In honor of the season, I thought I’d post of a few of my favorite Christmas songs.
- Favorite Traditional Christmas Song: “O, Holy Night” – Yes, every artist has to record it, and somebody at church has to sing it every year, but there’s a reason for that! The song remains beautiful – one of the best worship songs ever written!
- Favorite Modern Christmas Song: “Born to Die” by Bebo Norman – A beautiful, moving pop song. It captures the truth of the season in a way that’s hard to do in under four minutes.
- Favorite Novelty Christmas Song: “‘Zat You, Santa Claus? by Louis Armstrong – Let’s be honest. This is much closer to how we would actually react if some dude showed up at our houses on Christmas Eve. Plus, the song is just plain fun.
- Favorite Reworking of a Classic Christmas Song: “Jingle Bells” by James Taylor – “Jingle Bells” as blues! Brilliant!
Favorite Christmas Albums:
- Christmas… From the Realms of Glory by Bebo Norman – Songs we know, and some we don’t. Some are done in the Bebo Norman style CCM listeners have to come to know. Most are done in a style much more reminiscent of his indie music: simple instrumentation – acoustic guitar, piano, melodica, hammer dulcimer. It’s a warm, folksy, introspective, beautiful album. Plus, the brave inclusion of Jackson Browne’s “The Rebel Jesus.” Highlights: “Born to Die,” “Come and Worship,” “The Rebel Jesus”
- Christmas by Michael W. Smith – Remember when Michael W. Smith used to be a songwriter? This album is odd for 80s CCM. It’s a high-church, classical Christmas album with a couple of classic Smitty touches, and it’s pretty flippin’ amazing. Of course, he had to to include the radio-friendly “Gloria,” a pop rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Highlights: “First Snowfall,” “All Is Well,” “Gloria”
- Home for Christmas by Amy Grant – I am not, nor have I ever been, an Amy Grant fan, but I love this album. I even went to one of her Christmas concerts years ago. There are a couple of blemishes (“Grown Up Christmas List” and her insistence on singing along with the choir on Handel’s “For Unto Us a Child is Born”), but there are so many classic renditions of so many classic Christmas songs, if you don’t like it, you have no Christmas spirit! Highlights: “Breath of Heaven,” “The Night Before Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
Worst Christmas Song Ever: “Grown Up Christmas List” – I do not need to defend this choice.