Jesus Christ! and out

Let’s end the month of Messiah with some youngish cool music.

Big Star embroiders their light rock with a touch of garage singing “Jesus Christ” was born today. They seem happy about it, in a gen-x way.

Last word. Alt rock with Plankeye: “Jesu Bambino the Infant Child.” It spirals up to heaven with burnt offerings of splintered axes.

Jesus Christ! place mats

Let’s move the rock songs to fit our scene!

ApologetiX goes Murray Head (‘One Night in Bangkok’) to make “One Night in Bethlehem.” Verse dropping! Next, The Cars’ ‘Best Friend’s Girl’ switches around to become “Bethlehem’s Boy.” (Give the intro a minute, ‘kay? ‘Worth it.)

Credance Clearwater Revival’s ‘Up Around the Bend’ gets the Bob Rivers’ bending with “Going up to Bethlehem.” Those wisemen threw babies out of a balcony, jim.

Bob Rivers did this one, too. But it’d been done. Here come The Joy Strings with “Little Town of Bethlehem (House of the Rising Sun).” These Christian British popsters were the Salvation Army holiday band ‘cross the pond in the ’60s. Wild.

Jesus Christ! placement

Before we fade out on the Galilean, the Nazarene’s big day, let’s consider the nativity as a place in time. The setting is so much a part of the story, we’ll thumb through a couple Bethlehem songs.

There are so many in the hymn book….

Making a pop album out of world weary traditionals may tax an artist. So palm branches to Chicago for an original song “Bethlehem” that beat boxes the limited band instruments into a holy moly melee.

Third Day pokes the folk bear with strumming and humming throughout “Born in Bethlehem.” This monotonous metronome of music rocks just a wee bit.

But if you’re holding out for a foreign language travelogue, this Hungarian version of “Betlehem, Betlehem” haunts and daunts the human spirit. Eerie. [Although i prefer the studio version from the album Xmas Marks the Spot. Cool kick beat.]

Jesus Christ: overdone

Just what I wanted to avoid: hamateurs at church making cool relevant the revelations of the New Testament.

But when the shy talents crash and burn for the cause as marvelously as they do for Cameron Hickman and Gracie Galan with “Jesus Christ Baby” (parody of ‘Ice Ice Baby’), we must bow our heads and give thanks the they allow us to bask in their skitty efforts. (You couldn’t do it, and the haters on the comment page are all yelly-jelly.)

Jesus Christ! overwrought

Do you believe scripture and verse about the night in the barn and the virgin birth?

Some songs lean on the lesson a bit too hard and become a bit… shall we say ‘camp’?

It’s country-time harmonizing like the church choir when The Gatlin Brothers pull every loose thread out of the robe of “Sweet Baby Jesus.” They so mean it!

Kingdom Heirs pun up the praise with “Hay Baby.” Fiddlin’, yet serious  fun!

The Statler Brothers poker face the cheese corn out of “Who Do You Think?” Catch the oompah beat and feel the years pass you by!

The Oak Ridge Boys, earnest emissaries of evangelicalism, head the list of the country crown slingers (George StraitBlake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, Alan JacksonKathy Mattea, Lee Ann Womack, and Keith Whitley) who have heralded “There’s a New Kid in Town.” It uses vernacular to revere the Almighty: swoon you must.

Jesus Christ! presence

Well, it’s the time for giving, and if you’re fresh out of myrrh–then what?

Well, God gave us his own life… wait that’s not right. He became human so he could feel and die and… wait.

4Him boy bands the message with “Jesus. The Best Gift of All.” Meaningful, if a bit stuck in the ’80s.

The Christmas Kids get behind the notion better with “I Have a Present for Jesus.” (Hint: he’ll need a refrigerator to magnet it to.)

Jesus Christ! poorly worded

Some seriously adoring songs about the Only-Begotten come out all wrong. “Let’s Make a Baby King” takes the punning penchant of CW song writers and makes us regret liking down home humor. Seriously, guys?

I like Jesse Winchester‘s rocking country take. Can barely hear the words.

Hard driving bluegrass from New Grass Revival takes the sting off, as all good bluegrass should. Still creepy.

It’s a woman’s job, I guess, to bear the brunt of the unfortunate turns of the the word and the world. Wynona Judd has a smokey whiskey–almost dangerously earthy–version you should consider. Then find someone to confess to.

Jesus Christ! three on a match

“We Three Kings” gets childish horseplay from the choirboys as a silly bit of doggerel should.

Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors show us the childish way as an immature star should.

Made up band Spinal Tap fumbles through their own I-can-only-remember-the-kids-lyrics mock up. It’s a short bit.

The most fun is the largely unclaimed “We Three Bings” from the Blame it on Christmas album (2000). The song is untouched, but the bing-isms abound bountifully.