‘Tis the season to be fucking glad that most of us finally have time off to sleep in. Amidst all the parties and binge drinking that I’m sure will be filling up this happy season there’s always one in every group that insists on blasting Christmas tunes to get into the spirit. Problem is, Christmas tunes are traditionally boring. Not many new “classics” have arisen on the charts since the 1930’s so they tend to become a bit repetitive and reminiscent of a poorly crafted school song written by honestly talented musicians out of obligation, making abundantly clear that what they lack in passion they make up for in uniformity.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because they don’t get much coverage doesn’t mean there aren’t awesome Christmas tunes out there, although you can’t escape the presence of sleigh bells in almost all of them. I’ve put together Issue Eleven as a triumphant seasonal cacophony so that your end of year festivities might be that tiny bit more enjoyable.
10. The Maine – Ho Ho Hopefully
The Maine released a pretty sweet little Christmas EP a year or so ago with some actually decent original songs (although their cover of George Michael’s Last Christmas sucked). I particularly like this one and I hope you do too.
9. Motion City Soundtrack – Together We’ll Ring In The New Year
This is an absolute classic. I don’t think it was meant as a seasonal tune but came off their second album as one of the stand-out tracks. Not that we like listening to sad songs on New Years.
8. Hot Hot Heat – Christmas Day In The Sun
Hot Hot Heat admittedly isn’t for everyone. That being said, they’re one of my favourite bands and I’ve had to fight friends to get them to listen in return for a constant slew of mixed reviews. But hey, it’s Christmas so give them a chance.
7. Ohbijou – New Years
I know absolutely nothing about this band but stumbled across them in my search for seasonal greatness. They definitely impressed and this song, although once again not particularly festive in nature, impressed so much that I bumped it to seven in spite of other songs I have loved for years.
6. Passion Pit – All These Trees
Not really sure how I feel about this song but it’s Passion Pit and it’s a Christmas song. So simply on that merit I’m jumping it to number six on my Santa list. It’s actually not bad towards the end. The best part about it is it sounds very much like something off their first album.
5. Snow In Mexico – You & My Winter
Now the top five is where we start getting into the really impressive take on Christmas and New Years. This one is particularly awesome in the fact that not only is it an original song but it somehow manages to pull at your heartstrings without even being able to audibly hear most of the lyrics. It’s quite a dark vibe from these guys during a lovely time of the year but it’s OK because the song itself is one that will last all through the year.
4. Matt Pond PA – Holiday Road
What would holiday memories be without at some point in your life watching National Lampoon’s Vacation. Those cheeky Griswold’s getting up to all kinds of mischief all across America. This was the theme song from the movie (or at least one of the movies) and was one of my favourite tracks around this time of year. Matt Pond PA’s version is quite different but a wicked take on a funky track originally written by Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac.
3. Death Cab For Cutie – Merry Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything new from Death Cab that I’ve really stuck with. They used to be one of my favourite acts and I guess still are. This semi-merry Christmas track is a classic, re-tuned to the sombre key that Death Cab are so wickedly famous for. It’s the second best re-make in this here list.
2. The Wombats – Is This Christmas?
I know by this time in the list, everyone is probably thinking, “Now there’s nothing very Christmas like about this list, most of the songs are sad, anti-festive pseudo-jubilations”. To be honest, What kind of association do we have with ANY of the traditional Christmas songs? We don’t have snow for one and that’s included in like 90% of songs on the standard roster. Just enjoy the brilliance of The Wombats. It’s good music like this that makes me happy on Christmas Day.
1. Jimmy Eat World – Last Christmas
Now this is the absolute best Christmas cover I’ve ever heard. Mr. James E. World just demolished George Michael’s version of this Christmas classic in the same way they always do. It’s something special to take a song like this and add such an obvious touch of you’re own signature sound. It almost doesn’t sound like a cover. Perfect way to finish up the list. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone! See you in 2013.