The Public Records 12/24/18
Ho ho ho and happy holidays to all of you from us down in The Public Records of An Sibin. This is the big week here at Tellus360. Hustle and bustle, friends and funk. Everywhere you look, something is going down. Now to honor that energy, The Public Records will focus this week’s ‘Album of the Week’ on the once omnipresent Christmas Album.
Everyone knows what a Christmas carol is. But what is the difference between a carol and Jingle Bells? A carol by definition is a religious song and not necessarily about Christmas. Jingle Bells on the other hand has become a Christmas song, but it is completely secular in nature – and by the second half of the 19th century, more and more of these secular Christmas songs were popping up across America.
The mix of religions in the country and the beauty of American culture also allowed for many of these new secular Christmas songs to be written by non-Christians. For example, ‘White Christmas’ written by Irving Berlin is one of the most popular tunes for this time of year. It is quite a phenomenon for peoples of different faiths to share the joys of each other’s celebrations and we should be more aware of that.
As recording technology became more advanced and albums more and more easily produced, popular artists of the day would release Christmas albums. Bing Crosby, who dominated the market with ‘Merry Christmas’ from 1945-50 was a prime example. However, as early as the 1920s, big bands were releasing Christmas recordings.
Everything changed with Elvis. His was the #1 Billboard holiday album for 1957, but he was too sexy for his tracks and the censors banned him in many places from airplay. After that, more and more rock and roll acts began releasing their own Christmas albums. Acts as diverse as reggae’s Jacob Miller to The Human League had a Christmas album. Terrible local acts on regional labels had Christmas albums. Massive collaborations of huge stars had Christmas albums. Fake groups and cartoons had Christmas albums. If you had a career, or were trying to have a career, you had a Christmas album.
But alas, time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future. And while there are current Christmas albums and collaborations, the digital world and market place have changed that dynamic. A diverse group of musicians this have released Christmas albums – Khruangbin, Tyler the Creator, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, and John Legend have all put out a holiday album this year. And while the marketing and media may be different, the message that many people of many backgrounds can get together and make something that may not be for them is the same.
And we think that’s pretty awesome!
Happy holidays to all and drink whatever the heck you feel like!