Wednesday, December 15, 2010

15 Christmas Songs You Need To Know

Ah, the holiday season.  As a little primer for our forthcoming list of the top albums from 2010, I thought it would be instructive to take a look at some holiday songs that full somewhere below the "classic" tag.  If you don't know these songs, you should.  I spent way too much time ranking my 2010 list, so we'll just do this one in alphabetical order:

1. Barenaked Ladies (featuring Michael Buble) - Elf's Lament Couldn't find a proper video for this, so we'll go with this live one, sans Mr. Buble.  Cute, catchy, and far and away the high point of their largely throwaway "Barenaked for the Holidays" from a few years ago.

2. Blues Traveler - Christmas The "Very Special Christmas" series is largely hit or miss for me; you could make a great "Very Special Christmas Greatest Hits" based on your own individual preferences. For me, this one (and the Extreme song below) stand out for me. I love the part at the end with the layered vocals.

3. Crash Test Dummies - The First Noel There's a video for this! I'm thrilled. There's nothing not to love Brad Roberts' voice, and although their holiday album is a little thin also, Brad's songs are excellent. "Jingle Bells" is a hit for me too.

4. Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) Oh, how I miss The Darkness.

5. Extreme - Christmas Time Again I'm an admitted hair metal fanboy, but I just love the way this ends, with the segue into "Noel." There are a couple of pretty good hair metal Christmas albums out there, but this is the only song you might already have in your collection.

6. Firehouse - Christmas With You I don't have any idea where this song came from or where I found it, but these guys were/are one of my favorite bands, and I was excited to see that they'd released this.

7. Hanson - anything off Snowed In, really Hanson's "Snowed In" is probably my favorite Christmas album. (There, I said it.) The harmonies are tight, the arrangements are great. Well worth the investment.

8. Billy Idol - Merry Christmas Baby Yes, a Billy Idol Christmas record. Surprisingly good, actually.

9. Billy Mack - Christmas Is All Around The one from "Love Actually," one of the great underrated Christmas movies of our time.

10. Marvelous 3 - Merry Christmas I can't find a version of this online anywhere, but the Marv 3 are maybe the best band you've never heard of. Three albums that got lost in the shuffle before their record label dropped them; this song, according to a fan site, appears on a radio station holiday compilation from 2000. Not their greatest work, but I wanted to get Butch Walker on this list somewhere.

11. Oak Ridge Boys - Hallelujah Chorus I love love love this.

12. Joe Pesci - If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas (NSFW) "Where'd you get these kids from, a bleeping jail?" Brilliant.

13. SNL - Christmas Coming To The USA This makes me cry with laughter every time I see it. It's just so stupid, it's brilliant, and the four of them really sell it.

14. Ringo Starr - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Ringo's all over the place lyrically here (particularly from 1:12-1:40), and it's like Mark Hudson said "You know what, Ringo? That take totally sucked, but we're leaving it in there, because it's hilarious."

15. Wesley Willis - Merry Christmas The world misses you, Wesley Willis. There will never be another.

Feel free to contribute any forgotten classics of your own below.


  1. Bravo. But you missed one of my favorite Christmas duets of all time -- OF ALL TIME: Der Binger (Bing Crosby) and David Bowie performing "The Little Drummer Boy". Music doesn't kick in until about 1:45 on the video.

  2. Amazing list. What's even more amazing is that you found all the videos. Thanks.

  3. @Andrew - You see the John C Reilly/Will Ferrell version? Very funny.

  4. I hadn't seen that. Classic. Thanks for sharing.