Christmas time is upon us, and with that comes a plethora of festive themed songs to compliment the holiday season. From Silent Night to Last Christmas, it seems as if we are subject to the same old Christmas hits every single year. Once you’ve heard All I Want For Christmas Is You for the 50th time this month, you might start to wonder if there are any alternative Christmas songs out there that don’t quite fit the norm. Here at Kore Studios, we have compiled a list of the best alternative Christmas songs for spicing up the festive season. We'll take a look at the best Christmas tunes from the worlds of indie, hip-hop, rock and even metal to help you give your Christmas playlist a more unique twist.
The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)
Famous for I Believe In A Thing Called Love, The Darkness released this glam rock-inspired track in 2003 and it’s already become a Christmas classic. This track is a truly Christmassy tune that works soaring vocals and shredding guitar solos into a song that also features classic sleigh bells and baubles. The track was a contender for the Christmas number one spot for that year, however The Darkness ended up with the number two spot while Gary Jules and Michael Andrews took the top spot with Mad World (which isn’t even a Christmas song!). Regardless, we love this track and we certainly think it deserves a spot on your Christmas playlist this year. Take a break from Wham! and Slade with this hilarious, tongue-in-cheek take on the Christmas spirit.
The Killers - Don’t Shoot Me Santa
The Las Vegas rockers abandon the traditional tropes of Christmas songs with their track Don’t Shoot Me Santa, a song that is a strange as it sounds. The not-so-festive festive track sees Brandon Flowers make an appeal to Santa Claus; however, he is not asking him for a new Xbox. Actually, he is asking Santa to not shoot him. The track is accompanied by an even stranger music video, which features puppets, a desert and tinsel. We’ll say no more on that. While this isn’t the usual portrayal of Santa Claus we are used to, it may appeal to some as a refreshing take on penning a festive track. In fact, The Killers have made a tradition out of recording alternative Christmas songs; having released one every year from 2006-2015. So if you like the quirky approach that The Killers take to the writing festive music, then you’re in for a treat.
Cocteau Twins - Frosty The Snowman
In 1993, Cocteau Twins released their cover of Frosty The Snowman. While the track doesn’t actually mention anything about the festive period, it is still an undeniable Christmas classic. Covers of Christmas songs are always risky, as many artists succeed in completely murdering the original version (see Girls Aloud’s version of Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody). However, the Scottish band actually do a pretty great job with this particular rendition. The Cocteau Twins adopt a dreamy, ethereal take on the track, which provides for a great contrast with the playful, jolly feel of the original. Despite this alternative adaptation of the track, Cocteau Twins still succeed in making this track sound as festive as ever.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve / Sarajevo
This rock opera instrumental track combines elements from the timeless festive classics God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Shchedryk (better known as Carol of the Bells) to provide for a truly incredible result. The track begins rather quietly, making use of only a cello, a picked electric guitar and a flute to play the melody to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Suddenly, a full orchestra accompanied by an array of electric guitars burst in to bring the melody of Shchedryk into play. The track frequently alternates between loud, booming orchestration and some more minimalistic, quieter sections. Interestingly, the song is a tribute to a Bosnian cello player, who would play Christmas songs on his cello in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war to keep the Christmas spirit alive. This man is represented in the track through the quieter, cello driven sections, while the loud rock sections represent the chaos of the war happening around him. So not only is this an epic and alternative Christmas song, but it is also a song with an uplifting and heartfelt message.
Eazy E - Merry Mutha****in’ Xmas
Eazy E, the NWA rap legend, is probably the last person you would expect to release a Christmas song. While the track was recorded in the early 90s, Merry Mutha****in’ Xmas was only just released in 2015, and we couldn’t be happier for this track to see the light of day. Filled with various profanities that we could not possibly divulge into, Eazy E succeeds in fusing festivities with the signature sound of West Coast hip hop. The song incorporates the melodies of Christmas songs such as Jingle Bells, All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and The 12 Days of Christmas. However, in this rendition, Eazy-E receives an AK-47 rather than a partridge in a pear tree...
DMX - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
No, we take back what we said about Eazy-E. DMX is definitely the last person you would expect to record a Christmas song. Considering that DMX is primarily known for making aggressive hip-hop bangers such as X Gon’ Give It To Ya and Where The Hood At, it is quite surprising to see that he has recorded a cover of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, a song taken from a children’s fable. Despite this, the unusual pairing of DMX’s rough voice and the playful nature of the Christmas classic provides for a hilarious and enjoyable result. It’s reassuring to see that someone as gangster as DMX still has some time to indulge in the festivities of the Christmas season.
Lemmy Kilmister, Dave Grohl and Billy Gibbons - Run Rudolph Run
We’ll finish with a track to satisfy the metalheads out there. This metal rendition of Chuck Berry’s Run Rudolph Run features a star studded line-up: Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters. This holy trinity come together to deliver a track that should satisfy those who like to headbang while listening to their Christmas songs. Lemmy’s signature growling vocals dominate the track, while Billy Gibbons shreds on the guitar and Dave Grohl takes on the drums. This song has been covered countless times, however we think that this is the only version you need to hear. The track comes as part of an album titled We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year, which features other rock legends such as Alice Cooper and Ronnie James Dio covering Christmas classics. Therefore, if you’re a metalhead who loves Christmas, then make sure to get this album added to your Christmas playlist in time for the big day.
So there you have it! Hopefully we have reassured you that the world of Christmas songs is not limited to the efforts of Mariah Carey, The Pogues and Michael Buble. Is your band thinking of having its try at recording an alternative take on a Christmas song? Or are you simply wanting to record some new material for the new year? If so, get in contact with Kore today and discover how you can benefit from our expert knowledge when recording your material.