ReduXmas: Don We Now

Fashion never goes out of fashion. Except when it does. Songs about what to wear for the holidays is a funny little curiosity of a pigeonhole. From head to toe they’re all over the place.

Manila Luzon takes her queen act luxe with “Slay Bells,” defining wintry appeal with doowop rock and crazy rich finery.

Unfortunate clothing gaffes include “Why is Santa Wearing a Thong?” from Shark Uppercut. Too late, you can’t unthink it. This whale tale is electronic pop applied for maximum damage.

Goldentusk, such a nice Jewish boy, virtuosoistically jams on the ragtime jazz with “The Only Holiday Gift Worth Giving.” (It’s socks!) (I swear!)

On the other foot, Matt Roach garage rages about the trauma of getting clothes for Xmas in “Toys for Boys.” He’s going to need therapy.

Full on underage prurient pop from Wengie takes on “Ugly Christmas Sweater.” Breathlessly purring ‘Put it on! Put it on!’ doesn’t convey a clear message about the sweater or its ugliness. Danceable, tho.

ReduXmas: Pick a Card

Songs about Christmas are so endemic that the merest ephemera or frippery is grist for the Xmas music mill. Hence, dozens of songs about Christmas cards. You’d think, with the electronic age, we’d’ve run out of these selections. Think this:

I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Christmas Card” is a parody of the old 1930s bluesy band number, here done up jug band style by Dan Hicks and the Christmas Jug Band. Hi de ho.

Shot o’ Soul reassures us that “You Won’t Get No Christmas Card from Me.” He’s so over us with his boogie woogie funk.

ReduXmas: Sing a Song of Singing Songs

Metamusic fun!

Dr. BLT sings about himself (wishfully) with the wistful romantic fast folk “Songwriting Santa.” Or maybe it’s moving too fast. He croons to woo. A bit later he writes to Baby Jesus that “I’ll be Writing You a Christmas Song.” Heartfelt folk with kid backup.

Matt Roach can only do one thing for you (it’s writing a song). “Christmas Morning Eyes” is an alt stumble through the love-you/no-present-though. Near miss.

Amateur hour from The Paulson Family Band. “We Wrote You This Song for Christmas” really seems like a peek into a private family+friends exchange. Their earnest folking is nearly enchanting.

Your-gift-is-my-song rings out more successfully from Jason Lancaster with the throat shredding piano recital power ballad “All I Can Give You.” Goosies!

Red State Update has decided to eschew all carols in favor of their “Christmas Tambourine.” Hard rock (i think).

Also limited, Do You Hear What I Hear (feat. Simply Weasels) asks “Santa Tune My Guitar” so the songs can get going, you know, euphonically like.

Wendell Ferguson picks the old style country rock while sheepishly admitting to “Workin’ in a One-Hit Wonderland.” Slight BLUE ALERT, but cuddly cute.

Terrible, bad, heinous songs may briefly be considered. The inconceivably Eurotrashy Günther serenades you with ‘Ding dong! It’s a Christmas song!’ in his “Christmas Song.” Awful, baby, simply ’70s disco awful.

Greg and Brian’s “The Worst Christmas Carol” is jk cheap funk with childish sentiment. Unfortunate, more than sick-making.

Geraldine McQueen crosses us back over to the weird (ambiguously sexually slanted enough for us to make up our own aesthetic) with the show tune “Once Upon a Christmas Song.” Come along with me: love, hate, love hate… (over and over again).

Time for the full frontal irony: Tony Thaxton drops the humor bomb in “Another Generic Christmas Song,” with seasonal pop underpinnings. Got me!

ReduXmas: As Seen on TV

One of the worst topics to research was original holiday songs on television shows. Traditional carols pile up (sung by the stars!), and occasional alt-rock gems get discovered as background music on young peoples’ shows (The CW network). And Thank God for cartoons. I ran searches for individual programs on Youtube (Gunsmoke+Christmas+song) forever and ever. Nobody has their own blog on this topic than i can tell. It’s a lost cause, i tells ya!

Preferring the scripted terrain, i never went so far as to open it up to the late night shows who really go to town on the novelty Christmas song trope. Let’s stretch here…

Darlene Love adds vocals to “Christmas Time for the Jews” on SNL back in 2005, a soul sister testimonial that non-Christians can take over for one day while everything is closed for the observant. Hey now!

Also SNL (the year 2000), a song that scored near endless updates “I Wish It was Christmas Today,” rock nonsense from Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan. Okay fine bye.

Saturday Night Live‘s ugly stepchild MADtv had a couple of bits worth a mention. Canada’s comic folk chroniclers Corky and The Juice Pigs bluesify “Christmas Drunken Alibi.” Didn’t mean it, baby! Actual cool blues from Harry Connick Jr (seriously) as a guest fronting “(It Must’ve been Ol’) Santa Claus.” Nice.

Jimmy Kimmel likes some odd songs, too. He joined The Killers on his show for a wonderful alt-bitofun “Joel, the Lump of Coal.” This time the punishment is the present.

A seriously sad rockblues number from James Cordon wallows in what happens “When Christmas is Over.” Peace out.

Stephen Colbert is also not ascared of musical pieces. He won an 2010 Grammy from his old show’s musical holiday ep, including the song “A Cold, Cold Christmas,” heartbroken country humor of some considerable range. In his new show he tried to contrast jolly “Jingle Jingle (Santa Party)” silly pop singing with the angry rap of political topicality. More recently he penned supposedly the worst Xmas song of all time. “Christmas is Now” (feat. Norah Jones) soft pops repetition to madness.

Finally, let’s allow for the most tangential of topics–British holiday commercials, sung about by Adam Buxton (Dr. Buckles) in “Television Ads at Christmas” to the tune of ‘Rudolph.’ A bit esoteric, but fun.

ReduXmas: Presents of Mine

Gimme gimme gimme songs about Christmas shopping, wrapping, unwrapping, and returning gifts. Boy howdy.

Indicting capitalism Matt Roach likes “Giving Christmas the Business.” The more you spend, the more you love God. Alt garage.

Where to start? Try “K-hristmart” from Norick Eve. They have everything in alt-rock sizings.

Or, try “The Corner Store on Christmas” from Bowling for Soup (feat. Jaret Reddick). This alt pop gives us the ideas no one wants, but i like it. A lot.

Or, try “Christmas at the Old Mall” from The Likes of Jeff Pittman. The idea of a mall being old is so millennial! This jouncy country pop makes it sound like a hootenanny.

Trouble shopping? “Shoulda Went Online… Capiche?” swings out Bacio with some heavy brass. Never too late to pay extra for expedited shipping.

Teen pop swings the greed with “Give Me Everything.” The Aftershow might be a talented group of kids, or a corporate algorithm. ADHD bouncy.

Draco and the Malfoys folk the flaunt with “Christmas with My Mom and Dad.” What didn’t he get? A tragic backstory? Oh yeah, that other kid got that.

Parody interlude! The Withers take down Faith Hill’s ‘This Kiss’ with “This Gift.” Some pretty bad ideas here, gang. Take notes.

Let’s look at who’s giving whom what. Powerful (and serious) Marc Sardou alts out “The Present (To Khloe Colon).” Oddly moving.

“You Give Better Gifts to Ben” from Norick Eve altrocks the fun stuff just opened. Sudden caroling joy and squirrely whistling add up to a party.

Getting weird with love as wrapping paper, Graduation Speech plays alt rock/folk philosophical into “This is a Gift.” Snap snap, man. Beat poetic.

The New Anxiety psychoanalyze us with their must-have present accessory, “Gift Receipt.” Jazzy pop folk.

Or better yet, BLUE ALERT “Regift That Shit!” Pop screaming from DJ Timbo.

Dealing with that regifting, Mr. Cork narrates “A Recycled Christmas Story.” Gentle jazz background reminiscent of a coffeehouse recitation of ‘Grinch.’

What do you need? I mean really? “All the Gifts I Need” is the joy of Christmas, swings JD McPherson. Cool, daddi-o.

ReduXmas: Tree-mendous Holiday Fun

The holiday pine is pretty Christ-symbolic, but we still plonk these songs into the non-denominational bin. Everybody sing sing sing.

Piedmont Songbag a cappellas “Hunt Hunt Hunting” for their Christmas Tree. A manly chant for the whole family.

Bobs and Lolo give us the kidsong of finding and erecting with “Up Up Up.” Dramamine anyone?

The tree gives us a not-safe-for-children lament “Far From Home.” The Rockhogs (by way of Something Awful) weep out the Celtic folk with an occasional BLUE ALERT rock outburst. Memorable.

Much more fun, doo wopping from The Stompers “Stompin’ Round the Christmas Tree” puts the party in parturient.

Also hating, Norick Eve strums the folk out of “I Hate This Tree.” Melodic emo.

Kid pop from The String Beans syncopates their irk from “Upside Down Christmas Trees” they saw in some other country. What’s up with that?

Decorating time! Brian Kinder swings the kidtune “In the Back on the Bottom,” that kidcomplaint about where your homemade ornament went.

Gordy Pratt takes the “Oldest Decoration” POV with a tinkly bit of pop folk. Antique nostalgia to make you take a moment.

Ornaments are one thing, the lights are a nightmare. A nice Argentinian nod in Watkins & the Rapiers’s “Christmas Lights Untango.” Fun frustration.

Here come the instructions from Dr. Duke Tomatoe. Rocking up some jazzy ‘billy, “Turn on Your Christmas Tree” should do the job.

Let’s overdecorate. Yes, i include overall/house decorations with the tree’s biz, but The Therapy Sisters do mention trees in “The War of the Lights.” Down home musical fare, but in war nobody wins.

Closed Heart Surgery gets experimental DJ mashing up old easy listening with exuberant young rap. “I Hope Christmas Lights Burn Your House Down” is more concerned with the rhyme than the reason, but it pops. Shit just got BLUE ALERT.

ReduXmas: Anthropomorphic Snow Sculptures

More Xmas adjacent subject matter. I figured snowmen would be a week out of the month of snow songs, but they are never-ending. I even got a book about their history (last Christmas). (Apparently elaborate sculpting was much more the style until just over a hundred years ago.) And they’re such nice stand-ins for all aspects of humanity.

E.g. “Chris Farren’s Disney’s Frozen” by loveable nudnik Chris Farren (feat. Anika Pyle & Sean Bonnette). Funky folk about a naive young lover. Kwicher bitchin. (Caution: no corporate mouses were harmed in the lyricizing of this song.)

Other famous snowmen are riffed in Heywood Banks’s “Frosty the Bluesman.” One chill dude.

More hauntingly high pitched, Steven Courtney conducts children choir through “Snowman on the Hill.” Family life beckons, what will you choose?

The Withers roll up the parody pitch here with their “Frosty.” Spooky! Dusty!

Nasty time with Matt Roach. “Frosty’s Carrot Stick” is about a tuff roller who’s alt ready to get into it. Chill!

Continuing to dude up the demographic comes Dr. BLT. “Chillin’ with Frosty” is some funky fun.

Dumb anti-semitism from The Bob and Tom Show with “Irving the Snowman.” It writes itself!

Even more bro-tastic, Jesse Maximum, JMaq of Shark Uppercut, cuts up with “Frosty the Bro Man,” a hip hop gnarly duke out, and then synths up “Metal Frosty” as the nightmare you weren’t prepared for.

ReduXmas: Snow Business

Taking a break from strict Christian-capitalist mythos, snow became the padding for many Xmas albums. What YOU celebrating if not the miracle of visible precip?

It can’t be Xmas until that first snowfall, yea? If there’s no “Snowflakes for Christmas” the Crystalairs will doowop you a dire scene.

‘Course snow can be the metaphor you dance to, vis-à-vis “Snow Machine” from Sharon Needles. Classy techno dance pop.

More dance dance dance from Holidelic with “Snowglobe,” a threat, treat, and tease all-in-one. Funky rock.

Poppy alt from Emmy the Great and Time Wheeler equates “Snowflakes” with the early traces of love. For good and bad.

Potterphiles love it when “It’s Snowing,” according to the dramatic pop of Catchlove. Yeah, okay, i dunno which Rowling chapter this references.

No Snow (Just Rain Dear)” is rock with just a fingerful of pop from Dr. BLT, teaching us that holiday weather matters less than puns.

Dr. BLT next reveals “It’s Snowing in My Heart” since he lost you. Lite country rock that doesn’t want the snow so much

That inconvenience of “Snowed In on Christmas” piles the pop onto the folk of The New Anxiety. Perky misery.

ReduXmas: Parodies’ Paradise

Man i love me some spot on hit song parodies that feature Christmas. So how could i have missed out on The Withers?! Time to rectify. (And sprinkle in a few other finds.)

1966: Buffalo Springfield releases ‘For What It’s Worth’ just before Christmas and it peaks on no. 7 of the Billboard charts, also becoming a big deal in the anti-Vietnam War movement. The Withers get hip with “What the Present’s Worth.”

1966: Hey, there are other parodiers! DeathTongue hits up the Johnny Rivers hit ‘Secret Agent Man’ from the TV deal with “Elf on the Shelf.” I spy with my little eye that that no.3 rocker is well served.</p>

1968: The Beatles rock softly with the Paul McCartney ‘Blackbird.’ The Withers play nice with their “Reindeer.”

1972: all-Rush mixtape has an adorable take on Bread’s ‘Guitar Man’ with an unapproachable “Santa Man.” The original hit number 11 on Billboard, but was no ‘Baby, I’ma Want You.’ And yet the parody is groovy gravy.

1974 Carl Douglas sold 11 million ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ singles and became one of the greatest one-hit wonders of all time. The Withers get kazoo crazy with “Christmas Lighting.”

1975: ‘Low Rider’ from War hit 7 on the Hot Singles chart, 1 on the R+B chart. Santa’s Elves fa la la it up with “Sleigh Rider.” Mr. Red’s got street cred.

1976: Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘(Don’t Fear) the Reaper’ barely broke the top ten, but had legs and was included in Rolling Stone‘s Top 500 Songs of all time. Dr. BLT’s “Don’t Fear the New Year” is not karaoke slavish to the original, it just putzes around having fun. (The Withers, natch, mock it up with “Don’t Feed the Reindeer.”)

1976: Starland Vocal Band adds to our slanglish with ‘Afternoon Delight.’ The Withers honor thy pop with “Christmas Delight.”

1978: Number 20 on Billboard’s Greatest Girl Groups Songs of all time, Sister Sledge takes ‘We Are Family’ to club levels. “We Got a Christmas Tree” by Santa’s Elves goes back to the musical roots.

2017: New contenders The Skorys take on mod pop tunes with Xmas twists. Love ’em, but they yet have room to grow. Portugal. The Man’s ‘Feel It Still’ charted strong and got swooped up for commercial and movie trailer backgrounds. Even better as the parody “Naughty List.”

2017: Selena Gomez’s ‘Wolves’ charted much better in Poland than here, but The Skorys have many funninesses with their parody “Christmas Time.”

1992: Better reviewed than bought, REM’s ‘Man on the Moon’ sparked the in-the-know party convo that alt snobs loved. The Withers get complicated with “Reindeer on the Moon.” C’mon, Rudolph.

ReduXmas: Behold a Star

Had some fun digging up Xmas song tributes to celebs. Damn, they were hard to find. Many were shoddy and home grown. A couple shone bright. Then i found s’more.

The Serious Brothers go white trash with The King. “It’s Another Joyful Elvis Presley Christmas” is warmed over pop rock about all the presents the family get each other featuring the one and only. Amen.

What if Elvis was Santa Claus?” wonders Dysfunctional Family Band. Classic cornball comedy to pop music!

Bye George” is Dr. BLT’s (Christmas version) eulogizing The dead Beatle, Mr. Harrison. Heartfelt folk for a bereft holiday.

A better pastiche, “We Still Miss Someone” takes on Johnny Cash’s song in Johnny Cash style, also raining on Christmas parades with memorializing. Dr. BLT has a particular set of coping skills.

A sad scenario of Xmas love loss turns into a Jackson Brown song in Jerry Becker’s “If He’d Said Anything at All.” I can’t tell how much genius i’m looking at here, folks.

Ghosts of Christmas Pastiche also get a visit from The Sponge Awareness Foundation with “An Axl Christmas.” Message received (but guitars not thrashed so much).

Bob Kevoian (of Bob and Tom morning show) unspools “It’s a Die Hard Christmas” (w/banter & bleeps & reactions) in honor of a true Christmas flick. But it IS a hoot.

More seriously musical, Fortress of Attitude gets dirty blues with “Yippie-Ki-Yay.” I dig the Al Powell solo.

Also hoot-worthy, The Brian Setzer Orchestra fills in The Flintstone‘s theme with holiday lyrics for “Yabba-Dabba Yuletide.” That is some swinging tune.

Some sportsfan-apalooza happenings include Keith Sagona’s “Andy Reid is at the Buffet.” It’s a take on ‘Coming to Town,’ but this NFL coach needs his meats.

Baltimore’s own Jojo & Kenny compliment from left field with “Cal Ripken Christmas.” Original, but mushy easy listening for all its leg-pulling.

Let’s finish up with the inappropriate. Les Issambres (French Riviera?) alt pops “It’s a Sad Sad Christmas Day. Saddam Hussein….” Apparently Ba’athist dictators can really ruin a Christian celebration. Who knew?