I have a friend who thinks ‘My Favorite Things’ is probably the saddest song in the world. Why, I asked. He said, listen to the words, particularly ‘I Simply remember my favorite things andd then I don’t feel so bad,’ and I guess yes, one would realize that in that particular phrase that person is substituting material things for his happiness, and yes, when yo do think about it, then yes that song is particularly sad.
All I gotta say now is do I have a version of ‘My Favorite Things’ for my friend. In Leslie Odom Jr’s Christmas album, ‘Simply Christmas’ he does a very contemplative version of that song that brings out all the nuances in the song that I bet even Oscar Hammerstein III didn’t realize he had in his lyrics. It’s a great version: Sad, psychotic, modern.
The rest of the album is just as magnificent, a perfect Holiday record for the times we live in. I don’t know about you, but there are moments I don’t feel like celebrating much this year. This album will musically represent what you feel. It’s seemingly recorded in minor chords, but Odom’s vocal is theatrical and soulful and soaring that it feels like he is imagining your pain, and at the same time giving hope. The ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas Here’ has never been more longing, and there is a soulful solemnity in ‘The First Noel’ I don’t think I have ever heard before. And when he closes with ‘Ave Maria,’ you will fall in love with Aaron Burr all over again. Don’t slit your wrist this Christmas, listen to ‘Simply CHristmas’ instead and feel your pain.