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I love Christmas music. Always have. When it comes to this time of year, I like to immerse myself in the music that I grew up with. Yes, some of it is secular, and I’m an avowed (and sometimes proud) atheist, but it doesn’t make the music any less wonderful. Just because I don’t agree with the story behind ‘Away in a Manager‘ doesn’t mean I won’t sing it lustfully loud in the shower (there are times it’s good that the wife is a bit deaf, I can sing as loud as I want in the next room and she can’t hear me!) regardless of the words or the meaning behind them. The same goes for standards like ‘What Child is This?”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and others. They’re music. They’re good singing music, and just as nice when you listen to them as much as you want to. So there.
Even so, whoever decided that elevator music should include Christmas ballads needs to be hung up by their gonads and beat with a truncheon. I can’t count how many good solid standards have been maligned or downright destroyed by a smattering of electronic sounds and a beat so fast that it completely destroys whatever intent that the originator of the music had in mind. Too, when you play the same some 5 times in a 2 hour period, someone needs to have a little talk with the one that’s programming the playlist.
I use Spotify for my music nowadays. It’s the most recent tool/program that I’ve come to, having utilized a cornucopia over the years. (Napster, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Pandora and a few others that I can’t remember right now) I use the paid version, so there are no ads, and create playlists for my various electronic devices. I like Spotify in that they at least give the creators of the music their deserved royalties, and yes while I have to pay $10/month for the use of the service, it’s a necessary and acceptable outlay.
In the last few years I’ve been reminiscing over some of the holiday music that my family played when we trimmed the tree, and kept the silence at bay during the holiday season. During the 1970s, vinyl records were the norm, since CDs and MP3s were decades away from being invented, cassette tapes were just becoming available and 8-track tapes were rapidly becoming a thing of the past. When my mother was shopping at the local A&P (Atlantic & Pacific Co, in case you were wondering what the initials meant) she found a compilation album of Christmas music and bought it. It was added to the playlist of albums that we used at that time of year and I fondly remember the music even now, 40 plus years later. Somehow in the time of moving from one house to another, I lost that album, but I still have all the other albums that my family had, but rarely use a stereo (the one my family had is in storage) to listen to them. With the advent of Bluetooth technology, I’ve been contemplating digging out the stereo, setting it up and connecting it via Bluetooth so I can control it remotely. And of course using the stereo in the house for it’s intended purpose. During the various moves from one house to another, I kept the speakers from our stereo, and within the last year bought a 40 watt amp and hooked them up to my 42″ LED tv in the den. The speakers may be 40 years old, but they sound just as good as they did back then. At least as much as I remember.
I did happen to find another copy of the aforementioned A&P album on eBay in case you were wondering. When I get the turntable and stereo out of storage, get everything set up and acclimated, I hope it sounds just as good as it did back then.