Okay, I love Christmas Music (the regular kind). I also have a special place in my heart for things that are quirky and off the beaten path.
So I present to you…15 Christmas B-Sides.
They couldn’t be non-traditional arrangements of traditional songs. They didn’t have to be enjoyable….just interesting. If you want this as a playlist, just scroll to the bottom. Christmas time is here!
1. mineral: Waking to Winter
if you read this: A post about Mineral. then this one needs no explanation. if you didn’t, and you didn’t play the video this should be enough:
“They light up the city with Christmas trees
And strings that hang across the street
From telephone pole to telephone pole
So that when I’m driving home at night
Tired frustrated and pinned down by spite
I’m reminded of your love
Unlike these things will never change
Or fade or pass away”
2. Run DMC: Christmas in Hollis
Not sure this one is worthy of “B-Side” status, because it is a classic. But if you don’t know, now you know. Bonus points for being the only Christmas song in history to mention collard greens.
3. Jackson Brown or Bebo Norman: The Rebel Jesus
If I could only have one Christmas Song it may be this one.
4. Rev. Billy: Shopocalypse
OK the content and music are absolutely obnoxious. But this guy is funny and his obnoxious intentionally over-the-top message is poignant.
5. Jimmy Eat World: 12.23.95
One of the many that will follow that are ultimately kind of depressing, but very listenable. Listen to the studio version (below) it’s much more palatable.
6. Stevie Wonder or Jack Johnson: Someday at Christmas
Another that may not be worthy of B-Side status, but it’s great. You don’t like it? Write your own blog.
7. Sufjan Stevens: Get behind me Santa
If you haven’t bought (or streamed, or whatevered) “Songs for Christmas” and “Silver and Gold” you are missing out on some of the most beautifully arranged sincere Christmas songs since Dean Martin, and really weird stuff like this one.
8. Matisyahu: Miracle
This is actually a Hanukkah Song. Whatever, it’s great.
9. Death Cab for Cutie or Darlene Love: Christmas (baby please come home)
The second of the mostly depressing entries, not sure which version I like better.
10. Coldplay or Yellowcard: Christmas Lights
I know you probably think one or both of this is passe’. Definitely sappy, and very listenable. There are a million “punk rock” versions of Christmas Songs that are all basically following the same formula…this Yellowcard one makes sense though. Just give it a shot.
11. Blind Boys of Alamaba w/Taj Mahal: There’s a Reason we call it Christmas
When I am on my deathbed I want Gospel music playing 24 hours a day. For whatever reason, it just hits home for me. This song is not the best from the collaboration, but it is the best one that qualifies according to my rules (no re-working traditional songs)
12. Cee-Lo Green and the Muppets: All I need is Love
This one would not have made it without the muppets. I am sure this has been said plenty of times before, but it just makes sense to put Cee-Lo in a group of muppets….it’s the collaboration he was born to do.
13. Joni Mitchell or Sarah McLachian: River
This one tips the sappy scales, but it’s undeniably beautiful.
14. Starflyer59: A Holiday Song (Happy Holidays)
A throwback to high school for me, short and enjoyable.
15. The Ramones: Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight tonight)
I am going to be honest, I don’t even really like this one. I don’t even really like to listen to the Ramones. It’s like, I like the idea of the Ramones, I get it. But seriously, this song is not very good. I am not sure I have any “punk rock-purist” readers, but if I do, they just scoffed. How could I publish a “top 14” list, it just wouldn’t be right.
If you’re not on Spotify yet, you need to be. Also, if you work for Spotify, where’s my check?
Get the list of B-Sides here:
Get a more sincere and listenable list here: