This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.
For too long, Christmas has been haunted by the glittering, damp spectre of routine. As family members sit around the table, it's likely some form of recognisable music will come tooting from the speakers. The work of Slade, Wham! and Mariah Carey, perhaps. Or the sound of "Little Drummer Boy", which is comparable to the emission of wind from the depths of the anus.
These enduring compositions aren't completely terrible, but they're also as dusty as the decaying tinsel that gets dragged down from the attic each December. They speak of reindeers, fairytales and non-existent snowmen. They tell a tale of a "White Christmas" that only exists in Richard Curtis films and they very rarely involve existential despair or an impressive desire for drinking the house dry.
In fact, the standard set of Christmas songs have become increasingly underwhelming to the point of nausea. Every radio station, music channel, work playlist, plays the same 50 on repeat, and you engage with them anyway, don't you, because what other choice do you have? They are like the last withered pie at Greggs, or a genuinely attractive person on Tinder who has set "Panda" as their anthem.
With that in mind, we're drawing a line in the fake snow and we're cleaning up the damn playlist. Here are a list of new-ish songs to listen to while inebriated and around your immediate family this festive season.
Gucci Mane - "St. Brick Intro"
This is the most iconic Christmas song of all time. I'm sorry Band Aid, I'm sorry The Pogues, I'm sorry Las Ketchup – who re-released "The Ketchup Song" with added sleigh bells in an attempt to pass it off as festive – but Gucci Mane has re-written history with this, the hardest Christmas single since East 17 stood in formation in leather trousers whinging about touching someone's face while they're asleep. "St. Brick Intro" is not the first time East Atlanta Santa has graced the holidays with an appearance, but let's break down why it's the best:
Firstly, Zaytoven has somehow written an ice cold piano line that passes as both a club-ready trap loop and a faithful homage to "Jingle Bells". Secondly, the video deserves several Oscars. Opening with Gucci trapping through the snow in a bright red Rolls Royce convertible, CGI snowflakes tumbling onto his denim jacket replete with enormous fur trim, it's an ominous yet beautiful piece of cinematography, like Harmony Korine was tasked with remaking The Grinch, and it has changed the way we view Christmas forever.
Do you put Oreos out for Santa? You do now. Have you ever carved up a turkey while singing "Over the hills we go / Got an extendo and an AK"? Probably not, and maybe you shouldn't, but it's nice to have options. VH1 will now have to reshoot the countdown they air every year to include David Gest saying "And finally, at number one, Gucci Mane with this nasty-ass beat from 2016". So, next time someone comes at you with some bullshit about how there have been no good Christmas singles since the mid-90s, kindly inform them they are wrong and crank this up so loud your nan whips out her trigger fingers. Emma Garland
GFOTY – "Christmas Day"
There's something about this track that really gives me the feels. Maybe it's because GFOTY whisper-chants "angel, mistletoe, Christmas day" over and over again until you can't help chanting along to it, under your breath, at work. Maybe it's because it utilises that pleasing jingle bell sound that immediately makes the festive transmitters in your brain light up. Or maybe it's because it contains the line "let me ride your christmas sleigh", which we all know means something hella dirty. Either way, this is an underrated holiday banger that definitely deserves a place on the next That's What I Call Christmas CD. Sort your shit out, NowMusic. Now, you bellends! Daisy Jones
Wavves and Best Coast - "Got Something For You"
Releasing a "twee" indie Christmas track that doesn't make you vom sausage rolls all over your ironic reindeer woollens is no mean feat, so big up Best Coast and Wavves. Coming at you like a more acceptable version of She & Him, they recorded this cutesy, low-fi Christmas song to celebrate the holidays in 2010. It's the sort of thing you would send your crush in sixth form to prove your indie credentials and show that you were above the local carol service, but it's still just as sweet now as it was six years back. Granted, it does just layer bells of various descriptions (church; jingle; all the other ones) over what would otherwise be a regular indie track, but who is really complaining when this ode to the trying to find your Christmas presents before the big day is so good natured? Lauren O'Neill
Kanye West - "Christmas in Harlem"
Featuring everyone from Cam'ron to Pusha T to Jim Jones, "Christmas in Harlem" is arguably the most exquisite Christmas track to have been squeezed into existence. Yes, there are all the stylistic tropes of the festive season - sleigh bells, a synth that sounds as fresh and beautiful as recently fallen snow, an overall aesthetic in the production that feels like every jovial moment in the Home Alone series. But this shit also goes hard. Clocking in at nine minutes long, it takes in everything from festive sex, to late-night christmas shopping, to shopping bricks of yay around the neighbourhood. This is the holiday track you didn't know you wanted, but the one you deserve. Oh - and like all the best presents it's rare and is only available to listen to on this weird-ass website here. Ryan Bassil
Ariana Grande - "Not Just On Christmas"
2015 was a banner year for Ariana Grande. She released "Focus", performed it at the AMAs dressed like R&B game Jessica Rabbit, and verbally slapped the shit out of two radio hosts for being basic as hell and claiming the unicorn emoji was "for girls". She also scandalously licked some donuts in a shop, didn't buy them, then proclaimed "I hate America". To top it all off, she recorded an entire Christmas EP in her home studio and released it without warning. Titled Christmas & Chill, it sounds like a Cassie album but with sleigh bells and lyrics like "tis the season for some giving!", making it the only Santa-referencing release you can pash to without feeling deeply uncomfortable. Every song is fantastic, truly, but this cut stands out because it's essentially a stand-in for everything the Spice Girls have failed to gift us during their various reunions over the last two decades. Emma Garland
The Long Blondes - "Christmas is Cancelled"
With a knowingly kitsch throwback aesthetic and tongue-in-cheek lyrics straight out of a kitchen sink romance novel, the Long Blondes were the Pulp the 2000's never knew they needed. Nowhere is this more blindingly obvious than on their wry tearjerker of a Christmas song "Christmas is Cancelled". A story of heartbreak. A tale of a particularly British sense of being eternally underwhelmed by everything. A lyric that is the best to have entered any Christmas song before or since, which is: "No mum, don't worry about me / I'll just have fish and chips for tea / I'll watch the Queen and go to sleep". Ultimately, "Christmas is Cancelled" is the sort of cold, hard #realism that always goes down well with some wine and a Christmas lunch. Load it on up! Lauren O'Neill
Miley Cyrus – "My Sad Christmas Song"
Unless you're unfortunate enough to have been born into Jamie Oliver's family, Christmas day looks nothing like Love, Actually. Tradition and custom expects you to be rosy-cheeked and gleeful, but if you're feeling like an empty vessel devoid and incapable of any feeling, or your family resembles the cast of Nil By Mouth, Christmas is the salt for all wounds. So, with that in mind, slap on Miley Cyrus' "My Sad Christmas Song" because it's a great track about how much this time of year sucks. "This year feels kind of lame, but the last one was the same," she sings, which is waaay better to drunkenly shout along to than that absolutely fucking deranged Wizzard song. Daisy Jones
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Header image from How Guwop Stole Christmas mixtape.