Muppets pianoman Rowlf keeps the party rolling with his casual bonhomie in “The Christmas Party Sing-Along.” Ragtime that punches you in the syncopation. Bo-do-da-dum-dump.
Rick and Morty‘s creator’s earlier brilliant-but-what’s-the-demographic? sitcom was not known for breakout songs, but attention must be paid to these study group misfits during the holidays.
The 2010 stop motion episode ‘Abed’s Uncontollable Christmas’ brings it.
The “Intro Song” is a takeoff of The 88’s series opening music this time with Xmas.
The meaning of Christmas is put together in the show stopper “That’s What Christmas is For.” John Oliver! Christmas pterodactyl!
The next year is about singing Xmas for Glee club. To win over the surly main character, the Jewish nerd girl sings “Annie’s Christmas Song.” Brother, that’s jazz striptease junk with Betty Boop botheration.
The overlooked housewife gets a big gospel (half) number with “Happy B-Day, Jesus.” Go tell it on the lafftrack.
The actual “Community Glee Club” performance is a sad throwaway about how the hot blonde is tone deaf.
“Troy & Abed’s Christmas Rap Battle,” however, convinces the Asperger’s kid and the conflicted cool athlete to celebrate a holiday they would otherwise disdain. Much prettier, or at least much faster.
Comedy gold from those boys finally in order to convince the geriatric in “Baby Boomer Santa,” an addictive song about the evolution of St. Nick through musical genres. An American Pearl.
Has the spending and crowding and futility of it all got you down, bucko? Time to wail the blues.
Along the Road make the blues pretty with “Christmas Shopping Mall Blues.” Shiny big band finishing, melodic, yeah even a bit whiney. Next.
Fat, Happy and Blue jazz up the blues to the level of gin bar with “Christmas Shopping Blues.” Still flashy, sexy, and stand-uppity. What else?
Raw, ragged, and joyously hopeless, The Christmas Jug Band gallop around “X-Mas Shopping Blues.” Roaring fun. (Still wish i had some Memphis growlin’.)
The tree is beautiful, your significant other is beautiful… what’s a poet to do?
For Brian Velez, “My Christmas Tree” tells him he’s meant for her. Or it is her. With this much coffehouse poetry and slamming folk guitar, it’s hard to know.
The extended metaphor gets excruciating elucidation from Darrin Martin in “You’re 100 Christmas Trees.” Is that Dixieland in the bridge? Is this guy serious? Falsetto?
I think Samuel J Morris is also mistaking his one and only for the fir. “Help My Christmas Tree” he seems to say through not fully fluent English. I’d call Dr. Oliver Sacks (‘cept he’s dead).
David Johnston will come right out and say it: “She Looks Like a Christmas Tree.” Unplugged rock that might give you verse envy.
“I Want to Be Your Christmas Tree” swear Black & Blond Music. I’m not sure what woody benefits you’re hoping for, but your ‘billy blues fascinate.
With you around (and no one else) King Virtue feels “Like a Christmas Tree.” Hot enough to melt snow, anyway. Trippy ’60s style rock heavy on the percussion.
The Whomping Willows also aspire to adortion with “Let Me Be Your Christmas Tree.” Jazzy pop that covers the smell of desperation with musical justification.
Women get equal time! “I’m All Lit up Like a Christmas Tree” wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test, but Janey Clewer and Randy Waldman anticipate her baby comin’ home with boogie woogie jazz that’ll get his attention.
Hip hop from Nroc Leoj swathes his girl in the metaphor “Lights on the Christmas Tree.” She lights up his world, a’ight?
Well the song loves her. Boogie woogie metal from Mad for Action where the story is that the good-for-nothing blond didn’t listen to the haters but acheived “Like a Christmas Tree.” (Sparkly on the outside, dead on the inside?)
Christmas balls dangle from the branches like… reproductive organs?! Someone likes this pun.
Funky Butt Brass Band descend into the mood with the raise-the-roof jazz of “Shiny Christmas Balls.” Don’t make them blue, baby.
Surprisingly upbeat reggae rock features John Mahameed & Nard cutting loose with “Christmas Balls.” Why you gotta?
Damage Control Comedy search for the key with “Your Christmas Balls” double entendre-ing the pun with showtune jazz. Take ’em out… where you wanna put ’em… Kay?
A regular Xmas tradition from the Johnboy & Billy Morning show, Nonge Shipman simply strums the folk ballad “Christmas Balls.” You’ve heard it.
From the risqué ’50s Kay Martin and Her Bodyguards “Hang Your Balls on the Christmas Tree” lets us know what we were missing, in terms of smirk.
No one else has balls like Ben Light and His Surf Club Boys. His “Christmas Balls” from the party records of the ’30s was the first… and the best (at innuendo).
Candy covers Christmas treats overall. But peppermint gets special attention about now.
Owl City graduates out of Disney pop and approaches alt light with “Peppermint Winter.” It’s fun, then emo, then pop, then rock. Multi-flavored! [But this Adam Young guy has the worst management; this song is included in dozens of cheapie compilations with no credit to the Minnesota electronic wizard.]
Full alt hails from These Are Waves with “Peppermint (The Christmas Song).” It strums through millennial feelings, which can get so complicated this time of year.
College band Ormsby comes to us care of Youtube with “Arsenic & Peppermint.” It’s a good ol’ college try, heavy on the tambourine.
Too many songs piggyback onto the topic with place names that include peppermint. But have to give a moment to Bobby Vinton’s “Peppermint Stick Parade.” It’s jolly and… well musically it’s not much. But it’s jolly.
Also tangential, The Lennon Sisters take a Lawrence Welk break to tell us the tale of “Peppy the Peppermint Bear.” I woulda thought Santa’d’ve more standards than to let an ursine mix the sweets.
The American Song-Poem album really takes it away with the peppermint song possibilities, re: “Christmas Treat, Peppermint” by The Sisterhood.
Outstanding in its own field, Randall Reed with the Forerunners run from reason with “The Peppermint Stick Man.” If ever a Stephen King suggestion flew out of a Christmas song, this would be it. Don’t take my word for it, allow Avoicecrying33 to set up this masterpiece in his own ineffable way (& he takes a minute to get going).
By my calendar it’s the twenty-fifth of December. Time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the last year.
Some Xmas songs are wonderful.
Some Xmas songs are terrible.
But i don’t give much thought to the trouble of making the videos. Here are some of my favorite music videos over the last year…
Zissou Society don’t have much of a song with “Oh Shit, It’s Christmas,” but watch their collection of holiday commercials set to their salty celebration:
Jeffrey Cannon uses borrowed cartoon and reinvigorates the old “Frumpy the Christmas Frog” so that kids of all generations may wonder WTF?
Here Come the Mummies like some dress up, but for “Secret Santa” they have gone beyond the pale for an homage to the old ‘Rudolph’ TV special, but this time with a stag party. That dentist elf’s got some moves! (Better video than song, sorry.)
Bret McKenzie goes electronica for “Electronic Santa” a dance video full of dance. I can dig it.
I keep listening to Big B and K David recite their “Christmas List, Yo.” But I’ve come to realize their video is active and energetic and teaches me cool new dance moves (‘swipe the credit card!’).
Keeping it funny… something called Verbatim Lyrics (this is old, old VHS stuff) used to play with MTV videos and replace vapid lyrics with descriptions of what the people in the mini-movies are doing. Here is George Michael’s “Last Christmas” sendup. Uh–Burn!
To balance the amusing with the angering, Poly Styrene plays pop on the punk sentiments of Christmas being the downfall of civilization with “Black Christmas.” Damn if it don’t make me want to dance to doomsday.
Do we have time for a quick science class power point? We do? Jay Livingston and Ray Evans make chemistry Christmassy with “Silver Balls.” Take notes.
While in the humor department, let’s pretend a song wallpapered with memes is a video. ‘Cuz i like “Play That Christmas Music White Boy.” I need to hear it one more time.
For a top ten finale, gotta get even dirtier (what we call a BLUE ALERT for you meddlin’ parent-types) with Jimmy Colorado and the Bronco Band (Bath Boys Comedy actually). These boys have parodied the classic country music video with their heart-warming “Christmas Shit.” I laugh every time (now you know that).
The explosion of Christmas novelty, music availability, counterculture–rock ‘n’ roll all overlap. So, let’s take a few days to celebrate rock and xmas.
Let’s start near the beginning. The first songs to be called rock were just boogie woogie with a harder guitar line. Have you heard The Moods’s “Rockin’ Santa Claus“? Then you know.
Sandy Baron swings jive into rock with “Swingin’ Santa Claus.” It’s authentic, but not memorable.
Slowing the rock roots way down, “Rockin’ Christmas” plays retro like it’s a fun Vegas show with in-crowd references. But Valentine Green has some loungey-big band chops and makes old-timey rock seem cute.
Can you call boogie woogie rock ‘n’ roll and be done with it? Well, plenty do. The Jeff Archer Group cram some Jerry Lee licks into their “Rockin’ Christmas Boogie” but still sound like Friday night at Shari’s.
More retro wave riders include Robert Wells and Little Mike Watson. Their “A Very Merry Rockin’ Good Christmas” just sounds a bit tired.
Can you call it rock when you can’t understand the words? (Well i presume you can’t.) Try The Renovators with “Rockin’ Good Christmas in Hebrew.” You may feel guilty afterward, but you may dance uncontrollably as well.
The Tractors sound boogie woogie still, but increase the insistency of the beat in this orignery stylin’ of “Rockin’ This Christmas.” Dance to the revolution of the evolution.
Boogie Woogie began before the turn of the century with a lot of piano banging and chord changes. It means much more now, but it’s always been a call to dance.
For a taste of the low down dirty original feeling, The Chicago Kingsnakes clang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang on “Boogie Woogie Christmas” from the superior album Holiday Boogie. Feel that repetitive carpal tunnel beat? Yeah, that’s right.
Jazzier, but still rowdy, Jimmy Maddox gets virtuosoistic all over the 88 keys with “Boogie Woogie Christmas Card.” Check out those changes: is he more than one man?!
Brain Setzer (and band) have retro-fitted tunes like “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” modernizing the licks, but still, nicely, beholding to the big band smooth-interchange of instruments. Mabel Scott beats the blues off that cat.
Deanna Carter does a country version of another “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” but she vamps the siren intimacy in keeping with big band sexiness. Kind of a waste of talent.
Jimmy Rankin wails out a Canadian country electric “Boogie Woogie Christmas” by the numbers. He’s selling it, but–Canadian boogie woogie, eh?
Strangely, this wild renegade music is so old and institutionalized we have children’s versions. Paul and Teresa Jennings of Music K8 have quieted down some screaming sounds for “Blitzen’s Boogie.” There’s a cool song in there somewhere.
For some (updated) jellyroll-style boogie woogie, bet on The Tractors.”Santa Claus is Coming (in a Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train)”is the piano you have been looking for. I mean, damn.
Let’s get with the 21st and consider the LGBTQ alternatives! Is Santa stuck in a rut, or is he experimental at all?
Daveo Falaveo updates old heater Eartha with his “Santa Baby.” Seems to work–except the lip-sync (what song is that guy singing?!).
Just as predictably, Parody Dummy regales us with ‘funny’ falsettos and “Santa is Queer” (from Wham’s ‘Last Year’). Skip the first minute of pre-music. Or all of it.
Slightly funnier, but blessedly shorter, Larry the Cable Guy brings forth a 15 second “The First Queer Santy Claus” to the tune of ‘First Noel.’ Hee haw.
Wooden Steel belabors the comedy out of “Santa Turned My Boyfriend Gay.” This is presented as an ‘improv’ song. Un-improv-ed, if you ask me. Despite the tacked on gender empowerment, it stoops to poo poo.
Although Kip Addotta does this (it’s on the Big Dr. Demento Xmas Collection), i prefer Standstill’s “I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus” ’cause it’s raw (appropriately punk) and has a Seinfeld reference. (Yes, i like it even more than RuPaul‘s throaty ur-diva bit.)
Much happier to out the old guy is Uncle’s Institution garage chortling “Santa Claus is Gay.” These polar scholars reel from tolerance to name-calling on some German TV show.
Too many of these songs have been repressed, so let me just add a couple more from my own collection (despite their sad association of gay with pedophilia):
The Go-Go Boys are unabashed queer parodists. Off their album Gay Apparel Xmas Songs from somewhere in the ’90s check out “Chickenhawk is Coming to Town.” Fiendishly clever, with a jazzy piano.
Unintentionally uplifting are The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies from a 1998 KROQ Christmas collection with “Butch the Gay Santa Claus.” It’s a party in your pants.