I am going to write a very true line about Christmas music that my wife vehemently disagrees with. Are you ready for it?
Most Christmas music is just terrible. It’s annoying, overplayed and uninspiring.
There are three stations in Edmonton dedicated to Christmas music. I cringe when my family sings along to ‘Jingle Bells’ in the vehicle. And I cringe even more knowing almost every department store repeats ‘Let it Snow.’
Christmas music is tired.
I worked as a grocery clerk when I was younger and it ruined Christmas music for me forever. I associate the classic Christmas songs with stumbling into the grocery store at 5 a.m., stocking stove-top stuffing boxes, facing up cans of cranberry sauce and breathing the stale air of a 90s-era IGA.
But does fresh Christmas music exist? I want some new-age Christmas music. Something different. How can I influence the music decisions in my family vehicle throughout the holiday season?
As a result of this Christmas dilemma, I have decided to compile a list of some of my favourite alternative Christmas tunes. Some songs for those facing the Christmas music grind who really need a change.
‘Christmas in Hollis’ by RUN-DMC
I had to include this on the list. It is featured in Die Hard, which is a Christmas movie.
RUN-DMC never wanted to make Christmas song. They made ‘Christmas in Hollis’ after being convinced by their publicist to contribute a song to a Christmas album benefiting the Special Olympics.
The group refused to re-do any type of classic Christmas song, so they remixed a beat from ‘Back Door Santa’ to make the iconic beat heard in ‘Christmas in Hollis.’ AV Club has the full story about this iconic alternative Christmas song.
I first watched Die Hard when I was 10 and this song reminds of sneaking R-rated movies during Christmas break with my older brother.
‘Christmas in the Room’ by Sufjan Stevens
I was complaining to some friends about my Christmas dilemma, and they insisted that I check out anything Christmas-related by Sufjan Stevens. ‘Christmas in the Room’ is an upbeat folky Christmas song. My wife and I had a wonderful Christmas before we were parents and couldn’t make it back to St. Albert. It was a special time that was just for us. This song reminds of that time.
Start a fire, pour a nice glass of wine, snuggle a special friend and listen to this unique tune.
‘White Christmas’ by Stiff Little Fingers
Time to kick this list into a higher gear!
Stiff Little Fingers is a very cool punk band from Belfast, Ireland. They originally formed in the late 70s and they are still touring. They recently played the Starlite Room in Edmonton. A staff member at the Gazette was at the show and SLF still can rock, even in their 50s.
Their version of ‘White Christmas’ is great. It is traditional enough that it can be pulled off at family gatherings, but throws a different flavor into the Christmas playlist.
‘Christmas in Harlem’ by Kanye West
Melodic and nice to listen to, Kanye hits the mark with this song.
It’s different and unique, as far as Christmas music goes. I am not a huge fan of Kanye, but I appreciate anything different that sounds good this time of year.
‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ by Bad Religion
More punk belongs on this list. I feel it needs to be injected into any solid list of Christmas music.
I enjoy Bad Religion. This song rocks. It is short, to the point and blows out the speakers. Spice up your Christmas party with this rocker.
‘Merry Christmas Baby’ by Otis Redding
God, I love Otis Redding. He rips right into this song immediately in the first ten seconds. His iconic voice is incredible. It will make anyone feel good on a cold December day. If you are out for a stroll in Centennial Park, and you need a tune to give you some jump in your step—this is a Christmas winner.
‘Christmas at the Zoo’ by The Flaming Lips
This song is a little out there. But it is also a lot of fun. Give it a try, but BEWARE! The Flaming Lips could end up sucking you in!
If you like this song, give the album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots a listen. That album has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but it is fantastic.
‘Thank God it’s Christmas’ by Queen
Freddie Mercury. Need I say more? I don’t think so. So I won’t.