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Christmas Message

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Christmas is nearly here, as you have probably heard.  Soon the German market will be gone and seasonal temps will line up in the dole queue once more, but for now everything is tinsel and smiles and things you can mull.

FYI, you cannot mull milk.

One of the fun things about this time of year is the stream of novelty songs released, many of them by Cliff Richard.  This year, luminaries of the music industry as diverse as Justin Bieber, Michael Buble and the wives of some soldiers have added their efforts to the genre.  You can also find a daily advent calendar of more diverse material on Ayetunes.

Meanwhile on Ten Tracks, in lieu of a festive bundle, here are ten of our favourite festive ditties.

1. Hands down one of the most feel good songs of the season, Stevie Wonder’s What Christmas Means to Me is often overlooked in favour of Slade and Band Aid and the rest.  Don’t go making that mistake this year, kids – this is a veritable choon.

2. On the opposite side of the mood spectrum, emo superstars My Chemical Romance are responsible for a jarring but kind of amazing cover of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You.  Listen to it here.

3. A favourite of author and former Northern Alliance member Doug Johnstone is Low’s Just Like Christmas, one of the more upbeat tracks on their yuletide album.  If you want to get your sleighbells on (and who doesn’t) then this is your go-to song.

4. Wizards in Winter by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is worth a listen, or a watch if you’re a fan of meticulously synchronised light shows.  It’s an instrumental number, sort of like a winter equivalent to Flight of the Bumblebee, that puts you in mind of racing through the snow on a sleigh with the White Witch.  No Narnia fans in?  Forget it.

5. The Second Hand Marching Band counsel against going out in such weather in their song Don’t.  Is it a Christmas track?  Not exactly, but it’s apt for the associated weather conditions.

6. As you are doubtless aware, London-based christmas poppers The Mistletones exist purely to record seasonal songs – a noble remit indeed.  And who could forget their 2009 classic bid for Christmas Number 1, Hollaback Yule?  Exactly.  This year’s offering is called Knock Knock It’s Christmas and is available as a free download from Bandcamp.  We recommend the B-side, Ha’penny in the Hat.

7. The ‘tones were pipped to the post back in ‘09 by the exceedingly festive Killing in the Name, by Rage Against the Machine.  That was brilliant, wasn’t it?  And what’s more, the Californian band pledged to give all the proceeds to…

8. Shelter, the homeless charity, who this year are being supported by the less expletive ridden Scottish Fiction blog.  They have put together a festive EP which you can download for £2.  Yes, we are aware this is 7 songs instead of 1, but hey, it’s for a good cause.  Highlights include Bah Humbug by The Spook School and Family Treeby The Dirty Demographic.

9. Now, it is often said that Christmas does not truly start until you have sat around the fire and watched A Muppet Christmas Carol.  It’s hard to pick a favourite from that soundtrack, but it is surely between Scrooge (the catchier of the two) and One More Sleep Til’ Christmas (the more Christmassy).  Vote for your favourite in the comments below…

10. Finally, another charity song.  Pittenweem Pharmacy hope to beat The Military Wives and Little Mix to Christmas Number 1 with their song, Christmas 2011.  The video is excellent, and proceeds go to the RNLI and the East Neuk Wheelchair Appeal.

All that remains for us to say is Merry Christmas from everyone at Ten Tracks, and we look forward to seeing you for our Hogmanay knees-up at The Third Door.

Slàinte!