Sometimes it's hard to remember that there are Holiday songs that aren't about being jolly, rocking around Christmas trees, and drugging your girlfriend's drink
. From the dirgelike
to the hopelessly obscure
, here are some Christmas carols you probably won't hear on Black Friday.Some Christmas songs are spooky by their very nature:
O Come O Come Emmanuel
- This song is so ominous it's hard to find a pop rendition outside of the Christian Rock scene.
The Huron Carol
- Opens with the line "Twas in the moon of wintertime/When all the birds had fled." Delightful.
The Coventry Carol
- Sweet lullaby or murder ballad? You be the judge.
Once In Royal David's City
- The end credits to a movie where someone dies at the end.
In The Bleak Midwinter
- The word "bleak" is right there in the title, as a warning.
What to put on the playlist when you're hoping to invite a few underworldly guests to your holiday party? Carol Of The Bells
, of course.
Others go from cheerily traditional to horrorshow with a minor key arrangement and just the right feeling of doom and gloom:
Patti Smith's rendition of We Three Kings
. Sorrowing, Sighing, Bleeding, Dying, indeed.
Stevie Knicks' take on Silent Night.
You best be silent, or she'll put a hex on you.
Just imagine puppies crying as you listen to Sarah McLachlan's cover of Joni Mitchell's The River
Nothing says wassail like this glitchy monotone take on Good King Wenceslas by Sufjan Stephens
You can still find upbeat and happy Christmas songs that have mostly been kept off the Holiday retail rotation. You just have to branch out a little.
I Saw Three Ships
- Why go to church on Christmas when you could hang out down at the docks?
Fairytale Of New York
- Include a some references to heroin and the drunk tank to ensure the folks at Clearchannel don't take an interest.
Lou Reed was so pissed about Susan Boyle's cover of Perfect Day
that he didn't get around to celebrating till February
Bonus Unusually Upbeat Christmas Carol: Carol Of The Bells reworked into a major key!
Avoid accidentally summoning any demons with this nice bright take on the cthonic holiday standard.