When it comes to holiday music I am, let’s face it, kind of an idiot. Thematic appropriateness can make me completely forget about how good a song actually is. All I can do is apologize to those who’ve been subjected to the resulting playlist atrocities.
With that said, this (via Stereogum) is a really goddamn good Christmas song:
The greatest Christmas rock song of all time, is, of course, The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York”, but this entry from Frightened Rabbit has quickly vaulted into my number two spot — evidence, perhaps, of the weakness of the field. But there are a few others that I think can be defended in the clear light of day, even when judgment is unclouded by wood smoke and wassail.
There are some obvious ones. John Lennon’s “So This Is Christmas” and Run DMC’s “Christmas Is” are both classics and so hardly worth mentioning. The Kinks’ “Father Christmas” is just as good but more often neglected, which is a shame. And U2’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is pretty damn great — it’s probably my second-favorite U2 song behind “Red Hill Mining Town”, if only because when Bono cracks up mid-verse you can tell that for at least three seconds he’s not trying to save the world. Unfortunately, the music blogosphere considers U2 so desperately uncool that I can’t find a playable copy of the song on the Hype Machine. But if you’d rather listen to Death Cab For Cutie’s awful, awful cover, there are about a zillion copies available. It is, if nothing else, a useful demonstration of every single thing that’s wrong with Ben Gibbard and his mostly-fine band.
Those are all very well-known songs, though. Here are three more that, while not exactly obscure, haven’t entirely made their way out of the Christmas compilation ghetto. But they’re all genuinely good songs (if not very creatively titled):