The answer to the question, "Just what will it take for Tim McNiff to write a blog entry?" can finally be answered, and, can you believe the answer is, Christmas Music?
These days, we have the option of subjecting ourselves to 24/7 Christmas music via the radio, for a month before Christmas even arrives, so, I'm wondering why we don't hear more variety?
Let me start by making a confession, I am a certified Christmas FREAK. Always have been. So, when I was driving a rental car in Pittsburgh, in December 2001, looking for something to listen to on the radio, I was shocked to hear Christmas music playing. My first reaction was that this was just wrong. I mean, it was far too early to be listening to Christmas music, right? This was just further evidence of a holiday that had outgrown its season and was spinning out of control. It was enough that Christmas decorations now went up everywhere the day after Halloween, but this, this was too much. Or, was it?
After my initial indignation I went back to the Christmas music station, and the dial stayed there throughout the weekend in the 'Steel City,' even softening the sting of the Vikings 21-16 loss to the Steelers.
Upon my return to the Twin Cities I told my story to close confidants, only to find out that we also had a Twin Cities "Christmas Super Station," to which I immediately tuned-in.
Fast forward nine years...
If I hear Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" one more time I'm seriously going to break something. Elvis, you may be "The King," but I'm the one with the "Blue Christmas" because neither of the stations that broadcasts Christmas music will play anything new!
So, in an effort to retain some sort of sanity, I have armed my iPod with almost 90 Christmas songs, some as tired as the two I mentioned previously, but others, added to give some much needed variety.
It's with that goal that I have created a list, call it "Tim's Top 11" intended to give you some song options you may not hear if you just keep it on the radio this holiday season. Mind you, a few of these songs were gleaned off those very same stations a few years ago. But while "Christmas Shoes" continues to be played, they have, for whatever reason, fallen by the wayside, and to me they are sorely missed.
Others on the list may be new to you, and you, like me may be surprised to see how many come from country performers, considering that I don't listen to country music.
My guess is, there are many more songs out there in this vein, and perhaps you can respond with your own additions to the list, after all, I'm always looking to mix it up.
Tim's Top-11 under-rated Christmas Music List for 2010:
- "Where Are You Christmas?" Faith Hill - Originally run in the credits for the Jim Carey movie "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Hill sings this song more beautifully than she looks and that ain't easy.
- "It Must Have Been Ol' Santa Claus" Harry Connick, Jr - Throughout his career Connick has been compared to Sinatra, and through this song he joins Sinatra as a performer who does some of his best work in this genre.
- "His Will Was Done" Lee Ann Womack - OK, we get religion on this track, but, that's what it's all about, right? Great vocals, great message, great song.
- "This Christmas" Reba McEntire - Now, this song is really "Country" but like Lee Ann Womack on the previous track, only on another level , Reba shows why she is a legend of country music.
- "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" Gavin DeGraw - A BEAUTIFUL take on a Christmas classic, this one's a keeper.
- "It Won't Be Christmas Without You" Brooks and Dunn - OK, not only don't I know which one is Brooks and which one is Dunn, I don't even know which one sings this song. But, I do know this, whoever sings it, he KILLS it. I LOVE this song!
- "There Is A Star That Shines Tonight" Sheryl Crow - An original song that Crow wrote, and is the flagship of a Christmas CD that was originally available only at Hallmark Stores.
- "O Come All Ye Faithful" Jeremy Camp - Don't know who Jeremy Camp is and I can't remember where I got this song, but I'm glad I did. Great guitar work, nice spin on another classic.
- "Santa's On His Way" George Strait - I know George is HUGE in country music, I have a brother-in-law who is one of his biggest fans. But, I couldn't tell you anything George ever did, until this.
- "Baby It's Cold Outside" Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton - OK, you're never going to top Dean Martin's original take, but this odd couple comes pretty close. It shouldn't work, but it does.
- "Christmas Lights" Coldplay - Saw Chris Martin play a little of this song on a "60 Minutes" interview a few years ago and have been waiting for it ever since. Well worth the wait. If the first take doesn't get you give it time, this one is destined to be around for a long time.
Thanks for indulging me on this... your thoughts/additions?
(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)