Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Best Christmas Songs Ever: Part Two


Only two days left till Christmas! That's still 72 hours you can jam pack with holiday music! Therefore I present to you the second installment of my completely biased list of the best Christmas songs ever. All of the mall workers are gagging right now. But to all you jaded desk jockeys, numbed to the holiday spirit by the flood of corny Christmas music that has overwhelmed your ears for the last two months, I'm here to bring you the promise of a better tomorrow. A better tomorrow filled with holiday cheer and excellent Christmas music. This list goes deeper into the world of holiday music to find those hidden treasures you won't hear on KOST 103.5. As a rock n' roll kid, I love angsty covers of Christmas classics, so be prepared for a few of those within this list. Enjoy!

1. "A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss)," Glasvegas  -  Glasvegas is an amazing band from Glasgow who make some of the best rock n' roll you'll ever hear. It's like punk mixed with rock mixed with that wonderful 50's era sound. It's just good - and B.A. Frontman James Allan reminds me of Morrissey, the way he always has a hint of sorrow in his voice. Which is perfect for this somber Christmas song about how the littlest things can give you hope when you're feeling lost.

[Dustin Kensrue]

2. "Fairytale of New York," Dustin Kensrue  -  This song starts out "It's Christmas Eve babe, in the drunk tank." It's definitely not your typical Christmas song. The song is an Irish folk ballad originally done by Irish folk rockers The Pogues, and it follows an old drunk sleeping off a binge in the drunk tank while reminiscing on years past and unrequited love and dreams.  A beautifully sad song. Dustin Kensrue's whole This Good Night Is Still Everywhere Christmas album is really awesome, but this one is definitely my favorite.

3. "Auld Lang Syne," Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin  -  Any Christmas song sung by The Rat Pack is on my Christmas playlist. No one sings it like they did!

[Remember these guys? N'Sync]

4. "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays," N'Sync  -  You're lying if you don't like this Christmas song. It is so catchy and fun! It's that song you swear you won't like, but try as you will you can't deny it.

5. "This Christmas," Donny Hathaway  -  Everyone and their mom has covered this song, but the original is still the best in my book.

[The Reverend Horton Heat]

6. "What Child Is This," The Reverend Horton Heat  -  If Sergio Leoni made a Christms film, this song would be in the soundtrack. Twangy slide guitars and a galloping beat drive this rockabilly spin on the Christmas classic.

7.  "Silent Night," Johnny Cash  -  The man in black is known for his songs about black trains, booze, and life behind bars, but Johnny Cash had a soft spot for the holidays. We grew up listening to his Christmas albums and I always loved this one.

[The Who]

8.  "Christmas," The Who  -  What song isn't great on the Tommy album? This song is very interesting and deep to me. Listen for yourself.

9. "I wish it was Christmas Today," Julian Casablancas  -  If The Strokes' frontman Julian Casablancas can get into the Christmas spirit then there's hope for everyone, even you, mall employee! When I heard Julian was realeasing a Christmas single, I almost lost my mind. When I listened to it and it was good, I really almost lost my mind. Who other than Julian Casablancas could rock such a cheesy Christmas song in such style?

[The Honorary Title (Side note: Jarrod Gorbel has the funniest videos ever.)]

10. "Salvation," The Honorary Title  -  My sister and I wondered if these alt-rockers are tricking us to see how many albums they can sell with some of these Christmas albums they're putting out. Bright Eyes, Sufjan Stevens, now The Honorary Title. As much as we mocked it at first, this song has caught on, and maybe we've been duped, but isn't ignorance bliss?

11.  "Same Old Lang Syne," Dan Foggelberg  -  I don't know why I love this song. It's one of those things my mom used to listen to and after not hearing it for ten years it came on the radio the other day and I took a nice little stroll down memory lane. So I downloaded it right when I got home and as I listened to it over the next few days and started to hear more and more of the lyrics, I was amazed at how funny they are. It's about how the singer meets up with an old fling and how they grab a twelve pack and sit and talk in the car for hours drinking toasts upon toasts. Each chorus is a toast. Then it ends with "The beer was empty and our tongues were tired/And running out of things to say/She gave a kiss to me as I got out/And I watched her drive away." After 8 choruses and 16 toasts, that is not a very good Christmas message.

[Bob Seger]

12. "The Little Drummer Boy," Bob Seger  -  Bob Seger singing about Hollywood nights is awesome, but Bob Seger singing about little baby Jesus with onomatopoeia sound effects  is equally as awesome.

13. "St. Stephen's Day Murders," Elvis Costello and The Chieftans  -  Another amazing Irish Folk Rock Holiday song.

[Whiskeytown (Notice Ryan Adams still sporting his Lennon-esque specs.)]

14.  "Houses On The Hill," Whiskeytown  -  This is a real stretch for a Christmas song, but I love it and it's about wintertime and at one point they speak of tinsel and lights, so that's enough for me. Whiskeytown is the band Ryan Adams was in before he went solo. It's a punk/country/alternative/rock conglomeration of glory.

15. "Zat You Santa Clause," Harry Connick Jr.  -  You have to include Harry in a Christmas song list. He has such a great jazz style perfect for Christmas songs. This one is ultra jazzy and 50's Harlem-esque.

Merry Christmas!

- Amy
On my iPod: Bright Eyes' "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" (Another one to add to this list)


  1. This list is wishing for Hanson's "Merry Christmas Baby." Trust me. It will make people jump for Christmas joy!

  2. We also can't fail to mention "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey. A Christmas classic!


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