You’ve probably noticed i’ve shied away from “traditional” Xmas tunes here at LET. Quite frankly, we’ve heard those songs a billion times before by a billion different artists, but hardly anybody ever does anything different or exciting with them.
Fortunately, we’ve got two artists today that have gone out of their way to prove me wrong. While you might not think of Joy to the World as an indie classic, here are a couple of cats who are trying to change your opinion on the matter. First published in 1719, the song has nothing to do with the birth of Baby Jesus. Instead, it’s about his return following his death (or at least a very heavy three day nap). So while all of us think we’re singing a birthday hymn of some sort, we’re actually apparently trying to usher in Christian Ragnarok. Which is nice.
Indie fave Banjo or Freakout has just put out a FREE Xmas EP of classics that sound absolutely nothing like the originals. Clearly, if the band name is posing a question, the answer is definitely Freakout, as i have yet to hear any Banjo on this thing. Any way, here’s his take on the track. It’s a spacey, hazy affair that starts with what sounds like an old children’s album sample stating the parts of the body. What that has to do with the price of potatoes is beyond me, but even if it weren’t free, this thing is worth the price of admission.
Secondly, we have Eef Barzelay’s plaintive version. The Clem Snide front man gives this a sparse arrangement, just vocals and soft vocals. And yet, it sounds all the more powerful for its lack of bombast. Personally, i dig it. And while its not blog-on-blog love, Rory, if you’re reading this, thanks for turning me onto Eef in the first place.
Of course, the version that seems to stick the most in my mind comes from the Claymation Christmas Celebration. While this is the only song segment that didn’t’ feature dried out grapes or borderline sacrilegious camels, this clip does still contain the two very gay dinosaur hosts. So it’s got that going for it. Man alive, cartoons back in the day were pretty fucked up.