Ten non-traditional Christmas records you should listen to this year

Categories: Lists

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Stop! You don't have to!
So we're well into the Christmas season, and chances are good you're getting a bit tired of Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby and the Time-Life Christmas collection in general. What had been a charming return to familiar holiday standards -- and perhaps the only reason to voluntarily listen to Delilah -- is getting repetitive.

What to do? Well, first turn off that Lite Rock channel. Second, check out these albums, which manage to be seasonal without being soporific. And we're totally not condoning this, but most of these songs are on YouTube already, so you can make a sweet mix and just plug your laptop into your speakers if you'd like.

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10. Nick at Nite's Classic Cartoon Christmas 1 & 2, Various Artists
If you've ever watched the handful of Christmas specials (thanks, Rankin/Bass!) during the holiday season, you'll want these two discs to help you remember the good old days. (The first disc is almost awesome, missing only the very-mandatory original versions of "Heat Miser" and "Cold Miser" from Year Without a Santa Claus.) If you prefer your Christmas morality plays with a healthy dose of claymation, this is the collection for you.

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9. Christmas With Weezer, Weezer
As a relatively cheap download of a short Xmas list ($4.50 for six songs), this handful of songs does the job. It is what it is: Weezer doing Weezer versions of Christmas standards. So if you're a Weezer fan, or if you just like fun takes on old songs, this collection works -- unless you take your religious carols seriously. The only non-religious track is the first one, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," which gives the line "We won't go until we get some figgy pudding" a characteristic Weezer whine.

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8. Everything You Want for Christmas, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Do you like horns? I mean, do you really like horns? This is important, because if you don't, you're really going to hate this big-band Christmas bit from the Ventura, California-based swing band. And not to hit the awesome button on "Heat Miser" too often, but Scotty Morris's version on this disc burns up the joint.

7. Christmas Special, Boy Least Likely To
The British duo's new holiday CD contains a few standards and a lot of new compositions, including an inspired track about George Michael and Andrew Ridgley of Wham! reuniting on Christmas Eve at a Cornish pub. It probably won't be a Yuletide classic, but it's a hell of a lot better than hearing "Last Christmas" for the eleventy-thousandth time.

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6. Christmas Caravan, Squirrel Nut Zippers
Like most of the Squirrel Nut Zippers' work, this CD takes you a bit by surprise, then grows on you strong. The hot jazz stylings, combined with more traditional country rhythms in some tracks, actually works to create a Christmas collection that doesn't sound familiar (yet), but nonetheless sounds right to fit the season.


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