The Most Wonderful Tunes Of The Year

Writing a blog is hard. You have to keep doing it, for starters, but far more difficult than persistence is positivity. Have you noticed how many blogs are 100% negative stuff about movies and music and books or whatever? I can testify that writing about something you hate is a lot more fun that writing about something you love.

It's the holidays, so when I sat down here I thought this was going to be about the holiday music I can't stand, because writing that would be fun and easy (snark is a breeze). But as I touched the keys, I decided to break the mold. So here's an annotated list of Xmas music I really enjoy.

1. Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Issabella. This beautiful 16th century French carol can be sung by virtually any choral group and remain absolutely perfect. First, it has the kind of melody that grips you by the heart. Second, it has added interest because of it's unusual madrigal-style timing: it's usually notated in 3/8 time, so it has a sweet swing to it. My top carol, for sure.

2. Christmastime Is Here (Vince Guaraldi).  Guaraldi said in interviews that he really didn't know how to approach the Peanuts cartoons, but clearly he figured it out in a big hurry. Everyone loves "Linus & Lucy," and "Skating," both instrumental charmers from A Charlie Brown Christmas. But this song is the real deal, capturing both the sweetness and the melancholy of the season.

3. All I Want For Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey). How can you not love this? It's as if Ronnie Spector called you up to wish you a happy holiday, and the Ronettes were in the room. The chord progression endlessly rises throughout the verses, the band and production just nail down that Wall Of Sound, and Mariah's knockout lead vocal gives it wings. I love this record so much it makes me choke up a little every time I hear it.

4. Happy Christmas (War Is Over) (John Lennon/Yoko Ono). It is. If you want it.

Lots more, but these are my faves. And just to make it feel like a blog, is it okay for me to say that Sir Paul's "Wonderful Christmastime" is an abomination, and one step below fingernails on slate in auditory terms? Seriously, there's some bad holiday music out there, but come on, Paul.