every time you hear music
it will either be from
“Christmas with Boney M.”
“Christmas in the Heart”.
You cannot stop listening to music.
YOU MUST CHOOSE!
The time is upon us. No matter how Grinch-y you may be, holiday music cannot be avoided. It’s played everywhere! All of the classics you love, tolerate and loathe! It’s the perfect opportunity to arbitrarily force you to make a bunch of hard (or easy–depending on your personal tastes) choices, which is what YOU MUST CHOOSE! is all about.
First off, we have two holiday albums that couldn’t be more different. One is a beloved classic, while the other is a head-scratching novelty. But such is the nature of these endeavours that the novelty album just happened to be recorded by one of the greatest and most influential singer-songwriters of the past fifty years, while the classic is a disco album recorded by a group of singers best remembered for their ode to a weird, hard-to-kill Russian dude.
Boney M.’s “Christmas With Boney M.” is an artifact of a very specific era that has still nonetheless managed to become as timeless as any popular holiday recording. Best remembered for “Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord” it’s the rare holiday album that makes you feel as though you are in a late 70s European discotheque, but in that fun nostalgic way where its lameness comforts more than rankles.
And it’s this sense of nostalgia that gives it the edge over Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the Heart”, where the fact that it was recorded by one of the most distinctive and recognizably iconic performers of all time actually makes it seem that much weirder than it might otherwise. We can forgive and even delight in Dylan’s vocal eccentricities when they’re used for “Like a Rolling Stone”, “All Along the Watchtower” or “Tangled Up in Blue”, but our ears aren’t quite so tolerant when he uses them for “Here Comes Santa Claus”, “Winter Wonderland” and “The Little Drummer Boy”. The result is a highly traditional holiday album for people who don’t like highly traditional holiday albums, which is an admirable achievement of its own kind, of course.
So the choice is between cheesy 70s disco goodness or a slightly-odd musical choice from a legend. It’s a hard one for me, because I happen to love both cheesy disco AND Bob Dylan’s unique vocal stylings. I could be happy both ways, but since I HAVE TO CHOOSE, I’m going to go with Boney M., because if this isn’t the time of year for nostalgia, then when is?