It is very hot in Texas right now. Temperatures are consistently reaching triple digits as a record-breaking heat wave is affecting multiple southern states. Given these circumstances, I thought it would help to make a playlist that one could listen to and pretend it’s the holiday season. Trick your ears into thinking it’s cold outside with these winter/X-mas jams.
“The Man With All The Toys” – The Beach Boys
“The Man With All The Toys” is an original Christmas song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for their 1964 album, The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album. The song contains all of the classic Beach Boys moves with its rich harmonies and peppy spirit. It’s a song about looking through a window and finding a man in possession of many toys, though this man is never referred to as Santa Claus. Could this be a song about just some guy? Listen to this underrated Christmas tune and make your own interpretation.
“Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time!” – Sufjan Stevens
In 2006, Sufjan Stevens released a box set of five separate EPs filled with Christmas songs. Multiple Christmas classics are covered by Stevens in this collection, but it also contains some original compositions, such as “Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time!” It’s a simple and sweet song that’s about all the things that come out during Christmas time, like colored bells and open sleighs. The usually somber and deeply autobiographical Stevens delivers what is instead a cozy and playful Christmas album. Though the project still contains tracks with titles like “Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!),” so not all is jolly.
“Winter Now” – Broadcast
I love Broadcast so much it’s unreal. From their second studio album, Haha Sound, is the song “Winter Now.” A somber and atmospheric song about longing for someone far away from yourself. The icy synths and ethereal ambiance of the song make this the perfect sad-winter track to play and give yourself a break from all the usual poppy X-mas classics.
“Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” – Ryuichi Sakamoto
From the late Japanese composer, Ryuichi Sakamoto, comes the beautiful instrumental track “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.” While the song was composed for a movie of the same name, it has since become an international staple of Christmas music and one of Sakamoto’s most popular tracks. The song has this energy throughout it that perfectly captures the variety of emotions that come with the holiday season; at times it is peaceful, at times it is chaotic, and at its finish it is triumphant.
“Wintertime” – Wintertime
This track is nostalgic for anyone that was a fan of the 2016-17 era of SoundCloud rap. Wintertime, a Lil Yachty and Ugly God collaborator, delivers a mellow and laidback track that’s very similar to the fun and minimal FL-Studio-made trap of its era. It’s not about the actual wintertime but his name is Wintertime and the track’s name is “Wintertime”, so it makes the cut either way.
“I Do Not Care for the Winter Sun” – Beach House
I know the title of this song seems anti-Christmas, but the song actually starts out with sleigh bells being played, so it’s a lot more complex than that. While this song instrumentally supports the jolliest of seasons, the track overall captures the feeling of loneliness and isolation of the holiday season with its slow-paced lyrics and melody.
“I Saw Santa Dancing in the Dark” – Gary Wilson
Okay I’m sorry for putting some really depressing winter songs on this list but let’s pick it up with “I Saw Santa Dancing in the Dark” by Gary Wilson. The experimental and ever-so-jazzy Wilson puts out a synth-heavy Christmas classic with this song about catching Kris Kringle doing the twist on a cold Christmas night. Wilson had his start in the ’60s but has since gained a cult following with his fanbase including Tyler, The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt (with whom Wilson collaborated on the 2015 album I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t Go Outside).
Merry very-hot-not-actual Christmas!
Written by: kadencemakenna