Culture, Religion

I Hate Holiday Music

I hate holiday music. I really hate Christmas music. call me the grinch, but I just can’t bear to listen from Halloween to January to the incessant repetition of the same syrupy, sugary, indigestible brain destroying stuff. And Chanukah music. Don’t get me started. Songs about dreidels? Feh. Oh chanukah, oh chanukah? Oh, Ick. Even the so-called hip stuff that’s out there, let’s face it, mostly, what my father would kindly refer to as “dreck.”
So I am on a quest. Send me something I can listen to without gagging. It can’t be sugary, it can’t be something that a purple dinosaur would sing, and I can’t have heard it at all those public school holiday festivals as the token jewsong.
I have some hopes: I found KlezSka’s Chanukah Oh Chanukah here (hattip to Yo,Yenta!). Just because of the title, I almost didn’t listen, but yeah, it’s not bad. I admit, I laughed myself almost off the chair at the first few bars, but it grew on me pretty quickly. I actually sat through the whole thing, and thought, “hey, not bad!” I will probably listen to it again.
And please, yes, I saw the Hip Hop Hoodios video. Can someone please tell them that Sephardic Jews didn’t eat bagels (at least, not until they came here, I suppose)? That bikini- I may have to put out my eyes with a poker.

13 thoughts on “I Hate Holiday Music

  1. NO JOKE!!! I’ve learned to deal with A LOT of the Xmas consumer propaganda, but really…I do think the worst part of it is the bloody music. On the television, in every store, on every holding phone call, and, being that I am the ONLY Jew in my ENTIRE office (I work for General Motors Acceptance Company) I have to hear the syrupy dribble every day just over my head. It’s enough to make me want to stab dreidels through my ear drums. Baruch HaShem I shall be in Israel soon!!!!

  2. Why don’t you try Christmas albums that are totally awesome? Like A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (which packs so much awesomeness into the cover, the music largely becomes irreverent), or if you’re an indie snob: Super Sufjan Stevens Christmas Songs are super hot right now. And my favorite thing about Holiday season? Getting to listen to Louis Armstrong “What a Wonderful World.” Like a bajillion times.

  3. It’s not that widely available, but Moyshe Oysher’s Chanuka Party is AMAZING. He did an album for Chanuka, one for Pesakh and one for Yom Kippur. For each holiday, there is a narrator to “explain” what’s going on, with Moyshe and the crew doing blessings, psalms and traditional folksongs with Oysher’s world class swing-influenced arrangements. It’s no exaggeration to say that Oysher was a superstar: chazn, pop singer (his stuff with the Barry Sisters is also incredible) and movie star heart throb. His Drei Dreidele will make you reevaluate dreydl songs.

  4. Um, the Hip Hop Hoodios don’t claim to be Sephardic, Ra’ash. They claim to be “Latino Jews”. While the proportion is not quite as skewed as in the U.S., the majority of Latin-American Jews are Ashkenazi; I think you’re getting modern Latin America mixed up with fourteenth-century Spain.

  5. Sign me up on the grinch list too! And I’m not anti-Christian; the secular Christmas music is the worst. I would much rather listen to Handel’s Messiah all month than Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
    Gristedes at 96th & Broadway (in NYC) understands their clientele — they play the same oldies station in December that they play year-round!

  6. I’d like to suggest a few bands I found and are all on my friends lists (I know, I know) on MySpace. I can’t get to MySpace whilst at work but you can at least search my friends list at : Chutzpa, Hot Karl, Blood of Abraham and FA-COCK-TA. Not neccasarily all holiday music, but fun nonetheless. Is that really one word? I can’t remember. Mmmmm, DayQuil…

  7. Gary says:
    Um, the Hip Hop Hoodios don’t claim to be Sephardic, Ra’ash. They claim to be “Latino Jews”. While the proportion is not quite as skewed as in the U.S., the majority of Latin-American Jews are Ashkenazi; I think you’re getting modern Latin America mixed up with fourteenth-century Spain.
    Um, okay, you’ve got me there. (Although I’m not convinced that there are good bagels there either, even in these relatively recent times of international bagel trade). But it’s no excuse for the bikinis. Red-hot poker, please anyone?

  8. Have you checked out the Leevees ( Theyre an alternative-rock band who sings stuff like Nun Gimmel Hey Shin, Goyim Friends, How do you spell Chanukka, etc- they have a whole cd dedicated to chanukka songs that dont suck.
    Also, barenaked ladies do a couple of decent chanukka songs

  9. 2nd and 3rd the Leevees. and yes, the Christian rock is not rock, it is country…and it all sounds the same to me. How many times can a song have the word save and him in it?
    Today I was about to launch but I did not…as some clients were working out they said to my Catholic boss..M. Xmas. And my boss said sort of back at ya…and they said” well it is ok to say that right, cause you know SOME OF THEM would not like that”
    They had no clue I was ONE OF THEM.

  10. I’m going to go to bat for one of favourite bands of all time here – the Barenaked Ladies. You’ve probably only heard of them for “If I had a Million Dollars” and “One Week”, but they put out a fantastic album either last year or the year before called “Barenaked for the Holidays”.
    It’s mostly christmas songs, but since one of the 5 guys is Jewish (they schedule their tours around the High Holidays), they have a couple Hanukkah songs, including an original called “Hanukkah Blessings”. It’s amazing! I have really never heard a Hanukkah (Chanukkah?) song that I’ve enjoyed after the 3rd time through before this one. Please get it!

  11. During Chanukah I saw Sarah Aroeste who sang beautifully in Ladino. She only sang one Chanukah song which was written by Flory Jagoda. Most of the Chanukah songs we know were orignially written for small children.
    I don’t know about bagels, but when I went to the Chanukah menorah lighting sponsered by Chabad. The rabbi talked about Jews marching through the hills and villages of ancient Israel to “preserve Yiddishkeit”.

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