I must confess, I’m new to the Christmas music genre. I’m talking within the last couple years. I’m familiar with the classics because who isn’t? And some I like for sure. Some feature on this list, even, but there are so many more within the genre I had never been exposed to. So, to preface this list, many of the songs I literally just got exposed to but instantly liked them and so I wanted to share them with you. I went through some Christmas “best of” lists and found a great one here that exposed me to many of those that feature on the list. In no particular order beyond the #1 pick. As usual, I only put a tiny blurb to let the music speak for itself.
Also, I could’ve sworn I made this list last year, but I guess not. Alas…some powerful lyrics and vocals abound beyond this point.
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” – John Lennon
John Lennon is just the best, man. That’s it. That’s all.
“Jingle Bell Rock” – Bobby Helmes
A classic with that fun old time foot-tappin’ vibe.
“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” – Nat King Cole
Mhmm, such a lovely voice that’s, well, reminiscent of the warmth and comfort of an open fire.
“A Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues
This is one of the new ones I was introduced to by the aforementioned list. It was featured in the top five and another list had it as number one. It’s easy to see why with sobering lyrics about dreams crushed by drug addiction like the opening itself, “It was Christmas Eve babe…In the drunk tank.” It’s just not your traditional, gleeful song. Plus, I dig the Irish bit in the second half.
“Santa’s Got A Bag Of Soul” – The Soul-Saints Orchestra
The funk vibe applied to Christmas. Yessir.
“Plastic Mistletoe” – Aidan Moffat
Another somber one with a unique vocal.
“White Christmas” – Bing Crosby
A classic too good to pass up.
“The Season’s Upon Us” – Dropkick Murphys
This one’s just freaking funny and awesome. I love the Irish pub vibe to it.
“Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” – Tom Waits
When I saw the title, I knew this song would be right in my grimy wheelhouse, but my god when I heard Waits’ voice. Jesus what a voice. The closest vocal I’ve ever heard to Louis Armstrong. That’s lip-curling good shit right there.
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” – Sufjan Stevens
Beyond lovely and sweet.
“Cold White Christmas” – Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
This one hits close to home in many respects. Lyrics like, “But you’ll be damned if you’re the one making collect calls
on a cold white Christmas in St Paul.” And there must be something about Minneapolis, as it features in the track, too.
I hope you enjoyed the list, ya’ll.