The holiday season can be amazing — full of laughing, eating, cheery tunes and visiting with loved ones. But, it can also be pretty dark for those who are alone. Sometimes, you need to soak yourself in your blues before you can feel better. So, what does that person who isn’t so jolly listen to get through the season? In the spirit of The Pogues’ “A Fairytail in New York” — one of the greatest of sad holiday songs — here is a little holiday wallowing mix. Break out your Snuggy and hard liquor of choice; it’s time to “enjoy” the other side of the season.
P.S. It’s not all tears; it does end with a bit of hope.
Clumsy N Shy is a blog that offers excellent mixtape downloads.
Curated by Marjorie Owens, of Clumsy N Shy
Blind Blake – “Lonesome Christmas Blues”
What better way to get sad-with-it than with the blues, and Blind Blake doesn’t disappoint. His song is a tale of being alone, sitting in a jailhouse on Christmas morning and watching the snowflakes fall. Now, that’s the Christmas blues.
Dorsey Burnette – “Hey Little One”
Not even a holiday song, but it “so” captures being “so far and so alone” from the one you desire during the holidays.
Nico – “Winter Song”
Nico’s deep and sultry voice is perfect for wallowing in sadness while drinking a Hot Toddy, as you’re wrapped in a blanket next to the fireplace. “The bitter is hard, and the warmth of your skin is diseased with familiar caresses.” Ouch, drink up.
Police Academy 6 – “Pills”
Another song that really has no winter or holiday ties. With just a short sample of vocals, it’s all in the title and tone of the song. Never anymore pertinent than these days, grab those pills to get you through the holidays (not that I am advocating).
eyes, wings, and many other things – “Sled Dog’s Annual Revenge”
Just through song and title, “Sled Dog’s Annual Revenge,” which has frequently been mislabeled “Sled ‘DONG’S’ Annual Revenge,” creates magical imagery of a Siberian Husky running through the cold snow, with only sweet thoughts of revenge dancing in his head and driving him through the bitter winds. Go husky, go.
Spectrum – “Santa Claus”
Who could capture the dark and druggy holidays better than Spectrum? “I want a brand new car, swanky guitar, cute little honey, drugs and money. Santa Claus, won’t you tell me please what you’re going to put under my tree?” But, it’s Santa’s reply that’s the bleakest: “Nothing.”
Foxes In Fiction – “Snow Angels”
Slow-building and with fuzzy vocals, the song truly makes you feel the cold chill of winter.
Julie London – “Dark”
So pretty, so dark. The song captures that surreal feeling of being depressed at a time when everyone else is jolly and all smiles. “Everything is strange and weird; Cheerful scenes have disappeared since you’ve gone.”
The Durutti Column – “Sketch Of Winter”
I try to squeeze this band into as many mixes as possible. A bluesy guitar drives the sadness of the wintry tune.
The Castells – “Dancing In The Dark”
Listening to this, I imagine two lonely people lingering at the end of a holiday party and drunkenly dancing. It has such a David Lynchian feel, and what could be darker than that?
Former Ghosts – “Winter’s Year”
In the spirit of Otis Redding and Carla Thomas’ “New Year’s Resolution,” it’s a winter wrap-up duet with a post-punk twist.
Wooden Shjips – “O Tannenbaum”
One of the most “Christmassy” songs of the bunch. But, it’s the Wooden Shjips, giving it the appropriate dark and psychedelic twist.
Zelienople – “All I Want Is Calm”
In midst of the craze of the season, sometimes you just need quiet calm.
The Andrew Sisters & Friends – “Dimples & Cherry Cheeks”
The Andrew Sisters & Friends” I promised a light of hope, and the Andrew Sisters hand it over: “There are so many heartaches in this world of ours, but sometimes a dream will come true.” It’s time for the New Year, welcome 2011.
Julian Lynch – “Winterer Two”
I love Lynch. He is magical. This song is slow and droney. And, just when you think it’s purely instrumental, Lynch sings one strange and mysterious line right in the center of the song.
Lonnie Donegan – “It Was A Very Good Year”
Made famous by Frank Sinatra, it’s Donegan’s version that has become a favorite of mine. Donegan sings of a life lived, recalling “a very good year” from various ages starting at 17 to 35, and then into his “autumn years.” It’s a truly sad and beautiful song of a man reminiscing his younger days.