Cover image: Xmas Parade by Sherwood411
It’s that time of the year again!
Oh wait. I guess I never actually blogged about doing this. I’ve been putting together a Christmas mixtape every year since 2017.
All my mixtapes are up on Mixcloud. But for the first time, you can listen to this one on Youtube Music! Mixcloud says they pay royalties, but I have a feeling Youtube Music is probably the better one to use if you want to support the artists (even a little bit). They don’t have a nice WordPress widget tho.
I was inspired to do this partly by DJ Riko, but also by the fact that we can access very nearly every song ever recorded now and it seems a waste not to take advantage of that to trawl for ridiculous (and occasionally sublime) Christmas music.
Liner notes under the cut!
Fairytale of New York – Katzenjammer (feat. Ben Caplan)
I’ve been looking for a proper gin-soaked Tom Waitsian addition to a mixtape for a while. I don’t like Tom Waits’ Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis very much. It’s not very Christmasy. I stumbled on this version of Fairytale on a Canadian Christmas playlist and… I really like it. And this version is more properly gin-soaked than The Pogues’ original.
Note this contains a homophobic slur. And I thought about removing it or censoring it after the BBC’s announcement that they wouldn’t be airing an unedited version a couple weeks ago met with predictable reaction from shittier corners of the Internet. I went looking for versions that omitted the slur, but didn’t find any and, uh, I just really like this. These aren’t admirable characters. But I’m not going to try to justify it. If someone out there is bothered by this, let me know and I’ll likely reconsider. But I did want to make it clear that this song isn’t here as some sort of stupid protest, and that I absolutely agree that a national broadcaster is absolutely right to use its discretion about what it puts on the air.
What Child Is This – Johnny Costa
Johnny Costa is the pianist behind all the background and theme music on Mr Roger’s Neighborhood.
After watching the video I decided to go check out his other stuff, and lo, he had a Christmas album.
Joy to the World (Mocean Worker Remix) – The Cathedral Brass
Every mixtape needs some chill Christmas remixes. No story here. I just like it.
Christmas in April – Andrew Bird
I stumbled on Andrew Bird like 20 years ago via Squirrel Nut Zippers. I had his Bowl of Fire Thrills album on repeat for a good while. This isn’t that, and I haven’t connected with his newer stuff as much, but I figured I’d give his new Christmas album a try.
When he says “April this year,” he means this year.
Dj Schwede – Music Box Dancer
I’ve got a soft spot for Music Box Dancer, which was more liable to claim the “most famous classic in all the world of music” maybe in the late 70s but has drifted more into obscurity since. I learned how to play it on piano (in an easy piano arrangement, anyway) as a kid.
This remix, tho, is the backing track to literally dozens of those animated Christmas lights videos.
Every Moment Is Christmas with You – Daði Freyr
Wow, it’s so Christmasy.
Daði was robbed of what was certain to be a win for Iceland when Eurovision was cancelled in the spring. I hope his inclusion in my mixtape is some consolation.
Shiroi Koibitotachi – Keisuke Kuwata
I found this song on an album by a band that does jazz covers of Ghibli songs. But the singers on that track were painfully out of tune. Still, I felt like I wanted a swoony Japanese Christmas ballad on the mixtape, so I tracked down the original. And other covers too, but this is the one I liked best, even tho it doesn’t have nearly as much sleighbells as the one I originally found. And I’ve made a note to maybe add the Boyz II Men cover to a future mixtape.
Carol of the Bells – Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra
Not much to say here. I love a good Carol of the Bells.
Blue Christmas – Seymore Swine & the Squeelers
Is this good? No. Is it hilarious? The guy in the background certainly thinks so.
Make You Mine This Season – Tegan and Sara
Yay! A lesbian Chrismas song from a Hallmark-style lesbian Christmas movie soundtrack. I like Tegan and Sara and this is, as they say, a bop. And I love the booj.
That whole soundtrack is pretty great. It also features Sia’s Candy Cane Lane, which was one of the songs that motivated me to do the original 2017 mixtape.
All I Want for Christmas Is You – Chase Holfelder
Chase Holfelder does this whole Major to Minor thing on Youtube. This one came up in my feed somewhere and I decided it was perfect for 2020.
It’s Christmas Time – Macklemore (feat. Dan Caplen)
I’m probably a horrible person, but I laugh every time he shouts out his dog. I’m sorry, Toby.
Christmas on Tatooine – Royish Good Looks
I don’t like the sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – Elijah MOTi
This comes from a free Christmas DLC from Cities: Skylines. I’ll admit I’ve played Stellaris and Surviving Mars more than I’ve played Cities, but I love the soundtrack, like the Sim City soundtracks before it. I’ll throw it on in the background when I’m working sometimes.
I should play more Cities.
Christmas Is a Way of Life, My Dear – Chantal Kreviazuk
Not much to say. I thought it was catchy.
The Stowaway – Yamit Mamo
I loved when the RTD Doctor Who Christmas specials had original songs in them. They’re all good. Murray Gold knew what he was doing.
I kind of assumed this was sung by Kylie Minogue (who was the guest star in the episode this came from), mostly because it’s been ages since I’ve actually watched it. Yamit Mamo appears on screen to sing it.
Winter Festival – ConcernedApe
I love Stardew Valley. I’ve been using the soundtrack as background music when I’m working or going to sleep. It’s so well done. It’s particularly amazing that the soundtrack and the coding and the graphics and everything in Stardew Valley was done by one guy. ONE GUY!
Thanks for listening! Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year!