Ah yes, the malls and car radios of America are starting to fill with the sound of Christmas carols and sleigh bells--holiday season has arrived. And music, just as much as red, green, and white decorations and images of St. Nick, helps lend this time of year its distinctly warm-and-fuzzy feeling. But if you're tired of the same old songs, give the list below a gander. It includes my picks for the most underrated Christmas rock songs. What are yours?
The Killers, "Joseph, Better You Than Me": The glammy Las Vegas quartet is good enough to release a holiday single every year--this is the best of the bunch. With guest appearances from the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant and Elton John--and a great major-key guitar solo from Dave Keuning--this ballad is as gaudily majestic as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
Bob Dylan, "Must Be Santa": As heard on his Bobness's recently released Christmas In the Heart, this classic is given a giddy accordion-led polka arrangement. Though it's worth hearing simply for the "Huh?" factor, the song's sense of earnest joy pumps fresh life into this tired seasonal standard.
4. Julian Casablancas, "I Wish It Was Christmas": The Strokes frontman's version of a song originally featured on Saturday Night Live adds some black leather cool to the typically cottony Christmas song canon.
6. The Beatles, "Christmas Time Is Here Again": Less well known than John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over) or Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," this 1967 single, highlighted by banged out acoustic guitar chords and the Fab Four's grinning melody, offers more of that life-affirming Beatles magic.
The Kinks, "Father Christmas": Ray Davies adds a drop of bratty arsenic to the eggnog with this acerbic rocker. "Father Christmas / Give us some money / Don't mess around with those silly toys." Amen. David Marchese
See more at www.spin.com
SPIN's 20 Best Albums of 2009 http://www.spin.com/gallery/20-best-albums-2009-so-far
Search 1,400 Album Reviews http://www.spin.com/reviews