Okay, this is going to be so hard, given that I hate most Christmas songs.
Also, a “brief” run-on sentence regarding the current Christmas number one/two: this is a very very poor taste cash-in scheme by Sony, who own the rights to both versions, thus exploiting the fans of the vastly-superior-in-every-single-conceivable-way Jeff Buckley version out of their cash by pretending like somehow by buying this they are protesting the cover, which is quite honestly the blandest most horribly inappropriate take on this melancholy classic I could ever have imagined (and I have quite a notable imagination), when in fact they are simply lining the pockets of Sony even more than previously, since Jeff Buckley won’t be collecting on his royalty owing to a mild ongoing case of Death. Seriously, are the British public deaf? I mean, I already knew they were stupid, that goes without saying, but how can people honestly listen to this without wanting to strangle themselves to death or claw their own eyes out?
Bah and humbug, on with the fivesongery…
Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Christmas
I like this song because it’s so damn cynical and atheist at first, and then it’s like “you know what, maybe it’s all bunk, but what’s so wrong about having a good time with the people you love once a year?”. Amen to that. I’m tired of all my fellow atheists saying “I don’t celebrate Christmas” because it’s too commercial, and I don’t believe in Jesus.” Sure it’s horribly commercial, but you can celebrate it without all that if you like. Don’t forget that the Christians actually stole/adapted Christmas (along with their messiah, mythology, customs, rituals, morals and laws) from the pre-existing pagan equivalence. Also, unwrapping presents is enjoyable.
Anyway… This was Christmas number 1, thirty-three years ago. Also, Prokofiev’s Troika ahoy!
The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York
(1987, Pogue Mahone)
This is a Christmas song by virtue of the fact that its story occurs at Christmas. It’s got some sharp teeth for a popular Christmas classic. A cheery folk tune with a bitter and resentful couple arguing about their failing relationship as Christmas day breaks. One of the few classics which deserves its status – this is a genuinely excellent song on all counts.
The Flaming Lips – Christmas at the Zoo
Clouds Taste Metallic (Warner, 1994)
This link is slightly tenuous, because the song is seemingly more about animals in captivity than Christmas itself. Still, it has Christmas in the title so fuck you. And actually, to call it a song about animal captivity is a bit spurious too, it’s just another wacky Flaming Lips song with wacky lyrics. Still… It’s from the Clouds Taste Metallic album, which was back in the crunchy guitar-oriented psychedelic “indie” rock phase of the band. Warm and quirky, Mrs MaLurky.
Old Man Gloom – Christmas Eve parts I, II and III (alt version)
Christmas (Tortuga, 2004)
Yes, this is a strange choice, as the OMG album Christmas seems related to the holiday and its traditions by names only. There is some tinkling bell-like percussion in this sixteen minute glacial epic though, and in the last couple minutes there’s a big room full of these tinkling, trickling, plinking icy bells. This makes it more perceptably Christmas-like than other theme-titled tracks like Gift, Girth and Greed and ‘Tis Better to Recieve, although bizarrely, I actually personally prefer those tracks despite their much shorter length and much faster tempo.
So, now I have pretty much no idea…
Hmm, let me think.
Okay, can’t think. Nothing worth mentioning anyway.
So here’s this instead.
Red Sparowes – A Message of Avarice Rained Down Upon Us and Carried Us Away Into False Dreams of Endless Riches.
Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun (Neurot, 2006)
“Hello, Ann Instrumental here, with steel guitar hook and spacy ambience abound. You may find that my epic-yet-intimate melancholy bluegrass slide imparts a sense of gentle country-fried doom, a sadness and impossible longing. I imply many colours, but mostly a rich and deep red like a fine wine or a bottle of elf’s blood. Additionally, my simplistic nature, lack of vocal focus point, and repeating guitar lines can help induce a simple trance-like state and might be a useful sleep aid for the post-modern open-minded rock music enthusiast. However, I might also be disagreeable to some for these very same reasons. Seeking like-minded recordings for throwaway split 12″ release on marbled vinyl limited to 200 copies available with special commemorative red silk-screened t-shirt.”