I’m not exactly 100% crazy about Christmas or Christmas music & neither is my family & neither is my partner, & really, the only Christmas music I recall hearing my parents play is the Beach Boys’ Christmas Album, my mom’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” 45” & a 1991 comp called Yuletunes: A Collection of Alternative Pop Christmas Songs which is — surprisingly — stunning. While I more or less dread hearing Christmas classics & original Christmas type songs recorded by popular artists, there are a few notable exceptions: the aforementioned Beach Boys’ Christmas Album, the Pretenders’ “2,000 Miles,” & the majority of the songs on Yuletunes.
“3 Wise Men and a Baby (Xmas Song)” by the Cavedogs is weird — it skips around genres, has a few “sound collage” elements and sometimes I forget why I profess to like it so much — but right around 2 minutes and 45 seconds in, it gets really, really beautiful. the band incorporates some sound clips from Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, which sounds like a cheesy and terrible move until you hear it for yourself & the whole song enters into this really gorgeous, blissed out space that I absolutely love.
“Piece for Christmas” by Big People reminds me a bit of Tullycraft recording a Christmas song (probably because of the lead singer’s voice). I love the opening lines: I saw you in a parking lot/Where they used to sell pumpkins and Elvis paintings/You were buying a Christmas tree/I recognized you but you could not place me.” (As an aside: this group is not the same Big People that featured the late Benjamin Orr. Sorry Cars fans.) Whenever I hear this, I feel impossibly, explodingly happy, even though it’s a little bit goofy.
Yuletunes is not out of print & though used copies crop up from time to time on Amazon, they typically sell for a bit more than I would recommend paying. If anyone’s interested in hearing the rest of the album I’m happy to upload it, just ask in the comments.