Tag Archives: roundup

Favorite Christmas albums

I decid­ed this year that I want­ed more Christ­mas music in my life. I’ve been ask­ing some friends what their favorite music of the sea­son is and Daniel had a good roundup, so I decid­ed that I should list some of my favorites too.

Sufjan Stevens

Songs for Christmas
Songs for Christ­mas

Songs for Christmas

Prob­a­bly my favorite this year, this is actu­al­ly a 5‑disc com­pendi­um from Suf­jan’s past musi­cal Christ­mas gifts to friends and fam­i­ly. As such, it’s a mish-mash of orig­i­nals and stan­dards in vary­ing stages of pro­duc­tion and arrange­ment. What I love about it is how Suf­jan man­ages to cap­ture the feel­ings of Christ­mas — soft­ness, won­der, wist­ful sad­ness, inti­ma­cy, rev­er­ence.

Favorite tracks: “Once in Roy­al David’s City” (from “Hark!”), “That Was the Worst Christ­mas Ever!”, “Joy to the World”, and “Holy, Holy, Holy”.

Over the Rhine

Snow Angels
Snow Angels

Snow Angels

Over the Rhine has been one of my favorite bands since I first heard them in 2006 (thanks, Ken) but I just dis­cov­ered last year’s Snow Angels last month. Like Suf­jan, Karin and Lin­ford cap­ture the expe­ri­ences of Christ­mas with Amer­i­cana orig­i­nals, no stan­dards.1

Favorite tracks: “Dar­lin’ (Christ­mas Is Com­ing)”, “White Horse”, “Here It Is”, and “Snow Angel”.

Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby's Christmas Classics
Bing Cros­by’s Christ­mas Clas­sics

Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics

White Christ­mas is prob­a­bly my favorite Christ­mas movie (yes, prob­a­bly even over A Christ­mas Sto­ry) and that’s almost entire­ly because of Bing. This album show­cas­es some clas­sic Christ­mas songs with his clas­sic voice.

Favorite tracks: “Have Your­self a Mer­ry Lit­tle Christ­mas”, “What Child is This? / The Hol­ly and the Ivy”, “O Holy Night”, “The Lit­tlest Angel”

Your Turn

What are your favorite Christ­mas albums/songs? I’d love to know! I’d like to be pre­pared for next Christ­mas, to have a rea­son­ably good col­lec­tion of music all ready to go. :)

  1. This one just feels like win­ter. ((Inci­den­tal­ly, their ear­li­er Christ­mas album, The Dark­est Night of the Year, is most­ly stan­dards and, though effec­tive, sounds more dat­ed. []

Keeping up with politics, revisited

It’s elec­tion sea­son here in the Unit­ed States, and there are a num­ber of big issues fac­ing our coun­try, espe­cial­ly as we look back on the last 4÷8÷12÷16 years and where they’ve brought us.

So a few weeks ago I asked about keep­ing up with pol­i­tics. I’m inter­est­ed in bal­anced opin­ions that clear­ly address issues while inform­ing read­ers about con­text (so some­one like me, who’s new to some of the specifics, can keep up with­out get­ting over­whelmed). A few results:

I’ve also attempt­ed to keep up with Penn­syl­va­nia state and local pol­i­tics (though no one has helped me here, for shame). This one’s a bit hard­er, as there is obvi­ous­ly less atten­tion, but so far I’ve found that Key­stone Pol­i­tics has enough news to keep me informed enough.

Of course, this is a very dynam­ic sub­ject — and a very dynam­ic time — so I’d appre­ci­ate any com­ments about things I’ve missed!