December 08, 2006

If You Want It

The Southeast is locked in a major freeze. It really shouldn’t ever feel like 20-degrees on the coast of North Carolina. The wind is biting. I know it’s nothing compared to what PC and SeveredHands endure in Chicago and Pennsylvania, respectively, but it’s cold to me. This weekend I start my DVD watching—Elf, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Die Hard. I have many Christmas movies on video but haven’t yet bought their DVD equals. Hopefully my cousins and I can watch some Christmas movies over the holidays.

This is our penultimate entry in “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” series. There are some other versions out there—Hanson, Bon Jovi—but I prefer the covers that are actually worth listening to, ones that do something different. I keeping with the downbeat mood of the Death Cab version from last week, here’s another somber take on the classic by Arab Strap. The bad celebrated 10 years together in 2006 but sadly played their lost show together this week. For anyone familiar with their sound, I think that this song remains remarkably true. The brooding vocals and moody instrumentation add more melancholy than any other version. It sounds as if the band is so overcome that they might not even make it through to the finish. But don’t let me scare you—this is an inspired remake of Darlene Love’s classic and definitely offers something new to the song.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Arab Strap


I know that PC already posted this song but this is one that you never hear enough. I have a few other versions, by The Polyphonic Spree and Sense Field, but ultimately, no cover compares to the emotion and immediacy of the original.

Today marks the 26th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder in New York City. I wasn’t even born at the time but when I was a kid, my mother always told me that while she was pregnant with me, Lennon, Reagan, and the Pope were all shot. It must have seemed a strange time to bring a child into the world. And, in a way, I suppose it would still feel like that today. I didn’t start listening to The Beatles and Lennon until high school. The thing that always strikes about The Beatles is the message in the music: it’s all about love.

I’ve always loved “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” but probably never more so than in the past few years. While the song was topical on its initial release, the song had sadly remained as relevant as ever and will probably always be. But it’s the message of this song that remains with me—war is over, if you want it.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to make a suggestion.

While the John Lenoon track has taken on a certain relevance with the events of the past few years, I still think the original recording lacks something (which is something that it hurts this Beatle fan to say).

For a better take on the track, you should check out the version by Street Drum Corps, off the A Santa Cause 2 compilation. That version gives me chills.

I believe you can also hear it streaming off of their website

Anonymous said...

Gotta correct myself on the last comment. The Streem Drum Corps version is found on the Taste of Christmas CD, not the other compilation. Sorry for the confusion.

-mumford, the all-purpose nothing