For the past four years or so, I've spent the beginning of November compiling Christmas music from sources near and far. The instances of discovering festering piles of poo (albeit festooned with a bright red bow, which separates it from your pedestrian, every day musical poo) are aplenty, so it's not unlike taking your hound for a walk armed with a pocketful of plastic bags. It's not a question of whether or not your pooch will pop a squat, but when. And where. And how many times. So it goes with finding Christmas music that doesn't totally suck. For every hidden gem that contains either a modicum of sincerity, poignance, or at the very least, nostalgia, one must thrust one's arms to the elbow in a fetid pile of fussily overwrought steamers, musically messy and meaningfully malnourished.
But see, I do it for you. I suffer through the dolefully ornate stinkers, I sift through the layers of stuffy self-importance, I cringe at the schmaltzy vocal tinsel draped flaccidly over a familiar melody. I do all of this because there are certain finds that make the search worthwhile. And every year, I compile the best of the best in a sequence I feel befitting of each song's innate goodness, I put a bow on it in the form of album art, and I present it to you, my friends and my anonymous Internet friends, as a token of my good tidings and good will.
So if you downloaded last year's offering and a few of the songs look familiar, it's because they are. I don't start from scratch each year because truth be told, there just aren't enough songs to choose from that meet my standards (be they as they may, subjective and wholly personal). But every year I trim the branches and skim a little off the top, infusing new music when I find it, crafting a mix that, for what it lacks in novelty, at least it makes up for in nostalgia and familiarity. Not every song is a Christmas song, but they all convey a holiday spirit - a spirit, for me, that strikes a bittersweet chord somewhere between joy and melancholy, Biblical tradition and Western world commercial gestalt. And not to place a clunkish gold star atop my tree, but this year's mix unfurls from start to finish without relying on Indie boy prince Sufjan's distinctive yuletide stylings to suffuse it with street cred.
Most importantly though, I hope you enjoy it. (And enjoy it quickly, because this link won't be active forever, so hop to it, trigger fingers.)
Get it HERE.