Featured Post


If you're a student looking for syllabi, click the "Academic Home Page" link on your right, and start there.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Five Best Christmas Pop Videos Ever

If I can do it with television specials, I can do it with pop songs. Again, no claims to objectivity here; these are just my favorites. Remember, these are actual pop or rock tunes, not carols or hymns or traditional favorites funked up by some electric guitars. An arbitrary distinction, I know, because if "The Christmas Song" or "Jingle Bell Rock" didn't start out as pop songs, then what were they? So nothing older than the 1970s here. Also, please note: despite my acknowledged, unapologetic fondness for it, I'm not going to list "Do They Know It's Christmas?" here. (Though I probably should.)

Anyway, let's start with a sentimental 80s favorite...not because of Billy Squire (about whom I have no memories whatsoever) but because of Martha Quinn (about whom I have many, most of them involving late-afternoon period daydreams) right behind Billy in the choir.

Now some great old Elton John, with a song that I think still holds up today.

A lot of people probably prefer the U2 cover of this next song, and I admit it's quite fine, especially The Edge's spare, clean guitar work. But I've got to stick with the Brian Lake original, for musical earnestness sake if for no other reason. John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" may be more famous, but I don't think it can touch this.

Who doesn't love the Kinks?

And of course, we've got to finish up with the greatest of them all; a pretty much flawless melding of music, imagery, and story. If people watched this instead of Celine Dion, this would be a better world.


Jacob T. Levy said...

Don't think that you can make up for liking "Do they know it's Christmas?" with the Pogues & McColl. I mean, it helps, but c'mon.

Russell Arben Fox said...

I will go to my grave insisting that "Do They Know" isn't as crappy a song as everyone says, Jacob. This is a hill I'm willing to die upon.

Matt said...

Though it's silly, I'll admit to feeling a bit choked up by the bit in the Pogue's song from the "I could have been someone" line until the "can't make it on my own, I built my dreams around you" bit.

But what I wonder is, is the cop leading Shane to the drunk tank played by Matt Dillon? It sure looks like him.

Also, I'm w/ Jacob on "Do they know it's Christmas" Celine Dion might well be better.

Russell Arben Fox said...

It's not at all silly, Matt; I get choked up or otherwise emotionally struck by pop or rock or folk tunes all the time. That's their power, as transient as it may be.

But...people! Celine Dion?! I mean, give me break. There must be some kind of intellectual hipster bitterness at work here, when a perfectly respectable, if arguably condescending and admittedly middle-brow, bit of earnest pop-making becomes so embarrassing that you'd rather listen to some over-produced screeching fool than it.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Waitresses "Christmas Wrapping?"

Russell Arben Fox said...

I wanted to put them on the list, David, but they never made a video of the song. Harsh, I know, but I had to stick with my rules.

Wm Morris said...

The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight