Friday, December 20, 2013

Covering Christmas

You might recall that I'm a bit of a music freak. You might also remember that I've already written a post about cover songs and how they aren't necessarily as terrible as everyone assumes. And it's also possible that you've read that I love me some Christmas music. Yes? OK.

Because of the nature of Christmas music, there are a LOT of covers out there. Most traditional songs don't really have an identifiable "original" version, and newer songs are still covered left and right because... well... Christmas! In other words, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Christmas cover. And that's OK. 

Personally, I think there are some songs that are just meant to be covered, especially in the world of Christmas carols. A  new take on a song can be a wonderful thing, and in some cases, it might make a less tolerable song something you actually enjoy listening to. 

That being said, here are a couple of my favorite Christmas covers and what makes them so delightful.

1) "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as performed by Straight No Chaser. I previously wrote that the only version of this song I can listen to more than once a season is John Denver & The Muppets. Since that was written, though, I have discovered the magic of Straight No Chaser. (In fact, Hubby and I just saw them live this week for the first time! What an epic show they put on, too!) If you're looking for a traditional version of this song, then this isn't the version for you. But, if you're looking for a fun, goofy, new spin on it, you need to give it a listen. Now. On a related note, their version of "Wonderful Christmastime" with Sir Paul is also a great cover; not that I don't love the original, but there's something about a capella that just gets me, man.

2) "The Little Drummer Boy" as performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Hubby and I were in the car last weekend and I heard the beginning of this song and went to turn the radio down, saying, "Yeah, I just can't get into this song. It's not one of my favorites." And then I realized it was the Bing and Bowie version and turned it back up going, "Except for this version, because this version is epic!" Hubby laughed and told me I couldn't even hate something right, which I decided to take as a compliment. Anywhoozles, before this special existed, if you had told someone that Bing Crosby and David Bowie would be doing a duet together, most peoples' heads would have exploded from the sheer insanity of the idea. And then it happened. I'm pretty sure some heads did explode, but the song that resulted from this strange pairing is beyond what anyone could have imagined.

3) "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" as performed by Barenaked Ladies featuring Sarah McLachlan. OK, this is technically two songs, but whatever. The point is that BNL took a couple of fairly traditional (and maybe a bit stuffy) Christmas songs and made them pretty freakin' cool. Partnering up with Sarah was a pretty genius move, too. Her vocals give back a touch of the traditional feel without going completely backwards. I love it.

4) "My Grown-Up Christmas List" as performed by Michael Bublé. I'm pretty sure he just makes everything sound dreamier. Other versions tend to get on my nerves, but Michael can bring it home like no one else. 

5) "All I Want For Christmas Is You" as performed by Mariah Carey featuring Jimmy Fallon & The Roots. Is it still a cover if the same artist is performing it? Whatever. The point is that this version makes my heart happy and makes me feel warm inside. If this doesn't say Christmas, I don't know what does.

And there you have it! 

What Christmas covers make the season merry and bright for you? Let me know so I can add them to my Christmas playlist! :)