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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

My Favorite Things: Geeky Holiday Music

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

A few years ago I wrote a story about one of my favorite holiday playlists, one featuring a bunch of geeky holiday music. Well, I’m no longer employed by the publisher of that story, so I’m just going to write a new story here on the site that I actually own. Merry Christmas empowerment!

“The Man in the Santa Suit” by Fountains of Wayne

A sad story about a guy who really needs the money, so he puts on the suit and sits in his chair and lets kids throw up their milkshakes on him.

The Man In the Santa Suit – Out-Of-State Plates

“Santa’s Beard” by They Might Be Giants

An annual love triangle underneath the mistletoe.

Santa’s Beard – Then: The Earlier Years

“Carol of the Meows” by Guster

A holiday classic, as if narrated by Henrietta Pussycat.

Carol of the Meows – Carol of the Meows – Single

“2600” by Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick

The entire “One Christmas at a Time” collaboration between Coulton and Roderick is fantastic, but this song is the best on the album. It’s even fun if you are too young to remember when 2600 was, indeed, the ultimate Christmas present.

2600 – One Christmas at a Time

“Christmas with the Devil” by Spinal Tap

The world’s loudest rock band takes on the holiday with their trademark subtlety.

Christmas with the Devil – This Is Spinal Tap

“Feast of Lights” by They Might Be Giants

A Hanukkah song that just gets stuck in my head every year. I got you a harmonica. It rhymes with Hanukkah.

Feast of Lights – Holidayland – EP

“I Hear the Bells” by Mike Doughty

This is a great rock song that’s set at Christmas in New York. And it’s got some of those poetic Mike Doughty lyrics, like “I hear the bells, they are like emeralds, and glint in the night, commas and ampersands.” Ampersands!!

I Hear the Bells – Haughty Melodic

“Just for Now” by Imogen Heap

Family getting on your nerves at the holidays, but maybe with a little sweetness thrown in? “I know we’ve all had a bumpy ride,” she sings. “I’m secretly on your side.”

Just for Now – Speak for Yourself

“Christmas at Ground Zero” by Weird Al Yankovic

Refugees from the 1980s will remember the fear that the world could end tomorrow in a nuclear conflagration; here Weird Al takes that fear, wraps it in a Christmas bow, and punctuates it all with an air-raid horn section.

Christmas At Ground Zero – Polka Party

“I Want an Alien for Christmas” by Fountains of Wayne

This was a song written for Hanson, the boy band. They didn’t want it, so Fountains of Wayne recorded it themselves. It’s ridiculous in just the right way.

I Want an Alien for Christmas – Out-Of-State Plates

“Chiron Beta Prime” by Jonathan Coulton

The most heartwarming holiday song about alien enslavement you will ever hear, and that’s my guarantee.

Chiron Beta Prime – JoCo Looks Back

“Christmas Time Is Here” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio

Really, I could just listen to Vince Guaraldi’s jazz-piano soundtrack for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on repeat the entire season. I just might.

Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Expanded Edition)

“O Tannenbaum” by They Might Be Giants

Finally, my three years of school German come in handy. Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum – Holidayland – EP

“Christmastime is Wunnerful” by Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick

I don’t know, there’s something about Roderick’s voice on this one that I really like. It’s like Santa himself is singing me a song.

Christmastime Is Wunnerful – One Christmas at a Time

“The Christmas Song” by Nat “King” Cole

Okay, if I’m listening to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on repeat the entire season, I’ll add Nat “King” Cole to the playlist. This is my favorite single Christmas song, and my favorite recording of it. (On the recent “Holidays Rule” compilation, vegetarian Paul McCartney changes the words so that he doesn’t have to mention eating turkey. Okay.)

The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) – The Christmas Song

[Entire playlist on Spotify, Beats.]

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