To spare you the pain of listening to ten versions of Jingle Bells or hearing Taylor Swift butcher Wham!’s Last Christmas, I’ve compiled a substantial list of the best Christmas rock songs to enjoy, in no particular order.
1. Won’t Be Home for Christmas – Every Mother’s Nightmare
Every Mother’s Nightmare is a 90s band that hasn’t as much play since the days of Headbanger’s Ball. The lyrics, arrangement and overall execution of this song are each deserving of recognition and therefore earns a place on this list.
2. Happy Holiday – Enuff Z’Nuff
Yet another song you just don’t hear anymore. It’s not dizzyingly dancy or sluggishly slow, it sounds exactly like the lighthearted 90s holiday rock it’s supposed to. Why this wasn’t given much play, I’ll never know.
3. Naughty Christmas – Lacuna Coil
Getting into heavier, darker territory, this track is about Krampus paying a visit to all the naughty children. It’s not your grandmother’s Christmas music, but it just may very well be yours.
4. Zombie Christmas – Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler
Definitely not a conventional holiday song, this one has a strange The Go-Go’s type sound to it and tells the story of a zombie invasion at a holiday party. Doesn’t the ridiculousness of that description warrant at least one listen?
5. Christmastime – Smashing Pumpkins
In its own way, this song manages to capture the feeling we get the moment we realize the many stresses of Christmas have passed us by and we can finally just focus on our family and friends. It also calls to mind memories of what the holiday season means to you.
6. Christmas Don’t Be Late – Powder
It is likely you remember this song from the 1980s A Chipmunk Christmas TV special. However, the song dates back to 1958. This cover is off a 2001 compilation CS by a British pop band no one remembers from the 1990s. As fun as it is to see kids react the same way we did to Alvin and the Chipmunks, this version tends to fit the mood better.
7. Fool’s Holiday – All Time Low
This track perfectly sums up how it feels to admit you haven’t been the best version of yourself, while understanding it’s probably just a passing thing, like someone suddenly proposing to their partner while attending a friend’s wedding.
8. Right Where You Want Me to Be – A Day To Remember
For A Day To Remember fans, this is a must every single Christmas. You can dance to it if you feel inclined to, but most importantly, you can totally relate to it. If that doesn’t provide angsty, stress-riddled listeners a little comfort, it’s clear they don’t have this song blaring loud enough.
9. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out – Fall Out Boy
For when you’re trying to appear interested in any or all of the trappings of the holiday season, but would much rather be left alone. If you’re tired of songs that scream of the desperation of wanting to find a lover beneath the dying pine tree in the living room, this should be comforting.
10. We All Need Christmas – Def Leppard
New out this year, Def Leppard finally recorded a Christmas song. In truth, I always expected one from them and now that it’s here, I’m glad it’s not disappointing. The song is slower than most of the other picks, but it’s good to have a mix.
If you scrolled down this list expecting to find songs you’ve known and loved your whole life, I suppose I owe you an apology. I could’ve easily offered a list of my favorite traditional holiday tunes and, honestly, my first thought was to blend in as many different sounds as possible. However, Christmas means something different to everyone, so I felt strongly about focusing on songs that tackle the holiday in a less conventional way. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, I think you’ll find something enjoyable here.