Top 10 Christmas Songs For People Who Hate Christmas Music (VIDEO)
Sappy carols getting you down? Here are some great Christmas songs to get you into the holiday spirit.
Thanksgiving is gone and the Christmas season approaches with the tinkling of bells and the ringing of cash registers. As a Jewish atheist with an occasional Buddhist inclination, I can’t say that I have much emotional investment in the season, but it’s not a bad time of the year. People are generally nicer, so long as they’re not actively involved in a shopping frenzy. Things slacken off at work (if you have the good fortune to not be working retail), and the office is festooned with colorful lights. There are potlucks and Christmas cookies and, if you’re lucky, a few days off. Still, there is one feature of the season that makes me want to take up my cast iron menorah and gird my loins for war: Christmas music. Those Christmas songs often sound mawkish and wretched and are seemingly omnipresent.
So, by way of fighting back against this distressing musical trend I offer, without further ado, a list of Christmas songs for those of us who hate Christmas music.
10. Jethro Tull — “A Christmas Song.”
I must admit to having a bit of a love/hate relationship with Jethro Tull. On the one hand, they are frequently silly, rather pretentious, and the flute thing grows tiresome. On the other hand, “Locomotive Breath” is an awesome song. Here’s a very early track, addressing the true meaning of Christmas in a manner that I wager Pope Francis might approve of.
9. Erlösung — “Silent Night.”
Black metal is one of those genres that doesn’t work for everyone. Personally, I’m a fan. Erlösung is a bit of an anomaly though, being that they are a Christian black metal band, something that purists regard as inherently contradictory. I’m not a purist, and I dig what they do to “Silent Night.”
8. Bruce Springsteen — “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.”
I would be remiss not to include this one. When it comes to Christmas music, my mom’s feelings are much the same as my own. But back in the day, when this song came on the radio, she would turn it all the way up.
7. The Knife– “Christmas Reindeer.”
The Knife make deeply weird electronic music that is oddly compelling. Technically, this is a bit of a stretch, since this track was originally titled “Reindeer,” but it’s been repurposed, and I think it works.
6. The Darkness — “Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End).”
Ah, the Darkness. An entirely sincere mashup of the excesses of 70s arena rock and 80s glam metal. They are absolutely ridiculous and so is their Christmas song. I love it.
5. The Ramones — “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight).”
A simple and subversive classic from the Ramones.
4. Christopher Lee — “Little Drummer Boy.”
This one is quite traditional save for two things. One, it is Sir Christopher Lee. Two, it is metal as fuck.
3. The Flaming Lips — “Christmas At The Zoo.”
These days, the Flaming Lips spend more time hanging out with Miley Cyrus and recording odd cover albums than doing anything else, but back in the day they had a string of remarkably good albums. This little bit of whimsy is from Clouds Taste Metallic, which I sort of think is their masterpiece.
2. The Kinks — “Father Christmas.”
The Kinks have been making brilliant music for five decades. Here’s a Christmas song mixed with a bit of biting social commentary.
1. The Pogues — “Fairytale of New York.”
Lastly, here is the single best Christmas song of all time. Shane MacGowan has managed a perfect blend of heartbreak and hope, and it is a hell of a lot better than hearing “Jingle Bells” for the 500th time.
So there you go. Hopefully, these Christmas songs will prove an antidote for the insipid twaddle you be subjected to for the next four weeks.
Photo: cc 2008 Hilde Skjølberg.
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