What Christmas Underground is about…
I’m not looking for Christmas standards or mainstream musicians. I’m much more open to music that is pretty secular and doesn’t get heavy into religious themes. I give preference to original songs, and to covers that reinvent the material. I hate “Little Drummer Boy” with a passion. I have a personal taste for indie rock/indie pop/alt.country/folk/Swedish/political Christmas songs and the melancholy of the season. My specific taste is reflected in this site, so what I might like, may not be your taste whatsoever.
I will begin reviewing my rather extensive Christmas music collection, with no preference for good records. There will be compilations, single tracks off non-Christmas records, and legit Christmas records. There will be CDs, vinyl, digital downloads, imports, and limited editions, and out-of-print gems. If I paid money for it, it is fair game. If it is free and I write about it… I likely loved it. I’m not going to waste my time reviewing terrible, free Christmas records. Simply, I want this to be a resource for those scouring the net, looking for that final song for this year’s Christmas mix. If you would like me to review your Christmas release, please visit my submissions page.
My (old) rating system was on a 5-point scale, taking into consideration:
I have since moved away from this system, but some legacy posts still retain the rating. However, this is still useful to give you an idea of what I think makes a great Christmas song/album.
1. Good songs. One terrific song can make a Christmas record, because I rarely consider an entire Christmas record to be truly listenable and enjoyable – and thus I give the excellent songs great weight. One amazing song can keep a lackluster release in the average/above-average range. This is a necessity, or most Christmas releases would score down in the dumps.
I don’t mean to be abusive to Christmas music – I really do love finding fantastic Christmas tunes. It’s like finding a diamond in a coal mine 🙂 I just think that many artists consider their Christmas song(s) to be an afterthought, rather than a true effort. Those who put forth the effort are easily noticed, and vice versa.
2. Price. A cheap record with 2 good songs will rate higher than a higher-priced competitor.
- 5 is a record you can listen to all the way through and be pretty damn pleased.
- 4-4.9 is extremely good.
- 3-3.9 is above average.
- 2-2.9 is average.
- 1-1.9 is below average.
- 0-0.9 is pretty unlistenable.