Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Music

Christmas music has taken over the radio for the past 48 hours, and my blog will be no exception. Only instead of the traditional songs you generally hear on the radio, I offer a few that you most likely won't.

The Gathering - "On Most Surfaces"
This isn't really a Christmas song, but nothing musically paints a picture of a desolate arctic wasteland in my mind more than this song. Originally written about the Inuit Eskimos, everything from the lyrics to the textures of the music encompasses everything that is winter, from the crushing cold to the monochrome bleakness. An absolutely breathtaking song and one of the best from The Gathering's impressive catalog.

Whirling Dervishes - "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
I don't know where this band came from and I don't know where they went. I picked up the single in 1994 and have never heard anything from them since. Even the information about them online is next to nonexistant, so I'm assuming it's probably pretty safe to say they're defunct. Anyway, this heavy metal remake of the famous Seuss song is pretty straight-foward, but for some reason it evokes an almost Faith No More vibe.

Whirling Dervishes - "Sinning And Skating"
Here's another offering from the same single, one of their original songs. It's an old favorite of mine I've recently rediscovered. It fairly accurately portrays the cold, abysmal and lonely feeling of the winter months, but not nearly as effectively as the previous Gathering song. And yes, there are lyrics to this, it just takes a couple of minutes to get to them.

Gary Hoey - "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"
An updated take on the song. How "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" would sound if played by Wes Borland as envisioned by Gary Hoey. I'm not posting much of Gary Hoey's stuff as all of his albums are still pretty commercially available. This is completley instrumental, as Hoey is a guitarist by trade. The drumming is annoyingly programmed, though, and it was done back in a time before programmed percussion actually sounded somewhat decent. That's the only real complaint I have for his music.

A bunch o' people - "The Closing Of The Year"
What can I say about this? A lot of people collaborated to produce this beautiful monstrosity of a Christmas song. Wendy & Lisa, formerly of Prince's Revolution, Seal, and some children's choir, all under the direction of the legendary experimental pop producer Trevor Horn. It was recorded for and released as part of the soundtrack to the motion picture Toys, starring Robin Williams. I originally picked up the soundtrack for the Tori Amos song and the Thomas Dolby song that I thought was pretty cool, but this kind of struck me as a reluctant holiday favorite. I'm a sucker for pop bomast, I guess. Last time I posted it for a music forum, it got blasted as being "so full of cheese that Seal's brief appearance could barely save it," so we'll see how well it fares with my new small community.

Merry Christmas.

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