15 Festive Songs to rock up your Christmas

Little kylieIt’s that time of year where, despite the fact there are hundreds if not thousands of Christmas songs out there, you can’t go into a shop without hearing one of just half a dozen. If it’s not Slade then it’s Wizzard, Band Aid or Wham! Now, these songs have their place and if I go through a festive season without having Noddy Holder screaming “It’s Christmas” at me I’ll feel a bit cheated, but I’m here to remind you that there are alternatives out there.

I’ve put together a wee playlist and jotted down a word or two about each of my choices. It’s pretty eclectic but they all, in some shape or form, are Christmas related.

Eels – Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas

A heartwarming, uplifting slice of festive fun that contains possibly the greatest line in the history of Christmas songs. “Baby Jesus, born to rock”

Perry Como & the Fontane Sisters – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Okay, it’s not hugely alternative, but it doesn’t get the heavy rotation that some others get and it’s a tune that’ll guarantee to warm you up after a cold day Christmas shopping.

Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis

I first heard this in one of the best Christmas movies of all time – Die Hard. The horn riff in particular is a joy to behold.

Chris de Burgh – A Spaceman Came Travelling

I love the whole idea of this, that the Angel Gabriel visiting the shepherds is actually an alien. It’s so clever and you can’t help yourself singing along.

They Might be Giants – Santa’s Beard

Not a cover of the Beach Boys song, rather the tale of a fairly malevolent Santa trying his best to do some homewrecking. Seasonal.

The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping

So, I’ll just leave this one here for you all to judge. Honestly, what can I say, it’s loud, it’s fun and I like it.

Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Marshmallow World

This is utterly glorious. The song has been around since 1949 and been performed by countless artists, but I love this take on it. You will too.

Kylie Minogue – Santa Baby

This maybe isn’t as iconic as Eartha Kitt’s 1953 original but I love the Kylie version. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve been to YouTube to check out her Top of the Pops performance.

James Brown – Soulful Christmas

It doesn’t get more soulful or more funky than this. It’s James Brown, you’re gonna dance. And remember, James Brown loves you.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Santa Claus is Coming to Town

A quintessential Christmas song and a superb version. Clarence Clemons’ sax solo is great and the guys sound like they’re having a ball playing it.

Randy Newman – Christmas in Cape Town

A rather more bleak take on a Christmas tune. A biting, satirical tale of apartheid in South Africa, musically it maybe a bit dated but lyrically it’s fantastic.

Stevie Wonder – What Christmas Means to Me

The polar opposite to the last track this is an uplifting ode to the joy of all the good things about Christmas.

Mogwai – Christmas Song

Well obviously, given they’re named after a creature from Gremlins, Mogwai had to do a Christmas song at some point. Showcasing they’re softer, more delicate side this is just great.

Eels – Christmas is Going to the Dogs

Who would’ve thought it, the Eels becoming synonymous with Christmas? Well maybe not, this isn’t quite the cheery ditty it sounds, the tale of a rather grumpy old dog trying his best to pretend Christmas isn’t happening.

Pearl Jam – Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas Time)

A sombre but beautiful way to end the playlist, a lament to growing up and losing the magic of Christmas.

I hope you enjoyed my selection and that it helped you get into the Christmas spirit.

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Graeme Campbell

If it doesn't sound better turned up louder, then what's the point? Stuck somewhere around 1994, raging against the machine and steadfastly refusing to budge.
Graeme Campbell

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