Twin Cities musicians on Christmas music at its best and worst

Categories: Holiday
Photo by Erik Hess
Channy Leaneagh of Polica

CP: Have you been getting your fill of Christmas music yet?

Channy Leaneagh: 
Well I've listened to most of my Christmas records already. Mostly, I've been listening to a lot kids Christmas records, because my daughter really really loves Christmas music. There's been a lot of the Muppets' Christmas and the A Very Special Christmas' compilations, which I listened to a lot as a kid and still enjoy quite a bit. There's like five volumes, and its for the Special Olympics. It people like Run DMC and Bruce Springsteen and all these different people from the eighties. Madonna did her "Santa Baby" for it.

CP: Does your daughter have a favorite song at this point?

Yeah, "Rocking around the Christmas Tree."

CP: So it sounds like you have a certain fondess for the Christmas songbook.

Yeah. I don't really attach myself to even Christmas too heavily. I don't really care for the materialism, but I'm always desperate for some kind of joy this time of year since you can't really get outside. So even if it's a bit manufactured, it seems to kind of help the mood around my house.

CP: It seems like new additions to the collection of Christmas standards are really far and few between these days. Is there anyone you'd like to hear develop some new interpretations?

She'd probably hate me saying this, but [Zoo Animal's] Holly Newsom could kill it on some of the darker songs from the old canon. It'd be awesome if Doomtree would put out a hip-hop Christmas record.

CP: If there is one thing about Christmas music that is harder to argue against is the breadth of iconic vocal performances. As a singer, are there any strong points of affection for you in that regard?

I don't know. I do know that I've been trying to sing "O Holy Night" well since I was like nine whether it was in church or just on my own. My dad sings "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" every year on piano. So there's always been kind of been a point of singing them as much as listening to them.

CP: Are there any Christmas songs you hate?

There's some songs like "Coventry Carol" - those really gothic downers. And then, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" was always kind of a dumb one to me. I'm also getting pretty tired of "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" right now.

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