In an often troubled and combative reviewing community, there is one point on which we can agree – Christmas Carols are terrible. I mean, sure, there are probably five or six of you that genuinely, sincerely enjoy holiday tunes. I don’t understand it but whatever, takes all kinds. Over the years I’ve made a few tweaks yet generally settled on the following playlist as something I can hear endlessly without wanting to murder my fellow man. Enjoy. Or don’t. It’s holiday music, there are no winners here.
Hipster Holiday Tracks
Christmas In Hollis by Run DMC – I mean, OF COURSE. How can you NOT have this song in your holiday pocket? Cue this up at the jewelry store and watch the registers ring. It’s the perfect song for shelling out some cash, which explains how it ended up on a charity disc.
Jingle Bells by Esquivel – As featured on a Starbucks CD. Can you get any more amazing than the rediscovery of an experimental musician brought to you by a highly profitable overpriced coffee chain? This track will creep early arrivals right the hell out. Perfect for orgies.
Merry Christmas Emily by Cracker – A nod to the holiday of my youth. In Florida there are no yule logs or snow, it’s all two buck chuck and snowbirds looking to rage out. Emily’s probably on a Real Housewives franchise. Mazel Tov, baby.
Things We Don’t Need Anymore by Jenny Owen Youngs – You guessed it – that means each other. Perfect for greeting guests. Better than looking good, you sound great. Bonus points if the chorus hits as your ex walks in. You ARE Love, Actually.
Did I Make You Cry On Christmas by Sufjan Stevens with Marla Hansen – Like you could do a Hipster Holiday playlist without Hipster Jesus. That would be like putting together a Country Christmas without Johnny Cash. Achingly beautiful duet in need of a restraining order.
Super Mario’s Sleigh Ride by The OneUps – Time with your family may make you suicidally depressed but you find little breathers in the day to help you through it. This mash up of two iconic songs will dry your eyes. You might even think charitable thoughts about your second cousin’s child sized hellions. Or not, because really, they’re just awful.
Christmas Is Going To The Dogs by The Eels – It’s time for a sing-a-long. What better than the faux nostalgia of this happy ode to chew toys? Pig ears for all!
Papa Ain’t No Santa Claus (And Mama Ain’t No Christmas Tree) by Butterbeans and Susie – Everyone’s a little buzzed, the sing-a-long went well, get your 1920’s on with some classic vaudeville. If you’re lucky Aunt Mae will lecture the room on the meaning of “cakewalk”.
Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl – Really? Don’t even pretend. We love this song. It’s the last call of every hipster’s personal fade to black holiday dream sequence. If we could just stay sober and out of lock up, our love would shine. Guests will start kissing each other and preparing to leave. If you’re lucky it’s a house-clearer.
All That I Want by The Weepies – C’mon. No one left. They just did that oh-I-have-to-go-beg-me-to-stay thing they do till the good beer runs out. Cry in the kitchen to this Doris Day worthy number. By the end of it you’ll like everyone in your living room again. This is your family. Your friends. Hug it out, bitches.
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Barenaked Ladies – Who even cares about being cool anymore? God, you’ve been a bitch. Let’s make the best of it. Half the room is Jewish anyway. Get the grannies up, let’s do this thing! L’CHAIM!
Christmas In Jail – Ain’t That A Pain by Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell – Time for a cool down. Gotta pass the snacks. Without Leroy Carr, would Nat King Cole have happened? Did Big Bill Broozy do a better job with the tracks than Leroy? Discuss!
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies with Sarah MacLachlan – All the comfort music. ALL OF IT! If barbershop quartets went mainstream it’d be these guys. Well, before the coke fueled meltdown. We can relate to that, right? Get a conga line going. Save some puppies. Rant about cat’s eye glasses on girls under thirty.
Goyim Friends by The LeeVees – You can swap out whatever here – this is the random track my iPod tossed up. Like when it plays Tiffany, which is totally inexplicable as I’ve never bought a single Tiffany track. Weird. (I bought 37) Maybe Billy Idol’s Yellin’ At The Christmas Tree? Billy could totally get it.
Auld Lang Syne (Y2K version) by Barenaked Ladies – It’s time to clear the place out. Tinny maudlin bootlegs do that. Remember how we all thought the world was going to end because of a coding error? That was something, wasn’t it. And you know, Kevin Hearn almost did die. But then he played with Lou Reed’s touring band and you realized you hate Lou Reed. No really, everyone has to leave. You’re so done. (This one is so obscure I can’t find a non-Russian link for it. Trust me, the crowd reaction to Hearn would slay you.)
Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis by Neko Case – It’s almost over. Sure, the dumpster is full and someone dropped wine behind the couch, but it’s so close to Boxing Day! Time to get back in touch with the daily self. Neko covers Waits while we indulge that secret fantasy. The one where strung out poverty makes one a real boy. No strings on us!
I Hate Christmas by The Rugburns – Why does the living room look like a flophouse? Did Mom seriously leave half a dozen cigarette butts in the hand hewn reclaimed cypress candy dish? WTF?? Pout your way through the next few minutes. (Another highly limited link option.)
Always Winter, Never Christmas by XTC – Fuck it. Fuck it all. That Hallmark bullshit and the flying reindeer and all the happy family Folgers crap. Sleep it off, tomorrow we can tell everyone what a horrible time we had.
*This post originally appeared at Love In The Margins.