The only new Xmas track worth a thing is Fucked Up’s rendition of Do They Know It’s Christmas, because it’s funny and features GZA. Observe:
All other attempts tend to descend into miserable Indie soul searching, so here’s a list of the biggest culprits of this banal bullshit. If Nat King Cole is as festive as roast turkey, then this lot are nutloaf.
1. Kate Nash
Do you remember when Kate Nash hung-up her mockney accent, erroneous statements about Lemons (sour, not bitter) and decided to reclaim herself as a Riot Grrrl? That was weird. When she did some guest vocals on FIDLAR’s Awkward it was just that. Why wasn’t she chatting shit about mouthwash anymore? Kate wanted to prove she’d come a long way since singing about boys rejecting her at parties, and released a Christmas album featuring a cheery little number called I Hate You This Christmas.
This song didn’t really have anything to do with Christmas, but everything to do with Kate Nash’s BF fucking her BFF. Not very festive, 0/10. If the song couldn’t get anymore unbearable, the video description on YouTube states 'Lo Fi Festive Music Video shot in Harrow on the Hill & North Harrow by Skate Girls Productions.' Piss off Kate.
2. The Fall
Mark E. Smith has to be one of the most miserable musicians out there. Yes, he is technically a genius, responsible for some of the best songwriting of the 20th century, but he is also a well-documented grumpy bastard. So what the hell is he doing writing a Christmas song? It is, rather predictably, a politically charged piece, rewritten from Protein Protection, with fun lyrics such as 'I see Christ’s blood on the street'. It also claims that the only good thing about the festive season is that the politicians are on holiday, even if daytime drinking and sausages wrapped in bacon suggest otherwise.
Mark, go and have some mulled wine and donate some money to charity, see a child’s nativity service and cheer up. If you’re the kind of person who likes to wallow in someone's disdain for the festive season, then hit up MES’s rendition of 'Hark the Herald Angel Sings' (which is actually pretty decent, as much as it pains me to say).
I've a soft spot for The Futureheads thanks to a particularly memorable rendition of their Hounds of Love cover at Glastonbury, but I can’t abide their contribution to Yuletide joy. Christmas Was Better in the 80s is 3 minutes and 23 seconds of frontman Barry Hyde complaining that it doesn’t snow as much anymore and it’s not as fun now he doesn’t believe in Father Christmas. That message is almost as boring as their last release, an entirely a capella cover album with a couple of folk songs thrown in for good measure, in case you missed it (which you almost certainly did).
4. Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons are really the worst. Anything driven by a Ukulele reminds me of a trustafarian hotboxing his halls bedroom and forcing everyone to listen to his cover of Noah and The Whale’s 5 years time. Mumford and Sons are that person times four, but with a record label. Their folksy little festive number, Winter Winds, is the crushed roach in the Carlsberg tinny that functioned as an ashtray in that person's bedroom.
Still, it did make it in the Made In Chelsea Christmas special one year, so it's definitely here to stay.
5. The Killers
Did you know that the Killers release a Christmas song every year? Neither did I. Nor did I realise that they'd released anything of note since Sam's Town. However, the band may have written the weirdest Christmas song of all time. In equal parts awful, beguiling and surreal, their Christmas jingle Don’t Shoot Me Santa is a song all about, well, Santa trying to shoot Brandon Flowers.
Santa even delivers his own lyrics, with a confusing Southern drawl, where he tells Brandon that he's planning on unloading a bullet in him. Perhaps this song depicts Brandon's struggle to reconcile his rock star lifestyle with the ‘clean living’ demanded by his Mormon upbringing. Perhaps he's just lost it. Either way, why would you write a song about a character children love and turn him into a crazed killer unless you just wanted to be pointlessly transgressive?
Fuck you, Brandon. Santa already breaks into houses and forces children to sit on his lap, so why make him seem like a killer too?
If you’re the kind of person who takes joy in these curmudgeonly numbers crushing the cheer that surrounds December, then fair enough. Maybe the big X isn’t for you, and you need a musical epi-pen for all the festiveness that gets shoved down your throat at this time of year. I do recommend having a listen to Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses and drinking a hot toddy to get you out of your festive slump though.