We’re All Skating on the Same Thin Ice (Christmas Music Mix, 2017)

December 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm (Uncategorized)

ice-skating-santa-download-videohive-18839308-free-hunterae-com-8Whew, just enough time to get this year’s Christmas music mix down the chimney and into the ears of every (mostly) good little boy and girl on Santa’s list. 2017 has had its share of ups and downs, but for the season I’ll set the bad bits aside and focus on the merry stuff. 2017 has been quite good to me personally, so I hope some of my good fortune rubs off.

This year’s Christmas music mix feels a little bit more “indie” than previous years. As I kept wading through the folder of prospective holiday tunes I keep, I kept noticing that there were so many major, obviously talented artists who utterly mail it in when they try to do a Christmas song. There’s a songwriter’s trick for creating a song within a certain theme that involves the writer simply listing some things associated with the subject, and then using that to get some inspiration to write a song with.

Far too many holiday pop songs sound like that’s as far as the songwriter got. There’s an absolute glut of songs that open with either cheap winter wind sound effects or sleigh bells ringing (always a sign that you’ve got more of a bad Christmas cash-in than real song). That eventually moves to a singer spending a couple of verses singing a grocery list of Christmas-ish non sequiturs with as much fake emotion as can be mustered.

And so I found a lot of stuff like that. But then I also found a lot of stuff like The Spook School’s winsome post-breakup gloriousness,”Someone To Spend Christmas With”. I found a spot for Belle & Sebastian’s “Are You Coming Over For Christmas”, which starts off sounding like a a flirty-but-without-the-rapey-stuff take on the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” formula, but then turns into something utterly beautiful and transcendent. At least for this year, it’s the lesser-known artists who are bringing the feels.

That isn’t to say I didn’t find some old favorites bringing the heat. Whomever in Cheap Trick suggested they cover The Move’s Wizzard’s (we’re all Roy Wood anyway) “I Wish it Could Be Christmas Every Day”, that person is a genius, because this is inspired. And hey, it’s time the Ventures returned to this annual mix, but this time marrying The Zombies to Greensleeves with a surfy twang.

It was also fun to go diving back into my 1990s alt-rock roots a little bit. I can’t believe I’ve never used the Pixies before in a Christmas mix, but I just love Frank and Kim’s call-and-response on the coda of this Neil Young cover. I found a great spot for a Cocteau Twins take on an old familiar kid’s song from back in the day. And then there’s the Throwing Muses track. If Tonya Donnelly’s guitar riff on this doesn’t get you going, you may need to get your ears checked.

It is also both great to find a spot for a terrific new Minus 5 track, “A New Christmas Hymn” while at the same time hearing that Minus 5 main man Scott McCaughey has recovered well enough from his stroke two months ago to be able to play guitar and bass again. That’s the song that provides the title for this year’s mix, too. For all the shouty-ness of 2017, this feels like a good summing up of things:

I’m offering this Christmas hymn
Not for any ghost or Tiny Tim
For both the naughty and the nice
We’re all skating on the same thin ice.

Wherever and however the holiday season finds you in 2017, I hope it’s a happy one for you and your loved ones. I hope you enjoy this mix of rock, soul, funk and a little country, all mixed together as one long MP3, and that it helps provide a little more good cheer. Let’s cue this sucker up and hit play!

We’re All Skating On The Same Thin Ice (Popnarcotic Christmas Music Mix, 2017)  (Right click to download and save.)

  1. Elf practice is not to be trifled with
  2. “Christmas All Over Again”, Tom Petty
  3. “Wake Up Christmas”, Lisa Mychols
  4. “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”, Cheap Trick
  5. “Santa’s Got a Bag of Soul”, Saints Orchestra
  6. “Purple Snowflakes”, Marvin Gaye
  7. “Blizzard of ’77”, Nada Surf
  8. “Snowflakes”, The Ventures
  9. “Frosty the Snowman”, The Cocteau Twins
  10. “Someone To Spend Christmas With”, The Spook School
  11. “It’s a Marshmallow World”, Dean Martin
  12. “Santa Claus”, The Throwing Muses
  13. “New Christmas Hymn”, The Minus 5
  14. “The Reindeer Boogie”, Hank Snow
  15. “Christmas Time is Here Again”, The Flirtations
  16. “Are You Coming Over for Christmas?”, Belle & Sebastian
  17. “Winterlong”, The Pixies
  18. “White Christmas” Otis Redding
  19. “Cold, Cold Christmas”, Army/Navy
  20. “Remember (Christmas)”, Harry Nilsson
  21. “Song For A Future Love”, The Frank & Walters
  22. “Happy When it Snows”, Seafang
  23. “Winter Beats”, I Break Horses
  24. Sing us out, Shane and Kirsty.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Phillip Goodrich said,

    Thanks for track #2. Especially this year. We were listening to it this morning in the OR. Smiled at your choice of #11. Wonder if he was even half sober when he recorded it. I often think how great it would be to just open your mouth in any old drunken stupor and have that velvet baritone of Dino’s come oozing out.

  2. John said,

    Yay! Thanks as always

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