So, naturally, It’s a little tough for me to choose my favorite Christmas song of all time. But, if I absolutely had to, I think the song above would definitely be in the running. It’s a collaboration from the deadbeat winter of 2009, a year in which it seemed like the everyone in the world who made music had decided to only record 60’s-girl-group-influenced garage rock records or chillwave albums. I was (and still am) biased toward the former group, and the collaborators in question (Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles)1 are two of the best artists of that trend.
It may sound surprising that a blend of the reverbed vocals / hazy production / garage riffs trend of 2009 and Christmas music works so well. And, I’ll admit that they do seem more than a little disparate at a first glance. When you take a minute to think about it, however, a combination of the two actually makes a lot of sense.
Although I’m at a loss when asked to name my favorite individual Christmas track, I do know which album I’d put at the top of my list: Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You.2 If you’ve never been in a mall or listened to the radio in December, that record contains tracks by Darlene Love, The Ronnettes, Bob B. Sox and the Blue Jeans, and The Crystals many of which have become the definitive version of a particular song. It’s arguably the most beloved Christmas record of all time, and Rolling Stone once ranked it as the 142nd best album of all time in any genre. In short, it’s an amazing record.
So, since the basic formula for that trend was “Phil Spector pop + buzzy fuzzy guitars + lo-fi” is changing the equation to “Phil Spector Christmas songs + buzzy fuzzy guitars + lo fi” really that much of a leap? Clearly, I don’t think so, but if you’re still doubting me, just listen to the track above. It’s a perfect gem of a garage pop song, festooned with just the right amount of Christmas song trappings. Hell, without the sleigh bells and lyrical references to mistletoe and Christmas trees it’s basically just a really good Dum Dum Girls song. That’s probably one of the reasons that this track is so wonderful. The artists aren’t straining themselves to make their work fit into a rigid frame of a different genre or style; they’re just bending their own style just enough to change its shape. And, just like their predecessors, this approach works to perfection.
This track was released as a free download. If you like it, you can get it here.
1. Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls and Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles are married and have since started a side project together called Haunted Hearts. You can listen to their debut single here.
2. AKA A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector AKA A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records AKA Phil Spector’s Christmas Album