Friday, December 14, 2012

Tunes for the Month: December

I made my December playlist late and honestly, it didn't turn out to be all I wanted. I had planned to spend a lot more time finding good, new stuff, but I just ended up doing it one night kind of hurriedly. That said, I love it. I know it could be better especially if I had searched for some new songs, but Peyton had a lot to work with in his iTunes library and it turned out to be a really good one. In fact, I'll probably use it as a base next year and just modify it!

Obviously, all the songs this month are Christmas tunes. I tried to have as much variety (within my tastes, of course) as possible. I think I did a pretty good job with that. Also, the list is significantly longer than usual. I've already enjoyed that and I think I might have gotten bored with just twelve or fourteen Christmas songs. Anyway, here they are:

1. Ding Dong Merrily on High- Crouch End Festival Choir and Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Ding dong merrily on high!
In heav'n bells are ringing.
Ding dong verily the sky!
Is riven with angles singing!
This has been one of my favorite "carols" in recent years. The lyrics are actually kind of difficult, but I love the music and the gist of the song is just about rejoicing musically!

2. I Saw Three Ships- Sufjan Stevens

This is another song that I've grown to love in the last few years for some reason. Sufjan's version is funky and different and I just adore it. It's one of my favorites on the list, for sure. Also, there's quite a bit of Sufjan on the list. He does some beautiful things with Christmas music and I just couldn't narrow it down.

3. Once in Royal David's City- Sufjan Stevens
For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes
At last shall see Him
Through His own redeeming love
For that child, so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above
And He leads His children along
To the place that He is gone

I had heard this song, but I really wasn't familiar with it until Peyton played this version. It's a very recent favorite. The song just talks about Christ coming to earth. I especially love the last two stanzas (above).

4. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella- Sufjan Stevens
This one was a new one this year. I asked for recommendations on Facebook and Twitter and someone mentioned it. Incidentally, we had a version in Peyton's library and happily, it was Sufjan!  It's a beautiful song; I'm glad I discovered it!

5. We're Going to the Country!- Sufjan Stevens
If you seek a pillow for your head
Or a fitted sheet for Christmas bed
If you see your shadow on the snow
Is it from the baby Jesus glow?

This one is a little different. It's perfect and folksy and I adore it in every way I know.

6. O Come, O Come Emmanuel- Belle and Sebastian
I've always loved this song and someone recommended this version. It's probably not my all time favorite version, but I do love how different and unique it is.

7. Go Tell It On the Mountain- James Taylor

Down in a lowly manger 
the humble Christ was born
and God sent us salvation 
that blessed Christmas morn

When I was a seeker
I sought both night and day
I asked the Lord to help me
and he showed me the way

He made me a watchman
upon the city wall
If I am a Christian
I am the least of all

Go tell it on the mountain
over the hills and everywhere 
go tell it on the mountain 
that Jesus Christ is born

This song is so special to me. I've loved the words and music as long as I can remember, but it also has a special story. I remember a long time ago before Graves, when it was just the three of us, Peyton got violently ill one night. So sick he needed to go to the emergency room. Fortunately his mom was working that night and helped us get in and settled, but I had to drive him up there and Annie and I waited with him. My very easy baby was anything but easy that night. She was so restless. Unlike Graves, she wasn't one to just love snuggling. Like me, she craved her routine, her bed, her space. Anyway, I sang every song I knew to her as I paced the hospital floors that night. Finally, for some reason, Go Tell  It On the Mountain settled her. It was nowhere near Christmas, but it's always been a song I loved, and it became even more special to me that night. The other day she sang it to me in the car (I had no idea, but they learned it in Sunday school) and I got a little weepy.

8. Some Children See Him- James Taylor
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
With skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
And, ah! they love Him, too!

I love JT and this is one of my favorite songs from his Christmas album. It just speaks beautifully about how children see Jesus like them. I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me kind of emotional about next baby, who most likely won't look a thing like us :)

9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Frank Sinatra
I wanted to snag at least on Sinatra and this one seemed like a pretty good choice. 

10. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear- Caedmon's Call
This is one of my favorites as far as true Christmas "hymns". I thought the Caedmon's Call version was a fun choice.

11. Christmas Song- Dave Mathews and Tim Reynolds
I didn't know this song, but I liked it and Dave adds some more variety, yes?

12. The Little Drummer Boy- Johnny Cash
This. Is gorgeous. 

12. Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)- Madacy Entertainment
This is probably my all time favorite Christmas carol. That said, I really don't like this version. It was the one on Peyton's computer, though. Next year I'll look harder :)

13. Good King Wenceslas- Madacy Entertainment
Again good song, not my favorite rendition. 

14. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen- Madacy Entertainment
And again.  Funny story, I used to *love* this song as a child. Kinda a weird song for a little girl, I think.

15. Angel Came Down- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
I love me some TSO. It's so sad they don't come here anymore. Anyway, this song is beautiful. 

16. The Prince of Peace- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Let the bells ring out these tidings
Let it echo across the land
That a king is born in Bethlehem
And his kingdom is at hand

This may well be my favorite song on the list. The above stanza just seemed to resonate with me this year- "a king is born in Bethlehem and his kingdom is at hand!" What a cause for rejoicing!

17. Mad Russian's Christmas- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
This one is purely instrumental and it's heavy, but so good!

18. Christmas All Over Again- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
I just wanted to include some Tom Petty in the list and that's that. 

19. Christmas in Dixie- Alabama
And now for the "country" part of the list. This is almost too corny for me, but I love it. 

20. We Three Kings- Toby Keith
I was a little surprised (I used to love country music, but I sort of got over it), but I really liked Toby's rendition. 

21. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen- Rascal Flatts
This was different, but good. It won't be the most listened to track, though, for sure. 

22. Dance of the Reed Pipes (from The Nutcracker) - Kirov Orchestra and Valery Gergiev
I had to include some Nutcracker and for some reason, this is what we had. 

23. Linus and Lucy (from A Charlie Brown Christmas)- Vince Guaraldi Trio

The list would be regrettably incomplete without this one. 

24. Auld Lang Syne- James Taylor
I adore this song for some reason. Had to end with it. 


No comments: