In part one I claimed that everyone loves Christmas. That was, without any exaggeration, a bare-faced lie. The thing is, there are many people who do absolutely hate this time of year. For some people, it brings up terrible memories that ruin the whole holiday. And for others, stuff in the present will ruin it – just because it’s meant to be a joyous time of the year doesn’t stop things the world from dumping crap on you.
But importantly, music is one of the best emotional outlets for so many people. There should never be any shame in using music in this way, and this list exists to give people a chance to do just that if they don’t want to have to deal with Christmas this year.
Five Great Songs for People Who Hate Christmas
Blink-182 – “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas”
It shouldn’t be a major surprise to find Blink-182 in this list. While not the kings of nineties pop punk (that accolade goes to Green Day), they were always the kings of angsty pop punk. This song falls squarely into that category, as Hoppus complains bitterly about having to “Be nice to the people you can’t stand all year”. Wrapped up with their trademark teen humour, it’s a great song to play for those who don’t get the festive spirit.
The Fratellis – “Lonesome Anti-Christmas Blues”
If anything, this is more “Lonesome Anti-Christmas Whine”. Jon Fratelli complains bitterly for four minutes about having broken up with his girlfriend and being alone on Christmas day. But can you blame him? We’ve all been there, and he’s right – it is pretty shitty. Plus, they send it through The Fratellis’ patent sound machine and come out with a decent sounding song, giving those wishing Christmas wasn’t happening one more to listen to.
Jethro Tull – “Christmas Song”
This one isn’t so much anti-Christmas as anti-“commercial Christmas”. Ian Anderson has never been one for mincing his words on subjects he feels strongly about, and it’s clear that he doesn’t massively approve of the transformation by some people of Christmas into a season of drinking and partying with scant regard for others. His icy “And if I just messed up your thoughtless pleasures/Remember, if you wish, this is just a Christmas song” caps an angry song that all season haters will surely appreciate.
The Pogues – “Fairytale of New York”
I can hear the rumbles of people disagreeing with my placement of this on this particular list, but I stand by it. Shane MacGowan’s slurred vocal delivery as the alcoholic is well known for its sublime contrast with Kirsty MacColl’s melodious part, but it’s the lyrics that place the song firmly in this category. They’re not the words of a couple enjoying their Christmas, but those of two people wanting it over as fast as possible so that they can forget about all their lost dreams for another miserable year. What better way to display your displeasure at the Christmas season?
Ronnie James Dio, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright and Tony Iommi – “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen”
“What? A carol? How can that possibly be anti-Christmas?” Well, it helps that “God Rest You” is one of the more morose carols as it is – even sung by a full choir with a brass band, the “Tidings of comfort and joy” never exactly sound sincere in their gloomy minor key. Couple it with Dio and Iommi, the two essential components in the sound of Heaven and Hell era Sabbath (sorry Geezer and Bill, it’s true), and you end up with what is more or less a Sabbath song with some vaguely festive lyrics. Casual listeners would be hard-pressed to recognise any Christmas spirit in it at all, which is why it makes the list.
And some more honourable mentions about Christmas not always being great: Bowling for Soup – “I Miss You Most on Christmas”, Gruff Rhys – “Slashed Wrists This Christmas”, Harvey Danger – “Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes)”, The Kinks – “Father Christmas”, The Killers – “Don’t Shoot Me Santa” and “I Feel It in My Bones” (which tell the lovely story of Father Christmas trying to brutally murder all the boys and girls on the Naughty List)