State Seven: New York

Oy. There are not quite as many songs about New York Christmas as there are denizens of The City. Apart from one ditty I discovered about Christmastime in Syracuse, the rest of the state is hardly considered. Certainly boroughs get some due: I hope you’re familiar with Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis.” Classic. Kanye has a “Christmas in Harlem.” Master P’s is “Christmas in the Ghetto,” also by Gary Barner and O.F.T.B. Dnasty lays down some rhymes over the ‘Christmas in Hollis’ beat karaoke style with his “Christmas in Compton.” He tries but seems to run outta breath. Or–even better: “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto.” I’ve got that by Snoop Dogg, James Brown, and Mojo Nixon –plenty more cover that old chestnut! And hey, remember ol’ Bootsy Collins? “N-Yo-City” is mostly a seasonal party song (from Cincinnati). Trying to get upbeat and ’70s style pop is Jim Indell with “Christmas on Staten Island.” (He rhymes ‘smilin” with ‘Island!’ and ends with a ‘…yeahhhh!’)  Abigail Breslin and Rob Thomas have interesting, earnest entries on Gotham as well, if you want to feel lost and alone. NYC’s got an overstuffed cornucopia of Christmassing. One of the most overplayed big apple holiday haunters is alt rock The Pogues’ piece: “Fairytale in New York.” It’s so seminal I’ve got a couple covers on that, too. Listen to it, laugh and cry over it. It’s even got at least one parody (a Minecraft Parody, i’m sorry to say): “Fairytale of Spisco.” But the, you know, get over it.
Funnier caroling includes “Christmas in Brooklyn” by Erik Frandsen. It’s the usual fugeddabowdit kinda stuff.
My official offering is from a group called Marah, off an album entitled A Christmas Kind of Town, and later collected on Oh Santa! New & Used Christmas Classics from Yep Roc. The band has been alt-country-ing for 20 years and have a following which includes self appointed Pop of King, Steven King: “These guys are either the American U2 or close enough for government work.” This particular strummin’ bit of fun was inspired by and played on This American Life ’05.