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Christmas in My Ear Canal

Alexander P. Brown
Contributing Writer
subjektxero [at]

It is that time of the year again when everyone accepts their fate and blindly stumbles through one mall or another searching for presents for people who may or may not appreciate them. But this time of the year is unusually painful for those of us on just on the fringes of life and musical experience. The reason is simply the proliferation of crap holiday music.

Now don’t get me twisted, I am no grinch, miser, humbug, or other themed villain caricature. My problem is hearing the same twenty or so classic and “contemporary” holiday tracks everywhere I go, especially on indefinite rotation at my workplace (retail, medium corporation). Imagine being forced to listen to current MTV for seven hours straight, and you can sympathize with my position, namely my near misses at inescapable madness.

Anthony, last week, talked about how artist’s need to own their cover songs and not just “smooth jazz” it up. I immediately thought about the thousands of indistinguishable Christmas, winter, holiday, and family songs that somehow all stem from the same two Perry Como and Frank Sinatra specials and that inexplicably popular Mariah Carey Christmas album.

We here at Nextbop realise that it is not all retail companies fault for the audibly grating selection; lots of that goes to music corporations who game the system by putting out these albums by sham popstars to up the awards profiles and voting eligibility of their employees and partners. For the artist who lives and dies by touring, not recording, a Christmas album is a waste of time, energy, talent, and ultimately the liquor that will help them sleep at night after the deed is done.

However, it would be mighty decent of all of you very serious musicians to throw those of us who stay at our crappy job one more week so we can see you play Yoshi’s for a night to attempt a radically different but socially acceptable holiday tune. You can even collaborate and put out one or two compilation albums a decade. I mean, you do want your fans to restrain from serial arson, don’t you?

So Nextboppers, cut me some slack and fill me in on some holiday music (not a Cole, Guaraldi, or Marsalis) that won’t induce me to shave down my eardrums or want to nuke Courier and Ives. Please don’t let who I was informed is Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson have all the royalties and free airtime. Christmas now depends on it.

Alexander Brown is a freelance writer. More of his work is available at his blog, Relax and Aspire.