Saturday, December 24, 2011

Song #60 of 9999 - Thanks for Christmas by Three Wise Men (XTC)

Song #60 of 9999

Title: Thanks for Christmas
Artist: Three Wise Men (XTC)
Year: 1983
Album: N/A - single release only

It's Christmas time and we're all being bombarded with 600 versions of "The Christmas Song" and "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" or whatever. I know there are some REALLY bad pop music Christmas songs out there (and apparently you can hear them all at TJ Maxx), but there are also some very good ones. My goal this week (and probably next) is to give you an original Christmas song a day (no covers) that maybe you've never heard or haven't heard in a really long time or maybe you've heard it but didn't know who it was or....well, you get the idea.

One of my favorites is "Thanks for Christmas" by XTC, but released under the pseudonym Three Wise Men. Released around the same time as Mummer, it has received approximately the same amount of attention as all other XTC singles: almost none. Also, like a lot of what XTC do (does?), it is so distinctly English with its piccolo trumpet solo and crotales (or whatever they are). I love that the song has a chorus in a different key than the verse and there are some clever little touches in the arrangement. The chorus is itself an excellent use of melodic diminution as the same melody is reduced rhythmically by half not one but twice in succession. If I had one complaint, it would be that the bridge is unsatisfying, but it does set up the key change to the last chorus nicely and it's Christmas so I shouldn't complain. Thanks for "Thanks for Christmas," XTC!

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