08 December 2012

All I Want For Christmas...[redux]

Incidentally, until I looked it up, I had no idea that Mariah Carey had written All I Want For Christmas Is You. Maybe that's partly because I've never paid any attention to Mariah Carey ever at all, but it also speaks to the fact that the song feels old, it feels like a standard from decades ago. Even The New Yorker thinks so: Sasha Frere-Jones called it "one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon".

I think the only version of it that I have is a charming and perky cover by the Puppini Sisters - and I do have a lot of Christmas music.

Part of my Christmas music obsession is that I really like listening to covers, versions of things I know well. When you listen to 47 different versions of a really simple song like Silent Night, you really start to hear what's going on. Lyrics morph, rhythms shift, tempos change. Poking around the 'tubes today, I found a site that may lead to a complete and utter trip down the rabbit hole. Called Who Sampled, it's a "site for discovering and discussing sampled music, remixes and cover songs...about the discovery of new and old music, the exploration of musical influences and the sharing of knowledge". Plug in a song, and get a list with a whole mess of other versions. Click through to one of them, and you get a page with YouTube links of cover and original side by side.

Who Sampled lists twenty four covers of All I Want For Christmas Is You. Most of them are probably execrable, maudlin twaddle, but twenty four! A person could really get lost.

Tell me, what song are you going to look up?


Sandy Repp said...

I looked up "Because the Night" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit". No one bests Patti Smith on "Because the Night" though Bruce's version is wonderful (but then again, he wrote it).

I must tell you, you haven't lived until you've heard Paul Anka's version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit". What was he thinking?

AnnetteK said...

You should look up Sarah McLachlan and the Bare Naked Ladies version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman. So so good.

Anon said...

Did you see Jimmy Fallon Utube with Mariah Carey singing 'all I want...'
Did not know she wrote that!

Bibliomama said...

I totally agree. It's one of the reasons I like the Glee music so much - familiar music with different arrangements and killer harmonies. And I completely didn't know that about All I Want for Christmas is You either - I heard it in Love Actually and thought it was a classic. Now I'm going to comb your archives for the place that prints blogs.

Rima said...

They play that Mariah Carey song on our oldies station, Which I of course listen to.

I'm curious to sample "Holly and the Ivy." I have a version by the Medieval Baebes that I absolutely love, so much so that I've forgotten what the original is supposed to sound like and am guessing I wouldn't like it anymore.

Jocelyn said...

Oooh, you are too evil...trying to lure me into a time suck like this. I refuse. Nope. Not gonna click over. Huh-uh. Not gonna.

Well, maybe just for a sec.

Incidentally, your first paragraph had me nodding and nodding. Mariah Carey wrote that song? Fer reals? I would've thought Frank Sinatra sang it, even!

edj3 said...

I like Marilyn Manson's version of Sweet Dreams originally done by the Eurythmics.

Mayberry said...

Whoa. I could spend A LOT of time there. One of my favorite bands is Fountains of Wayne, and they do a cover of Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time" that is ... well it's just worth a listen.

drgeek said...

Out of all the versions of "All I Want For Christmas Is You", I think the Olivia Olson version from Love Actually is still my favorite.