Around this point in the Christmas season, I’ve about had it with the Christmas music selection on the radio. I don’t know how it works, but I swear stations buy the rights to about 12-15 songs that fit their format and play them endlessly.
Sadly, they are missing out.
I love Christmas music in all it’s glorified cheesiness – the nostalgia, the “limited availability” feel of it, listening to my kids (and sometimes Kenny) sing-a-long…the list goes on. Bing, Burl, Frank, Nat, Dean, Peggy, The Ronettes – yes. Remakes that are not over-sung, over-whined, or over-popped? No. I just simply cannot stomach endless amounts of THAT Mariah song (you know the one. I am sort of sorry – I know so many people like it, including my own kids. I just cannot with that version), the Carpenters (I try to like their stuff, I really, really do) or … gasp! any sunsetting artist looking to turn a quick buck by butchering some old favorites (I’m looking at you, James Taylor).
Cue the drama: I am going to go big here and say that it is a TRAVESTY – a PNW and satellite radio disaster! – that I haven’t swooned to David Bowie’s and Bing Crosby’s Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy without me pushing play on my iTunes Christmas playlist. Something’s wrong, folks. Something’s wrong indeed. Granted, it’s probably my child-of-the-80s traditional listening habits, but still.
All this to say: if you’re like me, and tired of the same old shizz you’re hearing on the radio, I’ve prepared a mostly rock-ish list – in no particular order – of my some of my favorite not-frequently-played-but-definitely-should-be Christmas song favorites. I know I missed some good ones, so for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, I encourage you to comment and add to the list. #HelpASisterOut #HelpABrotherOut #SaveOurHolidaySoundtrack #TisTheSeasonToShare
(If you click a link, click the back arrow to come back to this page.)
- Merry Christmas, Baby – Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
- Christmas Song – Tim Reynolds and Dave Matthews (Love. Love. And usually tears.)
- Someday at Christmas (Alternate version)– Jack Johnson (the drums make this one extra fun)
- Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby and David Bowie (awk audio vignette aside. I do like to watch it on video)
- Christmas Lights – Coldplay
- Christmastime – Smashing Pumpkins
- Wonderful Christmas Time – The Shins (I read last year that this is one of – if not the – holiday song that gets the most spins. I’ve only heard it once this year, so I don’t buy it…hence: included on my list.)
- Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC (Yes.)
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – She and Him
- Electronic Santa Claus – Blazer Force (mostly because Gavin adored this when it was on the Target commercial, and it’s now a dance party tradition for us. Not that we frequently dance party, but when we do, and it’s the holidays, it’s ON. Side note: Remember when Target was cool at Christmas and owned the commercials scene and a did bespoke Christmas album? No? Check it out here – 2010 Christmas Gig Album. Lots of good listening.)
- The Man In the Christmas Suit – Neil Halstead (“Hey! It’s Jerry Garcia, ain’t he cute?” Yes. He is. A little dark, and possibly sad-ish, but I enjoy this version. Fountains of Wayne version is also solid. )
- Thanks for Christmas – XTC
- Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen (Because Freddy. Vocals on point. And it gets kind of yell-y at points, so you can unleash some seasonal frustrations by singing along at the top of your lungs.)
- Angels We Have Heard on High – Sufjan Stevens. (Such a unique arrangement. The chorus hasn’t left my soul since I heard it for the first time this season on Sunday. His music is wonderfully different if you have an appetite for that. Listen to the albums in full vs. by song to get the full experience. Eh, while you’re at it, let’s break the rules and check out: We Need a Little Christmas, Lumberjack Christmas /No One Can Save You From Christmases Past, O Come, O Come Emmanuel and Silent Night. There are a few more, but I cut myself off from linking.)
- Silent Night – Temptations. (Voices. Harmony. Just lovely.)
- 2000 Miles – Coldplay
- Fairytale of New York – The Pogues (Very Irish. But I like that.)
- Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas Time) – Pearl Jam
- Merry Christmas Everybody – Oasis (But I know there are many fans of the Slade original)
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Weezer (A slightly angsty take on the classic. You’re not quite sure if they are, in fact, wishing you a Merry Christmas, or if someone’s forcing them to sing it to you. Good for those off days during the season. )
- Snowman – Sia (New…but I am obsessed with the arrangement here. I also like Santa’s Coming for Us. )
- Shake Hands with Santa Claus – Louis Prima
- All I Want for Christmas – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes
I couldn’t find a suitable shareable version of Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night / Auld Lang Syne by Jimi Hendrix, but that’s worth a Google if you’re a fan.
P.S. This list *might* have included some Pentatonix songs, however, I was so traumatized by their silly Christmas special, I’ve not yet recovered. It was only made worse by the fact that the lead dude had on loafers and no socks. I don’t care how trendy this is, your feet are freaking slimy and wet coming out of those things and that shizz is never in style. And, that thought is permanently melded into my brain and I now can’t hear a Pentatonix song without picturing it. #NoThanks #PutSomeSocksOnYaHippie #ThoughtsOfYourFeetSlimeRuinedYourTunesForMe
FRIENDS! I am so excited for the return of Will & Grace. It is one of my all-time favorite shows and I am hoping for a healthy dose of fresh and nostalgia tomorrow night. I am steering clear of reviews and early media coverage so my viewing experience is unclouded. (By the way – totally unintentional late 90s / early thousands TV hits start to the blog there. I groaned when I re-read it, but couldn’t quite make myself replace it because it was a genuine greeting…and now it’s making me laugh.)
I happened to mention my excitement over Will’s & Grace’s & Karen’s & Jack’s return at the dinner table the other night. I was almost giddy as I spoke about it.
Grace leaned in with intense interest.
She peered across the table at me with giant blue eyes and said, “Is it going to be in white and black?”
I tilted my head and smirked.
I looked at Kenny. He gave me a sidelong glance and also smirked.
I looked back at Grace, and said, “Do you mean like black and white on the TV screen? So the picture wouldn’t have any color?”
She said, “Yep. Will this one be in color?”
DEAR LORD! How old does this child think I am?
Kenny coughed to hold back a guffaw and looked away from me and the rest of the table at the gorgeous view of light gray, just-moved-in-so-it-is-still-blank wall. He was doing it to be polite and not laugh in my face, but at this point after the move, I am telling myself he was imagining what pictures we were going to hang there so we can empty and dispose of another box.
I giggled and said, “Yes, it will be in color.” Under my breath: Just like all of the shows I have watched in my lifetime.
She was amazed. “Really? TV wasn’t in white and black when you were little?”
Um, no. No, it was not.
I said, “No, I’ve always had color TV. So did Daddy. I think color TV started when your GRAMS AND POPS were kids.”
She said, “Oh, cool.”
Cool. Yea. Totes cool. Since you think I am at least 25 years older than I am, have some fellowkid speak.
I said, “Yep – we can Google it later to be sure.” And then promptly excused myself from the table to don my housecoat*, soak my teeth* and rub some Ben-Gay on my old, achy muscles*. It was 7 p.m. after all.
*none of these things actually happened.