Ah, the holidays: good times, good friends, too much food and far more booze than one person can drink by themselves. It is no secret that Unwinnable loves a good party – and nothing beats a holiday party. So our gift to you, dear friends and dear readers, is a rocking 100 minutes of Christmas songs. It’s an instant party, full of good cheer and best wishes from the Unwinnable family to you and yours.
“A Christmas Duel” – Cyndi Lauper & The Hives
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” – My Chemical Romance
“Father Christmas” – The Kinks
“Thank God It’s Not Christmas” – Sparks
“No Presents For Christmas” – King Diamond
“Christmas Time Again” – Reuben Anderson
Excerpt from March of the Wooden Soldiers
“Yuletide Zeppelin” – Mojochronic
“Little Drummer Boy” – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
“Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” – The Guitars
“Santa Doesn’t Cop Out On Dope” – Sonic Youth
“Mr. Grinch” – Mojo Nixon & The Toadliquors
“364 Days” – Murder City Devils
“I Believe In Father Christmas” – Greg Lake
“Peace On Earth” – Hopeton & Primo
Excerpt from It’s A Wonderful Life
“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” – Snoop Dogg
“Lohan Holiday” – Ali Lohan
“All I Need Is Love” – CeeLo Green & The Muppets
“Goin’ Home” – Her Majesty’s Orchestra
“Dominick the Donkey” – Lou Monte
“Hooray For Santa Claus” – Milton Delugg
Excerpt from Krampus Night Before Christmas
“Funky Christmas” – Brat
“Dreidl-Bells” – DJ Flack
“Jingles Are Jingles – Dan Phillips
“Carol of the Bells” – DJ Demonixx
“Christmas Is Now Drawing Near” – Coil
“The Nutbreaker ’06” – DJ BC
“Jungle Bells” – DJ C featuring Murderbot
“We Wish You A Merry Christmas” – Weezer
“Father Christmas,” the 1977 single from legendary British rocksters The Kinks, is a fine pop slob of holiday goodness. Young British thugs want money as opposed to presents from a department store Santa that they beat up. No matter how snarky Ray Davies can get with his lyrics this track always puts a smile on my face!
– Michael Edwards
With “Thank God It’s Not Christmas,” from the 1974 release, Kimono in My House, the Mael brothers Russel and Ron bring their typical tongue in cheek humor to this melodic powerhouse Christmas song. Conjuring visions of decadence and elegance, Sparks never loose sight of what make a great Christmas song. A little bit of melancholy and glamor to add to the the jolly holiday season.
– Charles Francis Moran VI
Who would have thought the Danish Prince of Darkness would have recorded a Christmas song? “No Presents For Christmas” features a medley of Christmas tunes set to the idea that Santa isn’t going to deliver on his promises. I almost think the King was tripping when he wrote this because the chorus talks about Tom and Jerry drinking sherry and even mentions Donald Duck. Oh that King Diamond!
– Ken Lucas
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is the perfect Christmas song. The original Darlene Love track is so full of frantic emotion that it’s been a tempting fruit for many an artist to cover. These covers have met to varying degrees of success.
Cincinnati Rhythm & Bubblegum band, The Guitars, released their own cover of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on their 2009 EP, A Very Guitars Christmas (which is available for free on Bandcamp) and it’s one of my favorite renditions of the song. Reminiscent of the original classic, The Guitars’ slightly slow the song down, only to pick up the pace towards the end. It’s both familiar and fresh – a lo-fi, low key cover that conveys the same sense of longing Ms. Love did by that final, heartbreaking refrain. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
– Ian Gonzales
Around two in the morning last Christmas, I found myself in a dive bar in Manhattan with some colleagues. The jukebox was playing some saccharine carol, the bartender was drunk, there was woman passed out face down on the bar and a throng of impossibly large Swedes were huddled in a circles, slurring their way through an endless rendition of “Feliz Navidad.” In my head, though, the boozy refrain of the Murder City Devils’ “364 Days,” was playing. Should you find yourself celebrating Christmas someplace you’d rather not be this year, this song is for you. And if you are lucky to be just where you wanted, consider leaving Saint Nick a finger of whisky for his troubles, instead of the same old cookies and milk.
– Stu Horvath
“I Believe In Father Christmas” is a staple on classic rock radio at this time of year because of Greg Lake’s status as one-third of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (and, to a lesser extent, as a founding member of King Crimson). And the music is pretty and wintry and saccharine enough to fit the season. But listen to the lyrics. There’s a much more subversive bent there, one where Lake rails against the commercialism of the holiday. The original video, filmed in 1975 in the West Bank, also included war footage from Vietnam. How it because a Christmas standard covered by the likes of U2, Sarah Brightman and Vertical Horizon I’ll never know…
– Don Becker
You might not remember Lohan Holiday, the festive 2006 album cut by Ali Lohan; the record’s titular track features back-up vocals by big sister Lindsay. The only reason I recommended this song for Unwinnable’s holiday mix is, Stu expressly forbade the inclusion of New Kids on the Block’s “Funky Funky Christmas.” Wishing you all the opposite of a Lohan holiday.
– Jenn Frank
How often do you come across a Christmas song from the past five years – or ten years, even – that you actually like? To borrow from SNL’s Stefon, “All I Need is Love,” by Cee Lo Green and The Muppets, has everything: black Santa, a hip-hop bridge performed by Pepe the King Prawn and mahna mahna, which is that thing of when the muppets say “mahna mahna” over and over again and it’s awesome. There’s even a seven-minute extended cut with credits and bloopers. I love it.
– Jill Scharr
Her Majesty’s Orchestra is a Christmas-tastic project that began several years ago, in a dingy practice space in Brooklyn down by the Gowanus and across the street from the sanitation department. The offensively talented Ed Donahue didn’t have the cash to buy presents for his friends, so he decided to write and record an album of original holiday songs for them. He enlisted a rag-tag group of music making friends and five full-length albums later he’s still spreading good cheer and great music. “Goin’ Home,” featuring the absurdly awesome Ruby Rae on vocals, is a great jingle-jangle tune that can make even the biggest bah-humbug feel the giddy anticipation of rushing home for the holidays. Also check out “Isn’t it a Pity?” with Olivia Mancini singing about the creepy arrival of Santa and the trap she’s set for the jolly intruder. You can listen to/download any of the albums from Her Majesty’s Orchestra here, or you can contact Ed and he’ll send you a CD with one-of-a-kind, handmade packaging. An amazing musician AND generous? What a jerk. God Bless us everyone!
– Ed Coleman
Santa Conquers the Martians is hilariously awful movie and the credit sequence song, “Hooray For Santa Claus,” will forever be on EVERY Christmas playlist I ever make. The movie is definitely required viewing before the true awesomeness of the song is realized. Just remember that Santa is better than just delivering gifts and joy; he can dispatch some Martians too. Merry Christmas.
– Erik Weinbrecht
Dan Phillips likes to celebrate the season by mixing classic Christmas tunes with classic pop songs. In this selection, Dan channels Depeche Mode. Using no samples, he performs and records all the tracks himself.
– Mark Mariano