Well, I love a good Christmas song as much as anyone, probably more than most people, but I guess good songs must cost more, because my shopping trips this year have been the stuff of musical nightmares. What is going on in American malls this year?
I actually walked around Barnes & Noble with my hands over my ears for ten minutes. (Then I stood in front of the science books and loudly exclaimed, “Boy these look nerdy,” before realizing (a) I was actually there to buy a science book as a gift, and (b) the guys browsing these books would hear me. And edge away, crushed.) I am quite certain I’m on Barnes & Noble’s naughty list.
But because I practically needed to bleach out my poor brain after these trips, I’ve put together a playlist for people like me. Those who need a little un-Christmas, right this very minute. A list for my fellow naughty-listers, if you will.
Joy Division, Love Will Tear Us Apart: Just the greatest song ever recorded. That’s all.
Car Seat Headrest, Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales: A little mopey at first, but it’s got a beat that builds in a killer way. This is my second favorite song of 2016. Your mother will be disappointed in some of the lyrics. Which are helpfully printed right there.
Flaming Lips, Yoshimi: A fairly gross video to play for your young nephews, to enliven your holiday gathering. I neither admit nor deny having done this myself.
The B-52s, Roam: Pure fun from the 80s. But also words to live by. Your mother should like this one.
The Weather Girls, It’s Raining Men: Pure fun from the 80s, part two. Put some camp in your Christmas or Hanukkah. Just made for moms.
A Tribe Called Quest, Bonita Applebum: We are rolling forward into 1990, when A Tribe Called Quest ambled onto the scene. If she listens to the lyrics, your mother will definitely not like this song. Unless your mother is me, which I’m afraid only works for three of you. Play this for your young nephews, however, and you’ll never have to attend another family dinner. Because you will never again be invited.
Lauryn Hill, Doo-Wop (That Thing): Very occasionally, someone makes something, and it’s perfect. Here you go.
A Tribe Called Quest, We the People: Extreme bad-language alert. Plus, this expresses a point of view that isn’t popular with everyone. So if you don’t already know this group, don’t click. But it’s my favorite song of 2016. So it’s gonna make my list. Also, RIP Phife.