Thursday, December 24, 2015

A holiday playlist for the rest of us

It's Christmas again, that time of year when the shmaltz is turned up to 11 and songs dripping with seasonal sentiment are as difficult to escape as marketing for the new Star Wars movie. If, like me, sentimentality isn't your strong suit, here's a playlist to help get you through the last day of the Christmas season and keep you safe until Halloween 2016, when the drumbeat from the North Pole begins anew.

Personally, I'd be fine with just rocking out to An Abhorrent and Ancient Solstice, an album of solstice carols from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. If the crowd with whom you're spending Christmas aren't up on their Lovecraft, though, such brilliance is wasted on them. Instead, consider this selection of more accessible, less eldritch tunes.

Tom Lehrer -- A Christmas Carol: Lehrer wrote this satire of Christmas in America in 1959. Has much changed? Judge for yourself.

Stephen Colbert -- Just Another Christmas Song: More satirical fun, this time with a more modern twist.

Dan Wilson -- Are You Lonely Tonight, Mrs. Claus: OK, so I'm not completely immune to sentiment. This one's a tribute to one of the most overlooked denizens of the North Pole.

Kermit Ruffins -- A Saints Christmas: As far as places to celebrate Christmas go, New Orleans must be up there near the top. If the Saints are playing well, so much the better.

Bing Crosby -- Mele Kalikimaka: Hawaii's not a bad place for such celebrations, either. I speak from experience on this. Yes, I was that jackass who called home on Christmas Day while lounging on the beach.

George Hrab -- I Don't Believe in Christmas: Can non-believers still enjoy this festive season? Damn right they can, and do. Geo explains as only he can.

The Leevees -- How Do You Spell Hanukkah: Hanukkah may be over for another year, but it still rocks.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas: How we went this long without a Christmas carol based on "Roadhouse" boggles the mind, really.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band -- Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town: It doesn't get much more American than The Boss singing about Santa Claus. The song starts at the 7:40 mark if you'd prefer to skip the story.

The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl -- Fairytale of New York: "Arguably the greatest Christmas song of all time" might be overstating it, but it's still a great song.

Tim Minchin -- White Wine in the Sun: My personal favorite. Bonus points if you can pinpoint the part that wrecks me every time I hear it.

Trombone Shorty -- O Holy Night: Mellow and jazzy yet still classic -- an excellent blend.

Norm Sherman -- 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Because it can't be Christmas without getting at least a little weird. From Episode 192 of the Drabblecast, "Rangifer Volans".

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