Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas songs that won’t make you gouge out your eyes with a candy cane

The loop of adult contemporary Christmas songs that begins the day after Halloween and ends after the national championship game is going to kill me. But before that happens, I owe Mr. Cooley, who was Tripper to my Rudy at Camp Tel Noar in the mid-1990s, a favor. So for my first contribution to the Corner, I present eight non-lethal Christmas songs.

(And for the sake of this post, please ignore the fact that anyone with my last name is more likely to be on Santa’s legal team than on his nice list.)

8. Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

How beloved is this song? At the request of a fan, the Boss played the fucker at Bonnaroo. In June. In the crunchy spirit of the Woodstock knockoff, this is how he addressed the crowd: “It’s 259 days to Christmas. Have you all been good? You haven’t been taking any brown acid?”

7. 2,000 Miles, The Pretenders

Despite the fact that Chrissie Hynde is a year older than my mom – 58, Jesus – and that this is probably the whiniest tune on the list, and it was covered by Coldplay, it’s still awesome. Watch the video and tell me that Catherine Keener isn’t the only choice for the lead role in a possible Hynde biopic.

6. Father Christmas, The Kinks

Wikipedia’s description: “It ostensibly tells of a department store Santa Claus who is beaten up by a gang of poor kids who tell him to give them money instead of toys.” Hey I want to try that. Oh that’s right, I’m Jewish. Santa doesn’t believe I exist.

5. Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight tonight), The Ramones

The couple bitching at each other at the beginning of the video is priceless.

Man: “What do you think you’re doing?”

Woman: “I’m reading A Christmas Carol.”

Man: “Since when did you learn to read?”

Proves that having a Jewish lead singer doesn’t preclude you from putting out a Christmas song.

4. Frosty the Snowman, The Ronettes

This one is a bit out of place, but I blame Martin Scorsese. There’s a memorable scene in Goodfellas, right after the big heist, when all the mobsters arrive at Jimmy’s bar for a Christmas party. As Frosty’s blaring on the stereo Jimmy serenades Henry with, “HEY COME ‘ERE YOU, COME ‘ERE! LOOK AT THIS GENIUS!”

3. Christmas in Hollis, Run-D.M.C.

I think this sums things up quite nicely. Best intro of the bunch: “It’s December 24 in Hollis after dark/When I see a man chilling with his dog in the park/I approached very slowly with my heart full of fear/Looked at his dog, oh my God, an illin’ reindeer.” See also: Die Hard.

John McClane: How ‘bout some Christmas music?

Argyle: That is Christmas music.

2. The Chanukah Song Vol. 1-3, Adam Sandler

A revelation when I heard the first version in 1994. I GET MY OWN HOLIDAY SONG! It’s also easily updatable:

We’ve got Seth Rogen and Sacha Baron-Cohen

Don’t forget about Jay Fiedler, he was pretty good at throwin’

(Really, he used to kill the Patriots.)

1. Fairytale of New York, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

The most depressing, heartfelt, booze-fueled Christmas song ever. Lead singer Shane MacGowan, a man whose egg nog recipe probably calls for a punch bowl full of Jameson with a pinch of nutmeg, is at his drunken best here. I’ll leave you with his words of wisdom: “The most important thing to remember about drunks is that drunks are far more intelligent than non-drunks. They spend a lot of time talking in pubs, unlike workaholics who concentrate on their careers and ambitions, who never develop their higher spiritual values, who never explore the insides of their head like a drunk does.”

Thoughts? E-mail me at

1 comment:

Stuff said...

Well done, Alan. Hopefully, you can contribute more in the future. Th Corner would love to have you.

I have to admit that my favorite Xmas song of all time is : "All I want for Xmas for you." It's by Mariah Carey, and is definitely super cheesy, but I totally dig it. When I hear that on the radio, I just have to sing along. All I can think of is that scene in Love Actually. Great movie. Great song. I'd throw that on the list as well.

Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays!