Christmas Songs You Won't Hear At The Mall
December 14, 2016 6:27 AM   Subscribe

This seems like a good start. I'm sure we can add to the list!
posted by COD (88 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
 
Dropkick Murphys The Season's Upon Us
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:32 AM on December 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Vienna Teng's The Atheist Christmas Carol
posted by atholbrose at 6:39 AM on December 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


Any of the songs chosen for the most recent Beyond Yacht Rock podcast: Power Carols - A Heavy Metal Christmas.
posted by ND¢ at 6:41 AM on December 14, 2016


PlanetSlade Christmas (Spotify playlist).
posted by Paul Slade at 6:44 AM on December 14, 2016


Santa's Got a Brand New Bag
posted by judson at 6:46 AM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I Am Santa Claus
posted by Daily Alice at 6:46 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I stumbled into this a few years ago - I think via a Metafilter post. It's a six song collection by an unknown jazz trio, The Believers. And it's fabulous. (Link goes to download page - it's not a direct link to a zip file, even though it look that way from the URL.)
posted by COD at 6:52 AM on December 14, 2016 [3 favorites]






I've always loved the Pogues' Fairytale of New York, for those moments when I can't bear any more of the over-sentimental stuff around me and need something a little more... sharp. And bitter, possibly; it's one of my all-time favorite "romance gone terribly wrong" songs on its own merits.

For straight-up choral beauty, there's always the Huron Carol, notable for being one of the few non-tongue-in-cheek songs my partner will tolerate for more than five minutes at a time. Gorgeous.

And then of course sometimes you gotta laugh, and for those I've always loved Cthulhu Carols, particularly the Carol of the Old Ones. I'm one of those ex-Catholic atheists who still thinks the religious carols are far more beautiful than the secular-ish Christmas pap that gets played in retail outlets, and I've particularly enjoyed the Cthulhu Carols for focusing so many of their offerings on that music.
posted by sciatrix at 7:00 AM on December 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Always always always: Tim Minchin, White Wine in the Sun
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:03 AM on December 14, 2016 [8 favorites]




I'm also a mashup lover and this is probably my favorite Xmas mashup, just for the lascivious little "ho ho ho."
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:04 AM on December 14, 2016


I've plumped for it before, and I will plump for it again: Joseph Spence's, er, unique rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town is nine kinds of wonderful wrapped in chocolate.
posted by Quindar Beep at 7:05 AM on December 14, 2016


I mean, not to toot my own, uh, horn?, but it's a Very Juggalo Christmas.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:06 AM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've heard Father Christmas at a mall.

No Xmas for John Quays is the only holiday song I need or want.
posted by rodlymight at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2016


best* original Christmas song by a mid-90s Boston punk band: Showcase Showdown - Merry Christmas I F*cked Your Snowman

*only?
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 7:11 AM on December 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


COD: "I stumbled into this a few years ago - I think via a Metafilter post. It's a six song collection by an unknown jazz trio, The Believers. And it's fabulous. (Link goes to download page - it's not a direct link to a zip file, even though it look that way from the URL.)"

#Writing #Music Monday: #Christmas With The Believers
posted by chavenet at 7:17 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]




Christmas At Ground Zero, Weird Al Yankovic
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:26 AM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


You would have heard The Darkness one all over the UK in public places when it was in the charts.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:27 AM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jingle Rock Bell. ♪♫ bell jingle rock jingle rock rock bell bell rock jingle rock bell rock bell… ♪♫
posted by misteraitch at 7:27 AM on December 14, 2016 [7 favorites]






judson: Santa's Got a Brand New Bag

If you're going to share James Brown, you should share it all: The Complete James Brown Christmas. And if you're gonna get funky with it, why not make it a multi/non-denominational Holiday Soul Party with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings?


COD: I stumbled into this a few years ago - I think via a Metafilter post.

*raises hand* Yup, that was mine, via arse_hat on MetaChat way back when.


My perennial favorite non-original original song: Hell Interface - Soylent Night (Boards of Canada warp some Christmas classics for V/Vm's Whine and Missingtoe mini-compilation).


Rolling Stone has another 25 albums of non-typical Christmas albums from a range of genres. Speaking of a range of genres, today I learned that "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music was turned into an extended form jazz classic by John Coltrane in 1961, a fact I found when trying to recall which rocker-turned-crooner cover I heard last night (answer: Rod Stewart).

[Final tangent: hearing Rod sing the part of Maria made me wish for a version of the musical where he actually plays the part for the entire show. My wife didn't think this would be as amazing as I have dreamed, but my dream will not die.]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:30 AM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Every year I make a Christmas/winter mix that's usually pretty melancholy - this year I've got the one-two punch of "Christmas Eve Can Kill You" by The Everly Brothers followed by "If We Make It Through December" by Merle Haggard . That Everlys song makes me weep every time.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 7:34 AM on December 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


The bell-ringers outside our local supermarket have taken to singing CHRISTmas carols loudly, and stressing all the religious words rather obnoxiously.

I just whistle the pennywhistle solo from Fairytale of New York, and at least one person notices and gives me a sly grin.
posted by notsnot at 7:47 AM on December 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


We have a family Christmas playlist on Spotify and it's like a third Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a third songs from Muppet Christmas Carol, four versions of The Holly and the Ivy, a few miscellaneous standards (e.g. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and The Chipmunk Song), and Everclear's I Will Be Hating You for Christmas, a song my husband and I both love. There's a chance my mother uses our playlist for Christmas breakfast and my gift to her will be finding and retrieving her eyes when they literally roll out of her head and across the room.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:48 AM on December 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'll just put California Christmastime from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend under the tree here...
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:50 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Every year I put together a comp of alternative Christmas songs and many songs on the list would qualify. All together it's 19 CDs worth of holiday MP3 mess. Enjoy!
19 CDs xmas MP3 mixtape overload
posted by Theta States at 7:55 AM on December 14, 2016 [10 favorites]


Mutabaruka - Postpone Christmas
posted by chavenet at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2016


Indirectly thanks to yesterday's FPP on Gucci Mane's npr tiny desk concert, the East Atlanta Santa's St. Brick has been brought to my attention.
posted by drlith at 8:15 AM on December 14, 2016


Can't believe no one's posted Fear's "Fuck Christmas": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdqAWKNbA8E
posted by AJaffe at 8:27 AM on December 14, 2016


Nadja's drone doom version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen always puts me in the festive mood.
posted by Sonny Jim at 8:31 AM on December 14, 2016


A holiday classic for the Patrick Swayze in all of us.
posted by dr_dank at 8:35 AM on December 14, 2016 [3 favorites]




So, we could start with the fictional (and yet somehow real) song from the movie About A Boy, Santa's Super Sleigh. Alison Krauss did a bit of an interesting turn on wanting Santa to visit in Shimmy Down The Chimney (Fill Up My Stocking). Oscar The Grouch hates Christmas. Jethro Tull has their own Christmas Song. December Is For Cynics, declare The Matches. The Refreshments discuss the yearly pyromania surrounding a certain giant straw goat. R.E.M.'s 1991 fan club holiday single was called Christmas Griping. Jill Sobule has a difficult Christmas With The Family. And that's probably enough for now.

I have a ridiculously vast collection of Christmas music for someone who doesn't celebrate the holiday, but it does contain quite a few "not heard at the mall" gems, IMO.
posted by hippybear at 9:17 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fist Me for Christmas:
posted by fgdmorr at 9:29 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've heard the Billy Squier "Christmas Is A Time To Say I Love You" in the mall. I've always liked the rhyme in the couplet: "From rooftop to chimney,/From Harlem to Bimini...."

I know I've heard "Fairytale of New York" in a mall; in point of fact, it was in a Borders bookstore in Providence, Rhode Island, which my parents and I were all browsing in a couple days after Thanksgiving one year, when we were killing time before my train back to New York. Mom saw my face light up when I heard the song, and remarked on it. And so then I had to try explaining the Pogues to my mother. (She was amused.)

I prefer the Eel's Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas, personally.

Every year I make a Christmas/winter mix that's usually pretty melancholy....

Hmm, if you haven't dipped into Sting's If On A Winter's Night album, that could be a rich vein. Mom periodically asks for "new Christmas music" as a gift and I gave her that once, and when she was listening to it the next day, Dad made a face and called it "morbid". I wouldn't go that far, but it's mostly esoteric folk stuff and medieval carols (this was during Sting's Lute Phase). Although I actually do lean towards the uptempo stuff - Soul Cake and The Burning Babe among them (the latter of which is, if you listen to the words, completely insane - a guy on a walk in the woods hallucinates that a flaming baby is talking to him, and then when he vanishes he says to himself "oh, wait, it's Christmas today". The end). But I also love Christmas at Sea, an adaptation of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem about a merchant seaman out on deck struggling during a winter storm, and kicking himself for becoming a sailor and getting stuck out there on Christmas instead of being safe and warm inside like everyone else.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:33 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The late, great Opal Foxx with Somebody's House Always Burns at Christmas.

Low, Just like Christmas.

Sufjan Stevens, That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!

More Sufjan Stevens, Hey, Guys! It's Christmas Time!

Even more Sufjan Stevens, Put The Lights On The Tree.


Man, that guy really loves Christmas!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:33 AM on December 14, 2016


I doubt the mall would be playing Spinal Tap’s Christmas with the Devil.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:42 AM on December 14, 2016


Alligator Records has a Christmas collection from a few years back which is just wonderful, and highly mall-resistant.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:48 AM on December 14, 2016


Eyeball Hurt and the Medicine's Christmas Music for Family or Children [part 1] [part 2] (by members of Winnipeg's Royal Art Lodge)
posted by Gortuk at 9:54 AM on December 14, 2016


An oldie: Tom Lehrer's A Christmas Carol.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:55 AM on December 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


The late, great Juice Leskinen - Sika (The pig/ham). A cynical look at a very traditional version of the Finnish Christmas.

Here's a rough translation of some selected lyrics

Pig! - it gets a bullet in the head.
Pig!- uncle butchers it.
Pig! - and uncle drinks the blood.
Pig! - it brings in the Christmas spirit.

.....

Pig! - look how daddy eats.
Pig! - daddys belt is too short.

...

When Christmas Eve is over and the night begins,
people are what they eat.

Pig! - etc.

MA Numminen - Joulupukki puree ja lyö (Santa bites ja hits)
posted by severiina at 10:10 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Half Man Half Biscuit - It's Cliched To Be Cynical at Christmas
posted by brilliantmistake at 10:12 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


This track is rather grim.

De La Soul - Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa
posted by adept256 at 10:14 AM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you ever thought, gee I kinda want to listen to Black Sabbath, but it's near Christmas time, maybe I should put on some Christmas music, well, fear not! The Internet has a solution!
Santa Sabbath - Children of the Sleigh EP (2015) and Santa Sabbath - Christmas Bloody Christmas EP (2016)
posted by fings at 10:16 AM on December 14, 2016


Chris Ligon is one of Chicago's best-kept secrets and one of my favorite singer-songwriters. Christmas Eve.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2016


COD - thank you! This is fabulous. Piano jazz is my favorite.
posted by corvikate at 10:29 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Written and recorded by my wife - Stocking for Two
posted by davebush at 10:36 AM on December 14, 2016


All of Cassetteboy's Festive Christmas! Available in two parts on YouTube.
posted by anarch at 10:57 AM on December 14, 2016


Elf's Lament by Barenaked Ladies. Listen past the upbeat music to hear lyrics such as "Never in existence has there been such a resistance To ideas meant to free us"
posted by beaning at 11:21 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here is my band The Jennifers' humble addition to the genre, "Christmas In Reverse". Someday we'll do a full album like Nick Lowe's, (which is great!)
posted by jetsetsc at 11:30 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Frank Kelly "Christmas Countdown"
Enjoy!
posted by Mesaverdian at 1:17 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Long Haired Radical Socialist Jew

Came out during the Clinton years, but change a line or two and it's relevant today. Thank you Hugh Blumenfeld.
posted by Eikonaut at 1:37 PM on December 14, 2016


Christmas Lights by Paul Paribeau.

I had a year like this, once.
posted by Eikonaut at 1:40 PM on December 14, 2016


Not Safe pretty much anywhere: (let google take you through the mirror.) I'm pretty sure you won't hear this in the Christmas section of your local department store. He also did one that started with Ho, ho, ^*$#%ing ho....

KEVIN BLOODY WILSON Hey Santa Claus
posted by mule98J at 2:18 PM on December 14, 2016


For years and years I would make a mixdisc of holiday music every December. I fell out of that habit a few years ago but have picked it up again, this time on Spotify. It's a mix of old favorites and songs I've come across this winter. Here are a couple of things which fit this thread:

Cold White Christmas by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone.
Anorak Christmas (Piano Mix) by Sally Shapiro.
The Secret of Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald.
Winter Weather by Fats Waller.
I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up for Christmas by Aimee Mann.
Birds of Late December by Luke Temple.
posted by Kattullus at 2:49 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well I am excited to find out there's an Eels Christmas song I never even thought to look for one.
posted by emjaybee at 2:56 PM on December 14, 2016


A beautiful all-horns version of O Holy Night from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:13 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]




Hate to break it to folks, but the malls in Massachusetts definitely play 'Fairytale of New York' and 'Christmas at Ground Zero' but do not play 'The Season's Upon Us'.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:29 PM on December 14, 2016


Don't forget the original Christmasy version of Outkast's Player's Ball
posted by biddeford at 3:51 PM on December 14, 2016


Jason and the Strap-Tones - I Found The Brains Of Santa Claus
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:03 PM on December 14, 2016


I have three albums I like for Christmas, because they make a melancholy set of mostly covers about Christmas, snow, being cold etc -- Tinsel and Lights by Tracey Thorn, Strange Communion by Thea Gilmore and Songs for a Winter's Night by Reid Jamieson. A taster:

Thea Gilmore:
The St Stephen's Day Murders (which I like when Fairytale of New York hasn't quite delivered enough seasonal grumpiness)
That'll Be Christmas
Midwinter Toast
Listen, the Snow is Falling

Tracey Thorn:
Tinsel and Lights
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Reid Jamieson:
Song for a Winter's Night
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Winter
posted by finisterre at 4:47 PM on December 14, 2016


A grab-bag of some of my favourites:

Andrew Pearson and the Riflebirds Jingo Balls (Whore, Whore, Whore)
The Qualities It's Christmas Time
The Magnetic Fields Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree
Arab Strap Christmas (please come home)
Belle and Sebastian O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
posted by yesbut at 5:40 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


New to me this year is Erin McKeown's Santa is an Asshole (which I find more clever and charming than the title suggests to me it would be).
posted by Tentacle of Trust at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2016


Came for Christmas at Ground Zero, left satisfied.
posted by some loser at 6:09 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


A favorite from the 1970s: Martin Mull's "Santafly."
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:47 PM on December 14, 2016


kirkaracha, that version of "O Holy Night" (played by New Orleans musicians who had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina) may prove to be the most lasting thing to come out of "Studio 60..."
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:49 PM on December 14, 2016


Also from Martin Mull: "Santa Doesn't Cop Out On Dope."
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:51 PM on December 14, 2016


Eazy-E: Merry Muthaphukkin' Xmas.

[MIC DROP]
posted by Vervain at 11:22 PM on December 14, 2016


Sarah Taylor and Bill Mumy - I've Got Some Presents For Santa. Easily one of the best torch songs about Saint Nicholas coitus out there.

Barron Knights - Merry Gentle Pops. British Invasion on Underground Garage exposed me to this. A 1965 gentle pisstake on the songsters of the day, including Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Hollies and the Ivy League. Still holds up.

Reggie Watts - Christmas Is For Fucking. A trifle less subtle.
posted by delfin at 5:17 AM on December 15, 2016


inb4... oh:

Elmo & Patsy: Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.
posted by progosk at 5:51 AM on December 15, 2016


Have a twerky twerky Christmazz with Big Freedia
The Queen of Bounce took some liberties with Christmas classics like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

For example, Big Freedia raps, “Rudy was a big booty reindeer, He lived up in the North Pole, He wasn’t like other reindeers, because they treated him so cold, Rudy only wanted a good time, Rudy only wanted to dance.”
Spotify playlist (hopefully - it's not loading for me ATM), and more Big Freedia Christmas music on YouTube.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:49 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here to nth It's a Holiday Soul Party - the last album from Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. She. Was. Incredible. Losing her - ugh. 2016 just stop already.
posted by ovenmitt at 7:05 AM on December 15, 2016


Spend Christmas Day With Me by Darren Hanlon, my favorite itinerant Australian folksinger (live version here).
posted by plasticpalacealice at 8:14 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Night Santa Went Crazy - Weird Al Yankovic
The Twelve Pains of Christmas - Bob Rivers
This, the awesomest Twelve Days of Christmas - sung by Straight No Chaser in 1998
The Christmas Can-Can - sung by Straight No Chaser in 2009
The Twelve Days After Christmas - sung by Julia Murney
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 9:08 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa

Sufjan Stevens – Christmas Unicorn

and a couple of non-standards from here in Italy:

Sinfonico Honolulu – Natale

Fabrizio De André - Leggenda di natale

Elio e le Storie Tese - Christmas with the Yours
posted by progosk at 9:56 AM on December 15, 2016


The Twelve Days After Christmas - sung by Julia Murney

Sorry, gonna have to pedant here... The Twelve Days Of Christmas are the days between Dec 25 and Jan 6, which is the date of Epiphany, when the Wise Men arrived at the Baby Jesus to present him with their veneration and their gifts. There is no time when the 12 days of Xmas happen BEFORE Dec 25. They always happen AFTER.

So either this song is about someone disposing of gifts daily as they are being given them, or else I don't know what the fuck it is.

This has been your Pedantic Moment from hippybear.

posted by hippybear at 10:06 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dar Williams The Christians and the Pagans Laugh a little, cry a little.
posted by ceejaytee at 11:34 AM on December 15, 2016


nice to see these; I work in retail and if I hear another version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" i'm going to shit myself.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 6:47 PM on December 15, 2016


I'm surprised neither of these have been mentioned:

Gaudete (Steeleye Span) (bonus: Latin lyrics with English translation)

Shepherds Arise (curtailed version from the National Theatre production of "The Mysteries" with Home Service, full version by The Copper Family)
posted by e-man at 7:39 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Appropriate any time of year:

I Want a Million Dollars for Christmas by The Andersons

(Gratuitous full disclosure: Bob Anderson was once on my little indie record label as Robbie Rist of Wonderboy, but I have zero connection with this song or album or band other than the fact that I became a huge Andersons fan because I knew Robbie and thus got to see the Andersons play a time or two.)
posted by kristi at 9:40 PM on December 15, 2016


Fairytale of New York and White Wine in the Sun are my two favorites, but since they're already on the list, I'll add Jonathan Coulton's Chiron Beta Prime.
posted by jameaterblues at 8:40 PM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't see Clarence Carter's Backdoor Santa on here. The horns were sampled for Run DMC's Christmas in Hollis.
posted by cmfletcher at 6:50 AM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


For those who want a Christmas song about hockey (or maybe a hockey song about Christmas) here is 23 Décembre.
posted by pernoctalian at 6:44 AM on December 20, 2016


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