Progressive Boink Holiday Mixtape: Mannheim Steamroller's 'Good King Wenceslas.'

When I was 18, my friend's dad was looking for a window A/C unit for a trailer he had out in the country, so I went looking through my family's garage for an old unit we weren't using anymore. It looked five million years old, but it worked, so I gave it to him. Upon seeing it, he said, "wow, I was expecting one that was really old! I know that probably looks old to you, but to me it just looks like something I could have bought at the store yesterday."

That stuck with me, because I wondered whether I'd get like that -- whether my idea of "new things" would, at some point, be usurped by, "the idea of new things I had when I was younger." I was right to wonder that, because Mannheim Steamroller's "Christmas" is 28 years old, and right now it sounds like some space-age cosmic thing that's being played by Optimus Prime-lookin' robots on the giant walk-on light-up keyboard from Big.

THIS SHIT JAMS. "Good King Wenceslas" is a song so forgotten and ass-old that nobody who isn't Sufjan Stevens will ever cover it. I don't know who King Wenceslas and I find it hilarious that there's a thing called a "Feast of Stephen." And this, of all songs, is the jam of the entire album.

It was near-impossible for me to decide whether to choose between this song and the final song, "Silent Night," which is sort of crippingly beautiful and transports me straight back to every "11 p.m. on December 25th" I've ever had. The entire record is tremendously near and dear to me, and it's surely one of the very greatest Christmas albums ever made.

I'm not old because I like something old. I'm old because I hear this old thing and think it's new.

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