It’s not that I hate the holidays; it’s just that I’m lacking whatever emotion causes one to enjoy the concept of a holiday. Retail employment has beaten that out of me. I suspect that time and therapy will help me regain the holiday spirit eventually. Anyways, I was given the task of compiling a top five Christmas/Holiday song list, and it was too difficult to come up with a list of jovial, happy songs, so I changed it up a little bit. I wrote about my top five not-quite-so-holiday songs. You can be festive without being so obvious about it. Here are a few to get you through the Buffalo cold this holiday season.
“Make It Home” – Juliana Hatfield
This was featured on the My So-Called Life soundtrack and in the show’s Christmas episode. Juliana Hatfield was cast in the role of an angel looking out for Ricky. It’s not the happiest of Christmas songs, but in the season where everything strives to be bigger, brighter, and glitzier (music included) than the year before, this song embodies the tiny portion of a season that is supposed to be about hope. The song doesn’t sound exclusively like a Christmas song, so its something that can be played all year round, because sometimes you worry about Ricky…all year round.
“Merry Christmas Baby (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)” – The Ramones
I heard this song today while waiting for coffee. There’s always one song during the holiday season that seems to follow me around. Last year it was “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses, this year; it’s apparently The Ramones. I’ve heard it several times at random points during the holiday season, I’m taking it a sign that St. Joey, the ghost of Christmas Present doesn’t want me to fight the spirit of the holiday season. Nice try Joey, nice try.
“Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues/ Kirsty MacColl
There’s a theme of shine and sparkle to almost every holiday song during the season…and then there’s “Fairytale of New York”. Kirsty MacColl’s duet with the Pogues tells the story of two flawed characters finding a way to get through the Christmas season. It’s not a glamorous story by any means, but the beauty of this song lies in the honesty of these two characters: as flawed as they are, there is still a bit of implied hope for the New Year. Much like I was a flawed retail worker who was hopeful that my future wouldn’t be filled with customers demanding a return for unwanted Christmas gifts.
“Winter Wonderland” – Cocteau Twins.
This is probably one of the most covered Christmas songs out there right now, it’s spanned time and genres: from the Eurythmics to Lady Gaga and back again. Of all the covers out there, the Cocteau Twins version of this song is probably my favorite. I’m a fan of most things that Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Frazier are involved in, and I typically listen to Cocteau Twins during the wintertime anyways, so this song during the holiday season is a no brainer.
“Listen, The Snow Is Falling” – Galaxie 500
A cover of a Yoko Ono song that was featured on Galaxie 500’s 1990 release: “This Is Our Music”. It features no jangley bells, no mention of Christmas whatsoever, there’s nothing necessarily joyous or hopeful here, and literally the only reason I’m including it is because of word snow and the implication of the winter/holiday season. When the holidays become too overwhelming for you that you have to take a step back, this could be a good song for you to play when that voice in your head is demanding you be “festive” and “merry” but your soul isn’t really feeling up to it.