December has come around yet again, which means the Yuletide season is now in full swing, and everyone knows it comes with an overplayed festive soundtrack. We’re unable to leave a shopping centre, taxi or even our apartment lobbies without a traditional holiday jingle stuck repeating inside our head. But what would Christmas be without music? No need to lose your holiday spirit—we’ve conjured a list of alternative Christmas tunes to get you through the month. From indie to hip hop, these old school reinventions of Christmas songs will warm your festive heart.
'Christmas Was Better In The 80’s'—The Futureheads
The English post-punk band have taken us on a nostalgic trip to our childhood with their single ‘Christmas was better in the 80’s’. Rock music fans will be pleased to know the song features Futureheads' usual angular guitars and harmonies.
A soundtrack from the family comedy movie Fred Claus, ‘Ludacrismas’ is a fan favourite in the category of hip-hop Christmas songs, and in our opinion, should be up there with the overplayed classics. The best part? The double-threat rapper/actor Ludacris, appears in the film as a tiny badass elf.
‘Black Christmas’—Poly Styrene
For the Grinch’s out there who loathe the idea of merry sing-a-long Christmas tunes, we found a song for you. ‘Black Christmas’, by punk rock artist Poly Styrene, is based on a man who went on a killing spree dressed as Santa Claus. In spite of its dark back story, the song features an enjoyable reggae dub groove.
'Oi to the World'—No Doubt
From back before No Doubt turned into an 80’s band, and well, well, before Gwen Stefani became an international pop-star, is ‘Oi to the World’. The single was made popular by their music video filmed in india, a unique ska-punk scene that must be seen to be believed.
Hip-hop prides itself on being integral in bittersweet reality, which is no secret in this song. ‘Player’s Ball’ is the debut single from hip-hop duo Outkast, the title referring to a traditional gathering of pimps in Atlanta. The lyrics feature a depiction on what it is like to live in the South of the United States, growing up in hip-hop culture.
‘Dear Mrs Claus’—The Barr Brothers
Montreal based folk group the Barr Brothers have a different idea of what Mrs Claus is up to while Santa’s off delivering toys, and we’re here for it. The soulful track ‘Dear Mrs Claus’ features a soft harp throughout, making it the perfect song to chill out to during the crazy holiday season.
'Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa'—De La Soul
Based on a true story, ‘Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa’ is one of the all-time great storytelling rap records. Dave and Posdnuos, members of De La Soul, illustrate a disturbing tale of a high school friend who is abused—let’s say it’s not for the faint hearted. They were inspired to write the song just from being so disturbed themselves, and decided to create something that would raise awareness while simultaneously making art.
‘It’s Christmas, But It’s Not White Here In Our Town’—Kishi Bashi
‘It’s Christmas but it’s not white here in our town’—finally, something we can relate to in humid Singapore. The song by Kishi Bashi was written for a close friend of his from Florida, who doesn’t get to experience the snow that he does in Brooklyn.
I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus—Brenda Lee
Country vocalist Brenda Lee was inspired by her 9 year old self when she wrote ‘I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus’, as every child dreams of catching the magical gift-giving being. The up-beat, merry tune provides a whimsical take of kidnapping with a water pistol gun, to give toys to children who are without.
The trio of TLC reworked every part of Celine Dion's ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’, and the result is far beyond recognition. The cheer of jingle bells and church chimes can still be heard in the background, but their unique spin on the song is a joyous modern creation, even though it was produced in 1993.