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Tyler Clark presents: Local Mythologies writesTop 25 Christmas Songs: #4 - Of Montreal, “My Favorite Christmas (In A Hundred Words or Less)”

It's the holiday season, which means Christmas music. Lots and lots or Christmas music, most of which was written before the people listening to it were even alive. While "Jingle Bells" and "We Three Kings" are great, and resilient, we're devoting this year to finding the best Christmas song written since 1989. We continue today with #4, and Of Montreal's guide to a twee Christmas.


#4: Of Montreal, "My Favorite Christmas (In A Hundred Words or Less)" (1997)

When Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes more or less disowned his band's early work in a 2011 interview with Pitchfork's Larry Fitzmaurice, I was majorly bummed. For me, albums like Cherry Peel and The Gay Parade were pinnacles of the '90s psych revival, not, as Barnes described them, "naive and sweet and not all that competent." However, I can get over disses on my favorite albums. What really upset me about Barnes' stance was how it helped push one of the best Christmas songs (and compilations) of the '90s even deeper into obscurity.

"My Favorite Christmas (In A Hundred Words or Less)" came out in 1997 on Christmas In Stereo, the first holiday compilation by Kindercore Records. Before compilations like The O.C. soundtrack and the Maybe This Christmas series brought Christmas music into the 2000s indie mainstream, the folks on Kindercore were turning out terrific original holiday compositions that hardly anyone was hearing. These weren't just no-name bands, either; Kindercore was the second home of Elephant 6 acts like Dressy Bessy, the Essex Green, and the Olivia Tremor Control, as well as then-emerging groups like Kings of Convenience and I Am the World Trade Center. Released just before the Napster revolution and now out of print, Christmas In Stereo and its sequel, Christmas Two, have always lurked at the edges of availability. However, they remain two of the strongest full-length efforts of new holiday music released in the last two decades. 

Of all of the bands on those two albums, Of Montreal now has the highest profile. They're also the only act to appear twice, each time turning in the best track. "My Favorite Christmas (In A Hundred Words or Less)" is especially fantastic, reading like a manual for twee holiday celebrations everywhere. It would've been great a fantastic addition to the Elephant 6 Holiday tours from a few years back, but Barnes' busy touring schedule (and reluctance to look backward) prevented his group from taking part. Maybe one day, the the Ghost of Christmas Past will take a break from tormenting Scrooge and show Barnes the error of his ways. Until then, we'll just listen from here.

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Categorized: Christmas Top 25

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