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Bah, Humbug! 12 albums to banish the holiday songs from your head

We’ve all experienced it before—a song gets stuck in your head and won’t shake loose. Around this time of year it’s most likely to be one of those really annoying holiday songs, such as “Hippopotamus for Christmas” or that hideous chipmunk one. Fortunately, now that the holidays are over the stores and radio stations are tapering that off, but since they fired up right after Halloween, it may take the echoes a bit of time to fade.

The perfect antidote to the timely is, of course, the timeless. So here’s a short list of timeless albums across various genres that have been on frequent rotation on our players lately in our effort to get those dang holiday songs out of our heads. As always, we love to hear your own suggestions so tell us what albums you’ve been listening to as well!


      1.  Boston, Boston

boston-boston
(Epic Records)

Remember the first time you heard this album?  It was like a religious experience!  Never mind that they never wrote another decent thing. This was a true work of art.

Preview Album


2.  Kenny Burrell, Midnight Blue

kenny-burrell-midnight-blue
(Blue Note)

Much of this list is heavy on the rock genre, but this one here is some of the smoothest jazzy blues ever written.  Romantic night by the fire?  Slip this one on the music play list, trust me.  *Wink*

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3.  John Mayer, Room for Squares

john-mayer-room-for-squares
(Columbia Records)

John Mayer as an unsullied youth.  Still one of his best, IMHO.

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4.  Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy

led-zeppelin-houses-of-the-holy
(Atlantic Records)

Any great albums list has to have a Led Zeppelin pick on it, but I was debating between this one, II, and IV.  I finally picked Houses of the Holy for the overall flow.  I just have trouble listening to any of these songs in isolation, but can pull out a selection from II or IV much more easily.

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5.  Van Morrison, Moondance

van-morrison-moondance
(Warner Bros.)

The well-deserved, but somewhat overshadowing of the title track song masks the fact that the album is full of some of Van Morrison’s best songs.

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6.  Stevie Ray Vaughan, Live Alive

stevie-ray-vaughan-live-alive
(Epic Records)

Live albums from a mixture of performances are often difficult to assemble coherently.  This one does a fantastic job of capturing the soul of one of the greatest guitarists ever to have lived.

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7.  The Police, Synchronicity

the-police-synchronicity
(A&M Records)

Okay, maybe I could do without “O My God” and “Mother,” but the rest of the album is spot on.

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 8.  Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks/Freewheelin

bob-dylan-blood-on-the-tracks
(Columbia Records)

freewheelin-bob-dylan

Just couldn’t make the call here.  Both are excellent selections from the master of conscientious folk music.

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9.  Walt Disney’s Fantasia soundtrack

fantasia-soundtrack
(Walt Disney Records)

Stepping out to the classical genre here.  This is a truly interesting blend of selections of that type.  The movie is a creative tour de force as well.

Preview Album

     10.  Counting Crows, August and Everything After

counting-crows-august-and-everything-after
(Geffen Records)

Had the good fortune to hear this indie band performing in Berkeley bars during the early 90’s when they were gaining popularity.  The stuff on this early album was fresh and innovative.

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11.  Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Great Concerts

dave-brubeck-quartet-great-concerts
(Columbia Records)

Classic jazz from the masters in a phenomenal live compilations.  Includes the unparalleled “Take Five” as well as some previously unreleased tracks.  This is a fantastic introduction to those unfamiliar with jazz.

Preview Album


12.  The Rolling Stones, Some Girls

rolling-stones-some-girls
(Rolling Stones)

“Miss You,” “Shattered,” “Beast of Burden,” “Just My Imagination”…  the only thing keeping this album from utter perfection is that “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” is on Sticky Fingers, not this album.

Preview Album


So that’s it!  Hopefully by now you’ve got something a lot better stuck in your head than some awful holiday drivel.

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About Andrea Sefler

Andrea Sefler
Andrea is a consultant and technical writer for various scientific software and instrumentation companies. She has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Berkeley and has never met a genre of music or books that she hasn’t liked. As a gamer since the days of the Apple II, Andrea can relate any number of hair-raising tales about role-playing games stored on 360 kB 5.25” floppy disks and may, someday, put them to paper.