IJK – “Blue Christmas”

 IJK – “Blue Christmas”

Join me as I dive on in here and defy the odds of my usual seasonal standards of how I tend to feel about the ol’ yuletide tunes!  If you’ve read these pages of ours on the regular over these past eight years or more, chances are around December you’ve run into some pretty opinionated pieces from me before…

…but not today.  I don’t want everyone out there to get carried away and start sending over there Christmas tunes in a mad hurry before the 25th – this song is special.  A perfect example of what timeless songwriting is all about, “Blue Christmas” has always been one of the rare Christmas cuts to break through to me and get me in the spirit…it’s just got such a stunning mix of beautiful melancholy to it.  Not only does “Blue Christmas” overcome the obstacle of my seasonal stigma – but it ALSO ends up breaking through another brick wall I’ve put up long over time, which is that I’ve never been an Elvis guy either!  So just for a second…imagine…close your eyes…think of all I just said…and think of just how truly amazing a song would have to be in order to push past all those barriers – it’s actually quite incredible.

Having the advantage of IJK being the artist to cover this tune also certainly works in its favor, and is definitely another reason this song still continues to connect to me even in a new variation here.  Believe it or not, I’m not actually anti-Christmas-song…I’m just always looking for the ones that aren’t just so straightforwardly holly-jolly, you know?  “Blue Christmas” hits that mark for me – and I felt like IJK took this cover on, because deep down he really gets this song and what makes it as special as it is.  Hearing his faithful rendition here was a remarkable pleasure – and I sincerely mean that – it was great to experience the song I love, slightly updated just enough to notice, but also comparable enough that it would leave some listeners out there surely doing a double-take and guessing as to whether or not it actually WAS Elvis singing or not.  Given his level of influence on music’s history and the scene still to this very day across the planet – I’d have to imagine that’s quite the compliment to IJK’s “Blue Christmas,” and to him as an artist overall; I might never have been a huge fan, but I certainly grew up with Elvis like just about everyone else I know did at some point – and hearing a version as spot-on as this was a true joy.  To me, it was like hearing confirmation that my favorite song of the season is going to continue to live on for years & years, refreshed occasionally by artists like IJK that can make it work.

Ultimately I think there are really only a couple of kinds of cover songs in this world.  I think you’ve got those that try to be too different and mess up what we love about the original, I think there are safe versions where bands/artists just try their best to play a song they love but stay in their lane without attempting to give it anything of their own, and I think there’s a third type of cover – a more tributary based style of approach like this – that goes into the task with the explicit intentions of showing that love & respect for the first version by coming as close to it as possible.  While those last two kinds of covers are actually fairly similar on a fundamental level – it’s passion that makes the difference; it’s all about the artist/band in control when it comes to the success of the third scenario, and what separates it from the second one.  You want to hear versions like IJK’s “Blue Christmas” – because you can literally HEAR in his voice how much he loves this song and connects to its melody – and if you needed further proof of just how into it he is, you’ve got the lyric-video supporting it with him on screen, every once in a while giving just enough of a lip curl for you to know he knows his Elvis inside & out, I’d be willing to bet.

It’s great to have this Lebanese artist back on our pages in time for the holidays with a song that’s worth celebrating about – I wish IJK all the best this Christmas & New Year from all the way over here where we are based in Canada – and I’ve definitely got to thank him for putting me in the seasonal spirit with this faithful cover of “Blue Christmas,” he’s put in a performance to be proud of on a truly classic cut.

Find out more from the IJK official homepage at:  http://www.imadjackkaram.com

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