It’s a week until christmas. It is snowing outside, I am making mulled wine tonight and all my shopping is almost done. As if this wasn’t a big enough cliché, the local radio stations are having a comfortable few weeks and playing that christmas compilation CD they received free with the Next catalogue, whilst they put their feet up and enjoy not having to worry about what music to play. I do enjoy a good christmas song, but not all at the same time. I also get slightly fed up of hearing the same few. Despite hearing The Pretenders ‘2000 Miles’ on Kestrel FM on Friday, and then guessing the song correctly in a christmas quiz at work two hours later, it hasn’t done a lot for me so far. So I thought I would share a few festive favourites that are, for want of a better word, more eclectic than their radio-friendly counterparts.
James Brown – Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto
Frankly, I think this would go down a treat on any radio station. This song comes off the album ‘The Complete James Brown Christmas’ which features 2 CD’s with 37 songs, all about Christmas. A lot of the tracks aren’t particularly festive, and frankly, three quarters of the way through the album, you ask yourself if you have had the 1st CD on repeat, but this song is terrific, funky as hell (is that hat on his head photoshopped?)!
Destiny’s Child – 8 Days of Christmas
This is just a bloody amazing, amazing song. All the men in the video look like Mexican sex-offenders, but this is a brilliant, modern day R&B re-working of the English christmas carol ’12 Days of Christmas’, quite obviously. It features a spectacular couple of verses, a really cool yet simple synthetic brass riff and ‘that’ voice that can make any song sound sublime.
Yellowman – Santa Claus Never Comes To The Ghetto
Quite contrary to James Browns opinions, this song is a bit of a joke that I have just thrown in really. What is interesting is that Yellowman is an albino Jamaican artist who seems to have a favourable attitude towards Christmas songs. Therefore I felt bad about leaving him out. If you are into dancehall, maybe it’s great, but I veer much more towards early reggae; ska, rocksteady and the like.
Ringo Starr – Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
“Oh how the reindeers loved him, they really, really loved him“. Jesus Christ, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I have to be honest, I was trying to find the clip of the Beatles singing ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Ringo’ from their first christmas album, which they sent to members of their fanclub in 1963, but I found this travesty instead. It could be much worse, but it is sooooooooooo cringy. The man singing this played drums in the biggest band in the world ever, and then in 1999 he decided to release an album entitled ‘I Wanna Be Santa Claus’, where this track hails from. Maybe the guy just loves christmas?
Do let me know if you have any other slightly off-the-wall christmas songs that you think deserve some recognition. There are endless numbers of christmas songs, but unfortunately only a few get air-play, so get hunting! I will leave you with Dustin Kensrue’s version of ‘Fairytale of New York’.
EDIT 18/12/10: I would like to draw everyones attention to a brand new Kanye West christmas song, which would have been first on this list, if only I was aware of it. The song is called Christmas in Harlem, listen to it on the player on that link. I LOVE IT. Imagine what Kanye West gets for christmas.