Traditional Chrismas Carols

I started with the goal of coming up with a list of the Best Christmas songs. I soon learned this was easier said than done. There are so freaking many of them! So, I decided to break the task down just a bit.

Last night Kaida and began and we started with “Religious Christmas Carols.” Even then, we had 145 to go through. (By the way, in case you want to rank them yourself, we used Wikipedia’s list, the first half where it says “Religious Christmas Carols.”)

It took a couple of hours to go through 145 songs. Many we weren’t sure of, and had to listen to or discuss. Finally, after a good amount of arguing (but not too much), we narrowed it down to thirty-nine songs. This is where the blood bath really began.

For the next hour, we argued mercilessly about which of the songs could conceivably be in a Top Ten List. Feelings were hurt, and more than once “Hyperion, you ignorant slut” was uttered. (If You’re Interested (IFI), I have done many of these lists now, and I have learned the hard way. Don’t try to rank them until you need to. The hard part is in the winnowing. Make your criteria just what you can strike for sure, even if you have to do several rounds. Once you have your list, whatever that number is, the actual ranking usually isn’t that hard to do.)

From thirty-eight songs, we got down to twenty-two, and it became apparent we were never going to get down to 10. Compromising, we cut two more and tried to fashion a Top 20 list. Before actually ranking them, we separated the list into two: songs that would definitely go 11-20, and songs that had to go 1-10. Of course, there were 14 songs that just HAD to go in the Top 10, but eventually we had our strata.

At that point, I bowed out and let Kaida actually decide the rankings. I did this because A) it really is the easiest part, especially if you know your #1; B) After so much fighting, it was time to heal; C) after going through that process, I thought she’d earned the right of final rankings; D) In case you’re mad, you can blame her.

Anyway, after all that, this list is what we came up with. You might have a few quibbles, but it’s pretty solid. One other thing: I wanted to have videos for all 20, but Kaida told me I could only do five. Make sure you watch those five, as I tried to pick funny ones. Enjoy.


Honorable Mention: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks; Mary's Boy Child; Ding Dong Merrily on High; Angels, From the Realms of Glory; O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree); Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow; I Wonder as I Wander; Here We Come A-Wassailing; The Holly and the Ivy; I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day; I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In); Good Friends, Rejoice; Go Tell it on the Mountain; Good King Wenceslas; Fum, Fum, Fum!; Christ Is Born in Bethlehem; Il est né, le divin Enfant!; Christmas is Coming

#20 God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen – The one editorial change I made was to take out Go Tell it on the Mountain to put this song in, and only because it shows up in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, and I have to give props to my boys. (It’s a better song, too. The only reason we missed it is I believe extreme fatigue.)

#19 It Came Upon the Midnight Clear – I think more people should speak poetically like this. I’ll call you upon a three o’clock cloudy. Well, maybe best left to the professionals.

#18 Do You Hear What I Hear? – Never a good conversation to have with a schizophrenic. Good song, though.

#17 Little Drummer Boy – This video has to be the most bizarre music combo of all time. But you know what? IT WORKS!!!! (The chitchat at the beginning is utterly priceless.)

#16 Sweet Little Jesus Boy – The first time I heard this song, I thought the singer just had bad grammar. (The lyrics go, “Sweet Little Jesus Boy, we didn’t know who you was.”) Once I educated myself, this became one of my very favorites. If I was in charge this song makes at least #6. I think it doesn’t get the credit it deserves because so many people can’t sing it.

#15 The First Noël – A B C D E F G H I J K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z (Get it?)

#14 We Three Kings of Orient Are
– If you do nothing else today, make sure you watch this video. It’s from Claymation Christmas, one of the greatest specials. IFI: not for nothing, but nowhere in the Bible does it say there were three kings. Or that they were kings. Just sayin’.

#13 What Child is This? – Dude, Greensleves (the full song), is one of the best pieces of music ever. If it doesn’t get forever associated with the carol I think it’s as revered as Für Elise.

#12 O Little Town of Bethlehem – Do you know what’s going on in Bethlehem right now? Sad sad sad. Luckily, you have me.

#11 Away in a Manger – How well would this hymn be remembered if it was called “Away in a Trough”? The rest of the year, every time you hear “manger” you’ll think “trough” and have a hard time not laughing.

#10 O Come All Ye Faithful
– There is a Twisted Sister version of this song. It took all my power not to paste that. Instead, you get hot Irish girls, so it ain’t all bad.

#9 Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
– Great song, but for me, forever associated with CHRISTMAS STORY. You know what? Screw Kaida’s five video rule. I’m putting it up!

#8 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – If you haven’t yet, make sure you read the column where I talk about playing “Hark” in the Church Christmas play in 3rd grade. Inspiring stuff.

#7 We Wish You A Merry Christmas – Along with #9, not very religious, huh? Still, if it’s good enough for Wikipedia, it’s good enough for me. IFI: Kaida had this #3 until a last minute switch. I feel you need to know these things.

#6 O come, O come, Emmanuel – this one is hard to sing, but is one of my very favorites to hear, if it’s done right.

#5 Joy to the World – All morning I’ve tried to come up with a good Jeremiah the bullfrog joke here, but I have struck out. Sniff sniff. This is probably my #2. (IYI: I found this picture under "Joy to the World." I have no idea what it's supposed to mean.)

#4 Carol of the Bells
– this video is also from Claymation Christmas, and under penalty of death IS NOT TO BE MISSED! The look on their faces when they get hit with the mallets is priceless. I think this is a tad over-ranked, but that woman would have put it higher if she could.

#3 Angels We Have Heard on High – I think this has to be the most fun Christmas song to sing, if only because you get to really belt out those “Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oria, In Excelcius Deo….”

#2 O Holy Night
– Another one that’s just impossible to sing, but absolutely gorgeous if done right. I tried with all my might to find a beautiful version for you, but when it’s all said and done I couldn’t deprive you of Cartman getting shocked with a cattle prod. (Note: I spent 40 &*%*&% minutes looking for the clip, but I can't find video. However, this is the audio, so just ignore the anime and listen. Hilarious.)

and the number 1 religious Christmas Carol......

#1 Silent Night
– Every Hundred years or so the Germans get something right.

[This post is borrowed from Rank Everything. See the original here.]

No comments: