Monday, November 30, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

As with most music-related blogs, December is a special month at BOTG. Not only do we get to ponder and then pontificate about what we think are the best songs and CDs of the year, but, at least in my home, the days right after Thanksgiving are when we make the transition to 3-4 weeks of Christmas music being pretty much all that we listen to. So we get to share the holiday* music wealth, too.

Regarding those best songs, that will be difficult for me. Not that it hasn't been a good year (though it probably hasn't been a great year), but most of the time, just like I'm not thinking whole CDs anymore, I'm also not thinking in terms of what was released in 2009. There is so much music available now, and even more with what people are sending us here. Beyond those newly-released freebies, however, I don't have a good sense of what came out when.

2009 is the first year I heard Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way" or Warren Zevon's "My Ride's Here" or, just today, Ray Davies' "Thanksgiving Song." My ideal list would probably better be titled "What I Heard For The First Time and Really Liked This Year."

One of the many joys of this blog is making those kinds of continual discoveries, and I'm glad that "hey did you ever hear" or "this post reminds me of another song" have become part of the conversation here. So, I'll find a way to make the Best Of list work, and if last year is any indication, Billy's and my list aren't likely to have too many intersects with the general consensus. Though Miley Cyrus does have a shot to make one of our lists.


(Will St. Vincent and the National's cover of "Sleep All Summer" make Bob's Best of 2009 list? Wait and see, but listen now: St Vincent and The National--"Sleep All Summer: (mp3) )

Regarding those holiday* songs, well, we could never hope to accomplish the brilliant lists put up by the Leather Canary (who seems to have gone defunct, alas) last year. They were so comprehensive, and I look forward to listening to them again if I can find them. Still, we enjoyed putting up one holiday* song a day up until Christmas, so you'll notice that I've just started that tradition again. As always, recommendations are welcome.

So let me implore you again. Even though people tell me that they don't read this blog for the music or the writing, but just to see what random pictures of hotties Billy will put up (even Manga hotties!) that have no relation to whatever he is posting about, there will be a lot of good music for you to hear this month, music of good cheer and music, perhaps, of lasting quality. So tune in and turn on with us and let us enjoy the various pleasures of the year as it winds down.

*I love the ACLU, but the idea that "Christmas" is to be replaced by "holiday" in order to be secular, inoffensive, inclusive or whatever strikes me as simply going too far. Shawn Colvin is available at Itunes, the St Vincent and The National cover is available at eMusic.


Tockstar said...

I am a huge Christmas music junkie and I have to get my fix in before seeing my family because my sister doesn't like it. At all.

My current favorite "cute" holiday song is "Green Christmas" by Barenaked Ladies.

As far as classic faves, Emmylou Harris' Light in the Stable is the Christmas Album to End All Christmas Albums.

And the "holiday" thing? I've always interpreted that as a reference to the fact that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are all a part of the season and never had a problem with it. Stick that in your corn-cob pipe and smoke it, you neo-con. :P

Bob said...

Tock, this is cut and pasted from that font of information, Wikipedia:

Christmas Day is recognized as an official federal holiday by the United States government,[19] and few have raised objections to this designation. However, many groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, argue that government-funded displays of Christmas imagery and traditions violate the U.S. constitution—specifically the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment by Congress of a national religion. The battle over whether religious displays should be placed within public schools, courthouses and other government buildings, has been heated in recent years.[20]

Since the 1980s,[26] there have been several instances in both the United States and Canada where official public mentions and references to Christmas trees were renamed to "holiday trees" for various reasons, mostly for an enforcement of separation of church and state or a recognition of cultural and religious diversity. Some have expressed outrage at these renamings,[27] while others supported them as being inclusive.[28][29][30]

BeckEye said...

I was just talking about how much I loathe Rusted Root yesterday. They're from Pittsburgh, so all of my college friends loved them. But they're just like a poor man's Dave Matthews Band. Actually, like a homeless man's DMB.

Billy Bob said...

Hmmm, given that I think that Dave Matthews Band is itself the poor man's Dave Matthews Band, I don't know what that would make Rusted Root on such a rating system. Good live show, though. I've only seen and heard them live. Maybe Rusted Root's saving grace is that they seem to make no pretensions of saying or doing anything important.

Tockstar said...

"Send Me on My Way" hit the charts right as I left Nashville to go to college in Pittsburgh. At first, dancing around various Nashville living rooms with my friends to this song and then blasting it in dorm rooms in Pittsburgh seemed wonderfully appropriate and I believed that the song would always hold a special place in my heart.

By Thanksgiving, I was ready to rip my own ears off every time someone cued it up. Or better yet, their ears.

Still, after a 13 year hiatus, I can almost remember its charms.

As for the holiday thing, I submit - for your non-wikepediaed consideration - the song "Happy Holidays" I'm pretty much certain that Bing wasn't into cultural inclusion when he sang that little ditty.

troutking said...

As the resident Jewish commentator on this blog, I like Christmas, Christmas trees and Christmas music. I'm not for enforcing the word "holiday." The Dreidel Song notwithstanding, Hanukkah just can't keep up. Bruce never sang Hanukkah Harry is Coming to Town and I pray he never does.

cinderkeys said...

Guess I'm the visiting Jewish commentator on this blog. :)

I hate most Christmas music. This has nothing to do with the religious aspects. In fact, the religious Christmas songs are, on average, better than the secular ones, which tend to get annoying if you're over the age of nine.

I'd be more neutral if Christmas music weren't shoved down our throats every year.

Bob said...

Dear Jewish commentator #1:

"Dreidel" is not really a "holiday" song--McLean only uses the metaphor of the spinning top to characterize the nature of his existence.

Dear Jewish commentator #2: mercifully for you, I'm putting the songs over the side so you won't have to deal with them, but I think your basic point about the quality of religious vs. non-religious is right on. And, the ones that keep talking about snow this and snow that are really starting to annoy ME!

troutking said...

Bob, please don't tattoo numbers on your Jewish commentators. Our people have a bad history with that.

Daisy said...

I completely agree with Troutking that Hannukah doesn't hold a candle to Christmas in the song department. That being said I do think it is important to give props to Adam Sandler for the greatest (perhaps the only?) Hannukah song of all time.

Jason said...

It has all been said, so I will just say that I abso-freakin=lutely love Christmas.

...and I love that Hannukah song as well Daisy.

cinderkeys said...

"The Dreidel Song" is like most secular Christmas songs -- it gets annoying if you're over the age of nine. "Oh Hanukkah" is better, but I still don't want to hear it played in Safeway. I'd get sick of it too after about three plays -- one if Bing Crosby covered it.