Friday, December 15, 2006

Put Some Records On While I Pour

Multiple-choice time.

Where have I been all month?

A) Bringing sexy back
B) Recording A Very Goofus Christmas
C) Finals
D) Eh. *shrug*

The correct answer is C. The correct answer is always C. You might have picked D, but that’s not very nice, is it?

If you’re good at these little quizzes, you noticed that A and C are mutually exclusive. In the past two weeks, I have taken six exams and written a couple of papers, but I have not changed out of this hoodie. Well, you don’t see Santa varying up his attire, do you? Some call it poor personal habits, I call it holiday spirit.

Or maybe I’m channeling a historic alter ego. Today I received this quiz from a friend, pegging me as a doppelganger for Charles VI.

To wit:

"In 1405 you stopped bathing, shaving or changing your clothes."

This also sounds like me:

"The following months saw you suffer an exorcism, beg your friends to kill you, go into hyperactive fits of gaiety, run through your rooms to the point of exhaustion, hide from imaginary assassins, claim your name was Georges, deny that you were King and fail to recognize your family.” (emphasis mine)

I promise I haven’t forgotten about you, Mom. I just stopped answering my phone for awhile.

Glad tidings: the semester has ended at last, which means I have time for family, blogging, and answer B. Though I haven’t yet recorded a holiday album, I’ve compiled my favorite Christmas songs in an iTunes mix. The current track count is 42. You could say I’m slightly carol-happy.

In a previous post, I declared that the world’s population can be divided into People Who Like Billy Joel and People Who Don’t. This was a poorly researched conclusion lacking empirical support, so I take it back. After spending several hours on Yahoo! Music, I’ve surmised a more appropriate labeling system for our planet’s denizens: People Who Have Recorded a Christmas Album and People Who Haven’t. The first category includes Hanson, Rosie O’Donnell, .38 Special, the Judds, SheDAISY, Regis Philbin, Barney, and about a billion others. Second category: Marilyn Manson, Engelbert Humperdinck, and me. Take your pick.

Given the rustiness of my blogging skills, I’m devoting this post to another Top 5. Top 5 Christmas Carol Covers. It’s seasonal and alliterative, and, of course, up for debate. Last year, HTS sent me her unopened gift copy of Diana Krall’s Christmas Songs. “I don’t think so. Merry Christmas.” Conversely, I’m not likely to deck the halls with Sufjan Stevens’ Songs For Christmas Singalong, now featured on Murky’s sidebar. I guess one person’s “Jingle Bell Rock” is another’s “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”

The list (in random order):

1. “Blue Christmas,” Heart. Elvis has the quintessential version of this song, but his is more lip-curl than red, puffy eyes. Nancy Wilson’s rendition goes perfect in a smoky, crowded bar with tear-diluted eggnog. It’s a tad country-western and, apropos, bluesy. When Nancy rounds into the final chorus, telling you how “you’ll be doin’ alright with your Christmas of white,” you can tell her self-pity has really compounded (as self-pity tends to do). Good for belting in the shower, too.

2. “Sleigh Ride,” Leroy Anderson. Because it’s still the “most wonderful time of the year,” even if you’re sobbing in a bar. Plenty of songsters have provided cheery vocals to this tune (Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, um, Debbie Gibson?), but this orchestral version is my favorite. You’d have to be some Scroogey Grinch hybrid not to smile at the clip-clop-clip-clop-clip-clop-WApsssh. Whip it good.

3. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone. Once upon a Christmas, one of my very best friends performed an extremely seductive version of this song in a high-school auditorium. Really, that version is my top 5. But since streaming webcam hadn’t been invented at that time, and I don’t have phone numbers for any middle-school boys who might’ve snuck in tape recorders, I’ll have to go with Deschanel and Redbone. I’ve long been a fan of Leon Redbone’s self-consciously smarmy tone, and Zooey D.’s voice has a coy-but-not-cute quality that makes it perfect for this tune.

4. “Winter Wonderland,” Harry Connick Jr. You knew I wasn’t going to leave Harry out. Again, this is a no-vocals rendition -- just as well, since I never can remember whether we “perspire” or “conspire” as we dream by the fire. You’ll find this version on the When Harry Met Sally soundtrack, in your stocking if you’re lucky.

5. “Christmas Don’t Be Late,” Alvin and the Chipmunks. Okay, as far as I know there’s only one version of this song. (If Regis Philbin has covered it, please don’t tell me.) This one is classic. How can it be Christmas without Simon, Theodore, and Alvin, Alvin, ALVIN? The Chipmunks are evergreen. And I still want a hula hoop.