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Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Crackers

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Mike Diver Mike Diver | 14:31 UK time, Tuesday, 1 December 2009


While we'd love to give BBC Music Blog readers a delicious chocolate treat every day of advent, technology isn't quite that advanced. So, in lieu of a calendar packing tasty morsels behind cartoon packaging, we're taking a look at a different Christmassy album from today 'til the rotund red-clothed fellow comes calling on 25 December.

We'll be highlighting our favourites, bona-fide classics, an assortment of new releases and some from the piles marked weird, wonderful and just a little woeful. Do let us know what you think of our selections and also suggest your own.

First up is an attempt at Christmas cool from the mid-90s.

Various Artists - Just Say Noël (Geffen, released 1996)
justsaynoel_small.jpgYou have to admire this set's intentions: "Can today's young artists create seasonal ditties that glow with all the spirit and warmth of the time-honoured classics? This album dares to say, 'Yes! Oh yes indeed!'" But despite Beck's dropping of some "Hanukkah science" on robo-funk opener The Little Drum Machine Boy (see what he did there?) not everything that follows is worthy of repeated festive revival. But with portions of the proceeds going towards human rights charity Witness its heart was in the right place, and the eclectic cast - from Elastica to Remy Zero via XTC and Aimee Mann - is sure to flick a few indie switches today. Beck's bonkers ramble is equalled in the what-the-heck? stakes by Sonic Youth's cover of Martin Mull's Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope - "Just leave him cookies / and save the joint" - and The Roots' Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa takes De La Soul's original and cranks the tension via sparse beats and icy production. It's not always pretty, then, and certainly not as memorable as its compilers might've hoped; but Just Say Noël might well appeal to the person in your life who typically sees their glass of eggnog half empty.

XTC's Thanks For Christmas

Tomorrow... a Christmas treat from the Pet Shop Boys.


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