I love Christmas music like it took a bullet for me in the war. But the glut of stations pushing non-stop Andy Williams from Halloween to New Year’s Day has washed away some of the magic. Look, I dig “Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)” as much as the next guy, but at this point in the season, the very sound of John Lennon’s voice warbling through the song’s opening line pushes me dangerously close to driving through the guardrails on route 128.
So this year, rather than regurgitate some of my favorite Christmas tunes from lists past–the tunes you’ve likely heard a bazillion times in the past week alone–I wanted to throw out five songs that might not get the heavy rotation of a Dean, Frank or Dominic the Donkey, yet are definitely deserving of a place among them.
“Valley Winter Song” by Fountains of Wayne. You know that blissful feeling of stringing lights, writing out cards, getting looped on hot cocoa and staring through the window as the snow slowly buries your car, trees and the mailman? This song will take you there.
“Mistletoe” by Colbie Caillat. I first heard this song when it appeared in the background of a scene in, of all places, Baby Mama. I tracked it down and literally haven’t stopped listening to it since. It’s a bummer of a tune, all about and end-of-year break-up, but wrapped in Callait’s soulful voice it reminds us that things always get better.
“Christmastime is Here Again” by Ringo Starr. This song is basically the title, repeated over and over and over and over. There may be a few other words here and there, but not many. But the thing is, in the avalanche of McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and the aforementioned Lennon track, everyone’s other favorite Beatle gets no love. I’m doing my part to reverse the trend by keeping this track in heavy rotation.
“Frosty the Snowman” by Leon Redbone and Dr. John. It disturbs me that they hand out Nobel prizes to folks who split atoms and clone sheep, yet the geniuses who decided to combine the awesomeness of Redbone and John are resigned to anonymity.
“Merry X-Mas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” by the Ramones. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Christmas without the Ramones? What the f@#k are you thinking?