Christmas songs are old, and they’re seared into our consciousness. Christmas Alphabet by Dickie Valentine is about to turn 65. Even Noddy Holder’s shouty Merry Xmas Everybody, a number one in 1973, feels like it’s from a different epoch now.
We have all heard enough of Mull of Kintyre and Driving Home For Christmas. Instead of sticking with these tried and tested – but, perhaps tired – classics, a new collection is needed. Look a little beyond the songs we all grew up with, with some originals and some covers.
The Killers – Joseph, Better You Than Me
The Killers called in Elton John and Pet Shop Boy, Neil Tennant for this one. The song tells the story of a beaten down Joseph struggling with fame and the rumours that he isn’t the father of Jesus. It’s ludicrous and bombastic and part of The Killers hit-and-miss collection of annual Christmas songs.
Sufjan Stevens – That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!
Sufan Stevens has delivered albums of wildly divergent styles, including an abortive attempt to write an album about each of the US States. His five-disc, 2006 compendium includes enough orchestration and tasteful Christmas covers to please parents, including three versions of O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Somehow, he’s released over 100 Christmas songs in his career.