When I was growing up–a process that I refuse to finish–my favorite Christmas story was “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Why? Because I myself am a bit of a grinch. However, like the Grinch of Seussish fame, I have not yet managed to steal Christmas from the Whos in Whoville. Also, like the same Grinch, my heart has grown a bit, and I’ve come to (mostly) accept Christmas.
Except for the music.
It’s not that I have a problem with the idea of music written specifically for the season. My problem is that everywhere you go, you hear the same half dozen or so Christmas songs. If I have to listen to another old crooner sing a classic Christmas song one more time, I might explode in a righteous fury of grinchish rage.
This is why I’ve spent a good portion of my purportedly adult Christmases seeking out the strangest Christmas music I can find–Grinchmas music, if you like. Sure, I could just listen to those classics that don’t get as much air time, like the soundtracks from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “A Christmas Story,” but I like to delve into the truly unusual.
The absolute A-number-one Christmas album, in my book, is “A Christmas Spanking” by the Asylum Street Spankers. The Spankers are known and revered for their genre-blending and -bending sound. They’ve applied this to many of the classical Christmas songs and written a few Christmas originals. The result is wholly unique Christmas album that wanders from plain ol’ knee-slappin’ fun to absolutely beautiful and back again.
Another interesting album is “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year.” This one’s a compilation album featuring giants of rock ‘n roll like Alice Cooper and Ronnie James Dio, as well as a host of lesser metal mortals, all of whom put a metal spin on the classic Christmas songs that make me want to pilfer presents from Whos. And while I won’t pretend that Dio singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is something amazing, it is…something.
If your tastes run more to the comedic than the metal, you might check out “Have Yourself a Meaty Little Christmas.” This absolutely ludicrous creation is a collection of Christmas jams sung by the cast of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Even if you’re not familiar with the show, you’ll probably still get a laugh out of songs like “Santa Left a Booger in My Stocking” and “I Hope I Don’t Have to Beat Your A** This Christmas.”
While these are probably the best Christmas albums that the library has to offer, there are plenty of others worth checking out. Don’t miss great Christmas CDs like “And Christmas For All: A Holiday Tribute to Metallica” and “Not Another Xmas Album: An Alternative Christmas.” If you’re interested in family-friendly non-traditional Christmas albums, give “Midwinter Graces” by Tori Amos a whirl.
And if you have a favorite Christmas CD that’s full of unusual goodies, let us know in the comments. After all, there’s never enough competition for the old crooners.