We’ll Take the Scenic Routes: The Lost Dogs and a #fleshYGod in #PlanetCCM;

Contemporary Christian Music is, like the white Evangelical culture it arose from, very conservative politically, religiously, and socially. Michael W Smith, the Poster Boy for the industry (in more ways than one. I mean, grrrrowl, amirite?) stunted for George W Bush and his wars and policies, after all. More so, the music favored heavenly rewards and solutions and pat answers for really complex personal and spiritual problems while completely ignoring systemic abuses and oppressions. With a few exceptions (Rod covers one here), racism, misogyny,  albeism, war, and poverty were ignored and shame abounded. The effect is that the theology and Jesus they presented was a Static God unconcerned with the lives of real, struggling and marginalized people.

Additionally, CCM was centered in Nashville, where Country is king. No disrespect to the genre that brought us Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Loretta Lynn and had a baby with Rhythm & Blues to produce Rock & Roll, but it tends to favor White, conservative, reactionary rule. Even attempts to appropriate rap music into country have landed squarely in White Supremacy – take Kid Rock or “Accidental Racist,” please.

So what happens when you mash a country-leaning supergroup consisting of CCM mainstays? Well, that may depend on who the group is. But if we get Terry Taylor of Daniel Amos, Gene Eugene (RIP) of Adam Again, Derri Daugherty of The Choir, and Mike Roe of the 77s and blend them with a gritty collection of down-earth covers and some of their own throw-offs, we end up with one of the most political albums in all of CCM (at least until Five Iron Frenzy’s more Clash-inspired records and activism surface later in the decade), Scenic Routes.

scenic routes lost dogs

It helps that all the founding members had small but devout and cultish followings. There was a target audience, and the main label decided it wouldn’t be of much use trying to tame these uncouth people. All four were already established producers and songwriters so no go sending CCM’s mainstay songwriters and producers (like Brown Bannister and Wayne Kirkpatrick) to settle them down and return to the mission of mainstream CCM – commercializing White Jesus. The resulting Scenic Routes was different than anything else coming out of NashVegas at the time – and perhaps before or after.

Before the rest of CCM was primping for a hostile takeover of Iraq and within the timeframe that most Americans were pleased with the Shock-and-Awe of the first Iraqi War; in the heart of conservative, war-heavy industry that favors a Republican God; long before the Dixie Chicks caused a sensation by apologizing for GWB, the Lost Dogs released the rambling, bluegrass-lite “Bush Leagues,” dedicated to George Herbert Walker Bush.

I’ll pack you a lunch, clear your desk
It’s going to be hell to clean your mess
All I know is that you gotta go

I don’t know what I think about it
But your bush league days are through
Will you give me a job I doubt it
Here’s a bird in the hand for you

Next time you start a storm
You better get you a mess kit, canteen and uniform
Cause we feel like livin’ so you’ve got to go

Your points of light are almost gone
So here’s your yellow ribbon-burning song

Yeah, you caught that they directly referenced Desert Storm, unemployment, Chicken Hawks, and the faux-inspiring Thousand Points of Light. And managed to give the President of the United States the bird. I know that many within CCM and Country would pretty much say the same for Clinton later and then definitely for Obama, but this was refreshing. And a bit shocking to my mind that not all Christians could be or should be gung-ho conservatives. Or, as “Bullet Train” – a more straightforward blues-rock song – showed, gun-ho conservatives. A tribute to those that have lost their lives due to the US’s gun-obsessed culture, starting with JFK, MLK,  and children who accidentally shoot themselves.

There’s a lot of poor souls on the Bullet Train / but Lord knows they got more room.

How sadly right they were, before Columbine. But it didn’t stop there. Where most of white Christian culture tends to look for responsibility solely in the individual (“It’s the crazy people with the guns that kill people and they could kill with spoons!” they say. Because they don’t think about how damaging and destructive their words are.), the Lost Dogs see the responsibility lies in all of us to end the Bullet Train. At that time, to see a Christian encourage activism, I don’t think it made much sense to me, but it was a part of my destiny and helped to shape the road I’d lead – as did other songs, like Adam Again’s “Walk Between the Raindrops” about systemic oppression and homelessness in a land of means.

For the anti-violence trifecta, the Lost Dogs also wrote and performed “The Fortunate Sons.” Unlike CCR’s angry rager (one of my favorite) against the kids who would soon become presidents and vice presidents but were privileged enough to escape the conflict that killed and maimed so many young and poor, this is a song of lament and profound sorrow about soldiers of a different kind of fortune. “Bang the drum slowly,” the conflicted narrator pleads. It is a song of the sacrificed lamb, the warrior sent to die for the sins of the violent world.

Blood, thunder and fear flowing
I cry when I need you
and march when I’m told where to go
Lessons I know
Is it the way of a soldier to offer his soul?

It is a humanizing tale of a figure alternately hagiographed and demonized in the midst of a conflicting, tragic story – and could be one of Terry Taylor and Gene Eugene’s best, which says a lot from me.

One of the classics the Lost Dogs covered was the Stephen Foster-penned “Hard Times Come Again No More”: “a song, a sigh of the weary… Many days you have lingered around my cabin door.” It’s a song of and by the poor, the suffering. This in a world that largely ignores class struggles and poverty. But this can be imagined in a world where the protagonists have decided to get off of the planes and interstates that the rest of #PlanetCCM travels in and takes the scenic routes through the coal mines, small towns, passing the bullet trains and the doorsteps darkened by sorrow and suffering. It’s the Christian music of a #fleshYGod; an incarnational CCM.

It is with this context that the closing salvo strikes as not as a plea for faux unity or some false notion that the Klanner is just as bad as the lynched, but as a call for all of humanity to breath in the breath of a God who loves humanity, who understands our sufferings, who sides with the oppressed. To travel the scenic routes and recover our humanity.

Politicians, morticians, Philistines, homophobes
Skinheads, Dead heads, tax evaders, street kids
Alcoholics, workaholics, wise guys, dim wits
Blue collars, white collars, war mongers, peace nicks

Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God

Breathe deep, indeed.

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Note: The entire Lost Dogs discography and most other music listed here can be streamed on Spotify.

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Baby, Baby!: Humanity and Sexual Commerce in #PlanetCCM

Note: This is my first post on the synchroblog #PlanetCCM, in which we ponder how Contemporary Christian Music affected our lives. Since I have much and much to talk about, I’ll start with some musings that have been in the back of my mind for some twenty years. The synch is hosted by Dianna Anderson. Feel free to join in.

I think I was headed back on the 55 on the long, boring journey from the northeastern corner of Oklahoma to the northeastern corner of Illinois and I popped in Heart in Motion. This was the mid 90s and I know it’s a weird cop for a guy whose favorite music is the Clash, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Wonder. There’s more intricate and challenging pop music out there, and Amy Grant’s best stuff is like crackers.

But it makes me feel more human, and compared to most all the other Contemporary Christian Music I listened to at the time (almost all music I owned at the time was produced in CCM industry) outside of the alternative scene (Daniel Amos/DA/da, the 77s, the Choir, Adam Again), it was resoundingly human. Amy was a real person who had been through life and her music touched on that. It wasn’t a Sunday School lesson.

I just had no idea how true that was as of yet.

My driving partner looks at me now. Not much of a talker himself, I remember very much what he says next.

You know, she’s divorcing her husband and she’s in an affair with some country star.

That hits. My car neighbor is not much of a gossiper. But this was serious business – at least that’s how it struck me at that time. My driving partner knew people in Nashville. All of Nashville knew about this. But they were keeping the mums.

Yet, they weren’t keeping quiet to honor the Chapman/Grant family. Nor to protect the kids. No, I had learned long ago that CCM culture can be the most judgmental and hypocritical of all. Humans are not humans. Mistakes are unforgiveable, unless you make beaucoup money for them.

Amy Grant is money.

So the CCM industry tried to correct its ships. Tried to find a way to bury the secret for as long as possible until it could do no longer. Ms. Grant, it turned out, was not going to have it.

And when the secret came out, she was judged for not being Mrs. Perfect. She left, after many years, her drug abusing husband to be with someone she felt listened to her, someone who was also human and real. Someone outside of the machine of CCM.

Now, Amy was money. And money in the CCM industry will forgive a hell of a lot of sins. But it doesn’t cover being a woman. And so it was Ms. Grant who took hell for leaving a hellish relationship behind. CCM, like the God of Moses, hates divorce. But the God of Moses hated divorce partially because it hurts dependent women of a particularly patriarchal time and land. CCM hates divorce because it hurts its particular patriarchy. And money. 

Because she wasn’t able to just leave the relationship, she followed her heart. Whatever a decision that was should not be taken outside of its context: CCM – the exact geographical and cultural land where Amy Grant was raised and found herself, was beholden to the gods of commerce, patriarchy, youth group demographics, and White American Christian Purity Culture.

All these are more important than real lives of real people.

……..

Some years earlier, as Ms. Grant was just coming out of her adolescence, these same Guardians of the Virtue started looking for a worthwhile replacement for the teen set. The first of many was found in a young Leslie Phillips.

She recounts this experience in her second post-CCM record, Cruel Inventions  (which is available to stream on Spotify)* – her third one produced by a post-How Will the Wolf Survive/pre-everything Coen Brothers T-Bone Burnett, her then-husband and after changing her stage name to Sam Phillips.

The title track is – like much of her work – poetic and can take on more than one meaning. Yet,

Two men with empty pockets
Put lipstick on little girl
And another dream goes by

They make her ride the rockets
That fall into the sea of pearl
And another dream goes by..

Uninvent the wheel of endless greed
Let conscience run
Like a river like a dreamer

A world of elevators
Music like magazines
And another dream goes by

“Music like magazines” because CCM is the name of an entire cottage industry focused and centered around a magazine called, conveniently, CCM. But also, in that the music was meant to be consumed, read and trashed. In CCM, the music is about the money, about the culture of greed – and a young child will get dolled up, will go on tour, will be on promotions and touch the hand of a certain kind of fame, will crash for the sake of that wheel.

via No Depression. Can we also talk about her role as a terrorist along Jeremy Irons in a Die Hard movie?

via No Depression. Can we also talk about her role as a terrorist along Jeremy Irons in a Die Hard movie?

But Leslie, as she later revealed to CCM (both the magazine and industry) journalist/music critic Brian Q Newcomb, she was groomed to replace Amy Grant, but she didn’t fit in. Phillips thought she was in a good place to ask a lot of spiritual questions. But no. PlanetCCM exists for the marketing and selling of White Jesus and conservative White Evangelical Christianity.

It’s not for humans being human. To do that, you may have to leave the Christian world.

They found other artists

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*I want to note that this album came out roughly the same time as Grant’s mega album Heart in Motion, which I tried to listen to while writing this article. Phillip’s album stands up pretty well with acoustic textures and richness. HiM, though, is woefully dated in a way that would embarrass 80’s stations. The drum machine! The synths! NOOOOOO!!!
I propose Ms. Grant re-records. With that other Civil Wars producer and the songwriter for “Every Heartbeat,” Charlie Peacock.

Instead of a Show

“You twist justice, making it a bitter pill for the oppressed.
You treat the righteous like dirt”

I’d like to see this song played in churches. And then take it where it needs to go. Dismantling the production of the Sunday Morning Worship Industrial Complex in order to do and be the work of God’s hands and body in an unjust and cruel world.

Jon Foreman, the lead songwriter, singer and guitarist for the pop-rock band Switchfoot, has deep roots in the Contemporary Christian Music industry (their first records were produced by Charlie Peacock and mostly available via Christian bookstores). But unlike most – and with a few notable exceptions – they also have deep roots in the justice arm of Christianity. In addition to this solo song based on Amos 5, also check out “The Sound: John Perkins’ Blues” from Switchfoot’s Hello Hurricane.

Accidental Racial Road Trip

Brad and Ladies Love’s song “Accidental Racist” is troubling for so many reasons, but there is only so much room on the intert00bs and so much time to read, so I’ll focus on two (If you want more, Melissa McEwan’s post is a good place to start).

Long before I heard the song my ears were assaulted by LL Cool J’s line: “If you don’t mind my gold chains / I’ll forget the iron chains.” This line comes to the crux of what the song is about. It ignores the effects of historical and institutional racism on Black USians (particularly, though other racial and ethnic groups also facing contemporary and sustained institutional racism in the US are ignored here – per usual) and treats race relations as a tiff that can be overcome by buddyhood. After all, Paisley can’t comprehend the animosity shown to his character’s Confederate Flag t-shirt. And then there’s the line about him getting blamed for stuff that happened before he was born. You know, like slavery and Jim Crow. To quote Homer: “Why do you gotta bring up old stuff?”

Slavery Phoenix is the most racist bird of all time. Except for the robin.

Slavery Phoenix is the most racist bird of all time. Except for the robin.

Because Paisley, like much of White America (Northern as well as Southern,) fails to grasp the god-awful truth that racism – like sexism – is alive and well and systemic and tremendous. Racism is not just the Tea Party, although in corners it is very blatant and open. Racism is not just AM Radio, though it’s all over the DNA of right-wing talk show hosts. Racism is actual practice and actual harm done to others under a pathology of White Superiority.

Racism is alive in red-lining, in predatory lending, in the high rates of unemployment and homelessness. Racism is observable in the vastly disproportionate incarceration rates. Racism is alive through voter suppression and the negation of voters’ rights for ex-felons who have done their time. Racism is alive and well in the refusal to challenge corporate America’s White-dominant system (which also adversely affects people of color throughout the world in Third World Nations).

But Paisley can’t acknowledge that. For the brutal reality of racism is reduced to feelings – and White America doesn’t want to get its feelings hurt.

James’s problem here is that he also doesn’t want to hurt White America’s feelings. “No, it’s okay. Look, *you’re* not racist yourself even if you wear a symbol of massive oppression, representing an entire nation designed to keep slavery as a way of life forever as well as the hopes and dreams of those who wanted that nation to rise again. You can’t participate in racism because you’re a good guy with a good heart.” That is James’s role in this song, to play the Black buddy who affirms the White male of his goodness even as the White male continues to downplay and erase the very evil he is complicit in.

Very evil we are complicit in.

This line about the chains takes that line of thinking even further, though. According to James, wearing cultural artifacts of Blackness that White Americans do not necessarily grasp (whether it be a gold chain or a do-rag) is offensive and its transgression is equal to the amount of offense of slavery and the related wearing of the symbols of subjugation. They’re the SAME thing and equally offensive because slavery makes Black people uncomfortable, I guess? Because slavery was a lifestyle choice?

More likely, because it offends the stylish sensibilities of a group of people who would rather wear cowboy hats inside? The point being that no style is neutral and that there are cultural touchstones as to why different groups of people wear what they wear and do what they do. But NEVER can a choice of style be compared to the monstrosity, evil, life-sucking machine of slavery.

The second point of contention is this idea about what the song is about, in Paisley’s words:

I just think art has a responsibility to lead the way, and I don’t know the answers, but I feel like asking the question is the first step, and we’re asking the question in a big way. How do I show my Southern pride? What is offensive to you?

There is this pervasive idea that just talking about Big Issues leads the way to justice and reconciliation. But sometimes we can have a talk about the very real things we need to (Southern pride, for example. Racism in the US, for another. Slavery and Jim Crow) but we frame it in such a way that the majority of the conversation is detrimental and damaging. This song – with an endorsement from a major Black figure – leads many White Americans to the conclusion that racism is merely a frame of mind kept together by African Americans still bitter about stuff that happened long before our generations entered a bar. Racism is actually like any prolonged oppression done by the majority class/culture, in that it is invisible to the majority while very real to the suppressed.

Having a conversation about something that one party refuses to acknowledge is not a conversation – it’s a railroading, it’s a blindsiding. What kind of road trip was this guy planning, anyway?

If he really wanted to have a genre-bending, country-rap dialog about racism, slavery, and chains, Paisley should have invited Kanye. Or Mos, or Talib. Or, he could have actually listened and had a real conversation first. But that would have entailed listening. And maybe getting his feelings hurt for a bit.

Swearing on a Pack of P-Funk LP’s

Haven’t been blogging regularly. Been going through a bunch of personal issues lately. Honestly, been watching a lot of Blockbuster movies – sometimes with my daughter (Happy Feet 2: Electric Bungalow; Yo Gabba Gabba: Live and Trippin’ Your Preschoolers!), sometimes without (Mission Impossible 4: Everything’s Broken! and the painfully embarrassing Transformers: Dark Side of Depression*). But I wanted to at least touch base.

I was walking home yesterday and started thinking – randomly, as I’m wont to do – about the necessity of the separation of Church and State. To me, as a Christian, it’s a no-brainer. Religious organizations should be separate from the functions of the state to have a pure voice, and to be that pure voice as one for and with the marginalized and oppressed. It’s impossible to do that when the Church/Synagogue/Mosque is defiled by political power – as we see happen time and time again. Which is not to say that the CSM shouldn’t be involved in political and social issues, but not so much in regulating it. No spiritual movement should aligning itself to a particular party. Nor should a religious body have symbolic power over the vestiges of political power, bestowing upon the charade of politics a sacramental veneer.

So, no, I think that swearing an elected official into office on a Bible is a travesty which ties the Christian God to supporting the aggressive and violent acts of men (and women). It’s nothing new, being the province of the West since Emperor Constantine saw a vision of a huge cross (a torture device, of course) declaring military victory for him and destruction for them.

So, I was wondering what should be used to swear on for an elected official? Surely the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights are more appropriate? But then what else? Robert’s Rules of Order? A law text book? Justice John Marshall’s corpse?

But then I started thinking about some pretty cool artifacts that one could swear on. Just as essentially meaningless as using the Bible is for a good many officials, but perhaps more revelatory. And I came up with this poster.

someecards.com - I'd like to see someone sworn into office on a pile of Parliament records, swearing to uphold and protect the Funk, the whole Funk, and nothing but the Funk.

I would then like to see the newly sworn-in officer tear the roof off this mother.

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*I’m a strong believer in Truth in Advertising. And deep, abiding depression must possibly be the ONLY reason someone would put themselves through the near-aneurysm of watching more than twelve minutes of this embarrassing tripe (let alone four times as I did. Also, Michael Bay needs a consistency editor). One look at this movie and a chronic saddy like me thinks, “Oh, there is so much more to life than this!” And we have a new mission in life: To make sure robot porn is never unleashed on the public again. Who is with me?

Nine Ladies Dancing

I love dancing
Dancing ladies

I wish I had rhythm.
Dancing in the waves

It has a certain healing energy for me that little else matches.
Dancing lady in red

Even images of dancing have a certain evocative effect.

Lady in Red

My daughter is taking dance now. I admit to feeling more excited about that than about her taking piano. But maybe because she’s more ready for the discipline.
Ballerinas dancing at the Red Cross Fund, Brisbane, 1942

Did I mention the evocative effects of dance? Released endorphins and all…
Lee Celledoni dancing the Jitterbug, 1947

Hey, did I mention the evocative effects of dance?

So that’s eleven. So sue…

Retiring these Chestnuts

“I get so tired of listening to the Black Eyed Peas. It’s rock music for those who don’t like rock, rap for those who don’t like rap, and pop music for those who don’t like music.” 
– Robert California, The Office

Often, I feel the same way about Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong. I love the festivities. I love much of the happiness. I love the sacred and profane songs that celebrate (or intimate) this time of the year. But there are so many songs that we hear pumped through the loudspeakers and car radios while going about our business (especially if our business consisted of going through retail businesses). So much of the songs and the interpretations of the songs (and the spoofs of those songs, or the novelty songs) are so bad, I just don’t want to hear them again. They actually make Christmas a bit less joyous for me.

'Christmas Rush in Dublin' photo (c) 2004, Irish Typepad - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

But I know that I’m not alone in this feeling. So I conducted in an informal survey via Facebook.  Of roughly eighty responses (most people voted for more than one song), these were the Top Tiring Songs of the Christmas Season:

  • Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer (17 hits) 
  • Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk this Christmas
  • Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
  • I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus
  • Santa Baby
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  • Happy Holidays
  • Christmas Shoes (Edit. Overlooked this purportedly awful song)
  • Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire
  • 12 Pains of Christmas
  • The Little Christmas Stocking with the Hole in the Toe (1 hit)
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside (ditto)

Now, let’s follow that up with two questions.
First: What Christmas or holiday songs aggravate you? You just want to stuff them back into the closet of mediocrity or drown them in the pool of horrible dreams and forget about them. Let their names never be spoken of again.
Second: What Christmas or holiday season songs still send shivers down your spine – in a good way, that is? It could be a song or an album, or a particular version of a song.
An example for me, despite the obvious – Vince Guaraldi’s theme music for the Charlie Brown Christmas special – I would have to say is Sufjan Steven’s “O Come, O Come Emanuel.”

Wolf Like Me

One of my good friends posted a video by TV on the Radio the other night. Which made me want to go through my iTunes and play my favorite post-illegal war record of all time (topping Dylan? Perhaps), Return to Cookie Mountain.
Being the generous person that I am, I wanted to share with y’all. It was then that I found that the bass player, Gerard Smith, had just recently passed. He’s the one you can’t really see, with his back turned toward us. No, the other one.
Got a curse we cannot lift…

Eastern hits from the 70’s!!

After all this politics and travesty and divisiveness, it’s time for some tunes!

Joey the Swampthing is perhaps not reflective of Eastern European pop-rock, but why not?

The guy on the left totally stole my dance moves

East Coast Catholic rocknroll. Check out the hot backup singers.

I hope he’s a friend of yours too!

And finally,

Nice rug!

(Christmas) Songs that Get Us through: Evergreen Jingle Bells

Evergreen – Switchfoot

Everybody Wants to See the Lights – Kevin McKinney

Fruitcake – The Superions

Fur Elise – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Get Behind Me, Santa! – Sufjan Stevens

Goodbye Charles – Over the Rhine

Grateful for Christmas – Hayes Carli

Handel’s Messiah (The Hallelujah Chorus) – Relient K

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – CW Morris; Vince Guaraldi Trio

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Victoria Williams

Here It Is – Over the Rhine

I Believe in You – Sinead O’Connor

I Hate Christmas Parties – Relient K

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard

I Wish It Was Christmas Today – Julian Casablancas

I Wish You a Merry Christmas – Bing Crosby

I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas – Yogi Yorgesson

In the Bleak Midwinter – Paper Route

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Frank Sinatra

It Snowed – Meaghan Smith

Jingle Bells – Roger Wagner Chorale

– What songs am I missing on this list? Also, *some* links to come.

(Christmas) Music that Gets Us by: Christmas songs deck the halls

Christmas Song – The Raveonettes

Christmas Song – Vince Guaraldi*

Christmas Time Is Here – Vince Guaraldi

Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

Christmastime – Stevie Wonder

Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance – Sufjan Stevens

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Sufjan Stevens

Darlin’ (Christmas Is Coming) – Over the Rhine

Deck the Halls – Peggy Lee

*Yes, there’s a difference in these songs.

All I Ever Get for Christmas Rapping

Seven Days of Christmas-y songs: A – Christmas R

All I Ever Get for Christmas Is Blue – Over the Rhine

All I Want for Christmas – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

Auld Lang Syne – Beach Boys

Away in a Manger – Buddy & Julie Miller (I couldn’t find video for them. But this h&w duo’s bittersweet harmonies are to die for. Not as good as the Beach Boys on their best, but better than the BB on, say, Auld Lang Syne)

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Leigh Nash ft/ Gabe Dixon and Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan (ok, I love Leigh’s crystal-like voice. But who compares to the Lady?)

Candy Cane Children – The White Stripes

The Chipmunks Song  (Christmas Don’t Be Late) – The Chipmunks

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Death Cab for Cutie and Mariah Carey

Christmas Day – MxPx

Christmas for Cowboys – Jars of Clay

Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC

Christmas Is – Run DMC

Christmas Is Coming – Vince Guaraldi (this is a pretty faithful rendition, but I’m not sure what’s up with the piano. I also don’t know why this audience of gray hairs wasn’t getting up and shrugging shoulders.)

Christmas Rappin’ – Kurtis Blow

What seasonal/Christmas/Holiday songs are missing from this alphabetical list? Did any of these selections stand out to you?