"Because the bells will be ringing, carolers singing, ain’t no cold dark silent night.
We got the fireplaces burning and turntables turning and a mood merry and bright.
As we gather together in our ugly sweaters eating cakes, candies, and pies,
we’re keeping Christmas spirits high, keeping our Christmas spirits high.”
To me, based on listening to thousands of original Christmas songs, the hardest thing for a Christmas songwriter is to channel the traditional icons and imagery of Christmas into a song without sounding trite and cliche. Please songwriters, don't rhyme "snow in the city" and "lights are pretty" ever again. So, look at Carly's lyrics again. Traditional stuff - bells, carolers, 'silent night', fireplaces, cakes. But there isn't a hint of cliche in this song. It's sooooo fresh in lyric and sound. Dang, I love it. If I had a rating scale it would get the top rating. Five Fruitcakes. Five Snowflakes. Five Sleigh Bells. All on of a scale of one to five.
But here's the best part, and what I really wanted to write about. "Keeping Christmas" is Carly's sixth Christmas single. After hearing "Christmas May Have To Be Postponed" I bought the rest of her Christmas catalog (5 at the time) and then promptly added "Keeping Christmas" when it was released. I love every single one - they all pass the 'no cliches' test, they all rock your Christmas Bells off, and they are all as original as they come.
|Image from Fame Magazing (link)|
Carly has this Chrissie Hynde thing going on with her voice - it kind of floats above the music as it blends and drives the songs ahead. This vocal style, coupled with a great band, gives us some of the best rock and roll Christmas music you can find.
A final thought: I don't know the story (if there is one) behind 2014's "The Happiest Christmas Tree", but Carly could positively be Carly Ramone on this one. There's a definite Ramones feel and drive to it. If this is what Carly was trying to accomplish, she hit it out of the park, and it's a grand slam - great original lyrics, most definitely a Christmas song, and the drive and energy of the Ramones. Well done!
I urge everyone to head to Carly's website, or iTunes or Amazon or your preferred online music outlet, and check out Carly's Christmas music. On my list for January - to check out her non-Christmas catalog. Gotta be good....
Carly Jamison website
Carly's online store (oooh look - autographed CDs)
"Keeping Christmas" on Amazon