Katie Carroll: My holiday playlist

Katie Carroll
She and Him: Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward’s band featured in the holiday song, “The Christmas Waltz." One of the featured songs music contributor, Katie Carroll, has on her Christmas Playlist.
Courtesy Photo

She and Him: Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward’s band featured in the holiday song, “The Christmas Waltz.” One of the featured songs music contributor, Katie Carroll, has on her Christmas Playlist.

— All I want for Christmas …. is a new Christmas song. It’s not that I don’t wanna wish you a merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart, but when I hear a carol played for the 1,237th time? Well, that just about brings me to the brink of Mount Crumpit (especially for those of us in the service industry, am I right?).

For this week’s column, I am going to lead you on a holiday carol journey, one song at a time. Even if you can’t shake the repeat disc in every store, bar or hotel lobby in town, you can start your own produced playlist while you prep the roast beef. Go ahead — revel in the days until Christmas with these new twists on old songs, original lyrics, obscure artists and no chipmunks.

Grace Potter: “Naughty Naughty Children (Better Start Actin’ Nice)”

This songstress famous for “Paris” rocks out with her Christmas single on the electric guitar. Potter’s voice is so clear that this isn’t a subliminal message for the kiddos — watch out, or Santa will turn you round one lump of coal at a time. If you want to start a dance party, this Christmas song should be at the top of your list.

The Boys Least Likely To: “George and Andrew”

You might not even realize you’re listening to a Christmas song when you turn up the Boys. Keep listening to the lyrics, though, and instead of references to sleigh bells, reindeer or laughing little people, you’ll hear this: “At Christmas time, it’s nice to get together with your friends.” Well, what do you know? A song that celebrates the true spirit of the holiday! Sneak this into your Spotify playlist when you don’t want to hear any bells in the background, either.

Dropkick Murphys: “The Season’s Upon Us”

By the second lyric, the Murphys remind us to stock up on the brandy and eggnog. That should be enough of a recommendation. The rest of this tune reminds us of what else the season brings — Mom pushing buttons, Dad drinking whiskey, a wackjob of a sis and a nephew who’s a “twit.” You can’t help but love the beat, even as the band reminds us that the season isn’t just an ABC Family special. It’s no wonder the chorus reminds us to get the brandy!

Sufjan Stevens: “The Friendly Beasts”

I do remember that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus Christ and certainly wouldn’t want to leave out someone’s birthday. Stevens’ sweet little song pays tribute to the animals that brought Mary & Joe to Bethlehem, gave up their beds in the manger, sang baby Jesus to sleep and made him a wool blanket. Every little beastie contributed to the big day (just like every little being will contribute to Christmas clean up, right?).

She and Him: “The Christmas Waltz”

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward’s band has become so mainstream that I hope this song is more of a reminder than a discovery for most of you. Deschanel’s alt-jazzy voice and the austere instrumentals blend delightfully. Their low-key renditions make other Christmas songs seem positively tacky.

Fleet Foxes: “White Winter Hymnal”

While not a traditional Christmas song, the stellar harmonies and gorgeous vocals on this track make it a Christmas treat all on its own. It’s also a great track to play at a party when you need a new conversation starter. Why do all the little children have the same red scarf? Is someone bleeding like strawberries? Did Cormac McCarthy actually write the lyrics to this song? Or…you can enjoy the references to snow, scarves and winter and unwind to the golden voices.

Queen: “Thank God It’s Christmas”

Did you know that your favorite ’80s rock band produced a Christmas song? It must have been a busy year for those gentlemen on tour, because they profess their Noel thanks no less than 11 times throughout the song. Though these rocking beats will get you to Christmas Day happily, you won’t be counting down until the saccharine song season ends. Might I suggest following this up with “Somebody to Love” if you’ve got someone special over?

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