What made me spew Diet Coke out my nose today:

1.12.06

From Today's New York Times

SARAH McLACHLAN: ‘WINTERSONG’ (Arista). Anyone susceptible to holiday depression should steer clear of Sarah McLachlan's "Wintersong." It's not just that the album includes Joni Mitchell's despondent "River", or that Ms. McLachlan's own new "Wintersong", sung alone at the piano, is almost as forlorn. Most of the album's production is far more lush, but even songs that are usually cheerful or pious - "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", "Silent Night" turn morose as Ms. McLachlan makes them slow and breathy, with sobbing breaks in her voice. Backed by Diana Krall on piano in "Christmas Time Is Here", she sounds nearly suicidal. "Wintersong" is a triumph of sorts: a strong contender for the mopiest Christmas album ever. JON PARELES

I've been wondering for quite a long while why just about everyone who covers this beautiful Vince Guaraldi tune makes it sound like the saddest song ever, but McLachlan's is truly the saddest of the sad. I can see pensive, or thoughtful....melancholy even, but every new version I hear just makes it sound SO sad. If you want to hear this tune covered (what I would call "right") try Rosemary Clooney's recording or John Pizzarelli's (the most upbeat of any I've heard). Toronto's Emilie Claire Barlow has released a holiday disc this year and her version, while not happy, is not morose either and happens to be quite beautiful.

--

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year...

20 comments :

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  2. Anonymous11:31 AM

    I will forthwith, opportunity presenting, acquaint myself with the Clooney and the Pizarelli versions.

    Too funny re MacLachlan. It's not a dirge, for Chuck's sake!

    Black Tarantula

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  3. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Black Tarantula is listening to Christmas music on maxtrax. They have just favoured me with McLachlan's version of "What Child is This?". I can hear Father O'Malley saying "there's no thought behind it".

    Life is good. They've just started Frank with "The Christmas Waltz".

    Must bake cookies. Must wrap presents.

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  4. I love Sarah M.'s voice. My favorite thing she sings is "Will You remember me." I don't know a lot of her stuff, just the main songs, hits.

    I don't like a lot of sad xmas music. Mostly happy with some wistful thrown in. On one level, I don't think anyone shoud really bother recording another version of "Have Yourself a Merry Llittle Christmas" b/c Judy made her version so completely definitive that it literally, can't be beat.

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  5. I love that song but it honestly depresses the hell out of me. I hear those peanuts characters start singing it and I get all weepy.

    Pathetic,I know.

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  6. When they get that sad little tree in the xmas show, it is so sad. It's not pathetic.

    Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas: She is awesome in that

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  7. Anonymous12:55 PM

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  8. BT - I'm now picturing Father O as a judge on something like American Idol. Eventually, he's so over stimulated by the bad singing, his head just explodes.


    Trish - if you haven't seen it yet you should go get your hands on a dvd of the Judy Garland Christmas special. Seriously. SOOOO good (on so many levels).

    Oh and, you mean this tree?
    http://misstraceynolan.blogspot.com/2005/11/dont-hate-me-cause-im-festive.html

    Jenny - I don't thin that's pathetic at all.

    Anonymous? Um. How about gift certificates? Wha?

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  9. Anonymous8:30 PM

    Shawn Colvin does a very nice version of "Christmas Time is Here." It's a little bit wistful, but there is redemption in the end. Just as in all of my favorite books. =)

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  10. As though Christmas weren't depressing enough...Sarah Maclachlan is going to be responsible for some holiday suicides this year.

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  11. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Hello. Good day
    Who listens to what music?
    I Love songs Justin Timberlake and Paris Hilton

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yes, that is the tree!

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  13. I have to tell you guys, I heard Sarah Maclachlan's version of Joni Mitchell's "River" and it is beautiful. Not feel good music, or something I'd want to listen to at Christmas time, but it is a lovely recording of a lovely, sad song. In this case her style suits the song perfectly.

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  14. Anonymous8:44 PM

    Call me old-fashioned, but 'Christmas Time Is Here' makes me excited about Christmas and merry, too. Of course the Christmas Waltz makes me want to hunt down my neighbor and beat him with his own candy cane ;-)

    Seriously, I just discovered and really enjoyed your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous4:56 PM

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    A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

    ". . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn't want anyone next door to hear me . . .

    "And now it's really over. I finally realized that I must do my school work to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but . . . it remains to be seen whether I really have talent . . .

    "When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

    "I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

    For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

    ReplyDelete
  16. Tracey, I really think you need to enable word verification in your "comments" options - sheesh!

    ReplyDelete
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