Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Seasonal Music Roundup: A Christmas Playlist

Christmas music doesn't have to be good to be enjoyable. It's something about the dorky gushy feelings we can get inside just because of all the lights we use to run up our holiday electricity bills and the snow that makes it harder to drive and the biting cold. I can't imagine living a life in which I don't romanticize these things even just a tiny bit. And the Christmas songs that play on the radio and in department stores every year around this time are yet another cliched staple that I wouldn't live without.

So, needless to say, I have quite a few personal favorites when it comes to "holiday" songs. Here are some non-traditional or revamped traditional "Christmas" songs that I enjoy. For once, I am allowing this playlist to include the goofiest, most childish songs I enjoy. Because...hey, it's Christmas! You only have to worry about these things for like a month, why not listen to whatever you want?

"Sleigh Ride" by KT Tunstall
This is a nice, poppy Christmas cover. Tunstall manages to cover the song without destroying the original piece and without destroying her own artistic style. 

"Snowflake" by Everybody Else
A couple of years ago, Everybody Else released a holiday-themed song and video just a few short days before Christmas. I fell in love with it instantly and was quite disappointed when it was taken down only days later. Luckily, this track did surface again as a Kickstarter prize but the video has yet to return. Personally, I think it's a very cute, heartfelt Christmas tune.
"Riu Chiu" by The Monkees
The Monkees performed this old Spanish carol for their Christmas special. The vocal parts are really beautiful.

"December Will Be Magic Again" by Kate Bush
For the young at heart. Not specifically a Christmas song, more just about the joy and wonder of winter and the Christmas season. A very cool song.

"Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses
You know how some people have a soft spot for things? I have a soft gaping hole for The Waitresses. This song is just...really sweet? It's one of those early rap songs like Blondie's "Rapture" that is just special. I also think the swear word in this song may be the most commonly overlooked in radio history.

"2000 Miles" by The Pretenders
One of my favorite bands performing an original Christmas song. It's a very lovely song, and it can make me a little emotional. There's also a more strings-oriented live version from Isle of View. KT Tunstall and Coldplay have both covered it as well.

"Little Saint Nick" by Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
This might be the best cover of any song ever. I do have a tendency to hyperbolize though. But seriously, Animal alone makes this song amazing.

"Christmas All Over Again" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
This song is frequently overlooked, which is a pity. It's poppier than most Tom Petty stuff, but it's very catchy.

"Carol of the Bells" by The Bird and the Bee
Another example of a great cover of a classic holiday song. This sounds just like a Bird and the Bee song, even though it's clearly a classic Christmas tune.

"Oh Holy Night" by Weezer
Out of an entire album of Weezer Christmas songs, this is by far my favorite.

"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Death Cab For Cutie
I will listen to almost anything Ben Gibbard sings. Other versions of this song now sound strange.

"One More Sleep 'Till Christmas" by Kermit the Frog
From The Muppets' 1992 film The Muppet Christmas Carol, this is one of the cutest Christmas songs in recent history. I fondly remember singing this song (amended to suit the day) weeks before Christmas.

"Let It Snow" by A Fine Frenzy
This is a beautiful Christmas song, only helped by Alison Sudol's beautiful voice.

"Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid
However you may feel about any of the artists that participated in Band-Aid, this is in-arguably a quintessential Christmas song, as well as being an important historical song.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee
Yet another classic. I enjoy this song greatly, no matter how many times I hear it.

Fans of Doctor Who may recognize this song without knowing why. Apart from being a classic 70s Christmas song, "Merry Xmas Everybody" was featured in the 2005 and 2006 Doctor Who Christmas specials. I thought it was a tradition they'd stick with, but no such luck. Rooney also did a brilliant cover.

"Run, Rudolph Run" by Chuck Berry
Particularly memorable from Home Alone, this song sounds like every other Chuck Berry song, but I still love it.

"Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon
You know how sometimes you just like that song because it's embedded in your personal history? But I'm also not going to argue with the message of this song.

"Holly Jolly Christmas" by The Format
When I heard about this cover, I assumed it would be horrible. But Nate Ruess actually makes it sound cute and genuine.

"Christmas is Cancelled" by The Long Blondes
Bearing much similarity to an Elvis Costello song (circa Armed Forces), this is a catchy original Christmas song by one of my favorite bands.

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