The YouTube Mixtapes: The Alternate Christmas Edition

by - Friday, December 09, 2011

The nights are drawing in, the Coca Cola ad has been on TV and the shops are insisting on blasting out Mariah Carey on repeat... that's right, Christmas is coming. But for the cynical types among us, the 25th of December is nothing more than a chance to stay shut up indoors, watching the same crappy movies with people you haven't seen all year, whilst bickering over the last purple one in the Quality Street tin. Here's a musical selection to make that period a little more enjoyable, without a Cliff Richard calendar in sight.

Slow Club - Christmas TV

A welcome change from the overt 'hooray for santa's sleigh' nonsense that is often peddled about at this time of year, Slow Club chose to use the snowy season as inspiration for their 2009 EP Christmas, Thanks For Nothing. Christmas TVs chilled out acoustic loveliness would have nestled in very nicely upon the Juno soundtrack, a sad but cosy tale of wintery love, ending with Charles and Rebecca's desperate plea to 'just come on home' paving the way for some frenetic strumming. Simple, but cosily effective.

My Chemical Romance - Every Snowflake's Different

Earning it's place on this list simply for the sheer who'd-have-thunk-itness, 'Every Snowflake's Different' is taken from My Chemical Romance's recent appearance on Yo Gabba Gabba, one of the most popular (and strangely hipster) kids shows in America. Clearly following in the footsteps of Seasame Street before it, Yo Gabba Gabba have featured many a music artist, including MGMT, The Shins and The Ting Tings, but nothing quite prepares you for the shock of Gerard Way and co wearing rather ridiculous space suits, delivering fisher price rock complete with cutesy gestures and cameos from the shows dubiously shaped creatures. No doubt a tribute to the band's own young children, it just goes to show that for an act who are most known for lyrical themes of death and depression, they don't take themselves too seriously. All gimmics aside, it's actually rather catchy too.

The Wombats - Is This Christmas?

Dismissed by many as simply part of the landfill indie movement of 2007 onwards, what many people forget about The Wombats is that they do have a certain knack for producing chirpy pop with wonderfully cynical lyrics. Anybody who can't relate to their sorry tales of TV repeats, burnt dinners and abesnce of festive cheer (sample lyric: 'Turn back to the future off I’ve seen it before/maybe every year and more/ it’s great but not again') is clearly missing the point of this blog.

She And Him - I'll Be Home For Christmas

It wouldn't really be a Christmas playlist if I were not to mention the more traditional covers that turn up each year, and they don't really get better than this. The highlight from 'A Very She & Him Christmas', it fits Zooey Deschanel and Matthew Ward's classy, dreamy aesthetic perfectly. Whilst it may be a little on the overly commercialised side, it should make for a pleasant accompaniment to your tree dressing.

Fall Out Boy - Yule Shoot Your Eye Out


Although they are still unfortunately on hiatus, the presence of Christmas allows me to bring back this little gem. Standing out amongst the overcrowded genre of pop punk for having a formidable back catalogue and an introspective lyricist in the form of Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy were masters in the art of self deprication, illustrated in the form of this anti xmas classic that was an offcut of the Take This To Your Grave era. With the characteristic lovelorn lyrics including the charming chorus 'All I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breath to me /Before you bury yourself alive/Don't come home for Christmas/You're the last thing I wanna see /Underneath the tree /Merry Christmas, I could care less.' it works as a fitting anthem for anyone feeling loveless this December. 

Sufjan Stevens - That Was The Worst Christmas Ever

Always one to be relied on for consistent output, Sufjan Stevens runs a good line in Xmas fare, this being one of his finest. Much like the Fall Out Boy track, it works because it isn't overtly Christmassy; instead it evokes a rather reminiscent feeling, almost as if one is remembering Christmases long ago, when the holiday was about family and magic instead of getting the latest iphone in your stocking. How times have changed eh?

The Maccabees- Walking In The Air

Let's face it, it's one of the best Christmas songs anyway. So when I heard that The Maccabees had covered it for a SEAT session, I knew this'd be something special. This version of 'Walking In The Air' is beautifully, elegantly sparse, Orlando's murmured vocals gently blanketing those familiar lyrics, the grandiose take on the melody sounding delightfully Maccabees whilst still retaining the best features of the track. Epic.

Arctic Monkeys - Last Christmas

Now, to finish on a bit of humour. We all know our Arctic Monkeys like a good guilty pleasure; Girls Aloud in the Live Lounge, Hot Chocolate as their entrance music... and we all know that Matt Helders is far from lacking in frontman potential. Here he takes the reins to cover Wham's Last Christmas as a mashup with Fluorescent Adolescent, live at a gig in New York. I think we can all agree he pulls it off with surprising panache. 

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