Living through the months of November and December in the US means slowly but surely getting bored of the tiny handful of Christmas and holiday songs playing endlessly in all public places. If it starts to look a lot like Christmas, all you can do is simply grit your teeth and accept that in the 500th round, “All I want for Christmas is you” will start gnawing at your soul.
But there is another way. At least in your home, car, and other places where you control the music you listen to (which is everywhere if you have headphones): the greatest Christmas music playlist ever made. It’s called FaLaLaLaLa GREAT BIG Christmas Variety Shuffle List, and you can find it on Spotify.
Curated by The King of Jingaling, aka Washington State-based educator Brad Ross MacLeod, aka the owner of FaLaLaLaLa.com, it offers the best online hub for discussing and collecting mystery Christmas music. It also acts as a hub that, through its forum, connects a host of other core Christmas music sites, such as Ernie, Not Bert, and Hip Christmas.
Ross MacLeod traces his love of holiday music first to the Christmas Music albums by Hollyridge Strings and Mike Sammes Singers that his parents played as a child. But his interest in the genre as an amateur dates back to the late 1990s, when two CDs were released as Christmas Cocktails He revived his interest in the ancient rhythms of Eid.
“These two pirates really opened my ears to the world of Christmas music hidden from mainstream radio at the time,” Ross MacLeod told me. “I started dealing with thrift stores where I lived in central Pennsylvania for old vinyl. … When you have such a weird craving, you really want to connect with others who share it. I couldn’t find anyone at any Venue is in Pennsylvania, so I started a website to bring them to me. The forums are still the most active part of the site and we’ve been working since 2004.”
Ross-MacLeod is one of the favorite names in the small but powerful community of people online who collect any and all Christmas music they can find; They all tend to be very nice people who will enjoy discovering Burl Ives sing Christmas carols with spoken word introductions about how many presidents were supposed to adored them.
When I first entered this community in the mid-2000s, all participants were saving albums and songs that had legitimately vanished. Digitizing this music was in a legal gray area: it was technically a copyright breach, but because the albums were no longer commercially available (and since many had unclear positions as to who owned the copyright in the beginning), it was discontinued. messages and stop them. Much rarer than for regular Limewire or Kazaa users. (Long live 2006!)
But the advent of these sites has proven to many brands, big and department store alike, that there is value in many Christmas albums gathering dust in their coffers. With the advent of Spotify and other music streaming services, it was easy to put digital copies of those songs where any subscriber could listen to them.
But that made the already massive amount of holiday music even more mountainous. How can anyone find what’s good in that massive pile? Many listeners have reviewed playlists that contain the same collection of songs as your regular store, which has made these songs more ubiquitous.
Enter Ross-MacLeod and his playlist. With just under 4,000 songs and just under eight days of music, you can start shuffling the songs on the list now and play them 24/7, and still have plenty of music when you go to bed on Christmas Day.
And these are not songs you’ve heard a million times before. There is a rich diversity of genres and performers, but the playlist focuses on things that take off the radar. There’s the disco-filled “Little Drummer Boy,” a variety of tunes from the Seeburg library (an easy-to-listen contender to Muzak’s more popular), and even some songs from artists I’ve heard of, like Jackson 5, Perry Como, and Harry Connick Jr.
“I want to hear a greater variety of Christmas songs than you hear on most radio stations. I want a mix of the familiar and the surprising,” said Ross MacLeod. “A big part of Christmas is about nostalgia, so there has to be some musical food in there. comfortable in the past. Even in my narrow field of interest, there is a lot of music that most people cannot hear. I’m a musician, and I think I have a listening ear for what’s good or at least interesting.”
Ross McLeod doesn’t completely eschew songs you’ve heard before (Maria’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is here, because you can’t), but there’s a clear aberration toward music that will be new to you, even from artists you know well. Yes, the list features the Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (a classic), which you’ve probably heard before, but their songs about “Up on the Housetop” or “The Christmas Song,” both great, aren’t widely played. .
“Given how many songs are a Christmas standard, a lot of the songs are repeated,” he said. “But I look for versions that have something different about them — some hardware or an interesting new bridge or even a mix. Familiar and comfortable but also surprising and new.”
So are there any under-the-radar Christmas songs that Ross MacLeod hopes could get as big as “All I Want For Christmas Is You”? Refers to the 1970 movie soundtrack miser (musical quote by Christmas carol) and many more tracks for the 2018 Christmas album of rock musician J.D. McPherson stockings. But he also says there are so many great Christmas music that it’s really hard to become a standard for it.
“These songs are played only a few weeks a year, and they have to compete with decades, even centuries, of songs that are already becoming standards. Given that it took Mariah’s tune and ‘Last Christmas’ [by Wham!] “It’s time for it to become really standards, I think it will be some time before we see another standard,” Ross MacLeod said. “It probably wouldn’t be anything that far. It takes a lot of songs to make the song a true Christmas standard.”
So, if you’re ready for something—anything—different to treat your ears as Christmas approaches, turn on Ross-MacLeod’s giant playlist (or some other smaller playlist) and find some new seasonal favorites. I can’t get through December without her.
FaLaLaLaLa great variety shuffle menu for Christmas Streaming on Spotify. For more recommendations from the world of culture, check out one good thing Archives.