It’s been said that Christmas and Punk Rock go together like sunshine and darkness. There is something downright appealing about opposites attracting… and about the musical spirit of rebellion embracing timeless traditions, even if it is to parody, satirize, and spit in their eyes.
Check out this playlist of alternative artists covering heartfelt holiday classics. You will probably smile, you might laugh and… perhaps even get a tear in your eye… or some spit…
When you think about it, slam dancing, moshing and crowd surfing are A LOT like holiday gift shopping. They both involve bodies slamming together, abandonment of personal boundaries and throwing safety to the wind.
Blue Christmas (Ho-Ho Let’s Go!)- Ethan Luck
Merry Christmas, Baby (Please Don’t Die)- Crocodiles & Dum Dum Girls
Run Run Rudolph – The Dollyrots
Away in a Manger- Hyperbubble
Jingle Bells- X
Silver Bells- The Yobs
Little Drummer Boy- The Tumbleweed Pimps
I Won’t Be Home For Xmas- Blink 182
Feliz Navidad- Billy Ruffian with Mike Chavez Dawson
All I Want for Christmas Is You- The Dollyrots
O Come All Ye Faithful- Weezer
Its A Holiday- Love Crushed Velvet
Loveable local heroes, The Dollyrots, make two appearances with the raucous, “Run, Run Rudolph”, and “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Billy Ruffian channels Johnny Rotten on “Feliz Navidad” and the legendary X sounds so surprisingly homey with their rendition of “Jingle Bells” that you might want to sing along. Blink 182 laments the stress and hustle of “the happiest time of the year”, Weezer turns “O Come All Ye Faithful” into a Ska infused Punk sendup and The Yobs put lots of attitude on “Silver Bells”– the only holiday song I can think of that has the “C” word in it. What can I say- these ain’t your mothers Christmas carols.
With the growing popularity of both 90s cover bands and 90s Flashback Nights at more and more nightspots, the music of the decade before Y2K is the NEW Oldies. While some of these performers are still around, many disappeared faster than you can say “Hootie And The Blowfish”. Nostalgia is in and if you’re planning a Nineties Party here are the Top 10 Best Party Songs Of The 1990s!
“California Love”- 2Pac
Tagline: California, knows how to party
A driving keyboard loop and addictive beat power the definitive song signaling the rise of West Coast Hip Hop culture in the 90s. Originally a Dr. Dre song, 2Pac’s vocal swagger makes it his own and helps create the Gangsta Rap genre.
“U Can’t Touch This”- MC Hammer
Tagline: My-my-my-my music makes me so hard makes me say oh my Lord Thank you for blessing me with a mind to rhyme and two hype feet
One part Guilty Pleasure and one part funky rap track, Hammer stole the baseline from Rick James’ “Super Freak” and never looked back. It will have you hoping for the day that muscle pants come back into vogue but PLEASE leave the fanny pack at home!
“Baby Got Back”- Sir Mix-a-Lot
Tagline: My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun
Anthony Ray changed his name and released a string of forgettable Hip Hop songs in the 80s. Then in 1991, He struck Gold with “Baby Got Back”, a song worshipping female curves in clever yet somewhat graphic description. The song continues to be one of the most requested at parties, clubs and weddings.
“Mustang Sally”- Commitments
Tagline: Mustang Sally guess you better slow your Mustang down
This gritty, Blues inspired Rock song is a revamp of a Wilson Pickett Oldie. It has the perfect tempo to freestyle dance to… or Electric Slide (remember that?) The Commitments movie won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing in 1991.
“Wannabe”- Spice Girls
Tagline: If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends
A female version of a 90’s Boy Band, The Spice Girls will never be known for insightful lyrics or great singing but for mindless fun, this is as good as it gets. Tell me what you want, what you really really want…
“Here Comes the Hotstepper”- Ini Kamoze
Tagline: Here comes the hot stepper I’m the lyrical gangster
13 years after his first single was released, the Jamaican reggae singer hit it big with “Hotstepper”. The drums and bass mimic a synchronized heartbeat as Kamoze raps over the top of this Dancehall inspired smash.
“Whoomp! (There It Is)”- Tag Team
Tagline: There’s a party over here A party over there Wave your hands in the air Shake your deriere
The lyrics, “Partee Peepoooooooole…” hook you in from the first note and the throbbing baseline keeps you glued to the dance floor. “Whoomp! There It Is” became a worldwide meme as the song’s popularity soared.
“Enjoy The Silence”- Depeche Mode
Tagline: Words like violence Break the silence Come crashing in Into my little world
These Goth inspired 80s icons scored big with this murky, synth driven dirge which simultaneously demonstrated their continued longevity and signaled the end of the New Wave era. Dark yet danceable, the song has also been faithfully covered by Anberlin, Tori Amos, Keane and Lacuna Coil.
“Smooth”- Santana Feat. Rob Thomas
Tagline: Man, it’s a hot one Like seven inches from the midday sun
Don’t call it a comeback! This crossover juggernaut took Santana from all but forgotten 70s Rock legend to the top of the charts in 1999 and introduced his music to new generations of fans. The song’s fusion of Latin and Rock simmers with Rob Thomas’ seductive vocals adding even more steam.
“This Is How We Do It”- Montell Jordan
Tagline: This is how we do it It’s Friday night, and I feel all right
This perennial party favorite never fails to jam the dance floor with it’s irresistible beat and Funk rhythm. The now 20 plus year old one hit wonder can currently be heard on Dish TV commercials and at parties everywhere.
“Never There/ Short Skirt/Long Jacket” -Cake
Tagline: I want a girl with a short skirt and a lonnnng jacket……
These 90s Rockers had a short string of hits delivered in John McCrea’s deadpan vocal style. Post 80s emotional detachment has never been so much fun!
“Ice Ice Baby”- Vanilla Ice
Tagline: All right stop, Collaborate and listen Ice is back with my brand new invention
A catchy bassline so blatantly stolen from “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie that eventually Vanilla Ice had to publicly admit it, this one hit wonder continues to be one of the most popular Guilty Pleasures in history. The rapper formerly known as “Rob Van Winkle” was once so notable Madonna actually dated him for several months in 1990. A string of run-ins with the law hasn’t tarnished the popularity of his song but like Vanilla Ice, it’s great fun for a minute then quickly loses it’s appeal.
Tagline: I don’t practice Santeria I ain’t got no crystal ball
The perfect Reggae inspired ditty for sharing a 40 ouncer at the beach while dancing around a campfire. Straight outta Long Beach, Sublime’s discography also includes hits “Wrong Way” and “What I Got”.
Honorable Mentions: “Baby One More Time”- Britney Spears, “Humpty Dance”- Digital Underground, “Tearin’ Up My Heart”- N Sync, “Return of the Mack”- Mark Morrison, “Jump Around”- House Of Pain, “Treat ‘Em Right”- Chubb Rock, “Just A Girl”- No Doubt
These musical Guilty Pleasures of the 80s have stood the test of time. For many they are confined to the back of closets like so many embarrassing high school photos that can’t be parted with. But when dusted off and played at just the right moment, they still pack the dance floor and inspire spontaneous sing-a-longs at weddings, dances and flashback parties everywhere.
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)- Proclaimers
Tagline: But I would walk five hundred miles And I would walk five hundred more
Like two excited puppies, these bespectacled, Scottish nerd twins just can’t contain their unbridled glee on this infectious anthem celebrating true love. Best thing about this song is that, no matter how drunk you are you can still sing along with the chorus-
“Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)
Da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da
Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)
Da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da”
Sounds best in a dive bar after a couple of shots.
We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off- Jermaine Stewart
Tagline: A quick hit, that’s your game But I’m not a piece of meat, simulate my brain
Slow down, girl… not so fast! On this ode to chastity, Jermaine wants to take his time drinking cherry wine and getting to know you as a person. Maybe after some scrapbooking and a peek at each other’s blogs you guys can connect physically. Or not. Still, the infectious melody will have you wanting to dance all night even if you don’t get lucky.
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)- Whitney Houston
Whitney was at the top of her vocal game here, enough to make you overlook the dated 80s production that hinders this Pop smash. Even with the clunky 80’s drum machine sounds and glaring synthesizer riffs, Houston’s voice triumphs and sets the bar for future divas to aspire to.
Too Shy- Kajagoogoo
Tagline: Too shy shy hush hush eye to eye
The seductive beat, swirling keyboards and androgynous singing will have you longing for your can of hair mousse and perhaps a clove cigarette. Sporting more simultaneous hair colors than a peacock, the band scored it’s only big hit here.
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go- Wham!
Tagline: Wake me up before you go-go ‘Cause I’m not plannin’ on going solo Wake me up before you go-go Take me dancing tonight
George Michael unofficially comes out of the closet on this #1 hit, belting out fluffy prose with a conviction no straight man could ever approach. It would take George years to finally admit it but after this song, we all knew. You put the boom boom into my heart…
Come On Eileen- Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Tagline: Come on Eileen Oh, I swear what he means (what he means) At this moment you mean everything
What happens when you mix an Irish Jig with Rock and Roll? You get the sappiest New Wave ditty ever. Frolicking around in hay bales and thinking “dirty thoughts” with your overalls on has never been so much fun- Toora loora toora loo rye ay!
I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)- Hall & Oates
Tagline: Yeah I’ll do anything that you want me to I’ll do almost anything that you want me to But I can’t go for that No can do
Pop crooners Hall & Oates get their Funk on here, channeling their inner Marvin Gaye. What the song lacks in meaning it makes up for with an irresistible booty shakin’ beat. The sultry sax solo was just made for late night body bumping.
Working For The Weekend- Loverboy
Tagline: You Want To Be In The Show, Come On Baby Lets Go!
Grandiose, pompous and over the top (isn’t that ALL Loverboy songs, really?). These headband sporting, Canadian fratrockers are looking for a new weekend romance on this synth laden tribute to the working man. Hide your sisters until Monday!
Mickey- Toni Basil
Tagline: Oh Mickey, you’re so fine You’re so fine, you blow my mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey
The greatest cheerleading anthem of all time features a chugging beat that’s more addictive than a crack laced pizza.
Jump- Van Halen
No doubt influenced by the popularity of 80s New Wave, these Metal Heads rely heavily on a simple synthesizer hook to power this rocker. The result is the Popiest song VH has ever done, given added gravitas by Eddie’s signature guitar solo. Still, the lyrics are sing song silly and would have been right at home on a Debbie Gibson album.
Might as well jump. Jump! Go ahead, jump. Get it and jump. Jump! Go ahead, jump.
Jessie’s Girl- Rick Springfield
Tagline: Where Can I Find A Woman Like That?
Technically a 70’s song, Springfield’s take on lovelorn angst has become one of the most popular Guilty Pleasures of all time. Too poppy for FM radio at the time, “Jessie’s Girl” has become a party staple as people always flock to the dance floor from the first few notes. It seems everyone wants to play along with THIS charade!
Like A Virgin- Madonna
Tagline: When Your Heart Beats Next To Mine
Madonna always delighted in pleasing her fans while simultaneously pissing off the establishment. This song’s brazen sexuality, disguised in an innocent wrapper, had conservatives, religious leaders and housewives in a tizzy while their teenage daughters ate the message up.
Girl You Know It’s True- Milli Vanilli
Before these Grammy winning Pop stars were deposed for being frauds, they were one of the hottest acts on the planet. The music is no less catchy and danceable, whoever created it.
Karma Chameleon- Culture Club
Tagline: Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon You come and go You come and go
Boy George just wants to be loved, is THAT so wrong? And with harmonica playing like that, it’s hard to resist. This song was one in a string of polished 80s hits including I’ll Tumble 4 U, Miss Me Blind, Church Of The Poison Mind and Time (Clock Of The Heart).
Walking On Sunshine- Katrina And The Waves
Tagline: I’m walking on sunshine (whoa oh) And don’t it feel good (HEY!)
Saccharine sweet lyrics and a catchy horn riff launch this song into the stratosphere. It doesn’t hurt that the tempo is a blazing 220 beats per minute, enough to make an aerobics instructor gasp for breath! Will raise your mood faster than Prozac and without those nasty side effects.
Your Love- The Outfield
Tagline: I Just Wanna Use Your Love Tonight
Why is Josie on vacation so far away and when will she be back? The Outfield never answers this question as they are too busy lamenting the possibility of “losing your love tonight”. The musical territory here is somewhere between power pop and heartland rocker. Kudos to Katy Perry for doing a great cover version of it on her way to superstardom.
Never Gonna Give You Up- Rick Astley
Try as you might to hate it, you simply cannot resist the silky smooth production and catchy melody! Even Rick Astley’s Howdy Doody looks and terrible white boy dancing couldn’t stop this juggernaut from topping the charts.
The Safety Dance- Men Without Hats
Tagline: We can dance if we want to We can leave your friends behind ‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance Well, they’re no friends of mine
Sung with a manic edge, safety has never been so appealing. Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk should win an award for best 80s mullet ever (sorry, Bono)!
Footloose- Kenny Loggins
Tagline: Now I gotta cut loose, Footloose Kick off the Sunday shoes
This classic Guilty Pleasure by the Godfather of cheesy 80s Rock is the reason Kevin Bacon now avoids wedding receptions at all costs. After all these years, it’s still a sure fire dance floor packer. Even the whitest guy on the floor can boogie to this one. Everybody cut footloose!
Sister Christian- Night Ranger
Tagline: Sister Christian Oh, the time has come And you know that you’re the only one To say, okay
Night Ranger’s heartfelt ballad is a great final song for the end of the party. Trying way too hard to be profound, the band implores you to look deep inside and ask yourself, “what’s your price for flight?” Motoring…
Honorable mentions to: “Whip It”- Devo, “Bad”- Michael Jackson, “Bust A Move”- Young MC, “Livin’ On a Prayer”- Bon Jovi, “Cool Places”- Sparks, “Mr. Roboto”- Styx, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”- Wang Chung, “Power Of Love”- Huey Lewis And The News