21 December 2005

nat king cole - "o holy night" (from the christmas song lp, available for purchase here.)

... "o holy night," on the other hand, has everything to do w/ christmas day.

it is in my estimation the greatest of christmas songs, lyrically and musically, although "have yourself a merry christmas," "i'll be home for christmas," and "hark! the herald angels sing" aren't far behind (the last mainly for the lines "peace on earth, and mercy mild / God and sinner reconciled" which always does something to me). the only thing i can possibly say against it is how overcooked it can be in the wrong hands. nat king cole, however, is nothing if not cool and reserved--which is not to say "detached" : one hears passion--and not the passion--in every smoky syllable; he is not, like so many lesser singers, attempting to make the song about himself. instead, his version is a mystery and a thing of wonder, like, in its quietest moments, the holiday itself.

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