It’s that time of year again. There is a chill in the air, houses are wrapped in their cocoon of blinking lights and traffic is a whole new level of intense as people scramble to shop for presents. And at the Unwinnable offices, Old Man Horvath has dusted off his top hat and is stalking around doing his best Scrooge impersonation. It must be Christmas.
But it can’t be Christmas without Christmas music. Unwinnable Christmas Music, that is…
Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
“Whoville (Won’t Get Yuled Again)” – mojochronic
“(It’s Gonna Be) A Punk Rock Christmas” – The Ravers
“Christmas Wrapping” – The Waitresses
“Merry Xmas Everybody” – Slade
“Santa’s a Fat Bitch” – Insane Clown Posse
“Santa Claus Dub” – The Aggrovators
“The Night Santa Went Crazy” – Weird Al Yankovic
“Blanket of Snow” – The O>Matics
“Battle on Christmas Dawn” – Love Cinema Volume 6
“Blitzkrieg Santa” – Divide & Kreate
“Christmas in Hollis” – Run D.M.C.
“I Won’t Be Home for Christmas – Blink 182
“We Three Kings” – Steve Ouimette
“Fruitcake” – The Superions
“Fairytale of New York” – The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend
A Year Without A Santa Claus
“Mr. Heatmiser” – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
“This Holiday Season” – Porn Orchard and The Opal Foxx Quartet
“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” – The Ramones
“Santa Claus is Ska-ing to Town” – Granville Williams Orchestra
“I Hate Christmas” – Oscar the Grouch
“O Chanukah (Dubstep Bassline Remix)” – DJ Flack
Santa Claus vs. Satan
“Christmas with the Devil” – Spinal Tap
“I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” – Wizzard
“Carol of the Bells” – Great Black Nothing
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – Ronnie James Dio
“White Christmas” – The Flaming Lips
“All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” – Dread Zeppelin
“Christmas Time is Here” – Vince Guaraldi Trio
A Charlie Brown Christmas
“ There Ain’t No Sanity Claus” – The Damned
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Fucked Up
“Ho Ho Fuckin’ Ho” – Kevin Bloody Wilson
“Deck The Halls” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Jingle Balls” – Korn
“Merry Muthaphuckkin’ Xmas” – Eazy E
“Twas the Night Before Christmas” – Henry Rollins
Last year, I posted a list of my favorite tracks from a holiday mix I’ve put out over the last 10 years. As much as I wanted to pick “This Holiday Season” by Porn Orchard and The Opal Foxx Quartet for this mix, I didn’t want to repeat anything off of the last list, so my pick this year is Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody”. If you don’t know who Slade is, you probably are living under a rock. I’m sure you’ve heard their little ditty by the name of “Cum On Feel The Noize,” which was made famous by Quiet Riot. This song went straight to number one on the UK charts in 1973. I was 6 months old and, although I have no recollection of it from ’73, it has become a staple of my holiday mixes and playlists. It’s a fun rock romp that questions Santa’s sobriety and encourages everyone to rock out and have fun.
– Ken Lucas
Is it wrong of me to say that I feel like the holiday season only starts when this song first plays on my iPod? No, no it isn’t. I always think Weird Al captured the perfect holiday song here.
This song has such a wonderfully pleasant melody to contrast its horribly dark nature. As ever, Yankovic is tongue-in-cheek and off-color while he lets us all know that we’re driving Santa to his extremely violent breaking point by being so selfish and leaving him milk and cookies in return. We even get a bleak look at the aftermath of Santa’s rampage in the form of elves working for the USPS and Mrs. Claus selling the movie rights to the incident.
Yes, I believe this is the perfect song to sing with your children on Christmas Eve while you put them to bed…but not really. They’ll probably have nightmares.
– Heather Sedlak
“Christmas in Hollis,” by Run D.M.C., is an American classic. Sure,it’s a bit hokey, but it’s a colloquial regional picture of what makes the season special: your own family’s traditions. That and some hobo in the park whose dog is dressed as a reindeer. It reminds me of driving to my aunt’s house on Christmas morning as a kid in New Jersey and of being stuck in the boonies of Pennsylvania as a teen, dreaming of a place where the season was bright and the company was a little more open-minded.
– Alicia Miller
“I Won’t Be Home for Christmas,” by Blink 182, will always hold a special place in my heart. Celebrating Christmas and making fun of it at the same time is kind of awesome when you think about it, right? This song embodies all that goofy-flavored teenage angst that Blink captured in the late ’90s and I can still clearly remember combing the Sam Goody bargain bins for the “Punk Rock Santa” albums, finding all the Kevin & Bean Christmas performances and hoping to find more gems along the same vein. There were some other good ones in the bunch, but Blink’s holiday classic always stands out. Plus, in all of its sarcastic and passive-aggressive glory, I like to think that if Clark Griswold had the opportunity to pick a Christmas song he’d at least consider this one, and we all know Clark is Mr. Holiday Spirit.
– Erik Weinbrecht
I first heard the song “Fruitcake” on a Christmas mix from my pal Dave Roman. I cracked up in laughter upon first listen, and asked myself, “Who is this?” I thought the singer was trying to be the guy from the B-52s. I did some research, and found that “Fruitcake” is by a band called The Superions. It’s the side project of Fred Schneider, the frontman of the B-52s. They have a full Christmas album entitled Destination…Christmas! I haven’t heard it yet. Maybe now is a good time to give it a listen.
– Mark Mariano
One of my favorite holiday traditions is the annual Christmas carol from the makers of The Venture Bros. As children of the 1980s, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick share a lot of the same holiday cultural touchstones that we do at Unwinnable, which was clear in 2003 when they started it all off with a reenactment of David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.” After skewering The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (The Monarch covering Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas”) and Band Aid (most of the show’s cast singing “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”), Publick and Hammer did their finest work in a gender-bending rendition of the Pogues’ best-known song – the deep-voiced Dr. Girlfriend sings Shane McGowan’s parts, while Kirsty MacColl’s verses are handled by The Monarch’s absurdly shrill singing voice. They’ve come close since, but this is still the high point of their Christmas catalog.
– Don Becker
The really great thing about a lot of Ramones material is how well it speaks for itself. Case in point: “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight).” The title says it all, especially if you’ve had a Christmas like that.
– Stu Horvath
With the idea that Christmas is the best day of the year, the key to a Christmas song is pulling out all the stops. In the early 1970s, glam rock was the most produced form of rock and the fashion surrounding it was the modern-day equivalent of cosplay. There is no way you can mistake glam rock for anything but rock and roll. Wizzard, fronted by Roy Wood (founder of The Move and Electric Light Orchestra), released the anthem-like holiday song “I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday.” The song featured backing vocals by the Stockard Green Bilateral School First Year Children’s Choir. That is pretty much the definition of ‘pulling out all the stops.’
– Chuck Moran
“White Christmas” is in many ways one of the saddest Christmas songs ever written, which is funny, because it found itself smack in the middle of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye’s 1954 Christmas Comedy of the same name. Irving Berlin’s masterpiece is my go-to during the Christmas season and this is a fun but melancholy version as done by the Flaming Lips.
– John “Hambone” McGuire
“Christmas Time is Here,” by Vince Guaraldi, has stuck with me since I was little. Always a fan of Charlie Brown, I loved the music, especially this song from the Christmas special. Without words, this song distills the essence of Christmas and the holidays. There is a lot of crappy music for Christmas out there that drives me crazy because it just jams Santa and all that Christmas shit down your throat. I’ll take Vince and the Charlie Brown soundtrack any day.
– Dave Trainer
Originally released as a Christmas cash-in single in 1980,”There Ain’t No Sanity Clause” is a classic cheeky and propulsive punk song from The Damned. The title references a line from the Marx Brothers film A Night at the Opera. Like that movie, the song is fun and nonsensical, as Christmas itself often can be.
– Michael Edwards
Even if you think the humor in the song is juvenile or obvious, I think you have to admire just how thorough and thoughtful “Merry Muthaphuckkin’ Xmas” is. From the Rudy Ray Moore intro, to the dumbass “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” parody, to a version of “12 Days of Christmas” with farty backing track, to the final refrain wishing you a “fucked-up new year,” Eazy-E leaves no stone unturned in his quest for the ultimate expression of yuletide depravity, and the whole thing actually hangs together pretty well considering.
– Brian “BTD” Daly