Tuesday, December 6, 2011

creepy christmas carols

Last night I had mostly completed a review about Hugo written up and saved on Blogger... or so I thought.  But for some reason I can't find it, and I fear it has been lost in the aetherspaces of the Internet, never to be recovered again.

While I work on another one I'll treat you all to something not so Victorian, but certainly very relevant to the season:  creepy Christmas carols.

My favorite is, by far, the infamous "Carol of the Bells."  Although the lyrics are bright and cheery, the music itself is just completely epic and dark.  Once, using that song as inspiration, I wrote a short story a very long time ago about a depressed girl who contemplates suicide.  I would share it here but it's actually more of a teenage angst tale, one that I am not particularly proud of today.  The point is, I used a Christmas song to write a story about rather dark and depressing things.

The best cover of that song is, in my opinion, the rock mash-up by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  The "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" intro doesn't hurt either, especially as I consider that my favorite of the "non-creepy" songs:


Next in line is "Coventry Carol," a song from a 16th century miracle play.  Usually performed entirely without vocals, I wasn't even aware that there were lyrics to this song until about this time last year.  Then I discovered, somewhat to my horror (but mostly to my morbid delight) that this song is mostly about the Massacre of the Innocents, that episode  recorded in Matthew 2:16-18 where King Herod of Judea orders the killings of all of the young children in and around Bethlehem in the hopes of destroying the newborn Christ, who he believes is a threat to his throne.  I find it a fitting reminder of one of the darker sides of the Christmas story- the fact that innocent children died as a result of the birth of the Son of God.

My favorite version is by Nox Arcana.  Despite the song's lack of adherence to the traditional song's melody, Nox Arcana managed to make what is probably a really difficult song to sing more lively and its lyrics understandable,  something the original song's melody does not facilitate.


The last one is the dirge-like "We Three Kings," written during the Victorian era by the Revered John Henry Hopkins.  Not only does the mournful minor chords differ greatly from the cheery notes of the majority of Christmas songs played during the season in retail stores and shopping centers, but the lyrics themselves are sombre, especially these lines:
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb
Nice foreshadowing of the human Christ's fate.

There isn't one version of this song that I favor over any others, so here's a version without the edits that all too often occur to make this song less dreary:




As a bonus for this December 6, my boss's office was invaded by St. Nicholas, despite the fact that my boss is Indian and Hindu rather than some form of European and Christian:


Yes, all of those shoes do indeed belong to him, and have been sitting in our office for months.  My only question is- is it possible he has more pairs of shoes than me?

1 comment:

  1. Ha I love that your boss keeps enough shoes at work to make a whole smiley face. :-)

    I can't listen to the songs at the moment as I'm at work (shhhhh) but I'm looking forward to hearing the versions you've chosen.

    ReplyDelete