Alternative music is all about going against the grain. An alternative band is not going to write your typical Christmas song; instead, it’s going to have that “it” factor that makes it intriguing, but typically unfriendly to radio airplay. And c’mon, let’s be real, that’s why people love Alt Rock so much. So here are my top 10 picks for best alternative Christmas songs, and just what it is about them makes them so different when it comes to the holiday season.
10. “Evergreen” by Switchfoot–Okay, so this soft-rock track has Christmas more as a side-note metaphor for a relationship rather than as a theme, but regardless, this song is beautiful and perfect for anyone trying to escape the overbearing holiday cheer without seeming like Mr. Scrooge.
9. “A New Heart for Christmas” by Kill Hannah–Mat Devine has some creepy vocals going on which gives this Christmas song an almost goth-rock feel to it. And, had it not been for the use of the word “Christmas,” this song would work perfectly to score any of the Blade films.
8. “Mile High Christmas” by Breath Carolina–What’s the first thing BC thought of when they wanted to write about Christmas? Drugs. And that’s what makes this song so fun. It’s catchy, but totally the opposite of the typical Christmas message. Also it has the line “My snowman looks like Snooki.”
7. “Oi to the World” by No Doubt–This is actually a cover song done originally by The Vandals, but I love what Gwen Stefani’s vocals do to this punk holiday track to make it sound like old school No Doubt. That, and the video is worth watching since it involves the band running around in a bazaar.
6. “Boxing Day” by Blink-182–This is one of my favorite songs to listen to during Christmas because it’s about the day after Christmas, which no one ever thinks of until December 26th hits you in the face. So, thanks for warning us Blink!
5. “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home” by Anberlin–The backing vocals and jingle bells on this track make the song. That being said, it has a real pub-rock sound to it that typically doesn’t show up in Christmas songs, even though I think you could probably find some decent eggnog in a pub in December.
4. “Feliz Navidad” by Bowling For Soup–This song is just as over the top and fun as anything Bowling For Soup has ever done. BFS’s delivery and attitude makes this classic jingle sound like the class clown at his first college party, and for that, I love both the band and this track.
3. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” by Flyleaf–Lacey Sturm’s vocals paralleled to the continued instrumental build up on this track just blow me away every time I hear it. That, and I love that Flyleaf slightly changed up the melody of this very overdone Christmas song to make it their own.
2. “This Time of Year” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones–Yes, you will get up and dance. This big-band, horn flailing group is always a blast to listen to regardless of the time of year, but they make the best anti-consumerism Christmas song while keeping it light, fun, and about actually being with the people you care about for the holidays.
1. “White Christmas” by Bad Religion–Who else was stoked that Bad Religion released a Christmas album this year? I know I was, and for the album effort as a whole, Bad Religion wins my vote for best alternative Christmas song. In my opinion this was the best track off of the entire record, and it’s oddly mosh/pogo friendly with its mini guitar solo and drum beat.
Bonus: “Deadbeat Holiday” by Green Day–This is definitely not the song you want to hype up the holiday season with, but for when you just get totally sick of it all, give this a listen because it’s a great Green Day song pre-American Idiot, rock opera style. And it is acceptable to listen to after December has come and gone.