The alternative Christmas song playlist

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

Christmas songs tend to carry with them a stigma of being cheesy, soppy, a bit trashy or a mixture of all three, and hearing the same selection of Cliff Richard, Wizzard and Chris Rea year after year gets a little tiring.

If you appreciate the classics, then head over to our blog from yesterday, but for those that like something a little different, feel free to indulge in the following…

Queen – Thank God it’s Christmas

“Yes, it’s Christmas – thank God it’s Christmas!” wails the late, great Freddie Mercury in this typical Queen ballad, complete with a trademark full-band vocal section near the end; could just do with a slick Brian May solo in there somewhere.

Run-DMC – Christmas in Hollis

Anyone who ranks Die Hard amongst their top Christmas films (this author included) will be no doubt very smitten with Run-DMC’s festive offering. A fictional encounter with Santa Claus and confusing his reindeer for a dog comes before a personal account of Christmas in Queens, New York.

Manic Street Preachers – Ghosts of Christmas

Touted as an “anti X-Factor song”, Ghosts of Christmas is the Manics looking back on what the festive period means to them; dismissing the likes of computer consoles as presents, instead finding Scalextric sets underneath the wrapping paper, playing with Hot Wheels on the dinner table and generally using your own imagination. Sounds like a Christmas mantra we can get on board with.

Jimmy Eat World – Last Christmas

This is the first of two covers in this list, with Arizona band Jimmy Eat World sprucing up Wham!’s Last Christmas. Jim Adkins’ upbeat vocals adds a new dimension to song, while some nice guitar work helps create a new take on this classic.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Christmas All Over Again

Despite the title initially seeming a little out of favour with the Christmas spirit, Tom Petty’s festive rock song embraces the period nicely and brings with it a foot-tapping rhythm. Fans of Home Alone 2 will also reminisce through this classy number.

Muse – Uprising

Not a Christmas song, you say. This Top of the Pops performance might prove otherwise.

Weezer – The Christmas Song

If you need cheering up this Christmas, best not to listen to this song really. Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo spills his heart out about a girl that left him sat waiting alone by the tree in this rock power ballad.

Death Cab for Cutie - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

The second cover on this list sees alternative rock band Death Cab for Cutie turn a Phil Spector special into something of their very own. While original singer Darlene Love powers out the song at the top of her brilliant voice, Death Cab vocalist Ben Gibbard takes on a more serene approach to the song and makes it something much more emotional.

Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)

Christmas goes punk in this fast-paced number that appeared on the Ramones’ 1989 album Brain Drain. Partnered with a video of a bickering couple at their own Christmas party, the song is Joey Ramone’s pleading lyric for him and his girl to just stop fighting and enjoy the festive period.

Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name Of

It was Christmas number one, so y’know, Christmas song.