Listening Now: Love & Boxing Day

Time Warp.

I’m writing this, as I usually do, on a Monday, which happens to be Christmas Eve. You’re reading this, if you bothered to open your email over the holidays, on Wednesday. By now it is Boxing Day and the holiday that I am currently eagerly anticipating you have already celebrated. Time is a funny thing. (This I learned from recently re-watching  The Lakehouse and realizing that I’m not sure that magic mailbox made a lot of sense.)

Speaking of anticipation . . . My darling nephew Luke was born at 8.03am on Christmas Eve Eve! My sister is a champ for giving birth to such a beautiful baby boy. And it was incredibly sweet to watch her husband watch her carefully and rush to her every need at a simple nod of her head. What a gift!

This week is a medley of songs/artists. It’s songs about love, songs from my favorite movies, songs that happen to mention the holidays, and songs that are for after the holidays. It’s for that weird week between Christmas and New Years when we’re all taking a big sigh and settling into those new socks we inevitably got. I like new socks.

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Check out the Listening Now archive here. 


Love at Christmas

(some happy, some sad)

Some love songs on repeat that are mostly Christmas breakup songs. Sorry not sorry, I just love breakups songs. I’m saving happier love songs for Valentine’s Day. I’m sure I’ve mentioned some of these before, and I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of my favorites. I’m also trying really hard not to repeat suggestions, but some artists are worth listening to over and over again.

“Last Christmas” – Wham!

“Last Christmas” may be my favorite mainstream Christmas song. It has all the essentials—power chords, on the soundtrack of every Christmas movie, heartbreak, hope, catchy 80s beats. Everyone loves it. It’s a classic. Did you really make a Christmas playlist and NOT include Last Christmas? No. No one would dare.

“Last Christmas” Covers: Jimmy Eat World, Taylor Swift, Jule Vera, James TW, Good Charlotte.

“Brick” – Ben Folds

I’ve been on a big Ben Folds kick lately. He writes catchy, funny, poignant lyrics with fantastic piano melodies. I’ve been watching a lot of his live concerts on youtube because his personality just shines through. Really kicking myself for not seeing him earlier this year. “Brick” is probably my favorite Ben Folds song and it happens to mention Christmas. The story behind the song is pretty heavy—it’s about when Ben and a former girlfriend got an abortion. I think this is what makes Ben such a great artist. He doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations but approaches them often with a dark sense of honesty, witty lyrics, and musical expertise. Even with a career in the spotlight as one of our generation’s most influential musicians, he continues to write vulnerable and genre-bending hits.

I’m buying myself a piano for Christmas, and I won’t be surprised if I just start playing a ton of Norah Jones and Ben Folds.

Intro: Brick, Landed, Rockin the Suburbs, Battle of Who Could Care Less, Song for the Dumped, Kate, Selfless Cold and Composed.

For fans of Guster, Cake, Barenaked Ladies, The Decemberists.


“This Love Won’t Break Your Heart” – Annalise Emmerick

Finally, a happy song! This song floats into my head somewhat often. It’s a little end-of-the-year love anthem by an indie artist named Annalise Emmerickwho hasn’t produced anything since 2014. My friend Kristen introduced me to this song back in college and we still send screenshots of us listening to this song. Her album “Starry-eyed” is mostly about love. It’s got a great Nashville sound, probably because she’s from there.

Two minutes ’till it’smidnight

We’ve been drinking since the sun went down

Everyone’s been kissing

Throwing love around

Somebody shouts, “Change is coming”

You just smile and drink your beer

Everywhere the air’s a-hummin

It’s all of us right here

And we sing

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

I’ll love you ’till the day I die

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

Will you kiss me in the morning light?

Intro: This Love Won’t Break Your Heart, I Came Around, whole “Starry-Eyed” album

For fans of Josh Garrels, Little Chief, Jenny & Tyler, Beta Radio.



Advent: LOVE

“Merry Christmas Here’s to Many More” – Relient K
“Did I make you cry on Christmas day? (Well you deserved it)” – Sufjan Stevens
“The Light Came Down” – Josh Garrels
“Same Old Lang Syne” – Dan Fogelberg
“Be Kind to Yourself” – Andrew Peterson
“My arms were always around you” – Peter Bradley Adams
“The Mother” – Brandi Carlile
“I love you” – said the whale
“I like me better” – lauv
“It isn’t Love” – Rachel Mallin
“Friday I’m in love” – The Cure
“Hollywood” – Jukebox the Ghost
“Beyond” – Leon Bridges

A Nod to Boxing Day

“Boxing Day Blues (Revisited)” – Courtney Barnett

Leave it to Courtney to write a sad song about Christmas. But it’s a great tune if you love the blues.

Courtney Barnett is one to watch. She’s an NPR favorite. I’ve been listening to her since “Elevator Operator.” She’s got some serious blues and punk influences that add an interesting dimension to the fact that she often tries to fit as many lyrics as possible into her songs. She’s not for everyone, but if you like her, she’s a treat.

Intro: Elevator Operator, Avant Gardener, Pedestrian at Best, Charity

For fans of Gordi, Kurt Vile, Lucy Dacus, Big Thief, Waxahatchee, Kevin Morby, Wes Anderson.

If you get a chance to watch Courtney Barnett’s “Elevator Operator” music video, please do. It’s Very Wes Anderson.


“Boxing Day” – Relient K

Relient K just has really great Christmas stuff. I’ll leave you with this:

Take it all down, Christmas is over

Do not despair but rather be glad

We had a good year, now let’s have another

Remembering all the good times that we had

Oh, no more lights glistening, no more carols to sing

But Christmas, it makes way for spring

The hearts of men are bitter and weathered

As cold as the snow that falls from above

But just for one daywe all came together

We showed the whole world that we know how to love

Oh, no more lights glistening, no more carols to sing

But Christmas, it makes way for spring

(Boxing Day, Relient K)



“It isn’t Love” – Rachel Mallin & the Wild Type

Local KC artist Rachel Mallin just dropped this catchy tune.

Playlists n Things

This week’s playlists 

Peach Scone
Best Albums of 2018 
Best of The Bridge 2018 
Southern Gothic 

Holiday Mixtapes


OG XMAS  – my ultimate list of original or well-done covers of Christmas songs

Indie Christmas

Folk Christmas Songs

Christmas Hits (feat Mariah Carey)

Christmas Classics (feat Bing Crosby)

Mark your calendar!

Upcoming Concerts

Dec 29 – Samantha Fish (Knuckleheads)

Jan 12 – Live from Here with Chris Thile (Kauffman)

Jan 19 – Trampled by Turtles (Truman – T)

Jan 25 – Hippo Campus (T)

Jan 26 – MadisenWard & the Mama Bear (T)

Jan 31 – DeVotchka (Record Bar)

Feb 6 – William Fitzsimmons (RB)

Feb 13 – Rainbow Kitten Surprise w Mt Joy (T)

Feb 26 – Soccer Mommy (RB)

Feb 27 – *I’m With Her with Mipso (Folly)

Mar 4 – Noname (Granada)

Mar 8 – Andrew McMahon (T)

March 16 – Jukebox the Ghost + Mowglis (T)

March 26 – Novo Amor (RB)!!!!!!!!

March 27 – St Paul & the Broken Bones (Mid)

Apr 3 – The Wild Reeds (RB)

Apr 5 – John Crist – Sold out

Apr 7 – BROODS (T)

Apr 10 – Mandolin Orange (Madrid)

Apr 28 – Aziz Ansari (Mid)

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