Music is a little like food and clothes. These are areas where it’s probably worthwhile for one to explore & expand their tastes. The Playlist is assembled each month by Dappered’s very own music correspondent, Tim Johnstone. Tim is a former Virgin Records Label Rep & current award winning Program Director at KRVB, which was awarded the FMQB AAA station of the year markets 50+. You can also catch his work on Fridays when he assembles the Weekend Dossier.
When it comes right down to it, I like my holiday music moody and melancholic. Because, all things considered, the holidays aren’t always picture perfect. Far from it. And the juxtaposition of the sad and beautiful in many of these songs just seems to make for a more intense experience. Most of these selections are best paired with a toasty concoction, a fire in the fireplace and your favorite squeeze.
The classic. For most of us, our introduction to Jazz, even if we never realized it. To this day, Guaraldi’s score for Charles Schultz’ perennial Holiday favorite remains one of those indisputable good-will inducing soundtracks. Instant happiness.
Well this is just about perfect, isn’t it?
There is a reason this remains the most popular Christmas song in the UK. For many, the Holidays are anything but merry and bright. They can be messy and miserable. And that’s exactly why this bit of biting back and forth between Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl resonates to this day.
And here we have the culmination of the theme for this particular Holiday assortment. Brandi Carlile devastates with a song which is built upon a Christmas break-up (“One more chance to be inspired/Is what I’m offering if love is not enough/ Then stay with me because/The heartache can wait”).
It’s all Joni Mitchell’s fault. Her “River” was one of the first (and best) examples of slathering a holiday song in melancholy. Beth Orton’s new version is hard to find a preview for (and, embed), but easy to get if you have Amazon prime. It’s free.
There is nothing sad about this. And that’s ok. All you need to do is sit back and let Ray take you places. And they are fantastic places indeed.
The Head & The Heart bring a great deal of themselves to this standard. It is both warm and a bit playful.
To this day, the most beautiful song ever written about the complicated business of the Holidays where expectations collide with hopes and dreams and beliefs. Like “A Fairytale Of New York,” there is grace and goodwill among the disappointment.
Appropriately atmospheric, Sarah lays claim to Gordon Lightfoot’s seasonal love song with layered vocals, a largely organic arrangement, and an invitation to cozy up with your sweetie. Lovely.
An indie rock road trip holiday song, with sleigh bells. And, of course, a hint of sadness.
Patti Smith – “O Holy Night”
This might be the last thing you would expect from the Godmother of punk rock, but my oh my does Patti deliver the chills with this. Sublime.
For previous editions of The Playlist, see the growing archive here.