In the tradition of the joyous occasion of St. Nick fitting his fat, boisterous and loving self down our chimneys worldwide on Christmas Eve; the night would not be complete without a Christmas music playlist.
If you can manage to wade through the gluttonous behaviour and kitschy decor of the season, we’ve thrown together a list of Christmas songs that lend a not-so-typical, matchless spin on things. Grab your hymnals and sing along. Happy listening!
‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’ by John Lennon and Yoko Ono: What better way to spice up a Christmas playlist then with a little Lennon? Originally a protest song against the Vietnam war, its lyrics are based on a campaign where John and Yoko plastered slogans on billboards in eleven cities around the world. It’s a timeless tune.
‘Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!’ by Sufjan Stevens: Instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens must really love the season; he’s released five full-length Christmas albums so far. It’s cheesy, but why not? This poetic yet simple and catchy track describes the typical Christmas family scene with a childlike joy.
‘Father Christmas’ by the Kinks: For a little redemption, this 1977 rocking ballad tells the tale of a department store Father Christmas that gets beaten up by a group of kids who are simply asking for a little dough instead of toys; a humorous take on the pathetic mastermind of consumerism. Save the toys for the rich kids!
‘Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis’ by Neko Case: Hats off to Neko, who manages to turn a Tom Wait’s classic into a beautifully sweet song. From the sadness in the organ to Neko’s delicate vocals, the song seems to take on a much more emotional meaning. How can you not want to just reach out and give her a big hug?
‘Candy Cane Children’ by the White Stripes: The raspy guitar keeps you grooving in that typical White Stripes way. Interestingly enough, the term candy cane children is used to describe committed fans of this renowned garage rock band, who take their turn at a Christmas song with their unreserved cynicism regarding the holiday spirit.
‘Let Me Sleep’ by Pearl Jam: This 90s hit expresses the tragic loss of Christmas magic as we grow up, which is soon replaced with the desire to simply rest instead– it’s the holidays! Vedder’s voice still has that raw, passionate sound, producing a nostalgic feel that takes us back to childhood. Where did the mysticism go?
‘December will be Magic Again’ by Kate Bush: Regardless of when this was released (really, we have no idea), this avant-garde, oddly psychedelic and sultry strangeness has got us filled with all sorts of questions. Bush’s perspective on Christmas includes parachutes and Oscar Wilde; so what is there not to like?
‘All that I Want’ by the Weepies: Recorded just a few years ago, this sentimental track exposes one’s love, cleverly intertwined with an enchanting look at Mother Nature’s effervescent beauty. The vocals are calming, relating perfectly with the acoustics; so grab a cup of creamy cocoa, slide into your favourite sweatpants and dream away.
‘Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto’ by James Brown: Leave it to James Brown and the year of 1968 to produce a Christmas song with such an amazing title. Making it a funky Christmas indeed, this groovy Motown tune combines a little consciousness with coolness, creating a rad little number with jazzy horns.
‘White Winter Hymnal’ by the Fleet Foxes: The first single off of their 2008 debut album, the choir-like vocals and echoing harmonies are beautifully pitched. The drums and guitars flood in like a burst of light, and it’s then that this song starts to wrap you up like a warm, fuzzy blanket. Christmas or not, this track could fit no other season.