When you play my song, play it slowly;
Play it like I’m sad and lonely
Over The Rhine are a folk band, and this song is from their 2006 Christmas album, Snow Angels. It’s a lovely mournful song, and I thought it went nicely with the general melancholy tone of 2012’s Christmas mix.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices;
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
The Puppini Sisters recorded O Holy Night on their Christmas With The Puppini Sisters album. It’s one of my favourite carols, and I love close three-part harmonies, so I think this is a fantastic version. Obligatory information from Wikipedia – the carol is from 1847, and was music composed to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens”.
I’m never worried, I never sit by the phone;
Cause come Christmas time, I’ll never be alone
This is a great bluesy song from Carole King’s album of Christmas songs, A Holiday Carole, which I included on the 2011 mix cd. One of those many Christmas songs along the general theme of waiting for someone to return at Christmas.
Herod the King, in his raging, charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight, all children young, to slay.
Annie Lennox’s version of this carol is intensely powerful, which suits the subject matter – Coventry Carol dates from the 16th century, and is a lullaby sung by mothers to their children ordered by Herod to be killed.
Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime,
Where we’re working in a mine for our robot overlords.
Did I say overlords? I meant protectors.
Jonathan Coulton released this song as part of his Thing a Week project, where he wrote and recorded a song each week for a year. It’s funny, with a hint of pathos, and I used it to kick off the 2011 Christmas mix.
Gaily they ring, while people sing;
Songs of good cheer, Christmas is here
Hayley Westenra is a New Zealand singer, and this track was from her 2009 Christmas album, Winter Magic. Carol of the Bells was composed in 1904, and Wikipedia says helpfully that it’s based on a folk chant known in Ukrainian as “Shchedryk”. I really love the repeating bell-like motif.
Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea
Another track from Sufjan Stevens’ collection of Christmas music, included in the 2010 mix CD. More of a general hymn, I think, rather than a specifically Christmassy song.
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
Acapella group Straight No Chaser recorded this medley of Hark The Herald Angels Sing and Angels We Have Heard On High, and I included it on the 2010 Christmas mix.
The sleigh bells are in time ringing true;
How we cling each Noel to that snowflake’s hope in hell
that it won’t end
This is an enjoyably crazy song from The Darkness that I used as the first song in the 2010 mix.
This is my winter song, December never felt so wrong;
Cause you’re not where you belong, inside my arms
This was written and recorded by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson that I included on the 2009 mix. Wikipedia rather amusingly says that it became a very minor hit in Canada in 2008. When you look up the lyrics, they include several paragraphs of “bum bum bum bum”, which, for future reference for people transcribing lyrics, I do not believe is entirely necessary.