- Uncategorized

I like depressing Christmas songs…

…Songs about loneliness. Heartbreak. Folks down on their luck. Forgotten. Addicted. Only… on Christmas!

One of my favorite Christmas albums is by the Cincinnati folk-pop-jazz-etc. group Over the Rhine. It’s called “The Darkest Night of the Year.”

Get it?

‘Cause it’s solstice. And people are sad!

The Holidays aren’t always the happiest of times for folks whose families of origin are sources of pain and trauma. Or for folks whose intimate relationships don’t match the heteronormative ideal. Folks who are freakish. Folks who are single.

Depressing Christmas songs clear the clutter so we may experience one another more honestly/meaningfully.

Here are a few of my favorites:

RIVER, JONI MITCHELL

I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on


X-MAS CAKE, RILO KILEY

theres no more running water
wrapping presents in the dark
move into your car
change where you park
too bad that job carolin’ department stores fell through


I WAS THINKING I COULD CLEAN UP FOR CHRISTMAS, AIMEE MANN

I Was Thinking I Could Clean up for Christmas

‘Cause I can’t live loaded and I can’t live sober
And I’ve been this way since the end of October
And I know enough to know
That, baby, when it’s over, it’s over
And it’s over
‘Cause, baby, I’m done
I was thinking I could clean up for Christmas


DID I MAKE YOU CRY ON CHRISTMAS? (WELL, YOU DESERVED IT!), SUFJAN STEVENS

Did I Make you Cry on Christmas? (Well you Deserved It!)

I stay awake at night
After we have a fight
I’m writing poems about you
And they aren’t very nice
I didn’t mean to yell
I said I couldn’t tell
I only grabbed your wrist
Or would you rather we kissed?


ALL I EVER GET FOR CHRISTMAS IS BLUE, OVER THE RHINE

\”All I Ever Get for Christmas is Blue\”

When you play my song
Play it slowly
Play it like I’m sad and lonely


MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING, THE CARPENTERS

The lights on my tree
I wish you could see
I wish it every day
Logs on the fire
Fill me with desire


SANTA’S SECRET, JENNIFER TERRAN

Distractions can come in many forms
Like waiting for d to call me on the phone
But I’m going back to what my life Will be
When I don’t crave him
will I be freer


CHRISTMAS IN MY SOUL, LAURA NYRO


I love my country as it dies
In war and pain before my eyes
I walk the streets where disrespect has been
The sins of politics, the politics of sin
The heartlessness that darkens my soul
On Christmas

20 thoughts on “I like depressing Christmas songs…

  1. Thanks for this, Tim. River is one of my all-time favs. And that Aimee Mann song is gorgeous. Can’t wait to listen to the rest. Sad Christmas songs are like porn to me. Which reminds me, I still have to watch Love Actually and then cry myself to sleep before the 25th.

    1. I was just about to comment about that Casiotone song, and mention from the same album, New Year’s Kiss, which isn’t Christmas obviously, but falls under the “holidays” category for me.

      I’d forgotten about that Mogwai song. I think you just made my day a Mogwai day.

  2. Good ones, Tim! Some others:

    Neko Case doing Tom Waits’ Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis, http://kayfabe.net/post/277155030/copycats-neko-case-christmas-card-from-a

    John Prine, Christmas in Prison, http://popup.lala.com/popup/1657606164013777108

    Pretenders, 2000 Miles, http://popup.lala.com/popup/360569565446885899

    New Pornographers, Joseph Who Understood (kinda sad, kinda not), http://hypem.com/track/451069/The+New+Pornographers+-+Joseph+Who+Understood

      1. Did my lala clips do the same thing?

        I discovered last night it’s really easy on wordpress to upload tracks from your computer into a post, so I’m totally going to do that in the future.

        I didn’t for this post because none of my Christmas music is ripped off the CDs onto my hard drive.

        I can’t wait to listen to all of these, Joe — and thanks everyone else as well, for your additions.

Leave a Reply