Are you, dare I say it, getting bored of the Bublé? Tired of all this ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’? Us too. So, The Edge‘s writers have gotten together to compile some of their favourite off-the-wall tracks that are still guaranteed to get you in that festive feeling. Though you might not find them on your average Christmas mixtape you’ll certainly find them on ours; listen below!
The Night Santa Went Crazy – Weird Al Yankovic
Nothing say ‘alternative’ quite like a chirpy Christmas sing-along about good ol’ Saint Nick brutally murdering his entire yuletide work-force. Lord of all parodies “Weird” Al Yankovic released this festive gem as a surprise original alongside the likes of ‘Amish Paradise’ on his 1996 album Bad Hair Day, but over the years it’s seemed to sadly fade into obscurity alongside some of the singer’s less popular tracks. Why this is, we’ll never know: the track features some of Yankovic’s greatest lyrics to date, playing off a Santa-lead massacre as if it were the centre-point to a Commando-esque action movie, crossed with a classic 80s slasher. It’s bizarre and incredibly dark, but also sensationally funny, and all in the silliest way possible. Who knew that reindeers taste like chicken? Well, that is the “Weird” Al way after all.
A Christmas Duel – The Hives & Cyndi Lauper
A genuine Christmas anthem should encompass all facades of the wintery period. There’s the gentle tingle of bells in the sharp breeze. There’s a sub-par tree in the middle of your house for no discernible reason. Most importantly there’s family members, aided by the concoction of mulled wine and overexposure to each other, airing their grievances over cheap mince pies.
In 2008, Swedish rockers The Hives found a second drum kit in a stocking and subsequently roped in Cyndi Lauper for the confrontational festive ode to end them all. Squabbling over a piano before uniting over a jingle bell rock, Lauper and Pelle Almqvist own up to laziness, promiscuity, and some mild cases of arson and hiring hitmen. Best of all? Over a sprinkling foundation of festive frivolity, they agree to have a jolly good time regardless. It’s a hyperbolic transformation of that Pogues song with the grating mumbling and police choirs replaced by reconciliation and enjoyable music. ‘A Christmas Duel’ recognises the true chaos and beauty of late December in a way that no other song apparently can.
Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy – Pentatonix
Although it doesn’t contain any Christmassy lyrics – or in fact any lyrics at all – one of my favourite tracks to get into the festive spirit is Pentatonix’s rendition of ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’. The piece, composed by Tchaikovsky for the classic winter ballet The Nutcracker, is the epitome of that time of year; the melody immediately conjures up to the mind a snowy landscape, and elves creeping around outside the windows as you curl by the fire ready to open presents… Or maybe that’s just me! In any case, Pentatonix bring this track to life with their usual funky a capella vibes, which you can’t help but be impressed by. The rounded tones of each of their voices create the warmth that you need in the deadly cold that winter brings! It’s also just mega fun to bop along to.
Christmas Unicorn – Sufjan Stevens
The great strength of Sufjan Stevens’ 12 and a half minute epic of audible joy is that it evokes the same feeling of homeliness as a family favourite Christmas movie, or a time honoured Christmas Day tradition. Much like the rest of his yuletide discography (10 separate albums and counting!) The vision of an actual Christmas Unicorn, a holiday mascot for the modern generation, gives you an early indication of what to expect from the rest of the song which is: to expect literally anything. Stevens proceeds to send you on a journey, taking the song through a wild range styles ranging from his trademark cutesy folky acoustic guitar accompaniment to a sprawling, synth heavy homage to Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Ultimately, in a holiday that can get quite overwhelming at times, Sufjan allows us to let everything out with lyrics you can chant along to and drum fills you can air-drum away at. “…You’re the Christmas Unicorn, too. It’s alright, I love you…”
Marley & Marley – The Muppets
A song with the lyrics, “We took advantage of the poor, and just ignored the needy, we specialised in causing pain,” hardly seems like a song to put you in the festive mood, but for me ‘Marley and Marley’ from The Muppets Christmas Carol is one of my favourite Christmas songs. An intensely catchy song, hearing ‘Marley and Marley’ makes me think of Christmas, and when The Muppets Christmas Carol is on my TV I know that Christmas is imminent! An unconventional choice for a Christmas playlist, but it has some cracking lyrics and reminds you not to be a Scrooge, regardless of how the commercialisation of Christmas might get you down!