Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cantique de Noël, or The Best Christmas Song Ever

We didn't sing my favorite Christmas song at church today. O Holy Night is such a beautiful classic. The range required is difficult, and if done right, the carol is haunting. No version is nearly as good as a congregation singing it with few instruments backing a multitude of voices, but a man's voice is critical.

Sufjan Stevens "O Holy Night" - Sufjan, I really have mixed opinions about this song. There are parts I love, and then there are parts that grate my ears. I guess that is how holy night was when Christ born, it wasn't all halos and a beautiful baby in a suprisingly clean stable with hay underfoot. Its how Christmas ends up at my house, its happy, then the afternoon is wierd, and then its happy as everyone leaves. The highlight of this song is when the little drummer boy type drums come in to bring this folky song back home. (buy Songs for Christmas)

Anathallo "O Holy Night" - This is one of the only versions of the song that I like that isn't traditional. I especially commend the way they chose to switch between a more rock sound and a more hushed familiar coral voice. One of this band's greatest quality is their ability to make any song an epic, and this is no exception. The trumpet and the rest of the brass add a texture matched by very few innovative versions of Christmas songs. Sure to put any music snob in the holiday spirit. (buy Anathallogy) Ps. they have a funny video on their website...

And because everyone likes it: Rockapella "Carol of the Bells"
(if you look closely, Mary and Joseph are really David and Victoria Beckahm, with Kylie Minouge overhead and others...)

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