Tag Archives: december

Traditional Music — Because I Love Christmas — O Come All Ye Faithful

So remember in the last post when I said I hated most Christmas music? That must not be construed with me hating Christmas in general. I actually LOVE Christmas. I know there were so many negative overtones to the holiday spirit in the last post, but really… I mean come on, can’t I be a traditionalist and cynic at the same time?

I grew up in the tradition of celebrating Christ–rather than Winter–on Christmas day, so you can see from whence my negative and sordid attitude comes toward camps that glorify gift-giving and merriment solely because “it’s the holidays.”

In the spirit of the real meaning of Christmas (and I mean this in the real Christian way, not the overly-done 1960s crappy animatronic Rudolph way), I present to thee a cover of my favorite Christmas song, O Come All Ye Faithful. Don’t let me get too sappy here, but I believe this song is a truly great composition that commemorates the most basic tenets of the Christian foundation. This cover does the same, but it does so in a very modern and alternative way that I think Christmas lovers–Christian or otherwise alike–will enjoy. That is, you don’t have to be Catholic or protestant to enjoy this great piece of music.

Having grown up in the church, you’d think that I’ve heard every possible version of every Christmas song ever, but this song proves us all wrong. Pomplamoose Music (which you’ve seen here before with their cover of Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel) takes some very creative steps with this version of a Christmas carol. They introduce the accordion and ukulele to a genre primarily dominated by piano, choir, and orchestra, and the entire song is complemented with a steady percussive beat. However, their alternative steps don’t stray too far from the original tradition. They include a totally a capella interlude that reminds me of the choirs I heard on the stereo on Christmas morning every year, complete with angelic harmonies. Enjoy here:

This song, according to wikipedia (yeah, that’s probably accurate) has unclear beginnings, but here’s one American icon singing this song:
Nat King Cole singing O Come All Ye Faithful” on YouTube.

Covers by Lovers SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EDITION — Vince Guaraldi Trio

I’m not saying I hate Christmas, I just hate a large majority of Christmas music.

Please don’t kill me, but I really can’t stand all the forced jolliness and cheer that everyone pretends to go along with when really they’re just stressed the crap out by having to find the perfect gift for every single person they know. My favorite Christmas songs are the ones that are actually about Christmas (you know, the birth of Christ), or, ones that just aren’t about how happy we have to be because it’s December. I particularly hate the ones that are about falling in love. It’s like, “Oh really? You mixed falling in love, the most popular topic in music, with the most popular American holiday and sold a ton of records? I can’t believe how creative you are!”

That’s why one of my favorite Christmas songs isn’t even really about Christmas per se, but it’s still a classic and iconic Christmas song. Linus and Lucy by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, from the film A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), doesn’t even have any words, yet it still never fails to remind me of all the special parts about Christmas–just being happy to be with my friends and family–rather than the need to purchase gifts, worship Satan Santa, or pretend that being hit by a projectile sphere of crystalline water in blisteringly cold weather is somehow pleasant. So, I’ve got 3 covers for you today, and I hope you enjoy their various interpretations of this iconic composition.

You should have known that I can’t stay away from the guitar covers. Yes, I know, pretty much every cover here features a guitar, but I’m working on trying to span out the range of instruments featured here (but there’s not a lot to work with on youtube). That aside, the first cover comes from youtuber mtreed55 playing the guitar in his “personal studio” (which he admits is actually just his bathroom). It’s got good harmonies that work well on the guitar, and I chose this one because, as you know, I love alternate tunings. He’s got his guitar in the D A D F# B E tuning. Altogether it sounds well, especially with the resonance of the bathroom. Check it out here:

This next cover has taken a few more steps in production. Youtube user PoopPoopFart (no comment) lays multiple tracks on one another, including two guitar parts and some percussion–I believe he’s playing an egg-shaker and rubbing some bongos with a sheet of paper (correct me if I’m wrong). He does the song very well and pretty loyally, but what I really enjoy are the small liberties he takes with melody and rhythm in the second verse and the personalization in the interluding riffs. Watch and enjoy here:

The last cover, surprisingly, doesn’t feature a guitar! Youtuber snakefl plays the song on piano, as in the original, but there are more liberties taken throughout the whole song and a lot of personal flavor added in. Seeing that Vince Guaraldi was a jazz pianist, and jazz is all about individuality in the solos, I think the outcome would really satisfy him. In the comments, snakefl has been criticized for not getting the whole song down correctly. There are some places where I think he slipped up, but I think the comment author was referring to the distorted rhythm of the song. However, I think it’s more of an interpretive move rather than a lack of understanding of the original. Here’s my favorite version:

Well, for now, have a merry Christmas. Try not to get caught up in all the glamor of the holiday; instead, relax and enjoy the music! And for good measure, a shout-out to all the Jews (including Jesus): If I knew any good Hanuka songs I’d post ’em.

Here’s the original. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the video with all the Peanuts gang dancing, but still images will suffice for now:
Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi Trio.