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25 Greatest Christmas Songs Countdown: #4 Carol of the Bells

December 22, 2011 3 comments

Like “O Holy Night”, the “Carol of the Bells” is one that I’m still searching for the perfect version of. Only I’m more confident that it exists.

All I want is a full-length choral rendition of the song, with whatever orchestral accompaniment is necessary to make the thing sound right. It’s out there somewhere. The version that’s on the Home Alone soundtrack is excellent; the only problem with it is that it’s short. I also liked the one at the end of the West Wing episode where Josh goes nuts. And I should mention the Barra MacNeils version too: it’s very good, and I like it a lot and am glad to have it, but it’s a different style from what I’m looking for. But too often you get these little one-buttocked instrumental versions, like on the Barenaked Ladies Christmas album, and it’s just don’t even bother.

(What I don’t want is that Mannheim Steamroller/Trans-Siberian Express kind of treatment. I have no time for that stuff at all; it’s the only kind of Christmas music I bar completely.)

But I’ll find it eventually. Someone’s done it. It’s out there. Throw cares away and find your own favourite version of the “Carol of the Bells“.

#25: Sleigh Ride
#24: Huron Carol
#23: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!/Count Your Blessings/We Wish You a Merry Christmas
#22: The Twelve Days of Christmas
#21: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
#20: Fuck Christmas
#19: Jingle Bell Rock
#18: What’s This? & Making Christmas
#17: Oi! To the World
#16: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
#15: Blue Christmas
#14: Christmas in Hollis
#13: We Need a Little Christmas
#12: Marshmallow World
#11: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
#10: Step Into Christmas
#9: Jingle Bells
#8: Christmas Comes But Once a Year (Christmas in Carrick)
#7: Christmas Wrapping
#6: Silver Bells
#5: O Holy Night

25 Greatest Christmas Songs Countdown: #9 Jingle Bells

December 17, 2011 8 comments

Then there was the time we went to the Santa Claus Parade in downtown Toronto. Every marching band, every float… they were all playing “Jingle Bells”. Bo-ring. (Except these guys; they gave us “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and they put a lot of zazz into it.) I mean, come on; is there any one of us who hasn’t heard “Jingle Bells” ten thousand times? And doesn’t need to hear it ever again? You’re going to be in this big parade, and you can pick just about any Christmas song you want… and you pick “Jingle Bells”?

However.

The Barenaked Ladies have saved “Jingle Bells”. In their hands it’s an interesting song again. They way they did it is, they threw in everything but the kitchen sink, they brought back all the later stanzas that hardly anybody ever sings, they sang the song every way they could think of to sing it, they made it sound like a loungey song and a Christmas song and a racing song all at the same time. It’s the only version of “Jingle Bells” you’ll ever need.

Pour the cat some eggnog and give three shouts and a tiger to the Barenaked Ladies and “Jingle Bells.”

#25: Sleigh Ride
#24: Huron Carol
#23: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!/Count Your Blessings/We Wish You a Merry Christmas
#22: The Twelve Days of Christmas
#21: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
#20: Fuck Christmas
#19: Jingle Bell Rock
#18: What’s This? & Making Christmas
#17: Oi! To the World
#16: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
#15: Blue Christmas
#14: Christmas in Hollis
#13: We Need a Little Christmas
#12: Marshmallow World
#11: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
#10: Step Into Christmas