Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday songs that don't suck.

Once upon a time, when I was younger and therefore slightly smaller I worked at a calendar store for the holiday season. It was one of those Show Up in the Middle of the Night stores that open up shop right after Halloween and disappear again around mid-January, and if I was a nerd I'd tell you that those stores totally remind me of Something Wicked This Way Comes.

But, uh...I'm not a nerd. No really, I'm not. That literary reference didn't even occur to me, I don't know why I typed that.

So we were allowed to play approximately one Christmas CD while we worked there, continuously looping on our five hour shifts, and I am not kidding when I tell you that this one CD was Christmas with the Chipmunks. To this day, if I hear that line "Me I want/A huuuula-hooop" I turn all Manchurian Candidate, black out for a few hours, and wake up with blood on my hands.

So in the spirit of giving you guys some winter and holiday music that doesn't want to make you kill people and that you might not have heard before, here's thirty-seven songs, some completely original and new, some awesome covers of those classics that you might not necessarily hate. Yes, my music taste is varied enough that not everybody is going to like everything on this list, but pick and choose and stop being a Grinch.

And please, please, please - if you have a favorite holiday song and I didn't put it on here, or if you know of other places to get kick ass holiday music, leave me a comment and let me know. :) Me? I'm a sucker for the entire soundtrack to A Muppet Christmas Carol. There, you caught me.

1) Carol of the Bells by Celtic Woman

2) Blue Christmas by Bright Eyes

3) 2000 Miles by Coldplay

4) Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Jack Johnson

5) Old Borego by Switchfoot

6) Give the Jew Girl Toys - by Sarah Silverman

7) A New York Christmas by Patrick Green

8) Love Like Winter - AFI

9) O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Enya

10) Star of Bethlehem by Angels & Airwaves

11) O Holy Night by Eric Cartman (Southpark version)

12) Stop the Cavalry by Cory Band

13) Lights and Buzz by Jack's Mannequin

14) Winter's Carol by Tori Amos

15) A Jagged Gorgeous Winter by The Main Drag

16) 12/23/95 by Jimmy Eat World

17) Twelve Days of Christmas by John Denver and the Muppets

18) Happy Xmas (War is Over) by Sensefield

19) Horchata by Vampire Weekend

20) Christmas Song by Dave Matthews Band

21) A Great Big Sled by The Killers

22) Soul Cake by Sting

23) Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson

24) Star of Wonder by Tori Amos

25) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Coldplay

26) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies, ft. Sarah McLachlan

27) This Time of Year by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

28) Snow by Loreena McKennitt

29) Winter Wonderland by Phantom Planet

30) White Christmas by Aimee Mann

31) Morning has Broken by Neil Diamond

32) Carol of the Bells by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

33) Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

34) Blue Christmas by Elvis

35) Baby, it's Cold Outside by Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel

36) It Feels Like Christmas by The Muppets ( A Muppet Christmas Carol)

37) My December by Linkin Park

You're welcome. Oh, and if you're always on the lookout for new holiday music like I am, is giving you 25 days of free holiday mp3s here.


Gwen said...

Great list!!! And thank you for the heads up on the free holiday music. :) XOXO

Iva said...

Great List! {ps...I tried to respond through email to you ...couldn't find your email}

Wilder Konschak said...

1 out of 37 ain't bad... considering the topic...

Phoenix said...

Okay, I'm curious as to which one song you liked...I'm gonna guess "Baby it's Cold Outside" because it's sung by Zooey but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. :)

New England Girl said...

I am so not adventurous when it comes to holiday tunes, although I appreciate your list. :) I am a sucker for the "legends" doing the classics: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, etc... I make a mixed tape every holiday season and play it over and over and over... it's sickening sometimes, but I can't help it. :) I never get tired of them, and I rarely - if ever - let any newbies in. :)

Kris said...

Amazing List. I LOVE Bruce's Santa Claus is Comin to Town... oh gosh so many others.

And hey, if you end up making that baked pasta dish, let me know what you think! I do wonder how the smoked cheese would taste, but I couldn't find any at my store and didn't feel like that smokey flavor. Sometimes that can overpower a dish, esp when you aren't feeling the flavor at the moment.


Jenn said...

those are all great picks!!!

my favorite one is so odd. its this song called "christmas wrapping" by the waitresses, and no one's ever heard of it, yet i love it. :)

drollgirl said...

christmas music makes me want to shoot myself! i was at the mall the other day and i was cursing under my breath at all of that non-stop awful christmas music!!!

SORRY TO BE A KILLJOY! hahahha. i will make it through this season. i just have to be careful where i go so that i am not exposed to this stuff! :)

Ida Nielsen said...

Gosh, I feel stupid. I only know like 1/4 of these to iTunes to hear more ;-)

B. Nagel said...

I worked in a local office supply store that believed Christmas started in October. A local radio station held the same philosophy. Guess what we listened to for 3 months . . .

Nice call on the BNL and Crosby/Bowie tunes. Some of my favorites.

Relient K put out a disc called Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Fist which was rereleased as Let it Snow, Let it Reindeer. Some good ones on there.

I'd also recommend Straight No Chaser, an acapella group with some jazzy chops.

akka b. said...

I've never even thought about arranging "good" Christmas music. Hot tips ~ so glad to have cheat sheet!

krista said...

dude! i'm so excited to get some good holiday music. i'm a sucker for holiday music that doesn't blow.

oh, and p.s.....
your post is up :-)

Lori ann said...

This is a fun idea! you have obviously done a lot of work putting this up for us so thankyou!
I like them all, the old and new. Have you heard Santa Baby? i think it's originally sung by Eartha Kitt. It's cute. And james Taylor had a christmas c.d out that i loved. i wonder where that went? hmmm...

Darcy said...

o i love this list!!! thank you for sharing. i gotta now find the jack johnson rudolph song!

Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

I absolutely cannot wait to create this playlist and hear it~! It looks so eclectic. I have an old vinyl collection from Readers Digest from 1984 with 4 records that my daughters and I loved. I am trying to find a way to get it recorded onto a CD because we loved it. You are making me feel all holiday like. (And I loved the reference to Something Wicked This Way Comes.)

Barbara said...

Marvelous list!!!!
I found a station on Sirius (4) that is all Chritmas music all the time. They do everything and I mean everything. Old and new. (Was lucky enough to get Sirius on my new car!)

Angie Muresan said...

Awesome list Phoenix! There are few holiday songs that I can stand to hear throughout the season.

Celia said...

what do you have against alvin?? ;)

if you ask me, any list with elvis on it is a great list.

Wilder Konschak said...

It is "Baby It's Cold Outside," but not because of Zooey. I like earlier versions of it just as well.

Why? It's a song about sex and romance. It's not sentimental or stiff, it's not wishing me well, it's not trying to make me feel sad or cheerful. It's just a little dialogue. As a result, it's the only song on the list that makes me think, yeah, there are reasons that winter is a nice time of year.

However. I would argue: it's not a holiday song at all. It's just a love song set in the winter.

Which, upon further review, would bring you to 0 out of 37.

Wilder Konschak said...

PS: I love Christmas, it's my favorite holiday, and I decorate early, and have spent the last several days decorating my cube at work.

But holiday songs suck.

Marion said...

First, I love your new blog format, Phoenix. It's awesome. And secondly, thanks for all your kind words and encouragement at my blog. I really do appreciate you. I'm hanging in.

I listened to some of your song choices and I have to agree that the totally don't suck. (I still can't hear "Blue Christmas" by Elvis without crying!)

I love and appreciate you, my friend. Blessings!

PS: We're getting a very rare SNOW storm here in lower Louisiana. It hasn't snowed like this in 20 years. It's magic, pure magic!!!

Dave said...

"White Christmas" needs Bing...and don't forget to watch the movie! One of my all time favorites.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's impressive that you could list 37 songs. I can only think of maybe 10 off the top of my head. A Muppet Christmas Carol is so good because it is so surprising. I first saw it with such low expectations and it turned out to be much better than I expected. But overall, I guess I like mostly traditional songs at Christmas time.


Wow...what a list!
I kinda love the oldies but goodies...The Carpenters classics are wonderful!

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