10 Awesome Alternative Holiday Songs
Because, sometimes, a song about mugging Santa Claus is what it takes to put you in the holiday spirit.
Father Christmas, The Kinks
Told from the POV of a department store Santa who gets mugged by a bunch of poor street kids, The Kinks’ anti-Christmas classic argues that this frivolous holiday is reserved only for the entitled elite. But just because these Brits failed to dampen our faith in the benevolent fat man doesn’t mean we don’t blast it come December 25th as we tear through presents, swill spiked-eggnog, and dump hot tar on the little street urchins congregating below our family’s castle gates.
Merry Christmas Baby, The Ramones
Forget all the fa-la-la-ing, cause those of us without the disposition of an elf know that holidays around “loved ones” can be downright insufferable, full of familial infighting and bickering more painful than a Turkish root canal. Leave it to those stripped-down punk clairvoyants The Ramones, then, to demand the holiest of all Christmas gifts: Peace.
Silent Night, Ween
Only irreverent, low-fi duo Ween—a band responsible for such underground hits as the gleeful “HIV Song” and a rejected Pizza Hut jingle called, “Where’d The Muthafuckin Cheese Go At?”—would cover Austrian Christmas classic “Silent Night” in the affected voice of a skeptical Jewish rabbi.
Mistress For Christmas, ACDC
How come women are allowed to live out their fat man fantasies with Christmas carols like, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” while men are supposed to sit there and take it while their old ladies grope the jolly old letch’s bitch tits? Thanks to these heathens from Down Under, men around the globe can fire back with a holiday wish of their own: “A Mistress For Christmas.”
Christmastime, Smashing Pumpkins
Surprisingly sincere, unsurprisingly pained and whiny, Billy Corgan unironically croons about the standard seasonal fare—presents, joy, “little ones”… ick—without once touching upon the passive apathy, crushing despair, and irrepressible rage of the holidays. Christmas has never been breathier.
Christmas Party, The Walkmen
Fronting jangly indie rock band The Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser beseeches party goers to “hold on to me this Christmas” because he’s too tipsy to stand on his own. Somehow he sounds cooler and more coherent than when we make the same plea every year at our office holiday party.
Oi! To The World, The Vandals
Tune out your creepy priest’s midnight mass sermon and your father’s fumbling attempt at grace, because nobody nailed the meaning of unity better than SoCal band The Vandals in this song about a nunchuck-wielding skinhead and a sword-swinging Muslim who make amends and rappel off a roof with the latter’s turban, then head straight to the nearest bar.
Put The Lights On The Tree, Sufjan Stevens
Sure, he’s indie rock’s softest softy (which is saying a lot), and a bit overtly religious for our taste, but there’s no greater subject matter to showcase Sufjan Steven’s sweet sensibility than Christmas, and… aww, shucks, this holiday jingle makes our dark souls feel all warm and fuzzy.
Don’t Believe in Christmas, The Sonics
We’re still discovering the ways in which these beat-era grandfathers of grunge were ahead of their time, in this case lyrics like “Hung a stockin’ on my wall / didn’t get a thing at all.” Without jobs, money, or remaining personal assets to re-gift this season, we think you’ll find this a true holiday hymnal for our times.
Santa’s Beard, They Might Be Giants
What do you do when, in the course of making his annual drop shipments, Santa lifts your lady on his way back up the chimney? While the Giants don’t offer any answers, they’re the only band to date bold enough to call out Santa “Grabby Paws” Claus for the fat, greasy, homewrecking prick that he is.
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