By Rohin Guha
November 02, 2009
Usually this time of year, after November is off the ground and we continue our speedy race to the New Year, I declare it open season on Christmas music. Sure, it's premature to be fussing about with our playlists by keying "Christmas" into the iTunes search field. But I'm not the one releasing Midwinter Graces as early as next Tuesday. So let's just get to talking about the big mistletoe-clad elephant in the room. Also, there is no other time of year when it's socially acceptable to queue up festive holiday tunes like this, this, this, and this. Around this time of year, we all get hormonal and reflective and say things like, "It's been a crazy year, but I'm glad I made it through without any substantial rug burns and I love you, man!" Christmas is magical, y'all! More magical yet: deciding whether you'd cut a rug to the tried-and-true Mariah Carey while chucking tinsel on your tree or if you'd rather brood with Tori Amos.
On one hand, with tunes like “Harps of Gold”, “Candle: Coventry Carol,” and “Holly, Ivy And Rose,” Amos’ Midwinter Graces is kind of like sitting down for an uncomfortable family dinner where everyone passive-aggressively ignores the fact that your little sister decided to get a tongue piercing, even though she’s making a show about eating the cranberry sauce. There’s a streak of rebellion somewhere in Graces, but it’s buried beneath mainstream production values. Theoretically, this is great music and great singing. But as a holiday album, it doesn’t add up. We’ve been wallowing in self-aware doom and gloom for the last sixteen months now. The last thing any of us may need are a set of songs that make us feel as if we’re weeping in a church somewhere. In fact, we need copious amounts of camp. This is the year of Skyped-in Christmas dinners, thinning wallets, DIY stocking stuffers, and turkey burgers over actual turkeys. This is the year where the term “Christmas bonuses”, a lot like “free gift wrap with purchase,” seems like a myth from another reality.
If anything, clichés will work well to preserve our collective sanity this year.
Especially those bedrocks that carry some level of meaning of past holiday seasons where you bothered to actually put up a tree and sent out Season’s Greetings cards to all your acquaintances, not simply a hot link to something like this. Who better to peddle tired, but safe clichés than Carey? This is why her straightforward Merry Christmas record will probably get us through this season in mostly one piece. It’s decidedly nineties-sounding, down to the dated production. But more importantly, the record features a pre-Glitter incarnation of Mariah, one who was unafraid to embrace pop, belting out pleasant romps like the one below, that still hold more sparkle than a tune like Graces’ “Pink and Glitter.”
Although, perhaps you’re the sulking type when it comes to Christmastime. In which case, it’s important to have this carefully orchestrated Mariah Carey-Tori Amos dance-bawl balance.
Fonte: toriphorums e BlackBook.