By Eric Sandberg
2020 has sucked jingle balls. We've had covid Easter, covid Mother's & Father's Days, covid graduations, covid Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, christenings and confirmations. Most people by now have had their covid birthday. We just staggered through covid Thanksgiving and now we are closing out this annus horibilus with covid Christmas [and Hanukkah, not to mention kovid Kwanza).
Henning Ohlenbusch "Coming Home Alone On Christmas Eve"
Sublime Massachusetts based indie singer/songwriter Henning Ohlenbusch's bittersweet letter to a loved one who couldn't be there. Warning: A banjo is involved.
Phoebe Bridgers "If We Make It Through December"
Bridgers cannily utilizes this Merle Haggard classic to acknowledge what so many folks are going through this year. Subtle but powerful. The EP includes a lovely version of "Silent Night" purposely marred by audio of a newscaster reading the news of the day. Not quite as subtle here.
Liv Greene feat. Jobi Riccio "I Guess There's Always Next Year"
The immensely talented Liv Greene wrote this song from the point of view of someone who thought this would be her year but, sadly, has thrown in the towel. Achingly beautiful and available to purchase on Bandcamp. Well, what are you waiting for?
Kimberley Rew & Lee Cave-Berry "All I Want Is You For Christmas"
It's not all doom and gloom on the 2020 Christmas song front. Kimberley Rew [Katrina & The Waves/The Soft Boys] and his lady wife, bassist Lee Cave-Berry, have been cooped up together in Cambridge for the better part of the year. They have each other this Christmas and this wonderful, cheerful and catchy slice of rock and roll captures their undaunted spirits nicely. The video features drawings by Rew.
Available on CD & download on the Big Stir Singles compilation
or as part of a digital EP
Todd Rundgren "Flappie"
Leave it to our weird Uncle Todd to resurrect a forty-two year old Dutch Christmas novelty song written by a comedian named Youp van 't Hek. Christmas is here and a young boy can't find his pet rabbit Flappie. Never fear, Flappie does turn up...at dinner time.
Daveed Diggs "Puppy For Hanukkah"
Alas, my search for 2020 Hanukkah songs yielded just one result. It speaks for itself, really.
Eric Sandberg: My true opinion on everything is that it's splunge.