My friend Magdalena recently asked on social media, "Which is the Christmas carol that really sends you into a homicidal rage?" This for me is easy: "The Little Drummer Boy." ("Jingle Bells' is disqualified because it's so ubiquitous we can't really call it a carol anymore. It's musak, a jingle. Ha.) LDB's war march of the little boy is so monotonous, so faux-reverent that I want to take both drumsticks and break them over my knee and gouge my eyes out with the broken ends.
And then along comes Beck, to inject hip hop, Hanukkah, robotic voices, into a cut-and-paste pastiche that sounds like a great lost outtake from Odelay.
For the first minute of this two-minute instrumental romp, Los Lobos give us a fairly straightforward flamenco variation on this tired old horse. Then, things get weird. And wonderful.
"You look like Santa Claus, but in a good way." I've probably overplayed my Santa hand with the previous two entries, but I had to include this late-Eighties gem, which there's no evidence the ever-awkward Throwing Muses thought of as an actual Christmas song. I love how Kristin Hersh turns "Ho, ho, ho" into a transgressive cry.