As a general rule, I can’t stand Christmas songs. Nothing makes me feel less like having a Merry Christmas than listening to Noddy Holder or Roy Wood yelling away. I guess I’ve heard the same songs so many times, which I associate with that most stressful, costly and flu ridden time of year. So this playlist is my ticket to survival – the few songs I will listen to at this time of year without feeling thoroughly Bah Humbug. Yep, I’m getting right into the Christmas spirit!
The Pretenders – 2000 Miles
Christie Hynde was always a class act amongst the madness of the Eighties and this is rather a gorgeous live performance, enhanced by strings.
Jona Lewie – Stop the cavalry
Jona had a high degree of geek appeal, what with his insistence in hanging about in the kitchen at parties. So he pulls off this song of everyman Tommy in the trenches, wanting to be home for Christmas (which could have come across as a novelty record) pretty well.
Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Christmas
Protesting at the commercialisation of Christmas, with imagery of Holy Land conflict. Delightful guitar work, Christmas bells jingling away and a stirring operatic climax.
Mike Oldfield – In Dulce Jubilo
Staying in the 1970s, Oldfield was the soundtrack of my youth, and Christmas morning was for listening to his latest album. This tune is based on a traditional Christmas carol (from which Good Christian Men Rejoice is also derived). As usual, he shows off by playing the myriad of instrumentation on it. A true musical genius.
The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
The lady in this song sounds pretty glum about Xmas until she meets a rather handsome man whilst buying cranberries for Xmas dinner. A really jolly song that uplifts the way a seasonal song should.
Matt Cardle – River
I think by now you guys know that Matt’s voice is my guilty pleasure, especially the bit where he made his baby say goodbye *sob*.
The Waterboys – December
What a shame there isn’t a better You Tube of this song, which is a masterpiece. It’s a mass of RSI inducing guitar wrist work. The wonderful lyrics of Mike Scott, the Guy Garvey of his day, read like a poem. I’m not particularly religious, but this song does actually touch upon the real Xmas story.
East 17 – Stay Another Day
Well I don’t like boy bands either as a rule, but this is in the “impossible to dislike” category, and I rather like finding the exception to a rule.
Coldplay – Violet Hill
“Was a long and dark December…” Yes, clearly that qualifies this as a Xmas song! Originally a free download, this remains one of my favourite Coldplay tracks, with its military marching pace. I love the line “If you love me, why d’you let me go?” And the gentle outro where Chris ends up knee deep in snow before keeling over.
Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name Of
Every once in a while, someone manages to stick two fingers up at the institution of Xmas (in this case the explicit understanding that Simon Cowell will make a shed load of money from the X Factor winner’s number one single). Far more successful than my rebellious attempt one year to serve up Pork rather than Turkey for Xmas Dinner. Hats off to the Facebook campaign of 2009 run by Jon Mortar.
And now as one Playlist, with best wishes for the festive season.