I'm not much of a fan of most modern Christmas music, with some few exceptions (like last week). Hymns and carols are traditional for a reason: we don't want performers jazzing it up (or worse, tarting it up) to say "me, Me, ME!" But evidently modern celebs (not "stars") can rarely seem to grasp, despite the holiday being titled "Christmas", there's a star of the piece all right, but it AIN'T them. We want them sung the way we remember, and maybe better than. But the spotlight is elsewhere.
The exception (like last week) is songs that aren't traditional, but pay proper homage to the season and/or holiday, in a new way, rather than trying to shoehorn themselves into the spotlight on an old favorite.
In that vein, I can listen to Karen Carpenter sing everything and anything (including bathroom breaks, which they actually did on one album) because of That Incredible Voice. I'm pretty sure I had a crush on her from about the age of 8 just from hearing her sing on a bank commercial, which turned into their first hit. Which makes the following relatively modern song (although it's 50 years old now) one of the few Christmas songs I hear that can never be overplayed, at least for me.
The other one is the one piece of music without which, it is not Christmas for me. A traditional Ukrainian refrain, with English words added much later, it captures perfectly the twin peaks of melancholy and joy of a season it takes someone from the Pодинаto feel deep in their bones, just like the Siberian winds that bring it forth.
It's been covered in solos, instrumentals, orchestras, and everything in between, including classical guitar, nothing but strings, actual handbell choirs, and probably even steel drum bands. And I love them all, dearly. But to my mind, no one had done more justice to the Carol Of the Bells than John Williams did in Home Alone. Or so I thought, until I found his extended version. If I had Bill Gates/George Soros stupid-rich money, I'd hire a fleet of blimps to fly over cities on Christmas Eve blasting this from just out of sight in the clouds, at volumes that would penetrate bomb shelter concrete, yet clearly enough to crack Scrooge's heart, until he rushed outside to buy that goose for Bob Cratchit. Turn it up and let it wash over you. Worse things could happen to you than to feel the spirit of the season.
A Merry Christmas to you all, and may you and yours all enjoy the blessings of this holiday season.