hey, have some Christmas music

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:

Frightened Rabbit – It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop

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):

The Raveonettes – The Christmas Song

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Christmas All Over Again

The Dismemberment Plan – This Christmas

5 Responses to “hey, have some Christmas music”

  1. Drew

    Track down a copy of Low’s Just Like Christmas. I’m also a fan of The Sonics’ Don’t Believe in Christmas.

  2. Joel

    The U2 version is fine, but the original with Darlene Love and a Phil Spector’s wall of sound can’t be beat.

  3. Tom

    Good calls all around. I do like that Low song, although mostly for the lyrics. I haven’t heard that Sonics song. To the Hype Machine!
    I’m embarrassed to say that I wouldn’t have been able to name the person who did the original version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” — thanks for the link, Joel.

  4. Drew

    Also, Christmas Day of the Robot by Servotron. “Tis the season/Tis the season for annihilation.” Also, I’m not sure that Christmas Is has anything on the incredible loop in Christmas In Hollis, which basically gets lodged in my head all through the Xmas season. Oh my God, an ill reindeer!

  5. Emily

    Eric has a list of a few more. I’m just starting to go through them but a few seem all right. A little on the croony side, but I guess that’s what Christmas is all about, right?

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