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Posts Tagged ‘indiana jones’

25 Greatest Christmas Songs Countdown: #5 O Holy Night

December 21, 2011 6 comments

I have yet to hear the perfect version of “O Holy Night”. But maybe that’s just me. Actually, you know what? I’m going to start talking about all kinds of stuff that by any reasonable standard I know nothing about, so you shouldn’t pay any attention to me. Stop reading now and go do something else.

As previously stated, I like my Christmas to go pretty light on the Jesus. After all, I am not a believer. But I have spent a few decades in western civilization, and as such I’ve formed some opinions on Christianity over the years. One of which is this: whether you believe or not, the Christian religion and all its trappings have a great deal of resonance, of cultural weight. We’ve been groomed to be impressed by that stuff, deep down. (This is why Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were better movies than Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Stupid Crystal Skull: they used this phenomenon.)

And that’s what “O Holy Night” can play on. There’s power in that song, and the perfect version of the song should be able to bring it out. When the singer bellows out, “Fall on your knees,” it should drive anybody listening to their knees. But most singers treat it like just another lyric.

Not because Christmas is about domination and subservience. Just because what’s happening here, the incarnation of God on Earth (which is, after all, the story in question), is impressive. It’s, you know, kind of a big thing. And this is exactly the song to put that over. But I don’t know of a case where anybody’s managed the trick.

Carve yourself off a slab of fruitcake and look for such a version of “O Holy Night” here.

#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

25 Greatest Christmas Songs Countdown: #17 Oi! To the World

December 9, 2011 20 comments

One of the songs that people have suggested for this, that I keep seeing mentioned as a big favourite by this person here or that group of listeners there, is “Fairytale of New York,” by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. I am sorry to say that it is not to be. I’ve listened to it more than once and am perfectly willing to admit that it’s a good song, and if I kept listening to it I might rate it even higher than that, but I can’t call it a good Christmas song. It’s, you know, gritty and kind of sordid.

Gritty all by itself wouldn’t have been too bad; today’s pick, “Oi! To the World,” is kinda gritty itself (and has the extra advantage of being the only Christmas song I’ve ever heard to namecheck Indiana Jones). But to much different effect; it’s witty and bouncy and the ending is at least partly positive, and then there’s the great chorus.

About that chorus. I’ve listened as carefully as I could, and I’ve checked lyrics sites online, and it seems like the last line of the chorus is, “And “Oi!” to the world, and everybody wins.” To me, though, this is not completely settled, because a) I’m not 100% sure that that’s what I’m hearing (in every rendition of the song, anyway), and b) it makes so much more sense for it to be “And “Oi!” to the world, and everybody in’t.” (Contraction of “in it”.) I mean, everybody wins, what’s that mean? Wins what? And that might be what the singer’s singing.

Oh well.

There are two versions of the song I know of. One’s the cover by No Doubt, which is the one I know best. The other is the original by the Vandals, which I only looked up last week and turns out to be not all that different from No Doubt. They’re both good, but the originator wins the tie, so let’s break some heads in honour of the Vandals and Oi! To the World.

#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