With Christmas but a week away and our year end list blitz coming next week, we thought we’d help everyone out there who is going to jump off a bridge if they hear “Little Drummer Boy” again by offering up our list of the 10 Least Annoying Holiday Songs to listen to over the next week. We’ve got everyone from the Beatles to the Ramones to the Pogues. Check out the videos and enjoy!
1. The Beatles – “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)”
Recorded in 1967 for their fan club members, the Beatles offered this goofy little tune to the pantheon of Christmas tunes. The original version was over six minutes long and featured the Beatles wandering through the snow, but a shortened, three minute version of the track came out in 1995 with the “Free as a Bird” single, keeping the repeating chorus and the personal greetings from each of the Fab Four.
2. The Beach Boys – “Little Saint Nick”
Despite being released a mere month after the assassination of JFK, “Little Saint Nick” was a big hit for the Beach Boys come Christmas 1963. About as catchy as any of their larger, summer-themed songs, the song, “Little Saint Nick” is an essential track for any non-annoying holiday mix.
3. Darlene Love – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
While “Little Saint Nick” fared well a month after the Kennedy Assassination, Phil Spector’s compilation A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector notably flopped, coming out the day after. Nonetheless, it features several fantastic wall of sound Christmas favorites, including the Ronnette’s take on “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and the Crystals’ “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” but perhaps the best song is Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” Covered by everyone from U2 to Cher, Love still performs the song annually on The Late Show with David Letterman.
4. John Lennon – “Happy Christmas (War is Over)”
Some readers might actually find this to be an overplayed, annoying single that should be excluded from the list, but I happen to love the Phil Spector produced track from 1971. Actually an anti-Vietnam protest song, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” remains a delightful song, thanks in large part to the sincerity of its writer.
5. Camera Obscura – “The Blizzard”
A holiday single released only last year, “The Blizzard” is a warm and fuzzy song full of nostalgia. Complete with sleigh bells and pitter patter drums, the story of people heading home through a blizzard at Christmas time, the song is the sonic equivalent of sitting by the fire as the snow falls outside.
6. Harvey Danger – “Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas”
A nice little indie rocker for the holidays, Harvey Danger brings all of his wit to this song about how much it sucks to be the guy working the concession stand at the jam packed movie theatre. It might be a little glum for the season of joy and cheer, but it’s a damn catchy song that captures the small side of Christmas that most of us try hard not to think about.
7. Julian Casablancas – “I Wish it was Christmas Today”
This synth backed take on a song from a Saturday Night Live sketch, this is your indie rock dance number for the holiday season. It’s a song full of energy and its fare share of charm that will brighten the heart of your hipster cousin in his ironic Christmas sweater.
8. The Ramones – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”
The Ramones seemed to oddly cherish domestic squabbles (see: “We’re a Happy Family”), so it’s no surprise they would do a song where “Christmas ain’t the time for breaking each other’s hearts.” It’s a fun and quick song, two things the Ramones did extraordinarily well. Check out the phenomenal video below.
9. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – “May I Interest You in Hanukkah?”
Yes, the quintessential Hanukkah song is belongs to Adam Sandler, but you’ll find yourself laughing just as hard at this one, which comes from Colbert’s Christmas Special. The show was itself a take on the old Bing Crosby specials, and this particular track, which finds Stewart trying to get Colbert interested in a “sensible alternative to Christmas” as the latter tries desperately to figure it out. It’s uproariously funny and perfectly captures the comedy of two of this generations’ best.
10. The Pogues – “Fairytale of New York”
I’ll be bold and suggest this may be the best Christmas song ever written. A duet between Shane MacGowen and Kirsty MacColl, “Fairytale of New York” is the story of a man sitting in the drunk tank in New York on Christmas Eve, recalling a failed relationship in a song that oscillates between bitter, sad, and funny. The song never found the same popularity in the States as it did Ireland and the UK, but it’s a classic Christmas song, one not to be missed.