12 Days of Christmas Music to Improve Your Playlist (Day 11)

I confess that chief among the Christmas songs I cannot stand is “Little Drummer Boy.”

It would be easy to blame this on the fact that I had to sing it for my grade school’s Christmas program in sixth grade, but that’s probably not it. I think it’s more that nearly every single version of this song I’ve ever heard — and dear gods, there are many — is so unutterably dispiriting. How many different ways can you make a song sound like it’s marching dejectedly into a coma?

Lots, apparently.

And yet…

You know, if you’ve seen my Christmas music posts the last couple of years, that one of my favorite holiday albums is the one by Bad Religion. Their version of “Little Drummer Boy” actually does not suck. Sure, it’s a little martial, but it has energy and verve and sounds like that little drummer boy is playing his effing heart for the Baby Jesus. Way to go.


12 Days of Christmas Music That Won’t Turn Your Brain to Goo (Day 2)

If I told you Bad Religion had made a Christmas album, you might have one of the following responses:

  1. I’ll bet it’s offensive.
  2. If not offensive, it’s probably at least ironic.
  3. Was this a dare?
  4. I don’t believe you.

Fine, fine, but it’s TRUE, and the music is GOOD. With the exception of one original song, the playlist is all traditional carols, performed in a completely sincere way, just not in a traditional way. The force of their playing style only highlights the strength of the songs they’ve included. They made this album for charity, and I strongly recommend you go and buy it now. It’s become my family’s new favorite holiday album. There are so many good songs on it — including one track with the first verse done a capella in harmony — but because I’ve had so many other good entries this year for the 12 Days list, you’ll need to go and check out the whole album yourself to hear them all.

I’m presenting today one of my favorite carols, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Rock on, and enjoy.