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December 8, 2012 9:35 PM   Subscribe

Depressing holiday songs?

I figured out why I don't like holiday songs, and that is their incessant annoying cloying cheer. Why is it required of me that I be cheerful? I don't particularly want to be cheerful.

So, need some depressing and/or angry holiday songs. Christmas, Hanukkah, whatever.
posted by curuinor to Media & Arts (76 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
Blue Christmas
posted by entropyiswinning at 9:39 PM on December 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Joni Mitchell's "River"
posted by jeri at 9:41 PM on December 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl - "Fairytale of New York" (required listening for me on Christmas Day)

Tom Waits - "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" (not overtly Christmasy)
posted by easy, lucky, free at 9:41 PM on December 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


God Rest Ye, Merry Juggalos

Ho, Ho, Ho and a bottle of Faygo
posted by dunkadunc at 9:42 PM on December 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll be Home for Christmas breaks my heart.
posted by kbar1 at 9:43 PM on December 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Tom Waits's first album, Closing Time, seems appropriate for the holidays to me. It's certainly melancholic, if not downright depressing.

Christmas Time is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmas is also kind of like that.

Willie Nelson's version of Please Come Home for Christmas is quite nice.
posted by strivesc at 9:43 PM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]




Simon and Garfunkel: 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night
posted by jeri at 9:46 PM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]




ramones - i don't want to fight tonight
posted by tomjoadsghost at 9:50 PM on December 8, 2012






pearl jam let me sleep
posted by tomjoadsghost at 9:57 PM on December 8, 2012


Carol of the Bells straight up gives me panic attacks. It's the angriest, most aggressive of all the Christmas songs.

Last Christmas (all I recommend anymore is guilty pleasure songs) is all about getting dumped on Boxing Day.
posted by mochapickle at 9:57 PM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]




"Skates" by Hayden
posted by Sys Rq at 10:00 PM on December 8, 2012




dropkick murphys
posted by HuronBob at 10:02 PM on December 8, 2012


Oh, yay, I get to link to my husband! My friend Dan Hart doesn't have this on the YouTube for some reason.

Tom Lehrer's the OG here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:02 PM on December 8, 2012


Two tracks from my favorite Christmas album ever, the Ze Christmas album:

Suicide - Hey Lord
Cristina - Things Fall Apart

Good morning, midnight, it's Christmas!
posted by kelseyq at 10:02 PM on December 8, 2012


the ravonettes christmas song
posted by tomjoadsghost at 10:03 PM on December 8, 2012


"Christmas Song" by Jethro Tull
posted by Sys Rq at 10:07 PM on December 8, 2012




The original Judy Garland version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is actually very sad: it's about being separated during the holidays: "Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow," rather than the more common "hang a shining star upon the highest bough." Supposedly earlier versions are even more depressing than the one that was ultimately recorded.

What about also:

Hard Candy Christmas (love, love this song)

Christmas (Baby please come home) or even

I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You
posted by Violet Hour at 10:16 PM on December 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Lisa Germano - "Messages From Sophia" is my standard song that I turn to, when I want to hear a depressing song that takes place during Christmas.
posted by Coatlicue at 10:23 PM on December 8, 2012


FEAR - "Fuck Christmas" (NSFW)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:32 PM on December 8, 2012


The Vandals' "Hang Myself From the Tree" is a parody/the ne plus ultra of depressing christmas songs. It finishes with a bleak sounding drone that follows the rule of rakes, to boot.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 10:54 PM on December 8, 2012


One I've always thought was sad is Bethlehem Down . Plus, the story of how it came to be written is suitably odd.
posted by gudrun at 11:03 PM on December 8, 2012


I find "All I Want for Christmas is You" to be rather depressing, as it seems to be about unfulfilled longing, but that could just be me.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:12 PM on December 8, 2012


Not entirely depressing, but certainly more melancholy than the usual Christmas cheer: Frightened Rabbits' It's Christmas So We'll Stop.

Christmas break up song by Typhoon: Merry Xmas Anyway.
posted by yasaman at 11:26 PM on December 8, 2012


Harvey Danger - Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas
posted by evilbeck at 11:28 PM on December 8, 2012


Morten Harket (of A-ha) - A Kind of Christmas Card
posted by vespabelle at 12:06 AM on December 9, 2012


Everclear - Hating you for Christmas
posted by Braeburn at 12:16 AM on December 9, 2012




Christmas Downer
posted by Garm at 12:39 AM on December 9, 2012


The Coventry Carol is a Renaissance-era carol about the Massacre of the Innocents.
posted by ostro at 1:02 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ben Folds - Lonely Christmas Eve
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:07 AM on December 9, 2012




JoCo's Christmas is Interesting
posted by Gordafarin at 1:35 AM on December 9, 2012


Tim Minchin's White Wine in the Sun is melancholy in a hopeful sort of way. It breaks my heart every time I hear it.
posted by embrangled at 1:35 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Paul Kelly's How to Make Gravy
posted by mister_kaupungister at 2:11 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Prince's "Another Lonely Christmas". You think they've broken up, but it turns out she's dead.
posted by Specklet at 2:24 AM on December 9, 2012


Pretty much most of Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick's new Christmas album, One Christmas at a Time.
posted by whitneyarner at 3:55 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Willard Grant Conspiracy, 'Christmas In Nevada' ("Children's choirs sing Auld Lang Syne / Blackjack dealers take their toll")

Greg Lake, 'I Believe in Father Christmas' ("They said there'd be snow at Christmas / they said there'd be peace on Earth / But instead it just kept on raining/ a veil of tears for a virgin birth")

Iron and Wine/Calexico's 'Sixteen Maybe Less' is more wistful than it is outright depressing, but still in the right vein.
posted by Catseye at 4:04 AM on December 9, 2012


Okkervil River, "Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas."

Also, no one has mentioned the perennial blue Christmas tune "Same Old Lang Syne"? Dan Fogelberg, the old lover, the grocery store surprise reunion, and nothing left to say.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:25 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


364 Days- Murder City Devils
posted by dortmunder at 5:31 AM on December 9, 2012


And Dead by Christmas (a Hanoi Rocks song covered by the Murder City Devils). The Hanoi Rocks version doesn't appear to be up on Youtube.
posted by dortmunder at 5:37 AM on December 9, 2012


Stop the Cavalry, perhaps?
posted by holgate at 6:21 AM on December 9, 2012


Why not make it into a music project? Transfer all those jolly major-mode songs into minor, add some really nastily enharmonic chords, invent new grumpy lyrics. Sing them with a rough voice. (Post on mefi music).
posted by Namlit at 6:55 AM on December 9, 2012


2000 Miles by the Pretenders.
posted by lovermont at 7:16 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rudy, by the Be Good Tanyas.

Such a sad song.
posted by scrute at 7:41 AM on December 9, 2012


Rilo Kiley's Xmas Cake is a pretty miserable story about going broke and breaking up over Christmas.
posted by eponym at 7:45 AM on December 9, 2012


Jon Denver and Rolf from the Muppets made me cry yesterday with this version of Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
posted by saffry at 8:07 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


David Bazan's version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, with added verses about alcoholism and atheism
posted by puritycontrol at 8:12 AM on December 9, 2012


Faith in Santa - Red Sovine A song about a runaway dying on Santa's lap.

Walter Brennan - Just 3 letter for Christmas. A father laments allowing his wife to read letters from their children explaining that they won't be home for Christmas.
posted by wrnealis at 8:13 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tim Michin's White Wine in the Sun always makes me weep like a fucking baby. Even just reading the lyrics make me tear up a bit.
posted by Jilder at 8:16 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


NewSong's The Christmas Shoes, about a boy buying shoes for his dying mother, is easily the most depressing holiday song I've ever heard.
posted by contrariwise at 9:06 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Low -- specialists, as their name would suggest, in not the most upbeat hoedowns in music history -- produced a whole Christmas album which definitely avoids cloying cheer. They've got a cover of Blue Christmas that sounds like it's sung just as the massive overdose of sleeping pills is taking effect, and originals like If You Were Born Today, in a mood of resigned apocalypse, and The Long Way Around the Sea, which turns the Three Wise Men into a gloomy existential quest. My personal candidate for saddest Xmas song, though, is their Just Like Christmas, which has a toe-tapping rhythm (and sleigh bells) and yet is an amazing vehicle for a mood of melancholy reminiscence -- for holiday reflection on the all the time and friendships lost, the ineffable moments of contact with something that's gone forever. Cue it up, load up the nog, and start starting blankly at the snow falling outside while the presents crackle in the fire.
posted by finnb at 9:56 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Live version of Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis. It's sad, but funny too. Wish Tom Waits would get back into ballads.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:58 AM on December 9, 2012












Charlie Brown's Christmas Time is Here. Its kinda creepy and sad for me.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 10:51 AM on December 9, 2012


William Burroughs/Cobain - The Priest They Called Him
posted by edgeways at 11:25 AM on December 9, 2012


How is it possible that nobody has mentioned Father Christmas by The Kinks yet?
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:44 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]




Caetano Veloso - In the Hot Sun of a Christmas Day. Recorded while in exile in London after his arrest by the Brazilian dictatorship.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:22 PM on December 9, 2012


Diana Krall has a cover of "Christmas Time Is Here" that my wife finds pretty bleak.

Coulton's Christmas is Interesting usually squeezes a tear out of me.
posted by chazlarson at 5:27 PM on December 9, 2012


"My Baby Fell For Ol' Saint Nick"; various artists
posted by coldhotel at 6:36 PM on December 9, 2012


"Red Water (Christmas Mourning)" by Type O Negative is enjoyably morbid and bleak.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 8:43 AM on December 10, 2012


No Christmas in Kentucky.
posted by misteraitch at 1:08 AM on December 11, 2012


Happy X-Mas (War is Over) by John Lennon. (SLYT)
posted by getawaysticks at 7:29 AM on December 11, 2012


The Supernaturals - from their album, It Doesn't Matter Anymore, "Trees" (it calls December "a thirty-one day graveyard"). Sorry I couldn't find a link on Youtube.

Feeling bitter and screwed up? This song's for you. (I can't believe this album has so few reviews, both on US Amazon and UK sites; the whole album is very well written - Britpop at it's best.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:03 AM on December 14, 2012


Roberta Flack - 25th of Last December
Boyz II Men - Cold December Nights
Mariah Carey - Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)
posted by wondrous strange snow at 5:36 PM on December 26, 2012


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