SoundBites: Cures for the common Christmas carol


Having narrowed down this weeks subject matter to R. Kellys new album, the new Ryan Adams&The Cardinals disc, or Michael Jacksons posthumously released MICHAEL, I realized a grumpy missive of music snobbery was inevitable. 

But this is no time of year for that. A cop-out holiday edition of this column is in order.

Trite Christmas carols about chestnuts and bells rings in our ears everywhere we go this time of year. They stick together like a sugary gumball of jolliness, rendering individual songs unidentifiable. Theres no reason for musicians to remake these ingrained, stale staples in perpetuity. Theyre artists. They should create new classics rather than rely on old ones.

Kurtis Blow said it best in his 1979 disco-infused hip-hop classic, Christmas Rappin. Dont you give me all that jive / about things you wrote before I was alive / cause this aint 1823 it / it aint even 1970, he rhymes.

So heres a playlist of original, mostly contemporary Christmas and holiday tunes that not only steer clear of the status quo carol, but actually encourage listening. From reggae to punk, the list covers the spectrum of holiday cheer and angst. One track on this list even mentions Steve McQueen and Donkey Kong in the same song. Thats hard to argue with. 

Make a mix, burn a disc and give it as a gift. Or keep it greedily for yourself. Either way, it beats a gift card to Red Lobster.

1. Bob Marley Sound the Trumpet
2. My Morning Jacket Xmas Curtain
3. Blitzen Trapper Christmas is Coming Soon
4. The Who Christmas
5. The Vandals Oi to the World!
6. The Flaming Lips Christmas at the Zoo
7. The Heptones Christmas Time is Here
8. Kurtis Blow Christmas Rappin
9. Toots & The Maytals Christmas Feeling Ska
10. My Morning Jacket Santa Claus is Back in Town
11. The Pogues Fairytale of New York (feat. Kristy MacColl)
12. Adam Sandler The Chanukah Song
13. Yidcore Why wont Adam Sandler Let Us Do His Song?
14. Run-DMC Christmas in Hollis
15. Freddie Mcgregor Irie Christmas
16. Albert Hammond Jr. Holiday
17. Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Christmas Song (Live)
18. Eek-A-Mouse The Night Before Christmas