Countdown To Christmas (24)
Glam Chops - Countdown To Christmas.
An introduction to the series below the fold.
For about five years now I've collected music via MP3 sites like Stereogum and Said the Gramophone. I like listening to new and unfamiliar artists. It isn't about building hipster cred, but the thrill of discovery. Getting turned on to a great new artist is much more exciting than listening to the same stuff I listened to in high school for the thousandth time.
Of course, finding those golden nuggets requires panning through an awful lot of silt. About 80% of music (all genres) sucks. If listening to large quantities of mediocre music makes you crazy then you're probably better off sticking with another spin of Houses of the Holy. If that doesn't bother you, though, the upside is huge.1
That dynamic is true for seasonal music as much as any other. Every year there's tons of griping about how Christmas music is ubiquitous and oppressive, how much it sucks, how commercialized it has become, and other various complaints. I understand the gist of it, but there's also an abundance of really good Christmas music out there - you just have to find it. In the process of my music scavenging I began to collect the holiday music many sites pass along this time of year, and a few years ago I started actively seeking it out.
In addition to a generally more contemporary sound, these songs are usually done by those without any kind of ecclesiastical sanction. It's people inspired by the season getting at in in the language they know. It's done in the vernacular and eschews metaphysics in favor of the tangible relations we have with each other. In other words, these songs may not cut mustard at the local church, but may be more accessible than, say, in excelcis Deo (which actually will make an appearance as well, but that's for another day).
So as a way to give a little variety to those who might otherwise like Christmas music but are worn down by the relentless repetition of a relative handful of songs, I'm going to post a song a day from December 1st until Christmas Day. The focus will be on original songs from unfamiliar artists, mostly ones I found in the 2007-9 seasons. There are some fairly well known artists in the mix as well as some chestnuts (for truly exceptional versions - they really do exist!), but the general guideline is: original songs, unfamiliar artists.
One note on music appreciation. I almost never know whether I like a song the first time I listen to it. If you decide to check these songs out, I urge you to listen to them multiple times over a few days to give them a chance to sink in. If you're like me, once won't be enough to know.
Also, if you end up liking one of them please consider heading over to your digital retailer of choice and buying the MP3 if it's available.
2013 ADDENDUM: On weekends I'll include a BONUS song with a less inspirational take on the season.
1. I think there's also a certain bloggy sensibility about listening to new and and unfamiliar artists. Here at Corrente and related sites there's a feeling that it's the small creatures against the dinosaurs. Doing independent political analysis on an unaffiliated site like this means working on the margins and in the shadows; at times trying to penetrate an insular elite that dispenses pabulum to the masses; at other times trying to create alternative channels and to build them up. The parallels with lesser known artists trying to find an audience are pretty striking. It seems to me there's a natural kinship, so why not embrace it?