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Filtering by Tag: album covers

Musical Advent Calendar: On Her Majesty's Secret Service Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 1969

Chris Klimek

The soundtrack album for On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the once-reviled 1969 James Bond film that's enjoyed a critical reappraisal among fans in recent decades, isn't a Christmas record, true. But the film, which starred George Lazenby -- a handsome and hardy but unengaging Australian model with no prior acting experience -- in his single appearance as 007, is set at Christmas. 

Its soundtrack features some of the best music in the entire 50-year franchise. You've got John Barry's kinetic opening title theme (reprised in Brad Bird's The Incredibles, among other places). You've got its elegiac love theme, "We Have All the Time in the World," with lyrics by Hal David, beautifully sung by Louis Armstrong.

And until a couple of weeks ago, I didn't realize that you've also got Nina's (whose?) "Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?"

With its crisply annunciated Julie Andrews-style lead vocal and creepy childrens' choir, it would seem more at home in, say, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (written by Bond creator Ian Fleming) than in a Bond joint. It's lack of suitability for its original context makes it a perfect fit my annual yulemix, which I have this year decided to call Children Go Where I Send Thee! Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable Hard Eight: The Desolation of Nog. I have my reasons.

Matt Mira and Matt Gorley just posted the OHMSS episode of their terrific James Bonding podcast last week. Highly recommended.

Last Christmas? Wherein I Wonder Where the New Christmas Songs At

Chris Klimek

Remember Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron's brilliant dystopian sci-fi movie about a worldwide pandemic of absolute infertility, wherein the youngest person on Earth is 19 years old?

Well, the youngest Christmas song to be promoted the rarefied rank of a standard -- Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" -- turns 19 this year. If you think Hollywood has a remake problem, take a look at the holiday charts on Billboard or iTunes. Our pop stars still write new Christmas songs, but we're not embracing them.

In a new essay for Slate, I scratch my chin over when and how the secular seasonal songbook, a living document until a couple a decades ago, came to be locked down tighter than Santa's workshop. 

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Musical Advent Calendar: Children, Go Where I Send Thee! Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable Hard Eight: The Desolation of Nog, 2013

Chris Klimek

We're going in a radically different direction with today's Musical Advent Calendar selection, debuting the cover of a classic Christmas record yet-to-come.

That would be the eighth in my unstoppable series of holiday mixtapesChildren, Go Where I Send Thee! Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable Hard Eight: The Desolation of Nog. My only real goal for this to staunch the 2009-2012 trend of these things getting steadily longer -- last year's installment weighed in at a truly obnoxious 130 minutes, only two minutes shorter than the classic holiday movie Die Hard. Which is not to say I wasn't proud of the goddamned thing. I was.

Anyway, that grand ambition of brevity flowered only, uh, briefly. When it drops in a week or so, my new yulemix will be another feature-length epic to comfort and amuse you through your car trips, your long layovers, and your interminable sleepless nights of loathing and regret. I think you'll really dig it. Merry Christmas!

Musical Advent Calendar: Christmas with Buck Owens and his Buckaroos, 1965

Chris Klimek

My best find this year. The songs more than live up to the sleeve's considerable promise. How had I never heard this, or even heard of this, before? You mofos been holding out on me.

I'll be fighting the temptation to over-represent it on the yulemix. Better to ration out its treasures over the coming years. I'm playing the long game, yulemixwise. But this one goes so deep I can afford to throw away good tracks like "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy" here.

Musical Advent Calendar: The Don Ho Christmas Album, 1967

Chris Klimek

December 4th. And I've barely begun my yulemix. But I'm only three days late starting the Yuletunes Advent Calendar, wherein I will post one classic album cover each day until Christmas. 

This one was part of my big Black Friday splurge, which came to just over $14. I got it in a dollar bin. For 15 percent off. There is a star to the east of Ho's face, yes. I wanted to show you the actual CD I got so you can see that it apparently once belonged to a cat named Bob Burger. C'mon, that's a little bit funny.

Anyway, can't talk. Yulemixin'.

I Still Wish I Were Blind: The Often Terrible Album Covers of Bruce Springsteen, revisited.

Chris Klimek

That's The Boss's imminent album up there, all right. Over at NPR Monkey See this morning, I ask why it -- like pretty much every album Springsteen has made in the last 30 years (except for The Ghost of Tom Joad) -- must have such a terrible, awful, no good, inexpressive and irreducibly goddamn fugly cover.

I wrote a similar, much longer piece examining the covers of Springsteen's entire official catalog five years ago, after the horrific cover of Working on a Dream leaked.

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