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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 #13, and the soulful (and seasonal) sounds of Nate Dogg.
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 #14, and a holiday chairty single done right by Ice Choir.
#14: Ice Choir, "It's Different Now" (2014)
"Last Christmas." "Fairytale of New York." "Christmas Wrapping." The '80s were a great decade for holiday music, but that legacy often gets unfairly smudged by the glut of truly terrible charity singles that populated the airwaves back then. I'm already on the record as being generally fine by the sentiment, but if you're going to attempt a holiday charity single in 2014, you've got to bring it harder than Sir Bob Geldoff ever did.
Based on his new entry into the holiday game, Ice Choir's Kurt Feldman is more than up to the task. On his new 7", aptly titled Pure Holiday, the synth-pop cypher ignores the "Do They Know It's Christmas?" crowd and distills the essence of those great '80s holiday tunes into a track that comes with all of the nostalgia and none of the casual racism.
Beneath those vintage keys and faux chimes also rests a more relatable charitable message. Instead of making a misguided effort to save a continent he doesn't know very much about, Feldman simply reflects on his own good fortunes and realizes that sharing a bit of that with others would make everyone's season brighter.
Feldman doesn't even make a call for money in the song, simply asking for "health and peace for one more year." However, all proceeds from the sale of his single benefit the Coalition for the Homeless. It's condescension-free giving, and it makes me want to open my heart and my wallet.
The Presidents Of The United States of America | Kudos to You! | PUSA
There's something to be said about not giving a f*ck when it comes to worthless opinionated pressures around you. Instead of settling for less of yourself, why not embrace the irreverent and let go. The Presidents Of The United States Of America seem to have mastered this approach for over two decades now. It seemed their last album released in 2008, These are The Good Times People, would in fact be their last; but alas, in February 2014 they released Kudos To You! It was for fun. It was for play. But that's what we love about PUSA. What more could you expect but a shit eating grin growing wider as each track passes by with lyrics of fruit, spiders, fleas, mites, a finger monster, and one crappy ghost. The indie rock, gotta keep some twang, with a smear of grunge that launched PUSA in the early 90's is sprinkled throughout, but it's relevant and genuine to who they are today. Well, it's relevant to all of us really. Who hasn't looked in the rearview mirror of a heartbreak and laughed at the hilarity of wallowing in self-pity. Thank you for reminding us in "Poor Little Me", PUSA. And raise your had if you're scared of a little "Finger Monster". Anyone? This is an album to lift your spirits or rotate at an upcoming shindig. Possibly next summer when you're swinging from a "rope (tied) around a branch, flying into a swimming hole / in Oh-hi-oh".
Chris Ballew (vocals, bassitar) | Jason Finn (drums, vocals) | Andrew McKeag (guitbass, vocals)