A Very Alternative Christmas

By Alexandra Rosbotham – Arts and Entertainment Editor

Every year Christmas comes around and without fail, the same music dawns our radios, shops and Christmas parties with very little variation or new tunes to enjoy during the festive period. Whether you’re just fed up with the usual suspects or playing Whamageddon has you avoiding radio stations entirely, here’s a compiled list of 10 great alternative Christmas tunes (in no particular order); both original and covers; to expand your repertoire.

1. 7 o’clock News / Silent Night – Phoebe Bridgers

This cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s 7 o’clock News / Silent Night fits Bridgers somber and melancholic aesthetic well, with this rendition featuring Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger. Berninger reads a news report featuring headlines discussing Trump’s Impeachment, abortion law in Louisiana among other topical news reports. Although more political than Pheobe’s usual work, there’s just something really beautiful and very topical about this cover!

2. I Wish It Was Christmas Today – Julian Casablancas

Originally written as a Saturday Night Live skit by Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz in 2000, Casablancas re-recorded the song for official release 2018, putting his signature The Strokes twist on the song making for a very danceable and festive Christmas tune! If you’re a fan of Casablancas or The Strokes at all, this definitely deserves a place in your Christmas party playlist.

3. Christmas Caller – Beach Bunny

Released only last week, American indie rockers Beach Bunny release their newest tune “Christmas Caller” in festive spirit. It’s one that falls into the “not really a Christmas song” category as it doesn’t necessarily sound festive other than it featuring in the lyrics. In true Beach Bunny fashion they deliver some incredibly catchy guitar riffs and lyrics, so how could you not love it!

The most recent release on our list, Christmas Caller by Beach Bunny is the perfect non-Christmas Xmas song

4. Two Queens In a King Sized Bed – girl in red

You might recognise this one from Apple advertisements on TV last Christmas. girl in red sings in the opening lines “Two queens in a king-sized bed / There’s no mistletoe above our heads / But I’ll kiss you anyway on Christmas day”, accompanied sleigh bells and a delicate piano melody, you can’t help but feel cosy inside and in the Christmas spirit when listening to this one!

5. All You’re Dreaming Of – Liam Gallagher

Also released last year, Oasis legend and Manchester’s finest son Liam Gallagher, in his usual confident nature, said “‘All You’re Dreaming Of’ is an instant classic that is perfect for this time of year”, and he’s not wrong. It is a sentimental yet memorable song which was delivered at a time when it was most needed, after what has been such a difficult year apart from loved ones due to the pandemic. It really is a heart warmer, and I believe it will stand the test of time in the years to come.

Oasis legend and Manchester’s finest son, Liam Gallagher, released All Your Dreaming Of in 2020; an instant classic.

6. Winter Song – Sam Fender

Covering the Lindisfarne song, Fender puts his own unique twist on the 70’s folk tune that’s so close to his heart. His emotive rendition translates incredibly, with his lyric video for “Winter Song” working in collaboration with “People of the Streets” a social enterprise that helps support the homeless, showing how much meaning this song has for Sam. It’s a tearjerker for sure, and definitely deserves your whole attention for its run time.

7. Christmas Eve (Soul Purpose) – Blossoms

This one might be my favourite of all on this list! Blossoms deliver a great singalong track filled with acoustic guitars, bells and beautiful backing vocals from Stockport Junior Voices Choir. It feels whimsical and romantic, a perfect example of a upbeat modern original Christmas song.

8. Merry Christmas – Willie J Healey

Despite only being released last year, this single from Willie J Healey takes a more traditional approach sonically, to the point it could almost be mistaken as a forgotten b-side to John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”. It’s easy listening, got some great lyrics and feels timeless, it’s definitely an underrated tune you should give a listen to.

9. I Am The Grinch – Tyler, The Creator ft. Fletcher Jones

Although it seems like a strange combination, Tyler does an amazing job on the soundtrack for the animated “The Grinch” released in 2018. In this original track that sounds like a “Flower Boy” cut off, he sings from the first person perspective of the Grinch. It’s certainly not your average Christmas song, but it brings a welcome change sonically from the old faithfuls.

Tyler, The Creator released I Am The Grinch back in 2018

10. Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! – Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens certainly has plenty of Christmas music to choose from, whether it’s covers or modern originals. “Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time!” features some fantastic electric guitar, which is a welcome change amidst the other Christmas tunes on offer. His signature soft and light vocals contrast beautifully and features a great harmony which just makes it all the more pleasing to listen to.

From everyone at the Gown Newspaper, we’d like to wish our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Listening!

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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