Christmas Music For Those Sick Of Christmas Music
December 13, 2013 10:28 PM   Subscribe

Tired of the endless onslaught by mainstream Christmas music? Perhaps you might want a break. Tori Amos - Star Of Wonder, Melissa Etheridge - Glorious, The Polyphonic Spree - Winter Wonderland, Jon Anderson - Three Ships, Carbon Leaf - Christmas Child

Tori Amos' Midwinter Graces draws on her background as a preacher's daughter, constantly references familiar carol melodies and lyrics but invokes new thoughts about the holiday.
What Child, Nowell
Star Of Wonder
A Silent Night With You
Candle: Coventry Carol
Holly, Ivy and Rose
Harps Of Gold
Snow Angel
Jeanette, Isabella
Pink And Glitter
Winter's Carol
Our New Year

Bonus: Tori talks about the creation of her holiday album [30min]
Melissa Etheridge's A New Thought For Christmas takes traditional sentiments about the holiday and resets them into a secular context, combining older songs with new compositions to underscore the point that the concept of love and renewal doesn't have to be religious in nature.
Blue Christmas
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Ring The Bells
Merry Christmas Baby
Christmas In America
Light A Light
It's Christmas Time [live performance, not album track]
O Night Divine
The Polyphonic Spree's HolidayDream is an album which warps time and space to turn Christmas carols into something entirely otherworldly. At once familiar and eerie, it changes the way you hear familiar carols, and introduces some new tunes at the same time.
A Working Elf's Theme
Winter Wonderland
The Christmas Song
Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Silent Night
Silver Bells (Featuring Seven Schools Of Bells)
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Carol Of The Drum
White Christmas
Let It Snow
It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Silver Bells (reprise)

Bonus Track: It's Christmas
Jon Anderson's 3 Ships is an oldie but goodie, blending Christmas / Yuletide tradition with world music and New Age thinking into a glorious melange of pop music greatness.
Save All Your Love
Easier Said Than Done
Three Ships
Forest Of Fire
Ding Dong Merrily On High
Save All Your Love (Reprise)
The Holly And The Ivy
Day Of Days
2,000 Years
Where Were You?
Oh Holy Night
How It Hits You
Jingle Bells
Carbon Leaf's Christmas Child is an album of fully original compositions which evoke a spirit of nostalgia and reflection unique to the holiday seaosn, but not unique to fans of Carbon Leaf.
Christmas Child
Red Punch Green Punch [performance video, not album track]
Ice And Snow
Sutton's Reel
Ode To The Snow
Drifting [not available]
Christmas At Sea
Christmas Child (Instrumental) [not aviailable]
Toast To The New Year
posted by hippybear (62 comments total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
Oooooh, my wife has been threatened with violence for playing that Jon Anderson record "one more time" during the festive holiday season. Proceed with caution!
posted by Mothlight at 10:39 PM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sam Phillips - It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (from the 1992 film "A Midnight Clear"). Probably my favorite Christmas song ever.
posted by Auden at 10:45 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh good, we're trimming the tree on Saturday and I need to come up with an expanded version of my annual awesome Christmas playlist.

I'm also a big fan of the best mashup of all time, the mashup to end all mashups, the Christmas song that was like "okay, mashups, this is the most clever you're ever going to be, you can keep creating mashups with actual artistic appeal but as far as hilarious juxtaposition is gonna go you can't do better than" Rudolph (You Don't Have To Put On The Red Light).
posted by NoraReed at 11:05 PM on December 13, 2013 [10 favorites]

I am utterly sickened that I was not aware Jon Anderson made a Christmas album. Given his schmaltzy latter-day work I am not surprised but I think I will be playing that all day and annoying people.
posted by solarion at 11:13 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's also this recent Ask Metafilter question on finding new Christmas music for this year that may be of interest or use to Christmas Music fans. I had been really frustrated in my search for new music I'd want to buy this year, and that thread found me 2 new to me albums..

Willie Nelson and Stephen Colbert's Little Dealer Boy is on frequent play in our house, in part because sometimes you look around at some particular yuletide insanity and just have to croon "Are you high? You're so high" or "You're really high. I'm going to tell your savior".

Also often heard: Patty Loveless, Blue Grass and White Snow (Love the whole album, but this song is really hitting home), Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, Oklahoma Christmas from their excellent Christmas album, Joni Mitchell, River (Live, 1970), Low, Taking Down the Christmas Tree, Pearl Bailey, Five Pound Box of Money, and for someone who really likes the secular but not-so-commercial aspects of the season, there's a surprising and serious strain of melancholy or twistiness in all these songs and the others I was going to list. Hunh.

So I'll end with something of pure warmth and very mainstream (but the man did co-write the song, so he should get a pass): Mel Torme, the Christmas Song
posted by julen at 12:41 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

It is a Rob Halford Xmas in the Sorryass household this year.
posted by St. Sorryass at 12:46 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you really want to annoy people with Christmas schmaltz, I recommend Sufjan Stevens and his entire 5-hour "Complete Christmas Collection". Or just his 13-minute "Christmas Unicorn" (here performed live in Austin, Texas 12-1-2012 - includes a fall off the stage).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:48 AM on December 14, 2013 [5 favorites]

The Weepies - All That I Want
posted by Auden at 12:52 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding the Sufjan Stevens Christmas stuff, as much as I think the guy gets a bad rap for "boring" tunes and his music usually requires and rewards active listening to dig deeper than the smooth relaxing Sufjan Stevens inoffensive sleepy sound and get the most out of it, his Christmas stuff is perfect for just embracing the superficial background-muzak thing he kind of inadvertently does really really well.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:24 AM on December 14, 2013

Crash Test Dummies, The First Noel. First heard in a car; made me pull over to the side of the road so as to be able to just listen. CTDs are led by a bass, which is unusual but doesn't at all detract. Most of the miraculous stuff in this is in the background parts and I can't be certain it's audible in a yootoob vid. I think so, but then I already know it's there. (N.b. if Seasonal Jesus gives you cavities, be aware that there's lots in this fan-made video. But the audio is better than the official CTD vid.)
posted by jfuller at 3:42 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I actually quite liked Sting's If On A Winter's Night as an "alternative Christmas" album. Yeah, okay, it does skirt on the edge of "pretentious wonk with lute" folky territory, but I like a little of that, actually. He also started with the perspective that winter can also be a chance for the whole world to hunker down and curl up and get quiet and reflective and....chill a little bit, and that that's a good thing, and I kind of agree. But I was drawn to one of the livelier songs as well, Soul Cake, because I remember it from a long-ago community Christmas concert my school choir did in 7th Grade.

Although this year, the thing I'm totally mainlining is a Great Big Sea thing - Come And I Will Sing You may be old hat to Newfoundlanders, but it's a new one on me. I first heard it when I saw them do it live in New York this April, and was so captivated by it I found their video on Youtube as soon as I got home and listened to it over and over for about an hour and a half because that's how badly I wanted to learn it. I knew all the words within a week, and it still holds up to repeated listenings.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:17 AM on December 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Pond – Gloria In Excelsis Deo
posted by D.C. at 4:32 AM on December 14, 2013

"Fairytale of New York" as Gaeilge. (Thanks, rollick!)
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:09 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Roches' Star of Wonder, short, elegant, beautiful. If only it were easier to sing.
posted by tommyD at 5:29 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

God Lord, does no-one remember one of Metafilter's great Christmas classics?
posted by LN at 5:31 AM on December 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

I am really loving Nick Lowe's Christmas album Quality Street, which includes a re-imagined Silent Night, a pair of holiday-themed by Lowe (one co-written with Ry Cooder) several older but somewhat obscure tracks like Roger Miller's Little Toy Trains and a cover of Wizzard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday which is apparently wildly popular in the UK but previously unknown to me.
posted by layceepee at 5:38 AM on December 14, 2013

Let's take a hard left into The Misfitsmas.

Oh, Rudolph's nose aglow!
Off I go!

With just a wave of my flabby hand
I send gifts and cheer to all of man
Prime directive: let's circulate!
These toys to your place

And your face lights up and you smile and stretch
And then I "Ho ho ho"
When you find your gifts
Prime directive: let's circulate!
Every present!

posted by Pope Guilty at 5:43 AM on December 14, 2013

Mike Polk Jr. has also written a Christmas song.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:17 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just Like Christmas by Low
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 6:23 AM on December 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

On Metafilter three years ago, there was: The Christmas Gig, a compilation of modern indieish artists doing original holiday songs. I've listened to it every year since, and it holds up. The download link in that post still works, too, and it's still free.

(My favorite is "The Perfect Gift".)
posted by Sokka shot first at 6:36 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Erasure just released a new holiday album called Snow Globe. I've only heard the first track but it sounds promising.

They also did a holiday EP 25 years ago (eek!), Crackers International, with the christmas single She Won't Be Home (Lonely Christmas).
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:39 AM on December 14, 2013

The absolute worst.
posted by Artw at 7:03 AM on December 14, 2013

364 Days - The Murder City Devils
posted by dortmunder at 7:08 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have yourself a jazzy little Christmas - the MediaFire download link still works!

If you want something a bit more dissonant of unusual: Whine and Missingtoe, featuring V/Vm, Hell Interface (aka Boards of Canada), and Butcher Claus.

Less dissonant but still odd: Black Power Arrangers (THEESatisfaction and OC Notes) - Christmas on the Moon [streaming on bandcamp, and you can buy each individual song for $1]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:11 AM on December 14, 2013

In 2000, XFM put together a Christmas compilation containing the following tracks:

1. Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland - Grandaddy
2. Little Drummer Boy - The Dandy Warhols
3. Every Day Is Christmas - The Webb Brothers
4. Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas - Eels
5. Feliz Navi-nada - El Vez
6. Christmas In Waikiki - Morgan
7. Maybe At Christmas Time - Drugstore
8. O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Belle And Sebastian
9. Thank You Dreaded Black Ice, Thank You - Giant Sand
10. White Christmas - The Flaming Lips
11. My Christmas Prayer - Saint Etienne
12. Christmas Downer - Departure Lounge
13. I Believe In Father Christmas - Six By Seven
14. When I Get Home For Christmas - Snow Patrol
15. Spiritual Guidance - Titan
16. Christmas Boogaloo - Big Boss Man
17. Christmas Eve - Teenage Fanclub
18. Gift X-change - Calexico
19. Hwiangerdd Mair - Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
20. Just Like Christmas - Low
21. In The Bleak Midwinter - Lauren Laverne

Some are great (the Eels track!) and some are compilation album wankery (Christmas in Waikiki). Helpfully compiled as a youtube playlist for a listen.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 7:18 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

The absolute worst.

I see your Faith Hill, and raise you a Billy Idol compilation of Christmas classics, complete with smirky music videos for Happy Holidays, Jingle Bell Rock, White Christmas, and more!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 AM on December 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Is this where I put my favorite Bruce Cockburn song?
posted by KingEdRa at 7:34 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

//Have yourself a jazzy little Christmas - the MediaFire download link still works!??

I downloaded that from the original post and forgot I had it. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by COD at 7:42 AM on December 14, 2013

I can offer up my nerd-rock handbell group's version of Wizards In Winter, if anyone's into that kind of thing.
posted by ilana at 7:51 AM on December 14, 2013

This one (Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth as performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie) is fantastic, though a little more old-school than some of the stuff in this thread.

Then there's this.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:58 AM on December 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm offering my favorite Christmas song of all time and I am a HUGE Christmas music fan (yes I am one of THOSE people).

So this album is pretty much what you expect the Chieftains to do- very Celtic and all. And then they include this gem, known as the St. Stephen's Day Murders.
posted by KernalM at 8:06 AM on December 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

A favorite of mine is This Time of Year by June Christy, a sort of un-Christmas holiday album with mostly melancholy winter-themed songs.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 9:28 AM on December 14, 2013

XTC Thanks For Christmas
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:48 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am utterly sickened that I was not aware Jon Anderson made a Christmas album. Given his schmaltzy latter-day work I am not surprised but I think I will be playing that all day and annoying people.

Just watch out for the 22nd Anniversary Expanded Reissue of the 3 Ships album. The new material not only doesn't add anything of value, it actually diminishes the entire work.
posted by hippybear at 9:55 AM on December 14, 2013

John Prine: Christmas In Prison
Weird Al Yankovic: Christmas At Ground Zero
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:16 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are other Christmas songs by our Mefite Musicians.

Starting with O Holy Night (by Chococat) to carry you through Christmas to Oh Come All Ye Slothful (by Cortex) with helpful tips for the hungover New Year.

Big list of Mefites Musicians holiday music and Christmas.
posted by Wolfster at 10:20 AM on December 14, 2013

Let's Put Christ Back In Christmas

props to charlie don't surf for digging it up in this thread. Quoting one friend. "The best new Christmas song since Fairy Tale of New York."
posted by philip-random at 10:30 AM on December 14, 2013

-The Wet Spots, Fist Me This Christmas (NSFW)

-Twisted Sister, Heavy Metal Christmas (12 days) & O Come All Ye Faithful

-Dale Watson, Santa and my Semi (off the Christmas in Texas album)

-Steven Posch, "Mother Berhta's Coming to Town" off Radio Paganistan: Folktales of the Urban Witches (about Berta Belly-Slitter)

-Unto Ashes, "Krampusnacht (For Krampus the Christmas Demon)"
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:32 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Alabama Sacred Harp Convention- Sherburne
Shirley Collins- Gower Wassail
The Young Tradition- The Boar's Head Carol
Marianne Faithful & The Chieftains- I Saw Three Ships
Nina Simone- Little Girl Blue
Skydiggers- Good King Wenceslas
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:45 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

And just remember- Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:52 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

For those with birthdays coming up: My Birthday's Near Christmas and it Sucks by Munkafust.
posted by TwoStride at 11:46 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sir Christopher Lee Heavy Metal Christmas and a teaser for his new single
posted by islander at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mefi's own zippy sent me a link to the Christopher Lee last year. I strongly recommend them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2013

Oh the absolute best/worst Christmas song ever is Faith in Santa by that inimitable son-of-a-bitch Red Sovine.
posted by mazola at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, Santa! by Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer.
posted by mazola at 12:34 PM on December 14, 2013

I love this solo-acoustic take on an old Christmas favorite.
posted by Fuzzypumper at 1:25 PM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

JD Doyle of Queer Music Heritage presents four hours of holiday music by LGBT artists.
posted by larrybob at 3:01 PM on December 14, 2013

Right, I'm not sure how I found this one but it's become one of my favorites, along with this Chanukah themed holiday album. Both on heavy rotation at LaCasa del evilDoug.
posted by evilDoug at 9:49 PM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

The only thing that says Christmas more than Halford is Ronnie James Motherfucking Dio!
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 9:54 PM on December 14, 2013

LaCasa del evilDoug.

That's what my brother calls my place too.
posted by DigDoug at 7:19 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

CTRL+F Waitresses? You guys already all know Christmas Wrapping, right? Or is it just a standard now?
posted by immlass at 5:14 PM on December 15, 2013

This one by Better Than Ezra is my fave holiday song.
posted by cicadadays at 8:57 AM on December 16, 2013

CTRL+F Waitresses? You guys already all know Christmas Wrapping yt , right? Or is it just a standard now?

Dunno if it's a standard, but it's widely despised and ill-favored.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:37 AM on December 16, 2013

CTRL+F Waitresses? You guys already all know Christmas Wrapping yt , right? Or is it just a standard now?

Dunno if it's a standard, but it's widely despised and ill-favored.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:54 AM on December 17, 2013

As someone who takes his scunners towards atrocious holiday music seriously, I have no option but to accept your implied challenge, pxe2000, and choose Red Ryder BB Guns at dawn on Christmas (with appropriate eye-protection, of course), like George Washington sneak-attacking a bunch of hung-over German Mercenaries before breakfast.

Except over honor and holiday music, and not taxes and freedom.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:29 AM on December 17, 2013

I make a bad Christmas CD every year and these are some of my favorites:
Pirate Christmas
Whatcha making? Fruitcake!
Santa Claus on a helicopter
Worst O Holy Night
To Heck with Old Santa Claus Loretta Lynn
The Best Christmas Song that ever existed

Look for any of the Christmas songs done by the goons in the Something Awful forums. They are some of the worst/best funniest songs I've ever heard.
posted by wrnealis at 7:43 AM on December 18, 2013

Hot Breakfast, An Idiot for Christmas. For all you last-minute shoppers.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:00 PM on December 19, 2013

Tim Minchin - White Wine in the Sun

(I'm not at all sentimental about X-Mas and this brings tears)
posted by Auden at 2:22 AM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

oh, and ... Solstice Bells, the 1976 Jethro Tull Christmas single, which hippybear featured in an FPP a couple of years back.
posted by philip-random at 10:23 AM on December 23, 2013

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