So it's that time of year again; tacky decorations abound, people in malls start to get that panicked look in their eyes, and every grocery store, gas station, and Starbucks blasts the same, tired old
holiday songs (which is the most likely culprit for the season's
elevated suicide rates).
Because we love you, we compiled a list of the best alternative
holiday songs. Some are thoughtful and eloquent, some are lovably
tacky, but all were chosen because they embody the true spirit of the
Pour yourself a Santa-sized glass of eggnog (that means... don't
skimp on the bourbon!) and cuddle up close to your Yuletide computer
screen; this is our holiday gift to you.
10. Wham - Last Christmas
This song is the confuser: "Do I hate it? Do I love it?" Well I don't know, and I'm not sure that I mind. It's just awful enough to be lovable, and that is why it's number ten.
9. Beck - Little Drum Machine Boy
This song starts out with some pretty generic '90s drum machine beats until a robotic M.C. comes in and starts dropping rhymes. Beck then says, "That's the Chanukah Robot funk. Right about now, we're gonna drop some Chanukah science... Yea-yea." And then it's an awesome Beck song about (the aforementioned) Chanukah science, vaguely to the melody of "Little Drummer Boy." Awesome.
8. The Sonics - I Don't Believe in Christmas
This song is about harboring resentment toward the entire event of Christmas because you didn't get the gift you wanted. Well, what would the holidays be without at least one person being irrationally grinchy for selfish and materialistic reasons? (By the way, if you know anyone like this... go find them and share your eggnog with them!)
7. David Bazan - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
From Pedro the Lion's frontman, on one of his solo records, comes a cover of the old Christmas classic, with some extra verses of his own. It's haunting, all in minor chords, and Bazan sings with such heaviness. Like many things about this holiday, it is sad and beautiful. But unlike most of those things, this is actually original and sincere.
6. Bright Eyes - Blue Christmas
This is not the maudlin affair you might expect from a Bright Eyes cover of "Blue Christmas." Nor is it camped up like the Elvis version. It hits a nice middle ground and turns a song that has been ruined for me into something really listenable. (I'm sorry Elvis; I love you and once loved your cover of "Blue Christmas," but I worked in the mall in high school, so I pretty much never want to hear it again.)
5. The Pixies - Holiday Song
So this isn't strictly a holiday song... but it's called "Holiday Song," and it certainly captures the feeling of disillusionment and regret that so many people tend to feel around this time. So I will call this... the song that you blast in your car when you offer to drive to the liquor store for your wasted family just so you can escape the madness for 20 minutes.
2. You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch
Sometimes, after an entire month of hearing "Jingle Bell Rock" every time I want to purchase an overpriced coffee drink, I start to feel like a Grinch. And this song is always there to remind me that I'm not alone. Wonderfully sleazy and loungey, this song will be in our hearts for many holidays to come, I think. And in case you get any ideas, Mister Grinch, remember that "I wouldn't touch you with a... thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole!"
Only Thieves - Hammered for the Holidays
Though these Tallahassee natives are little-known outside of our fair capital, I had to throw this in there because it so perfectly captures the spirit of the season. Plus, there's the sound of a beer can being popped 12 seconds in. I'm into it. (Click to Download it FREE!)
WORST Holiday Song:
Adam Sandler - The Chanukah Song
Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, knows this song... but nobody likes it. And after 15 years of hearing it every holiday season, I'm tired of hearing it. "The Chanukah Song" was kind of funny for the first five years or so, but now it is time for it to die. Where's that homicidal Robot Santa from Futurama when you need him???