For the next several Mondays, I'm going to be sharing my holiday listening playlist. Many of the songs aren't traditional Christmas songs, but to me, they exemplify the spirit of the season. We'll start with something pretty traditional, however:
Today's Theme: Classic Carol Remix
There's something about those old carols - the melodies are sweet, the lyrics full of archaic language. I love those songs, but I often like the modern versions more than the old standards. Let's face it: I'm a modern gal.
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan
Seriously? Who doesn't love this one?
O Come O Come, Emmanuel - by Rebecca St. James
When I was a little kiddo, I listened to the Joan Baez album "Noel" from September until the New Year. It was pretty much my favorite record. O Come O Come, was the song that transfixed me more than any other.
O Come O Come, Emmanuel is a carol that's right on the edge of being one of the majors. It's no Silent Night or Away in a Manger. But everyone's heard it. It's probably the most overtly Biblical of any of the carols, but it has a modern edge all the same.
Rebecca St. James capitalized on those features in her version for her Christmas album. Sorry the video is a bit lame - it's all I could find. You should check out the original.
Holly, Ivy and Rose - by Tori Amos
The Holly and the Ivy is an awesome carol. It's definitely under the radar, but I like its medieval sounding tune and woodsy imagery. Unfortunately, most recorded versions seem to be on the Christmas albums released by random civic choirs in mid-sized cities.
On her album, "Midwinter Graces", Tori Amos took the bones of several traditional carols and built new songs upon them. Holly, Ivy and Rose is the sweet song that sprung from The Holly and the Ivy. It features vocals by Tori's daughter, which add to the sweetness. (I realized I used "sweet" twice to describe this one, but I mean sweet in a good way. Not in a gross, saccharine way).