Hello to my loyal readers! I apologize for not being more on top of updates, but between family obligations with the holidays and a crazy week at work, plus a recent re-dedication to going to the gym (as much, if not more, for my head as for my body — this will be the subject of a future post), I just haven’t had the time to devote to TSF lately.
But I did want to drop a quick note to make a recommendation of some music that you must listen to. As background, let me start by saying that this is my favorite time of year. Call me sentimental and even sappy, but I absolutely love the Fall, especially the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Like Radiohead said, I believe in everything in its right place (note: Brad Mehldau instrumentally echoed this sentiment). And during the Fall, it’s finally cold enough to justify drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte (or “PSL,” as the girlfriend and I refer to them) from Starbucks. I first saw PSLs advertised during the summer, and I was somewhat shocked and appalled — you can’t drink a warm weather drink like a “PSL during the summer!
As with the “PSL, I believe you have to wait until just the right time to start listening to holiday (let’s face it — Christmas) music. And now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s finally time for Christmas music! To oversimplify, you will find two types of Jewish people in this world: those who love all things Christmas, including — especially! — the music; and those who don’t. The Girlfriend and I are squarely in the former camp — we can’t get enough of it!
So now that it’s finally time to listen to Christmas music, who do I turn to? Why, none other than one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Aimee Mann, and her 2005 Christmas Album, One More Drifter in the Snow.
Aimee Mann has a really cool story. She started off in the 80s group Til Tuesday — you might remember their song “Voices Carry,” which is actually a great tune. Anyway, post-Til Tuesday, she released a number of solo albums on Geffen Records but did not sell enough copies to keep the label happy (it’s a shame because the tunes are solid).
1999 was a big year for Aimee Mann. She contributed the majority of the soundtrack to Paul Thomas Anderson‘s masterpiece, Magnolia. According to legend, Anderson wrote the story of the movie around certain of Aimee’s tunes, including “Save Me” and “Wise Up,” I believe. In 1999, Aimee also started her own label, Superego Records and has released each of her subsequent albums independently. Gotta love the DIY aesthetic.
Well, in 2006, Aimee released >Drifter, which consists of mostly traditional Christmas songs and also a few originals, including the amazing “Christmastime,” an original tune by Aimee’s husband, Michael Penn (brother of Sean and Chris (RIP)). I highly recommend you check out this album if you’re into the classic, traditional Christmas music record. Her take on the classics, like “White Christmas,” which Irving Berlin said is the best song ever written, and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” are spot on. Her lazy, loungey, relaxed take on “Winter Wonderland” is one of my favorite tunes on the album.
Last year, I saw Aimee on her Christmas show tour, a Vaudevillian tour she has done for the past few years with the help of various guests (when I saw her, the show featured Nellie McKay, Paul F. Tompkins, John Krasinski, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_cera (a.k.a. George Michael Bluth — is this thing on?). Well, there was a surprise guest at my show — none other than Amos Lee! He sang a duet of “Winter Wonderland” with Aimee, which was awesome — but the best part was when Aimee’s guitarist played his guitar solo…Amos was grooving along with his eyes closed, looking down — but when Aimee’s guitarist played one particular lick (the last lick coming out of the solo, if you’re following at home), Amos looked over at him like daaaaamn — it’s a really tasteful, soulful lick.
If you like Christmas music, you simply must purchase and listen to this album. You will not disappointed.