Musical Advent Calendar 2010

I started doing a song a day for Advent (November 28 this year through Christmas Eve) and then the 12 days of Christmas (Christmas Day through Jan 6) on Twitter ( or just read my tweets as they feed through the right side column here). I'll update here so you can see the entire list of songs.

Day 20: "Angels We Have Heard On High" by Committed. Best group on this season's The Sing-Off, and this arrangement is crystalline and beautiful. 1:25 is gorgeous. 

Day 19: "Dominick the Donkey" by Lou Monte. Best Xmas novelty song ever. 

Day 18: "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey. You know you want to sing along. 

Day 17: "Love Came Down At Christmas" by Jars of Clay. Hilarious video featuring a flying Christmas taco.

Day 16: "Must Be Santa" by Brave Combo. The video is just too funny. If you can get all the way to 1:00 without thinking this is the best version of this song ever, then I will never buy you a Jaegermeister shot. 

Day 15: "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" by Take 6. I've loved Take 6 for years. Their vocal harmonies are incredible, and their whole "He Is Christmas" album is a classic.

Day 14: "Sleigh Ride" by Andre Kostelanetz. This version was on some random Christmas collection record my parents had when I was a kid, so the fast pace and horse whinny at the end (along with that huge countermelody in the last verse) WAS the song "Sleigh Ride." For years and years I searched for this version, and now here it is on YouTube. A Christmas miracle.

Day 13: "La Peregrinacion" from Ariel Ramirez's "Navidad Nuestra." This whole piece is amazing, but this song in particular really affects me. I wrote a piece years ago about the lyrics:

Day 12: "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" by Mahalia Jackson. This is the Christmas album of my childhood, and it feels like Christmas is really coming when I play this song.

Day 11: "We Want To See Santa Do The Mambo" by Big John Greer. Really. We want to see Santa do the mambo. 

10: "Put The Lights On The Tree" by Sufjan Stevens. A sweet, whimsical, lovely song that goes crazy worshipfully chaotic in the middle.

9: "Es Ist Ein Rose Entsprungen" by Nana Mouskouri. December 6 is German St. Nicholas Day, and this is my favorite German carol. In English it's "Lo, How a Rose Is Blooming."

8: "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" by Fernando Ortega. This song is sad and eerie and beautiful, and Ortega's performance is reverent and simple and lovely. I really love his whole awed, worshipful Christmas album.

7: "Holly Jolly Christmas" by Burl Ives. Just classic. This whole Burl Ives Christmas album is awesome and fun for kids and adults.

6: "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway. I have many comments about this song: 1) See, George Michael? It DOES get better. 2) Someone in the comments of the YouTube video called it "The Black National Christmas Anthem" and that made me crack up. 3) Chris Brown and Trey Songz and their lame covers can bite me. 4) No, really, why would anyone try to redo this? Donny Hathaway : This Christmas :: Mel Torme : The Christmas Song. Everyone else go home. 5) Maybe I'll make a mix called "Sexy Christmas" and put this on it every other song.

5: "Last Christmas" by Wham!. "But if you kissed me now I know you'd fool me again." Yeah.

4: "Gabriel's Message" by Sting. Wow, what a creepy, intense, mysterious song. And completely fitting. How else to tell the story of a big scary angel visiting an ordinary teenager to tell her she's pregnant with a divine baby and asking if she'll accept? This is the mystery of Christmas.

3: "Little Saint Nick" by The Beach Boys. Just plain fun. Does it really matter that it's really "Little Deuce Coupe" with Xmasfied lyrics? Not to me.

2: "Blue Christmas" by Miles Davis (not the Elvis song). This song is so Miles, so blue, and so perfect for getting perspective in the middle of uber-consumerism.

Advent Day 1: "O Come O Come Emmanuel" by Joan Baez. This is the simplest, most reverent version of the song I've heard. Joan's Christmas album is gorgeous, and was my mother's favorite when I was growing up, so this song has always meant the start of Advent to me.