We figured out somewhere along the way that our Holiday Mixtape show wasn't an annual tradition, actually. Mostly because we skipped doing it last year altogether. In retrospect, it's probably better this way: Christmas songs tend to feel like abrupt departures from the norm, with a set of rules all
Upload Date: Dec 22, 2017
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We figured out somewhere along the way that our Holiday Mixtape show wasn't an annual tradition, actually. Mostly because we skipped doing it last year altogether. In retrospect, it's probably better this way: Christmas songs tend to feel like abrupt departures from the norm, with a set of rules all their own, and a certain ascribed timelessness that may ensure a somewhat Stepford Wives sameness but also, when the chips fall just right, a perpetual seasonal bonus for the performer in question. Which, let's be honest, is probably why many of the more recent holiday tracks happen.
It's with these greater thoughts in mind that we present our 2017 Holiday Mixtape show, in which we unwrap a few ditties you know and a great many you won't. Consider them conversation starters while you're spiking the eggnog.
###[I Wish It Was Christmas Today] - *Julian Casablancas* ###
Mark guessed it was the other way around, but this track's genesis was part of a recurring SNL gag, where [Horatio Sans led a peculiar band of holiday sweater wearers] (Fallon and the omnipresent Casio keyboard, held in place by Kattan, Tracy Morgan doing this dance in place where his wrists are made of jello). And so of course Julian Casablancas of The Strokes rolled this song out as a semi-serious bonus release when his solo record dropped, and here we are. One of the better Strokes tracks not at all on a Strokes record. Cool sneaks up on you sometimes.
###Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You - Billy Squier ###
It's Christmastime, 1981, and you work for MTV. There's some sort of an announcement, you're all shuffled into a studio onto some bleachers, wondering what the hell is going on, exactly, when in saunters Billy Squier at the top of his fame. He breaks into "Christmas Is The TIme To Say 'I Love You'" and by the time he's about halfway through, you think you know the words and start to lean into it. He does that weird dancing thing where he kind of looks like a rock marionette that needs a bathroom break, and there are VJs in a time capsule.
###Just Like Christmas - Low ###
One of those situations where Low gifted their fans a holiday record, highlighted by a track ('Just Like Christmas') that doesn't remotely sound like any Christmas song you know. If melancholy came in the wrapper of sunny disposition, it would be this one, and if it showed up under your tree, there's a solid chance you'd listen to it all year round.
###Merry Christmas Lil' Mama - Chance The Rapper ###
Chance (here in collaboration with R&B star Jeremih) is checking all the boxes with his holiday mixtape series, and this track spotlights his freewheeling command of the studio. From religious shout outs to a pretty direct request for some love from the ladies, this one's a surprising, confounding, thoroughly entertaining rollercoaster.
###[Christmas Time Is Here] - *Vince Guaraldi* ###
Laconic and gorgeous. Christmas songs often have a tiny INSISTENT ear worm (much like what Checkov was subjected to in Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan), but this is always a palette cleanser. It takes its time, and just when you want to punch a 6 year old in the nose because "GODAMMIT I am not gonna buy you that drone, go meet up with your mom over there at Aveda"...and all of a sudden...there it is...and always feel better for 2 minutes. Till that little f$@ker shows back up...My favorite Christmas song.
###Surfin' Santa - Lord Douglas Byron ###
All I'm saying about this one was that I was surprised that his Reindeer were named Jan and Dean...(was I?)
###Christmas In Hollis - Run DMC ###
Go listen to RUN-DMC's classic (and it really lives up to that standard) and then search out Chance the Rapper's video "Jingle Barack". It's a parody of that RUN-DMC classic and some people are saying it might be a tremendous, beautiful, fantastic, and the best RUN-DMC tribute you will ever witness.
###Redneck 12 Days of Christmas - Jeff Foxworthy ###
###[I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas] - *Gayla Peevey* ###
I have somehow managed to never hear this song until about six months ago (you know, in the spirit of mid-summer). But this is from 1953, and features a ten-year-old waxing on about her wish for a rather-unwieldy animal to show up under her tree in her suburban home. Kinda hard to un-hear, but I don't think I want to.