Get most of the list on Spotify
It’s Christmas! The Colorado Daily would like to give you the gift of not-awful holiday music. Throughout December, the Laws of Not Being Obnoxious dictate that you enjoy this sort of thing in moderation, but now that the actual holiday is upon us, you have full freedom to enjoy the crap out of Christmas music. There’s a lot of sappy nonsense out there — so here are some recommendations. (Note: I left off Mariah’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” because, well, duh.)
Run-D.M.C., “Christmas in Hollis”
This one comes first for a reason. It just might be the best thing to ever happen to Christmas music. Run-D.M.C. rhymes about finding Santa’s wallet (Took out the license and it cold said Santa Claus / A million dollars in it, cold hundreds of G’s) and celebrating the holiday in their old neighborhood, Hollis, Queens. It’s a heartwarming hip hop tale of being rewarded for good deeds and enjoying some collard greens. Oh, and they made a completely ridiculous video to go with it.
Kanye West, “Christmas in Harlem”
Kanye’s take on a hip hop, NYC neighborhood-specific Christmas song is far less lighthearted than his predecessors, but it’s still good. Mostly, it’s impressive that he could rap for almost seven minutes (minus the vocal choruses) about the holiday. It’s a mellow tribute to Christmas in the hood.
Bruce Springsteen, “Merry Christmas Baby”
There’s not too much to say about this song that you couldn’t guess for yourself. The Boss does a Christmas song, and it’s an infectious toe-tapper heavy on sax solos and Springsteen swagger. The theme: Being thankful for a loved one on Christmas. Awww.
Chuck Berry, “Run Rudolph Run”
Who better to perform this song than one of the original guitar legends? There are a lot of versions of this song out there, but this is probably the best. Berry’s fuzzy ‘50s electric guitar and unpolished but earnest voice give the song extra character.
The Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”
The Ramones take it slightly easier than usual for their shot at a Christmas tune. They soften their punk edge with some sleigh bells and a sweet request to put the dysfunction aside for the holidays. Other than that it’s pure Ramones punk, with simple chord progressions and repetitive lyrics that somehow don’t completely bore you.
She & Him, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
Most of the songs on Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward’s Christmas record are good, if a little underwhelming, but this one stands out. It’s perfectly suited to Deschanel’s sweet, jazzy alto. Enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate by the fire.
Bobby Helms, “Jingle Bell Rock”
This one’s a classic, and it’s one of the classics that doesn’t get annoying. If you’re bored with it, though, you can always enjoy the Mean Girls version.
Trey Songz and Flo Rida, “Jingle Bells”
OK, this one is harder to track down because it’s technically just a Gap ad. Weird thing is that the song is pretty good as far as Christmas music goes. More importantly, the video is insanely charming. You can find it on YouTube. Check out the whole series from that year on while you’re at it – Janelle Monae does an excellent rendition of “Winter Wonerland” while Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) prances absurdly around her.