Vinyl vs. Spotify: How christmas music has changed over time

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By William Royal on December 9th, 2015:

Christmas is approaching fast, and we all have heard the festive music blasting over the airwaves. We all know the famous crackle of the classic yuletide carols around the holidays, but in recent

Older Christmas music has become a melodic staple in modern America

Older Christmas music has become a melodic staple in modern America

years, modern artists have released their own versions of classic songs and even their own original melodies.

No matter how much time goes by, the music industry will perpetually try to maintain a steady flow of wealth to fill their coffers, which is why we got a Justin Bieber “Under the Mistletoe” album a few years back. It also explains why we get several renditions of the same song by our favorite pop artists seemingly every year against the better wishes of most music critics. The desire for originality is constantly there, but modern artists do a little better than those in decades past.

“Christmas music now is more set on the idea of everyone just enjoying the holiday,” junior Savannah Newton said. “It’s just a fun time to be together with family and friends.”

Songs like “Jingle Bells”, “O Christmas Tree”, and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” have been in the public domain for a while, and are recognized by most Americans around the holidays. It makes sense that the classics that everyone remembers stay in memory for a while.

It’s like the old Christmas movies that we watch every year–like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, “A Christmas Story” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. None of these films are younger than 26 years old, yet, everyone knows them.

“I think most people remember [older Christmas music] as being boring and not as lively,” Newton said.

There’s a reason why Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” tops the charts for one of the most popular songs of the last century, and why the new cash-grabs that Beyoncé and Taylor Swift release come December won’t receive that honor. People are used to the songs that are familiar to them, and those that are played every year will always include a little piece of the past.

We see the old Christmas music from the ‘40s and ‘50s as the original renditions of these songs, so no matter how hard One Direction works to market a new album, there will always be some people that won’t accept it. The old songs from 50-60 years ago remain a cultural standard for many, and resistance to change is not due to be overcome in the near future.

Although the new and fresh styling of modern pop and hip-hop artists will never really replace the old music that we are all used to, it is important to be receptive to change.

Having moved out of the radio age, everything today is digital. Going from vinyl records to Spotify in fewer than 60 years is quite a change. Tastes in music are not populated by brass and saxophone, but rather by the electronic vibe of a drum machine and synthesizers. It seems that the dandy days of Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole have had their day in the sun.

Keeping both forms of music in the public eye is a healthy balance for society, and having some of the past around is not a death sentence for cultural attitudes. The newest generation will have some new tunes to listen to, while also getting to know the older types that their parents and grandparents knew so well.

“I feel like the old music is a lot more based around Christian and the religion, so it has a lot more to do with the religion’s foundation,” Newton said.

It is also important to point out that, while the new music is fresh and new, it should not be included into the War on Christmas. It’s ok if the songs are a little different than in years past, but I feel that the lyrics should be inherently Christian and festive towards Christmas in particular, which many modern artists have a hard time accepting.

No one really likes to listen to songs about how Christmas is bad, and most people who listen to Christmas music would rather not hear songs about Kwanzaa or Hanukkah when the holidays roll around. The point of Christmas music is that it is based on Christian lyrics that praise the savior’s birth and rejoice in giving to others.

“I think that the new music should be accepted,” Newton said. “In America, Christianity has become not so much focused only on the religion.”

Recording in the United States will never evolve past the making of money, but some gems have survived since the days of vinyl.  Keeping them in memory is great, and the new songs being released are equally as important. Having both new and old in the public knowledge isn’t harming anything, so why change it?


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