Christmas is coming the geese are getting fat, and we all need to get prepared for the onslaught of the same old soul destroying festive tunes to be shoved down our throats like we’re being turned into foie gras. Luckily The MALESTROM is on hand to bring you 10 Christmas songs that deliver some genuine festive cheer rather than those usual ‘hits’ that make you want to stick a screwdriver in your ears. Happy listening!
The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)
The Ramones nail Christmas heartache in their inimitable punk style with this driving song. Joey and Co’s tune didn’t even chart when first released in 1987, but those who know it now generally love it. Extra points for the achingly 80s music video that ends with Santa being sick.
Eels – Christmas Is Going To The Dogs
There’s a good reason why this number from singer Mark Everett is on the soundtrack to Jim Carey film The Grinch. It’s a world weary ode that’s only cheer comes from the backing tinkle of sleigh bells. That’s said it’s great!
The Wailers – Christmas Is Here
Let Bob, Peter & Bunny add some ska too your yuletide with this great track from 1964. The lyrics “I’ll try and be happy, ’cause you know what Christmas brings” set against vibrant horns will bring joy to your world.
Kate Bush – December Will Be Magic Again
This years comeback queen Kate sparkles on this dreamy tune from back in her heyday. She sings of Bing Crosby and Old Saint Nicolas, it’s the melodic equivalent of a big Xmas hug and a pack on the cheek under the mistletoe.
The Moonglows – Just A Lonely Christmas
American R&B group The Moonglows helped make a name for themselves by releasing this gorgeous soulful ballad in 1953. Melancholic and magical.
Lemmy Kilmister, Billy F. Gibbons & Dave Grohl – Run Rudolph Run
Chuck Berry popularised this Christmas classic in ’58 but we’ve gone for a version involving late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, and Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame. Lemmy lets rip on this one and makes Rudolph rock.
Tom Waits – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis
One of the most impactful songs on our list comes from the wonderful Tom Waits. It’s adapted from a poem by Charles Bukowski and spins a tearjerking story of a pregnant prostitute telling a man called Charley about her life. This live version is top and tailed by a slurred version of “Silent Night”. Powerful stuff.
Frank Sinatra – Let It Snow
Christmas just ain’t Christmas without some crooning from the late great Frank and here he is singing one of the all time classics.
James Brown – Let’s Make Christmas mean Something This Year
For an injection of soul in your stockings look no further than this Gem from the Godfather himself James Brown. Taken from his 1966 album James Brown Sings Christmas Songs this tune tries to help recapture the feelings of excitement from Christmas’ past.
The Pogues – A Fairytale Of New York
This may seem an obvious choice as it does get played to death come December, but we found it hard not to include this misery tinged festive favourite. This classic anti-Christmas Christmas song sees Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowen duetting on the tale of a couple lamenting their broken relationship and broken dreams. A sobering reminder that Christmas isn’t always a barrel of laughs.
Got a fave Xmas song that’s not played to death? Let us know in the comments.