Monday, 3 December 2012

Alternative Christmas Choons

It's December!  Finally!  Can you tell we've been excited about Christmas since, ooh, September? Even if you're not that bothered about the festive season, one thing you can't escape is Christmas songs - in the shops, on the radio, sung by urchins on street corners or if you're really unlucky on your doorstep.  Listening to Mariah frickin' Carey for the millionth time is enough to drive anyone pure mad mental, particularly if you're stuck in a throng of slow Christmas shoppers in the St James Centre.  Avoid those homicidal urges by listening to these top Christmas songs and remember that the bells will end and that you won't need to speak to the ker-azy guy at the office party that yells "It's Chriiiiissttmassss!" Noddy Holder-stylee again for another 12 months.  Here are our top picks - what are yours?

Katey - The best Christmas song ever is Fairy Tale of New York - it's a scientific fact.*  And there are plenty of high street Christmas favourites which will always be stone cold classics, like Jona Lewie's Stop the Cavalry, the entire Phil Spector's Christmas album, and the cheesy joy of Wham's Last Christmas.  But looking further afield and there have been some awesome Christmas albums from the past few years to enjoy - Tim Wheeler and Emmy the Great's funny and sarcastic pop on This is Christmas last year was particularly brilliant.  My other favourites are The Eels' Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas, super fun guitar pop you can bounce around to and with a refrain of "Baby Jesus - born to rock!", it's impossible not to love.  Low's lo-fi with bells Just Like Christmas is an indiepop Chrimbo classic for a good reason - it's beautifully festive without being over the top.  Any bah-humbuggers can enjoy Malcolm Middleton's 2007 bid for Christmas #1 We're All Gonna Die - there's absolutely nothing festive about this at all except for the very Bad Santa in the video.  And The Raveonettes Christmas Song is something totally different - this isn't your typical Christmas song, more of a feedback drenched ode to 60's Spector ballads and its wintry wistful longing makes me want to cosy up to my honey in front of twinkly Christmas lights, waiting for snow to fall.  
* Proven by the Scientific Journal of Christmastide

Jane: Thank GOD for Katey’s indie kudos, because my Christmas picks definitely fall more into the "cringey office tackfest" category. In prize place on my cheeseboard is what I consider to be the truly underappreciated festive tune A Spaceman Came Travelling, from schmalzmeister Chris De Burgh, the alternative nativity in which Jesus rocks up to earth in a UFO (or something). Do I have cool taste in music? “Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah”…

Along marginally more credible lines, the She and Him Christmas album, A Very She and Him Christmas, is a collection of sweetly folky festive tunes that’s perfect soundtrack for an afternoon of decorating the tree and eating mince pies. I also love the tinkly I Do Not Care for the Winter Sun from melancholic dream pop duo Beach House (their beautiful album Bloom is probably my favourite of 2012), and for a fresher take on an old roasted chestnut, try Summer Camp’s All I Wonderful Christmas is You (just ignore that painfully ironic title).

For something a little more trad, I generally have tinselly tearjerker Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, as sung by Judy Garland, on repeat come December 1. Has me snuffling into the sleeve of my novelty reindeer jumper every time.

And finally: the Muppets. Because at Christmas, you simply can’t not have the Muppets.


Chiara: I'm somewhat relieved that neither Katey or Jane mentioned Michael Bublé. Not so that I can wax lyrically about decorating the tree with a glass of mulled wine accompanied by Bublé's dulcet tones, but rather, so that I can put it firmly out there - such a toothy grim and general smarmy persona has no place in my household (apologies to those who will be listening to his renditions whilst merrily eating your turkey).

On the other hand, I am prone to the classics; All I Want for Christmas is You puts a spring in my step, and come the inevitable alcohol fuelled 'let's do karaoke' suggestion, I do a wicked interpretation of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

But as cool as I try to be (I'm listening to A Very She and Him Christmas whilst I type), nothing beats The Waitresses. Christmas Wrapping has long been a favourite of mine, and the next to be attempted (somewhat failingly) at the Christmas karaoke. Enjoy!


  1. Ahh, I loved this post! Got me creating my Christmas playlist while I read it x

    1. Hope it made you feel Christmassy! :-)

  2. Yes, yes, yes to the Muppets' Scrooge song!! :) Mud's Lonely This Christmas is always on my list :)

    1. The Muppets ARE Christmas! It's not the same without them. Lonely This Christmas is another classic, you've got to get the ballads in :-)

  3. I can't believe I forgot to mention Stay Another Day by East 17. I love those bells.

  4. I also love Baby It's Cold Outside - cheeky without being sexy elf fur-trimmed red hotpants, if that makes sense...