Merry Christmas! And for those with alternative and/or different religious persuasions, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, or just plain Happy Tuesday! Whatever way you lean, I decided to assemble a compilation of holiday-themed music. Most of it is Christmas music, but I’m choosing to ignore the religious implications for a more spiritually-influenced artistic approach. In other words, anything that catches my ear and sounds interesting, unique, or just plain good. Since this is entirely subjective, I’m keeping this strictly in the wheelhouse of my tastebuds. So it might get a little strange at times.
I’m calling this playlist Big Eclectic Xmas 2018, assuming that next year, I’ll have one for 2019. Although, I’m not entirely sure how much new holiday music I’ll encounter between now and then. Nevertheless, here we are, with a fairly broad mixture of tunes, most of it melodic, contemporary, and suited to the holiday season. There’s a lot of remixes and reinterpretations, including some of the tracks I’ve posted previously – i.e. Shirley Horn’s “Winter Wonderland – Christian Prommer Remix” and Khruangbin’s “Christmas Time is Here.” And some originals, old and new, from the Pet Shops Boys, the Killers, the Pogues, and of course, yesterday’s posting of LCD Soundsystem’s “Christmas Will Break Your Heart.” There’s also a couple of wildcards, like Lindstrøm’s electronic opus “Little Drummer Boy,” and the Knife’s quirk-filled “Reindeer.”
I’m hoping all of this gels together into a smooth holiday mix. Admittedly, I haven’t given it a thorough listen-through. But I’ve sampled segments, and it seems to work. Here ya’ go!
Not everything I wanted to include in this playlist is available on Spotify, so I’ve included YouTube embeds of a few other selections that I deem worthy of this years’ Big Eclectic Xmas. For starters, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ 2008 holiday contribution “All I Want for Christmas,” proving that they will always sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, no matter the material, or the season.
Next up is a little bit of indie dream-pop/shoegaze holiday spirit from 1999, with Starflyer 59’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Followed by the psychedelic rock inclinations of Moon Duo, sister project of Wooden Shjips, and their 2010 fuzzed-up version of “Silver Bells.”
Switching gears to early ’90s alternative coldwave psychedelia, the Cranes have their unique 1996 version of “Happy Christmas (War is Over).”
And Siouxsie and the Banshee’s holiday offering from 1982, a little known French Christmas carol titled “I’l Est Né Divin Enfant” (He is born, the divine child). Notice the presence of a younger Robert Smith from the Cure. This was recorded during the era when Smith was a temporary member of the band.
Back to shoegaze, circa 2011, with the barely recognizable “Jingle Bells” from wall of sound crushers Astrobrite. Once you sync your ears up to this one, it makes a sort of sense.
And lastly, New York indie dream-pop quartet Asobi Seksu’s 2006 contribution “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight).” For the longest time, I thought they were from Japan. There’s a lot of J-pop influences, like Cibo Matto and Pizzicato Five. Vocalist Yuki Chikudate sings both in Japanese and English. And their stylized graphic design sense evokes Asian culture. So it’s an honest mistake. Anyway, here’s my final offering for the holiday season. Enjoy!