Twin Cities musicians on Christmas music at its best and worst

Categories: Holiday
Photo by Erik Hess

Chris Bierden of Polica and Pony Trash and Heavy Deeds and Invisible Boy

CP: So where do you land on the Christmas music tradition?

CB: Even though there's plenty of Christmas music that I do hate, I feel like I would have a harder time talking about that than the stuff I do like. Because the stuff I do like, I like quite a bit. Maybe five years back, I had a Christmas party, and I tried to put together a two-CD set of old soul stuff and the kind of music I actually enjoy like the Beach Boys. So I ended up finding a bunch of Christmas music that I can completely tolerate, which was kind of fun.

CP: What would those songs be?

One of the songs that just gets me every time of year is The Peanuts' "Christmas Time is Here." It never fails to make me warm and sentimental. Another one is "White Christmas" by The Drifters, made famous by the hit holiday classic, Home Alone. I was a big fan of that movie as a kid, and the vocals in that song are just awesome.

CP: As I've been talking to other artists, that Vince Guaraldi score keeps popping up. It's a great piece of music, but it also really seems like a lot of peoples' love of the holiday harkens back to how big of a deal Christmas is when you're a kid.

CB: Yeah. I should also note that the ultimate Christmas music for me will always be The Carpenters' christmas album. It's one that I listened to every single year with my parents, and we still do. I actually ended up loving The Carpenters in general later in life, much to my surprise. I was like, "Oh this is good, and this has been in the back of my subconscious for some time." I still like Karen Carpenter for sure.

CP: Are there any songs that sit less favorably with you?

CB: The Bruce Springsteen version of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' is probably my most hated, and a large part of that comes from the fact that I really like Bruce Springsteen. The interminability of that song and the way it just keeps going and going is completely insane.

CP: Pony Trash has a show coming up on the 15th. Have you guys been working on any seasonal covers?

CB: Not Pony Trash. But on the 18th, Heavy Deeds has a residency where I'm going to be pulling double duty and do an Invisible Boy set at the end of the night, and this will be the perfect opportunity for me to do John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over.)" I'm hoping to do it because Sara and Molly from Heavy Deeds can sing the Yoko Ono part. I do love that song quite a bit too. It took me a while, but John Lennon just kind of gets me.

CP: I like how John Lennon made one of the best Christmas songs and Paul McCartney made one of the worst.

CB: I know. I still kind of enjoy the Paul one. It's one of those weird, guilty pleasures. I don't know why I enjoy it, but I still will enjoy it. But yeah, it's still pretty bad.

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