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The Ten Most Depressing Christmas Songs Ever Recorded
The holidays are a bummer. At least Tom Waits knows it.
By Jessica Gentile
Do you find the forced cheer of Christmas songs perversely depressing? Here are ten gloomy Christmas songs that may, in fact, cheer you up.
1) The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, "Fairytale of New York"
Nothing says Christmas like youthful hopes and dreams crushed by alcoholism and drug addiction. Sung from the points of view of former lovers, the song features equal parts regret, melancholy and vitriol, whirling like raging snow. It's one of the most emotional holiday anthems of all time. "Happy Christmas your arse / I pray God it's our last." Amen.
2) Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, "Cold White Christmas"
Envision bleak twenty-something circumstances, then add a holiday. Dead-end job at a fast-food restaurant? Check. Complete absence of family and friends? Check. Moldy Minnesotan apartment and collect calls on Christmas? You bet. But, hey, at least you get to have beer for breakfast.
3) Okkervil River, "Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas"
What better time to wax nostalgic for the one that got away than the holidays? Over plaintive chords, Will Sheff pines for snow days and Christmas cards from the girl who could have been more than just a friend. We've all got dreams to remember.
4) Sufjan Stevens, "Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)"
Trapped in an unhealthy and dysfunctional relationship? No better day to end it than Christmas. Well, that's what Sufjan claims to have done. True or not, only someone as adorable as he could get away with it. Coldhearted-ness rarely sounded so charming.
5) Aimee Mann, "I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up For Christmas"
Christmas is usually full of festive drinks — champagne, egg nog, etc. But it looks like Aimee Mann will stick with a Shirley Temple this year. This dour ode to sobriety sure puts a damper on the open bar.
6) Tom Waits, "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis"
Granted, this Waits classic only references Christmas in its title. But the holiday context takes this tale about a destitute, pregnant prostitute from depressing to downright devastating. Throw in Waits' been-around-the-block-too-many-times rasp and you've got a weeper for the ages.
7) The Boy Least Likely To, "Blue Spruce Needles"
The Boy Least Likely To
It's easy to get overly sentimental during the holidays. The sight of a lone spruce needle swept under the couch from last year's Christmas tree is enough to bring tears to your eyes, especially if you're single — because the same time last year, you weren't.
8) John Denver, "Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk this Christmas)"
Here's one Christmas song John Denver never sang with the Muppets (no one wants to see their mother cry, especially not Kermit). The title of this twangy tune just about says it all.
9) Prince, "Another Lonely Christmas"
It's hard to imagine someone as notoriously sexy as Prince spending Christmas alone, let alone multiple Christmases alone (as implied by the title), let alone "drink[ing] banana daiquiris 'til [he's] blind" in an effort to dull the pain. (Although that probably is what Prince would drink.) If he's not even immune to the holiday blues, then we're all doomed.
10) King Diamond, "No Presents for Christmas"
"No presents for Christmas" could probably serve as a shock-rock anthem for Ebenezer Scrooge, or the Grinch, or your stingy aunt. Hail Santa!