The finish line is in sight. Christmas is merely days away, and the anticipation just keeps building! And I for one, am looking for all the Christmas cookies, Christmas presents, Christmas dinners, Christmas parties, Christmas lights, Christmas fights, Christmas traditions of getting hammered with your friends at the bar, Christmas blackouts—hold on, too much information, heheh.
And last but not least, the Christmas music… oh, how I love the music this time of year. The constant injection of Christmas tunes into your audiological veins that keeps you juiced up for the entire season; your blood shot eyes staying set on the prize, another sleepless night from the horror that is the little drummer boy, commanding you to keep marching, keep stumbling from store to store like a zombie as the sound of screaming children blasts through one ear and the perpetual pulse of Mariah Carey’s voice drives through the other. “Keep marching. Keep shopping. KEEP ON CHRISTMASING!!!”
Bottom line, I’m looking forward to it all! That is, if I don’t end up in the insane asylum before the big man comes to town.
Everywhere you go, it’s Christmas music, Christmas music, and even more Christmas music! And don’t get me wrong, most of these are great tunes! But we could really use some variety from the 25th rendition of John Lennon’s “So this is Christmas,” or another Michael Bublé cover. And after the 10,259th time of listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I want to for Christmas,” the lyrics eerily start to sound a lot like, “I don’t want a lot for Christmas, I just want to blow my brains out…” It’s like there’s already a spike in suicides this time of year. Why make it any worse?
By the way, does anybody actually like the Little Drummer Boy song? I’m sorry to any fans, but talk about BOOOOOOORING!!! Why are we insistent to listening to this pile of lameness every year when there’s actually some other good songs out there? I say it’s time for some change, a break from the monotony of the same 5 songs over and over again. So, here are my top 10 “other” Christmas songs that you can put on your next Christmas playlist in order to avoid the nuthouse for at least one more year.
10. The Kinks – Father Christmas
A silly and satirical piece on the true meaning of Christmas in the eyes of a child. A time of giving? A time for sharing? To be thankful for everything we have? Naw, this song cuts through all that crap. Of course, the smarter ones put on a good showing, but in the end, all every kid is looking for is the big payday that occurs on 12/25. And who better to give us this blunt reminder than the classic rock quartet who rose to stardom with a song about almost going home with a transvestite?
9. Weird Al Yankovic – Christmas at Ground Zero
I promise, I have some more serious songs on this list as well, so bear with me. But here’s another satirical piece that serves as a homage to the dawn of the nuclear age with the red scare and the constant threat of nuclear holocaust! Well, being that I wasn’t alive back then, I can’t actually attest to the threats and feelings of the time, but I love the throwback, and I find the outlook of nuclear energy through the eyes of the public during the 50’s and 60’s quite fascinating, as well as how it was portrayed through the media.
8. Darlene Love – All Alone on Christmas
Of course, she’s most famous for her “CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAS” song, which is a great tune, but can be overplayed during this time of year, only to be beat by Mariah’s song. However, here’s another song of hers that has the same energy, but can come off as a bit fresher, mostly because it isn’t constantly ringing into your skull while you’re standing in line at the local Macy’s. Oh, and it also has the boss.
No, not that boss. This boss.
7. Dropkick Murphy’s – The Season’s Upon Us
Another silly piece that describes Christmas more in the National Lampoon’s sense. Family’s aren’t perfect, and if we’re honest with ourselves, this time of year can involve a lot more stress, mayhem, and putting up with insufferable family members than the calmness and peace on Earth that is falsely preached to us. But if you look back at all those “disaster” Christmases, chances are that you wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s your family. It’s what makes you unique, and at the end of the day, it’s why you love them as well as this time of year.
6. Jackson 5 – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause
I don’t know if it’s because I was a white kid from Eastern Washington or what, but I had never had heard this rendition until recently. And I was perplexed to find that our 7-year-old neighbors had never heard the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” in any capacity, for the name itself gave them quite the chuckle.
Now that I think of it, this song hasn’t been getting the play time it deserves during the Christmas season, no matter what version it is. Regardless, Michael Jackson, still in his innocence, exemplifies the spirit of this song better than anybody else I’ve ever heard as a young buck catching his mom smoochin’ with the big man. The 70’s Motown vibe it brings and Michael’s remarkable vocals puts the icing on the cake. Oh, and the chitter chatter between the kids between versus adds a nice touch as well.
5. The Royal Guardsman – Snoopy’s Christmas
A simple rock classic from the days of the British Invasion that takes us into the world of the cartoon classic Snoopy as a World War I fighter against the Red Baron. Though there doesn’t seem to be much to this tune and the concept is rather outlandish, the driving rhythm and the flow of the lyrics is surprisingly pleasing. It all seems to roll together seamlessly, and in the end, your left with a smile on your face and the urge to listen again and again. And strangely enough, when I showed this to my father, I was met with excitement as it brought back memories of him listening to this with his brothers as a kid.
4. Weird Al Yankovic – The Night Santa Went Crazy
The second Weird Al song on this list, and for good reason. Weird Al is a comedic and musical genius. The ideas he comes up with are like that of a prodigy, and his lyrical selections and execution are masterful. “The Night Santa Went Crazy,” is no exception to this, and Mr. Yankovic expertly takes the grim concept of Santa going into his workshop in a drunken rage and slaughtering everybody in sight and turns it into a hilarious bit that has you laughing throughout. I recommend giving this song at least a listen, and even if the subject matter isn’t quite to your liking, you can at least appreciate the talent that is Weird Al Yankovic.
3. Amy Grant – Tender Tennessee Christmas
2. Amy Grant – Grown-up Christmas List
In our family, Amy Grant was the queen of Christmas, and there was only one album to be played during this time—hers. And to be honest, she actually had a good rendition of original Christmas songs, too. Here are two of her originals, which bring back cherished memories of the Christmas season as a young boy in the corner of south eastern Washington.
Unfortunately, our Amy Grant Christmas CD suffered one too many scratches and was rendered unplayable many years back. And for some sad reason, I can’t seem to find that particular album anywhere, which had a most superior mix of songs. However, I am forever grateful I could at least be blessed with her oratorical beauty for at least a part of my life. And there’s always hope that I recreate the mix later down the road someday.
The Killers – A Great Big Sled
I don’t know if anything gets me more excited for the Christmas season than this song. “A Great Big Sled” summarizes the joy of the Christmas season. Running around in the snow, getting excited for ripping open all our Christmas presents—the whole gambit. Understanding that the excitement and feelings of the Christmas season fade as you get older and the sad reality that grown-ups lose the magic of the season, it encourages us to recapture those feelings of when we were young and to take some time to enjoy the season for what it is; to take some time to remember what it was like to be a kid on Christmas and how awesome that was. And maybe, we can pass the spirit along to our kids someday, so they too can carry the torch that is the Christmas tradition.
So, there you have it. A couple of tools to battle against the awfulness that commercial America burns into our ears this time of year. Take this wisdom, go forth, and conquer this Christmas. You may just survive to see another one.
Merry Christmas from Grizzly Chadams!