Since I've neglected to put up a singles page on the site (so far), let's cover a few of the noteworthy singles (so far) of the 2010 holiday season. Beginning with Mariah Carey's "Oh Santa". The digital single for "Oh Santa" dropped almost a month ago and it currently stands at #1 on the Billboard Holiday Charts. The first time I heard it, I kind of hated it. It reminded me, in a bad way, of Toni Basil's "Mickey" ("thanks a lot, Stubby, I won't be able to get that one out of my head for a week, now"). But it has consistently grown on me and that bodes well for the long-term survival of Mariah's latest. It's definitely snappy and, as Tom Hanks says in That Thing You Do, "I like snappy!"
Then there's Train's "Shake Up Christmas". To hear Train vocalist Pat Monihan tell it, writing a Christmas song specifically for use in the new seasonal Coca Cola ad campaign wasn't about commerce. Perish the thought. It was all about spreading love and joy. He's spreading something alright. Not for nothin', Pat, I'd have an easier time believing you if you were turning the proceeds over to charity. But since you're taking the money, I'm going to have to assume that it is about the money. It doesn't help your case, either, that the download for "Shake Up Christmas" is listed at $1.29 rather than the (still) standard 99 cents. The song, itself, sounds suspiciously like a Coca Cola jingle but otherwise nice enough...now. How many commercial viewings do you think that'll last? So a big Bah Humbug to Train.
A past hit maker of more recent vintage released her Christmas single a little over a week ago. Donna Lewis charmed the world with her Pop sensation "I Love You Always Forever" back in 1996. She's recorded and performed steadily ever since, even if a bit more removed from the spotlight. Her new Christmas single is a collaboration with Jazz guitar player Artie Tatum--a bossa nova version of "God Rest Ye". It's not up to the level of Donna's own "Christmas Lights" from the 1995 CD, "You Sleigh Me", in my opinion, but its alright.
Bluegrass fans should enjoy the digital single from Cedar Hill, "Merry Christmas You All". Cedar Hill is no fly-by-night outfit. They've been patrolling the stages of the Ozarks for about 40 years now. Formed and led by mandolin player Frank Ray, a member of the National Old Time Country and Bluegrass Music Hall Of Fame, the band's recent album "Poverty Row" was a big hit in bluegrass circles. They have high hopes as well for their next album, "I've Got A Thing About Doors".
There's been a general dearth of Country Christmas albums this year (among "name" artists, only Lady Antebellum and Mandy Barnett have made the scene so far), but there are and will be plenty of digital singles to represent the genre. Case in point, young Rachel Holder. The Tennessee darlin' is still in her teens, but she's grabbing for the brass ring. Of course that happens all the time in Country music, but Rachel's got the voice and the looks to go far, in my opinion. She reminds me of a young Tanya Tucker, vocally, and that's fairly high praise from me. And her Christmas song, "Christmas Eve"? It swings, it rocks, it Honky Tonks, it's a great Country Christmas record. Stop by Rachel's MySpace page and give that song a spin. If you like Country, I think you'll like "Christmas Eve".
Elsewhere on the site, we filled you in on Nadia Ackerman's digital single--another good one. And, among those already announced, we're looking forward to Hayes Carll's studio version of "Grateful For Christmas" (due November 9) and the pop-wonderful sounding "Carry Me Home (It's Christmas)" from the Yellow Snowflakes, with it's sunshiny Huey Lewis & The News sound (though we'll have to wait until after Thanksgiving for that one). Hard rockers, Cavo, have also promised a Christmas single for this year. And this year's "British Invasion" (Christmas singles in the UK tend to fly out in December) hasn't even begun.
Clearly, we'll have to revisit this topic. But, next up, we'll take a gander at some of the vinyl singles that artists have announced this year.