Vince Guaraldi vs Family Force 5
By Sam Devotta |
December 4, 2015 at 1:30 PM
â€œChristmas Time is Hereâ€ Writers: Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi Original Release Date: December 1965
Itâ€™s the most wonderful time of year! Christmas is less than a month away, which basically means Iâ€™ve been listening to festive music for the past two weeks. And what better way to ring in the holidays than with the classic â€œChristmas Time is Hereâ€.
If you were born at any point after 1965, youâ€™ve probably seen one of the greatest animated movies of all time: A Charlie Brown Christmas. Itâ€™s pretty much unavoidable during the month of December, though I canâ€™t imagine why anyone would want to ignore it, since itâ€™s amazing. The opening scene with Charlie Brown and Linus is soundtracked by the sweet rendition of â€œChristmas Time is Hereâ€, which was written specifically for the special. The clear vocalsâ€”recorded by the choir of St. Paulâ€™s Episcopal Church in Californiaâ€”are unmistakable, and set the tone for Charlie Brownâ€™s melancholy musings, against the backdrop of his friends skating on a frozen pond. For fans of the special, the tinkly piano immediately brings to mind simple cartoon lines and memories of sitting inside on a cold winterâ€™s day.
If the original version is soft pastels and warm fires, then Family Force 5â€™s cover is vibrant metallics and Christmas crackers. Kicked off with clapping and a stronger drum beat, this is a version that could have you shimmying around the Christmas tree, rather than discussing the true meaning of the holiday with your blanket-wielding friend (I still love you, Linus!). Tinkly pianos are traded in for a mini guitar solo and some gang vocals, but the festive spirit is still there.
Iâ€™ve been a fan of the Peanuts gang for years, so of course I love the original (you should also check out the mellow instrumental version!), but I have to be honest: I absolutely adore FF5â€™s entire Christmas Pageant album. Christian crunk rock isnâ€™t for everyone (how is that even a genre?), but it sure is fun to dance to. Plus it makes a great conversation-starter the next time you play it at a holiday party.