A Christmas Song (Jethro Tull) – Has all the requisite components. Graceful European melody, sleigh bells and a clever, passive aggressive attack on the hypocrisies of feasting and consumption that undermine the spirit of our most life affirming Holiday.
I Believe in Father Christmas (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) – Now a staple item that can be heard on classic radio as well as your local Starbucks or Target store. Doubt any body bothers to listen to the velvet hammer sentiment of…”we get the Christmas we deserve….” However, the deft pilferage of Prokoviev’s prettiest melody gives this tune the melodic gravitas it deserves.
Christmas Wrapping (The Waitresses) – This San Francisco combo knocks it out of the park with a killer bass line and discreet rap attack. The female narrator is ready to pack it in this Christmas and have a quiet, bitter-sweet holiday alone until she stumbles upon an old flame in the convenience store on Xmas eve. Always a sucker for a (sic) happy ending.
Fairytale of New York (The Pogues) – Perhaps the greatest Xmas tune yet written. The tune finds our narrator in the drunk tank singing Christmas carols with the NYPD. But, the highlight is the pithy, profane (yet loving) call and response vocals in the bridge with the late, great, Kristy McColl.
7’ O’clock News/Silent Night (Simon and Garfunkel) – Captures the sad depressing beauty of the spirit of Christmas. The gorgeous ‘Silent Night’ melody is sung to the backdrop of an actual sixties news broadcast on Christmas Eve. The melody (and the euphoria of the season) slowly gives way to the gradual fade in of dour reports of political paranoia, suppression, serial murders etc… The song (and our optimism) slowly fades out; defeated by the realities of a cruel and depressing world order. Epic and chilling with every listen…