(Sorry for the long silence! Here's something a little less serious than the usual fare for Bren's Left Coast. Back to usual content soon...)
It's the holidays, and who doesn't like a top ten list? Not particularly original, fine, but until I finish other posts, here is the first installment of my favorite holiday songs top ten list.
10. "Oh, Holy Night" - Mahalia Jackson. I can't imagine how it came to be that we had an album of Mahalia Jackson growing up - Fowler, Indiana, wasn't exactly a hotbed of soul - but we did, and I loved her version of this song. This was one of my Mom's favorite carols which is likely why I love it still. This was the last song on the LP (kids, ask your parents), and I would listen to it over and over, carefully picking up the needle and setting it back down on the gap just before this song, listening to the scratches with anticipation, waiting to hear her start. It's just beautiful and stirring.
9. "Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer" - Jack Johnson. I suspect in future years this will move up, but I only heard it for the first time last night and I don't want to be that guy who says the best song ever is the last one he heard. But, I'm just hooked. It's Jack Johnson, so it's got fantastic vocals, but its power is in calling out "all of the other reindeer," and it makes me wonder how I went all these years without wondering about them and their meanness. It's a reminder that routine inures us to deficiencies of character, and lack of critical thinking establishes routine as correct. Thanks for shining a light, Jack - "We're truly gonna try to change."
8. "Christmas Rapping" - The Waitresses. I realize this is a minority opinion, but I love this song - probably because it was on the store holiday tape when I worked at Banana Republic, and I remember singing it while board-folding t-shirts. I think part of why I love this song is that it talks about checking out of the madness of the holiday and spending it by yourself, and in 1990 and '91, while board folding those t-shirts, that would have been a very seductive sentiment. Subtlety in subversion, I love it. And my friend Meaghan and I call or text each other when we hear it, so it's a gift that keeps on giving! (Check out this vid with the holiday lights. Some people have WAY too much time on their hands, but it's cool!)