Can’t-miss Christmas Songs
It’s inevitable: every Holiday season our ears are assaulted with Christmas carols. They fill the shopping mall halls as the Halloween decorations are coming down and don’t stop until Baby New Year fills his diaper. They’re on the radio at work, home and in the car. They’re on every TV show and commercial break. There’s simply no escaping it. And for some people it’s maddening. Fortunately for me I am not one of those people – I love Christmas music and can put up with most of it (except for the Mariah Carey and Bob Dylan albums – both aural abominations. The Dylan one hurts me the most because I’m such a fan, but it sounds like your drunk uncle doing Christmas karaoke.). But fear not, I’m here to help those of you who are driven to near insanity with the saccharine seasonal songs that bombard us every year. I’ve delved into my extensive Holiday music collection and ear marked 10 songs that will let you celebrate the season without losing your mind.
- Donna & Blitzen, Badly Drawn Boy – from the About a Boy soundtrack, this song gets stuck in my head for days, but in a good way.
- Xmas Time is Here Again, My Morning Jacket – their whole holiday EP, My Morning Jacket Does Christmas Fiasco Style is great, but this song is a standout for me.
- White Christmas, Otis Redding – sure, the Bing version is great, but Otis injects so much soul into this standard. He doesn’t just dream of a white Christmas, he begs and pleads for it.
- Toy Jackpot, Blackalicious – hip hop legends inject swagger and cool into the anxiety kids feel as Christmas gets closer. A song both my kids and myself love. Also used in this Target commercial!
- Electronic Santa Claus, Blazer Force – if Daft Punk did a Christmas song, this would be it. Great song to dance to with the kids. (Also used in a Target commercial, see vid above)
- Tiny Tree Christmas – Guster – a nice jangly and poppy song that will make you tap your toes and put a smile on your face. Annnnd, I bet you know what’s coming… go Target!
- If Christmas Can’t Bring You Home – Reigning Sound – great holiday heartbreak song from garage rock god Greg Cartwright’s awesome outfit. This is my favourite Christmas song period. Listen here.
- Calling and Not Calling My Ex, Okkervil River – a bit of a stretch as a Holiday song, but it does have jingle bells and a verse that paints a lovely Christmas picture. Watch a live version here.
- Maybe This Christmas, Ron Sexsmith – a sweet and soulful seasonal song that is equal parts hope and melancholy – like a modern day Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Listen to a preview here.
- The Ventures Christmas Album – OK, it’s a whole album, but if you want to arm your collection with the standards, this is the album to get. From the first to last song, this album from the surf rock superstars is awesome, tying in popular riffs from 60’s hits into Christmas classics. And it’s instrumental, so it makes the perfect background music to any Christmas party. Just be sure to pick up their original 1964 album, and not the more synthy version recorded in 2003.
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