There is Still Hope for Holiday Music

Thursday · November 8th · 2012

Now that the holidays are rapidly approaching, or encroaching us with their bloating food and crowded shopping centers, it’s time to reconsider one negative aspect of the holiday season: the Christmas music. Of course, there’s a lot of intolerable stuff out there, such as the tunes they play on daytime radio and in those ceaseless television adverts. I know that a lot of people spend their holidays trying to avoid the music, that the Christmas spirit is somewhat diminished by the irritating repetition of the same, obnoxious “classics”. However, it seems like such a shame, since music is intended to reify and intensify the emotions of special moments.

There is always the possibility of avoiding Christmas music altogether. However, this is almost impossible, unless you’re willing to break off all communication with the festive, and thus outside, world. But I’d like to venture that not all Christmas music is bad, only the songs that we’ve been indoctrinated to associate with the holidays. So, I’ve composed a list of my ten favorite underrated Christmas songs; the songs I think everyone should include on their holiday playlists.

At number 10, I have “Fallen Snow” by Au Revoir Simone. Although this isn’t a typical Christmas song, it connotes the hopefulness of the holidays, in spite of the cold.

“Fallen Snow” by Au Revoir Simone

At number 9, I chose “Blue Christmas” by Bright Eyes. Although it’s probably preferable to get through the holidays without having to listen to Conor Oberst’s depressing voice, this is nevertheless a wonderful song, and no playlist would be complete without it.

“Blue Christmas” by Bright Eyes

At number 8, I have “Taking Down the Tree” by Low. In fact, their entire album, “Christmas”, is great. Again, this is not the happiest track, and should perhaps wait until the end of the holidays to be played.

“Taking Down the Tree” by Low

At number 7, there is “Christmas Song” by Mogwai. This is a soothing, instrumental piece, with bittersweet undertones. This song is simply further proof that Mogwai never goes wrong.

“Christmas Song” by Mogwai

At number 6, I decided to place the cover of a classic: “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. This is the quintessential song of the holidays, and no further explanation is needed to prove why I’ve placed it on my list..

“Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” by David Bowie and Bing Crosby

At number 5, I have “December Will Be Magic Again” by Kate Bush. This is a fun, poppy song that is perfect for the joyful aspect of the holidays (that most of my other songs seem to be ignoring).

“December Will Be Magic Again” by Kate Bush

At number 4, I chose “Sister Winter” by Sufjan Stevens. I only recently discovered this song, and have been listening to it on repeat, although Christmas is still far enough away.

“Sister Winter” by Sufjan Stevens

At number 3: “Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas” by Okkervil River. This is a mournful, nostalgic song that evokes past youthful Christmases. Okkervil River, a great alternative band, never fail to bring out the teenage angst in everything.

“Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas” by Okkervil River

At number 2, I have “Kindle a Flame in Her Heart” by Los Campesinos! This is a wonderful Christmas song, that evokes both the depressing and the uplifting features of the holidays. This song is far too underrated, and deserves the credit it deserves.

“Kindle a Flame in Her Heart” by Los Campesinos!

Finally, at number 1, I’ve chosen “Fairy Tale of New York” by The Pogues. Released in 1987, and featuring the singers Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl, it is without doubt the greatest Christmas song of all time. Including the themes of broken dreams and retaliating hope, “Fairy Tale of New York” will never be irrelevant.

“Fairy Tale of New York” by The Pogues

So what do you think? What's your favourite Christmas tune? Comment below and let us know!


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