Musical Advent Calendar 2013 – December 19

Without question, the music of the holidays is predominantly associated with joy and happiness. But not far behind are themes of melancholy. Many Christmas songs are from the perspective of the heavy-hearted, whether it’s about the distance between loved ones, sadness over a loss, or just a longing for something better that the holidays provide hope for.  “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is a classic example.

I’m not gonna lie – the bittersweet music lover in me thoroughly delights in these songs.  I think they convey an emotional honesty that resonates with people.  And, part of  their magic, is that the pain of communicating hurt, even at the holidays, somehow leads to glimpses of hope.  It’s a reflection of how relationships and community are supposed to work.  How, when we honestly allow people into our pain, we begin to heal.  I believe it is part of the way God uses people in our lives to demonstrate his love for us.  There is just something beautifully mysterious and spiritual about the bittersweet.

All of that serves as introduction for today’s song on the Musical Advent Calendar – “Hard Candy Christmas” by Tracey Thorn.

I’ve always appreciated the sentiment of “Hard Candy Christmas”, but could never really get into the song.  Mostly because I associated it with the movie it was featured in, the completely awful “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.  I have nothing against Dolly Parton, per se, but hearing her sing the song makes me think of that movie.  Sorry Dolly, but your version is now and forever tainted.

But last year, Tracey Thorn (known mostly as part of the duo Everything But The Girl, and for providing the vocal for Massive Attack’s phenomenal song “Protection”) took a crack at “Hard Candy Christmas” on her holiday themed album Tinsel and Lights.    Thank God she did, because the song is brand new to me, now – cleansed of all bad cinema association.  Thorn’s voice is perfect for this melancholy ode to moving on during the holiday season.

So let’s do this, Neal! (inside joke – sorry) – “Hard Candy Christmas” by Tracy Thorn is waiting behind the doors of today’s Musical Advent Calendar.


~ by themattmorrisshow on December 19, 2013.

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