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Seth’s Happy Festivus Mixtape

December 23, 2009 - 1:22 am

Okay, so on the insistence of a friend who is ridiculously obsessed with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You”, I made a holiday mixtape with some songs that I think are good despite the fact that they celebrate not only a holiday I hate, but also a messiah that I don’t believe in and a season that’s cold as balls. I’ve never had the compulsion to throw together a mix like this before, but when you’re friend is listening to Mariah on a loop it really is your spirited duty to help her out and hip her to some quality tunes. Keep in mind that most of these songs are not really your standard Noel-themed tunes. Some are fun (Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis”, Electric Jungle’s “Funky Funky Christmas”), some are full of drunks and hooligans (Hotel Lights’ “Stumblin’ Home Winter Blues”, The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York”) and some are downright depressing (Prince’s “Another Lonely Christmas”, Leonard Cohen’s “Winter Lady”), but it sure as hell beats listening to Mariah.

You can download it here. And if you care to hear a bit of my thoughts behind my choices, see below. Enjoy. 

1.) “Funky Funky Christmas”–Electric Jungle: If you want to get your holiday party a shot of Mothership-approved booty shaking, then just throw this gem on from these long-forgotten funk masters. 

2.) “Christmas in Hollis”–Run DMC: “It’s Christmas time in Hollis, Queens/Mom’s cooking chicken and collard greens.” Now, that’s a Christmas I can get behind. I was obsessed with the video of this song when I was a kid, trying to figure out what “Jack Frost chillin'” meant. Still not sure. 

3.) “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”–Darlene Love: Before he was a batshit-crazy murderer, Phil Spector was one of the few producers whose name was as household as the groups he worked with. He produced a ton of Christmas singles for groups like The Ronettes, The Crystals and the Righteous Brothers. This little gem from Darlene Love is the best in my opinion.

4.) “Another Lonely Christmas”–Prince: A Purple Rain-era B-side that might be one of the most heartbreaking songs the artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince ever wrote. A loving, tearful tribute to a lover that hates the number nine and likes skinny dipping in her daddy’s pool. If I had five minutes alone with Prince, I’d demand to know the story behind this song. 

5.) “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!”–Sufjan Stevens: One of two songs by Stevens on this mix. This one is a bit more secular in nature, with little Sufjan shoveling snow and his dad throwing presents in the fire. It might have sucked, but the soundtrack sure is pretty.

6.) “River”–Joni Mitchell: From her masterpiece, Blue, I know I’d be walking on thin ice (no pun intended) if I was to declare this song her best ever. In any case, it’s my favorite. Solemn, introspective, gorgeous. 

7.) “Hazy Shade of Winter”–The Bangles: Yeah, yeah, yeah, why didn’t I put the Simon & Garfunkel version on this mix? You know why? Because the S&G version is almost as boring as the rest of their songs. Plus it reminds me of watching Less Than Zero when I was eight, gawking at Jami Gertz, and getting that weird, tingly feeling. 

8.) “Merry Christmas Emily”–Cracker: Discovered recently quite by accident. Like most Cracker songs (from the few that I’ve heard), it’s not that profound or groundbreaking, but good lyrical imagery especially for the So-Cal folks.

9.) “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”-Fucked Up feat. Ezra Koening, Bob Mould, Tegan & Sara, David Cross, et. al.: Released a few weeks ago, I kinda feel bad putting this on a mixtape because it’s a charity single. As you could probably tell from the names above, it’s basically an indie take on the kinda-classic, Bob Geldof-penned ’84 single that featured Bono (David Cross subs taking some liberties with his verse) and George Michael among others. So if you like it, download it for 99 cents on iTunes you cheap fucker.

10.) “Sexy Christmas Baby Mine”–Morphine: One of my favorite bands in high school, when you meet another Morphine fan you automatically have something to talk about for an hour. 2009 marked the 10th anniversary of singer/bassist Mark Sandman’s death from a heart attack while performing on stage. Great band. I miss em.

11.) “Black Christmas”–The Harlem Children’s Chorus: When you’re stressing out about arbitrary shit like bills and family, just throw on this ’70s soul sweetness and take heart in that a bunch of kids can make the ghetto sound like a winter wonderland. 

12.) “Blue Christmas”–Elvis Presley: Come on, I had to throw on at least one from this good ol’ boy.

13.) “Snoopy’s Christmas”–Clumsy Lovers: I don’t know a ton about the Clumsy Lovers. Hell, I don’t even know how this song made it’s way on my iTunes. And I don’t know how they managed to combine Charles Schultz, a polka backbeat, ska and a fuckin banjo, but hey, big ups. 

14.) “Stumblin’ Home Winter Blues”–Hotel Lights: Just a lovely country-tinged gem. More than likely an accurate description of what kind of state I’ll be in on Christmas night.

15.) “Christmas Time is Here”-Snowden: A bit of a curveball, this is some slightly experimental indie rock from some hipsters who obviously don’t take themselves so seriously that they can’t make something as cheesy as a Christmas song.

16.) “Winter Lady”–Leonard Cohen: A classic from his first album, Master Leonard never made a proper Christmas song. That makes about as much sense as Bob Dylan doing one. Oh, shit. 

17.) “Maybe This Christmas”–Ron Sexsmith: I don’t know why audiences keep ignoring Sexsmith. Is it because of his name? Because he looks like a pug? In any case, consider this a short taste of what you’ve been missing. 

18.) “Snowy”–Josh Rouse: Probably the sexiest of the song of the bunch, Rouse consistently makes good albums about the troubadour life and the fleeting escapades that occupy the colder nights in between.

19.) “To Be Alone With You”–Sufjan Stevens: If you read that recent interview with Stevens in Paste magazine, it seems evident that he’s not that interested in making pretty songs anymore and will likely never make anything as masterful as Illinoise or Seven Swans. This song, from the latter, is both reverent testimonial and love letter to Jesus. And while I usually like my indie-folk like I like my church and state, I can’t ignore this kind of sincerity. 

20.) “Fairytale of New York”–The Pogues: If you’re not familiar with The Pogues (and shame on you if you’re not), they’re the only Celtic-rock band you’ll ever need to know (sadly The Commitments, like Santa Clause, aren’t real). If you’ve never heard this song, then meet your new favorite Christmas tune. That is, if you don’t mind heroin use, domestic violence and a brazen usage of the word “faggot.”

21.) “Mankind”–Deadman: Not really a Christmas or holiday or even a winter song. Just a nice sentiment to end things on: “In these times of trouble, I will love mankind/When my cup runs over, I will love makind…”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2009 - 4:55 am 4:55 am

    so nice dear
    and here is the photo blog of this legend,l.cohen:

  2. December 23, 2009 - 3:07 pm 3:07 pm

    Honestly, any X-mas mixtape without Slade’s Merry Xmas everybody sucks.

  3. December 26, 2009 - 2:07 pm 2:07 pm

    here’s an oldie

    Root Boy Slim’s Christmas at K-Mart

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