Christmas music has to be one of the best parts of the season. But we’ve all heard all the big classics, from Wham! to Slade to Buble to John Lennon to Mariah, about one thousand times over by now. How about those Christmas songs that fly under the radar, and deserve a bit more attention? Here, our committee and writers celebrate those Christmas songs that deserve just a little bit more love. Happy holidays!
Stella Donnelly – ‘Season’s Greetings’
Taken from the Aussie singer’s debut album Beware of the Dogs, ‘Season’s Greetings’ is one of the most underrated festive songs out there. Though not as explicitly Christmas as some of this nation’s favourite hits, like ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and ‘Last Christmas’, the touch of festivity that it includes is enough for me to feel it belongs on this list.
As the gorgeous vocals of Donnelly shine through this song, it is the rhythm that is most addictive. Much like many other Christmas tunes, ‘Season’s Greetings’ is impossible to sit still to. You just have to sway from one side to the other throughout. Though, one thing that distinguishes this song from other Christmas tunes is the ending.
After listening to what seems like a perfectly upbeat song with Donnelly singing about family discussions around the Christmas table, like “border protection debates”, ‘Season’s Greetings’ ends hauntingly. The upbeat music fades out and all that’s left is Donnelly repeating “fuck up your life / intimidate / intimidate / lose all your friends / fuck up your life”. It is the perfect end to a Donnelly song, though, highlighting her comedic ability and distinguished musical talents.
‘Season’s Greetings’ is available to listen to now via Secretly Canadian.
Fall Out Boy – ‘Yule Shoot Your Eye Out’
Although a pop-punk classic, I’ve found that not many people actually know about the Christmas classic that is ‘Yule Shoot Your Eye Out’. It’s pop-punk through and through with it’s higher vocals (from king Patrick Stump no less), scratchy guitar, and emo lyrics, speaking of a bad breakup. Stump delivers a roast and a half, telling the ex in question that they’re the last thing he wants to see under the tree and that he could ‘care less’ about Christmas; it’s certainly no sunshine and rainbows! Reflecting that early 00s ‘I’m too cool for Christmas’ punk kid vibe, ‘Yule Shoot Your Eye Out’ situates itself firmly as an emo anthem.
It’s definitely a firmly angsty anti-Christmas anthem, that doesn’t reflect my sentiments about the holiday at all, but damn, does the song go hard. Just try and listen to it without screaming along.
‘Yule Shoot Your Eye Out’ is available to listen to now via Island Def Jam Music Group.
The Weather Girls – ‘Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas)’
Out of all Christmas songs ‘Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas’ from The Weather Girls must be the most underrated. The track was released in 1982, but it took me until Christmas 2019 to finally hear about its existence. ‘Dear Santa…’ is a plea to Santa to give them a man, as they “can’t make it through another year”, without one. It doesn’t sound like your traditional Christmas song as it doesn’t feature the cheesy bells, soft piano and a choir in the background. Instead ‘Dear Santa’ brings the nightclub to Christmas, it changes the dynamic of Christmas songs by adding a more musical and whimsical feel to Christmas. If you’re single this Christmas it’ll be your soundtrack, and hopefully, Santa will hear your wishes!
‘Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas)’ is available to listen to now via CBS inc.
Jason Manns ft. Jensen Ackles – ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’
I might be exposing myself as an ex-Supernatural fan here, but this cover of the classic Christmas standard is just too good not to rave about. A simple, understated take on the Judy Garland song, all it is is Jensen Ackles‘ and Jason Mann‘s vocals against some simple backing guitar. But damn, is it beautiful. Their vocals work beautifully together, with Ackles’ lower register harmonising perfectly with Mann’s tenor, with the sole instrument giving them ample time to shine. There’s a slight echo, making it feel like they’re singing all around you at once. This rendition of the Christmas standard is one that in my opinion does not get nearly enough attention.
‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ is available to listen to now.
Tyler, The Creator – ‘I Am the Grinch’
It was an interesting choice to blend the beautiful work of Danny Elfman with the modern, creative talents of the one and only Tyler, The Creator for the latest reimagining of Dr. Suess tale The Grinch (2018), however, it honestly couldn’t have worked better. Two years later I’m still always popping on the soundtrack to give a bit of variety to my Christmas playlists.
It’s fun to mix it up a bit, and there’s no better way than blending the classical tracks you’d usually expect – a bit of ‘Last Chritsmas’ and ‘Santa Baby’ – with the hip-hop vibes of Tyler, The Creator. The Grinch has always been one of my favourite characters so listening to songs about him makes the festive season just that bit better for me. Whoever thought rap couldn’t sound Christmassy was very wrong!
‘I Am the Grinch’ is available to listen to now via Columbia Records.
Fleet Foxes – ‘White Winter Hymnal’
Okay, so you probably know the Pentatonix cover of this, right? It’s beautiful and I adore it, but nothing beats the original by Fleet Foxes. Released back in 2008, this piece wasn’t originally intended as a Christmas song given that the single release was in June, but many have since taken it to their holiday playlists.
I can almost see this sung around a fire on a warm winter’s night, a small jam session with a guitar and tambourine. Each time I listen I can’t help but hum along – regardless of the time of year. It’s not something I get from Christmass-y music anymore, so it’s really nice I can revisit that wholesome feeling with this piece. In a way it even feels like Fleet Foxes are covering a piece that was released decades ago, showing that a tune doesn’t need to be pre-2000s to become a classic.
It’s catchy, but not in the bad way; you’ll be humming it for hours but bringing a little bit of joy everytime you catch yourself doing so.
Also the video makes wonderful use of stop-motion animation to present a whimsical tale – can we get some more stop motion videos please!
‘White Winter Hymnal’ is available to listen to now via Nonesuch Records Inc.