A Holiday Music Playlist: Songs That Won't Drive You Crazy
Dropkick Murphys: The Season’s Upon Us
There’s officially a song for everyone now that Boston’s own punk band released a contribution to the ever-growing Christmas song canon this month. Ever wish you could listen to something on the complete opposite end of the spectrum of songs like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You”? This is your song. Never moshed to ring in the holiday season? Well, now you can.
George Harrison: Ding Dong Ding Dong
See, guys? More than one Beatle can churn out a catchy holiday song. Despite having a title that makes 13-year-old boys giggle, this New Years’ Eve song is truly a gem. Move over, “Auld Lang Syne.” No one even knew the words to you, anyways.
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Christmas Medley
Whenever you see a street performer busting out their guitars (or god forbid, kazoos) in the Common or on Newbury Street, remember that they could one day be a 13-time Grammy award-winning performer. This is exactly what happened to Boston’s Bela Fleck, the banjo player who has been nominated in more categories than any other musician in Grammy history. Fleck got his start in the ’80s as a street performer, wielding his banjo all over Boston’s street corners. As you can see, he’s now worth a lot more than a few quarters thrown in his banjo case.
Lindsey Buckingham: Holiday Road
Lindsey Buckingham is more than just a character in an overdone SNL sketch with Kenan Thompson. (Want’s up with that, you ask? Click here for a treat.) Buckingham may be outshone by his ex-girlfriend and Fleetwood Mac frontwoman, Stevie Nicks, but he did write a holiday song that, even if it were overplayed in a Starbucks, would still be kind of delightful to listen to.
The Waitresses: Christmas Wrapping
The Waitresses, the classic ’80s New Wave band, knew what boys like, and they also knew how to craft a Christmas song that wouldn’t make you want to repeatedly beat your head against a wall from overplay. A white girl from Ohio rapping about Christmas might seem like an odd combination for a song, but it was the ’80s. And did anything about the ’80s really make sense? Not really.
James Taylor: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Okay, so everyone and their mother has heard this song more than a few hundred times while frantically shopping last-minute at a Macy’s. We know. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is the third most-performed Christmas song of all time; The Muppets, Cascada, and even Coldplay have released covers. But Boston-bred James Taylor has brought glory to this sleepy little tune, so we just had to include it in this playlist.
The Magnetic Fields: Everything’s One Big Christmas Tree
Boston-based band The Magnetic Fields have been delighting us moody lovers of quirky love songs since the ’90s. They got their start playing at Cambridge’s TT the Bear’s place, where they played to a sparse audience that was expecting to see a more popular band with a similar name. Now, they play to audiences that actually pay a pretty penny to see them perform, such as Boston’s First Night concert at Symphony Hall this upcoming New Year’s Eve.
Guster: Donde Esta Santa Claus?
After meeting on a wilderness retreat their freshman year in college, Guster has been producing catchy and humorous indie music since their early days in coffee shops and dorm cafes at Tufts University. And if you just can’t get enough of this holiday song, here’s a fun fact: the song “Donde Esta Santa Claus?” has been immortalized in the above dancing and singing puppy toy video. We don’t know what’s better: this Guster cover or the fact that the dancing puppy toy is wearing a poncho.
New Edition: It’s Christmas All Over the World
Frontman Bobby Brown might have ended up being known more for his tumultuous relationship and all-too-amusing reality TV show with late ex-wife Whitney Houston, but we’ll always remember the hit “Candy Girl” and his hit band New Edition. Roxbury’s own New Edition paved the way for all other boy bands of the ’80s and ’90s, and we can all thank them for that, as well as for bringing sparkly red blazers to the world.
She & Him: Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Is Zooey Deschanel officially too quirky for everyone yet? Maybe so. Her “New Girl” on-air persona may be overwhelming to the point that we never want to see ’50s style dresses coupled with schoolgirl bangs ever again, but you can’t deny the girl has got some pipes. For the first time, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” doesn’t make us want to fall asleep, and we think that’s a good thing.
New Kids on the Block: Funky, Funky Christmas
Boston has had more than a few great exports: sports fanaticism, clam chowder, baked beans, and the classic ’80s boy band New Kids on the Block. “Hang Tough” is an obvious repeat at ’80s nights at bars and clubs all around Boston, but consider this tune for your holiday parties and get-togethers. It’s an obvious crowd-pleaser. Before this, we never considered Christmas to be “funky”, but now we definitely wish you have the funkiest of Christmases.