Christmastime is here. It's the most wonderful time of the year. Here comes Santa Claus. Jack Frost nipping at your . . . whatever. We've heard it all before, and we don't need to hear it again. Carolers of the world, unite: Next time a well-intentioned holiday mood setter belts out "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," pelt him with snowballs. Then kindly teach the poor sap how to download music, because the Internet contains a treasure trove of new holiday chestnuts.
"Christmas With the Devil," by Spinal Tap: Replacing Santa with Satan, Spinal Tap show what a short leap it is from sleigh bells to hell's bells. Over a bluesy riff, the fauxtet comically defiles the season, rhyming "silent night" and "violent night." It's the perfect up-yours to all your friends who make you listen to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at their parties.
That little ditty Will Ferrell sings in Elf: No modern Christmas collection is worth a fruitcake without Ferrell's 11-word, off-the-cuff ode to joy: "I'm singing/I'm singing/I'm in a store/And I'm singing." Takes a lot of eggnog to screw up this sing-along.
"Brave New Christmas," by Gil Mantera's Party Dream: Of course, surf guitar might put the kibosh on your Christmas spirit. Or maybe nü wave's your thing? Regardless, this Christmas jam perfectly updates the jing-jang- jingling of snowbells. Sporting Day-Glo ski gear year-round, this Ohio duo crafted an infectiously peppy keyboard jam that bubbles with simulated grandfather clock chimes and a smattering of drum and bass.
"My Favorite Things," by John Coltrane: Every well-rounded yuletide mix needs a jazz instrumental. John Coltrane's take on this Von Trapp family favorite strips away the gee-whiz lyrics about strudels 'n' noodles, while the looping piano hook and Trane's sax work pluck the tune from the Austrian hills, making it a true American classic. If you're dropping just enough jazz into your mix to look sophisticated, the melodic five-minute edit works best. But the skronking, 20-minute live version is a great way to empty out your holiday bash, once your sweater-clad guests have worn out their welcome.
"Blue Christmas," by the Misfits: Show your Hot Topic–shopping nephew how real punks celebrate the holidays by cranking this bootleg recorded live at Max's Kansas City in December 1978. This abbreviated power-punk rendition finds frontman Glenn Danzig crooning, as he often did, like the King—Elvis, that is, not birthday-boy Jesus.
"King's Crossing," by Elliott Smith: Here's another dark one that'll impress your indie-rock friends. On this black Christmas, Smith's Santa was skinny, and the bag he bore was filled with smack. With a hypodermic needle on his Christmas tree, the former Heatmiser singer and infamous junkie sings about spending a holiday in the emergency room, where he makes a chilling Christmas wish that didn't come true: "Don't let me get carried away."
"Christmas Rappin'," by Kurtis Blow: Fun fact—if producer Russell Simmons hadn't waited until the holiday season of 1979 to release "Christmas Rappin'," it would now be considered the first rap record. With a bumping bass line, this early hip-hop artifact is rooted in old-school funk. Everybody expects Run-D.M.C.'s amazing "Christmas in Hollis," so wow them with this truly older-school selection instead.
"Stocking Stuffer," by Grand Buffet: Santa's been giving you those wonderful gifts for years, but you were fooling yourself if you thought all those presents didn't come with strings attached. Over humming '80s-style keyboards, this alt-rap duo spins the kind of Santa story you don't usually hear: Old Saint Nick leans on a poor guy for some payback—a one-night stand with his girlfriend. And in return, he gets something extra from Santa: a baby.
"Something Soft," by Andrew Dice Clay: Hands down, the best Christmas tune about freaky-deaky oral sex—this song is rated Xmas for graphic language. None of the words is quotable here, but it's a surefire hit in the wee hours. Try playing just the first three words at the office party, and you'll have a class-action sexual harassment lawsuit on your hands.
"Merry F#%$in' Christmas," by Denis Leary: Not all racy Christmas songs would make 2 Live Crew blush. Incredibly catchy and not quite obscene, this old-time Christmas sing-along has the kind of lyrics your drunken granddad might blurt. Actor Leary slips back into the cynical comedic mode that made him famous: "Old Saint Nick's got bourbon breath/Streets so cold you could catch your death/A cop sold me some crystal meth/It's a merry [BLEEP]in' Christmas."