By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
A Very Alt-Xmas
"The Christians and the Pagans," Dar Williams: This perky folk tune relates an awkward meal shared between a Christian family and their pagan niece, who's a witch (a Solstice witch, not a Dark Lord witch). Toes will tap as hilarity ensues and life lessons are learned.
"Christmas With the Devil," Spinal Tap: The metal fauxtet comically defiles the season, rhyming silent night and violent night over a bluesy riff.
Blues, Booze and Junk
"King's Crossing," Elliott Smith: On this dark Christmas, the former Heatmiser guitarist's Santa was skinny, and the bag he bore wasn't filled with toys. With a hypodermic needle on his Christmas tree, the late singer-songwriter made a chilling holiday wish that didn't come true.
"Christmas Rappin'," Kurtis Blow: If producer Russell Simmons hadn't waited until the holiday season to release "Christmas Rappin'," it would have been the first rap record. With a bumping bass line, the early artifact is rooted in old-school funk.
Funny Stuff, Rated PG
"Son of Santa," Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper: Rockabilly eccentric Mojo Nixon begins this offbeat story with Santa's prodigal offspring being released from San Quentin. Will he find redemption—or a one-way ticket back to the pen?
Funny Stuff, Rated R
"Merry F#%$in' Christmas," Denis Leary: Actor Leary slips back into the cynical comedic mode that made him famous, leading a chorus through this catchy old-time sing-along: "Old Saint Nick's got bourbon breath/It's so cold you could catch your death/A cop sold me some crystal meth/It's a merry [bleep]in' Christmas."