Christmas Songs That Don’t (Completely) Suck, Part 2

Christmas. Two more sleeps and it will all be over. Thank god.

Christmas is stressful in general and for us folks working in retail it is even worse. In the words of one of my colleagues “At Christmas everyone turns into grumpy pricks.”

So to celebrate this wonderful time of year I think we need another dose of half-decent christmas songs.

Bah, Humbug.

First-Aid Kit- Blue Christmas.mp3

Why it doesn’t suck: I posted the Bright Eyes version of this song a few days ago but this one is much better because they actually sound blue, rather than mildly depressed.

Noah and the Whale- To Cyril At Crunkmas.mp3

Why it doesn’t suck: While it may not be the coolest genre, I am sucker for a good folk song. And there seems to a be a bit of a shortage of good Christmas folks songs. This track from Noah and the Whale has a bit of a demo-ey feel about it which adds to it I think.  I’m willing to forgive the annoying bells in the background of  because it is one of those Christmas songs that can be enjoyed at other times of the year, mainly because it doesn’t mention Santa or reindeer.

Camera Obscura- The Blizzard.mp3

Why it doesn’t suck: One of the problems with Christmas songs is that they are almost always happy and after spending three hours battling the crowds at Chadstone, having an argument with your family and witnessing your cousin block the upstairs toilet causing poo-water to drip into your living room(true story) the last thing you will feel is happy. Camera Obscura’s cover of  The Blizzard, a tale of a man and a horse being found dead in the snow, is as far from a happy Christmas song as you will get.  So when it all goes wrong, open up a bottle of gin, sit on the couch and listen to this marvelously depressing track. Thanks to Aaron Underground for sharing this one.

Fun.-Believe in me.mp3

Why it doesn’t suck: Remember The Format? Well they broke up last year, but luckily one of the members has formed a new band called fun. who make indie-pop music that suit Disney movies. And I say that with the utmost respect. Belive In Me is written from the perspective of Santa. Kind of like Santa Claus is Coming To Town for people with taste. They even manage to incorporate Jingle Bells without making you want to kill someone, which is an achievement in itself.

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Christmas Songs That Don’t (Completely) Suck

It’s less than one week until christmas and if I hear Jingle Bells one more time I’ll end up punching the entire Salvation Army band.

So to get into the spirit of the world’s most stressful holiday, I thought I would share a list of Christmas songs that don’t (completely) suck.

Okkervil River- Listening To Otis Redding at Home During Christmas

Why it doesn’t suck: This is by far my favourite Christmas song of all time and not just because I am huge Okkervil River fan. While most Christmas songs are just about Santa and snow, this one incorporates the warmth and familiarity of coming back home. There no mention of reindeer or santa and it doesn’t even feature sleigh bells, which seem to be reoccurring theme with Christmas songs. And let’s face it, Will Sheff could write a song about what he ate for breakfast and still make it sound poetic.

The Lucksmiths- The Thought That Counts

Why it doesn’t suck: This is one of my other Christmas favourites focuses buying gifts, which  is a side of christmas that many Christmas tunes seem to neglect and for many of us can be a bit of a chore. The Lucksmiths were one of the most reliable bands around and like most of their song songs it’s  a little bit twee and contains some great lyrics, my personal favourite being even an unwanted gift is a gift. So true.

Julian Casablancas- A Christmas Treat

Why it doesn’t suck: Well, for a start, it’s Julian Casablancas who fronts one of the most influential bands of the decade. Aside from that, the music is suitably catchy and the chorus has the kind of intensity you would expect from a regular rock song. The lyrics however, leave a lot to be desired. No deep poetry or imagery here, just a bit of fun. And sleigh bells.

AC/DC- Mistress For Christmas

Why It Doesn’t Suck: It’s AC/DC. Let’s face it, even if you haven’t heard this track you know what to expect. It’s a little bit wrong, but it’s also more than a bit good. This is one to break out after a few drinks.

Bright Eyes-Blue Christmas.

Why it doesn’t suck:Seriously Conor, are you ever happy? In this cover of Elvis’s Christmas song Bright Eyes does his usual “woe is me thing” which usually works well when he’s the one writing the lyrics, which is probably why I’ve never liked any of his covers. He doesn’t really sound blue, he just sounds like he’s wallowing in self-pity. Still it has more indie-cred than Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, mind you, my Grandma has more indie-cred than that song.

David Bowie and Bing Crosby- Little Drummer Boy

Why it doesn’t suck: I wasn’t going to post this song, but when I asked my mum about her favourite Christmas songs she said it was her favourite Christmas song of all time because the combination of David Bowie and Bing Crosby shouldn’t work but it does. I’m not really sold on it but David Bowie makes it bearable.

Are there any songs I’ve forgotten? Do you think the ones I’ve posted do, in fact, completely suck? Let me know by posting a comment. There might even be a part 2.

Monsters Of Folk

For some reason, supergroups are usually dissapointing. You would think that getting a bunch of well established togther to make music would turn out really well, but for some reason it usually comes off being pretty uninspired.

This is where, judging from the free song they’ve offered so far, Monsters of Folk differ. The band name doesn’t lie either. The line up is an indie kid’s wet dream and features M.Ward, Connor Oberst, Jim James(My Morning Jacket) and producer Mike Mogis.

Musically they sound exactly what you’d imagine a band featuring these artists would sound like. This is a very good thing indeed. They have an album coming out in the US on the 22nd of August.

The song Say Please can be downloaded from here and all you have to do is answer a simple riddle. Awesome!