Sunday, 1 December 2013

Festival of festive songs

The Christmas carol playing season has officially begun.

While they've been blasting out of some stores for weeks now, I've been holding off until the arrival of December.

According to my iTunes library, I have more than 300 Christmas tunes (or more than 17 hours worth) ready to be unleashed for another year.  This number continues to grow as, like every other year, there are new releases to be added.

To make sense of my collection, I've divided it into three main playlists: Classic Christmas, Cocktail Christmas and Contemporary Christmas.

And to get you in the festive mood, I've listed my top five all-time favourites from each collection.

Play them loud!  Play them proud!

Classic Christmas:  For this collection, just think Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole crooning out the old favourites

5.  Ave Maria by Michael Buble
Sure he's not that old, but the carol is so Michael sneaks into the Classic Christmas list.

4.  The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
Makes you want to light a fire, even though its 34 degrees outside.

3.  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland
Quite a sad song really, but with the universal hope that the coming year will be better than the one before.

2.  O Holy Night by Bing Crosby
My favourite traditional carol despite the fact that the lyrics are difficult to remember

1.  White Christmas / I'll Be Home For Christmas by Bing Crosby
Cheating a bit here, but these two classics from Bing almost deserve a category of their own.

Cocktail Christmas:  This collection is pretty much Ella Fitzgerald's domain and features songs for a swinging Christmas soiree

5.  Feliz Navidad (I want to wish you a merry Christmas) by Jose Feliciano
A great tune to get the festive party started!

4.  Rocking Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
When this comes on you feel like you're at a 1950s cocktail party.

3.  Mele Kailikimaka by Bing Crosby or KT Tunstall
Just when you thought Bing couldn't be improved upon, KT Tunstall's version is pretty snazzy (and features a kazoo!)

2.  We Need a Little Christmas by Johnny Mathis
A carol that also doubles as a "showtune", so best played after a few drinks when you can really get those high kicks going.

1.  Sleigh Ride by Ella Fitzgerald
Like so many of Ella's carols, this is a swinging and cool rendition that is perfect for the top spot on this list.

Contemporary Christmas:  From Mariah Carey to SClub7, this collection is a potpourri of festive-themed songs from anyone since the 1970s onwards

5.  Believe by Josh Groban
Originally from the movie The Polar Express, this song also stands strongly on its own.

4.  Where Are You Christmas by Faith Hill
Also from a movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, it's a beautiful and reflective tune.

3.  Step Into Christmas by Elton John
An upbeat, up-tempo song that puts the festive back into Christmas.

2.  O Santa by Mariah Carey
You may not have heard of it, but it's a Christmas carol / squad cheer / pop song you'll either love or loathe.

1.  All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
Not many modern Christmas songs have become classics, but this one surely deserves it.

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