Aaron Renier
'Tis the season to be braving the cavernous cathedrals of commerce--crossing off the last of your guilt-ridden obligations before braving the dens and vestibules of our extended "loved ones." 'Tis also the season that most peoples' already strained patience is pushed to the limit at the hands of Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis--voices invariably tied to the most indefensible, artistically vapid, and commercially obscene subgenre of pop: Holiday Music. And then there are those, like myself, who grinningly greet the Christmas music clusterfuck with open arms. And though my consumptive obsession with Christmas music has begun to reach caricature-stage, it has also afforded me a little insight on number of quietly (and happily) forgotten Christmas moments buried in the discographies of the notable. Allow me to offer you, dear readers, an exploration of lesser-known Christmas songs by those least likely.

"Merry Muthafuckin' Christmas"
(5150: Home 4 Tha Sick, 1992)

From Curtis Blow's masterful "Christmas Rappin'" to Run-DMC's flagship "Christmas in Hollis," hiphop's rich (if somewhat sordid) tradition of holiday fare spans the form's history--laughably devolving over the last decade or so from its semi-earnest origins into the awkwardly spiritless arena of bitches, blunts, and bravado. Balls-deep in Eazy's famously subtle sexual innuendo, "Merry Muthafuckin' Christmas" charts a medley of Christmas songs ("Deck the Halls," "Jingle Bells," "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth," etc.) as a backdrop for a quaint, early-'90s exploration of Gangsta Rap's vices--Impalas, indo wreaths, Bitches, AK-47s, coke, and hydraulics--in a festively obscene sub-narrative.

"Merry Crassmas"
(Merry Crassmas 7", 1981)

Released in 1981 under the name Creative Recording and Sound Services--the prank moniker the anarchist punk band previously used to convince a British bridal magazine to give away copies of one of their flexi-singles--Crass released this less-than-scathing satire of instrumental holiday muzak (a medley of organ, drum machine, and synths) to little fanfare.

T. Rex
"Christmas Bop"
(Christmas Bop single, 1982)

Intended for release during the Bolan's Zip Gun era (but issued posthumously), "Christmas Bop" is pretty regrettable even for the reliably shameless T.Rex--cursory soul back-ups chiming an endless refrain of "Christmas, T.Rexmas!" beneath a bland Bolan nonsensically insisting that "Everybody's gotta do the Christmas Bop." Whatever the fuck that means.

Suicide "Hey Lord"
Alan Vega "No More Christmas Blues"
(A Christmas Record, 1981)

In 1981, New York's celebrated ZE Records (home to folks like the Contortions, Mars, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and Lydia Lunch, among others) released what is probably the most important unheard Christmas record of all time, the simply titled A Christmas Record. The record features the first appearance of the Waitresses timeless "Christmas Wrapping," as well as skewed Christmas songs by Was (Not Was), James White (of Contortions fame), and two redundant contributions from camp Suicide--the collaborative "Hey Lord" and Alan Vega's solo "No More Christmas Blues"--which, for all intents and purposes, are essentially the same song. Both feature the same haunting, Martin Rev-composed backing track--the only real difference between the two songs are the discrepancies in Vega's varied mumbles.

The Fall
"(We Wish You A) Protein Christmas"
((We Wish You A) Protein Christmas single, 2003)

In his 27-years of oppressive verbal diarrhea, Mark E. Smith had committed surprisingly little to tape on the matter of the holiday season--that is, before last year. "Protein Christmas" is a strangely compelling holiday reworking of "Proteinprotection"--originally released on last year's The Real New Fall LP--enhanced with images of "Christ's blood on the street," and a glass raised to the fact that "all the politicians are on holiday." A solid curio in the Fall's ever-widening crap to quality ratio.

"Another Lonely Christmas"
(B-Side from I Would Die 4 U single, 1984)

Rarely has someone so masterfully painted a tale that marries frozen fruit drinks, Pokeno, and skinny-dipping with the tragic, untimely death of a lover. Rarer still is it that someone can accomplish such a feat in the form of a Christmas song. But if history has taught us anything, it's that Prince is capable of the impossible. Still reeling from the blinding success of Purple Rain, Prince recorded his only known Christmas-themed song--the story of a grieving, nymphish rock star who mourns annually the loss of his lover to pneumonia (er... strep throat... or something) by "drink[ing] banana daiquiris 'til [he's] blind." Not exactly the Godhead's finest moment, but it sure beats the shit out of Band Aid.