

Ok then, let’s get started. Here’s what the last week has sounded like for me.

 

Day 4

Can You See – 5th Harmony

Taking a break from the almost aggressively sexual output that we have come to expect from them, here 5th Harmony sing a beautiful R&B ballad about a Christmas star that leads the way spiritually. (In case that was too subtle for you, this particular star is called Jesus).

This song was written for the soundtrack of The Star – a children’s film about that night in Bethlehem, told from the perspective of the nativity’s unsung hero: the donkey. Yeah sure, the wise men brought some expensive gifts, but try walking for 80 miles with a pregnant woman on your back.

It’s nice to see a modern Christmas song that talks a little about the meaning of Christmas, rather than just presents and snow and festive feelings, not that presents, snow and festive feelings don’t have their place.

Anyway, this song got me in a Christmassy mood when it was released in October, so I’m sure it’ll do the same now it’s actually December.

 

Day 5

All Alone On Christmas – Darlene Love

It really wouldn’t be Christmas without Darlene Love having a musical meltdown of some kind. Last year we had her crying on the doorstep pleading with her man to come home. This year it appears that said gentleman did not return and now she’s facing a lonely yuletide.

Jokes aside, this emotional song reminds us that this time of year can be very lonely for some people. Here is a woman who is so lonely that she is writing a letter to Santa Claus asking him to stay with her a while when delivering her presents. It’s safe to say she’s had more than a few brandys at this point.

I love the vulnerability in this song and her previous hit Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) though it’s worth mentioning that, aside from the honesty, both tracks also share an undeniably similar tune.

 

Day 6

2000 Miles – Tom Chaplin

For day 6, we have an updated cover of The Pretenders’ hit 2000 Milles. Not to be confused with The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles, or Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles, this song has become a Christmas classic since its release in 1983. Who knew geographically themed music was so popular?

In today’s cover, former Keane frontman Tom Chaplin breathes new life into the ditty as part of his new album Twelve Tales Of Christmas.

Sadly, this beautiful song isn’t about separated lovers as the lyrics suggest, but was actually written as a tribute to the Pretenders’ original guitar player who died of a drug overdose the year before tit was written.

Nevertheless, this gentle melody has brought a sombre joy to Christmases over the past few decades and, no doubt, this cover and the original version will continue to do so for many more.

 

Day 7

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Noah Cyrus

The lights are up, nutmeg is in the air, and shoppers are becoming increasingly stressed and irritable: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas. Today, Noah Cyrus brings us into the one week mark with a surprisingly beautiful cover of this quintessentially festive song.

Best known (let’s face it) for being Miley Cyrus’s little sister, Noah’s burgeoning music career has so far delivered a slew of competent, edgy and surprisingly mature pop singles for a 17-year old. Today’s track however, goes in a more traditional direction.

Being a middle child, I am aware of how annoying it is to constantly be compared to one’s siblings but I can’t resist sharing this video of Miley’s Christmas 2008 performance when she was just a year younger than Noah is now.

2008 truly was a simpler time.

 

Day 8

California Winter – Bonnie McKee

Having written for the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Taio Cruz (Dynamite was a massive tune, don’t even try and deny it), Bonnie Mckee is responsible for some of your favourite pop songs. Her own musical career however, has been a little more bumpy after releasing an unsuccessful album and parting ways with two record labels.

Unperturbed, she decided to go it alone as an independent artist and has produced some incredibly slick pop and fantastic music videos over the last couple of years that are, in my opinion, woefully underrated.

Today’s song is a retro-styled romp as Bonnie sings of how her lover makes her feel warm inside, like a California winter. So far, so cliché, but the cute lyrics and creative single-shot video make this catchy song stand out that bit more.

For more exciting festive goodness from Ms. McKee, check out her California Winter Extravaganza Christmas special here.

 

Day 9

Ave Maria – Frank Sinatra

Full disclosure: this isn’t technically a Christmas song. The melody was written by Schubert almost 200 years ago as part of his Opus 52. Over time, the tune has been borrowed to go with the Catholic prayer to the mother of Jesus – Hail Mary, or in latin, Ave Maria.

So, not really a Christmas song per se, but Mary kind of had a big role to play in the  whole nativity story, so I’ll allow it. And despite not understanding any words in Latin other than ave and Maria, I love Sinatra’s strong, yet gentle voice on this tender ode to Jesus’ mama.

Day 10

Humbug – Owl City

Owl City. Now there’s a name we haven’t heard for a while. After his huge single Fireflies and some follow up hits like Good Time with Carly Rae Jepsen, Owl city (real name, Adam Young) has quietly plugged away, continuing to make music in his trademark electro-synth autotuned style.

I stumbled upon this track a few weeks ago and, despite its under-produced album art,  it resonated with me. Taking aim at the over-commercialisation of Christmas, Adam sings about the stress of finding the ‘perfect’ Christmas gift for his significant other. Eventually, he decides to give her the only thing of real value – his love. This is either a beautiful romantic gesture or a massive cop out. I’ll let his girlfriend decide.

Oddly, both the melody and message of this song remind me of James Corden’s The Greatest Gift song from Sainsbury’s cute claymation advert last year. Unlike Owl City however, the supermarket were very careful not to suggest that people don’t buy presents, merely that they should do so whilst also enjoying time with family. They are  a  chain of shops after all.

 

So that’s it for another week, friends. I’ll see you next week, same time, same place.

 

@ediadegbola

Days 1 – 3 #EdisXmasCountdown 2017

christmas, EdisXmasCountdown, music

Can you believe it’s that time of year again?

Christmases (or should that be Christmi?) come around faster and faster each year.

The loyal readers among you might remember that, for advent last year, I did a countdown of my favourite Christmas songs, imaginatively titled #EdisXmasCountdown. The disloyal charlatans among you won’t remember that, but I forgive you. Christmas goodwill and all that.

So here’s the deal: every day, instead of scoffing a morsel of poor quality chocolate before breakfast, I will share one of my favourite Christmas songs on Twitter and my Instagram story. Then each Sunday, I will share a blog post, saying a little more about that week’s songs and what they mean to me.

This is the first of those posts.

I have tried to gather a mix of secular songs and carols, old and new music, as well as interesting covers of classic songs that you might not have heard. Hopefully there will be something for everyone, but perhaps it’s more likely that there will actually be nothing for anyone who isn’t me, seeing that this is a list of my favourite songs.

The Spotify playlist will be updated daily and last year’s playlist can be found here. Finally, all previous blog posts are available here.

Now that all the housekeeping is out of the way, this is what the last few days have sounded like to me.

Day 1

The Light Came Down – Josh Garrels

Our first song is a charming piece of indie folk. A slow, atmospheric start leads into gentle vocals from Garrels who sings us through the meaning of Christmas. The harmonies are stunning, the strings are cheerful, and the message is beautiful.

This is what Christmas is about.

I wanted to include this song in last year’s countdown but I discovered it too late and had already run out of space on the list. Regardless, I loved the song so much that I have been listening to it all year round, even though I know that enjoying Christmas music outside of November and December is illegal.

Worth it.

Day 2

Santa’s Coming For Us – Sia

Day two definitely steps things up a notch. This is the lead single from Sia’s new Christmas album Everyday Is Christmas. Seasonal albums are always a bit of a risk. On one hand, you’re limiting all purchases/streams of your music to the two aforementioned legally prescribed Christmas music months; but on the other hand, if you’re lucky, you can score a goldmine like All I Want For Christmas Is You which reportedly earns Mariah Carey £376,000 every year!

I don’t think Sia has anything to worry about because this upbeat pop track is an instant classic. Singing about the joy of indulging in clichéd yuletide things like hot chocolate and writing letters to Santa, this song taps into an excitement that I haven’t felt since I was but a young lad. With it’s irresistible beat and star-studded video, this catchy tune will have you bopping all the way to Christmas.

Day 3

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

Despite its unnecessarily long title, this track is an absolute staple of Christmas season. Basically just a list of things we do at Christmas, this cheerful song sounds like it was written exclusively to play over montages of Christmas preparations in movies. How many Christmas films (of varying quality) have you seen that open with this song playing in the background while people put lights on trees and wrap presents? I can already think of three.

Like literally every song that is even vaguely Christmas-related, Michael Buble has done a popular cover of this song, but today we’re going for the original.

Take it away, Andy.

That’s it for now, I’ll see you next week for some more festive tunes.

 

@ediadegbola

Header photo by Caley Dimmock on Unsplash

Playlist // 001

music

Back in 2010, a sixteen year-old me wrote a blog post about the music I was listening to at the time. The article, which starts with a quote from late 00s rapper Iyaz, features some juvenile writing from yours truly, as well as a list (which I still stand by, albeit very tentatively) of songs from the likes of Lady Gaga, Jason Derulo and Will.I.Am. Jokes about my unabashedly chart-loving tastes aside, it’s a testament to their staying power that most of the people on the list are still making music today.

Seven years on, I thought I’d revisit the concept and let you know which songs are soundtracking my life in 2017. This time there’s no Katy Perry. This time…

(Here is the Spotify playlist and I’ve also put Youtube links in the song titles below.)

TG4M – Zara Larsson

Chilled pop-y tropical house (popical house?) is what brought Zara Larsson to the mainstream with last summer’s Lush LifeTG4M (Too Good For Me) from her debut album So Good follows that template with a candy-dipped hook and simple, catchy lyrics.

Galway Girl – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran had to feature on this list. His new album Divide is tearing up the charts and world records alike so it’s almost a given that his name will invariably appear on just about any list of music right now. Unless it was maybe a list of people who haven’t recently broken world music records. Maybe then.

Galway Girl is a beautiful Irish folk-inspired ditty about the ever potent charm of an Irish lass.

Fight Sleep – Dagny

After last year’s Backbeat, Norweigan pop debutante is back with Fight Sleep – a cheerful song about trying to stay awake and make the most of time. Contrary to popular belief, Dagny is not an eight year old who has just been sent to bed.

Mr Davy – Give Me England

Mr Davy‘s grungy rock harks back to 90s/00s era greats, as do the political lyrics on  the first single from the GME boys’ upcoming album Generation Why. The music video for this moody track has been lifted right from the last decade in visuals, setting and even clothing; the odd iPhone being the only 21st century giveaway. The boys also do a great acoustic version of the song.

Low – TRACE

TRACE delivers chilled soulful synth pop in Low from her 2016 EP of the same name. Slow and brooding, yet optimistic, this song was an instant win for me. To paraphrase the lyrics, I definitely prefer you, TRACE.

Liability – Lorde

When Lorde’s music first came out around 2013/14 I was going through a melancholy contemplative phase where I’d lie in bed listening to sad-ish music. Lorde, Lana Del Rey, and Florence & the Machine sighed, murmured and pouted me in and out of this stage. As such, I was thrilled when Lorde recently released Green Light – a rousing anthem that is as pensively euphoric as she is able to muster.

Liability is a stripped back follow-up and is beautiful, vulnerable and characteristically reflective. Moody teens and 20-somethings are going to love it

Burgundy, Belts and the Baffling Nature of Man’s Simultaneous Desires for Singularity and Assimilation

Fashion

With London Fashion Week Men’s over and Pitti Uomo just beginning, show season is well underway. As the international menswear community flexes their sartorial muscles, I thought I’d do a little outfit post.

I wore this a couple of weeks ago to a meal with my family. I tried to dress things up a little, just to remind my family of my unwavering sartorial dominance over them, but it was just a meal in a casual restaurant so I didn’t want to go overboard.

I built the look around this burgundy polo-neck/roll-neck/turtleneck (I’ve never been quite sure what the official term is). Burgundy is a big colour every autumn/winter season and always looks great on knitwear. Killing two birds with one stone, I’ve tucked it in – simultaneously keeping things fancy while also giving a little wink to 90s style where tucking in was all the rage, as the cast of Beverly Hills, 90120 would tell you.

I love the texture of this wool coat (to be honest, I got it from Primark so it’s definitely not wool, but let’s just pretend). Equally contemporary and classic, it’s one of my favourite coats and it’s great for layered looks as it’s not too thick.

Keeping things simple, I’ve gone for these dark selvedge jeans from Topman that I got in the black Friday sale in 2015. In fact, almost everything in this outfit is from various sales. I love a good sale.

These brogues (regrettably full price) keep things nice and traditional but the blue laces give it a little modern touch, as does this skinny belt (sale, baby!).  It’s nice to play around with colours, shapes and textures to give a sense of individuality – or at least as much individuality as a mass-produced belt from a worldwide franchise can grant.

Ok that’s all I’ve got for you. I’ll let you ponder the nature of our conflicting desires for uniqueness and inclusion in your own time.

Days 19 – 25 #EdisXmasCountdown

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To quote 1970s rock band Slade, “It’s Chriiiiiiiistmaaassssssssss!!!!!!”

Yep, it’s finally happened.

Merry Christmas, one and all.

For those who don’t know, for Advent, I’ve been compiling a list of my favourite Christmas songs on Twitter – ancient carols, modern pop and everything in between, as long as it brings a certain Yuletide joy.

Each Sunday in December I’ve written a post listing the previous week’s songs and a little about why I like them/what they mean to me. Where possible I’ve tried to include a Spotify and Youtube link so everyone can listen. Unless you’re on Apple Music or Tidal, in which case, you’re on your own. Ask Taylor Swift or Beyonce to help you.

You can read the posts so far here and if you’re not so much a fan of reading you can just listen to the playlist here. You don’t even have to read this if you don’t want to. I give you permission to close this  webpage.

Ok, I’ve just lost 3 of the 7 people that regularly read my blog, but that’s ok. I’ve got the best ones left.

For the last week of advent, I thought we’d stick to the absolute Christmas classics. You’ll probably know all these songs, though you might not necessarily know these versions.

So grab a class of mulled wine, get cozy, sit back and relax (or stand, I don’t care) and enjoy 7 of the best Christmas songs ever.

Day 19

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl

I told you I wasn’t messing about. For many, it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without this song.

Released in 1987, this Irish folk-style ballad is a duet between MacColl and Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and, despite questionable lyrics, has gone on to become one of the most popular Christmas songs in the UK.

Singing in the distinctive drunken howl that we have come to associate with the Irish, MacGowan and MacColl insult each other and sing an ode to Christmas in New York City – a place where you’ve definitely got to take the good with the bad.

Something about this song just makes you want to put your arms around the people next to you and mumble vague melodic noises (until you get to the chorus) and then scream out with all you’ve got about policemen and Galway Bay!

 

Day 20

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Tom Odell

I have to be honest, I had overlooked this song until I re-watched the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special last week. Something about seeing that eccentric Anglo-Welsh family sing this at the end just got to me.

Unfortunately Larry Lamb didn’t record his and the West/Shipman’s cover of this Hollywood golden era gem. In his defence, he’s been busy recently doing unspeakable things in the Australian outback. Instead, here’s Tom Odell who’s voice you’ll remember from John Lewis’s saccharine Christmas advert about the penguin.

Eschewing the big booming sound of earlier versions from the likes of Sinatra, Tom’s vocals are soft and earnest as he plays along on the piano.

This one’s perfect to sing with the family or curl by the fire with a glass of mulled wine. You might not have noticed, but I kind of like mulled wine.

 

Day 21

Carol of the Bells

Carol of the Bells is one or my favourite carols ever. You might remember it from the film Home Alone as well as countless adverts over the years.

It definitely has a little bit of a sinister feel to it, especially on the choir version but, I’ve gone for this a capella cover by the Pentatonix. These guys manage to rival even the unassailable Michael Buble when it comes to Christmas output, releasing a new Christmas album each of the last three years.

This song is a joyful paean (Google it. I did) to the ringing bells that signify Christmastime is well and truly upon us once more. This obviously harks back to a time when churches, towncriers, and I guess just random people used to ring bells willy-nilly. Thankfully, these days are no more. The modern equivalent of yuletide signal I guess is the first time you hear those jingle bells in _________ (*insert literally any Christmas song here*).

 

Day 22

Jingle Bell Rock – Straight No Chaser

Mean Girls.  Need i say more?

Of course, this song was featured in the now iconic dance scene from the 2004 high school comedy – the fateful dance that spelt the beginning of the end for Gretchen Wiener (of toaster strudel fame).

Today’s version is from a capella group Straight No Chaser and they do a great job of livening up the song.

 

Day 23

Silent Night

Apparently this is Britain’s favourite carol. I used to hate it and find it incredibly boring, but in recent years, this slow, gentle hymn has started to grow on me.

The harmonies in today’s cover are absolutely stunning, while the lyrics bring to mind a lovely yet unrealistically peaceful manger scene. With labour screams, baby crying and all manner of animal noise, I can’t imagine that night was very silent, but it works for the song so let’s just enjoy that.

Day 24

All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

When I hear those first 13 xylophone notes, to be honest, when I hear the first 3 xylophone notes, I don’t care where I am, what I’m doing or who I’m with, I am getting up and I am going to sing the heck out of that song. No regrets.

This is perhaps the Chistmas tune. I absolutely love this song. So familiar, so cheerful, so difficult to sing. We’ve all tried and failed to hit that high note at the end, or at least mimic Mariah’s trademark vocal acrobatics. As My friend Hazel says, “PICK A NOTE, MARIAH!!”

“Make my wish come truuuu-ooooh-oooh-oooh-eee-ooo-oooh, all I want for Christmaaaaaas iiii-yiiii-yiiii-iiiis youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!”

Despite MC’s best efforts to make sure that no one other than herself is able to sing this song, I think we can all agree that is is probably one of the best Christmas songs of the last 25 years. If not, ever.

It’s definitely one of the most popular – earning (as of 2013) over $50million. And I know that I’ve probably added at least a cheeky million myself since then. Honestly, they must turn up at Mariah’s house every year with a truck full of money with all the royalties she must get from this song.

Being such a popular track, there are loads of covers for this song and many of them are quite good. Fair play, you don’t mess around when you’re covering Mariah. One that I do not enjoy is the unnecessary 2011 remix duet with Justin Bieber. I’m not even going to put the link, but the video features Mariah dancing suggestively (it’s the only way she knows how) while a teenage Bieber goes shopping for trainers and a Nintendo 3DS.

2011, ladies and gentlemen! Regardless, despite their best attempts, nothing can ruin this song for me.

 

Day 25

Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Pentatonix

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best part of any carol is the last verse when the band and the choir just go cray and jettison their chill with reckless abandon.

The traditional version of this song is no exception. In fact I was at a carol service yesterday and  it was done beautifully. I love the traditional arrangement of this hymn but if I’m honest, it can be a little slow paced at at times. And it’s basically just a waiting game till you get your the last verse.

So because it’s Christmas day – a big celebration day! – here’s the more lively gospel-style cover from everyone’s favourite YouTube a capella group, the Pentatonix.

Turn it up and let’s have a party!

 

 

 

Ok, there you have it, that’s the end of the countdown!

How was it for you?

One thing I’ve learnt from doing this is the fact that I officially enjoy the Christmas season more than I do Christmas day itself. Being an adult, at least by definition, my parents have pretty much given up on the whole Christmas presents thing (other than the odd small gift), so apart from the huge meal, there’s not really much on the day for me to look forward to, other than contemplating the birth of our saviour. But you can do that any day.

Until now, I guess I’d been subconsciously harbouring retrospective youthful glee at the prospect of opening presents. But now that’s all over, I just enjoy the season. The music, the food, the parties, the lights, the sequins, even the reluctant “goodwill” where people at least try and make an effort to get along.

So that means that this whole countdown i.e. advent itself has been a bit of a countdown to nothing, really. A countdown to a nice meal and a largely ceremonial small gift exchange with my family.

Even if you get a mountain of presents every year and the most amazing Christmas dinner, have you ever been disappointed by Christmas? Found the magical glee shortlived? Or thought the excitement was better than the day itself?

If so, that’s because Christmas day is literally just a day. A day that’s not even Jesus’ real birthday and was chosen – among other reasons – to match already existing pagan festivals at the end of the year (Roman Saturnalia as well as the Winter Solstice).

Like just about every other festival (pagan or otherwise), Christmas has very much been swallowed up by the consumerism machine. I used to work in a supermarket where Christmas goods came out in late September/early October. The mince pies’ best before date didn’t even last till Christmas.

For a lot of us, Christmas is all about stuff. We acknowledge that there’s something nice about an angel and a baby and being a good person, but really it’s about the presents, or the food, or the television, or the booze.

But there’s got be more, right?

What is Christmas really about?

Ah of course, the little baby Jesus.

But why do we care about a peasant baby, born out of wedlock 2000 years ago in cave full of animal crap? Sorry, Jesus, I’m just telling it like it is.

This video talks a little about what Christmas is and why we celebrate it.

 

 

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. 

John 3:16‭ MSG

 

Ok, that’s my little preachy section over. And also the end of this blog series.

Have an amazing Christmas, everyone! And thanks so much for reading if you made it this far. And thanks for joining in with me on this musical adventure.

Now go and have a mulled wine, you deserve it.

 

Days 11 – 18 #EdisXmasCountdown

christmas, EdisXmasCountdown, music, musings

It’s exactly a week till Christmas! How are we all feeling? Excited? Exuberant? Expectant? Extra special? Exhausted your list of words that begin with “ex”?

The question is: how are you going to spend your last week of advent? For many, the next 7 days are going to be stressful. For a start, schools have closed for the holidays so poor, poor, unlucky parents have to deal with kids who are coiled up like springs with anticipation.

Then there’s the last minute Christmas shopping, enforced time with distant relatives, and of course the pressure of making it look you’re relaxing and enjoying yourself, regardless of how you actually feel.

Despite all this, advent can be a time of anticipation and reflection. Simultaneously looking forward and backward. For the church, advent is a time of looking forward to the return of Christ to establish His kingdom on earth (bear with me) as well as looking back at the good things God has already done for us.

For folks of a less Christian persuasion, this last week before Christmas can be a time to think about what we’re thankful for and what we’re looking forward to in the new year.

Hey, you know what helps with reflection? Music!

Lucily for you, I happen to have 7 of my favourite Christmas songs listed below for your listening pleasure. Wow, what a coincidence!

Here’s what the last 7 days have sounded like for me.

 

Day 12

Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande

For day 12, we have another track from everyone’s favourite ponytail-loving soprano. In today’s song Ms Grande prays to Santa (who takes on the role of deity around Christmas time), begging him to let her know if her crush is a keeper or if he’ll disappear by the new year, leaving her heartbroken.

I can’t imagine that Father Christmas is thrilled about being expected to deal with boy problems when his jurisdiction is clearly toys and/or Christmas merriment. And if Marks and Spencer’s advert is anything to go by, his own wife is keeping secrets from him so he might not be the best person to ask for relationship advice

Regardless, this 2014 pop/R&B track is a fun, catchy little number and its low budget video is right on the cute/sexy line – a tightrope on which 2016 Ariana can now somersault with her eyes closed and her arms tied behind her back.

 

Day 13

Lonely This Christmas – KT Tunstall

Taking things down a notch, KT Tunstall’s stripped back cover of this Mud classic reminds us that Christmas can be a lonely time for a lot of people. Whether due a break up like in this song, bereavement, or various other reasons, Christmas isn’t always a time of coming together for everyone.

Eschewing the retro band, KT opts for a lower key sound than the original with just a guitar and her gentle voice.  Beautiful.

It’s quite a sad one today, but that’s ok. Sad isn’t always bad.

Hey that rhymes!

See, things are looking up already.

 

Day 14

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Nat King Cole

Apparently this is one of the oldest carols still in use, having been around at least as long ago as the 16th century. So yeah, pretty old.

This cover is from Nat King Cole’s 1961 Christmas album which I would have described as pretty old until I wrote the above paragraph. So let’s just say it’s been around for a while.

It has a slight creepy edge to it – the pointed vocals, the short, sharp violin strokes, and the booming bass choir all build a sense of mounting tension. It’s basically the musical equivalent of a child’s patience the closer we get to Christmas day

For those interested, there’s some vaguely intriguing stuff about how the words and their meaning have slightly changed over the years. Linguists, check that out here.

For those of you who have lives, just enjoy some lovely music from one of the greats.

 

Day 15

The Christmas Goose – Kate Rusby

My housemate introduced me to this song. Round of applause for Adam, ladies and gentlemen.

While having the feel of something that fishwives would sing a hundred years ago, this song only came out last year. In it, Kate tells the story of a merry traveller in Manchester who meets a beautiful chambermaid in a pub and gets a bit of a surprise when he returns the next year. I’ll say no more than that.

While I would find its repetitive nature annoying in another song, the steady tune allows Kate to paint a picture in your head and tell you a little story.

All together now!

“All around the green wood, so early in the morn…”

 

Day 16

8 Days of Christmas – Destiny’s Child

As I admitted on Twitter, a large part of this song’s inclusion is simply that it just feels wrong to compile a list of music that doesn’t somehow feature Beyonce. I could make a list of the best male accordion players named Ian, born between 1911 and 1913, and still somehow find a way to include Beyonce.

Also, I don’t want to be killed in my sleep by the Beyhive and/or Illuminati which, the more I learn, the more I’m convinced are one and the same.

Released in 2001, this song enumerates 8 things that the trio’s respective/collective boyfriend(s) bought and did for them in the run up to Christmas. Clearly money was a little tight as he couldn’t quite stretch to 12 items like in the other song, but it’s the thought that counts.

Choice items on the list include a diamond belly ring and a gift certificate to buy CDs which serve as a little reminder that this song came out 15 years ago.

 

Day 17

I Want an Alien for Christmas – Fountains of Wayne

Most famous for fancying Stacey’s mother, the boys (read: men) of Fountains of Wayne have now moved on to bigger things, this time setting their sights on an extra-terrestrial. Always wanting things they can’t have.

Once again, singing from the perspective of a child/teen, this early noughties rock track is basically a list of reasons why they should have an alien and how they promise to look after it if they get one.

You have to praise the guys for their ability to get into the mind of a kid because I’m pretty sure I used most of these excuses when asking my parents for things as a child.

With a back catalogue of songs about unobtainable desires, I’m guessing that their next output will be a cover of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths.

 

Day 18

O Holy Night – Katie Melua

Featuring backing vocals from Gori Women’s Choir, this understated cover of the old hymn is featured on Melua’s latest album In Winter.

I love this gentle, stripped back version but if you’re looking for one with more vocal punch, Leona Lewis kills it here. Mind you, Katie holds her own, managing to maintain a note at the end for like 10 seconds seemingly without even taking a breath beforehand.

Originally written as a poem, O Holy Night talks about that fateful night in Bethlehem. That said, it’s admittedly hard to fully appreciate the impact of the lyrics when they are being sung softly sung over a gentle guitar.

Told from the perspective of the shepherds and the wise men, this song tells of their wonder, joy and downright amazement at meeting Jesus. They literally met God.

What would you do if you came face to face with God? The shepherd lads couldn’t believe it. Being a shepherd in those days meant you were pretty low down on the pecking order. Yet they were chosen to witness the birth of the saviour. Mind-blowing.

I’d crap myself if Prince William and Kate had invited me to meet their babies when they were born. I’d probably crap myself if I was invited to be a part of one of the several and ubiquitous Kardashian pregnancies

And what about the wise men? They came a long, long, long, long, long, way. Clearly they were doing all right for money judging by their cavalier attitude to handing gold to a baby, but still their journey would have cost a lot of money and even more time. These guys sacrificed a lot to visit a baby.

But what if he wasn’t just a baby?

Perhaps a little far-fetched, but what if this baby was God’s son? God in a body.

What if this whole Jesus thing is more than just a story we tell at Christmas?

 

Have a great week!

Days 5 – 11 #EdisXmasCountdown

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We’ve made it to the 2nd Sunday of advent. Well done all of you for staying alive.

For those who don’t know, or have understandably blocked me on social media, for advent this year I’m doing a countdown on Twitter of 25 of my favourite Christmas songs and carols (#EdisXmasCountdown). On Sundays, I’ll post a list of the week’s songs with a little about why I like them and what they mean to me.

In traditional churches all over the world, a priest of some sort will light a candle on an advent wreath each Sunday to mark the passing of a week of advent, so in a similar vein, I too shall ignite the… musical flame of advent and… put a fire in the wreath of… your minds…

Ok, that metaphor doesn’t really work, but you get what I’m doing.

I’ve tried to get a mix of classics and modern songs as well as tried to find some interesting new covers of songs that you might know well, just to shake things up a little. Where possible I’ll put a Spotify and YouTube link to make it as easy as possible to join in. For the most recent list, checkout my Spotify playlist which I update everyday.

Here’s what the last 7 days of advent have looked like for me.

Day 5

O Come All Ye Faithful

One of the best things about Christmas is the carols. I absolutely love carols. You might recall that I also love Beverleys too.

Written around 300 years ago, O Come All Ye Faithful is definitely one of the best. A rallying cry to come and worship the newborn saviour in Bethlehem, this song always gets me in the Christmas mood. It’s amazing to think that people have been singing this same song every year since before your great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was born.

Without a doubt, the best part of any carol is the last verse or two when they just go crazy with the instruments and the harmonies, and any semblance of chill is well and truly lost. Look out for verse 3 in this one. “Sing choirs of angels…” could not be more correct.

Day 6

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Johnny Mercer & Margaret Whiting

Our song for day 6 is a beautiful Christmas duet. Written by Frank Loesser in 1944 for he and his wife to perform at dinner parties, he eventually sold the rights to MGM who recorded it for the film Neptune’s Daughter.

Having spent a lovely evening together, the song is a back-and-forth conversation between two lovers. The lady wants to stay, but feels she shouldn’t, while the gentleman tries to convince her to.

It has to be said that the man’s gentle yet relentless insistence that his lady friend stay with him does make me at least a little uncomfortable. The video for this cover from Zooey Deschanel’s band She & Him humorously flips the genders and highlights the creepiness. Additionally, upping the sinister element considerably, according to Wikipedia, on the original sheet music, the male vocalist is identified as the “wolf” and the female as the “mouse”.

All that said, even a basic look into the lyrics and the context reveals no sinister intentions. As noted in the Washington Post, it is clear that our lady does want to stay and all her protestations are about what people would think of her in an era when a lady spending the night at a gentleman’s house just wasn’t done. And as feminist blog Persephone Magazine points out, even the lady’s “What’s in this drink?” line was a common jokey phrase used in movies at the time to excuse one’s bad behaviour – the joke often being that there was nothing in the drink.

So perhaps things aren’t as bad as they seem. I’ll let you make up your own mind. Regardless, it’s a beautiful piece of music which my housemate and I have spent the past few weeks trying to learn so we can cutely sing it together by the fire.

We’ve still got a long way to go.

Day 7

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love

All the songs in the countdown so far have been relatively cutesy – romantic ditties, Christmas carols, inappropriately seductive letters to Santa. Outside of the song realm however, the holiday season is rarely so saccharine. We’ve all had a family argument or two at Christmas, most likely over a game of Monopoly.

The vocalist in today’s song has obviously had a falling out with her other half. This song is her plea to her lover to return because Christmas isn’t the same when they’re apart.

Like most Christmas songs (including yesterday’s one) Michael Buble has covered this track. The poor thing just can’t help himself. This time however, I really enjoy his version. Well played, Michael.

Despite its relatively cheery tune, there’s a lot of raw emotion in this song. I’m imagining crying on the doorstop, dressing gown blowing in the wind, screaming after the car as it speeds off down the street. You know, really dramatic, anguished stuff.

That’s Christmas.

Day 8

Ding Dong Merrily On High (The Celebration’s Started) – Rend Collective

With this cheerful cover of a 500 year-old carol, Rend Collective bring us right into Christmas with their usual brand of acoustic folk. Shaking things up somewhat, they mix in samples from some other Christmas songs too.

For those who don’t know, Rend Collective are a Northern Irish Christian folk band. They are often compared to Mumford and Sons as their musical style is similar to Mumford’s was before they discovered leather jackets and electric guitars.

This song is from their aptly named Christmas album – Campfire Christmas Vol. 1 –  which features tons of great yuletide covers to get you into a rustic folk-y acoustic Christmas spirit.

Day 9

Shake Up Christmas – Train

With this song, the masterminds at Coca-Cola aimed to strengthen their stranglehold on the season of Christmas.

It’s a well known fact that the marketing team at Coke are geniuses. Who else could inspire such brand loyalty that leads to public protests after changing the formula?

But when it comes to Christmas, the Coca-Cola marketing machine is at its best.

Firstly, if rumours are to be believed, they rebranded Father Christmas himself, making his costume red and white to match their logo. Coke deny this, admitting that, though they weren’t the first to present the jolly red Santa, they definitely played a part in sealing him in the public consciousness with a campaign that started in the 1930s and spanned 3 decades.

Then they decided that their 21 year old Christmas Coke truck advert is “iconic”, meaning that they can replay the same ad year after year with no pressure to make a new one. Some people even go as far as to say that the release of the classic advert each year signals the official beginning of Christmas season. Meanwhile, poor John Lewis reportedly spends up to £7,000,000 cooking up new ways to make us cry each year.

Finally, Coca-Cola managed to impress their jingle upon this absolute Christmas tune – thus indirectly branding their corporate identity onto Christmas itself. Even more than they already have so far.

Well played, Coca-Cola. Well Played.

Regardless, this song is a lovely, cheerful pop-rock ode to Christmas and the happiness it can bring. Cliched? Yes. Twee? Yes. Enjoyable? Definitely.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an unexplainably strong craving for a Coke.

 

Day 10

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bing Crosby ft. The Andrews Sisters

For me, this is the official Christmas elf anthem. I know that sounds weird, but this song feels like it was written purely to inspire productivity – like the folk songs factory workers used to sing in the industrial revolution.

I’m seeing a workshop full of elves in a production line singing this a capella while they hammer wooden toy trains and paint toy soldiers in perfect unison.

In which case, the threat of their boss and, let’s face it, overlord watching them even while they sleep seems a little more menacing.

Anyway this vintage Christmas song is over 80 years old now and has been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Justin Bieber. The first lyrics of the latter version being “Santa’s coming, girl!” because that’s what Justin Bieber was like in 2011. To be honest, that year wasn’t great for me either.

With Dr Seuss-esque lyrics about “rooty toot toots and rummy tum tums” this is a jolly romp of song and will surely get you in the mood for Christmas.

Or help your productivity in repetitive manual labour. Whichever comes first.

 

Day 11

Mary Did You Know? – Pentatonix

When I was in primary school, I took part in a Christmas play called Captain Christmas. It was about a young captain who led a rag-tag bunch of petty criminals on some sort of adventure. I can’t remember much about it, but I do remember that there was a catchy song about girl power (it was the early noughties), a jungle scene which featured a song about monkeys, and it all ended up with the gang at a Christmas party with Tony Blair and John Prescott (it was the early noughties). I played an elephant who told a joke in a series of jungle-related one liners.

I nailed it.

The next year I had 7 lines in a play called The Bethlehem Bandits which was about a rag-tag bunch of petty criminals (I’m sensing a theme here) who try and rob some shepherds, 3 kings, and a pregnant couple with a donkey. As you can probably guess, the gang eventually end up in a stable to see the newly born baby. I think something was briefly mentioned about how this baby was somehow “special” but without going into too much detail. At the end, we all sang a song with a questionable dance routine. (It was the early noughties).

I’m not really sure why I have shared all that with you, to be honest. Maybe it’s pride over my acting prowess.

Anyway, today’s song has me thinking about the nativity.

We all know the story – pregnant Mary, angels, shepherds, wise men and/or kings, sub-standard inn accommodation. But if it’s all true (indulge me for a moment), what would that have actually felt like?

What would it have been like for Mary? Aside from giving birth in a stable (which in those days were basically just caves full of animal crap. And animals), what was it like delivering such a “special” baby? Giving birth to the son of God – i.e. God in human form.

Today’s song takes a look into that.

With this graceful cover, Youtube famous a capella group Pentatonix have breathed new life into this truly beautiful song of wonder and pondering?

Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?

We can go into whether or not you think it all makes sense another time. Genuinely, comment or message me and I’ll tell you why I believe it. But if this is true. If this true, then surely this is the most amazing thing that’s ever happened.

God. On earth. As a human.

Why? How? For what?

And why do we celebrate it anyway?

These are the questions that Christmas should have us asking.

I’ll leave you to ponder a little and we’ll chat again soon.

 

#EdisXmasCountdown

christmas, EdisXmasCountdown, music, musings

It’s officially Christmastime! To be fair, I work in retail where it’s been Christmas since mid-August, but now it’s for real! It’s odd because I’m not usually this excited for it, but this year, something is stirring within me, bringing a new wave of seasonal glee that I haven’t felt since I was but a young boy.

To mark this, I thought I’d do something for advent.

So instead of eating a morsel of poorly made synthetic chocolate every day, I’m going to (try to) post a Christmas song – carol or otherise – that I enjoy. You can follow along on Twiter at #EdisXmasCountdown and when I can (hopefully at the end of each week), I’ll post an update here with a little more about the songs.

But to start us off, here’s Day 1.

light-has-dawned

1st December

A Light Has Dawned – Belfrey Music ft. Will & Mim Johnson

You don’t really hear many new carols these days.

Sure, there are a plethora of Christmas songs released every year by artists who are after the never-ending royalties that a yuletide classic brings. But these are all jingle bell-laden ditties about waiting for your partner to come home or kissing them under the mistletoe, filled with cliches and poorly veiled innuendo. Don’t worry, you can look forward to seeing many of those songs later in the countdown. But today’s song is different.

Anyway, last year, some good friends of mine wrote and produced A Light Has Dawned – a modern Christmas song that is actually about Christmas. You know, Jesus and stuff. It’s basically the nativity in song form. In fact, at a huge carol service last year, I saw a modern nativity scene acted out to this track so it really is a modern carol. It’s truly a beautiful song and I especially love the hamronies.

Give it a listen here.

And let’s get ready for Christmas!  25 more sleeps.