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My favorite version of my favorite Christmas song, and also something about Neil Diamond December 14, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Music.
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I just noticed the blog is over a year old now. Today we’ll probably pass 8,000 hits with steadily building momentum. Thanks!

The reason I noticed is to link to this entry from last December in which I named my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night. Man, talk about a bandwagon! Apparently the blog has such influence that as soon as I declared my favorite, it became everyone else’s favorite, and now I just can’t escape the song. I jest, of course, but seriously, I must hear the song four times a day now. I’m starting to change the channel when I hear my favorite song. How ironic.

Further irony is that I have, at long last, found what I consider to be the definitive version of my favorite Christmas song.

It’s Chris Tomlin’s version from his new CD “Glory in the Highest”.

The tempo is easy, befitting a winter’s night. The “thrill of hope” is tantalizing, as it should be. By the time he sings “Fall on your knees,” I’m ready to do just that.

The acoustic guitar behind the second verse changes our humble adoration to a contemporary lesson: “Truly He taught us to love one another.” As instruments are added, seemingly along with the number of voices in the choir, our hearts swell. We are moved again, from worship to proclamation of His power and glory and then at the end of ourselves we fall on our knees again. The instruments are stripped away again during the vocal “money note” in which Tomlin effortlessly ascends the treble staff and the song returns to a whisper.

There are no vocal runs and flourishes. No vibrato or tremolo. This is as understated as a swelling anthem can be. There are no little changes to the words to bother me. The verses are proper. For my favorite Christmas song, this is the new standard.

By the way, if you like it, please don’t just listen to the youtube stream. Buy the CD or the song (only a buck).

And then there’s the other holiday going on right now, and the song by Adam Sandler to celebrate it, The Chanukah Song. I just learned that it’s been covered by another of my favorite artists, Neil Diamond. I always thought it was a little odd for Neil to crank out Christmas CDs; this certainly seems more fitting. If that wasn’t enough, there’s an incredible cartoon video to accompany it. Tell your friend Veronica, and don’t forget your harmonica. And please enjoy Neil’s animated chest hair.

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