By Jason Snell
December 9, 2014 10:51 AM PT
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.
“Santa’s Beard” by They Might Be Giants
An annual love triangle underneath the mistletoe.
“Carol of the Meows” by Guster
A holiday classic, as if narrated by Henrietta Pussycat.
“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.
“Christmas with the Devil” by Spinal Tap
The world’s loudest rock band takes on the holiday with their trademark subtlety.
“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.
“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!!
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“Chiron Beta Prime” by Jonathan Coulton
The most heartwarming holiday song about alien enslavement you will ever hear, and that’s my guarantee.
“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.
“O Tannenbaum” by They Might Be Giants
Finally, my three years of school German come in handy. Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
“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.
“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.)
If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a special community.